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Final follow-up on the "PPS"

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Mon Feb 17 1997 - 22:39:01 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s',

Bhattar was known to often narrate to his disciples the story of a merchant
who left home to go abroad, sell his wares and make a fortune.

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The merchant left his wife behind who was in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

The merchant travelled to far-off lands and failed to return home for
several years.

Meanwhile unknown to him, his wife gave birth to a boy.

The boy grew up in the intervening years into a good merchant himself.

One day the son too took leave of his mother and set out into the world with
his own merchandise to sell them in distant markets and make a fortune.

During their travels, the son and the father, unknown to each other,
happened to cross paths in a small wayside pial on a rainy day.

The father and the son huddled together in the pial where there was hardly
place for one of them and his wares.

While both sat there cramped in the pial that sheltered them from the rain,
the father and son were reluctant to let go of their respective places even
for a moment lest the other should pilfer away his merchandise. So, however
uncomfortable they were in each other's presence, they continued to huddle
together, and kept an anxious and suspicious eye over each other's merchandise.

At such a moment another person arrived at the spot. This third person knew
the the true relationship between the merchants who had never met each other
before.

Surely enough the third man quickly narrated history,introduced the son to
his father and explained matters.

Both father and son were overjoyed.

In that moment of joyful re-union, the son remarked to the father,"Oh,
father, being ignorant of our relatiosnhip I had been fearful ("bheethi") of
you and anxious about my merchandise."

The father replied,"Anxious was I too, my son !".

"But now, father, I know our relationship. I have no fear ! What a great
relief! For my merchandise now is all yours too ! The burden of its custody
is yours, too, isn't it ?!"

"So it is, my dear son ! But can a son's cares be anything but a burden of
love to the father" said the older merchant and they embraced each other.

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Our Bhattar draws our attention here, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', to how the
father and son behave before and after the awareness of their mutual
relationship dawned on them.

Before such awareness they regarded each other with mutual suspicion,
annoyance and even vague fear ("virakthi" and "bheethi"). But the moment
their bond became revealed, all fear vanished in a trice and was replaced
with a feeling of warmth, love and security.

Sri.Bhattar further explains that there is a similar unknown relationship of
"rakshya-rakshaka" (the Saviour & the saved) between "jivAtma-Iswara" which,
tragically, does not get easily revealed to to the mass of humanity in the
world. Hence in ignorance of such "sambhandha-gnyana" (relationship) we
mortals lead our lives in "a-vivEkam"; we are often blind to our KINSHIP
with the Lord.

Due to the rare grace of an "AchArya", however, (like the third man in
Bhattar's story above), we become aware of the true nature of the
"rakshya-rakshaka" bond. We then step onto the "prasadana-parva" of Swami
Desikan's "paramapada-sOpAnam" and then instantly our "bheethi" and
"virakthi" also transform into feelings of "wise and benign acceptance" of
the Lord's world ---- in exactly the same fashion as the father-son
merchants "magically" became reconciled to each other on discovering their
true kinship.....and also in exactly the way as Bharatha  after the
'paduka-pattabhishEkam', reconciled himself to a distasteful Ayodhya from
which he had earlier fled away in disgust to Lord Rama's Chitrakoota !

It is such "sambhandham", the same CLOSE and ETERNAL KINSHIP, too, that
Swami Desikan celebrates in his exquisite hymn on Lord Narasimha which is
entitled, "kAmAsikAshtakam". In verse #4 he sings:

               bandhumakhilasya janthoho
                 bandhura paryanka bandha ramaNIyam  I
               vishama-vilOchana mIDE
                 vEgavatI pUlina kEli narasimham     II

Meaning :(free translation with my meagre sense of poetic rhyme)
               Yonder on the banks of Vegavati,
               Sits He sporting in mien of sheer majesty;
               Ah, yonder sits, behold! the KIN of all that lives !!
               Praise, O Narasimha, praise again do I Thee !

How apt and skillful of Swami Desikan in the above verse, through praise of
Lord Narasimha, to convey the cardinal SriVaishnava idea of
"rakshya-rakshaka" KINSHIP that determines relations between "jivAtma-Iswara". 

What mightier "rakshakan" is there in all the worlds than our Magnificent
Lord of Ahobilam who rushed to the aid of 'prahlAdan' !

I trust, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', that Bhattar's second "nirvAham" above
answers the question (A) raised last week in the context of our discussions
on my posts on Swami Desikan's "paramapada-sOpAnam".

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I would now like to conclude, dear friends, this series on the "PPS" and
move on. But not before adding the customary "E & OE" (errors and
ommissions, excepted!).

The "PPS" is a fascinating document which must be pursued by you all in your
own separate ways. As I have already opined, some of Swami Desikan's texts
can be easily approached in a contemporary sort of way without being awed or
"turned-off" by his difficult 14th-century Sanskrit or his awesome philosophy.

Swami Desikan, in his own time, was an extremely kind man who longed for his
teachings to reach the both the masses as well as the elite. 

To me, personally, the "PPS" is not just a religious text.

If my understanding of it is correct, it is superb clinical analysis of
human psychology, and perhaps, human destiny, too !

We may perhaps, out of intellectual or spiritual inadequacy, fail to draw
answers out of it for the questions of the Great Hereafter. But there is no
doubt that the "PPS" offers very important and model lessons to us on how to
take control of our present lives in this world.... and lead it sensibly and
competently too.

srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha
sudarshan