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Date: Tue Aug 11 1998 - 09:30:48 PDT

Shobha Srinivasan writes:

> 1. In RAmAyAnA, RAma could not do the last rites of his father,
>  Hence circumstances forced Him to do last rites to non human such as
> JatAyu, KabandA etc.

Bhagavaan KrshhNa says:

" na maam karmaaNi limpanti na me karma phale spruhaa |
  iti maam yaH abhijaanaati karmabhiH na saH badhyate || " [Bh giita 4.14]

" There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of
One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in
the fruitive reactions of work."


In reference to Ms.Shobha Srinivasan's questions, I have a couple of mine.
Personally, I am happy that this question has come up for discussion. About
a year back, at the Satyan's residence (Denver), following the NAMA
function, Ms.Nagu Satyan, Ms.Malathi Dileepan and self had a discussion on
the practices of Acharyas, and other Saints. My question is similar to that
of Shobha's. When a person renounces the world, or when he dedicates his
life to serving the Lord (maybe beyond Saranagathi or Prapathi), does
he/she still carry out the required duties? To make the question more
clear, if for example, an Acharya's parent attains the Lotus feet of the
lord, does the Acharya have to perform the last rites? Or, is he not
expected to, since, he has dedicated his entire life to serving the Lord,
and guiding his disciples, and is theoretically unattached to the material
world. In most of the texts that are available today, this aspect is not
discussed, and hence, I thought I will ask my acharya's (Sriman's.
Sadagopan, Mani, Dileepan, Madhav kannan, etc.) to help me understand. (I
am sorry that even without requesting ur permission to be ur student, I
have deliberately taken the advantage. I guess i have no one else to turn
to, and Since all of u are well-versed, it was an easy and only choice).

With respect to Rama not performing the last rites for Dasaratha, since,
Rama was not a true biological son, and was  of a divine birth, is it
actually required of him (for Perumal) to carry out the last rites? I do
understand that in the absence of a son, the nearest kin has the
responsibility to carry out the last rites. Are there other instances,
where a divine birth such as that of Sri.Desikan, had to carry out these
rituals? Is there a similar instance, during the Krishna avataram?

Back to the previous discussion at the Satyan residence, we had planned to
ask Sri.Dileepan for the answers, but never got around to doing so. And
then came the NAMA conference, and we were drowned in a wealth of
information, and this is kind of a touchy question to ask, and was never
brought up. I must sincerely thank, Ms.Shobha Srinivasan, for bringing up
this question.
I would appreciate if someone can throw some light on this topic.