Faith

Definition of daya

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Daya or compassion is defined as the feeling of empathy towards the sufferings of others. As mere human beings we may think that we can help others to overcome their sufferings. But the power to remove all suffering is the unique faculty of the Lord alone, pointed out Swami Buddhidananda in a lecture. Compassion is what constitutes His greatness, says Vedanta Desika who celebrates this exclusive quality in his hymn Daya Sataka.

It is an accepted fact that none can plumb the depths of the Supreme Brahman’s infinitude, which remains beyond the range of human thought, word or imagination. Yet He chooses to reveal some aspects of His greatness as is seen in the scriptures engaged in exploring His enigmatic essence. The Vedas extol the Supreme Brahman’s infinite greatness in finite terms to enable us human comprehension.

He is described as the essence of the eternal truth ( sat), consciousness ( chit) and bliss ( ananda). Other sacred texts group the Lord’s auspicious qualities as — knowledge/wisdom ( jnana), strength ( bala), wealth ( aishwarya), prowess ( shakti), valour ( virya) and effulgence ( tejas).

But all these auspicious qualities and attributes shine with brilliance because of His boundless compassion towards His creation.

He makes known His laws through them and time and again incarnates to establish dharma and quell the unrighteous. He also descends as preceptors to teach human beings the path to salvation.

This is His way of establishing link with His creation and to make Himself available to us and also be within our reach, despite His awe-inspiring stature and supremacy which puts an unimaginable distance between Him and us. He pardons the sins of mankind and releases them from bondage when they surrender to Him.

Practice of non-violence ( ahimsa) in one’s thought, word and deed towards all beings is advised to promote harmony within oneself and with the outside world. It is a tall order but the Lord is the inspiration for He rides the crest of compassion.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:55:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/Definition-of-daya/article12557739.ece

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