Faith

Vedanta Desika’s wealth

Vedanta Desika’s indifference to wealth is evident in his Vairagya Panchaka. He was not tempted by its attractions. He saw no need to accumulate wealth, or to be attached to it. We think that without wealth, we cannot meet even our basic needs. But Desika shows us that these needs can be met easily, said V.K.S.N. Raghavan in a discourse on Vairagya Panchaka.

Can we not eat the grains scattered in a field to satisfy our hunger? Can we not just take a fistful of water from a pond to quench our thirst? Can a small piece of cloth not serve as loincloth? When our daily needs can be met thus, what is the need to praise kings to get gifts from them? To do so is a miserable state of affairs. There is a fire in the stomach called Jataragni. This fire causes hunger. Desika does not care if this fire of hunger were to burn intensely. That is no reason to praise kings for their rewards. He says his speech has the fragrance of a flower, and will not be used to praise mortals. It is intended only to sing the praises of Lord Narayana. The practice of waiting on the pyol of a rich man’s house, hoping to gain material benefits from him, is disagreeable.

Desika has a huge wealth, namely, the One who gave the world the Bhagavad Gita. When Lord Krishna, the charioteer of Arjuna, is with Desika, will he desire any other wealth? Krishna, the One who lifted the Govardhana hill to protect the Gopas, Gopikas and their cattle, is the Lord who is permanently in Desika’s heart. All wealth is perishable. But the Supreme One worshipped by Desika is an imperishable wealth. And so, Desika shuns the pursuit of wealth. In the fifth verse of Vairagya Panchaka, Desika uses the word ‘ dhanam’, meaning wealth, 11 times, to show that true wealth is the Lord.


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Printable version | May 19, 2022 8:34:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/vedanta-desikas-wealth/article65429767.ece