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Musings on Desikan's 'araNyA-kAndam'

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sat Dec 21 1996 - 03:51:57 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta desika gurave namaha

Dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s',

Please refer to one of my earlier postings in this series where I briefly
defined the "Rt.Hon'ble SAstry Approach". It is so important for our
understanding of the 'araNyA-kAndam' that it will bear recapitulation below :

---"Sastry regarded the 'Ramayana' as an extra-ordinary document of "supreme
human qualities and emotions" as embodied in the character of Lord Rama. He
did not deem the epic as a religious text for the purpose of his
commentaries    or lectures."

Now if we subject Verse #28 (read in conjunction with Verses #23,#25 and
#26) of Desikan's 'Raghuveerya gadyam' to the "SAstry-ic" (pun not
intended!!) method of analysis we should be able to confidently and
logically elucidate the theme of "Love between Man & Woman".

Dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', amongst all the emotions or qualities ever known to
humankind there is nothing so sublime or ennobling as TRUE LOVE.

Please note that I do not speak of this emotion in its ordinary or carnal
sense or in the pedestrian form in which it is sometimes portrayed in the
popular literature, movies or "life-styles" of our secular times.

By LOVE I mean that emotion that stirs deeply in the hearts of the mass of
ordinary men and women of all this world; that emotion which is known to
impel them to acts of courage, generosity, unselfishness, fortitude, hope,
goodness and, above all, to that "SPECIAL TENDERNESS TOWARDS EACH OTHER"
which all of the Great Lord's creatures are intensely and uniquely capable of.

I mean that LOVE which could be said to be the mother of a host of feelings
known to man : that which flow between spouses, between mother and infant,
between father and son, between grand-children and grand-parents, between
two bosom friends, between a good-samaritan and a needy soul....why between
a true "bhakthA" and the Lord too ("nAyaka-nAyaki bhAva")!!

I mean that LOVE which moves us all to pity at the sight of suffering and
pain ... that LOVE which moves us to elation at the sight of a lovely work
of art .... that LOVE which persuades us all to keep going on in our petty
lives against all odds and all frustrations, in the hope that we will sight,
someday, the Meaning of the Lord as revealed by Himself .....

Dear friends, does all what I say above strike you as rather "mushy-mushy"
or "hocus-pocus" ? 

Think again, then !! Please make an effort to search your memories and look
closely at your lives and rummage through your hearts, and you will, for
sure, come up with a rare moment or two in the past you can remember when,
for no particular reason, you felt a great ineffable force throbbing in your
veins and, as a result of which, you felt an overwhelming gratitude for just
being alive in this world !! In those moments you would have wanted to have
nothing else or more in life than to be able to say,"This is it ... this is
the moment of Truth and of Bliss !!"

That moment is what I call LOVE.

That moment of LOVE, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s', unfortunately, arrives but
rarely in our lives -- and as rarely, too, as Lord Rama showed it did even
in His own life!

It is the same moment for which our "rshi-s and munivar-s" of yore performed
severe penances, our "AzhwArs" cried their hearts out for and for which,
too, all the Lord's "servants", in the Sri Vaishnava history known to us,
yearned and patiently waited their lives.

It was, indeed, such a moment of sheer LOVE which the Lord "Rama of Ayodhya"
admitted to; which He, alongwith "Sita-pirAtti", greatly enjoyed in the
Dandaka woods; and which Swami Desikan describes in that IMMORTAL phrase :
                  "dandakAtapovana jhanghamapArijAtha"!!

Now, "bhAgavatOttamA-s", there is nothing in our meek powers that can make
such "moments of Grace and Love" come true in our lives, at our own will or
pleasure, as it were. But there is however abundant possibility that if
certain CONDITIONS and CIRCUMSTANCES are created in the state of our
respective existence, or in our "life-styles" (as they call it in these
modern times), then, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s', LOVE might well occur as often
as we desire.

We cannot by ourselves author such "moments of LOVE" but we can, and should
indeed, as ordinary "grihastAs" (householders), strive hard to create in our
lives those CONDITIONS necessary and conducive for the occurence of such Grace.

Lord Rama, through Verses #23, #25 and #26 of Swami Desikan's
"Raghuveeragadyam", clearly but subtly shows us how to construct such
"conditions" in our lives so as to be able to competently observe the
"grihastAshrama-dharma" (the ordained duties of a householder) which is
'sine qua non' for the ultimate realization of His LOVE, TRUTH and BEAUTY.

And that will be the subject of my next posting.

srimathE srivan satagopa sri narayana yathidra mahadesikAya namaha



srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha