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On "Servitude"

From: Ramaswami Vasudevan (aurum_at_cadvision.com)
Date: Thu Feb 05 1998 - 21:08:17 PST

Dear members of the' Bhakti Archives',
  Let me be permitted  to a short preamble as to how 'service' &
'servitude' differ.Service, as we all know can be of any kind,like- any
body can serve any body (render it free,get paid) & the noun
clause'service charge' shows it's ambiguous nature.But Servitude is the
condition of being forced to work for somebody &having no freedom.The
purport of Servitude has come to bear on our Bhakti cult an irrevocable
stamp because of it's practitioners.These practitioners served God only&
their Servitude brought in it's trail the bunch of words-
dhaasan,thondan,adimai,vassal.
There are three stages in this Lord- Servant relationship.In the first
stage we see these dhaasans have realized the emptiness of all material
pursuits&they extol the Lord, plead to the Lord,propitiate the Lord for
they have come to Him for redemption.
The second stage is where these 'thondars' are thankful to the Lord for
having accepted them & He becomes the mitran,friend,guide,soul &Spirit
of all their wellbeing.
In the third stage comes the twist to the whole concept of Servitude&
every thing goes topsy turvy.Now that the Lord has come to be enthroned
in their hearts we'll see the extent to which they'll stretch God
Himself.Thirumazhisai AzhvAr has to be quoted first,
"kanikannan pOhiraan-------NEyum undhan painnaagapAyai surutti koL"(move
it, my disciple is leaving,so I am leaving,&hence You too).After some
time the scene changes & Azhvaar will beseech the Lord,
"kanikannan pOKozhindAn------NEyum undhan painnaagap pAi paduthu koL"(my
disciple is back,so am I&now back to the couch).
These Dhaasans will tie the 'talisman' of Love or Bhakti on to the
Lord,take Him to a precipice & will challenge Him 'accept or face the
consequences'.Purandara daasar who is some what meek erupts into a
rhetoric rapture,
'maanaabhi maanamu ninaghidE enaghillA' &proceeds to say
'ajAmilanu annanO vibheeshananu thmmanO---avarilla idharEnO
naan ninakE anyanO(if you are likea brother to Ajaa milan ,Vibheeshanan
what can be our relationship-let that be anything).But don't throw a
slur on your reputation for-'neenE paradeshi naanE swadheshi'
Thirumangai mannan will set this ball rolling &will daringly say'sangam
onrEndhiya kanna-ninranakkum kurippAgil karkalaam viyan porul
thAnE.(I've been singing Your praise in multitudes of verses & You can
make an effort atleast to decipher them).Another such utterance is 'naan
unnai anri ilEn---nee ennaianri illai'
One of the greatest contemporary tamil poets, while building on this
line of thought, shocks us by declaring 'Kannan En SEvagan'(kannan is my
servant).Even Yashodaa didn't spare Him'urallil katti,vaai pothi, kenja
vaithu' so on & so forth.
To make this picturesque- we all know how the value of X increases in
X^2,X^4,X^5.Let us assign infinite value to X(this is just an
analogy).If X represents the Dhaasans,thondars,&adimai-infinite will be
their value as God Himself has assigned so.(let me do it the way we
read) If X will mean thondar or infinite value,what can thondar raised
to the power of adi podi,further raised to the power of Azhvaar mean-a
real dynamite.Similarly when Purandaradaasar says'ninnE daasara
daasanthE'it will be DAsan raised to the power of Your daasan further
raised to the power of daasara daasan.All these are really
explosive.Pitted against these threats how can the Lord pacify them.God
has already accepted this clan, given them the Divine Assuarance & what
else  can He give-even Dwaarakaa is lost to a handfull of 'puffed
rice'-Oh,for the plummeting plight of the Lord.
Well,all is not lost yet.Swami Desikan will embellish the Lord in His
didactic words,
'umadhadigal adaighinrEn enru orukaal uraithavarai'-
'thamadhanaithum vazhanghiyum THAM MIGA VILANGUM'-to those who surrender
at His FEET, just once He will give what all He has &by giving so will
He shine in His crowning glory.So 'On Servitude' is a cotemplation on
how 'Affable' the Lord God is.However seething the crucible may be He is
out of these as the'Bhaktha jhana priya- Pankaja lOchanan'.
With highest regards,
Subadra Vasudevan.