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Swami Desika Master of Analogy - 14 (September 15, 2009)

100 Gems from Srimath Rahasyathraya Saaram
S. Padmalatha, Chennai.

Analogical Gems 66 to 70

66. How a mental bath described in the Saasthras conveys purity, cleansing of sins and at once divine experience (Saadhyopaaya Sodhana Adhikaaram):

அவகாஹநாதிகளில் ஸமர்த்தன் அல்லாதவனுக்கு 'மாநஸம் விஷ்ணு சிந்தநம்' என்று பகவத் சிந்தநத்தை ஸ்நாநமாக விதித்தால், அது ஸ்நாநாந்தரங்கள் பண்ணுகிற சுத்தியையும் பண்ணி, பாபாந்ஹரங்களையும் சமிப்பித்து, அப்போதே பகவதநுபவ ரஸத்தை உண்டாக்குமாப் போலே

There are seven types of baths prescribed in the Saasthras (Avagaahanam, Divyam, Maanasam, Manthram, etc.) of which immersion in rivers is the prescribed one for able-bodied men. However, for those who are not fit for that, the other baths convey equal benefits and are in no way considered inferior. For instance, mental bath for an ill person is one wherein he is required to contemplate that the Lord’s feet is above his head and pure water flows from His feet on to his head. This bath not only conveys purity upon the body but also results in the cleansing of sins and a divine experience at once as the contemplation of Lord’s feet is involved.

Swami Desikan employs this analogy to establish that Prapathi is even greater than Bhakthi Yoga or Upaasana. One might wonder as to how Prapathi (which is a one-off, short and easy ritual) could be considered equal to Bhakthi Yoga? Further, how could the end-result possibly be the same for both? Even more baffling could be the fact that Prapathi ensures Moksha much faster as Praarabhdha Karma extending to further births are destroyed, which is not the case in Bhakthi Yoga.

The answer is that for those who are not qualified enough to do Bhakthi Yoga, Prapathi conveys the fruit of Moksha in its place and also the added benefit of getting it at the requested time just like the mental bath for a diseased person (An interesting fact to be noted here is that though we usually request for Moksha at the end of this birth, the Lord will grant our wish even if we request for it at a specific time say after a month, year or even a particular date. In this Kali Yuga, there have been instances of great Bhagavathas who have requested for Moksha on specific dates and departed on that date for all those present to observe).

67. How a seed cannot produce a different plant (Saadhyopaaya Sodhana Adhikaaram):

விதைக்கின்றவனுடைய அபிஸந்தி பேதத்தாலே ஒரு விதை வேறொரு பலத்தைக் கொடுக்கக் கண்டோமோ?

This is an analogy shown by some who raised an objection as to how Bhakthi Yoga and Prapathi beget opposite fruits namely wealth and pleasures in this world and Moksha?

As per the Saasthras, one can perform Bhakti Yoga or Prapathi to achieve anything desired, namely, wealth, exclusive realisation of one’ own soul (Kaivalya) or Moksha. (The Brahma Suthra - 3.2.37 — Phalamatha Upapathe: All fruits unto him — signifies this).

The opposing argument is this: Just as a mango seed cannot produce a coconut tree, the means should produce either one type of the end or the other. It cannot produce both. The answer is provided in the next analogy.

68. How selling something to the king and gifting it to him produces different results (Saadhyopaaya Sodhana Adhikaaram):

லோகத்திலும் தர்மசீலனாய் உதாரனான ராஜாவுக்கு விலையாக ஏதேனும் ஒன்றைக் கொடுத்தால் பெறும் விலை கிடைக்கவும், அது தன்னையே உபஹார புத்தியாலே கொடுத்தால் வேண்டுவதெல்லாம் கிடைக்கவும் காணாநின்றோம்

This is a beautiful analogy provided by Swami Desika as answer to the above question. If a person, say, a merchant sells a gem to a generous king, he will get a good price for it. However, on the other hand, if he gifts it to the king with a eulogy, the gratified king would grant his heart’s desire which might be worth more than the gem.

Similarly, Bhakthi Yoga or Prapathi enchants the Lord and thus the practitioners beget any fruit for which they were performed be they material things or the ultimate bliss.

69. How milk is beneficial for both the healthy and the health-conscious (Saadhyopaaya Sodhana Adhikaaram):

அரோகனுக்கும் ஆரோக்யார்த்திக்கும் க்ஷீரம் ஸேவ்யம் என்றதோடு ஒக்கும்

In this analogy, the issue debated upon is whether the continual meditation upon Lord Narayana as propounded by Sage Vyasa would apply for a Prapanna. A Prapanna might also meditate upon the Lord for the sake of it without considering it as a means since he has already performed Prapathi as the means.

Just as milk is beneficial for both healthy persons and the health-conscious, contemplation of the Lord’s nature, form, etc. would dazzle Bhakthas and Prapannas alike.

70. How the Mukthas experience creation, etc. of the world without actually participating in it (Saadhyopaaya Sodhana Adhikaaram):

ஜகத் வ்யாபாரம் பண்ண அதிக்ருதனான ஈஸ்வரனுக்கும் முக்தருக்கும் போலே

This is very bracing and heartening for those who are disqualified for certain Kainkaryams to the Lord as per the Saasthras. They can help those who are so enjoined and derive the same pleasure and fruit without nursing a sense of grievance.

Swami Desika adverts to a Saasthraic analogy for this. The Mukthas (Jivas who have performed a means and reached Sri Vaikuntam) are blessed with immeasurable freedom to do anything they wish to, except for creation of the world, its protection and destruction, etc. (Jagath Vyaapaara Varjam — Brahma Suthra - 4.4.17).

Here, a question might arise as to whether it contradicts the fact that Mukthas experience equal bliss as the Lord. The answer is that even though they do not actively participate in creation, etc., they can experience it on an equal footing with the Lord. Incredible, isn’t it?

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Next in series: Gems 71 to 75, on October 15, 2009.

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