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lakshmi-nrsimha-karAvalamba-stOtram-20

From: sudarshan madabushi (sudarshanm_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Sun Jun 20 1999 - 06:51:15 PDT

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

At the end of post #19, we asked ourselves a question: "Why is it said the 
Veda is the "connection between the world of gods and the human world"?

The human world we know, but what is this "world of gods" all about? Why 
should tbe two worlds be necessarily "connected"? And how do we know it is 
the Vedas that provide the "connection"?

Our "AchAryA-s" provide valuable answers to such difficult questions. But 
unfortunately they are in the form of even more difficult counter-questions. 
And the answers to the counter-questions are, then again, rather roundabout 
and analogous in nature. It will require much patience and a little 
intellectual humility on our part to gain deep understanding into these 
matters.

********           ***********             ************

What is the "connection" (the "AchAryA-s" may well begin by asking us) 
between a farmer in some remote Indian village who tills his fields and the 
Minister of Food, Agriculture and Water Resources in the Union Cabinet of 
the Government of India?

At first glance there appears to be no "connection" at all! The Minister is 
a 'powerful man' in NewDelhi  who presides over grave affairs of the nation 
with regard to food production and distribution, land revenues, management 
of river-waters and irrigation systems. The farmer, on the other hand, is a 
'marginal man' who labours hard from dawn to dusk, manages his bullocks, 
ploughs his acre, tends his crop and anxiously looks forward to a season's 
full harvest. The two of them have nothing in common and are said to belong 
to two "worlds" wide apart… with not a semblance of  "connection" whatsoever 
between them.

Yet when one closely scrutinises the matter one easily sees there is, after 
all, a very strong "connection" between the "world of the farmer" and the 
"world of the Minister".

Consider this scenario: Let's say the farmer's crops fail. It fails because 
the local irrigation canal on which he depended for water remained in 
disrepair. Let's also say the canal repairs had not been attended to by 
'taluk' authorities because of mounting tax-arrears the village owed the 
District Revenue. Now, again this time around when the crop fails, the 
farmer is unable to pay current tax dues. Land revenues steeply decline. The 
Government's budget is hit badly. The matter is raised in Parliament. When 
the Minister is asked for an explanation it is discovered it is his system 
of tariff-rates for water-distribution that caused farmers to pile up tax 
arrears in the first place. And at the end of the merry-go-round what 
resulted was the mass crop-failure at hand…

What happens next? The Minister loses his charge! The Government falls! Both 
farmer and Minister are ruined.

In this scenario one thing is exceedingly clear: What really "connects" the 
"world" of the farmer and the "world" of the Minister is the "tax" element!

When the "tax" element in the "connection" between farmer and minister 
functions well, the relationship between their respective "worlds" is one of 
mutual benefit and prosperity. The farmer is enabled to draw water and reap 
his rich harvest. The Government's coffers in turn fill up! Everything is 
smooth and fine. But the moment something goes wrong with the "tax 
connection" and it begins to falter or malfunction in any way, the "world" 
of the minister as well as the "world" of the farmer, both come to enormous 
grief.

*********            *************           ********

Neither the farmer nor the minister knows each other in person. The farmer 
is an utter stranger to the world of the minister. And the minister too 
lives in a world of his own the farmer scarcely knows anything about. But 
one thing they surely know… and that is: in a very impersonal sort of way, 
their destinies are bound to each other far more intimately than is 
apparent. In a tacit and theoretical sort of way, if not by absolute 
conviction, one does acknowledge to the other that their respective 
"worlds", although worlds apart, are however somehow "connected" 
inextricably.

And what is that "connection"?

It is "tax".

It is "tax" which unites them both as inseparable partners in a system of 
mutual wants and satisfaction… a system that is infinitely larger and more 
wondrous than their own relatively smaller individual "world".

Now, what is "tax"? In the scenario we have built, tax is the "sacrifice" 
that both the farmer and the minister must make in order to sustain their 
relationship of mutual dependence… i.e. canal-waters for the farmer and 
revenues for the minister. The farmer's "sacrifice" lies in his willingness 
to part with a portion of his produce to augment the minister's treasury. 
The minister's "sacrifice", in turn, lies in doing his utmost to provide the 
farmer with plentiful supply of water in the irrigation canals.

Tax, or the "Sacrifice" that tax essentially involves, is thus really what 
enables the farmer and the minister to each thrive and prosper in their own 
respective "worlds"… viz. tilling the field in one and governing the nation 
in the other.

"Sacrifice", it is concluded, is thus the strongest "connection" between the 
"world" of the farmer and that of the minister.

    *********            *************           ********

The Vedic "AchAryA-s" urge us to use the above analogy in arriving at an 
understanding of the "connection" subsisting between the "human world" and 
the "world of gods" too. We are asked to imagine and realise within 
ourselves the truth of how in much the same way as we saw the farmer and the 
minister relate to each other, the "world of humans" and the "world of the 
gods" too remain "connected" with each other.

Further, we are asked to reflect on how the "human world" depends upon a 
"world of gods" it knows very little about … or knows only so much as the 
farmer, we saw, knew about the minister's. We are asked to wonder about how 
much of the bounteous gifts man enjoys in this world…rain, sunshine, the 
air, warmth, food, health, progeny and sheer human well-being… how many of 
those gifts are actually bestowed on us by the "world of gods".

It is in return for such endowments we receive from the gods, say the 
"AchAryA-s", that humanity is obliged to pay its "connection tax" in the 
form of what the Vedas call "yagnyAm"… or "sacrifice".

What is "yagnyam"? What is "sacrifice"?

To know what is "yagnyA" or what is "sacrifice" which will please the gods… 
to know all that, it is only to the primordial, the unchanging and the 
ancient Veda that we must all turn to.

Hence, it is said the Vedas are the "connection between the human world and 
the world of gods".

**********      **************        ************

In the Bhagavath-gitA, in Chapter 3 there are three verses (10, 11&12) that 
are of extraordinary significance in this context:

(1) "sahayagnyA: prajA srushtavA purOvAcha prajApatihi I
    anEna prasavishyaDhvamEsha vO'astivashta-kAmaDhuk  II
(In the beginning of Creation the Lord created Man and He created Sacrifice 
too. Then He said to Man, "It is by sacrifice that you shall prosper; 
sacrifice shall be the cow of plenty that shall grant you all your wishes!")

(2) "devAn bhAvayatAnEna tE devA bhAvayantu vah:
     parasparam bhAvayantaha shrEyaha param avApsyatha II
(By this sacrifice please the gods and the gods in turn will support you. 
Thus nourishing one another may you both obtain the highest good.")

(3) "ishtAnBhOgAnhi vO dEvA dAsyantE yagnyaBhAvitAha I
tyredatthAna-pradAyai-BhyO yO BhunktE stEna Eva sa  II
(By the sacrifice offered by man will the gods be pleased and hence moved to 
reward him amply. But should man enjoy the bounty of the world without 
offering the gods their due, they regard him but as a thief!)

When the above stanzas are read together with a fourth one …Verse#32 of 
Chapter 4 … the analogy of the "achAryA-s" becomes complete and the relation 
between the worlds of men and gods and the place of  "yagnyam" in our lives… 
all become exceedingly clear to us:

"Evam bahuviddha yagnyA vitatA brahmaNO mukhE  I
karmajAn viddhi tAn sarvAn evam gnyAtvA vimOksha-yasE"  II

(The Vedas prescribe and approve many, many "yagnyA-s"! Knowing and 
performing them shalt thou be liberated!)

In the next post we will continue with the rest of the discussion on Verse 8 
of the LNKS.

adiyEn dAsAnu dAsan,
Sudarshan


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