You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : June 1995

A matter of asking and being given ? =-)

Date: Fri Jun 09 1995 - 08:38:19 PDT

In her response to my question on faith, Vaidehi raised a
very interesting point at the end of her email - regarding
how we are taught to pray as children, and what we are taught to 
pray for.

I would like to go into that in some more detail here.

I am sure we are all taught little prayers that begin on end 
on a generic :

" aayum dehi, DHanam dehi, vidyaam dehi.."

or " aayuraarogyam-scha aishwaryam-scha shriyam 
       puthtraam-scha dehi me"

Now one level of thinking about this is that all this "dehi" ing
instills in us a humility, a realization of the "enormity" of the
divine, as Vaidehi put it, and our personal -umm- insignifacance ?

I think, in my feeling, that the Sanskrit "dehi" - is a lot more
humble in spirit, instilling a "hands outstretched, asking
bhiksha and totally dependent on the Giver's Grace" attitude.
This is the "word-picture" that pops up in my mind when I 
hear "dehi" - it is a powerful word, putting obligations on 
both the sayer and the hearer. Comparable to the "bibhrhee maa" -
succor me, protect me - of the Vedas.

In translation into " kudu" or "taa" or "gimme gimme gimme",
that loses significant attitude and associated power - IMHO.

Here's a related question. If we go through the Rks of the Vedas, 
some of them are very specific invocations to Indra, or Pusan,
or Mitra.. Let me select an example many of us may be familiar 
with, the hymn " aapo hi SHTHaa mayo bhuvah:" from the Rg Veda.
Here the ap-devataas, Goddesses of the waters, are addressed
very specifically, asked to shower their protection down on
the singer like the grace of a mother, protection from sickness
etc. Or " agnisca/suryasca maamanuyusca manyupatesca .. " - 
asking Agni / Surya for guarding us from sin, and to burn up /
forgive sins of omission and comission.

The point I am trying to make is it is not uncommon in the Vedas
to address specific Gods for specific ends. So is this such a bad
practice ? Again, I am willing to be corrected, as I am sure I will 
be =)