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AtmApahAram

From: M.K. Krishnaswamy (surfings_at_mediaone.net)
Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 10:10:18 PDT

BlankDear Bhaktas,

The tales about the  Lord 'stealing' butter -- the fruits of the labour of the Gopis, have only one moral: we have merely the responsibility to act (according to Dharma); the result belongs to Him. In His infinite mercy, he allows us to put it to good use; but anytime we act inappropriately, he will take it away.

Many, many thanks to Shriman Sadagopan Iyengar for presenting, in his "A tale of two thieves", an excellent and clear charge-sheet against all of us, to which the only reply that we can give is: "Guilty, as charged." The following extract from his posting is worth repeating, so that the lesson is understood and absorbed; many janmas may be needed to succeed in practising it:

"All of us are guilty of 'AtmApahAram'. By nature, the JeevAtma is the eternal slave of the Lord, and exists solely to be of some use to Him.
"dAsa bhootAh:svata:sarvE hi AtmAna:paramAtmana:" says the MantrarAja pada stOtram. We all, our bodies and souls,  are the undisputed property of Emperuman. However, the age-old shackles of ahankAram and MamakAram make us imagine that we are independent agents with our own belongings. We delude ourselves that we are responsible for our own well-being and that of others " dependent" on us. Sri Nammazhwar puts this state of mind succinctly thus-"YanE ennai
ariagilAdE, YanE entanadE endru irundEn".  Swami Desikan describes this as the worst possible
form of theft, from several angles:
 1.the value of the stolen item, viz., the Jeevatma, is beyond measure:
 2. the  person whose property is stolen is none less than the Almighty:
 3.even after the Lord, in His infinite mercy, points out to us (through shastrAs and Acharyas) that we are indeed His property, we tend to  dispute it (by saying "aham mE" when He claims "tvam ME").
    Now, how do we get out of the mire of ahankArA and mamakArA? Swami Desikan comes to our rescue with an easy solution- return the stolen article to the rightful owner, with profound apologies.  Since, in this case, the item stolen is the priceless jewel of jeevatma, we should surrender ourselves, in body and soul, to the Lord, with the conscious thought of returning to Him what is His by right. This calls for the realization,in Sri Nammazhwar's words, "yAnE nee, en udaimayum neeyE"(I am indeed Yours, and all that I consider mine is also Yours). Sri Alavandar puts this beautifully thus-"mama nAtha yadasti yOsmi aham, sakalam tat hi tavaiva Madhava".  In other words, what
is required is Atma SamarpaNam, through an Acharya. The Saranagati thus performed restores to the soul its lost quality of sEshatvam.  While the gravity of the theft make us liable for maximum punishment, once we perform Prapatti, the Divine Mother intercedes on our behalf and ensures that we not only get off lightly, but also gain admittance to the world of eternal bliss, of uninterrupted kainkarya, to the Lord and His divine consort."





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