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Musings on #39 of Desikan's RG

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Tue Dec 24 1996 - 23:09:26 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

I will take your permission to share just one more little 'loukika' thought
on the subject of "dignity of dying" in the 'Jatayu' episode.

About 5 Kms. south of Abu Dhabi in the warm, shallow waters of the Persian
Gulf there is a tiny island called "Futaisi". It is a god-forsaken island.
Nobody uses it.

"Futaisi" in Arabic denotes "stench" or "decay".

This island is so named because anybody who goes near it is repulsed by a
strange and offensive odour that seems to always emanate from its land-mass.
Nobody was able to explain this miasmic phenomenon until very recently.

A marine biologist finally solved the puzzle.

One still and humid night this marine-biologist was aboard his sea-craft
doing some experiments out at sea. He suddenly saw a very strange
mesmerising sight.

In the distance he saw a group of dolphins slowly swimming in the direction
towards Futaisi island. He quietly started his sea-craft and without making
too much commotion quietly followed the dolphins.

As he approached nearer he saw a sight which shook him to the roots of his
being.

He saw a mother dolphin painfully swimming with the caracass of its
young-infant slung on its back. The young dolphin probably had died at sea
caught perhaps in the propeller blades of some fishermen's trawler. 

The group of dolphins, with the mother acting as a sort of "pall-bearer",
was swimming towards Futaisi island in a sort of solemn funereal procession
'carrying' the dead young.

The marine biologist reported, "In the middle of the night across the
expanse of the still Gulf sea I witnessed this strange and mystifying event.
I was moved by this great majestic sight of Death in the little-known life
of a family of dolphins. I felt like an intruder into a solemn rite. I felt
I was encroaching on their dignity. I could see that they were heading
towards Futaisi island whose beaches would be where the dolphins would lay
to eternal rest their young dead. I wanted to follow the funeral procession
and capture everything on my video-cam. But something, some Force greater
than mere human restraint, prevented me from doing so. Instead I took only a
few still-shots with my Canon and returned immediately to base. I had
finally been able to explain why Futaisi island stank so much. But more
importantly I had witnessed how ceremoniously, how gracefully a family of
dolphins handles the dignity of death. It was a moral lesson for me far
greater in worth than the discovery I had made of Futaisi's foul-smell."

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s', this article appleared in the "Gulf News" newspaper
some months ago. I could not help thinking again of Lord Rama and "Jatayu"
again in the "aranyAkAndam" Verse #39 of the Raghu-veera Gadyam of Swami
Desikan.

Can we ever say that the great truths of our ancient literature are not
revealed even in the 'loukika' world today as it exists at the end of 1996 ?!!

srimathE srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha

sudarshan