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lakshmi-nrsimha karavalamba stotram-5

From: sudarshan madabushi (sudarshanm_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Wed Apr 07 1999 - 01:44:00 PDT

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

"na vaktum~api shakya~tE naraka-garba vAsAdikam
vapuscha bahu dhAtukam niPuNa chintanE tAdhrusham
trivishtapa mukham thathA divi padasya tE deevyataha
kimatra na bhayAs-padam bhavati ranga prithvi patE !" 
                 (-- Verse 13, Swami Desikan's "abeethi-stavam")

The 'wise ones' know
Thy Dwelling to be
Higher than paradise
The celestials' glee;
All abodes in the womb of this world 
They know too well 
Are the gateways of hell;
And all which lives in flesh and blood,
Tell me, O Ranga,
Has it anythin' but terror ever bred?

*********      ***********         ************

Ask yourself the following simple questions in trying to understand 
the above verse:

(1) If the world held no fears ("bhayam", "bheethi") whatsoever for 
us… would we ever be moved to show genuine "virakti" for it?

(2) If deep in our hearts there did not lurk the fear of pain or of 
indignity which we know the infirmities of this world inflict on us… 
if we did not expect to undergo the sufferings narrated as "pEdhai 
bAlagan-athAgUm peeNi pasi-mUppU~thhUnbum" (by Tondar-adi-podi AzhwAr) 
…if the world did not hold for us the terrors of ageing, disease, 
senility, death, and futility… would we really weary of it?

(3) In the story of the old merchant (recounted by Mukkur Swamy- ref: 
my last post), did we not see his sense of kinship with the world 
suddenly surface at the very last moment before death and completely 
prevail over the "virakti" that had otherwise been his wont in life?  
 
(4) If this world held no fears for us… none whatsoever of any 
conceivable kind… would we ever make the effort to turn skyward and 
plead helplessly: "lakshmi-nrsimha mama dEhi karAvalambam !"?

(5) If this world held no prospect of fearful maladies for us … none 
whatsoever… of what earthly use then are the "realms of the 
celestials" to us… those "realms" which Swami Desikan calls "divi 
padasya"?

*********           ************          ************

Now, if man's worldly fear ( "bhayam", "bheethi") is the principal 
cause of his world-weariness ("virakti"), what are these fears?

If you go back to Verses #3 through #11 of the "lakshmi-nrsimha 
karavalamba stOtram" you will see that Sankara bhagavathpAdA 
enumerates these "fears" to be 9 and symbolizes them through the 
following metaphors:

(a) "… jwAlAvalee"                  :  the forest-fire

(b) "…jAla-pati-tasya"              :  the fish-net

(c) "…koopa"                       :  the well, the abyss

(d) "…Bheekara-kareendra"          :  the irate tusker

(e) "…sarpaGana"                    :  the serpent

(f) " … vruksha"                    :  the tree

(g) "…nakra"                       :  the alligator

(h) "…sAgara"                      : the sea

(i) "…gahanE"                      : the forest


Each of the above metaphors are indeed very rich in both poetic and 
philosophic significance. 

We must spend some time in trying to explore them all in the following 
posts.

adiyEn dAsAnu-dAsan,
Sudarshan


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