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Mani/mantra/& the garuda-legend-3

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Wed Mar 26 1997 - 23:28:42 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s",

Let's discuss Dr.Bruno Bettelheim's thesis on fairy-tales and the "uses of
their enchantment".

But first we should examine what Sri.U.Ve.Mukkur Swami II has to offer on
the subject of what I term as "the reflexivity principle" operating in

It might -- I repeat, it might --- throw some light on the queries raised by
Sri.Mani Varadarajan on the "garuda mantrA".

Mukkur Swamy II usually begins explaining this topic with a very humorous
anecdote which I reproduce below to the best of my ability :


Many centuries ago in a village there lived a brahmin boy hailing from an
extremely poor family.

Since the parents couldn't afford a proper education for him the boy was
encouraged to "school" himself. The parents wished to be left alone to eke
out a bare livelihood.

The boy therefore spent his life loitering around the village streets
merrily doing whatever he willed.

One afternoon the boy happened to pass by a house where the village
"ghanapATi" (vedic pandit) was teaching to a group of his students.

The sheer sound of "vedAbhyAsam" so attracted the boy that he immediately
desired and decided to learn the Veda himself.

He went upto the guru and appealed to him to enrol him with the other students.

The Master, however, first wanted to test the boy for any innate bent for
vedic study. Hence, he began the "entrance-test" by chanting a particularly
difficult "rk" from the Rg-veda. He asked the boy to repeat the same "rk"
after him. 

The boy listened just once to the "rk" and was simply demoralised. He
couldn't pronounce a single syllable from the "rk" in spite of the master
enunciating it clearly several times !!

Completely disappointed with himself, the boy took leave of the master
admitting he was unfit for vedic study.

"And so do I, my boy," said the Master, "Neither do I think you are cut out
for it."

Many months passed and the boy continued to pass by the same house of the
Master. Everytime he did so and the euphonic vedic sounds filled his ears,
he felt a strange thrilling sensation run through his body. He again became
fascinated with the idea of being able to learn the veda-s himself.

After a few more months of this strong desire gnawing away his heart, the
boy could stand it no more.

One day he again went up to the Master and said,"Master, I would like to try
my hand again at the veda-s, if you please."

The Master, this time, again set an "aptitude-test" by chanting a heavy
"ghanam" from the "Krishna Yajur veda". 

This time around the boy tried repeating the "ghanam" after the Master and
..... alas ! flunked very badly.

Again the boy left .... sorely disappointed.


We will continue in the next post.

srimathE srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha