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From: M Srinivasan (m_srinivasan_at_qmgate.anl.gov)
Date: Tue Feb 25 1997 - 06:38:36 PST
Vaarttai 131 of Vaarttaamaalai Once Bhattar (Sri Paraasara Bhattar) went on pilgrimage to bathe at the TiruvaNai (Sethusnaanam). On the way, he reached a place called Paathirikkodi as the sun set. He entered the home of a hunter to take shelter. Besides giving up his own seat, the hunter offered a cot too for Bhattar. Seated on the cot, Bhattar thought thus: "This hunter is doing this not because he knows about our greatness ('vaibhavam'), not because he desires celebrity, not because he owed any debt of gratitude to us. Just the affection (`abhimaanam`) arising out of the mere fact that we entered his home has made him act thus. I wonder what the Lord (Isvaran) thinks about those that take shelter under His affection (abhimaanam)?" Then Bhattar asked the hunter, "Sir, is there anything particular about today?" The hunter replied, "NaayanRe!(1) I went to the jungle for the hunt. I caught a baby hare. Its mother came running fast across an open field, and fell in front of me as if to supplicate me (`kumbittukkondu kidanthathu'). I felt profoundly sorry (`vyasanamaay`) for it and let the baby go free." On hearing this Bhattar said (`aruLichcheythaar'): "This [quality] does not belong in a Chetana (Being of Intelligence, Jeeva) ; Only the Paramachetana (Supreme Being) has this. No one taught the hare, `maamekam saraNam vraja (take Me as your sole refuge; BG 18-66)'. Neither did any one teach the hunter, `arih praaNaan parityajya rakshitavyah kritaatmanaa (an enemy that has surrendered is to be protected by a good person even by giving up his own life'; Ramayana, Yud. 18-29).' SaraNaagathi indeed bore fruit directly here. What a famous proof! (`pramaaNa prasiddhi'). ---------------------------------------------- (1) This is a respectful or reverential term of address, sometimes spelt as Naayanthe. If anyone reading this knows the exact meaning and etymology of this word, please share it with us.