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From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 22:42:46 PST

Srimate Srivansatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika yatindra
Mahadesikaya Nama:

                              Kainkaryam –2

We saw the functions of the tongue as described by Sri
Kulasekhara Azhwar in the Mukunda MalA.
 Azhwar’s next prescription is for the mind or
“JihvE keertaya Kesavam
 Mura ripum chEtO bhaja”
Azhwar exhorts his mind to think constantly of Sriman
Narayana, the destroyer of the asurA, MurA. Of all the
human organs, the mind is perhaps the most difficult
to control, as experienced by even Arjuna, known for
his powers of focusing. Advised by Sri Krishna to
concentrate, Arjuna pleads his inability, finding the
mind harder to conquer than the wind-he laments,
“chanchalam hi mana:Krishna…….tasyAham nigraham manyE
vAyOriva sudushkaram”. One can shut one’s eyes, ears
and keep one’s limbs inactive-but it is almost
impossible to discipline the mind. The mind is simply
awesome (“bheeshmO hi mana:” says the Veda)-it never
thinks what we want it to think, and thinks
continuously of matters we specifically want to avoid.
It is thus difficult to rein in the mind from straying
into forbidden paths, into which it is wont to escape,
ultimately leading to one’s destruction.
 To avoid this, Azhwar exhorts the mind to think of
nothing but the Lord and His greatness. And according
to Azhwar, this exercise should be a continuous one,
as he himself remarks in an earlier shlOka in the same
Mukunda Mala- “chintayAmi Harim Eva santatam”(I think
of Hari always).  Sri Nammazhwar too urges his mind to
fix itself on the Lord’s lotus feet-“tuyar aru
sudaradi tozhudu ezhu en mananE”.
 This is easier said than done, especially for
ordinary mortals like us: when we are unable to think
of Him continuously for even a few minutes, where is
the question of His being constantly in our thoughts?
Sri Tirumazhisai Piran is fully aware of our
predicament, and prays to the Lord-“If at all You 
consider granting me a boon, I would only request you
to tame my far-flung, wayward thoughts to concentrate
on Your lotus feet.”
“paranda sindai ondri nindru ninna pAda pangayam
 nirandraram ninaippadAga nee ninaikka vENdumE »
The purport here is that rather than our own
insignificant and weak efforts, it is Emperuman’s
sankalpam that makes us think of Him.

And how should these thoughts of Emperuman be? We
should not think of Him out of a sense of duty, or
because it is the thing to be done, but with an
intense pleasure-“OrAzhi nenjE  ugandu” says Sri
 Azhwars beseech their minds not to forget Him-
(“vidal Azhi nenjE vENdinEn kaNdAi adalAzhi koNdAn
mAttu anbu”
,” MaNivaNNan pAdamE nee maravEl nenjE ninai”
  “mAlai maravAdu irainju en mananE”etc.).
 Sri Nammazhwar goes a step further and exhorts his
mind to remember Emperuman even during sleep-“tunjum
pOdum vidAdu todar kaNdAi”. 
 Sri Poigai Azhwar is categorical that our thoughts
should be only about the Lord of Lords, Sriman
Narayana, and not any other deity- “MayavanayE
manatthu vai”. 
A mind that does not focus on the Lord and His
auspicious qualities is not worth the name, says Sri
Tirumangai Mannan-
“PuLLAi Or EnamAi pukkidandAn ponnadikku endru
  uLLAdAr uLLatthai uLLamA koLLOmE »

« ninayAdAr nenju endrum nenjalla kandAmE » etc.

Apart from preventing our thoughts from going astray,
does concentration on Emperuman have any positive
effect? It saves us from the vicious cycle of births
and deaths, asserts Sri Bootattazhwar-“ninaippan
TirumAlai neeNda tOL kANa, ninaippAr pirappu ondrum
nErAr”. It also cures us of our usual jaundiced
outlook and insufferable conduct, and makes us
partners in eternal bliss-“poi nindra gyAnamum, pollA
ozhukkum azhukkudambum in nindra neermai ini yAm
And how does Emperuman reward those who think of Him
always? He becomes a permanent resident in the minds
of such mahatmas-“uLLuvAr uLLatthu uLan kandAi” says
Sri Poigai Piran-“TirumAl vandu en nenju niraya
pugundAn” supplements Sri Nammazhwar. Defining Sri
Nrsimha’s residence, a poet says,” PrahlAda mAnasa
sarOja vAsa Bhringa!” likening Sri Prahlada’s mind to
a beautiful lotus, which is the favourite haunt of the
honey-bee that is Sri Nrisimha.
Enough of the unmindful mind; we shall see next what
kainkaryam is expected of the hands.
      Srimate SriLakshmi Nrsimha diva paduka sevaka
Srivan Satakopa Sri Narayana yatindra Mahadesikaya
               =========To be continued===========

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