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daya and its synonyms

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sat Nov 02 1996 - 23:00:11 PST

srimathE lakshmi nrsumha-para brahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear BhAgavatatOttamas,

The sure mark of a noble soul is its capacity to forgive easily without a
trace of pride or personal pique.

I am deeply grateful to Sriman Sadagopan for accepting my apologies and
clearing away a misunderstanding for which I am perhaps more to blame than
he. The Grace of Lord Srinivasa will never allow any such "manasthApam" to
arise and strain a bond ("bhagavath-bandham') between two 'bhAgavatas' as
long as there is sincere effort to pursue and sing His Glory.

With Sriman Sadagopan's "anugraham" I would like to continue my postings on
my personal appreciation of the daya satakam.I am happy to see that Sriman
Sadagopan too has resumed his own postings on this subject and I am sure we
will all have the opportunity to experience now two very different ways in
which the Daya Satakam can be appreciated : one in the way of a scholar like
Sriman Sadagopan and the other, a contemporary but lay sort of way, which is
mine. It will definitely be a study in contrast and undoubtedly my version
would be the one with narrower breadth of vision contrained as it is by a
woeful lack of acquaintance with the literature of our "purvAcharyas" on
this subject.But a study in contrast too has its lessons to offer in that it
will make us all realize in a dramatic way the pygmies that we are in
comparison to the giants that strode about during the times of
Alwars,Udayavar,Desikan and other such lofty souls.

Now, when I use the term "personal" "bhAgavatOttamas" should not
misunderstand it to be an assertion of any originality on my part. What I
mean is that I paraphrase in my own words what I have heard from "mahAns"
and "upAsakar-s" at public and private discourses I have had the good
fortune to attend. In my younger days I have sat and enjoyed at very close
quarters the wonderful discourses of my 'manaseega guru' U.VE.Mukkur
Lakshminarasimha chariar or that of Sri.Srivatsankhachariar or of Sri
Manjakudi Rajagopalaswamy or Sriman.E.D.Srinivasachariar of Tiruvaheendapuram.

These "mahAns" did not undertake discourses or "pravachanams" in the way of
ordinary public meetings of a secular mould. They took it as a labour of
"divine love", an urgent and missionary opportunity to spread "sat-vishayam"
to the masses at large in India who are gradually and  irretrievably losing
the capacity to learn and appreciate siddhantam through other customary and
age-old means of "kalakshepam" with a personal "guru" or to study in an
environment conducive to serious and formal inquiry.

I find the the efforts of such "mahAns" truly laudable simply because it is
so uphill.They carry their burden against great odds; they do not live an
easy life; their families sometimes do not enjoy a minimum of material
comforts. Sometimes we wonder at their fortitude and how they are able to go
on and on about their hallowed tasks in a spirit of utter unselfishness.
Sometimes their labour seems to us thankless.As Sri Mukkur swami II says, in
this age and ethos we not only have a dearth of people who could expound the
truths of our "acharyas" but greater still is the dearth of men whose minds
have a natural inclination towads matters spiritual.

It is in dedication to their efforts that I venture to paraphrase their
efforts on the i-net so that even amongst the community of "bhAgavatOttamas"
at large in the US and elsewhere there will be an awareness that even in
this day and age there are souls living in India who demonstrate robustly
the values of our siddhanta and sampradayam in what they preach and practice
back home in India. And they do this not for a livelihood but in a true
spirit of service to Sriman Narayana.
Anyway, now what I do in my postings is thus merely paraphrase their
wonderful expositions in a contemporary sort of way to satiate my own
limited "anubhavam". I thus merely reproduce their commentaries in a
parrot-like fashion taking no more liberties with their subject-matter than
is required to put forward the underlying message in an attractive and
robust manner to the best of my ability.
If the result is pleasing then it ought to be the handiwork of those
"mahAns". Instead if the result is dreary, lack-lustre and wholly devoid of
vibrant substance then, unmistakably, the fault must be my own.

In either case I crave the patience and indulgence of "bhAgavatOttamas".

Now some 'bhAgavatOttamas' may venture to ask me that in doing what I am
doing am I not in mortal danger of taking undue licence with the message of
Sr.Mukkur Swami II and others. What right do I have ? How do I know that
what I offer by way of paraphrasing their own discourses is correct and
faithful? How is one to cross-check that ?

My answer is that if one's attitude and fervour for the subject matter is
right and attuned truly to Sriman Narayana, then any licence taken and/ or
shortcomings can be easily overlooked.For I take care to ensure that in my
efforts I devote myself myself only to 'stotra' works of Desikan and others
and never to the weightier subjects of Veda,Prabhandham or smriti or
samhitas where misinterpreting or mutilating the commentary of anybody is
fraught with serious consequences.

My efforts in this regard can easily be regarded as a child's whim, if I
were to borrow the style of expression of our "sampradayam". All of us
indulge a girl-child whom often we catch donning the outsized
clothes,costumes and cosmetics of its mother or elder sister and preening
itself in front of a mirror and admiring its image. All of us know that the
clothes/costumes do not belong to the child.And so does the child.And yet
the child derives a strange sense of satisfaction in borrowing the
accoutrements and paraphernalia of the adult world, donning it in the most
absurd and comical fashion around itself and enjoying the spectacle.

My "manaseega guru" Mukkur Swami II used to say that even in the most
outrageous misrepresentation of "sat-vishayam" one can sometimes perceive
value if it is done in a true spirit of bhakti.And he used to relate this
humorous anecdote to underscore the point :

An archaka of Sri rangam temple in the days of yore was known for his blind
adoration of Sri Ranganatha. His greatest joy was to seat himself in the
Lord's sannidhi and recite the Vishnu Sahasranamam in the evening hours.So
lovely was his recitation of the divya-tirunamaas of the Lord that the other
devotees who gathered there for the Lord's darshan used to remain
spell-bound by the intensity of his recitation.

One day during such a recitation the archaka lost himself in a mood of utter
bhakti and began to add "namas" of his own creation in the midst of his
effort.The devotees gathered there were simply aghast.

At one moment the archaka addressed the Lord and recited,"Om dAridrAya namaha!" 
(Oh Thou poverty-sticken one!"). When the devotees heard this they were
outraged and protested,"Stop,stop! What nonsense is this? How dare you
defile the Vishnu sahasranamam!". The archaka blissfully ignored the
devotees and insisted on using the epithet,"Om dAridrAya namaha".

On hearing this it is said Lord Ranganatha was himself outraged and had to
get up from his "anantha-sayanam" and confront the archaka.

"Mr.Archaka," the Lord is reported to have demanded,"What nonsense is this!
How do you consider me as the "poverty-stricken one" ?".

To which the 'archaka" replied,"Oh Ranganatha, don't try to intimidate me. I
insist you are a "dAridriyan". You want to know why. I'll give you two
reasons.In so far as there is none who is equal to you, you are indeed a
"dAridriyan". Further, in so far as there is none who excels you, you are a
"dAridriyan". There is both a dearth of those who are your equals and those
who are your superiors, isn't there? So in that respect your are a
"dAridriyan", a being who can be said to be poor because he lacks a peer or
a superior.So Mr.Ranganatha, stop being a bully, and get back onto your
'anatha sayanam' and just shut up and listen to my sahasranamam archana !".

The Lord is reported to have mulled over this outburst of the archaka for a
moment and then meekly retired to his 'sayanam' without a murmur of dissent.

Likewise I am confident that even if I were to make errors in my efforts I
would be granted special amnesty by the Lord who extended it to a archaka
with a temerity to call him "dAridriyan" !!!!

SrimathE srivan satagopa sri narayaNa yathIndra mahadesikAya namaha.