This is a Free Video Discourse session upon the meaning of Narayaneeyam verses in English by the teacher of the chanting course Sri Shankara Rama Sharma, where he explains briefly the translation of a set of dashakams. These sessions are conducted for the benefit of the students who attend to the chanting course and all others who are interested in learning the meaning of Narayaneeyam in general.
[The same Teacher is conducting through our portal, a course on how to systematically chant the shlokas with all the grammatical and phonetic rules. One can avail this golden opportunity to learn the recitation by availing this course. Please click the link below and enroll for the ongoing course.]
After the completion of set of every five sessions, there is a discourse session planned wherein the he explains the meaning of the verses briefly through the YouTube Live-Streaming. The next video will be uploaded once the session is done. The students of both- the chanting course and the Discourse on Meaning will be notified about the occurrence of the discourse sessions by the means of mails to their registered mail IDs.
Narayaneeyam is a great epic poem written by Sri Meppattur Narayana Bhattathiri. The author was suffering from suffering from very severe Vatha Roga (rheumatism), which was highly troubling him. He got it cured by the writing of this poem. In this process he attained great devotion and the vision of the Lord. He composed and sang the whole Narayaneeyam in front of the Lord at the temple of Guruvayur.
Sreemad Bhagavatham is the most important among the eighteen main Purarnas, comprising of 18000 slokas. Narayaneeyam is a compilation of the same stories and content in a condensed way, containing about 1036 slokas. It is highly rich in philosophical and devotional in ideas, no way inferior to Bhagavata grantha itself.
It is known from the historical accounts that the poet-bhakta Shri Narayana Bhattathiri was born in 1560 AD in a Brahmin Namboothiri family of Kerala, at a place close to the famous temple at Tirunavayi, on the banks of river Bharatpuzha (reference to which is found in Dasakam 92, verse 7). He learned all the traditional texts, and scientific scriptures by the age of 16. His Guru Achutha Pisharodi took care that he becomes an ardent scholar. Once his Guru was affected by vAta disease and Narayana Bhattathiri pained by seeing his guru’s pathetic condition, very ardently prayed to the Bhagavan to transfer the problem to himself. Bhagavan listened to him and his Guru got cured. The disease filled Narayana Bhattathiri’s body. To be relieved of the disease, he decided to do sharanagati to the feet of Bhagavan Krishna in the temple of Guruvaayur, and seek His anugraha.
There was a philosopher and devotee in his time named Thunchant (Thunjath Ramanuja) Ezhuthachan. Bhattathiri requested him to show a way out of this situation. The philosopher instructed him to start with fish. Bhattathiri started writing verses about the Bhagavan glorifying Him with the various avataras like Matsyavatara (the incarnation as fish). He took the whole ten incarnations of Bhagavan Vishnu described in the Bhagavata Purana, as his subject of the poem and composed the precis kind of mini-Bhagavata Purana in the form of Shriman Naarayaneyam.
Bhattathiri while suffering from his Vata roga, in its heavy stage, would visit the temple and seeing the deity would compose and render one Dashakam, that is ten stanzas as a set, each day and offer it at the feet of the Bhagavan. In a time period of hundred days of devoted praying, the Narayaneeyam wholly was composed. It consists of 100 Dashakams.
The central theme of Narayaneeyam is Bhakti (devotion). To overcome his pain the poet would use this writing as a tool to invoke the blessings of the Bhagavan and towards the end, his prayers were answered. On the hundredth day Bhagavan was visible to him! Narayana was overjoyed with bliss and extreme inner fulfillment by this vision of Narayana Himself and in the 100th Daskakam he echoes his heart feeling in a verse- “Agre Pashyami= here I see Him in front of me!” He vividly describes the Bhagavan’s divine form that he saw directly, from head to foot. He got totally cured of his ailment that very moment.
Narayaneeyam was written by Bhattathiri at the age of 27. He lived to the ripe age of 96 years as a humble devotee, poet and great philosopher. He has written many books on poetry, philosophy and Sanskrit grammar.
Scholars have tried to find with the help of internal evidence in the epic itself, that the Narayaneeyam was completed on the 28th day of Vrischika (November-December) month of the Malayalam (Kollam) Era 763 (approximately November-December, 1587 A.D.).
Narayneeyam, that falls into the category of a stotra, a huge one, indeed, is unique in many ways-
It is written directly addressing Narayana, hence the reader feels that he is speaking to Narayana directly. Then, it is composed in pain and distress of a physical complaint, and hence bears the power to remove the agony of the reader. Also it inculcates in our hearts, the devotion and submission to the feet of Bhagavan as the author did. Reading this poem can incur not just health but long life, bhakti, satisfaction, nearness to Bhagavan and much more.
The final shloka of every Dashakam ends with an invocation to the Lord of Guruvayur to make him free of all his ailments and safeguard him from all afflictions and pains. Many chant Narayaneeyam even to this day for getting off their physical uneasiness and chronic diseases. Anyhow, since it is the story of Bhagavan, this phala or fruit of reading Narayaneeyam is however unique; but it is not only this that makes Narayaneeyam special. It is the beauty of the language and its poetic merits of very high cadre, filled with powerful and grammatically tough constructions, that make it attractive to the scholars as a piece of literature. The feelings, the ideas are of very high level that captivates the hearts of simple people. The style, the flow, the compactness, the brevity, the profoundity in composing of the verses, the construction and much more is equally marking and breath-taking!
The variety of meters employed in this text is another point worth mentioning in this context. The poet employs as many different vrittas to make his composition rich as 22 kinds of chandas to shoot away monotony in his long-designed stotra!! Starting with Sragdhara in the first dashakam, we find Sardulavikridita, Shikharini, Rathoddhata, Vasantatilaka, Shalini, Prthvi, Upajati, Vasantamalika, Praharshini, Vamshastha, Mandakranta, Drutavilambita, Giti Viyogini, Upendravajra, Harini, Atiruchira, Totaka, Sammata, Kusumamanjari and Pushpitagra.
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