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Swami Desika Master of Analogy - 20 (March 15, 2010)


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


Analogical Gems 96 to 100


96. How one cannot wear an ornament received as charity without any misgivings (Sishya Kruthya Adhikaaram):

காலன் கொண்டு ஆபரணம் பூண்டாற் போலே

Swami continues to caution the Sishyas about acquiring knowledge beyond the acceptable methods.

As per the Saasthras, a Sishya has to approach an Acharya in all humility and do his bidding without demur and wait for the right time to clear his doubts and so on. If he does not follow this and somehow acquires knowledge, then while imparting the same to others, he would be derided.

Here in the analogy, Swami indicates a ritual wherein a person who is too ill, donates a small idol decorated with ornaments after imbibing it with Manthras, etc. for his well-being to a poor man. The person who receives this gift out of desperation cannot wear the ornaments in public as he would be subjected to ridicule. Knowledge acquired by improper means is similar to these ornaments. It might lead to undesirable results.


97. How a rootless creeper parasite on a tree is to be destroyed (Sishya Kruthya Adhikaaram):

வேரில்லா கொன்றன் போலே

If a Sishya has acquired Sasthraic knowledge by proper means, then he should always glorify his Acharya when he becomes a teacher himself. If this is not done, the import of his words would be suspect and not understood properly. He is likened to a creeper parasite which is rootless — as he has forgotten his roots, i.e., from whom he acquired his knowledge. Further, not glorifying one’s Acharya is considered one of the 32 unpardonable sins (Bhaagavatha Apacharams).


98. How a person who holds the lamp to show the way to the king has to entrust it to someone dependable before going on the king’s errand (Sishya Kruthya Adhikaaram):

விளக்கு பிடிக்குமவன், தன்னை ராஜா ஒரு கார்யத்துக்குப் போகச் சொன்னால் தன் கையில் விளக்கை அதுக்குப் ப்ராப்தரானார் கையிலே கொடுத்துப் போமாப் போலே

This is a very apt analogy in that Swami compares the passing of knowledge to the passing of lamps between two competent people so that there is no darkness of ignorance.

If a king sends the lamp-bearer on an errand, then he would transfer his lamp to a competent person and then leave. He would not dare to leave the king in darkness.

Similarly, a person who has received knowledge from an Acharya has to pass it on to competent Sishyas so that such knowledge is spread through proper channels. But he has to shed light on his Acharya’s qualities and attributes and glorify his name before proceeding to impart the knowledge acquired from him.


99. How a prince would proceed for his coronation on invitation from the King in all pomp and splendour (Nigamana Adhikaaram):

பிதா யௌவராஜ்யத்திற்கு முடிசூட்ட அழைத்துவரவிட்ட ராஜகுமாரன் போமாப் போலே

In this final chapter, Swami Desika consolidates all the concepts expounded by him in the earlier chapters and gives the gist of each chapter in a short and crisp manner.

After the means has been adopted by a Prapanna, once he leaves his mortal coil, he will proceed on a way which is called Archiraadhi Maargam which is filled with celestials who welcome him and celebrate his arrival with various gifts and offerings. In short, he is like a prince who is on his way to coronation, proceeding in all pomp and splendour.


100. How one undergoes on this earth what all the cottonseed endures and how one’s life is similar to a Persian wheel drawing buckets of water from a well (Nigamana Adhikaaram):

பருத்திப்பட்ட பன்னிரண்டும் பட்டுப் பூட்டைக் குண்டிகைப் போலே

A fitting finale emphasising on the imperativeness of Prapathi, as the series draws to a close.

Once a Jiva enters the mother’s womb, he undergoes tortuous processes similar to what a cottonseed endures before it can be made to cloth. For e.g., the cotton is pulled from the seed, stretched on both sides, expanded and contracted, the knots are undone, it is rolled and deflowered, cleaned and pounded to flat shape.

The Jiva is just like a small bubble at first, then he grows and gets his organs and so on. After all this, does it get over? No. Just like the Persian wheel which draws water from the well and pours it into the fields and again goes inside the well to draw more water and empties the bucket, again goes into the well, the process is endless. He is born, he dies, he is again born, again he dies, again he is born, again he dies... and so on.

The only way to get out of this vicious circle is to perform Prapathi by approaching one’s Sampradaya Acharya, concludes Swami Desikan.


If we reflect upon Swami Desika’s command over the concepts, it takes our breath away. Indeed, Lord Venkateswara Himself descended on the earth as the great Acharya to show us this easy path of Saranaagathi and redeem us from the muddy waters of Samsara. There is a treasure-house of Granthams authored by Swami Desika and a life-time will not be enough to learn even a few thoroughly. For the hitherto uninitiated, it will be a step in the right direction to make a start by participating in Kaalakshepams or discourses by a Sampradaya Acharya.

ஸ்ரீமதே நிகமாந்த மஹாதேசிகாய நம: !


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S. Padmalatha being felicitated


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Series concluded.



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