Friday, June 7, 2013




(Compilation by N. R. Srinivasan, June 2013)



A High School Diploma is given to a student at a ceremony called High-school Graduation in USA and Canada. This diploma is awarded for the completion of High School education successfully. In USA and Canada this is considered the minimum education requirement for government job and for continuing higher education in a University. The high school diploma is a symbol of having successfully completed the basic education required by law for youths. Because of this the presentation of high school diploma has become an adulthood rite that calls for ceremonial ritual followed by grand celebration.  Generally students born in Western cultured families take leave of the parents after graduation ceremony and move to dorms to continue their studies and try to lead an independent life. Many of them also take up jobs to earn money to support their education supplemented by scholarships and parental support. Hindu Americans mostly get the support from their parents as per the tradition   in India.  In Hindu American families it is the responsibility of parents to support their children till they complete their education and get married to settle in life.  This Graduation is celebrated with great pomp and show to congratulate the students for their successful completion of high school studies with family and friends.  Students then take leave of their parents to plan their future independently  and live independently with or without the support of their parents.

In addition to the above, Hindu Americans would like to attend the temple and participate in a ceremonial worship conducted for all new graduates on a specific day called Graduation Pooja (Worship) Day to thank the Lord and to receive Lord’s blessings in their pursuit of studies in their chosen   line of study. This day is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Saraswati who is addressed as Goddess of Learning, Goddess of Wisdom, Goddess of Intellect (Medhaa Devi), Goddess of Fine Arts etc. Vedic Mantras glorifying Goddess Saraswati are invoked with great reverence along with popular slokas (hymns) hailing Goddess Saraswati during this worship by the priests who also induct the students to chant some of the popular mantras for daily meditation by the students to continue their  daily prayers for their success in their pursuits. This is a tradition based on the age-long tradition of Hindus. Some of the participants in the worship have also graduated from the Vedanta Heritage Classes spread over a period of six  to eight years. Therefore this is also the day on which they express their gratitude to their spiritual teachers and pray for their long life and dedicated service.

When we talk of Spiritual education also here we cannot ignore Lord Haygreeva.  Hayagreeva is the earliest known Vedic God of Learning and the Guru of Sarasvati, Brihaspati, Dakshinamurty and Vedavyasa.  Hayagreeva is glorified as god in Buddhism like Buddha who has become an avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. Hayagreeva is celebrated by Vedanta Desika in Hayagreeva Stotra   inspired by the Dhyana sloka in Pancharatra Agama which reveals his incarnation and describes his avatar pleading for grant of wisdom and control of our senses--(Jnaanandaa mayam Devam; Aadhaaran sarva vidyaanaam).  Hayagreeva who appeared in the form of the Horsefaced-man to deliver Veda to Yajnyavalka is the Universal Light that alone shines (Tvamevabhaati anubhaati sarvam) all the world and the source of all lights (tasya bhaasaa sarvamidam vibhaati).  

Hayagreeva is a prominent deity in Puranas. Haayagreeva Jayanti falls in August on Upakarma Day and is observed as an auspicious  day by the student community and parents to start education (Vidyabhyasa or Aksharabhyasa) for their children.  Spiritual study by way of Studying Vedas is also commenced on this day.  Popular belief is that praying to Lord Hayagreeva, particularly on the Hayagreeva Jayanthi day bestows all that is necessary for good education to the students. Other related benefits are believed to be   elevation on job front, improvement in public image and reputation etc., Legal disputes if any will be solved with much ease and natives would get their right to fixed assets. 

It is fitting and proper to dedicate this day to Lord Hayagreeva along with Sarswati   who are both Vedic Gods. Puranas thought about Dasvatara concept inspired by after this Haya-vadana  (horse faced) avatar.  Intelligent person is supposed be blessed with horse sense which proverb probably comes from Hayagreeva. You all know Ganesha is called Gajavadana like Hayavadana meaning Elephant faced. Unfortunately Hayagreeva is not at all known to North Indians who insted raised Ganesha to the status of God of Knowledge as they feared him as God of Obstacles in their process of job hunting after graduation. He was also cleverly pushed into the status of a sibling to Lakshmi and Saraswati and together with them made children of Parvati assuming the role of Bhoodevi. It is rather surprising how  Lord Subrahamanya or Kartikeya  is  mostly unknown in North India who is celebrated in one full Canto in Ramayana!  He has even excelled his father Siva and was known as Guruguha.  Probably he left his parents very early in life in frustration and settled in Palani as Bala Murugan in the South. He is very popular with Tamils. Ganesha was always pampered and Murugan did not get his due attention from parents though he was more powerful and intelligent than his brother Ganesha. Hayagreeva was removed from the scene of Dasavatara gradually, which  avatar Puranas had earlier conceptualized as an Avatar leading the  other nine Avatars. 

Graduation Pooja Day   is purely a Hindu American Innovation to join the major culture of the land, USA who go to church on this day for worship. I have not heard of any such day as s Special Religious Events Day in Hindu Temples of India. Usually parents take their children to temple after graduation  any day convenient to do Ashtottara puja and also pray to the chosen deity   more for getting a seat in a reputed college for further studies. Prayers are more if admission is sought for Engineering (preferably IIT) or Medicine.   It is also customary  to chant Hayagreeva stotra on this  day which is included as appendix.

The most important mantras for this special worship are contained in Saraswati Sooktam, Taittareeya Aaranyaka, Taittareeya Upanishad and Mahaanaaraayana Upanishad. These Mantras which are generally employed during this special day of worship are reproduced below in Sanskrit with their meaning and explanation for further guidance of participants during their worship at home as well as for  meditation in their daily life.  These are Medha Sooktam, advice given by a Guru to his students on leaving the Gurukula (which is equally valuable for the departing students) contained in Shikshaavallee of Taittareeya Upanishad and some important mantras from Saraswati Sooktam. These are prayers seeking Power of Intelligence from Goddess Saraswati, so essential in our higher pursuits.


We have in the Taittiriya Upanishad a valedictory exhortation from the sage (Rishi) to his students (sishyas) in the Gurukala on successful completion of Vedic studies. This reveals to us something about the system of education prevalent in Vedic period that produced the cultured and respected subjects in society amongst the ancient inhabitants of India. The teacher instructs the pupil thus:

“Vedam anoochya-aachaaryo-ante-vaasinam-anusaasti | Satyam vada | Dharmam chara | Svaadhyaayaan maa pramadah | Aachaaryaaya priyam dhanam-aahritya prajaatantum maa vyavac-chetseeh | Satyaan na  pramaditavyam | Dharmaan na pramaditavyam | Kusalaan na pramadi-tavyam | Bhootyai na pramaditavyam | Svaadhyaaya pravachanaabhyaam na pramaditavyam ||

 Deva pitri kaaryaabhyaam na Pramaditavyam | Maatru devo bhava | Pitru devo bhava | Aachaarya devo bhava | Atithi devo bhava  ||

Yaanyan-avadyaani karmaani | Taani sevitavyaani | Noe itaraani | Yaany-asmaakagam sucharitaani | Taani tvayoepaasyaani | Noe itaraani ||

Ye ke chaasmac-chreyaamsoe braahmanaah | Teshaam tvayaasane na prasvasitavyam |                                                         
Sraddhayaa deyam | Asraddhayaa deyam | Sriyaa deyam | Hriyaa deyam || Bhiyaa deyam  | samvidaa deyam ||

 Atha yadi te karmavichikitsaa vaa vrittivichikistaa vaa syaat | Ye tatra braahmanaas-                                      sam-marsinah | Yuktaa aayuktaah | Alookshaa dharmakaamaah syuh | Yathaa te tatra varteran  Tathaa tatra vartethah ||

Athaabhyaa-khyaateshu | Ye tatra braahmanaah sam-marsinah | Yuktaa Aayuktaah | Alookshaa dharma-kaamaah syuh | Yathaa te teshu varteran | Tathaa teshu vartethah ||

Esha aadesah | Esha upadesah   | Eshaa vedopanishat | Etad-anusaasanam  | Evam upaasitavyam | Eva-muchaitad-upaasyam ||” (Taitariya Upanishad I-XI-1 Sikshaavalli)

“Speak what is true. Do your duties. Continue, without neglect, the daily study of the Vedas*. Now that you have come to the end of your stay with your teacher, marry and bring forth progeny. Do not swerve from Truth and Dharma, and contribute something useful to the social economy. Achieve greatness, and do not fail to refresh your memory in respect of what you have learnt. Remember the gods and your ancestors. Honor your Mother. Look upon her as God. Honor your Father. Look upon him as God. Honor your Teacher.  Look upon him as God. Honor your Guest. Look upon him as if God came to receive your attention. May you ever exercise your understanding and, distinguishing the good from the blame-worthy! Avoid the latter and always do what is good. Follow all that was good in your teacher’s life, not any other. You will meet with better men than even the teachers with whom you have lived. Show them due respect.

Give gifts with faith, not casually but with joy, with humility, with fear and with wisdom.

 If your mind is troubled with any doubt as to what is right or wrong, follow the example of gentle and pious elders living in your neighborhood in regard to those matters. These are the codes of conduct.  These are the teachings”.

The above passage constitutes the sacred commandments not only for the out-going student but also for all Spiritual seekers. These are:
1)  Advice regarding the individual himself;
2) His relationship with others;
3) His right action in the world;
4) His attitude towards the eminent men of culture;
5) The laws of charity; and
6) His duty to follow the eminent living men of his own times.
In the seventh wave of thought the teacher concludes saying that these commandments are to be followed diligently by every intelligent seeker who lives for a higher cultural purpose in addition to his worldly ambitions and secular education.

The upcoming generation as they are leaving their parent’s and teacher’s presence, are advised to keep the glorious principle of fulfilling their duties towards their kith and kin, towards themselves and the society they live with.

Mantras from Saraswati Sookt and Medhaa Sookta from Vedas are given below which are appropriately employed during graduation Pooja (worship). The first prayer manrta of Medha sooktam is very appropriate for daily meditation to seek Power of Intelligence from Goddess Saraswati, so much needed to achieve one’s goal.

Sarasvati is the power (Sakti) and the consort of Brahma, the creator. Hence she is the procreator, mother of the entire creation. Being the consort of Brahma, she represents his power and intelligence without which organized creation is impossible. So she is pictured as white and dazzling. Sarasvati means ‘the flowing one’. In Rigveda she is a deity presiding over river. She is the river of Consciousness. Hence she is connected with fertility and purification. She is a personification of all knowledge—sciences, arts, crafts and skills. Clad in a spotless white apparel and seated on a lotus seat she holds a in her four hands lute (Veenaa), rosary (Akshamaalaa) and book (pustakam).  

Isavasyopanishad says: “Avidyayaa mrityum teertvaa vidyayaa amritam asnute”—“We transcend hunger and thirst through secular sciences, and then alone can obtain immortality through spiritual sciences”. [It is true spiritual illumination (vidya) alone can give beatitude (Moksha): but at the same time secular knowledge (avidya), the sciences and arts of the world need not be and should not be neglected.]

Praanoe devee sarasvatee vaajobhir vaajaneevatee | dheenaam-avitry-avatu ||
[Oh Sarasvati! Bless me with plenty and opulent life and be the controller of our thoughts!]

Paavaka nah Sarasvatee | Vaajoebhih vaajaneevati yajnam vashtu dhiyaavasuh ||          [Sarasvati is our purifier. She is the giver of plenty and opulent life. She is the treasure of intelligence and thoughts.]

ChChoedayitree soonritaanaam chetantee sumateenaam | yajnam dadhe Sarasvatee ||             [She bestows good speech. She brings good thoughts to mind. May she bless this sacrifice (Yajna)!]

Mahoe arnah Sarasvatee | pra chetayati ketunaa | dhiyoe visvaa viraajati ||                          

[May you awaken the great truth in me by helping me to visualize consciousness! May you brighten all my thoughts!]
--from Sarasvatee-sooktam, Rigveda Samhita


This contains a bunch of Vedic Mantras for meditation on Medhaa-Devi for granting intelligence. Medha means intelligence and Sookta means good sayings. With the blessings of Goddess after chanting these mantras we will be speaking nice and good words only to others that will carry force and make life pleasant and more meaningful and make us useful citizens. This is also a prayer to grant us wealth. These mantras are also appropriate to Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Sarasvati. In all probability this another name or Vyaahrity of Goddess Sarasvati.

These Mantras will be quite appropriate to chant during the graduation pooja conducted at home and temples. It is customary to conduct Saraswati Pooja for students on the event of their graduation after which they will be moving out from their parents in pursuit of higher studies. It is also appropriate to chant these during the Upanayanam ceremony though Vedic studies are not made any more.

Medha sookta starts with a prayer to Brahman symbolized by Pranava or OM. This prayer mantra is found in Taittareeya Upanishad while the main portion of the mantras given below are found in Mahaa Naaraayana Upanishad (MNU).

“Yaschchandasaam rishabhoe viswaroopah | Chchandoebhyoe- adhyamritaat sambabhoova || sa mendroe medhayaa sprinoetu || Amritasya deva dhaaranoe bhooyaasam| sareeram may vicharshanam | jihvaa may madhumattamaa | karnaabhyaam bhoori visruvam | brahmanah koesoe asi medhayaapihitah | srutam may goepaaya  || (Taitaareeya Upanishad I-iv-1)

He whose form is manifold, who is pre-eminent among the sacred hymns of the Vedas, and who has sprung up from the sacred hymns that are immortal—that  symbol of OM (referred to as Indra here) may fill me with intellectual vigor!  O Lord! May I become the possessor of the immortal revelations! May my body become able and active, my speech sweet and agreeable to the utmost! May I listen abundantly with my ears! Thou art the sheath of Brahman. May you safe-guard my learning! 

Medhaaookta opens with a mantra to be used by the student for daily repetition or Japa. This Japa is intended for the development of intellectual power in a student. Without memory power no student can shine in his class among others. Therefore this prayer addressed to Indra (Vyaahriti of Brahman) which when pursued properly with devotion will strengthen the memory power in the student. The word Indra is derived in Sanskrit from the root indhayati to mean “to illuminate” (Indhayati iti indrah). Om symbol, indicating the Conscious Principle in every individual, is the illuminator of all faculties in the individual including the intellect or mental power, so much needed for scholarly pursuit.

 Medhaa devee jushamaanaa na aagaad-viswaachee bhadraa sumanasya-maanaa |
Tvayaa jushtaa jushamaanaa duruktaan brahmad-vadema vidadhe suveeraah ||

May the Goddess of Intelligence who pervades all things and who is always associated with good-will towards all, come to us with love. Oh Goddess! May we who were previously indulging in vile words, speak words that are good and virtuous, after being blessed in that endeavor!

Tvayaa jushta  rishir-bhavati devi tvayaa brahma-aagatasree-ruta tvayaa \
Tvayaa jushtas-chitram vindate vasu saa noe jushasva dravinena medhe ||

Oh Goddess!  one becomes a wise  person (seer) being blessed by you; one becomes Brahma,one who attains spiritual wealth and knowledge; one who  gains fabulous wealth blessed by you; Oh Goddess Medha of that fame, please bless us with that wealth!

Medhaam ma indro dadaatu medhaam devee sarasvatee |
Medhaam me asvinau devaa vaa-dhattaam pushkara-srajaa ||

May Indra grant us intelligence!  May Goddess Sarasvati grant us intelligence1! May the Asvin twins grant us intelligence adorned with lotus flower garlands! [Goddess Lakshmi is the presiding Goddess for Indra and others]

Apsaraasu cha yaa medhaa gandharveshu cha yan-manah |
Devee  medhaa manushyajaa saa maam medhaa surabhir-jushataam ||

May the glorious intelligence that abounds in the divine nymphs (apsaras), gandharvas and divines and noble men come to me! [In essence may the intelligence found in all others come to me. ]

 Aamaam Medhaa surabhir-visva-roopaa hiranya-varnaa jagatee jagamyaa |
Oorjasvatee payasaa pinvamaanaa saa maam medhaa suprateekaa jushataam ||

May the Goddess Medhaa who is the most celebrated, who is the cosmic energy with golden hue and who is ever on the move come to me!

Mayi medhaam mayi prajaam mayaa-agnis-tajoe dadhaatu | mayi medhaam mayi prajaam mayeendra indriyam dadhaatu | mayi medaham mayi prajaam mayi sooryo  bhraajo dadhaatu

May Agni the God of Fire bless me with intelligence, progeny and fame! May Indra the God of the Divines bless me with intelligence, progeny and sense organs! May Soorya bless me with intelligence, progeny and brilliance!

This Sookta which is originally from Taittareeya Aaranyakam concludes with Hamsa Gaayatree which is reproduced below. amasa Gayatree

Hamsa hamsaaya vidmahe parmahamsaaya dheemahi | tannoe hamsah prachoedayaat ||

Let us know Hamsa! For that, may we meditate upon Paramahamsa! May Hamsa invigorate us towards it!
[A swan-like mythical bird, inhabiting the Maanasa Lake in the Himalayas is regarded as celestial being, symbolizing purity, freedom, wisdom, and salvation. In the Vedas it is the vehicle for the divine physicians, the Aswins. It is one of the incarnations of Vishnu in Kritayuga.   It became the mount of Brahma, Sarasvati and Brahmaani in the Puraanic period.)

It is also customary to seek the advice from learned speakers during the occasion. In the recent Graduation Pooja day at Sri Ganesha Temple in Nashville, TN, USA, held on  Sunday June2, 2013, the following speech was given to students on the topic Abhyudayam (Goal in Life) by one of the Philanthropists and Vedic Heritage Class teachers, Dr. Mohan Reddy. Gist of his speech to the students is given below.


Swami Vivekananda had adopted the command words Utthishtata and Jaagrata from Kathopanishad as his mission’s emblem. Sarojini Devi awakened the National spirit by her Poem titled “Arise! Awake! Stop not till thy goal is reached!” Kathopanishad says: Uttishtata Jagrata praapya varaan niboedhata || Kshurasya dhaaraa nisitaa duratyaa durgam pathastat kavayoe vadanti || Arise, awake, having reached the great teachers learn and realize your Self! Like the sharp edge of a razor that path is difficult to cross and hard to tread. Though the Upanishad was talking about Spiritual Education to overcome the worldly worries, it is equally true for Secular Education to succeed in practical life.

Uttishthata means to arise to meet the challenges in life. Jaagrata means to awake from the slumber of ignorance. Approach teachers and receive advice from them. The path is not easy as we think, but treacherous, and sometimes impossible. Several hurdles will come along the way.

Obstacles and Solutions

A. Individual

1.      Each individual must have the proper desire to achieve the goal.  That goal may be a doctor, engineer, a lawyer, business executive, etc.
2.      The individual is the problem or the solution. If an individual directs his thoughts properly like river water, he will reap benefits. Without proper direction, he or she will fail.
3.      Lift or elevate the Self by yourself. Do not weaken or push yourself down. Your mind   (thoughts, tendencies, ideas) alone is your friend or enemy or adversary. In other words, good qualities are your friend, and bad qualities, such as improper thoughts, anger jealousy, hatred, envy etc., are your enemies.  Cultivate good qualities to conquer negative tendencies and thoughts.
[In the beginning of second chapter of Bhagavadgeetaa, Lord Krishna chides and   says to Arjuna:
“Shake off, cast off meanness, pettiness, and weakness of heart. Be a man of action and perform your duty”

B. Sraddha  

1.      Sraddhaa means an attitude of intense enthusiasm for the goal and an attitude of cheerfulness in taking up the means to realize the goal.
2.      Sraddhaa is the state of keeping one’s heart and Mind intent upon the goal. In other words, focused aspiration is required to attain the goal.
3.      In Sraddhaa there is a kind of insight into reality and one intuitively knows that he or she is pursuing the right path.
4.      One must be constantly mindful of the teachings and conduct oneself in accordance with one’s goal. Such a steady remembrance is the true mark of Sraddhaa.
5.      Another dimension of Sraddhaa is that one’s way of life and one’s goal in life are in perfect agreement and never at variance with one another. One’s goal and One’s way of life should not contradict each other.
6.      Sraddhaa is honesty and integrity towards one’s pursuit. One who has these qualities will certainly come to realize his or her goal.

C. Jnaanam (knowledge) and Ajnaanam (ignorance)

D. Samsayam(doubt) and Asamsayam (without doubt)

Doubt in one’s heart or intellect is born of ignorance. Slay it with the sword of Jnaanam (knowledge) and devotion or accurate perception or steadfastness. Stand up, rise to the occasion, and fight the battle of life under all circumstances.

Sraddhaa, Jnaanam, and Asamsayam are all interconnected and interdependent. Srasddhaa leads to Jnaanam, and Jnaanam dissolves Samsayam. The individual must strive to achieve Sraddhaa, Jnaanam, and, with them, vanquish Samsayam.

Upanishads are very practical to life in their approach as could be learnt from Kaivalyopanishad, Mahaanaaraayana Upanishad (MNU) etc. which outlook is again reflected in the teachings of Bhagavan to Arjuna in the Bhagavadgeetaa. They all speak of progressive development of Body, Mind, Intellect and Spirit. The first three are important for secular pursuits in life. Mahaanaarayana Upanishd contains a mantra which mentions  the progressive approach for the development of intellect. Incidentally this is the approach of Yogasaastra also. The Mantra reads: “bhavati annena praanaah praanaih balam, balena tapah, tapasaa sraddhaa, sraddhayaa medhaa…..”
By focusing on nourishment with balanced food the breath and senses are nourished. When the life-breath is nourished one gets bodily strength. Bodily strength gives capacity to practice self-control which can be called a Tapas or sacrifice in Vedic wisdom. As the result of such self-control one develops Sraddhaa (intense enthusiasm for the goal with cheerfulness). With Sraddhaa or Faith comes Medhaa or mental power or Intellect. This intellect progressively helps secular education, contented  secular life  and later leads to blissful spiritual uplift when thoughts are focused further.

 Convocation Address

"The challenging "real life" follows the happy "student life" in everybody's life. In olden days, as in modern times, many decades of professional life followed a few years in schools and colleges. In Vedic times, a student typically lived in a GURUKULA for 10 to 12 years. Then he / she entered the next phase, with many responsibilities as a citizen, house-holder etc.

   The Convocation Address in the Taittiriya Upanishad contains many valuable tips on right living. "Speak the truth; live in a righteous manner," for example, is one of the instructions. "Do marry; raise a family; contribute meaningfully to the well-being of the society," etc. are said here. So this is not a piece for those who wish to renounce or pursue Self-knowledge exclusively!

   It is said one who protects dharma, is protected by dharma. (Dharmo rakshati rakshitah). In this webinar, we shall discuss the instructions imparted in the last part of Sikshavalli of the Taittiriya Upanishad, given to the antevāsinah (inmates) of a gurukula. They have completed their ‘studies’ and, on the last day, that is on the Convocation Day, the ācāryas (the teachers) give a number of tips to be practiced. This practice is to help the students attain an equanimous mind for conflict-free living. With such a mind, they practice Dharma, which then becomes the foundation for them to build further, and finally to reach the acme of spirituality — to know the SELF.
| satyam vada, dharma chara | Tai. Up. (1:11:1)” says Swami  Chidananda of  Fowai Forum  as introduction to his lecture on the subject.


 Wisdom thoughts  to Graduates

Matrvat para-daresu--To see every woman except his wife as mother;    Para-dravyesu lostravat--Looking at others' property just like garbage in the street. Nobody is interested in the garbage.  So, you discard;    Aatmavat sarva-bhutesu--And thinking all living entities as your own Self. If you feel pains and pleasure by something, you could not afflict the pains to others. If your throat is cut, if your head is cut, you feel so much pain, how you can cut the head of another animal?   Samah sarvesu-bhutesu---one who visualizes these maxims; Yah pasyathi sa panditah is a pundit or a learned person--says Chanakya.     

Matruvat para-daresu | Para-dravyesu lostravat | Aatmavat sarva-bhutesu Yah pasyati sa panditah--Chankya


1. Dr. N. S. Anantarangacharya, Selections from the Upanishads, Bangalore, India.

2. Swami Chinmayananda, Taittareeya Upanishad, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai,  

3. Swami Vimalaananda, Mahaanaaraayana Upanishad, Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras.

4. Swami Devaroopaananda, Mantrpushpam, Ramakrishna Math,  Khar, Mumbai, India.

5. Swami Chimnmayananda, Taittaareeya Upanishad, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust,   
    Mumbai, India.

6. Swami Chinmayananda, Kathopanishad, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, India.

Pancharaatra aagamas contained the following Dhyana sloka to propitiate Lord Hayagreeva similar to “Sarasvatee Namastubhyam Varade kamaroopinee”. This sloka is now prefixed to Hayagreeva stotram of the 13th century poet-philosopher Vedanta Desika about whom we talked above.
Jnaanaananda mayam devam nirmala sphtikaakritim |
Aadhaaram sarvavidyaanaam hayagreevam upaasmahe || 
We meditate upon lord Hayagreeva who is the personification of knowledge and bliss, whose form is like flawless crystal and who is the support of all branches of learning both para vidya and apara vidya (secular and spiritual).

[This is the first composition of poet-saint Venkatanaatha  whose shrine is worshiped in all celebrated Vaishnava Temples of South India as Vedanta Desika. Tradition avers that he was administered to Hayagreeva-mantra by Garudaazhwar, the vehicle of Mahavishnu. Sri Desaika displays through this  stotra (prayer)  his  all-round proficiency in Sastras. Vedant Dsika’s dhyanasloka (meditative verse on Hayagreeva typifies this deity’s depiction in Hindu iconography (sloka 32). Bogged down with contradicting philosophical and literary views and debates   each spiritual or poet  scholar was trying to establish his superiority  in those days. Therefore Vedanta Desika concentrates on few slokas pleading to Lord Hayagreeva to grant the skill to defeat kings of poets and logicians in learned assemblies and to emerge as an invincible singlehanded warrior].
Jnaanaananda mayam devam nirmala sphtikaakritim |
Aadhaaram sarvavidyaanaam hayagreevam upaasmahe || 

We meditate upon lord Hayagreeva who is the personification of knowledge and bliss, whose form is like flawless crystal and who is the support of all branches of learning both paravidya and aparavidya (secular and spiritual)

Svatassiddham suddhasphatika-manibhoobhrit-pratibhatam |
Sudhaasadhreecheebhir-dyutibhir-avadaa-tribhuvanam ||
Anantais-traiyan-tair-anuvihita –heshaahalahalam  |
hataaseshaavadhyam hayavadanmeedeemahi mahah || 2 ||

Let us eulogize the lustrous Horse-necked Lord who is self-manifest, who throws into insignificance a flawless crystal mountain (in complexion),  who whitens  the three worlds with his nectar-like brilliance, whose tumultuous neighs convey the purport  of  the innumerable Upanishads, and who removes the difficulties of his devotees without leaving  any trace behind.
Samaahaaras-samnaampratipadmrichaam dhaama yajushaam |
Layah  prtyoohaanaam  laharivcitatirbodha-jaladheh ||
Kathaa-darpakshubhyat-kathakakula-kolaahala-bhavam  |
haratvan-antardhvaantam haya-vadana-heshaa-halahalah ||3 ||

The neighing sound of the Horse-necked Lord is indeed the collection of the Sama-chants the word-by –word meaning of the Riks, the storehouse of the Yajur mantras, the annihilator of obstacles and a row of waves of ocean-like wisdom.  May it dispel the inner darkness of ignorance   created by the vain glorious arguments of multitudes of arrogant debaters!
Praachee sandhyaa kaachi-dantar-nisaayaah |
Prajnyaa-drishter-anjana-sreerapoorvaa ||
Vaktree vedaan bhaatu me vaajivaktraa |
Vaageesaakhyaa  vaasudevsya moortih ||4 ||
The Horse-headed form of Lord Vasudeva named Vaageesa (the presiding deity of speech) is indeed, the rare Eastern Dawn for the inner darkness of ignorance and a wonder collyrium to the eye of wisdom. It is the form which recites the Vedas to help Brahmaa. May this form manifest itself into me!
Visuddha-vijnyaana-ghana-swaroopam vijnyaana-vissraanaana-baddha-deeksham ||
dayaanidhim dehamritaam saranyam | devam hayagreevam-aham prapadye || 5 ||
I take refuge Lord Haygreeva, the embodiment of spotless knowledge, who took a vow to bestow this knowledge on his devotees. He is the repository of compassion and the ultimate resort of all living beings.
Apaurusheyair-api vaak-prapanchaih   adyaapi te bhootim-adrishta-paaraam ||
Stuvann-aham mugdha iti tvayaiva  kaarunyato naatha kataakshaneeyah || 6 ||
Oh Lord! Even till date, the further limit of your unyielding glory could not be comprehended by the impersonal body of literature called the Vedas. As such I attempting to praise, you deserve to be looked upon by you just like that of a simple person, and graced by your side-glances.

Dakshinya-ramyaa  girisasya moortih  devee sarojaasana-dharmpatnee ||
Vyaasodayo-api vyapadesya-vaachah sphuranti sarve tava sakti-lesaih  || 7 ||

The handsome Dakshinaamoorti form of Siva, goddess Sarasvati, the spouse of Brahma  and authors like Vyasa—all of whom are highly honored, shine because of minute portions of yours.

Mando-abhavishyan-niyatam virincho vaachaam nidhe  vanchitabhagadheyah |
Daityaapaneetaan dayayaiva bhooyo-api adhyaapayishyo nigamaan na chet tvam || 8 ||

O storehouse of all worlds of Knowledge! Had you not taught again the Vedas stolen by demons, Brahma, bereft of his fortune would certainly have remained an ignorant person!

Vitarkadolaam vyavadhooya sattve  brihaspatim vartayase yatastvam |
Tenaiva devaam tridasesvaraanaam aspashtha dolaayitamaadhiraajyam || 9||

Lord! Only because you are keeping Brihaspati, the preceptor of Indras, in the quality of serenity (sattva) by removing all his vacillating doubts, the sovereignty of the succession of Indras is able to remain steady and unshakable.

Agnau samidddharchishi saptatantoh aatasthivaan mantramayam sareeram |
Akhandsaarair-havishaam pradaanaih aapyaayanam vyomasadaam vidhaste || 10 ||

O Hayagreeva!  You assure the form of sacred formula (Mantras) and abide in the well-kindled sacrificial fire of seven tongues. You are pleasing the denizens of heaven by giving away to them the oblations due to them of unbeatable taste.

Yanmoolam-eedrik pratbhaati tattvam  yaa moolama-amnaya-mahaa-drumaanaam |
Tattvena jaananti visuddha-sattvaah tvaam-aksharaam-akshara-maatrikaam  te  || 11 ||

Only people of pure serenity (sattva) really know you to be the inexhaustible source of all letters as Omkara.  Due to which the Ultimate Truth shines forth in this manner and which is the root of the mighty trees of Vedas.
Avyaakritaad vyaakritavaan-asi  tvam naamaani roopaani cha yaani poorvam |
Samsanti teshaam charamaam pratishthaam vaageesvara tvaam tvad-upajnya-vaachah || 12 ||

O  Lord of Speech! Long ago, from the un-manifest primordial matter you brought out the manifest Universe by evolving names and forms. The words promulgated by you for the first time (Vedas) declare that for those very entities you are the ultimate import and content.

Mughdendu –nishyanda-vilobhaneeyaam moortim tavaananda-sudhaa-prasootim |
Vipaschitas-chetasi bhavayante velaam-udaaraam-iva dughda-sindoh || 13 ||

The wise ones contemplate on your form in their minds, which is as attractive as the very essence of the beautiful young moon and which yields the nectar of bliss, like the vast boundary   of the milky ocean.

Manogatam pasyati yah sadaa tvam maneeshinaam maanasa-raaja-hmasam |
Svayam purobhaava-vivaada-bhaajah kim-kurvate tasya giro yathaarham || 14 ||

To him who always visualizes you in his mind, who are the royal swan   sporting in the Maanasa Lake (Mind) of the wise, words vie with one another and render service in a befitting manner.
Api kshanaardham kalayanti ye tvaam aaplaa-vayantam visadair-mayookhaih |
Vaachaam pravaahair-anivaaritais –te mandaakineem mandayitum kshamante || 15 ||

Whosoever think of you—be it for a fraction of a second—as inundating everything with brilliant rays, they will be capable of rendering even the Ganges flow, through their un-impended flow of words.

Swamin bhavad-dhyaana sudha-abhishekaat vahanti  dhanyaah pulaka-anubandham Alakshite kwaapi niroodha-moolam  angesh-vivaanandathum ang-kurantam || 16 ||

O Lord! Bathed in the nectar of contemplation on you, the lucky ones experience horripilation over all parts of the body, which resembles the sprouts of bliss rooted deep in some spot of the body
Swamin prateechaa hridayena dhanyaah tvad-dhyaana-chandrodaya-vardhamaanam |
Amaantam-aananda payodhimantah payobhi-raksahanaam parivaahayanti || 17 ||

O lord! The blessed ones have their minds directed inwards and let out through tears of joy dwelling up in their eyes, the immeasurable ocean of bliss surging within, due to the moonrise of your contemplation.

Svaia raaunu-bhaavaas-tva-deenabhaavaah samriddha-veeryaas-tavad-anugrahena |
Vipaschito naatha taranti maayaam vaihaarikeem mohana-pincchikaam te  || 18 ||

Oh master! Devotees of un-impended glory, with their minds subjugated to you and with powers greatly enhanced by your grace will be able to cross Maaya (the association with material nature) which is your sportive bunch of magic wands.

Praang-nirmitaanaam  tapasaam vipaakaah  pratyagra-nishsreyasa-sampado may |
Samodhisheerams-tava paada-padme sankalpa-chintaamanayah pranaamaah ||19 ||

Let my prostrations at your lotus feet ever increase! They are, verily, the desire-yielding celestial gems (Chintamani), the fruits of the good deeds done before and the bestowals of spiritual liberation.

Vilupta-moordhanya-lipikramaanaam surendra choodaapada-lalitaanaam |
Tvadanghri-raajeeva-rajah-kanaanaam bhooyaan prasaado mayi naatha bhooyaat |20|

O Lord! May the pollen of your lotus-feet which can wipe off the writing on my forehead (of fate) and which adorns the crown of Indra and other divines, dower upon me grace in abundance!

Parisphuran-noopura-chitrabhaanu-prakaasa-nirdhoota-tamo-anushangaam |
Padadvayeem te parichin-mahe-antah prabhodha-raajeeva-vibhaata-sandhyaam || 21 ||

We contemplate in our mind, the pair of your feet which by the sun-like luster of the anklets, dispels pals of gloom within and like the morning dawn   blooms the lotus of wisdom.

Twat-kinkaraalam-karanochitaanaam tvayaiva kalpa-antara-paalitaanaam |
Manju-pranaadam maninoopuram te manjooshikaam vedagiraam prateemah || 22 ||

We believe that your gem-studded anklets producing melodious sounds are treasure-chests of the Vedas, which, protected by you in each and every aeon, are fit to adorn your servants.

Sanchintayaami pratibhaa-dasaasthaan sandhukshayantam samaya-pradeepaan |
Vijnyaana-kalpadruma-pallavaanaam vyaakhyaana-mudra-madhuram karam te || 23 ||

I contemplate on your beautiful hand with the gesture of expounding knowledge which resembles a sprout of the desire-yielding tree of knowledge and which seems to kindle the lamp of philosophical system, on the wick of intelligence.

Chitte karomi sphuritaksha-maalam savyetarm naatha karam tvadeeyam |
Jnyaanaamritod-anjana-lampataanaam leelaaghatee-yantramivaasritaanaam  ||24 ||

Oh lord!  I cherish in my mind your right hand with a lustrous rosary which looks like a sportive pulley to bring up the nectar of knowledge for your supplicants.

Prabhodha-sindhor-arunaih prakaasaih pravaala-sangaatamivod-vahantam |
Vibhaavaye deva sapustakam te vaamam karam dakshinam-aasritaanaam || 25 ||

Oh Lord! I contemplate on your left hand which is    right hand for the seekers for protecting those who seek refuge in you. Holding a book and shining with red hues, it appears to bring up a heap of corals from the ocean of knowledge.

Tamaamsi bhittvaa visadair-mayookhaih sampreenayantam vidushams-chakoraan |
Nisaamaye tvaam navapundareeke saradghane chandramiva sphurantam ||26 ||

I meditate upon you who are seated in a fresh white lotus, shining like the moon on an autumn cloud, cleaving darkness of ignorance with lustrous rays and delighting the Chakora birds in the form of learned persons.   

Disantu may deva sadaa tvadeeyaah dayaa-taranga-anucharaah kataakshaah |
Srotreshu pumsaam-amritam ksaranteem sarasvateem samsrita –kaamadhenum  || 27 ||
Oh Lord! May your side glances accompanied by waves of compassion, confer upon me. Power of speech sprinkling nectar into the ears of people, which will be like the divine cow  Kaamadhenu or those who resort to it!

Visesha- vitpaarishadeshu naatha  vidagdha-goshthee  samaraanganeshu |
Jigeeshahto may kavitaarkikendraan jihvaagra-simhaasanam-abhyupeyaah  || 28 ||
Oh Lord!  Kindly come and sit on the throne, namely, the tip of my tongue, for I am desirous of conquering the foremost among poets and logicians in the battlefields of erudite and proud debates, presided over by profoundly wise adjudicators.

Tvaam chintayams-tvanmayataam prapannah tvaam-udgrinaan sabdamayena     dhaamnaa | Swamin samaajeshu samedhisheeya svachchanda-vaadaahava-baddhasoorah || 29 ||

Oh Lord! Always contemplating on you, becoming like you as it were and  praising you aloud through brilliant words, let me thrive in scholarly  debate battles like a single-handed victorious hero.

Naanaavidhaa-naamagatih kalaanaam na chaapi teertheshu kritaavataarah |
Dhruvam tavaa-naatha-parigrahaayaah navam navam paatram-aham dayaayaah ||30||

I have not learnt any one of the variety of fine arts. I have not been made a beginning to study any science seeking a Guru. As such I certainly deserve to become an entirely fresh recipient of your grace which favors only the helpless.

Akampaneeyayaan-apaneetibhedaih alankrisheeran hridayam madeeyaan |
Sankaa-kalankaapagamojjvalaani  tattvaani  samyanchi tava prasaadaat || 31 ||

Due to your grace, let the noble truths of all systems of thought unshakable by illogical arguments and shining resplendently, with all murky doubts removed, adorn my heart.

Vyaakhyaamudraam karasarasijaih pustakam sankhachakre  
Bibhradbhinna-sphatikaruchirai pundareeke nishannah |
Amlaanasreer- amrita-visadair-amsubhih plaavayan maam
Aavir bhooyaad-anagha-mahimaa maanase vaagadheesah || 32 ||

May the supreme Lord of Speech Hayagreeva of flawless greatness and unfading splendor showing the gesture of explaining the scripture, a book, conch and discus with lotus-like hands, seated in a lotus which is beautiful like a hewn crystal, engulf me with lustrous nectarine rays and manifest my mind! (Dhyaanasloka) 

Vaagartha-siddhi-hetoh pathata hayagreeva-stutim bhaktyaa |
Kavitaarkikakesarinaa Venkanaathena virachitaametaam  ||33 ||
Oh devotees! Read this Hayagreeva stotra with loving devotion, composed by Venkatanatha the Lion among Poets and Logicians, to attain perfection in words and their meanings to reach proficiency.