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Musings on garUda/mantrA etc.-8

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Mon Apr 07 1997 - 00:24:21 PDT

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s",

In this post I know I should be getting down right away to the business
hinted in my last post -- that of examining the 4 verses from the
"garUda-panchAshath" and "garUda-dandakam".

But before we do that, I take your permission, to divert our discussions on
"garUda/mantrA" away from Swami Desikan's hymns or Mukkur Swamy's story to a
brief explanation of the special term we coined as the
"reflexivity-principle" operating in "mantrA-s".

The diversion is not, of course, terribly necessary to enable an
understanding of Swami Desikan's 2 hymns but, I believe, a little awareness
of "reflexivity" may facilitate insight into the Mukkur Swamy story as well
as into one of the most unique Articles of the Vedic Faith --- the faith in
the power of "mantrA" --- that many millions of Indians across the ages
have, and continue till this day, to abide by.

The awareness will help clarify to some extent, I hope, the questions we
asked amongst ourselves in the "list" a few weeks ago such as "Recite a
"mantrA", and presto! reap goodies ("kAmyArtham")?" or "If I recite the
"garUda-mantrA" can I ward off serpents ?".

In this post, therefore, let's quickly survey this concept of "reflexivity".

I use the term 'reflexivity', dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", not because I fancy
it; or because, it has a nice "scientific" twang to it and therefore makes
discussions on the subject of "mantrA-s" rigorously "academic", "reasonable"
or "convincing" than is otherwise possible.

To tell you the truth, I hate the word "reflexivity principle"; it sounds so
pseudo-scientific when used in discussions of our Faith.

I have to, however, resort to the pseudo-scientific term, "reflexivity", to
characterise "mantrA-s" for want of any better expression which I believe
adequately serves or aids the  phrasing of so-called "answers" to the
so-called "questions" we  put to ourselves, viz.:

       "Recite a "mantrA", reap its benefits ?" or 

       "Recite the "garUda-mantrA" and ward off serpents ?".

When we construct our "questions" in such pseudo-scientific, "cause-effect"
terms as above, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", we must not be taken aback or
complain that pseudo-scientific "explanations" are being thrown back at us.

We will take up "reflexivity" for examination in the next post.

srimathE srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikAya namaha