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Sri Gunaratna Kosam – A Prayer To Goddess Lakshmi

Sri Gunaratna Kosam is a prayer dedicated to Sri – Goddess Lakshmi. It is an elegant hymn in Sanskrit in 61 verses and was written by Parasara Bhatta. He describes that Sri has taken her abode in a beautiful archa figure as the consort of Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam. It is one of the finest devotional lyrics meant for daily recitation. It also contains philosophical and religious doctrines of the Visistadvaita system.

In writing this hymn, Parasara Bhatta had been profoundly influenced by his illustrious predecessors – Yamunacharya, Ramanujacharya and Kuersha.

Sri is an integral part of Vishnu enshrined in his right chest. She is with him at all times in all his five-fold forms. Attended by Bhudevi and Niladevi and other celestial nymphs known as sandhyas. She receives the obeisance of the Nityasuris in the company of her Lord. She is extolled as the universal mother of mercy, full of compassion and consideration for her devotee and ushers him into the presence of the Lord and effectively intercedes on his behalf.

Parasara Bhatta praises her incarnation into this world as Goddess Ranganayaki, the consort of lord Ranganatha at Srirangam. Her excellent qualities like generosity, grace and affection attained their full bloom only at Srirangam.

The Lord is called Pundarikaksha (lotus eyed) because he ever drinks the honey-like beauty of Sri. It is because of his inseparable association with her that Vishnu is called the auspicious among the auspicious.

Sri Gunaratna Kosam Content

  • The first eight verses of Sri Gunaratna Kosam are invocatory. Parasara Bhatta seeks her grace for faultless composition, as she is the source of poetry.
  • The poet then avers that she bestows greatness on all things, both sentient and non-sentient. She is the sovereign queen of the two worlds of lila and nitya.
  • Then, follows a description of the divine city of Sri Vaikuntha with its lofty and majestic mansions, the divine consorts and the angels in attendance.
  • The poet next answers the objections regarding Sri’s greatness. He then dwells on the qualities that are common to both, Sri and Vishnu.
  • Her exquisite charm, luster, bewitching beauty, her ornaments, her incarnations, their causes and characteristics are next dealt with.
  • The poet declares that it is for her sake that Lord Vishnu delved into the depths, churned the ocean, broke the bow, built a setu (bridge) and severed the ten heads of Ravana.
  • He also gives iconographic details of Goddess Ranganayaki.
  • Once the tender the affection, mercy and magnanimity of Goddess Ranganayaki are invoked, the devotee may be rest assured of salvation.
There are five commentaries on Sri Gunaratna Kosam, three in Sanskrit and two in Tamil. The Sanskrit commentaries are by Sri Veera Raghavacharya, Sri Venkatacharya and Sri Bhashya Narayanacharya. The works of Thirumalai Nallan Ramakrishna Iyengar and P B Annangaracharya are in Tamil. Sri Veeraraghava Acharya’s commentary has been translated into Hindi and published by the Sri Venkateshwara Press, Mumbai.

Source - Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume X page 82