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Swami Desika Master of Analogy - 7 (February 15, 2009)

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

Analogical Gems 31 to 35

31. How a person rejoices upon seeing well-wishers, how he is apprehensive of his enemies and is indifferent towards others (Saasthreeya Niyamana Adhikaaram):

அநுகூலரைக் கண்டால் சந்தந குஸுமாதிகளைப் போலவும், நிலவு தென்றல் போலவும், அபிமத விஷயங்கள் போலவும் உகந்து வர்த்திப்பான். ப்ரதிகூலரைக் கண்டால் ஸர்ப்பாக்ரிகளைக் கண்டாற்போலே வெருவி வர்த்திப்பான். அநுபயரை கண்டால் காஷ்ட-லோஷ்டாதிகளைக் கண்டாற்போலே த்ருணவத்கரித்து வர்த்திப்பான்.

In this chapter, Swami Desika teaches us the 'Art of Living' as per Sri Ramanuja's philosophy. He reproduces verbatim Sri Bhashyakaara's final words before leaving for Sri Vaikunta. "A Prapanna has to spend his life learning and teaching Sri Bashyam, Divya Prabhandam, doing temple Kainkaryams, meditating upon Dhvaya Manthra, etc. as far as his capabilities would permit."

He will come across three types of people during his everyday life; namely, Bhagavathas/well-wishers (Sri Vaishnavas), those who hate God and those who don't fall into either of these categories. How does one behave towards them?

Upon seeing Bhagavathas he should rejoice like he is experiencing a soothing sandal paste, fragrant flowers, soft moonlight, cool breeze, etc. The second category of people warrant fear like serpents or wild animals. He should be indifferent towards ignorant people who form the third category, as one would be upon noticing pebbles or small sticks in the pathway. If these people show signs of interest, he might teach them the Concepts of Reality. If not, he should always be patient towards them and pity them reflecting upon what they are missing out on. (This can be taken as a cue as to how a Prapanna should conduct himself towards relatives and friends).

32. How an emperor would be furious if his son is insulted in his presence (Saasthreeya Niyamana Adhikaaram):

ஸார்வபௌமனாய் இருப்பானொரு ராஜாவினுடைய புத்திரனை ராஜஸந்நிதியிலே பரிபவித்தால் ராஜா வெறுக்குமாப் போலே

Now, Swami Desika explains the consequences vide three interesting analogies (starting with this one) if the three categories of people are not treated appropriately as prescribed above.

If Bhagavathas are ill-treated, the Lord becomes furious as they are His favourite children. So, if a Prapanna harms Bhagavathas for any reason whatsoever, he would incur the wrath of the Lord as surely as would one who insults the prince in the presence of the emperor.

33. How an emperor would feel compromised if his wife were to beg from others (Saasthreeya Niyamana Adhikaaram):

ராஜா ஸார்வபௌமனாயிருக்க ராஜமஹிஷி க்ஷுத்ரஜந்துக்கள் பக்கலிலே மடிப்பிச்சை புக்கால், ராஜாவுக்கு அவத்யமாய், அத்தாலே அவளை அவன் வெறுக்குமாப் போலே

If for any material reason, a Prapanna serves a person who hates God, it is similar to an emperor's wife begging lowly commoners, which would seriously compromise the position of the emperor. Wouldn't he hate his wife then?

Similarly, a Prapanna is like a Royal Consort and has to behave in a befitting manner. When he has The Lord on his side why would he need mere mortals or even other smaller deities? It would be viewed by the Lord with total disfavour if the Prapanna were to switch loyalties.

34. How an ignorant person cannot differentiate between a gem and a coloured stone (Saasthreeya Niyamana Adhikaaram):

ரத்நத்துக்கும் பாஷாணத்துக்கும் வாசியறியாதாப் போலே

If a Prapanna has to serve an ignorant person immersed in worldly pleasures, the Lord would conclude that the knowledge which made him perform Prapathi was not followed through and he would be deemed as an incompetent person who cannot differentiate between a gem and an ordinary stone. Irrespective of their status in the society, Bhagavathas are the ones to be respected and served by the Prapanna.

35. How a person is let off with a thorn bite instead of a spear bite (Aparadha Parihaara Adhikaaram):

'வேலிட்டுப் பாயவெண்டுமது முள்ளிட்டுப் பாய்ந்து கழியு'மென்கிற கணக்கிலே

In this chapter, Swami Desika enumerates the things to be done by the Prapanna to right the wrongs that may possibly have been committed by him. It is comforting to note that through this analogy, the Acharya first assures us that we would never be punished deservingly once we have been accepted through Prapathi.

Like the king who hands out differing punishments to various offenders taking into account their physical capabilities, work place, relationship to him, etc., the Lord, with his inexhaustible quality of mercy, gives us a small punishment disproportionate to the nature of our offence say a prick with a thorn instead of a plunge of the spear. A blind or lame person, a person who works in the queen's boudoir, a servant who carries the royal flag, etc. are dealt with leniently by the king and their crimes are pardoned with whipping, suspension, ex-communication, etc. as the case may warrant, instead of capital punishment.

So, if it appears that a Prapanna is suffering from certain misfortunes during his life, it is only to save him from worse and to prevent him from committing further offences.

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Next in series: Gems 36 to 40, on March 15, 2009.

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