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Musings on Jatayu/Raghuveeragadyam

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Tue Dec 17 1996 - 07:21:38 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear bhAgavatOttamAs,

Please permit me to digress widely in this series of postings of mine from
what began casually as a specific discussion on "Jatayu and Category B of
prapannAs" to what is now threatening to become a full-scale critical
appreciation of the "aranyA-kAndam" of the Raghuveeragadyam !! 

Swami Desikan and Sriman Sadagopan must be squarely blamed for this
compulsive "meandering" of mine. It is they who seem to have jointly
conspired to keep me utterly "lost in the sheer beauty of the "aranyA"
(forest)"!!  Of me now may well be sung (in Tamil) ---- "dikku theriyAda
kAttil" !! 

Swami Desikan's "aranyA-kAndam" has such an effect indeed even when read
with the aid of an English paraphrase as the one so competently provided by
Sriman Sadagopan all these weeks. Poetry is highly addictive stuff.

In my last posting I had warned "bhAgavatOttamAs" that I was going to
commence an intensely personal, and by no means scholastic or conventional,
appreciation of the "aranyA kadam". I had said that this section in the
'Raghuveera gadyam' strikes me not so much as a celebration of the "vIryam"
of Sri Rama as it being a great allegorical piece on : 

      a) the theme of Love between man and woman
      b) the theme of man's relationship with his environment(including
         the animal world) and his obligations to it
      c) the theme of War and the place of the individual in it
      d) the theme of Death and of dignity in dying
      e) the eternal theme of "Dharma"    

Under the circumstances members should not apply strictly "sampradAy-ic" or
academic yardsticks to my ensuing pieces. The only test my views should be
subjected to and judged by is : CREDIBILITY and INTELLIGIBILITY in the
modern sense. 

While absorbing what I put forward keep asking yourself "Is this credible?".
If "yes", proceed. If "no", proceed nevertheless, for the next time around
it may sound credible after all ! 

If you are prepared to allow the above then, 'bhAgavatOttamAs', please
permit me to say the following :

   "Item a)" above is contained in "shlOka" # 28
   "Item b)" above is containded in # 29 through #34 and also in #39
   "Item c)" above is contained in #35 and 36
   "Item d)" above is contained in # 39
   "Item e)" above is contained in #41

Now in the above scheme of arrangement the issue of 'Jatayu and Category B'
can be taken up for elaboration only when we have finished with "Items a)
through c)". Hence those of you who are impatient to get to the meat of the
debate on 'Category B' will, I am afraid, have to wait for a while before I
finish items 'a) to c)'.

Is this all getting very complicated, dear friends-- all this talk of
"items", "categories", "schemes" and "arrangements" and so on?  

Please do not misunderstand me as being a "teaser" and rather flippant, dear
"bhAgavatOttamAs". The "Ramayana" or the "Raghuveera Gadyam" are no doubt
serious business but it does not necessarily mean that we must approach
their wonderful subject matter always in a very grave, grim and sullen
manner. We can and should try to approach them, now and then, in a
light-hearted way as well and still profit from the experience !! Good cheer
and a bit of fun is not prohibited by "Sri Vaishnavism" ! Laughter and clean
mirth is very much part of our religion !!!

Talking about laughter, dear "bhAgavatOttamAs", before I finish this posting
of mine, I must tell you that in the same "aranyAkAndam" of Raghuveera
Gadyam of Swami Desikan there is a funny "shlOka" recalling which, a few
days ago at my work-spot during the tea-recess, I went into a fit of
convulsive laughter for several minutes, making even some of my colleagues
at work suspect that I was going daft due to deadline-pressures !!

I refer to Verse # 38 : "mAricha-mAyAmrigacharma-parikarmitha
nirbhara-darbhAstharaNa !!!"

Swami Desikan here hails Lord Rama for having made a fantastic job of
fashioning out of the hide of the deceitful 'mArichA' a fine piece of
"seat-cover"  !!!

This impish piece of humour from Swami Desikan set me laughing for over a
minute !! It made my day, dear friends, and put me in such a good mood that
I decided then and there that I would continue to explore the
'aranyA-kAndam' in a lot more detail on the "bhakti-list" !!

Keep smiling and stay tuned for my next posting.


srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha