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skaushik_at_MIT.EDU
Date: Tue Apr 30 1996 - 09:31:50 PDT

Badri writes:

*** I respectfully submit that age of the poster be not considered in
*** evaluating the merits of a posting. I only have to mention
*** Bhattar and Nanjeeyar, in this connection.

I agree, but age should temper the tone and character of the way
one responds. A child can be censured readily, an elder, in my
opinion, should not. This is *not* and has *never* been the Vedantic
tradition. If my understanding of the biographies are correct,
Ramanuja cried at Yadava Prakasa's misinterpretations, and *only* when
asked, did he make his objections known.  He did not laugh at him or
slight him before his disciples. 

*** VedAntA does not ask us to believe something merely because it
*** has been brought to us by the "claimed messengers" of IsvarA. 

On what basis are we to accept the Pancaratra texts? Especially the
portions pertaining to the rituals, constructions of temples etc.
I see no "logical" basis than merely accepting "blindly" that these
scriptures were directly given to us by "messengers" of IsvarA.

*** Sri Ramanuja did not ask us to believe his words blindly nor did he
*** ever claim that he was a prophet or even an avatArA of AdisEsha.

Other than Sri Krishna, I can think of no other avataras of Sriman
Narayana in which the Avatara acknowledges His true identity.

*** I find it disturbing that several hagiographies, and in
*** particular the sectarian portions of the guruparampara
*** prabhAvam(s) trying to upstage one another by projecting one
*** person as an amsA of Parabrahman or one of His attendents, in a
*** bid to legitimise one set of views over the other.

You may call it sectarian, but I think it is a very common feature of
Indian thought and culture (if I am not mistaken, there is significant
"historical" evidence to believe that Kamakshi, now an avatara of
Parvati, was once "merely" a Queen).  It is merely the Indian way of
bringing the abstract to the concrete. 

Furthermore, it seems  very much the *Vedantic* tradition to lift ones
Guru to the loftiest heights of esteem. It is peppered throughout the
Puranas, and even in the Upanishads (viz. Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru
Devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava..). It is only undestandable that a
pupil views his Acharya as God incarnate and seeks to find God in all
his behaviour. 

I see nothing "un-Vedantic" about all this. It is just of modern
outlook that seeks to elevate knowledge above age.

sk