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daya and its synonyms

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Mon Nov 04 1996 - 22:46:47 PST

srimathE sri lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear BhagavatatOttamas,

As Sriman Vijay Srinivasan says I have taken a deep plunge into the ocean of
the Lord's dayaa (into which, I suppose, he accidently pushed me) and I am
enjoying it thoroughly notwithstanding some swift but passing undercurrents.
I thank him wholeheartedly all the same as otherwise this experience I am
presently enjoying would not have come easily in boring fair weather !!

My last posting was on Verse 50 of the Daya Satakam where the line "manyE
matha jada ive sutE vatsala madrisE tvam" was sought to be explained by way
of amplifying the sonorous "nama" from the Vishnu Sahasranamam :"sundaha"
which we saw denoted the Lord's "melting tenderness" or "anukampa".

The use of the word "jada" by Swami Desikan transports one into a high-gear
of emotion indeed. The flurry of words it generated,as in my case in the
last posting, may perhaps seem, as it did to our revered Sriman A.Ramaswamy,
as a "prodigious display of words" on my part.Let me assure you all that it
is not display of my literary vanity. I truly believe the imagery which
Swami Desikan employs, of a mother's empathy for an "idiot-offspring"
(jada), to characterise the "daya" quality of the Lord, srikes me as a
poetic masterstroke of a maestro who is perhaps several leagues ahead of any
poet I can think of. People like Sriman Sadagopan who can enjoy the Sanskrit
original must indeed be fortunate for their experience ought to be richer
than ours when they savour such passages of Swami Desikan.   

The word "jada", as Tamil speaking members will know, refers to a being
devoid of intelligence and feeling.("jadam mAri yEn wukkandu kondu irukkAy"
is a common expression in our homes).It denotes a sentient being which
behaves utterly like an insentient being (?!!)(if insentient beings could
ever behave at all!).

Now one must proceed to critically examine Verse 50 of the daya satakam.

Why does Swami Desikan employ "jada" to convey the idea that the Lord can be
beseeched to bestow an unusual and extraordinary sort of compassion for
nominal sentient beings but which virtually are insentient (viz. all of us)?

Are there any instances in our lores, puranas, smritis and itihasas where
the Lord can said to have shown or extended such extraordinary compassion to
"jadas" that Swami Desikan had in mind when composing Verse 50 ?

As far as my limited knowledge goes, the Lord has indeed shown compassion
for lower forms of life and intelligence i.e. animals as seen in the events
relating to Gajendran and Kakasuran. His Grace also is believed to have been
bestowed on even lower forms of life that have no locomotion like trees and
shrubs as in the case of the sacred basil i.e. 'thulasi'.But rare is the
instance in popular mythology or scripture where totally lifeless,
insentient and plain raw matter has been the beneficiary of the Lord's Daya.    

So then why, we should ask ourselves, does Swami Desikan employ an imagery
in his poem that does not seem very apt at all for the subject matter at hand ?

Is there a reason ? Of course there is; and the reason can be explained both
in terms of our puranas and, more importantly, in terms of two of the most
subtle but principal concepts in Sri Vishistadvaita philosophy.  

What it is we shall speculate in my next posting.

srimathe srivan satagopa sri narayana yatindra mahadesikaya namaha.


srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha