Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dayaa - Kindness Towards All Beings

Kannada Article By: Vid. Narasimha Bhat

English Rendering By:  MR Bhashyam

Respond to (lekhana@ayvm.in)


In Sanskrit the word dayaa has many synonyms like Krupa, Anukampa, Kaarunya, Ghruna etc just as English has kindness, compassion, pity, benevolence, magnanimity etc. Plants and animals, birds and trees etc have a right to live just as we have. They have a right to live as they please. We have no right to snatch this freedom.  And they have to live without fear. Then there will be balance in the ecosystem. The sentiment that there should be conditions conducive for all creation to live harmoniously is termed as dayaa – kindness. When we have this sentiment, there will be no inclination to create trouble, torture or coerce others. When others are in difficulty they should be protected, just as we ourselves would like to be –When this feeling becomes automatic it is termed Anukampa- compassion. Our hearts melt looking at the pain of humans and other beings in the same way when we are tortured by others., Such a condition of mind is described as dayaa.  We aspire to have the compassion of the Lord and the kindness of elders.

The outcome of this sentiment is non-violence. The environs around the people who practice non-violence will be rid of enmity.  "If one is established in non-violence his proximity will be free of enmity (Ahimsaa pratishtaayaam tattsannidhau vairatyaagah)" so says sage Pataanjali. That was how the hermitages of the sages of yore used to be. The worship and practices in and around the hermitages and the presence of the sages themselves resulted in hostility being rid off in even animals which are natural enemies.


Punishment- Nigraha – is also an act of Kindness:

Punishing the evil can be termed as "benevolence in punishment".  Graciousness towards evil is not recommended.  Magnanimity towards people who breed sorrow in others should never be practiced. One should never be generous towards people who burn houses and hearths of people, who poison others, who are armed, who occupy one's land, who steal money or women. Killing these types of people even without enquiry has been termed as dayaa by the knowledgeable elderly. Preventing these types from committing criminal deeds is an act of kindness towards the society.  "The Lord's act of destroying evil is also benevolence" so Shri ShriRanga Mahaguru used to say. The poet Kaalidaasa in his Raghuvamsha, has subliminally described the act of Shri Rama Killing the lady-demon Taataka even without considering that she was a female as "Rama launched his arrow together with kindness"


The Kindness of Jeemoota Vaahana:

The play Naagaananda of the dramatist Harsha is a great example of the sentiment of kindness – Karunaa Rasa. Jeemoota Vaahana goes to a sea shore for relaxation. There he sees many skeletons of snakes and enquires from his friend MitraaVasu about those. His friend tells him about the agreement between the eagle Garuda and the snakes. As per the agreement, the snakes had to present to Garuda a snake everyday as food. Hearing this, Jeemoota Vaahana, overcome by pity, decides to save the snakes by offering his body itself as food to Garuda. He goes to the sacrificial rock as a substitute for the serpent Shankha Chooda, the only progeny to an old snake. The eagle is wonderstruck by the happy countenance of Jeemota Vaahana even though his body was being devoured. Then goddess Durga appears, sprinkles holy water and brings Jeemoota Vaahana to life again.  Garuda himself brings ambrosia from heavens and rains it on the dead snakes. All the snakes come back to life again. This is a famous story of Kindness of Jeemota Vaahana towards all beings.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.