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Swami Desika – Master of Analogy - 3 (October 15, 2008)


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


Analogical Gems 11 to 15


11. How the insects inhabiting the body of a lion are carried from one hill to another effortlessly when the lion jumps (Adhikaari Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"ஒரு மலையில் நின்றும் ஒரு மலையிலே தாவும் ஸிம்ஹ சரீரத்தில் ஜந்துக்களைப் போலே"

This is an analogy with reference to Acharya Nishtai. Swami Desika declares fervently that there is no doubt about the fruition of Saranagathi done through Acharya Nishtai as it is stated in Sandilya Smruti thus:- “There could be doubts about the devotees of God attaining their goal but there is absolutely no doubt that the devotees of these devotees (Bhaaghavatha Bhaktas) would definitely get their hearts’ desire”.

The insects which live in the body of a lion need not make any effort to cross from one a hill to another as they would be carried automatically when the lion jumps. Swami Desika states that this is an example given by Sri Mudhaliaandaan, a nephew of Sri Ramanuja who was of the view that when Sri Ramanuja crossed the sea of Samsara, his direct disciples also traversed the same without much effort.

This holds good for all the Acharyas in our Sampradaya who perform Acharya Nishtai for their disciples.


12. How the silk cloth in which the gem is kept, has to be seen first before the gem can be seen (Upaya Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"உள்ளிருக்கிற ரத்நம் காண்கைக்குக் கிழிச்சீரை கண்டாற் போலே"

Swami Desika gives a detailed description of the two Upayas, namely, Bhakthi Yoga and Prapathi in this chapter. Bhakthi Yoga has two components — Karma yoga and Gnana Yoga which lead to the realisation of one’s own soul (Atma Saakshaatkaaram) before progressing further.

Karma Yoga is the process of performing one’s duties as prescribed in the scriptures as would his birth and status (Varna and Asrama) warrant and specific rituals like thapas, japam, homam, yagnam, etc. without any desire for fruits. These duties and rituals differ from Varna to Varna and Asrama to Asrama and various combinations thereof. For instance, a bachelor Brahmin, a married Brahmin, an ascetic Brahmin, a bachelor Kshathriya, an ascetic Kshathriya… each has a separate set of duties to perform.

Gnana Yoga means continuous meditation of one’s own soul with its unique aspects like atomness, oneness, blissfulness, etc. This would lead to the realisation of one’s self which makes him eligible for continuing with the Bhakti Yoga. Self-realisation is a pre-requisite for Bhakti Yoga. It is in this context that Swami Desika gives the example that one has to see the silk cloth in which the gem is kept before the actual gem can be seen.

The Lord resides as Antharyaami in our soul and so the soul has to be experienced first before the Lord can be seen through our mind.


13. How the form of Bhakthi Yoga is similar to the flow of oil (Upaya Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"தைல தாரை போலே"

This is a beautiful analogy for Bhakthi Yoga. Bhakthi Yoga means uninterrupted and loving meditation upon the Lord who is Omniscient, Omnipotent and the Ultimate Independent Reality. This uninterrupted meditation upon the Lord’s nature, form, attributes etc. is compared to pouring of oil and this has to be practised by the Bhaktha till his last breath.

It is interesting to note that this uninterrupted flow of thought is compared to the flow of oil and not to the flow of water. There is a scientific principle involved here. When you pour water, even though it may seem to be a continuous flow, actually there is the presence of air bubbles which tend to disturb the flow. But oil, when poured, has an undisturbed down flow and hence it is held that the meditation upon Sriman Narayana should be free from disruption by other thoughts.


14. How a thirsty person rejoices upon seeing a pond (Upaya Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"பெருவிடாய் பட்டவன் தடாகத்தைக் கண்டாற் போலே"

This analogy is simple and self-explanatory. There are three stages in Bhakti Yoga — Para-bhakthi, Para-gnanam and Parama-bhakthi.

The affectionate meditation as given in the previous analogy is Para-bhakthi and the temporary realisation of the Lord’s beautiful form in the mind is Para-gnanam. Once this realisation has been achieved, the Bhaktha rejoices like a thirsty person would upon sighting a pond, his love for the Lord is increased manifold and he longs for the union with the Lord. He is unable to bear subsisting on the earth any longer. This is Parama-bhakti and this would lead to Moksha without much ado.


15. How milk tastes sour for a person with defective bile (Parikara Vibhaaga Adhikaaram):

"பித்த உபஹதனுக்குப் பால் கைக்குமாப் போலே"

Swami Desika takes up two instances from Srimath Ramayana to demonstrate the five components (Angas) needed for Prapathi (Ref. Analogy No. 9). The first one is Thrijata’s Saranaagathi to Seetha Piraatti and the second is Vibheeshana’s Saranaagathi to Sri Rama.

Vibheeshana advised his brother Ravana to entrust the abducted Seetha Piraatti back to Sri Rama which signified his good intentions. This constitutes Aanukoolya Sankalpam. But the advice irritated Ravana who was obsessed with desire. Just like a person with defective bile cannot appreciate the sweetness of milk, Ravana was blinded by his own evil desire and hence refused to pay heed to the good advice given by his brother. Furthermore, he was enraged and ordered for Vibeeshana to be expelled from his kingdom.

(Swami Desika’s apt use of medical parlance is amazing! Is it any wonder that he was blessed with the title “Sarva Thanthra Swathanthra”?).

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Next in series: Gems 16 to 20, on November 15, 2008.



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