I deem it a great honour and privilege to write a short Foreword to the DESlKASHTAKA of Brahmasri SANKARA DIKSHITAR of Krishnarajapuram. I have known him from .his student days at Kaladi. His unostentatious and deeply religious life, in the midst of the stress of modern conditions is proof positive of what intense faith in God and in his divine commands can do even in these days of exceptionally adverse circumstances. It is no matter for surprise therefore that he has always had in abundance the gracious blessings of His Holiness the late Acharya of Sringeri.
Brahmasri Dikshitar ever content his daily duties as an Agnihotri and would not care even to expound the Vedanta for he was too shy to pose as a teacher to anybody. It was really a surprise to him when, during the early hours of a morning on his way to the river for bathing, some words kept ringing in his ears and vibrating in his tonque and, before he returned from the river, he found some eight slokas ready made for him and his bewilderment was no less than that of Valmiki on the banks of Tamasa when his sorrow found expression and shape the form of a verse the primary fountain of the immortal Srimad Ramayana. He wrote the verses down and found in them summary of the life of Sri Sankaracharya. The more and more he contemplated upon them, the more and more flashed upon him the significances of each word. As he claimed no originality for this composition and believed them to be God sent for the benefit of the world, he immediately had them printed in the form of a small pamphlet adding a Tamil translation thereto.
As the language of the slokas is somewhat stiff, an explanatory commentary was deemed necessary, particularly correlating the ideas herewith the incidents in Sankara Dig Vijaya. The result is the present publication. Brahmasri K.S.Venkatarama Sastrigal of Sri Sankara Gurukulam, Srirangam, has been kind enough to include here a rough but fairly full paraphrase of the commentary in Tamil for the benefit of those unacquainted with Sanskrit. A part from the depths of meaning which the slokas disclose when read intensively, the mere repetition of the slokas by themselves daily, even without knowing their meanings, is bound to be of great spiritual benefit.
Brahmasri Dikshitar has prefixed to this publication an introduction quite characteristic of his method of exposition and I think it proper to reproduce here a few of the thoughts contained there. The world in general (and our body in particular) is really a prison where we have to undergo not only punishment for past misdeeds but also to undergo training and correction to save us from future misdeeds. The prison is not intended as a permanent residence; the ultimate aim of the prisoner ought to be to walk out of it pure and free. Hard work may be the lot of criminals and some amenities may be given to civil debtors but both of them are only prisoners. When we are in it, we must try our best to earn the good grace of the authorities, conform to the rules and discipline of the institution and merit by our conduct an early release from it. It may be compared also to a, hospital where we are housed for the time as inpatients. We must abide by the instructions of the doctor, conform to his diet regulations, accept his medicines sweet or bitter as they may be, and get cured as early as possible so that we may walk out of the hospital healthy and carefree. Similarly we must conform to the dictates of God, the superintendent of the worlds and the doctor par excellence, and by implicit obedience to Him earn His graces and His certificate of discharge. It is not always that the prisoners or the patients have direct contact with the head of the institution but it must be remembered that the warders or the nurses attend on them not on their own initiative but only on the instructions of and on the authority of that head. Similarly with those of us who are unable- to have contact with God direct, His representatives the Acharyas listen and attend to our needs and help us towards an early discharge. Our faith in them must be equally sincere and deep stated. It is our earnest hope that a perusal of this short but inspired Stotra will infuse and strengthen such faith in its readers.
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