You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1998

more on "bandhu" and KamAsikAshtakam

From: R.Balaji (
Date: Sun May 17 1998 - 01:08:23 PDT

srimathe lakshmi-nrsimha parabrahmane namaha
sri vedanta gurave namaha

Dear "bhagavattOtamAs,

Last week I was discussing Verse 4 of the 
"kAmAsikAshtakam" which reads as :

           bandhumakhilasya janto-ho
             bandhura-paryanka bandha ramaniyam
           vishama-vilochana meeday
             vegavati pulina keli narasimham  !

In my comments on the phrase,"bandhumakhilasya janto-
ho", I had tried to show how the term "bandhu" is invested
by our poet-philosopher-preceptor, Swami Desikan, with
more significance than actually meets the eye. 

I tried to show in my post, you will all recall, that the Lord 
is "bandhu" not only to "bhaktA-s"/"prapannA-s" like 
Draupadi,Prahladan or Gajendran; He is also "bandhu" 
of all "jantu-s" of all "akhilam" --- ones that are
ignorant or "indifferent" to the Lord and downright
evil ones like Hiranyakasippu as well!(I narrated 
a small story of a widow, her son and and their Unseen 
Benefactor to exemplify the "indifferent jantu-s" of the
world; and as for evil "jantu-s", I had quoted the 
unusual precedent where the Lord bestowed on Hiranyakasippu
a rare privilege for which even His 'bhaktA-s' do not 
readily qualify i.e taking a "jantu" in His arms and laying
it upon His lap: what as per "Sri-siddhAntam" doctrine,
we know, constitutes the crowning, consummative moment
of "mOksha" in "parama-padam").

A member who read the above post of mine wrote to me 
saying, "from the general drift of your comments, does it
not appear that the Lord makes no distinction between 
good, evil and indifferent "jantu-s" of the world and 
treats them all alike? Is this not a rather amoral,
un-scriptural view to take?".

Certainly, this is a point worth further pondering and 
discussing about, isn't it ?

Indeed, if there was a God who made no distinction between
good, evil and indifferent "jantu-s" and freely awarded 
His Kinship, His "bandhu"-ship, to one and all without
discrimination, then what kind of perverse God would
that be ?!

Where then is the need for "dharmA" or "sAstrA" in this
world? What then would be the moral difference between
good and evil, between sin and righteousness, between 
redemption and damnation? 

If everyone is eligible for the Grace of the Great Benefactor,
the "akhilasya-bandhu", if the gates of heavenly paradise
were to be open to all, then, wouldn't earth be turned to 
veritable Hell? Wouldn't morals and mores, values and 
self-restraint all flee this world?

Yet why then (we should ask ourselves) why then does 
Swami Desikan use the expression,"bandhumakhilasya 
janto-ho?!(the true Kinsman of All Creatures--good, bad 
and the indifferent). Isn't Swami Desikan then guilty of a
poetic malapropism? Is he not employing poetic hyperboles
which though sounding good to the literary ear ("ramaniyam",eh?)
nevertheless do nothing but pure mischief in misleading 
our minds and head headlong into a swirling eddy of moral 
confusion("vishama-vilOchanam" at work here, perhaps??!)?

This poetic "vishamam" (mischievousness) of Swami Desikan 
actually reminds me of the good Christian who queried 
his village pastor,"Sir, you talk of the God Almighty 
being All-Compassionate. Why would such a God then have 
to damn souls("jantu-s") to eternal perdition in Hell?". 
The village pastor was hard-pressed to defend the 
compassionate Lord but somehow managed a devious response:
"Sir, the Lord indeed created Eternal Hell
but His Compassion hath made it eternally empty." 

The good Christian pondered over this for a while and 
then it struck him that if Hell was really designed to
be eternally empty, then, where was the moral difference 
between good Christians like himself and the sinners,
blasphemers and evil un-believers of the world?!! 

It is reported the good pastor promptly and swiftly 
withdrew from the scene before any further uncomfortable 
supplementaries from the good Christian came his way !

Now, the uncomfortable posers before us are:

(1) How can Swami Desikan's Lord, our Great Lord Narasimham
of the "kAmAsikAshtakam", accomplish the un-accomplishable
or reconcile the irreconciliable?

(2) How is it possible for Him to be "bandhu" to one 
and all in this world ("akhilasya-janto-ho") ?

(3) How can the Lord ever avoid being tainted with the
reproach of "amorality" if He chooses to shower
the Grace of His "bandhu"-ship on all alike :
good, bad and indifferent "jantu-s"?

Now, dear "bhagavatOttamA-s", when describing Lord 
Narasimhan our great "AchAryA-s" can often be seen to use 
a singularly apt expression :


The literal translation of the above phrase is:
      "the resourcefulness to accomplish what is
       truly un-accomplishable".

The Lord of Ahobilam as we know from "puranA" was an 
un-paralleled Master of "aghatitha-ghatana-samarthyam"!

Look at the way He assumed the mutually irreconciliable
form of Man and Animal; consider how He set out to 
accomplish what was thought to be un-accomplishable:
the destruction of the powerfully  evil, Hiranyakasippu;
the Lord seemed to appear out of nowhere and yet He was 
present but a few yards away in a pillar within the 
precincts of Hiranyakassipu's palace itself; He chose 
as His weapon nothing but mere nails with which to battle;
He overcame every single obstacle, reckoned as 
insurmountable, that came between Him and the adversary!!

All this we know from the "purAna".

To One such who was indeed so renowned for "aghatitha-
ghatana-samarthyam", we must ask ourselves, to One such
who excelled in "making the impossible possible", would it
really be so difficult to accomplish that fine and delicate
"moral reconciliation" which we now say is required between 
the Lord's position as (a) the "bandhu" of all "jantu-s" of
the world and as (b) One who maintains, at the same time, the 
inviolable moral order which surely prevails
over good, evil and the indifferent, giving 
each its due or what it deserves under a divine system of 
dispensing reward, punishment and retribution?

This is the crux of the issue, isn't it? Believe me, it's a
tough one to unravel too, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s"!

But unlike the village pastor I do not
intend to flee from the scene.
I shall return to squarely address this question in
my next post.

srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yatindra mahadesikaya namaha