By Srimath Vedantha Desika
Translated by P. R. Ramachander
[Srimath Vedantha Desika is one of the greatest savants of Visishtadvaitha philosophy and author of great many extremely poetic and devotional works. He was eking a very poor existence in his native place. Sri Vidhyaranya Theertha, who himself is a great scholar was at that time minister in the court of Vijaya Nagar empire. Knowing the great scholarship of his friend Srimath Vedantha Desigar, he sent an invitation to him to visit the court of Vijaya Nagar. Srimath Vedantha Desika who preferred service to god to all riches in the world wrote the first verse of Vairgya Panchakam and sent back to him. Sri Vidhyaranya Theertha, it seems thought that his friend has misunderstood his intentions and sent another invitation. The reply was the next five verses of Vairgya Panchakam. In this great work, he brings out the value he attaches for material wealth. I have only tried to give a simple translation.]
Kshonee kona sathamsa paalana kala dhurvara garvanalakshubhyath,
Kshudhra narendhra chadu rachana dhanyan na manyamahe,
Devam sevithumeva niscchinumahe yoasou dayalu pura,
Dhana mushti muche Kuchela munaye dhatthesma vitthesatha. 1
The pride of those kings who rule bits of this earth grows like the wildfire,
And there are people, who praise them and think they are blessed,
But we think that service to god who is merciful will give us all our wants,
For did not sage Kuchela meet the Lord, with fistful of pounded rice and become wealthy.
Silam kimanalam bhavethanalam oudharam bhadhithum
Paya: prasruthi poorakam kimu na dharakam sarasam
Ayathna malamallakam pati padaccharam kaccharam
Bhajanthy vibhudhamudha hyahaha kukshithal kukshitha: 2
Even learned scholars pray the kings for filling their stomach,
Is not the spilled grain after a harvest sufficient for their needs?
Is not a palm full of water sufficient to quench one’ss thirst?
Is not the effortlessly collected cloth sufficient for a loin cloth?
Jwalathu jaladhi kroda kreedath krupeeda bhava Prabha,
Prathibada padujwala malakulo jadarAnala,
Thrunamapi vayam sayam sampulla malli mahtallika,
Parimalamucha vacha yachamahe na maheesvaran. 3
Even if the fire in my stomach burns intensely,
And equals the raging fire in the mid of ocean,
I will not ask even for a speck of dust from the king,
For my speech having the fragrance of jasmine flowers
Which open in the evening are reserved for our great Lord.
Dhureeswara dhvara bahir vitardhikaa,
Yadhajnanabham nirapayamasthy me,
Dhananjaya syandhana bhushaNam dhanam. 4
When I have the decorative black coloured wealth,
Who sat in front of Arjuna in the battlefield,
Why should I sit in the periphery of the gate of kings,
And beg them for perishable wealth with hands held in salutation?
Sareera pathanavadhi prabhu nishevana apadhanath,
Abhindhana Dhananjaya prasamadham dhanam dhandhanam
Dhananjaya vivardhanam dhanam udhuda govardhanam
Susadhanam abadhanam sumansam samaradhanam 5
Wealth got by serving the rich till ones body falls to the ground,
Is that wealth which will quell one’ss hunger but is sorrow causing,
On the other hand that wealth which made Arjuna great,
That wealth which made it possible to lift Govardhana and that which fills ones,
Mind with joy is the real good wealth, which one should posses.
Nasthy pithraarjitham kimchith na maya kimchith arjitham
Asthy me hasthi-sailagre vasthu paithamaham dhanam 6
I do not have any inherited wealth,
Nor have I earned any wealth,
But Brahma, the grandfather,
Has given to me as wealth, my Lord,
Who lives on the top of the Hasthi mountain*.
* Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram
Kavitaarkika simhaaya kalyaana guna saaline.
Srimate venkateshaaya vedaanta gurave namah.
Salutations to Venkatesa who is the great teacher of Vedantha,
Who is a lion in the debates among poets,
And posses all good qualities.