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"bandhu-s" & "jantu-s":KamasikhAshtakam

From: R.Balaji (
Date: Sun May 24 1998 - 00:55:24 PDT

srimathe lakshmi-nrsimha parabrahmane namaha
sri vedanta gurave namaha

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s",

Continuing last week's discussion on Desikan's "kAmAsikhA-kesari" -- our
Lord Narasimham, the Great "bandhumakhilasya janto-ho".


Swami's expression "bandhumakhilasya janto-ho" is really the perfect
poetic paraphrase of two very significant pronouncements of the Lord in
the Gita:

The first one is:

      "pithA-ahamasya jagathO mAthA dhAtA pitAmaha:" (Ch.9 Verse 17)

i.e.  I am the father, mother, kinsman and the grand-father of
       Creation ! ("Dhata" may be treated as a synonym of "bandhu".)

The second one, also in Ch.9, is Verse 29:

       "samOham sarvabhuthEshu na may dvEshyO-asti na priya-ha I"

Meaning : All my creations are the same to me. There is none that is
particularly hateful or beloved to me.

Read together, the two statements of the Lord in the Bhagavath-gita will
tempt us all back again into hotly debating the so-called "amorality"
(that delightful term used by my fellow Bhakti-member in his very
interesting query to me!) ... the so-called amorality of the
"akhilasya-bandhu" (or "jagatO-dhAta").

In the above 2 statements it seems to us as if the Lord is blowing hot
and cold, isn't it? Isn't He equivocating in saying He is indeed the
Great Kinsman of all creatures, at the same time however, "there is none
in the world that is particularly hateful or beloved" to Him? He
therefore regards them all alike ("samOham sarvabhutheshu") ---
irrespective of whether they are "good", "evil" or "indifferent".

Statements of this sort from the Lord make us feel very nervous, isn't
it? They make us want to ask again:

** What kind of a "bandhu" is He who remains so aloof, so "neutral" in
His dealings with relatives ?
** How do we bring ourselves to trust then in the goodwill of a "bandhu"
who declares no especial affinity with, let alone affection, with His
relatives ? 

** Why should the Lord go to such great length to make proclamations in
the Gita and to all the world that His familial tie with His kinsmen,
the "akhilasya-jantu-s", remains at best range-bound between tepid and
lukewarm ?

** Isn't "an arms-length bandhu" a contradiction in terms? Wouldn't such
a "bandhu" be the very travesty of the precious thing we call
"familial-bond" -- a thing which all the world in every home yearns so
much for? Don't we all expect our kith and kin to be nothing short of
warm, joyful, intimate, spontaneous, full-blooded and unconditional in
their affection for us....?

** In the ordinary world how would we react if a relative of ours came
into our home and proclaimed, "Aye, we are both close "bandhu-s" indeed,
my dear cousin, but you know I actually consider myself to be the sort
of person who likes to treat all relatives at arms length... with
neither too much affection nor too much dislike" !! 

Tell me, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", how many of us would tolerate such
superciliousness in a "bandhu"? 
We will continue in the next post.

srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yatindra mahadesikaya namaha