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Vaarttaamaalai-131

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'). 
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(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.