Vedanta Desika is celebrated as one of the most prolific poet and philosopher in the Vedic tradition. He ascended to the rank of Acarya (great preceptor) very early in his life and was fully committed to this cause. He spent most of his time in interpreting scriptures and performing kalaksepam (teaching) to his students. He spurned wealth and led a simple and contented life and his practice, knowledge and detachment were exemplary.
While he was at Kanchipuram, he received a letter from his childhood friend Vidyaranya, who was the Raja Guru (Teacher for the King) at the court of the Vijayanagara king. Vidyaranya felt bad that his friend was struggling in poverty despite his genius, while he was quite wealthy himself, thanks to his royal posting. Hence he wrote a letter to Vedanta Desika with an intention of supporting him. Through this letter he invited Vedanta Desika to come to the king's court and serve as a royal poet.
When the emissary brought the letter, Vedanta Desika read the invitation and replied by composing a single verse that explained his disinterest in serving a king for the sake of worldly wealth.
When Vidyaranya saw this, he felt disappointed. But he did not want to give up and hence wrote another letter with another invitation persuading his friend to accept the invitation.
Vedanta Desika was unperturbed and was steady in his decision. He further composed five more verses to expand on his earlier reply. Vidyaranya was so proud that his friend was so devoted to the lord, and not in material wealth and wished him well.
Thus was born the chant called Vairagya Pancakam (The five verses on detachment).
Click on link below to listen to the chant.