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THE HINDU ONLINE : God's compassion, His foremost quality

From: Murali Karamchedu (karamche_at_scf.usc.edu)
Date: Tue Oct 17 1995 - 19:02:30 PDT

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God's compassion, His foremost quality

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Date: 06-10-1995 :: Pg: 24 :: Col: c

Cl: Religion

MADRAS, Oct. 6.

        The  Supreme  Being according to Sri Vaishnavism  is  the
abode of countless auspicious qualities (kalyana gunas). While He
is  the transcendent Lord of the entire creation of non  sentient
and sentient beings, which makes Him the only sole refuge of all,
His  nature of easy accessibility (saulabhya) on the  other  hand
makes  it possible for human beings with all their weaknesses  to
approach Him for succorn.

        Sriman Narayana the Supreme One is also known as Bhagavan
because He is the home of the six gunas  jnana, bala,  aishvarya,
virya,  sakti and tejas  which have an important function in  His
role of creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe. The
philosophy of this religion gives an important place to the gunas
of the Lord in the context of the redemption of the souls.

        In  his discourse Sri Veeraraghavachariar  said,  Vedanta
Desika  in  his  Dayasatakam with poetic ingenuity  goes  to  the
extent  of declaring that without His guna of  compassion  (daya)
all other auspicious traits of the Lord will amount to blemishes.
Like the wealth of a rich man which only causes destruction  when
it  is not put to charitable cause, without compassion all  other
qualities of the Lord will not be of any help to us.

        This  stotra work of 108 verses in ten different  virutta
styles on the compassion of God is believed to have been composed
with inspiration from Nammazhvar's outpourings of the  compassion
of  Lord  Srinivasa in his Tiruvoymozhi. One may  rightly  wonder
when the Almighty has innumerable auspicious qualities fit to  be
eulogised.

        His  transcendent (Paratva) nature emphasises His  omnis
cience,  Lordship  and omnipotence but, if His  saulabhya  nature
does not come to the fore it will not be of any benefit to human
ity. Thus with his rare genius Desika personifies the quality  of
daya as a consort of the Lord making all his other gunas  subser
vient to her.

        When  His quality of jnana shows up the faults  of  human
beings it is His daya which intercedes on their behalf and  makes
Him  overlook  the faults. Further Desika explains in  this  poem
that it is His compassion which urges Him to create this universe
to provide an opportunity to the souls to strive for their salva
tion.  It  is His compassionate grace which sustains  the  entire
creation  and  when necessary withdraws it  into  Himself.

        Another  important point he makes here is that  the  Lord
who  is considered as the first teacher to humanity, out  of  His
compassion comes to the world to teach the scriptural truths from
time  to time in the form of different Acharyas. He compares  the
Lord's  compassion  for man to that of a  mother's  unconditional
love for her child.


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