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.
हरिमुद्वेजयतीति जातभीतिः ।
फणचक्रेण निवारयत्यहीन्द्रः ॥ (औपच्छन्दसिकम्)
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