The various stotras of Sri Appayya Dikshitar are very powerful. The Margabandhu Stotram composed by Sri Appayya Dikshitar if recited before going on any travel will ward off the evils and dangers associated with the travel and our travel mission will be successful. Similarly the Apitakuchambastava which is composed on the presiding Goddess at Thiruvannamalai if recited with devotion will cure all the illness. Once Dikshitar swallowed some dhattura juice and got into a state of semi conscious state to check whether he still remembers the Lord even in that state. He wrote Unmattapanchasa or Athmarpanastuti in that state surrendering himself to Lord Shiva with sincere prayer that he should be freed from the cycle of births and deaths. Such is the greatness of his devotion.
Mahan Sri Appayya Dikshitar
In many places the book is more an original discussion than a commentary. As an intellectual treat, there is not a more learned and well reasoned and interesting work than the Sivarka mani dipika. To the Siva bhakta, the book is a priceless treasure. The author pronounces Srikanta to have been a practioner of the Dahara Vidya. He detects this fact by a critical examination of Srikanta’s references to the different vidyas. On the completion of his magnum opus "Sivarkamani Dipika", he was honored with a "Kanakabhishega" (showered with gold flowers & coins) by his patron King Chinna Bomma Nayakkar. With that gold, Appayya built the Kaalakanteshwara Temple at Adayapalam. He so much loved and revered him, that he created endowments for the maintenance of a college of 500 scholars who studied the "Sivarkamani Dipika" under the author himself (Referred in the Adayapalam epigraph) they were trained to do propaganda for the Sivadvaita philosophy to meet the Vaishnavite arguments. Appayya Dikshitar gave a new life and orientation to Saivism in South India. He made people tread the path of devotion. By his own exemplary life he converted atheists, created a strong faith in them in the Vedic injunctions and in devotion to Lord Siva. He did not stop there. He went a step further and proclaimed in his work Sivarkamani Dipika that through the grace of the personal God alone could men get a taste for the study of the Vedanta philosophy.
· The Varadarajastava and its commentary
· Atmarpanastuti Or Unmatta Panchasati
Sri Appaya Dikshitar was a firm believer in the unity and oneness of God. Yet the age in which he lived made him extol Lord Shiva as the supreme in the Trinity. During 16th century, South India witnessed sectarian disputes between Vaishanvism and Saivism, which had taken deep roots during the days of Sri Appaya Dikshitar. Thathacharya, did everything in his power to propagate Vaishnavism. It was to project the Saivite point of view and to strengthen its hold that Sri Appaya Dikshita had to write a series of books like "Sivarkamani Dipika", "Sikharinimala", "Sivatatva Viveka" , "Sivakarnamratha", "Sivamahimakalastuti", "Sivadvaidanirnaya" – all extolling Lord Shiva and Advaita. In these tasks, he received the support and patronage of King Chinna Bomma Nayyakkar. Yet he was not a bigot. He himself says that it was due to the circumstances he had to do so. In a verse he says, "It is not important if Vishnu or Shiva is considered as the Supreme God by the Upanishads; for we belong to the Advaita School. But when men with crooked ideas and narrow outlook proclaim in abusive language their hatred towards Shiva, we cannot keep quite. To refute this , I had to produce these works. This in no way means that I am not a worshipper of Vishnu". That Sri Appaya Dikshitar was catholic can be seen from the fact that he wrote a commentary on the "Yadavabhyudaya" of Sri Vedanta Desika, whom he admired very much.
He praised Lord Varadaraja of Kanchi in hymn. In the "Kuvalayananda" he prays to Lord Mukunda for his blessings. When the worship of Lord Govindaraja was revived at the Chidambaram Temple at the instances of the Vijayanagara King, he welcomed it wholeheartedly and wrote "Hariharastuti", praising both Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Shiva). He proclaimed his catholic outlook through his "Chaturmatasara", which elucidate the philosophical basis of the four important school of Indian Vedantic system. This work has been acclaimed as a masterly and impartial exposition of the respective schools, even by the aggressive proponents of these schools. To him, all schools of Vedanta and all deities were the same, leading to the same goal. He was for reconciliation and not for quarrel, for harmony and not for hatred for tolerance and not ill-will, for mutual understanding and not cantankerous bickering, among the various sects. His name and fame spread far and wide. Kings vied with one another to honor him and get honored by his presence in their courts. His sons and disciples mastered his works and were considered great scholars. His life’s mission was accomplished, yet Sri Appaya Dikshitar led a simple, unostentatious life in his village.
His Last Days
Sri Appaya Dikshitar spent his last days in Chidambaram. He was running 73rd year. One day the priests of Lord Nataraja temple saw Sri Appaya Dikshitar pass over the "Panchakshara Steps" and vanish into the deity of Lord Nataraja. It was at the same time that he breathed his last in his house uttering a half completed sloka meaning, "The splendor of the lotus feet of Lord Nataraja flashes before me as if the sun has risen in the sky". His grandson (Brother Achan Dikshita’s grandson Shri. Nilakanta Dikshita of Palamadai) who was nearby completed the unfinished verse declaring "since the suryodaya has occurred, it is certain that the great soul has reached the final beatitude after leaving the darkness of night of Samsara".
Thus lived a Great Vedantin, an un-biased philosopher, a true devotee, a versatile scholar, a prolific writer, a polymath of learning, a Maha Yogi, who indelibly stamped his personality and teachings on all and gave Saivism and Advita Vedanta, a new life and direction.
Lets us remember and worship Sri Appayya Dikshitar and get the blessings of Hari and Hara!
Appayya Dikshitar by Sri Swami Sivananda
Shri Appaya Dikshita by Sri U. Vaidyanathan (The Indian Review October 1976)
Srimad Appaya Dikshitar’s greatness by Sri Kanchi Mahaperiyava
Appayya Dikshitar articles - http://www.genealogy.com/
Appayya Dikshitar – Shaivam.org
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