The Sri Vaishnava sect has two sub-sects, Thenkalai and Vadakalai. Vadakalais follow the teachings of Vedanta Desikan, whereas Thenkalais follow the teachings of Pillai Lokacharya. My question is about Vedanta Desikan. In the eight minute mark of this lecture, the Sri Vaishnava lecturer U. Ve. Ananthapadmanbhachariar Swami discusses Vedanta Desikan’s devotion to the deity of the Varadaraja Perumal Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram (translated from Tamil):

Then how must Varadaraja’s holy body be like? It’s a beautiful green. Swami Desikan used to say “I desire to worship that Vishnu’s holy body free from its coverings.” Is it possible? He says “However big a Swami I am, it’s not possible to worship Varadaraja’s holy body by itself.” What’s the reason? “I was not born in that family endowed with the blessing of touching Vishnu and performing Puja for him,” he says. When we worship priests, how should we worship them? Priests are Vishnu in visible form. If they say “I touch Vishnu and perform Puja for him”, those greatest Vaishnavas are Vishnu in visible form.

My question is, where does Vedanta Desikan lament not being born in the family of priests of the Varadaraja Perumal temple?

I assume it’s in one of his Stotras or hymns; Vedanta Desikan composed numerous Stotras In praise of Vishnu, and many of them revolve around Varadaraja Perumal since Vedanta Desikan was from Kanchipuram. But does anyone know which Stotra this quote is from?


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