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charama-shlOka

From: sudarshan madabushi (sudarshanm_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Sun Feb 07 1999 - 07:36:42 PST

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

Reading all the interesting mails last week on the subject of 
"charama-shlOka" --- notably those of Sri.Murali Rangaswamy, Sri.Anbil 
and Sri.Sadagopan --- I can't help remembering an old story connected 
with the subject.

A good man once approached a Wise One for advice on the art of living.
He was told to start with a thorough study of the Bhagavath-gita.

The man went home and eagerly took up the first chapter. Halfway through 
the chapters on the 'sankhya-yoga' his mind boggled and, poor man,he 
simply gave up.

He returned to the Wise One to complain "Sir, there are eighteen 
chapters in the Gita. If each of them is as formidable as the first 
couple of ones then I am afraid I must tell you I am woefully unequal to 
the daunting task."

"Can you instead direct me," pleaded the man with the Wise One, "can you 
direct me to the heart of the Gita texts so that I can grasp their core 
of sacred essence without having to traverse their entire length?".

The Wise One replied, "If 18 chapters are too much for you, my friend, 
then you better restrict your study to the passages on the "bhakti-yoga" 
alone."

"Thank you, O noble, Sir", said the good man to the Wise One and 
departed.

Back home our good friend opened the Gita text and began his arduous 
inquiry into the 'bhakti-yoga'. The chapter was long and the passages 
seemingly interminable….. 

Soon the man gave up the effort and returned to the Wise One.

"Sir, the chapters on the "bhakti-yoga" too are beyond my powers of 
comprehension! Can you direct me to a single 'shlOka' which may be said 
to nutshell the entire Gita?"

The Wise One was by now annoyed with the man's attitude… so typical of 
the modern time when everyone expects to maximise rewards while 
expending minimum effort.

However he patiently advised, "My friend, if you want the Gita in a 
nutshell go to the verse called the 'charama-shlOka" : "sarva dharmAm 
parityajja….etc. You might find in it whatever you are looking for in 
this world".

Our friend, the seeker of Truth, returned home, delighted in the 
discovery that the whole of the Gita could be absorbed through the study 
of a single verse! He spent the rest of the day in zealous attempts to 
commit to memory the Lord's 'charama-shlOka'.

After about an hour's effort he gave up!

Returning to the wise One he confessed, "Sir, the 32-syllabled 
"charama-shlOka" eludes my mind."

"So what do you want me to do about it?" asked the wise One with now 
barely concealed exasperation.

"Pray, direct me to a single phrase, expression or word in the verse 
which may be said to epitomize the Gita.That way I can rest content that 
I have ingested all of the substance of the Lord's message in a verbal 
capsule."  
   
The Wise One thought for a while and replied:

"Leave out "sarva dharmAm parittyajja"; leave out "mamEkam saranam 
vraja"; leave out "aham tva sarva pApEBhyo moksha~ishyAmi"…..

Then after a pause the Wise one said, "Hold steadfast to the last phrase 
"ma shucha:". It means "Do not worry or grieve" Believe me it's verily 
the essence of the Lord's Gita… "DO NOT WORRY".It's the secret of 
life.Hold on to that phrase all your life and never let go of it!"

The good man went away absolutely delighted in the discovery of the 
Bhaavath-gita… muttering "ma shucha:", "ma shucha:"…. 

(story -- courtesy my "mAnaseega-AchAryan" Sriman Mukkur 
Lakshminarasimhachariar)
**********************************

For those who harbour disquieting reservations about the first person 
voice of the "charama-shlOka"... merely repeating "ma shucha:" may be an 
equally effective alternative to chanting the whole.

Think about it and let me know how you feel about it.

adiyEn dAsAnu dAsan,
sudarshan



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