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From: sudarshan madabushi (
Date: Sat May 08 1999 - 01:35:03 PDT

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s,

We continue from the last post No:10 on LNKS.

Trout are common specie of fish. They are spawned in deep and upstream 
regions of large river systems. Millions of trout-eggs float on rivers 
meandering down hundreds of miles before finally gorging into the sea. The 
larvae of trout break out of eggs and along with the gushing river-waters 
disappear into the distant expanse of the oceanic world.

Trout spend about half their life-time in the sea… thousands of miles away 
from their original "home" … ie. the river-systems where they were 
originally spawned.

Trout-larvae quickly grow into robust juveniles and then, in about a year's 
time, they mature to full adulthood. As the juveniles mature, they develop 
all those wonderful sense-organs of sight, hearing and touch … 
the"chaksush~Endriyam", "srOtriyEndriyam" and "sparshEndriyam" we described 
in the last post. With the aid of those unique "sarvEndriya-s" (sense 
organs) fish survive the rigours of oceanic life, thrive and prosper.

About 2/3 years into the prime of their adulthood, trout are observed to 
leave their habitat in the great oceans and prepare to embark upon a great 
journey ("prayANam", in Sanskrit). No matter where they happen to be 
drifting in the vast, cold and desolate seas, and no matter how many 
thousands of miles away, trout will resolutely set out to swim back to their 
"homes"… to their natal streams… and to the exact spot on the river where 
they were first born!

Now, no ichthyologist to date has been able to fully explain why the 
"journey" is undertaken at all… but there is no doubt that trout do 
"journey". The trout's extraordinary behaviour is given a special name by 
scientists. They call it the "homing instinct" of anadromous fish.

A trout journeying 1000 miles on the high seas to its native stream 
encounters numberless obstacles on the way ("paripanthinau", to use the 
Gita's term for them!). For instance, it can be tossed about by tidal waves 
in the eye of a storm; it can be driven several leagues off course by strong 
currents or gusty wind; or it can fall prey to bigger fish like sharks. 
Using its rather uniquely adapted "sarvEndriya-s" … its sense of sight, 
smell, and hearing… the trout skilfully evades or escapes such dangers. 
Somehow the fish manages to maintain a steady course… and after several 
months of arduous journeying thus, finally makes it "home"!

Having at last reached the precise spot where it was first born inside a 
tiny egg, the adult trout begins to itself spawn and breed. Sometime after 
having accomplished the purpose of its long journey… one day, the trout 
passes away silently in the waters of its nativity ("jala-samAdhi").

Now, for every one such trout that successfully completes the "journey", 
there are, alas, a hundred unfortunate ones that do not! This is because as 
they swim up-stream many trout fall into the trap of the angler's rod. Lured 
by stinking maggots, rotten worm and other decaying grub served as 
irresistible bait, trout become easy "catch" for thousands of anglers the 
world over for whom "trout-fishing" is a great weekend pastime. Quickly thus 
the fish are lured, hooked, seized and impaled on an angler's line….

Trout meet with a terrible and bloody end indeed... an end which Sankara 
bhagavathpAdA in the LNKS very vividly describes in Verse#3 as 
"samsAra-jAla-pati-tasya… sarvEndriyArTha-baDishArTha-jashOpamasya 
prOth-Kandita-prachura- tAluka-mastakasya …"!

*******        ***********           ************
The story of trout is the perfect poetic allegory through which both the 
bhagavathpAdA and Swami Desikan accurately sum-up the anxious condition of 
Vedantic man as he struggles to subdue and control his own "wayward senses" 

Please carefully consider this:

So long as it stays on course during the great journey from the high seas to 
the cool waters of its natal streams, the trout's various sense-organs 
provide it unfailing means to avoid, overcome or flee the dangers it 
encounters. Its "chukshUshEndriyam" helps it perfectly navigate thousands of 
nautical miles; its "srOtriyEndriyam" forewarns it of prowling predators of 
the sea; its "sparshEndriyam" (its sense of touch, highly sensitive to 
salinity-levels of water) help it locate the gateways to its "home" --- the 
mouths where rivers drain into the sea. Undoubtedly, without its wonderful 
"sarvEndriya-s" a fish would never complete, indeed, even a yard of its 
journey's full length.

And yet, tragically, the moment the fish stray off-course, those amazing 
"sense-organs" that enable trout to sail oceans and to defy the perils of 
wind, water and hostile predators… the very same "sarvEndriya-s" are seen to 
offer it no protection at all! Not even against a cadaverous little worm 
dangling as putrid bait at the end of a fishing-rod! Right in the middle of 
an epic "journey of high purpose" (the marvel of what the science of 
ichthyology calls "the homing instinct"!) we see trout suddenly abandon 
course, succumb to the lure of a mere rotting worm… and meet its ruinous 

Now, no less wayward than those of trout are the superior "sense-organs" of 
Man too! His unique and marvellous "karmEndriya-s" and "gnyAnEndriya-s" 
certainly enable him to conquer this world. Tragically, they let him down in 
the endeavour to attain the other world!

It is this tragic condition of Man akin to that of fish that Swami Desikan 
reminds us of in the verse in his "abeethi-stavam" (Verse#10):

"As swarms of fish unto ruin seduced
By charming maggots on a deadly line,
Thoughtless men embrace too
The myriad baits of un-virtue.

To those the world has thus entranced,
Thy Word is nothin' but bitter pill --
The folly of men medicine shan't mend
Ranga, only Thy kindness swiftly will!"

The senses are described as leading Man to "rasa-durvishay… 
parihAraThi-vimuKha" i.e. he is smitten with love for "baits of un-virtue"… 
for the sensual objects of coarse gratification, very alluring in appearance 
("priyatE"), yes, but fatal to the true purposes of his life("a-hitam")… 
exactly as wiggling worms are to trout!

The senses indeed conspire to lead Man away from the straight and narrow 
course of the Vedantic Way (shown us by the Word of the Lord in the Gita, 
"tvad~upadesha-teevrowshadAth" )… the Way of that long "journey" the human 
spirit, like hapless trout, must complete too by crossing the sea 
("samsAra") … in the fervent hope that one day it will reach its true 
"home"… up in the "native streams" in the Kingdom of God ("parama-padam").

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

Dear bhAgavatOttamA-s, we have now completed verses#3 and #4 from the 
"lakshmi-nrsimha-karAvalamba-stOtram". In the next verse#5, Sankara 
bhagavathpAdA describes the 3rd primal fear of Man, "SORROW", as follows:

"samsArakoopa-atigOram-agAdamoolam samprApya 
"lakshmi-nrsimha mama dEhi karAvalambam !"

"Dark is this well… this life, my world --
An abyss of numberless misery;
Where serpents of sin, agents of distress,
And angels of fear hold sway."

"Lend me Thy Hand and set me free, Lakshmi-nrsimha!"

We will take it up for discussion in the next post.

adiyEn dAsAnu-dAsan,

P.S. Please bear with me for proceeding at snail pace. Like most of you I 
too have an 8- to-8 job to hold down and it does take up much of my time. 
But please be assured that with the Grace of Lord Lakshmi-nrsimhan of 
Ahobilam we will certainly try and cover all the remaining LNKS verses in 
good time.)

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