(Continued from page 7)
Deuteronomy 31: 6
Sathya Sai Baba Himself assures us:
You take one step towards me;
and I will take ten steps towards you
The third name above namely Arta-trANa-parAyaNa has a great significance. The word is very commonly used with reference to Lord VishNu because there is a hymn in praise of VishNu by name: Arta-trANa-parAyaNa-stotraM. This was done by Kuresa, one of the intimate disciples of Sri Ramanujacharya in the 13th century. The hymn praises the Lord by saying He is the only Refuge and this is testified for all time by Six Monumental Witnesses. These are Prahlada, Vibhishana, Gajendra, Draupadi, ahalya and Dhruva. The period of time that these mythological characters cover is almost from the time of creation up to the present era. Thus the span is as long as a period of 1.9 billion years. God exhibits His superlative affection, Apex of benefaction, Infinite Compassion, Total absolution, Instant availability for protection, Nature of being the Ultimate Refuge in these six unforgettable instances. The first Sloka of this hymn of seven verses lists all these six names and what the Lord did for each one of them and so characterises him as the Arta-trANa-parAyaNa. For this Sloka and the details about these six instances, go to Six Monumental Witnesses.
A few words about the concept of surrender will be in order in the context of these three names. Devotees of Sai Baba have heard of the concept of 'surrender' from bhagavAn himself and also from the numerous personal experiences of devotees. Traditionally the concept of surrender has been elaborately described, particularly, in works which belong to the vaishnavite schools. The Act of Surrender (prapatti), according to the Ramanuja school, has six requirements:
1. The determination to do only that which is favourable to the Lord and pleasing to Him. (AnukUlyasya sankalpaH). It was here that the famous surrender of Bharata to Rama failed in its norms. Bharata wanted to bring back Rama to the capital, and not allow Him to continue his stay in the forest. This the Lord not only did not like but it went against His more fundamental requirement of upholding the promise to which the father Dasaratha was committed. Vibhishana on the other hand is even certified by the Lord as to have come with friendly intentions only (mitra-bhavena samprAptaM) and consequently deserves acceptance.
2. The avoidance of everything that is unfavourable or displesing to the Lord. (pratikUlyasya varjanaM). It is no use saying I surrender to Baba and then continue to eat non-vegetarian food. Vibhishana was superlative in this requirement; because
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