You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : April 1996

Universal prayer

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Sun Apr 28 1996 - 09:03:05 PDT

Paraphrasing Sri Kashava Prasad's proposition, in the age
of multi-culturalism Sri Vaishnavaas must adapt to the
norms of the day and participate in prayer and worship
that may not strictly be directed at Sriman Narayana, but
at some abstract universal brahman.  (Please correct me if
I got your purport wrong.)

I wish to express my profound disagreement with the
above position.  There cannot be any quarrel with the
notion that individuals are free to choose the path that is
most attractive to them.  However, if one is interested in
following Sri Vaishnavam, then it is incumbent upon that
person to find out what course of action is consistent with
Sri Vaishnava doctrine.  The only way to find this out is
properly studying the works of aazhvars and
poorvaachaaryaas, and (or) approaching our present day
aachaaryaas.  Any course of action that we can logically
arrive at with our own intellect and without the direction
of our aachaaryaas, should be suspect.  As parents if we fail
to emphasize this, our younger generation will form their own
logical opinions without having read/understood a word of
what our great achaaryaas have said.

My understanding of our achaaryaas in this regard is that
all our prayers and worship must be strictly directed at
Sriman Narayana in *only* any one of His five forms,
viz. Para, Vyuga, Vibhava, Archa, and antharyaamin.  I
submit that we must try not to put ourselves in a situation
where Sriman Narayana will be equated with other
deities.   We must shun groups that may sing bhajans to
deities other than our Lord of Lakshmi.  If by chance we
find ourselves in an awkward situation, one reasonable
course of action is to simply close our eyes and repeat the
moolamandhiram in our heart.  If my understanding is at
variance with our achaaryaa's views I will gladly and
with gratitude change my views.

sriman naarayaNa saraNam,  Dileepan