You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1996

daya and its synonyms

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Thu Oct 24 1996 - 04:45:01 PDT

SrimathE Sri LakshmiNrsumha ParabrahmanE Namaha
Sri Vedanta Desika GuravE namaha

Many weeks ago I had posed a query on my posting on Swami Desikan's Daya
Satakam.It was with regard to the use of the word "daya" and its synonyms
"karuna", "krupa" "kshamA" etc. I had also quizzed "bhAgavatOttama-s"(if
they recollect) on which verses in the "satakam" do not contain "daya" or
its synonyms.

I was very happy to hear from Sriman Vijay Srinivasan on this subject. He
pointed out to me that I had failed to consider one other lovely synonym
"anukampa" and hence even the very first verse could qualify as an answer to
my question. How true ! The quiz master was caught on the wrong foot, as it
happens often !

Now if one takes "anukampa" too into account then the distribution of
synonyms employed by Swami Desikan in the Daya Satakam falls into the
following table:

                     Daya ---    57 verses
                     Karuna --   27   "
                     Krupa --    11   "
                     Anukampa--  11   "

                     Total       106 verses

"kshama" seems to me more as having the flavour of "forgivance" than pure
unalloyed "mercy" which the other synonyms connote.So I am leaving it out.

Two verses, No.8 and No.46, do not seem to contain any synonym.

Can someone in this group please confirm ? If true, then the arithmetic of
Sriman Vijay Srinivasan(who felt that there are 3 verses in the Satakam
which do not contain the synonyms)is more fallible then mine and in that
case the quiz-master has had his vengeance !

Jokes apart, can someone in this group help me with some Sanskrit (mine is
very very wobbly)? The word "anukampa", as I read it in a translation, could
be taken to mean an emotion of overwhelming compassion that causes one to
literally "shiver". "kampa" means, they say, "trembling/shivering/convulsing
in a state of acute distress" and the prefix "anu" denotes such a state of
feeling brought about by melting compassion. Swami Desikan, the literary
collossus he is said to have been in Sanskrit, employs such superlative
adjectives to describe the mercy of the Lord.

It appears to me then that "anukampa" simply outshadows the other synonyms
on the basis of the degree of superlativeness invoked.

Such extreme distress caused by compassion seems to have been exhibited by
the Lord, in my opinion, only in the events related to Gajendra and Prahlada
where the most dramatic appearances of Sriman Narayana in Hindu faith were
made, in my opinion.The Lord LakshmiNrusumhan was driven to paroxysms of
divine rage and yet,can you imagine? how ironic it was caused by an emotion
that was the very antithesis of "rage" i.e. compassion to the "n-th" degree
that Prahalada could command !

On a ten point scale thus I would give "anukampa" a score of perfect 10. 

The other synonyms in my opinion like daya,karuna or krupa or even kshama
seem wooden in comparison to anukampa. These would befit the emotions,
perhaps, the Lord felt when granting asylum to Vibheeshana or forgiving
Kakasuran or blessing Ahalya or protecting the Pandavas or bestowing favours
on His "buddy" (you Americans have nice expressions, indeed!) Sri Kuchela.
Anyone disagrees? 

This week's quiz now for "bhagavatOttamas" is :

On 10-point scale how would "bhAgavatOttamas" rate the other synonyms and why ?

Give sound reasons based on "vedic" scriptures, "puranas or itihasas" only
and not on a deep reading of the Oxford or Websters dictionaries. 

SrimathE Srivan Sri Narayana Yathindra mahadesikaya namaha