I recently came across these two poetic compositions by the 14th century Śrīvaiṣṇava luminary Vedāntadeśika. He was an initiate of the five-syllable “Garuḍa Mantra,” about which a chapter of my dissertation is largely devoted. I have been scouring the web for modern knowledge of this mantra, which I had thought was long forgotten, and have been pleased to discover that it is quite widely known–just not among scholars. In another post I will discuss some of the other interesting sites where this mantra surfaces on the web, but here I want to point out that the majority of hits for search terms like “garuda mantra” return results related to Swami Desikan. These two pieces are dedicated to Garuḍa, and make special mention of his five-syllable mantra in the beginning and end. The five divisions of the Garuḍapañcāśat correlate to the five syllables of the mantra. Deśika’s consummate skill as a poet is evident in verses like:
kiṃ nirghātaḥ kim arkaḥ paripatati divaḥ kiṃ samiddho ‘yam aurvaḥ
kiṃsvit kārasvarādrir nanu viditam idaṃ vyomavartmā garutmān /
āsīdaty ājihīrṣaty abhipatati haraty atti hā tāta hāmbeti
ālāpodyuktabhillākulajaṭharapuṭaḥ pātu naḥ patrināthaḥ // 15 //
I have typed in each text in Unicode and uploaded them here: Garuḍapañcāśat and Garuḍadaṇḍakam. Below are links to the ebook versions which have English explanations of the verses, background about Swami Desikan, and many nice pictures. The last link is to an audio recording of Sunder Kidambi reciting the Garuḍadaṇḍakam. Enjoy!