Madhura Vijaya: Srirangam

We have all too little of the eighth canto of the Madhurā Vijaya – like the final canto our text starts and finishes in medias res – and it is hard to know exactly who it is that narrates to King Kampa the terrible situation that has befallen the Persian-occupied South. In the verse below, this mysterious female messenger tells the King the state of affairs in Srirangam, an important Vaishnavite shrine in Tamil Nadu. The Ranganathar Swamy Temple was ransacked more than once by the invaders, and there are various accounts of devotees’ heroic efforts to safeguard the god’s idol; here it is Śeṣa himself, upon whom Viṣṇu rests, who protects his lord.

अधिरङ्गमवाप्तयोगनिद्रं

हरिमुद्वेजयतीति जातभीतिः ।

पतितं मुहुरिष्टकानिकायं

फणचक्रेण निवारयत्यहीन्द्रः ॥ (औपच्छन्दसिकम्)

‘In Śrīraṅga,

Śeṣa, King of Snakes,

fearing lest Viṣṇu his master

be rudely awoken from meditative slumber,

shields him from the broken bricks that keep falling

with his thousand-fold hoods.

8.2 Gaṅgādevī’s Madhurā Vijaya

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