The statement made by the poets that “The heart of a good and virtuous person (sajjana) is like butter”, is not true. Because, even by seeing the pain of others the heart of a sajjana melts, whereas the butter melts only when it comes in direct contact with heat.
Points for Introspection
A sajjana is a good and virtuous man. He is an embodiment of all noble qualities. He is calm and peaceful, compassionate and contented. He hates nobody, never becomes the cause of anybody’s agitation, neither does he become agitated by anybody’s behaviour. He remains unaffected in honour and dishonour, pleasure and pain; he is stable minded and has full reliance on God.
He excels in his love and compassion for every creature in this world. The Knower gains this Universal love by realizing his oneness with the whole world. As a result, he is able to feel others’ suffering as his own; his heart melts seeing others suffer. His life’s mission is to help everybody and bestow peace and happiness to one and all. He never expects anything in return.
Generally, human beings are selfish and constricted by nature. All their activities centre around them and their near and dear ones. They become possessive and attached to themselves and their wife, children, friends, relatives, home, wealth, property, belongings, prestige, recognition etc. They are happy when something good happens to their dear ones. Similarly, they become extremely sorrowful or worried if any adversity befalls the people whom they love or are close to. If anybody else undergoes suffering, they may feel sad, but they will not be concerned or ready to help as they would do when their near and dear ones are afflicted.
The sajjana is different from the common lot. His heart melts seeing the affliction of anybody and everybody in this world, whether known to him or unknown. His heart is therefore compared to butter! As butter melts easily by even a little amount of heat, so too the heat of suffering of any creature melts the heart of a sajjana. This is a common simile drawn about sajjanas by poets.
Now, this shloka says differently. It says, no doubt, poets have drawn a simile between a sajjana’s heart and butter, but, that simile is not only not true, it is definitely false. Why?
Butter is something to which heat has to be directly applied for it to melt. A sajjana’s heart is definitely different from butter because in order to melt, it does not have to come in direct contact with the suffering heart. Even from a distance when he either sees or hears about somebody’s affliction, his heart melts in love, sympathy and compassion. And he immediately tries to give solace to the person undergoing suffering. So, a sajjana’s heart is even softer than butter.
When we introspect, we find that our hearts become soft only in regard to some specific people who are dear and close to us. We do feel sorry hearing other unknown peoples’ sad plights, but mostly we feel relieved that we ourselves and our own people have escaped the adversities. Very rarely, we try to help unknown people with soul and heart, whereas when it comes to people whom we love, we make all efforts to help them in their suffering.
Surely, one would like to have a mind and heart which reaches out to every afflicted being. Even the thought of such a benevolent and soft heart which is able to give solace in need, makes one feel an expanse, free from all selfishness and constriction. Chanting of this shloka generates an aspiration to imbibe the qualities of a sajjana.
सज्जनस्य (sajjanasya) = of good and virtuous man; हृदयं (hṛdayaṃ) = heart; नवनीतम् (navanītam) = butter; यत् (yat) = thus; वदन्ति (vadanti) = say; कवयः (kavaya:) = poets; तत् (tat) = that; अलीकम् (alīkam) = falsehood, untruth; अन्य-देह-विलसत्-परितापात् (anya-deha-vilasatparitāpāt) = from the scorching heat generated by the pain or grief of others; सज्जनः (sajjana:) = good and noble man; द्रवति (dravati) = melts; न (na) = not; नवनीतम् (navanītam) = butter.
सज्जनस्य हृदयं नवनीतं कवयः यत् वदन्ति तत् अलीकम् । अन्य-देह-विलसत्-परितापात् सज्जनः द्रवति नवनीतं न (द्रवति) ।
sajjanasya hṛdayaṃ navanītaṃ kavaya: yat vadanti tat alīkam. anya-deha- vilasat-paritāpāt sajjana: dravati navanītam na (dravati).
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