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Swami Desika Master of Analogy - 2 (September 15, 2008)

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

Analogical Gems 6 to 10

6. How the sailor needs to know only the route he has to take and not the entire length and breadth of the sea (Thathva-thraya Chinthana Adhikaaram):

"அபரிச்சேத்யமான கடலிலே படகோட்டுவார் வழிமுதலாக வேண்டுவன தெளியுமாப் போலே"

In this chapter Swami Desika has enunciated the three Realities Chethana, Achethana and Iswara (the sentient, non-sentient and the super-sentient) and described the essence of all the three. While explaining the Iswara thathvam, Sri Swami expounds that it is only Sriman Narayana who is the Supreme Reality and sets out to describe his nature, various attributes, form, wealth, exploits, etc.

Swami then establishes that Goddess Sri and Narayana together make up the single Reality of Iswara and the Divine Couple have divided between themselves the divine actions such as recommendation for salvation (Purushakaaram) and punishment. Swami Desika avers that Sri and Narayana do not form two Realities but a single Supreme Reality. This is corroborated by all the Saasthras and the works of our preceptors. So it is needless to question the veracity of the same. Citing illustrations, he opines that in such extremely profound matters, it is better to know only what we need to for the purpose of deliverance rather than confounding ourselves with matters which are beyond our scope.

So, just as the sailor who ventures into the sea need not and cannot know fully the immeasurable water body, just learns about a safe route to reach the shore across, we need to accept unquestioningly the philosophy as professed by our preceptors.

7. How a person who is fortunate enough to obtain food products without personally cultivating them need not worry about cultivation (Thathva-thraya Chinthana Adhikaaram):

"க்ருஷி பண்ணாதே உண்ண விரகுடையவன் க்ருஷி சிந்தையை விடுமாப் போலே"

Sri Swami herein states a fact which is heartily felt by all of us. it is extremely difficult to master the various philosophical works which are immensely complex and tend to confuse the intellect. So, one must approach an ideal preceptor and learn and clearly understand only those concepts relating to the means to reach the Lord Supreme's abode and refrain from striving to acquire knowledge in various other Saasthras.

One who can buy the stuff from the cultivator/merchant, would not worry about the weather, availability of seeds for cultivation, etc. Similarly, our preceptors have already cultivated the rich land of our philosophy and the produce is available to us in a ready-to-use form and so we need not waste our time in knowing about unimportant things but concentrate on learning the essence of the Saasthras, namely, the proper means to attain the Lord.

8. How a person gets relieved of his sins after a dip in the river Ganga even if his intention was to assuage his thirst (Paradhevatha Paaramaarthya Adhikaaram):

"விடாய்தீரக் கங்காஸ்நாநம் பண்ணப் பாபம் போமாப் போலே"

This is a particularly relevant analogy to most of us who cannot help but desire for material things. Even if we desire material things we should pray to Sriman Narayana for them and not other deities. Why?

People worship various deities for getting various things like wealth, fame, good health, etc. and it may seem that these wishes are getting fulfilled immediately but it is Sriman Narayana who is the actual source as he is the Immortal Soul (Antharyaami) residing in the bodies of these deities. Further, these smaller Gods or Pretenders cannot give Moksha. But if one approaches Sriman Narayana without resorting to others like Siva or Brahma, he would be granted material wealth also and gradually made to embark upon the path of spiritual pursuit as the wealth granted by the Lord Himself is good-natured (Saathvik). This is because of the absolute mercy of the Lord who is pleased that the person came to Him even if it was only to get a petty wish fulfilled.

Just as the person who becomes pure after a dip in the Ganga irrespective of the fact that he fell into it unintentionally or he simply wanted to assuage his thirst, we get cured of our trivial desires and progressively opt for higher goals even while enjoying the material benefits bestowed on us by the Lord.

9. How the child princes of a smaller kingdom just have to repeat their nanny's words to get succour from the sovereign (Adhikaari Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"தாதிமார் சொன்ன பாசுரத்தைச் சொல்லி ஸார்வபௌமனை சரண்புகும்
முக்தரான ஸாமந்தகுமாரர்களைப் போலே"

Saranaagathi is mainly performed by two methods, namely, Ukthi Nishtai (repeating the manthras after the preceptor in front of the Archaavathara (Divine form of the Lord) and Acharya Nishtai (being included in the preceptor's Saranaagathi).

There are five pre-requisite qualities (Pancha Angas) for performing Saranaagathi which are:

  1. Aanukoolya Sankalpam Pledging to do only those acts prescribed in the Saasthras as pleasing to the Lord;
  2. Praathikoolya Varjanam Averring to refrain from doing things which are forbidden in the Saasthras;
  3. Maha Visvaasam Unswerving belief that Sriman Narayana is the sole protector;
  4. Gopthruthva Varanam Explicit request to the Lord to accede Moksha; and
  5. Kaarpanyam Realisation of our haplessness, that is, that we are incapable of carrying out the difficult means (Bhakti Yoga) to attain Moksha.

Even a person who is not fully cognisant of these five components, can still perform Saranaagathi if he has the aptitude for it and clear understanding that only Sriman Narayana can protect him from being earth-bound again.

Just as the child princes of the conquered kingdom would repeat their nanny's words without fully understanding them to get succour from the conqueror, the disciple has to just repeat the utterances of the preceptor and surrender himself to the Lord, but with complete faith in salvation.

10. How a youngster gets alms from a wealthy well-wisher on uttering the words 'Bhavathi Bhikshaam Dehi' even if he is unaware of the etymology of the words (Adhikaari Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"பத-வாக்யாதி-வ்ருத்தாந்தம் அறியாத பாலன் ஒருகால் 'பவதி பிக்ஷாம் தேஹி' என்றால்
ஆட்யரான ஸத்துக்கள் அகத்திலே அப்போதே அபேக்ஷித-ஸித்தி உண்டாமாப் போலே"

This is another analogy pertaining to Ukthi Nishtai which establishes its fruition firmly. One might wonder as to how words repeated blindly could convey the speaker's intention and beget a response but it is clearly proven even in everyday occurrences that a person need not be an expert in the construction of sentences to make himself understood.

A young man of poor means, if he finds himself in a wealthy well-wishers' house and utters the words "Bhavathi Bikshaam Dehi" without knowing about their order, structure, construction, etc. would still get alms immediately because the person(s) to whom the words are spoken know(s) their meaning perfectly well. Sriman Narayana is waiting for us to surrender unto him. So, He is gratified by our Ukthi (utterance) even if we do not know its grammatical import and grants us the eternal kingdom of Sri Vaikuntam.

Since the nature of Lord's mercy is all-encompassing, there is no doubt about the redemption of even ignorant people like us through Ukthi Nishtai.

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Next in series: Gems 11 to 15, on October 15, 2008.

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