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bhakti-posts of the past week

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Sun Jan 19 1997 - 06:38:08 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s',

Normally one sympathises with a person who is heavily indebted. 

Our scriptures too, as we all know, recognize the seemingly perennial debt
we humans owe to the great "rshi-s", the "pitru-s" and the "dEvatA-s". These
"debts", it is said, accrue to us daily even as we laboriously accumulate
true knowledge called 'Atma-svarUpa gnAna', all-round material prosperity
called 'bhOgha' and happy progeny called 'santAna-prApti', all entirely
being the benevolence and grace of such 'rshi-s', 'pitru-s' and 'dEvata-s'.  

Much like modern-day victims of "plastic-cards", hire-purchase schemes and
loan-sharks, the price we pay for enjoyment of the "good things of life"
("goodies", as you Americans call it!) is steady and ever-increasing
"indebtedness". As the "meter" of our respective lives "ticks" away (the
heart), we realize with a vague sense of unease that it is also continuously
registering, in a morbid sort of way, the alarmingly high levels of debt
owed to the great 'rshi-s', 'pitru-s' and 'dEvatA-s' by us.

In the language of the modern world of "corporate finance" (to which I
belong in the 'loukika' sense), one could say that the human condition is
one of chronic and dangerously "high leverage" ! In every moment of our
waking lives we become, again and again, indebted to our great 'rshi-s',
'pitru-s' and 'dEvatA-s'. For at every stage in our life, if you think about
it seriously, we do acquire, albeit incrementally, a bit of 'gnana' here, a
bit of 'bhOga' there, don't we ? 
   
Our Vedic and theological scriptures, therefore, take enormous PITY on this
human predicament of "indebtedness" ever multiplying like "meter-fares" on
"auto-rickshaws" plying the city-streets of Madras, India.

It is out of great PITY for our pathetic condition, indeed, that our great
scriptures proceed to prescribe, for us, the means by which "debts" get
liquidated ("RNa mOchanam") as early and as painlessly as possible during
the course of our brief sojourns on earth.

Those paths our hoary faith and traditions suggest we should take, to be
able to unburden our soul of its "existential debts", are, as we all know,
"japam" (constant meditation of the Lord), "kAryam" (obeisance to our
forebears) and "yagnyam" (oblations into ritual sacrifice).

By 'japam' (of 'gAyatri', for example), it is said, we pay-off our debt to
the 'rshi-s'; by 'kAryam', debts to our 'pitru-s' are said to be serviced;
and verily, by 'yagnyam'(ritual sacrifice), it is said, our debts to the
'dEvatAs' are liquidated.

Now, in any assembly of 'bhAgavatOttamA-s' -- whether in the precincts of,
say, some 'pravachana-mantapam' in India or in the cybernetic "band-width"
of the "bhakti-list" -- wherever there is a holy communion ('sat-sangham')
of God-devoted minds, there is also ever present, I believe, an element of
all the three means of "debt-liquidation" i.e. 'japam', 'kAryam' and 'yagnyam'.

When someone(like Sri.Sadagopan) posts a piece on 'Raghuveera-gadyam' or
(like Sriman Anbil) on the "RahasyatrayaSaram" or (like Sri.Mani
Varadarajan) even raises contentious issues of 'sAstrA' or (like
Sri.Rangaswamy) expounds on the esoteric principles of "chakram" and we read
and enjoy them all on our screens, aren't we all unconsciously doing the
following ?:

     A) "japam" 
e.g. after reading an especially enlightening post, we dwell in our inner
minds sometimes, don't we, on what, say, Sri.Mani said or what Sri.Jagannath
said on this particular 'kalyana-guna' or that of the Lord ?

     B) "kAryam":
e.g. we read through a post of, say, Sriman Anbil, Sri.Sadagopan or
Sri.Dileepan, and then we are suddenly reminded of some association of an
idea, feeling or memory that we can "connect" with some past 'guru' or
'acharyA' we knew or read about or with even some near or remote ancestor of
ours; we may be reminded of what our 'grandfather' once had to say on the
Sahasranamam, perhaps; or we may be reminded of what the 44th-Jeeyar of
Ahobila Mutt had to say on some matter like the Jatayu-episode, perhaps ....
this sort of "recollection" also is essentially a 'kAryam' in honour of our
ancestors.

     C) "yagnyam" :
e.g. we all know, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', that sharing 'bhagavath-vishayam'
in a 'satsangh', is no easy matter -- it certainly is no easy picnic for
those who take pains to study, refer, research and present it to an audience
such as the one on this "bhakti-list". So here the pains and "sacrifice"
that persons like Sriman.Anbil, Sadagopan, Rangaswamy, Rengarajan, Mani
Varadarajan and others willingly shoulder in their efforts to share their
experiences of 'sat-vishayam' are, indeed, akin to the wrenching efforts
required of one who has taken 'sankalpam' to perform the simplest of
"yagnyam-s" (say, a simple "Ayush-hOmam" or 'navagriha-hOmam') today in our
homes. Posting on the "list", if done with sincerity and for
"nArAyaNa-preethyartham", calls for a certain amount of "sacrifice" in terms
of individual time, effort, patience etc. It may be a "labour of love", dear
friends, but we should not forget that it nevertheless is an act of truly
"hard labour".

So dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', if you all think deeply about it, the reason we
all congregate on the 'bhakti-list' is because we feel that it is a
"wonderful association OF debtors, FOR debtors and BY debtors" (courtesy
Sri.Abraham Lincoln) !! 

We all participate here (as we perhaps would in an ordinary 'bhAgavatha-
satsangh" back home in India) because deep in our hearts we know that by
doing so there might be a half-chance that we will perform, even
involuntarily, 'japam','kAryam' or 'yagnyam'!! And thereby, perhaps, we may
be enabled to alleviate, in some measure at least, our 'existential
indebtedness" to the great 'rshi-s', 'pitru-s' and 'dEvatA-s' for the fine
gifts of 'gnanam', 'bhOgham' and 'santAna-prApthi' they have blessed us all
with !!

In such an august congregation of ours, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', as in this
'bhakti-list', where is place for such inauspicious things like "apachAram",
'manastApam', aggression, one-upmanship, personal rancour and pique or
flaunting of empty 'pAndityam' (pedagogism) ??

In a wonderful congregation like ours, as in the societies of all this
world, there can perhaps be differences with regard to comparative 'states
of indebtedness' -- 'jAthi' -- but is there any qualitative difference in
the fundamental reality in which we all live i.e. of being in real, BIG DEBT
to the Lord, the 'rshi-s', 'pitru-s' and the 'dEvatA-s' ?

And that, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', is the inescapable nature of phenomenal
reality in all "congregations of the world". It has been that way and it
always will be !! The degree of "indebtedness" to the Lord may vary from
person to person, but there is no gainsaying the ever-looming reality of
"DEBT" itself !!

We all belong now, as in the past and ever in the future, to the only caste
that ever prevailed through the ages --- the caste of those "indebted" to
the Lord !!

Therefore, what does it matter, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', that the debt is
US$1 million or INR.1 million ? To the individual 'borrower'(of whatever
'jAthi') in his unique station in life ('varnAshrama'), the oppressive
burden of one is as crushing as the other !!! 

Rather than perorating anymore on the 'states of indebtedness' -- jAthi --
can we not instead turn and follow on this "list" the scriptural roads of
'japam','kAryam' and 'yagnyam' which lead us surely to 'Rna mOchanam' at the
feet of the Lord ?


srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha

lakshmi-nrsumha priyan,
sudarshan