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Yet again another confusion and misunderstanding - I humbly beg to state this

From: Jai Simman s/o R. Rangasamy (rjsimman_at_magix.com.sg)
Date: Fri Apr 21 2000 - 16:48:34 PDT

Dear Vaishnavas,

Hare Krishna.
Please accept my humble obeisances.

Yet again in His Grace Anand Karalapakkam's postings there seems to be what
I feel ideas akin to advaita/mayavada.Brahman is The Supreme Personality of
Godhead Himself.
That is admitted by Gaudiya Vaishnavas also.

Narayana or Krishna or Rama are not just forms of Brahman, at least not in
the impersonal or causal sense. Krishna is Brahman Himself. Rama is Brahman
itself. They should not just be termed as forms of Brahman as if Brahman is
something else apart from them which asssumes Their forms as and when
required and then finishes with that business the moment the avatar's
purpose is done with. As such, the terms Rama, Krishna, Nrsimha, etc. are
not just forms of some Brahman whose ultimate definition remains wishy washy
and undefinable. Vaishnava siddhanta's greatness lies in the fact that it
describes the Lord's kalyana gunas like no other in this world. The ultimate
conclusion is that Krishna is Brahman and Brahman is Krishna.
Rama is Brahman and Brahman is Rama. And all these forms are the forms of
the Lord ! Aha !!!!! notice here "of the Lord" !
Now am I a mayavadi who contradicts himself now ? No ! "Of the Lord" is
simply the helpless nature of the tool we are using to convey the esoteric
nature of the Lord, i.e. the feeble position of the English language ! What
can be done !?

Krishna and Rama are not limited names or names limited to one form or one
aspect. No ! That is a mayavadi concept. Therefore, they prefer to chant
Omkara, thinking that it is all-accomodating and eternal while the former
are sectarian names related to Vaishnavism which are ultimately temporal and
mayic once the saguna Brahman gives way to the nirguna Brahman once the
ultimate realisation is achieved. But our understanding is that any name of
the Lord, is fully encompassing being that of the Lord who is eternally both
saguna and nirguna. As such, it is not Rama and Krishna that are specific or
limited names. On the contrary, it is our crippled vision that makes them
appear sectarian and limited. Rama and Krishna are for all. And Omkara is
nothing but another indication of Krishna or Vishnu - "giram asmy ekam
aksharam" - Bhagavad Gita 10.25

If we are to say that the name of the Lord is just a subsection of the Lord
in as much as Anand Prabhu has said that Krishna and Rama are subsections of
Brahman who manifests Himself in other forms as well, that is erroneous. The
Lord being absolute, the Lord's name. form, qualities, pastimes, entourage,
etc. are verily the Lord Himself. That is the absolute nature of the Lord.
All forms therefore are indicative of Brahman in its entirety. It is only
the deficiency of the English language that sometimes confuses us. We have
to just be careful of that.

The Lord is purnam in all circumstances and with Krishna or Rama, all other
forms are also present in toto. That is Brahman. They are the same Supreme
Person whose another name is Brahman. Not that Rama and Krishna and
Narasimha are different forms, each lacking in the qualities of the other.
It is only a question of whether the Lord choses to manifest these qualities
or not in a certain roopa. That's all ! We must always remember that the
Vedas do not deal with anything, whether material or spiritual, in terms of
presence and absence, in terms of existence and non-existence. On the
contrary, it deals with these in terms of an object being manifest or
unmanifest. The essential existence however is eternal.  These two things
are totally different. Especially, when we relate to the supreme lord, we
must remember that He is svarat, or fully independent to manifest or
unmanifest His qualities as He so desires. For example, Lord Narasimhadeva
does not manifest madhurya bhava. Are we then to say that the Lord is
incomplete in that form ? No ! He simply choses not to manifest that bhava
which is always present in Him. Therefore, the differences in forms are not
those related to prowess or sentiment. They pertain  to rasa-tattva,
something which the Lord, by His own sweet will, manifests or unmanifests,
according to His own desire. It is only within the context of tasting
intimate mellows or rasas that Gaudiya Vaishnavas view the form of Krishna
as akhila rasamrta murti, or that personality who manifests all rasas and
bhavas in toto and to the fullest degree, and who is the bastion and the
basis of all intimate rasas in their fullest expression.

That same personality Krishna is also the same Narasimha, Narayana.
Admitted. But he does not manifest that sweetness of intimacy in terms of
rasa in these forms. They are there always with Him, but He chooses not to
manifest them, that's all. Not that they are absent ! That is offence.

Brahman is merely another name of the Lord who is fully and eternally
endowed with His kalyana gunas in His multitude of manifestations. Yet
again, we should not understand these manifestations to have come into
existence at a certain time after being absent prior to that period. We
should never adopt the material conception in this regard. When it is said
that the Lord assumes a certain form or takes on a certain identity, this
does not in any way indicate that the Lord was devoid of such an identity
prior to His assuming it. No ! Only in terms of before and after when
indicating a pastime, are these terms such as "assuming", "taking",
"became", etc. used. These are not at all accurate english translations of
esoteric sanskrit terminology. This has to be remembered. Actually, the Lord
is eternally present in these forms. When we say that Agnideva gave Lord
Krishna the sudarshan chakra after Arjuna and the Lod burnt the forest, it
does not mean that the Lord was devoid of the sudarshan chakra and that He
then got it as a present. No ! The chakra is His eternal paraphernalia. But
in that pastime, He made such an arrangement.

The term "Brahman" has to be understood in the context within which it
appears in the Vedas. What the Mayavadis describe as the undifferentiated
impersonal Brahman is not the same as proper understaning of Brahman who is
none other than Sri Hari. The Mayavadis actually unknowingly refer to the
undifferentiated monism of the Brahmajyoti, which is the effulgence
emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord, as Brahman itself. They
take that as the topmost and view the personality of the Lord as a mayic
manifestation ensuing from that jyoti or nirakara. They take that as
Brahman. But Brahman is actually Sri Hari, Narayana, Krishna, etc. - that
same supreme person. It is only that, akin to terms like Ishvara or God or
Bhagavan, the term does not describe His intimate and specific pastimes to
indicate what exactly his personality and entourage are ! It is just like a
citizen of the country calling his President "Mr President". The President's
family members though will call him "darling", "father", "brother", "appu",
etc.and know of his intimate details. All the names refer to the same
person. But depending on the depth of understanding, intimacy and personal
detail, one name indicates more than another in terms of the specific
identity .

But what is seen as the impersonal Brahmajyoti which is another issue
altogether, i.e. the bodily effulgence of the Lord, is mistaken by the
mayavadis to be the sum total highest and only true Brahman - that which is
devoid of kalyana gunas, lila, rupa, etc. And that is wrong and offensive.

Therefore, depending on the context, Brahman sometimes refers to the
absolute truth, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in other contexts it
refers to the brahmajyoti or the indifferentiated impersonal effulgence
emanating from the Lord's spiritual body which the mayavadis erroneously
consider to be the former.

Yes, The Brahmajyoti, paramatma and bhagavan aspects are all forms of the
Lord only. Admitted. Gaudiya Vaishnavas also admit that. But while the name
"prime minister" on the part of the citizen and the "dad" and "darling" of
the prime minister's family members refer to the same person, which name is
seen as a more intimate full blown glimpse ? therefore, even with equality
and similarity and oneness, there is a gradation in terms of intimacy and
access.

Would Sri Vaishnavas or any Vaishnava for that matter, merely chant
"Brahman, Brahman" or meditate on paramatma as separate from Narayana and
His form ? No ! They would rather give up their lives than do that ! The
Bhagavan, Sriman Narayana, Krishna, Rama, etc. with all of His kalyana gunas
in his lovely form, as archa avatara is our worshippable object and we see
Brahman, paramatma, etc. all as Him in His topmost personal aspect. That is
what is meant by the fact that while all 3 features indicates the same
person, it is the Bhagavan feature which gives most access in terms of His
detailed and intimate kalyana gunas and the Vaishnava seeks to see the Lord
in this aspect and view all other aspects as features of this topmost
aspect. He is immediately reminded of his beloved Rama, Krishna, Vamana,
etc. We never hear of a Vaishnava described as a worshiper of Brahman or
paramatma in as much as he is described as a worshipper of vVishnu. This
does not mean that Vishnu is someone apart from Brahman. Just that we know
more - the most - in terms of the details of that Brahman in its highest
aspect as Narayana, Vishnu, Hari, Krishna, etc.


Your servant,

R. Jai Simman
Singapore





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