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Musings on Desikan's 'araNyA-kAndam'

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Tue Dec 24 1996 - 23:08:56 PST

srimathe lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

In an earlier posting, we said the 'araNya-kAndam' of the Raghuveera-gadyam
contains the following :
          a) the theme of LOVE as it regulates the life of "grihastAshrama"
          b) the theme of man's obligations to his environment and the
animal                kingdom
          c) the theme of War and the individual caught in it
          d) the theme of Death and the dignity of dying
          e) the theme of "dharma"

One-and-half-week later and more than half-a-dozen postings after, only item
(a) above could be essayed by me. At this rate, it will take another 30
postings and 4 weeks to cover items (b) through (e) !!

I have decided not to inflict any more discomfort on you all than already
done!! Believe me, I would like very much to "down shutters", too, and for a
change just listen to others on the "bhakti-list".

Unfortunately, there is still the Jatayu episode in the 'aranyA-kAndam'
which  haunts me and Swami Desikan just won't let me off on that.

With the same patience and indulgence you have all shown me so far, please
allow me to deal briefly in the next few postings with those parts of the
"araNya-kAndam" of Swami Desikan's 'gadyam' as pertain to that great issue
of "Category B" which set off a lively discussion many weeks ago. 

After that I promise you all, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', to tone down
drastically my blaring "volume".

I have to deal now only with (d) and (e) above to examine the Jatayu episode.
Items (b) and (c) shall be taken up, if at all, sometime in the future only
if members so desire. 

Stanza #39 and #41 of the "Raghuveera-gadyam" give us cues to the themes of
Death, the dignity of dying and that of 'dharmA'.

Stanza#39 reads as : vikrama yashOlAbha-vikrIthajIvitha-gridhr-rAja
dEhadidhakshA-lakshita bhakthajana dhAkshinya !

Many postings ago I had briefly alluded to the "uneasy relationship" that
subsists between Man and the Animal world. (I am thankful to members like
Sri.Krishna Prabha who sent me messages also agreeing with this sentiment.)

It is in the context of such a deeply ambivalent relationship that one is
utterly swayed and awed by the deep bond of affection between Jatayu and
Lord Rama who bestowed the "dignity of Death" on it.

In the history of literature anywhere there are few parallels indeed to this
touching but most unusual "sambandham"  -- what I call a "soulful covenant"
-- between "human" (in the Rt.Hon'ble Sastry sense) and non-human.

It is deeper than any bond between man and man and defies easy categorisation.

It is perhaps about as sublime as what any 'siddhanta' in all the world has
ever conceived, devised and named as "the understanding" said to exist
between God and His Creations.

srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha