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daya and its synonyms

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sat Nov 09 1996 - 06:56:35 PST

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

Dear bhAgavatOttamas,

Let's take a look at how Swami Desikan's use of the word "jada" in Verse 50
of the Daya Satakam resonates and echoes in an incident from the Srimad

To do that we need to transport ourselves to Nandagopan's mansion in
Gokulam. Nandagopan was Lord Krishna's foster-father and his wife Yasodha
His foster-mother.

One day one of the Yasodha's neighbours came storming into Nandagopa's house
and complained in a shrill voice to Yasodha."Yasodha, your darling boy
Krishna's pranks are now intolerable. The brat has again been stealing the
butter in my kitchen.One big jar of it that I had just finished churning
this afternoon.And when I confronted him with it he has the cheek, the
little rascal, he has the cheek to lie through the skin of his teeth! You
know what he says? He says he never touched it.It may have all just melted
away,auntie,in the afternoon heat, says the little ruffian !! I just
couldn't hold my temper anymore, Yasodha, and chased the brat.I really want
to get my hands on him and drag him to you. Now where is he, Yasodha, where
is that little butter-stealer of yours ? He's in there somewhere,isn't he?
Come out you little rascal, Krishna, come out!".

Hearing this Yasodha too lost her temper as this was the third time in three
days that this neighbour was complaining about Krishna. She pacified the
neighbour and told her to return home."Don't you worry, my dear, I am
determined to teach that ruffian a real lesson this time.I'll catch him
myself if I have to chase him to the end of this world.Don't you worry. You
now go back home and leave it to me", said Yasodha.

With grim determination in her eyes, Yasodha set out of her house with a
roller-pin in her hands, looking for Krishna into alley-ways and the nooks
and crannies of houses along the way. She knew that she would give him a
real hiding this time for his pranks "which were completely getting out of
hand these days".

Krishna scented trouble coming his way long before Yasodha set out from her
home. He bolted from one neighbour's house to another,scampering and ducking
for cover. He fled from one friend's home to another avoiding his mother who
pursued him with deadly seriousness. 

The arm of Yasodha's law however was too long. At last Krishna could go no
further and he now became desperate as he saw that Yasodha was not giving up
the chase.

As a last resort Krishna ducked into a house belonging to a potter called
DadhipAndyan. This potter had his workshop inside his house where he kept
all the accoutrements of his trade. There were many giant-sized pots in
various stages of completion stacked up in the workshop of DadhipAndyan.

Krishna made his move quickly. He sneaked into DadhipAndyan's workshop,
chose the biggest pot there and climbed into it and hid himself there.

Presently, Yasodha came by and shouted,"Krishna, hey, you rascal Krishna!
Show yourself, you brat!Come on, where are you?".

And then she saw Dadhipandyan himself. He was working away at his trade in
his workshop.

"DadhipAndya, have you seen my boy Krishna ? I'm looking for him", said Yasodha.

DadhipAndyan put down his tools for a moment and spoke to her.

"I can't say, Madam, but if you think he's around here somewhere, you're
welcome to look around my shop," said DadhipAndyan and casually strolled
over to the pot where Krishna was hiding and promptly sat on it to
completely seal Krishna from any danger of discovery.

Yasodha looked around the shop a bit and then gave up the search and went
off muttering,"Krishna, you wait till I get my hands on you ! Where on earth
are yu hiding ? You can't be at large forever, my son, you've got to come
home to me ! Then watch what I do to you, you little ruffian !".

After a few moments, Krishna spoke from inside the giant pot to DadhipAndyan.

"Oh, kind-hearted potter, thank you very much for saving me from my mother's
wrath. What a kind soul you are, Sir DadhipAndya!".

"Oh, don't mention it, Krishna. I am your great friend, you know that, and
what are good friends for, eh !", said DadhipAndyan as smoothly as the
butter that Krishna hankered after.

"Ok, potter, now get off the pot and let me out. I can't sit here squeezed
any more. I'm suffocating, DadhipAndya."

"Uh-oh, not so fast my friend, Krishna. I just saved your skin and you won't
go without doing me a good turn in return will you ?", said DadhipAndyan.

"What, you wan't instant repayment of debts, do you, you wretched
potter?,"said Krishna." I should know you are a wretched tradesman. Anyway,
what is it you want?".

"Krishna, yes I need something from you. And I know none but you can give
it. Will you promise to give me if I let you out ?", said the potter.

"For god's sake, DadhipAndya, tell me what you want, man, I can't breathe in
here.Let me out, please," Krishna cried.

"NO, my friend, I don't believe you. You first promise me to give me what I
want, and then I'll let you out."

"DadhipAndya, stop this nonsense.Stop kidding, I am suffocating in here.What
on earth do you want from me, tell me quick and I promise you I'll give it
to you," said Krishna pantingly, "Get me out of here, will you, NOW!!".

"You promise?".
"I promise you, man. Tell me, quick, what it is it?".
"Oh, Krishna, 'sarva-loka sharanya', my great refuge, my protector, I know
who you really are, my friend. And I know you are the only one who can give
me what I crave. I ask you to promise me to grant me "moksha", salvation. If
you do, then I'll let you out forthwith", said the wily potter at last.

"Phew ! Dadhipandya, is that all you want! Why didn't you say so earlier?
Now get me out of here. Fast. Yes, yes, yes, I promise you moksha! Believe
me, yes, yes, yes! I promise you and not only you but also this great big,
ugly pot of yours too, moksha! Only please get me out of this pot
now,Dadhipandya, I guarantee you and this pot moksha, please, please, please
let me out of here !!!, said the Lord.

The potter smiled triumphantly at having extracted his ransom of 'moksha'
from the Lord of All Creation so easily and promptly jumped off the great
pot. Out scampered Krishna and wishing DadhipAndya good-bye He ran away home.

DadhipAndyan stared after the divine boy, long and hard, for a moment. And
then he smiled and slowly patted his great big pot and spoke,"See, my
friend, how easy that was ! Extracting 'moksha' from the Lord of the the
Three Worlds! Piece of cake, eh!".

And thus ended the story in the Bhagavatham where a potter and his pot too,
a piece of mere "jada", managed to extract 'moksha' from the Lord.

Many millenium's later in the great temple of SRI RANGAM there was an
apocryphal story of one Pillai Perumal Iyengar(I am not sure if I have the
exact name right) who was an ardent devotee of the Lord. He was in the habit
of collecting flowers from the temple gardens (brindavanams) everyday and
bringing them over to Lord Ranganatha's 'sannidhi'. He would seat himself in
the 'sannidhi' and then weave a floral garland to adorn the Lord. He had
been doing this "kainkaryam" -- and only this --without a break for many years.

One day this Ayyangar swamy was seated at the 'sannidhi' weaving Lord
Ranganatha's floral garland. Suddenly, he stopped mid-way and spoke out to
the Lord:
"oh, Ranganatha, after all these years I have suddenly decided that the time
has come for me to have "moksha"."

Lord Ranganatha heard this and is reported to have chuckled merrily:
"Oh, ayyangar-swamy, pray tell me what is this sudden desire of yours?
Whither this sudden love of "moksha" ?"

"It just struck me, Ranganatha, that I have had about enough on earth. I
think I need a break from it all. I think I need "moksha"", said Ayyangar.

"Oh, ho, ho", guffawed the Lord, "so ayyangar swamy needs 'moksha', eh,",
said the Lord and suddenly got up from his 'anantha-sayanam'.

"And what makes you so presumptuous, my dear Ayyangar swami, indeed to
believe that you merely have to ask for "moksha' and I will give it readily
to you?".

The ayyangar swamy was aghast at Lord Ranganatha's remark.

"What do you mean, Ranganatha ? I am being being presumptuous in asking for
'moksha' ?", he queried.

To which the Lord replied, "Ayyangar swamy, you think 'moksha' is such an
easy commodity to acquire? Do you know what it is? It is the stuff for which
great souls and 'mahAns' dedicate their whole lives for many "janmAs".They
go through severe penance and austerities for it. They pine and yearn for
it.They undertake the most formidable sacrifices for it.And you want it just
for the asking ! Tell me, ayyangar swami, what have you ever done to merit
'moksha'? Have you conducted a "yaggnyam"(sacrifice), have you mastered the
vedas, have you sung your heart out in devotion, have you undertaken fasts
for me, has your heart longed for me in the deep nights when your soul cried
out for me? Tell me ayynagar swami have you done anything that would make
you deserving of 'moksha'?"

The ayyangar heard this outburst of Lord Ranganatha for a moment and then
retaliated with his own which was doubly vehement :

"Rangantha, cut the drivel out. Don't give me all that bit about meriting
'moksha'. The sacrifices, the penance, the devotion, the fasting, the
soul-searching and all that --- Ranganatha, you tell me, truly, do you
really keep all that in mind when you grant 'moksha'? If so, then, how come
you granted DadhipAndyan's great big ugly pot 'moksha' in your Krishna
'avatara' ! Tell me, oh Ranganatha, how many great sacrifices that piece of
"jada" performed, how many vedas it mastered, how many fasts it undertook
for your benefit, how many nights it's soul cried out for you ? Answer me,
Ranganatha, answer me now, how come you so easily granted 'moksha' to
DadhipAndyan's pot, that piece of senseless, inert, insentient "jada" !!
Pray tell me, in what way am I less qualified than that big pot in which you
hid from your mother, Yasodha, for your gift of 'moksha' which you brag is
so precious !!".

The Lord is reported to have listened to the ayyangar's great oration and
fallen into a great, contemplative silence, stunned by his rapier-sharp
judicial arguments. After a while Rangantha went meekly back to his
"anantha-sayanam" without a further word of protest.

And there ends our story of "jada" too being the recipient of the Lord's
"daya" and "anukampa" : the central theme of the Daya Satakam in verse 50
where Swami Desikan sings, "manyE matha jada iva sute vatsala madrisse tvam".

I trust that the above episode of DadhipAndyan and his pot gives us all
courage and confidence that the Lord will definitely shower on us his
compassion even if we, as mobile "jada-s", are unworthy of it. All that we
need to do, like the pot, is to make sure that we are constantly associated
with the person and presence of lofty souls and "bhAgavatOttamas" (like
DadhipAndyan) who are fit to receive his Grace.In all probability we too
might, by the sheer outside chance of "being in the right place at the right
time", be granted His benediction.

I now conclude this series in prayer once again to the Lord of the Seven
Hills to bless us all with his unfathomable "daya". 

srimathE srivan satagopa sri narayan yathIndra mahadesikaya namaha.

most humbly,





srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha