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Shopkeepers and their AudAryam

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 14:27:15 PDT

[ From Sri A. Bharat of Bangalore ]

   Dear Mani
   Here are some more thoughts arising out of our Acharyas'
   impeccable insights.
   We are often told that whenever we desire anything we should approach
   only the Lord for it,even if there are other Devatas who are perfectly
   competent to give it.which on the face of it appears to be a rather
   approach.The Sastras themselves declare that each Devata has his
   specialty- <ISwarAd JgAnamichhEt..   etc Siva is the person designated
   to give JgnAna,Surya health and so on.Even if ultimately it is said
   <sakala phala prado Harih   nothing should bar us from approaching
   a "specialist" rather than a "generalist" when we are in need of only
   a specific item.
   The reason for such exclusion that is usually mentioned in
   this connection  pertains to our  <ananyArha-sEshatva   as specifically
   extolled by KulaSekharar and on the same lines by ALavandAr (St: 26)
   according to which we go with our demands to the "vagutta SEshi" and
   no one else because that is our SwarUpam.
   But in his outstanding gloss on Periya Tirumozhi's  (5:8) incomparable
   "Ezhai Edalan " padigam ,SriPVP gives a new sidelight on this subject
   which opens up a totally new area of thought.
   Which brings us to to the shopkeeper of the title-
   Consider a situation where there are specialist shopkeepers who store
   only one item each  and a general Departmental store owner who keeps all
   the items.When you want just one item you would prefer going to the
   shop alone since he has advertised it and is sure to have it .Since the
   is also a monopolist you have to pay his price also which you don't mind.
   Now consider the General Store keeper.For one thing his rates would be
   Secondly since he has many items to sell,even when you go to him for one
   try to interest you in something else which HE wants to sell to you.
   You may not want it.But if he is a good businessman he won't insist too much
   but will try to win your friendship so that you keep coming to him for
   various items
   which you would earlier have bought from the specialist shops- and one day
   he'll sales talk
   you into buying HIS favourite item also.
   Which is exactly the technique  our shopkeeper Hari and his
   sales-assistants Azhwars and Acharyas adopt .The samsaris may go to him for
   various mundane
   benefits and they'll find that his rates are very low when compared to other
   Devatas- infact He actually gives them away free- and all the time He'll be
   subtly trying to sell them His special item- Himself. His attractive
   form,speech and qualities one by one undermine the buyer's resistance until
   one day
   he finds himself hooked.This sale was what the owner was aiming at all the
   time he was selling the other  items . And when He finally succeeds, it
   pleases Him so much that
   He publicly calls the buyer <udAra   for buying from His store -
   <YE matto yat-kinchidapi griNhanti tE hi mama sarvasva dAyinah>
   is SwAmi EmberumAnAr's matchless summing up .
   In his Gadya BhAshya Swami Desika explains the epithet <arthi kalpaka>
   in many ways : 1.He who is both "arthi" and "kalpaka"- he's searching for
   customers and is more than capable of fulfilling their demands; 2.He creates
   the Demand Himself - as explained in detail above; 3.He is like a Kalpa
   vriksha for the "arthis" 4.They are like kalpa vrikshas for him - for they
   His solitary want.
   Hence it is that we are asked to approach only Him for all our wants not so
   much to guard OUR SwarUpa,but in order to bolster His sattA. For unless
   we keep going to Him for something or other He may not find the moment
   and the opportunity to undermine our resistance and achieve His object.
   But where does the <audArya   of the title come in?
   For this Sri PVP directs our attention to the Gadya line <ApAra-kAruNya-
   The <apAra audArya   according to Desika is in His (1)considering the
   of the wants of the arthis as fulfilling His own want and accordingly
   with justification calling THEM "udAra"s ;and
   (2) not restricting His munificence to bestowing Himself and His Vibhutis on
   his ASritas ,
   but allowing it to flow on and on and on unrestrainedly over their
   relations,progeny,and even on
   their servants animals birds etc
   Two AchAryAs sum this up in their own inimitable style:
   "EdEnumAga kuRai teerppAr udArarAm ittanaiyire" (Eedu 3.7.6)- Anybody who
   one of one's want is certainly entitled to be called "udAra" -says Swami
   SwAmi DEsikan in his Saran.Gadya gloss says that the Lord's qualities alone
   responsible for calling  His supplicants "UdAras"-
   1.His "vitaraNa rasikatvam"- He is a connoisseur of the art of Charity.His
   increases as  more opportunities are given to Him by His supplicants to
   indulge His
   favourite activity;
   2.<prabhootam dattvApy atriptatvam>- The more He gives the more He wants to
   give.So when He finds people actually coming to Him asking for favours of
   any of
   the Four Categories He praises them instantly.
   It may seem a little unfair that He ,after giving to all the other Devatas
   various things to
   sell at their prices, is still trying get customers to His own store where
   there is a
   permanent "Sale".But one need not fear for the other Devatas on this
   this day the queues in front of their shops are long as ever,and His
   Departmental Store
   despite all His price -cutting is empty as ever.
   Which is why in SrI Vachana BhhooshaNam (225) Sri UlagASiriyar clearly
   out- "ALumALAr engiRavanuDaiya tanimaiyai ttavirkkaikkAgvAyiRRU
   BhAshyakArarum ivarum upadESippadu."- it is on account of seeing the
   of this empty shopkeeper that SwAmi NammAzhwAr and Sri BhAshyakArar
   poured out all their advice to the SamsAris.It is to fill His need more than
   to help
   ourselves that we should approach Him often.

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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