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lakshmi-nrsimha karAvalamba stOtram- 2

From: sudarshan madabushi (sudarshanm_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Mar 23 1999 - 03:26:14 PST

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

The predominant mood and emotion of the "lakshmi-nrsimha karAvalamba 
stOtram" is one of deep and brooding "virakti".

A very facile but inaccurate translation into English of the Sanskrit 
term "virakti" is "world-weariness". But "world-weariness" is a sweeping 
term whose meaning quite often widely varies in shades of kind and 
degree.

In its most extreme sense the word is used to describe feelings of 
overwhelming revulsion for the society of men. Anchorites, misanthropes 
and the mentally perturbed are generally seen to suffer from such strong 
"virakti". Intense "virakti" urges such men to reject their families and 
friends, snap all ties with the community, with the world at large; and 
usually it makes them flee into forest-monasteries, island-retreats or 
sanatorium-wards. 

In age-old vedic society, as we all know, there was the tradition of 
men, turning grey in the evening of their lives, uprooting themselves 
completely from all family and social ties and retiring into the forests 
to live as "vanaprastA-s".  These reclusive hermits observed the 
"dharma" of their particular station in life and it chiefly consisted in 
displaying a certain kind of "virakti" - the calm and contemplative 
variety. It meant maintaining a steady distance from the world, 
jealously guarding one's spiritual space and privacy and, at all times, 
studiously keeping at bay the intrusive tumult and temptations of the 
world they'd previously known and willingly left behind. 

Then there is also the kind of "virakti" embraced by the enlightened 
ones. In the vedic times of yore, again as we all know, there were the 
"rshi-s" who chose to permanently reside in the deep woods. It was both 
their secular and spiritual home. The central mission of their lives was 
accomplished in the deep and solitary "aranyA-s"--- the perfect workshop 
in which the industry of their penance ('tapas'), contemplation 
('dhyAna') and worship ('smaraNa') gave yield to the sublime product of 
the "aranyakA-s", the centre-piece of the vedantic Upanishads.    

>From time to time, however, these "rshi-s" or sages were known to breach 
the norm of wonted "virakti". They would on occasions come out of their 
retreats in the jungle and mingle with the outside world not for social 
intercourse, of course, but to pursue their high purpose in life viz. 
promote 'dharmA' and well-being, regenerate moral values, instruct 
society in goodness and truth.

If one is even remotely familiar with the historical accounts of the 
Biblical sages/prophets like Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist one can 
surely appreciate how the "rshi-s" of the vedic times, who were even 
more ancient, might have lived maintaining that fine balance between 
distance from and engagement with the outside world…. that fine blend 
which is really the essence of true and noble "virakti".

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

None of the above types of "virakti", however, is what ordinary people 
like us experience in the space of  our individual lifetime. Neither 
does the "lakshmi-nrsimha karAvalamba stOtra" (LNKS) too deal with any 
of the same.

So what is so special about the kind of "virakti" … "world-weariness" … 
which we experience in life? And how does the LNKS deal with it?

This is what we must study in the next few posts.

adiyEn dAsAnu-dAsan,
sudarshan   

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