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daya and its synonyms

From: M K Sudarshan (
Date: Sun Oct 27 1996 - 23:58:25 PST

srimatE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear "bhagavatOttamas",

Often language holds the key to some of its own mysteries. If one is ever
watchful of the dance that words-at-play perform or if one is ever attentive
to the cadences that they generate through the works of poets (especially
one as great as Swami Desikan), one can, I believe, secure a richer
awareness of the larger reality that lies veiled behind them.

How wonderful has been the past few days spent in subjecting to intensive
scrutiny the Lord's most celebrated "kalyana guna" i.e. "daya" as eulogised
by Swami Desikan! How thought-provoking too! the assertion that the quality
of "kshama", the actual "deed", being superior to mere "feeling" which
"daya" or "karuna" is ! 

I sincerely believe that Swami Desikan himself would have enjoyed such
challenges to his poetic vision!

I still am unable to persuade myself that Sriman Tatachar is right in his
assertion. Y/day in my posting I had referred to the 72nd verse of the Daya
Satakam in support of why I am unable to endorse Sriman Tatachar's view.
Today I put forth another reason and this time it is based on the way we use
language to describe language !!

We all know very well that often we have no choice but to resort to
figurative expressions to enhance the effectiveness of communication of a
certain thought or idea or concept.

For e.g. I am basically a financial professional and very often I find
myself using the expression "bottom-line consciousness".I am aware that when
I use this term I have at the back of my mind a whole host of inter-related
and associative ideas to convey and which cannot be adequately evoked by use
of the more simple synonym, "profits". I say this because when I consciously
use the term "bottom-line consciousness" I know I want to say something
more, convey more, than I know I would be if I were to use the term
"return-on-investment (ROI) consciousness". This is because the former
expression, by virtue of common parlance, appeals to a wider, but lay,
audience whereas the latter expression would convey a narrower but more
specific message to a group of specialist accountants. This I would do,
although I would know, as a good accountant(which I think I am!), fully well
that "ROI consciousness" is a much more definitive expression than the
loosely structured term "bottom-line".I would know that I simply have no way
of reducing "ROI" to a figure of speech of acceptable quality to
professional accountants although the popular belief is that "ROI" and
"botton-line" must be synonymous.

Similarly, if you apply the above yardstick to the use of Swami Desikan's
use of synonyms of "daya" one would tend to argue that "anukampa" is indeed
a unique and unparalleled expression. This is because the synonyms like
"karuna" "daya" and "krupa", we know, have crept into common parlance by
being associated with such metaphors (you could call the process as
"metaphorization") like "daya-sindhO" or "karuna-sagara" (ocean of kindness)
or "krupa-nidhi" (fund of mercy).

But when you look at the case of "anukampa" I don't see there is anywhere in
literature or common parlance (in as much as my limited knowledge can
appreciate) an instance of the term being similarly "metaphorised". This
means language itself is helpless and unable to render the term amenable to
figurative manipulation! 

What therefore cannot be metaphorised must indeed be, I conclude, a unique,
sui generis mode of expression.

In this context it is needless to even consider a term like "kshama" which
struggles to qualify, as we have seen, as even a synonym of "daya".

This is the reason why I think that Swami Desikan's use of the exquisite
synonym "anukampa", to denote the Lord's quality of mercy, is that much MORE
SPECIAL. Or at least definitely, in my "professional opinion", as special as
"ROI" is to "bottom-line" !!!

Srimate srivan satagopa sri narayana yatindra mahadesikAya namaha

most humbly,