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Confusion Once more !!!

From: Jai Simman s/o R. Rangasamy (rjsimman_at_magix.com.sg)
Date: Sun Apr 23 2000 - 09:41:31 PDT

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

"I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes
with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him."

sri-caitanya-mano-'bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam

"When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established within this
material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me
shelter under his lotus feet? "

vande 'ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa-jivam
sadvaitam savadhutam parijana-sahitam krsna-caitanya-devam
sri-radha-krsna-padan saha-gana-lalita-sri-visakhanvitams ca

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master
and unto the feet of all Vaisnavas. I offer my respectful obeisances unto
the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami along with his elder brother Sanatana
Gosvami, as well as Raghunatha Dasa and Raghunatha Bhatta, Gopala Bhatta,
and Srila Jiva Gosvami. I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Krsna
Caitanya and Lord Nityananda along with Advaita Acarya, Gadadhara, Srivasa,
and other associates. I offer my respectful obeisances to Srimati Radharani
and Sri Krsna along with Their associates, Sri Lalita and Visakha."

Dear Vaishnavas,

Hare Krishna.
Please accept my humble obeisances.

Although I wish to end the mail thread, somehow or the other it has to
continue.
Anand while indicating that he wishes to discontinue with the SV-GV
discussion, has continued with his postings on the list.
Kasturi while terming our discussions as a stalemate and having indicated an
agreement to disagree, has continued with his thread. As such, I shall also
continue.

It has not been my intention to criticise SV. In fact, I have never
criticised SV if you were to closely read my mails. Both Anand and Kasturi
have gotten self-defensive of their own interpretations of Visishtadvaita.
That is the point that I am making. I addressed my doubts regarding the
points made in their postings, not Visishtadvaita per se.

I am not so thick skinned as to boast of the superiority of GV over SV on a
SV forum. The attack was inaugurated by Anand who called the opinions of the
GV sentimental. Any disciple has the obligation to defend his spiritual
master's works when it is attacked. I have done just that. Wherever the
criticism may come from, I must do my duty towards my spiritual master and
my sampradaya.

As such Anand, if you criticise, then you must be ready to also face the
firing squad wherever you may be. We shall not sit as dodo ducks to simply
get hit and smile gleefully. I had to write in a strong way to show you and
all the other SVs that such criticism can also be levelled in the reverse.
It is not at all difficult to criticise. It is only difficult to glorify
another. Therefore kindly refrain from sentimental attacks in the future.
All this can do is to start counter attacks.

While you reiterate the SV stance, it is best that you avoid passing
judgement on another philosophy. Just state the SV position on the matter
and leave the reader to decide. There is no need to speak for GV when you
are not a practising GV. In as much as you claim that I have misunderstood
SV, I would say the same about your having misunderstood GV despite having
studied GV literature. That is the biggest pity. Obviously it appears that
the tendency has been to fault find while reading the literature.

As for Kasturi, when did I state that GV is better than SV ? Another
strawman statement. I have merely questioned both of your postings as well
as Anand's. That's all ! And I have defended the allegations Anand made
against GV. That is my duty being a GV whichever list I may be in.

One thing is for sure. This dialogue and debate has aroused a lot of
interest in GV on the part of many SVs on the list. Many have written to me
asking for more information on GV. I must thank both of you for indirectly
facilitating that !

And Anand, in our GV tradition, we call every Vaishnava "His Grace" if the
person is male. Whether you personally feel unfit to receive that address or
otherwise, it is basic Vaishnava etiquette on our part. There is no sarcasm
intended. We may have our disagreements but we respect you as a Vaishnava
and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu having adopted the principle of Vaishnava seva
from the Sri Sampradaya, has told us to respect all Vaishnavas irrespective
of sampradaya. Therefore, I have addressed you as "His Grace".

Secondly, it is not my understanding that is feeble. Communicating in
english complex sanskrit terms is a problem at times and can lead to
misunderstandings if the matter is not thoroughly explained. As such, it is
not my understanding that is feeble. On the contrary, it is your
understanding of what I am trying to imply that is feeble.

Stay tuned. Both Narasimhan Ranganathan and myself will reply to Anand, both
on the list and in private. Anand, if you seriously wish to stop the
discussion on the list, then please exhibit that in practice. We too then
shall stop our postings and correspond in private. Otherwise, for the sake
of defending our sampradaya, we would have no other choice but to keep
posting our rebuttals should you play the double-sided game of telling us to
stop on the promise that you would and then continuing with your mails on
the list on the other hand.


Your servant,

Harijana kinkara,
R. Jai Simman
Singapore

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Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2000 5:28 PM
Subject: Digest Number 19


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>
> There are 2 messages in this issue.
>
> Topics in this digest:
>
>       1. Re: Yet again another confusion and misunderstanding - I humbly
beg to  state this
>            From: Anand Karalapakkam <kgk@md2.vsnl.net.in>
>       2. Anand's efforts
>            From: Kasturi Varadarajan <kvaradar@cs.uiowa.edu>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________________
> ________________________________________________________________________
>
> Message: 1
>    Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 16:54:13 +0530
>    From: Anand Karalapakkam <kgk@md2.vsnl.net.in>
> Subject: Re: Yet again another confusion and misunderstanding - I humbly
beg to  state this
>
> SrI:
> SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
> SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN-
> SatakOpa SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESIkAya namaha
>
>  Dear SrI Jai Simman,
>  namO nArAyaNa.
>
>
> > 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.
>
>   I don't know as to whether you have added the adjective
>   "His Grace" in a sarcastic way. In anycase, I am not
>   fit for being addressed in that way. You can address
>   me as Anand / Anand Karalapakkam / AnantapadmanAbhan itself.
>
>   I know that whatever you have written is a good representation
>   of the works of SrI AC BhaktivEdAnta swAmi of ISKCON, since I
>   have also read them. But, there is no mAyAvAda in ViSishtAdvaita.
>   My previous posting had no reference to such ideas and its only
>   your misunderstanding.
>
> > 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.
>
>   I have already listed 3 books of SrI SMS Chari for you to
>   read and understand the basic concepts of ViSishtAdvaita
>   and SrI Vaishnavism. I am also adding another book of SrI
>   SMS Chari into that list now. Its "Vaishnavism - Its Philosophy,
>   Theology, And Religious Discipline" pub by Motilal Banarsidas.
>   This will atleast remove your basic misunderstandings.
>
>   SrI ViSNu purAnam describes that while Lord KrishNa winded
>   up His (vibhava) avatAra, He left His body in this world.
>   I will quote this pramAnam and explain later. This is the SrI
>   VaishNava stand also and there is nothing mAyAvAda in this.
>
>   Brahman's divyAtma swaroopam is characterized by satyatvam
>   (being eternal / no change ie. avikAra), jn~yAnatvam (made of
>   jn~yAna), anantatvam ( vibhu ie. not restrcted by time, place
>   and objects), amalatvam (sinless, pure) etc. This is the dharmi
>   (ie.substratum) of the dharmabhUta jn~yAna (dbj) ie. Brahman
>   has dbj. It is through dbj that Brahman becomes a knower of
>   other things ie. Brahman has "knowledge" (dbj). The different
>   states of this dbj represents different kalyANa guNAs of Brahman.
>   Brahman also has an eternal divine body at SrI VaikUNTham and
>   He is called a Para-vAsudEva. This divine body and as well as
>   SrI VaikUNTham is made up of "Suddha Sattvam" (SS). SS is madeup
>   of jn~yAna and thus is non-material in nature. Thus, Brahman's
>   body is non-material and is transcendental. But, SS does not
>   posses dbj ie. it is an achEtana (non-sentient), while Brahman
>   is a sentient (has dbj). Also, SS can undergo modifications as
>   plant, flowing river, buildings etc as seen in SrI VaikUNTham
>   and these are due to the wishes of Brahman. But Brahman (ie.
>   divyAtma swaroopam also called as "swaroopa jn~yAnam") is avikAra
>   ie.changeless. There are many places in Upanishads which explain
>   this divyAtma swaroopam, which is verily the Brahman. But,
>   Brahman has desires/wishes to create, enjoy with devotees,
>   control all the living entities according to their karma etc.
>   This doesn't violate the Upanishadic passages declaring Brahman
>   to be changeless since these things are due to the change of
>   states of the dbj possesed by the Brahman and there is no change
>   in its aatma swaroopa. Infact, dEvaki also glorifies Lord as
>   "avikAra" in the very first verse of her stuti (in SB) as she
>   saw Lord appearing in front of her in the jail. But, Lord changed
>   His form into that of a baby and the body grew the way human body
>   grows. If you think that Brahman's body is verily Brahman, then
>   it will violate all those passages which refer to Brahman as
>   "avikAra" (changeless).
>
>   In trivikrama avatAra, Lord beautifully expands His divine body
>   and this is not a change (vikAra) in His swaroopa. But, the
>   SS body He posseses changes accordingly.
>
>   Similarly, jIvAtma as such is also avikAra implying that its
>   aatma swaroopa (which is jn~yAnanda and aNu) is changeless.
>   All the experience of pain and pleasure, thinking of various
>   issues etc by the jIvAtma is due to the change of states and
>   contraction / expansion of the dbj it posseses. dbj is
>   jn~yAnamaya ie. it is a jn~yAna, and it is achEtana. Thus,
>   while jIvAtma as such (ie. swaroopa jn~yAna) is changeless,
>   only its dbj changes.
>
>   I will explain these things in the cursory postings
>   later with prasmAnams which say pointedly that Lord
>   and His forms are different etc. This has serious
>   implication in the upAsana (ie. bhakti yOga) also.
>   I will explain those things also later.
>
>   By the way, these things have nothing to do with mAyAvAda,
>   in which all else other than "attributeless jn~yAna" is
>   illusory ultimately.
>
>
> >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 !?
>
>   Sorry dear. There is nothing wrong in the language.
>   Its only in your misunderstanding.
>
> >
> > 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.
>
>   Sorry once again. SAstras doesn't support this.
>   Metaphysically, they are separate entities. But,
>   we can keep comparing the glories of the names of Lord
>   with the Lord etc. Anything concerned with Lord is
>   highly glorifiable in this sense we can say that even
>   the name of Lord is superior to Lord Himself etc. This
>   only enhances further glorification of the Lord Himself
>   in actuality.
>
>
> > 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.
>
>   You are repating the same old thing for which I have already
>   replied. Please go through my previous posting again.
>   There is no sanction in SAstras that Lord in His Nrusimha form
>   will not manifest mAdhurya rasa. This is a sectarian GV belief.
>   AzhwArs have experienced mAdhurya rasa with Lord Nrusimha,
>   Lord RAma, Lord SrInivAsa, Lord RanganAtha ......a long list.
>
>   By the way, don't evaluate the experiences of the mukta based
>   on the lIlas displayed by Lord in some vibhava avatAra. I have
>   already written about this. In the KrishNa avatAra, Lord
>   performed many lIlas involving many rasAs. These rasAs are
>   the different change of states of dbj possesed by Lord. It
>   has got nothing to do with a particular form He chooses.
>   Be it the form of RAma Or KrishNa, it is the same Brahman with
>   the same dbj; only the form differs. In SrI VaikuNTham, a mukta
>   can enjoy the communion with Lord, in anyway he likes.
>
>
>   Also, in pAncarAtra certain upAsanAs (meditations) are
>   prescribed to aid one towards performing bhakti-yOga (upAsanas
>   prescribed in Upanishads). In this regard, pAncarAtra describes
>   as to how one how to meditate on Lord Sankarshana who has a
>   particular form and two main guNAs etc. It gives options for
>   a devotee by specifying many forms of Lord and the way upAsana
>   has to be performed. Similarly, upanishads prescribe
>   upAsanas like Sad Vidya, AntarAditya Vidya etc which have
>   stipulations on the form of Lord, the guNAs of the Lord to
>   me meditated etc, which are the direct means for attaining
>   Brahman. Refer to SrI BhAshyam of Bhagavad RAmAnuja and
>   commentries on Upanishads for more information.
>
>   Only in this context that there arises the manifestation
>   of Lord's guNAs different in different forms. Its mainly for
>   those who choose the path of bhakti-yOga ie.upAsana and perfect
>   it to the stage of adopting a Brahma Vidya (ie.upAsana)
>   from Upanishads.
>
>
>   I will elaborate on this with pramAnas later.
>
>
> > 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 !
>
>
>   Again you repeating the same thing which has already been
>   answered well in my previous postings. There is nothing
>   called attributeless Brahman in the first place. Even
>   if you say that something like that exists, there is no
>   SAstric authority for you to establish that its none other
>   than the jyOti emanating from Lord.
>
>   By the way, Lord is described as "jyOtis" because He (swaroopa)
>   is madeup of jn~yAna which is swayam-prakASa (self-luminous).
>   It is this feature which is referred to. In some places, the
>   jyOti emanating out of Lord's body is also referred to.
>
>   I will later explain about swayam prakASatvam etc.
>
>
> > 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.
>
>   You have totally misunderstood many issues and mixes up
>   the things. This is because of your unawareness of the
>   upAsanas (bhakti-yOga) prescribed in the Upanishads and
>   how they are explained in Brahma sUtras. I will explain
>   this later in my postings.
>
>   I recommend you to first of all read the relevant portions
>   from the book I have listed down and make the fundamental
>   concepts of ViSishtAdvaita clear.
>
>
>   By the way, I will be writing cursory postings and prepare the
>   final document to only state the ViSishtAdvaita standpoint in
>   these issues and will not indulge in refuting GV's standpoint.
>   This is as per the instruction/advise of my AchArya and there
>   are many more things which is in higher priority now for me to
>   do. Already I have put n number of things in the queue, which
>   my AchArya is not happy with.
>
>   If you believe in GVs philosophy, go ahead and advance your
>   spiritual carreer by following it. But, don't write in this list
>   advocating GVs philosophy to be superior etc and also
>   presenting the doctrines of ViSishtAdvaita/SrI Vaishnavism
>   wrongly. Please be patient enough to read my previous postings
>   and the future postings in addition to the books on
>   ViSishtAdvaita, before jumping to any conclusions.
>
>   Thanks for your understanding.
>
>   adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
>   anantapadmanAbhan.
>   krishNArpaNam.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________________
> ________________________________________________________________________
>
> Message: 2
>    Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 15:57:57 -0500 (CDT)
>    From: Kasturi Varadarajan <kvaradar@cs.uiowa.edu>
> Subject: Anand's efforts
>
> Dear friends,
>      Recently there have been several posts that have either questioned
the
> views of srivaishnava acharyas, or suggested that a certain other
philosophy
> is better than visistadvaita, or have ascribed certain tenets to
visistadvaita
> that don't belong in it. Amidst this barrage of posts, Anand has been
working
> hard in clarifying the visistadvaita position. Mani is not around to
moderate,
> and the learned people have been silent. So I wish to say something in
> support of Anand.
>
>       He has correctly pointed out the `the distinction between the
metaphysical
> entity Brahman/God and the other metaphysical entity Suddha Sattva, as
> established in ViSishtAdvaita. First of all, the nature of Brahman
> has to be understood. Then, one has to understand the appropriate
> names that can be designated for that Brahman. The most important
> of the names turns out to be nArAyaNa, since it explains a lot
> about Brahman and its relationship between all other metaphysical
> entities which are sentient and non-sentient. Thus, the word
> "nArAyaNa" as used in Upanishads and SrI VaishNava works is not
> some "avatAra" of Brahman etc with a particular specific form,
> but verily the all pervading Brahman, which is madeup of jn~yAna
> and also has jn~yAna. Brahman takes up many forms and there are
> specific names assigned to such forms taken by Brahman ie. Brahman
> characterized by a specific form is also given a name. For example,
> rAma, KrishNa, vAmana are all names of Brahman associated with
> a particular form.' And that `when one says that
> krishNa is the Supreme Person, it refers to the Brahman only, who
> is also called as nArAyaNa. No one is objecting the fact that
> KrishNa is svayam BhagavAn ie.KrishNa is indeed the Brahman itself
> having taken a particular form.'
>
>        I wish to supplement this by merely adding that shuddha sattva,
> the substance making up the forms of krishna, rama, vamana, and the
> four-handed person of the shanka-chakra-gadhaa-dhaari, is insentient or
> achetana. Shuddha sattva shares this feature of insentience with
> Prakriti. Thus there is a clear distinction between the paramAtma (who is
> sentient) and his forms (that are made of an insentient substance).
> This distinction between the paramatma and his forms does not
> mean that the supreme being is devoid of auspicious qualities.
>
>        This (modulo errors of mine) is the position of visistadvaita on
> this issue. Given this, the recent posts to which Anand has responded
would
> fall in one of three categories.
>
> 1. The writer has not understood this aspect of Visistadvaita and has
>    come to erroneous conclusions based on this misunderstanding. If this
>    is the case, Anand has suggested some good references where a clear
>    picture of visistadvaita may be obtained. And I am sure the learned
>    people on this list will clarify questions in this regard.
>
> 2. The writer is aware of this aspect of visistadvaita but is attacking
it.
>    The writer feels that this aspect has no scriptural justification. In
>    this case, this list is not the right place for a debate. (I request
the
>    long-time members to clarify this point.) And moreover,
>    there is a protocol for debate. One cannot jump in and ask for pramANAs
>    that deny one's favourite view which has very little to do
>    with visistadvaita.
>
> 3. The writer does not care about this aspect of visistadvaita but is only
>    interested in attacking visistadvaita or saying that some other
philosophy
>    is better. I don't wish to say anything in this regard, because I hope
>    nobody intended this.
>
>
> Finally, I request some knowledgeable people to point out errors if any in
> my description of the visistadvaita position, and also correct me if I
have
> misinterpreted the policies of this list. The last thing I want is to
create
> more confusion in an effort to restore order.
>
> thanks
> Kasturi
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________________
> ________________________________________________________________________
>
>


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