I was reading Acharya Sri Vedanta Deshika's Rahastraya Introduction, where I found out about the Hamsa sandesha - a collection of 110 (first part 60 shlokas and second part 50 shlokas) verses which Shri Rama writes a letter to Shri Sita Devi when she was in the Ashoka Vatika in Lanka. The letter was delivered by a hamsa or Swan that is why it is known as hamsa sandesha (a message of the Swan).

What was the summary (if possible) and actual message body and why did Shri Rama choose Swan instead of hanuman with superhuman powers which he sent later with the ring? Also is it possible that this letter is a fictional creation by Acharya Shri Vedanta Deshika? Since Acharya Shri Vedanta Deshika also worked on it I think it may not be a fictional creation.

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    Rama never used a swan to send a message to Sita. The Hamsa Sandesha is a poem composed by Vedanta Desikan which tells a fictional story of Rama using a swan to send a message. The fictional story was invented by Vedanta Desikan, not Kalidasa. The only connection to Kalidasa is that Vedanta Desikan's poem is modeled after the style of Kalidasa's poem Meghaduta. In any case, Vedanta Desikan composed many fictional works to illustrate various Sri Vaishnava principles, and the Hamsa Sandesha is one of them. Jul 17 '16 at 8:06
  • By the way, Vedanta Desikan was a huge fan of Kalidasa; for instance he composed an epic poem called Yadavabhyudayam about the life story of Krishna, modeled after Kalidasa's poem Raghuvamsa about the life story of Rama. Also, if you're interested in Vedanta Desikan's fictional works, his most famous fictional work is his play Sankalpa Suryodaya, which you can read here: gdurl.com/V52s Jul 17 '16 at 14:46
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Yeah I have read about that in Rahasyatraya.
    – Yogi
    Jul 17 '16 at 14:47
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    @yogi - It is a much better than Megha Sandesha of Kalidasa because in Megha Sandesha Kalidasa is describing the longing between two mortals ( a man and a women) which is not divine. Where as Hamsa Sandesha is exchange of longing of Paramatma Raama and his divine consort, Goddess sita. Please read "Vedanta Desika – His life, Work and Philosophy" by Dr. Satyavrat Singh under the aegis of Mahomahopadhya Narsimhachary published in Late 1950's to get a detailed info on Swami Vedanta Desikar and his outstanding works.
    – user808
    Jul 19 '16 at 17:46
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    @Krishna Yeah Vedanta Deshika is far more superior than Kalidasa because he includes bhakti in the poems that is where is gets his Status of Vedanta Deshika. After Ramanujacharya he is the one with similar godly attributes.
    – Yogi
    Jul 19 '16 at 18:06

Hamsa Sandesham is a fictional work written by Vedanta Desikar. The condition is set after Hanuman's journey to Lanka. It is evident because Lord Rama knew the whereabouts of Sita from Hanuman only. Hanuman was supposed to know the whereabouts whereas this Royal swan is meant for sending message traveling southwards.

Swami Desikar uses the inspiration from Andal, Nammazhwar, Kalidasa to write this Sandesha Kavyam.

Andal, Nammalwar asked bees, birds to take up the message to the Lord. In Kalidasa's Meghaduta, clouds are the messenger. This work is also written in Mandākrāntā meter which is slow advancing having 17 syllables in each pada.

In this work. Lord Rama asks a royal swan to take up his message to his consort goddess Sita. The route and destination is also described. Rama describes the landmarks for the swan. The swan takes it flight through the Tirumala hills, Sri Rangam and Kanchipuram. This kavyam is not only a majestic poetic work but a religious and a philosophical work.

Swami Desikar makes reverence to Lord Ranganatha, the family deity of Ikshvaku dynasty, the same dynasty the hero of the poem belongs to. Then to the Lord Venkateshwara after whom he is named after. The mood in the poem is the same as the mood present in the pasurams written by Tirumangai Azhwar and Nammazhwar on Parakala Nayaki and Parankusha nayaki. Here, Parakala Nayaki and Parankusha Nayaki are not women but azhwars who imagined themselves as women (nayaki) who were yearning themselves for the love of God and feel separated. Here, Lord Rama and Sita are also feeling the separation. There is esoteric philosophical meaning in the poems written in Hamsa Sandesham. He celebrates the glory of the archavatara of Lord Ranganatha.

Hence, this has a greater significance in Sri Vaishnava tradition because Swami Desikar gives out very esoteric message using simple language.

Swami Desikar himself wrote an autobiographical note at the end of the poem while giving out the phalashruti of reading the work Hamsa Sandesham:

vidyāśilpapraguṇamatinā venkataṭeśena kluptaṃ
cintāśāṇollikhitamasakṛtcchreyasāṃ prāpti hetum |
sītārāmayatikarasakhaṃ haṃsasandeśaratnaṃ
paśyantvantachravaṇamanaghaṃ cakṣurujjīvya santaḥ ||

Meaning: Those who are experts in gemology (examining gems to determine their quality and freedom from blemishes) use the diamond stone to bring out the hidden lustre of the gems and establish their quality. Those who wear these blemishless, highest quality gems (Hamsa Sandesha gem) will be blessed with all soubhAgyams. The noble ratnam (gem) has the power to unite the couple, who got separated. Therefore, people buy these well tested, noblest quality gems and enjoy happiness.

Venkatesha or Venkata Natha is the name of Vedanta Desikar. This proves that it is written by Himself and hence a fictional work with religious significance.

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sathakopan has written its meaning and commented on it explaining the importance and esoteric meaning from Sri Vaishnava tradition.

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