Today is being celebrated as the birth anniversary of the great Srimad Appayya Diksita (1520-1593). A polymath, scholar, poet, Upaasaka, whose contribution to Shaiva Siddhantam and Sanskrit literature is unparalleled! ☺️🙏
Diksita's ancestors were Nitya Agnihotris who hailed from the Bharadwaja Gotram and were descendants of Rishi Angirasa. They were Telugu Vaidikis who migrated after the fall of Vijayanagara and settled in the Tamil country. Diksita's father Rangarajadhvari was an Aadhvaryu. ☺️🙏
The details of Appayya Diksita's personal life are very few and far. But we know some things from the writings of his nephews, and disciples, Suryanarayana Diksita and Samarapungava Diksita who travelled extensively and eventually settled in Kashi. ☺️🙏
Diksita's father served in the court of Chinna Bommi Nayaka of Vellore. Nayaka was a subordinate chieftain under Sadasiva Raya of Vijayanagara Empire. Diksita was born in Adayapalam near Arni in North Arcot. His name given at birth was Vinayaka Subramanyam.
The Vijayanagara king Venkata - II performed a Kanakabhishekam for a young Diksita. It was with this money that Diksita built two temples in Adayapalam. The temple of Kalakanteshwara dedicated to lord Shiva and a small Varadaraja Perumal temple inspired by the one in Kanchipuram.
It is in the sanctum of the Kalakanteshwara temple that we find very important inscriptions chisled by Diksita himself, or in his lifetime. He gives details of his numerous royal patrons and lists about a hundred of his important works. We learn a lot from these inscriptions.
I will not go into Diksita's life. His contribution to Advaita Vedanta, Shaiva Siddhantam and Stotra literature is unparalleled. Almost impossible to list out what of his writings are good. Everything is extraordinary!
Posting few gems from his works. ☺️🙏
This beautiful Sloka. What meaning! Shiva resided in Diksita's heart and soul!

Maybe I liked it so much because it was often rendered as a Viruttam in Carnatic concerts by Semmangudi mama.
Listen to an excerpt. ☺️🙏
Diksita's 'Varadarajasthavam' is another brilliant composition dedicated to Kanchi Varada. ☺️🙏

उद्घाट्य योगकलया हृदयाब्जकोशं
धन्यैश्चिरादपि यथारुचि गृह्यमाणः ।
यः प्रस्फुरत्यविरतं परिपूर्णरूपः
श्रेयः स मे दिशतु शाश्वतिकं मुकुन्दः ॥
This beautiful Sloka describing the moon! ☺️🙏
This verse in praise of Devi. ☺️🙏
The famous Margabandhu Stotram which we would sing as kids as we commenced any journeys. Rendered here beautifully by the students of my friend Sri @kuldeepmpai. ☺️🙏
Diksita is said to have composed the Apithakuchamba Sthava when he fell ill. He prayed to Devi in Tiruvannamalai and was cured of his illness. Listen to an excerpt by Carnatic vocalist Amrita Murali. ☺️🙏
After a long and illustrious life of 70+ years, Diksita spent his final days in Chidambaram. There is a beautiful spot in front of the Nataraja shrine, from where you can have the Darshanam of both Lord Nataraja in front and Lord Govindaraja to your left. ☺️🙏
Diksita composed this Sloka on both the deities.

मारमणम् उमारमणं फणधरतल्पं फणाधराकल्पम्।
मुरमथनं पुरमथनं वन्दे बाणारिम् असमबाणारिम्॥

Centuries later, Carnatic composer Papanasam Sivan wrote a Kriti inspired by this Slokam. ☺️🙏
The great Srimad Appayya Diksita merged into the feet of the dancing lord of Thillai uttering these words.

आभाति हाटकसभा-नट-पादपद्म ज्योतिर्मयो मनसि मे तरुणारुणोఽयम्।

The remaining Sloka was completed by his grandnephew Nilakanta Diksita.

नूनं जरा-मरण-घोर-पिशाच-कीर्णा संसार-मोह-रजनी विरतिं प्रयाता॥

Nilakanta Diksita was another equally great scholar! His story for another time! ☺️🙏
Diksita lived in extraordinary times and interacted with great scholars and contemporaries like Sri Vedanta Desikar of the Visishtadvaita Sampradayam and Sri Vijayendra Theertharu of Dwaita Sampradayam. ☺️🙏

Real pity we don't learn about such great scholars in our schools!
My wonderful young scholarly friend Gokul is doing a three day series (today, tomorrow and day after) titled "Deekshitendra Vijayam", under the auspices of @sringerimath at Tattvaloka in Madras. Do attend it online to learn more about the great Srimad Appayya Diksita. ☺️🙏
Adding a final note. Several eminent personalities have emerged from the long and fairly complicated web of Appayya Diksita's lineage. Among them are Swami Sivananda of Divine Life Society, Sanskrit scholar T Ganapathy Sastri of Trivandrum and art historian C Sivaramamurti. ☺️🙏
There is also the 93 year old veteran Adayapalam Ramakrishna Dikshitar, who says he is from the 11th generation of Diksita's lineage. There was Mannargudi Tyagaraja Dikshitar and another Mahalinga Sastri. We also have several descendants in Kashi, Chidambaram and Palakkad.
Out of the many family members in the Diksita's lineage, the few brilliant names that caught my attention are :

- Samarapungava Diksita
- Chandrakalavatamsa Diksita
- Margasahaya Diksita
- Athiratrayagna Diksita
- Pranatharthihara Diksita
- Vyomakesha Diksita

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