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Re: Digest bhakti.v003.n066

From: Raghu Mudumba (ramudu_at_us.ibm.com)
Date: Wed Aug 26 1998 - 06:50:55 PDT

JS,
Elders say Lakshmi is Concept and not a figure.
Raghu RD

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Balaraman Sriram wrote:
> Dear Sri Mani
>
> With ref to the recent posting on Sri Ramanuja Siddhantham, I have the
> following doubts:
>
> >Sriman naaraayaNA is the Para Brahman (God).  Equal in every
> >respect to Him is "Sri" (Lakshmi).  This means that Lakshmi is also full
> >of unlimited auspicious qualities and is omnipresent (i.e. exists
> >everywhere or vibhu).  These two are the ParamaatmAs
>
> How can there be two paramatmAs  ?. So far I understood that
> Sriman Narayana is the
> only God and everyone else are lesser than him.

The operative word here is "SrIman" nArAyaNa.  nArAyaNa with
Sri constitutes the Godhead. They are inseparable, as the rays
of light are from the source of the light.  And at the same time,
according to the SAstra, SrImad azhagiya singar says, they are
both Infinite.

This is naturally a difficult concept to understand, and I
must admit I also share some of your confusion.  I do not
fully understand this issue and its complexities.  SrI
and nArAyaNa are inseparable, and are spoken of in the
SAstras as being equal; therefore they are both Infinite.
I am not sure, however, if one can claim that SrI and nArAyaNa
are two aspects of God and therefore naturally fully Infinite.
I believe Vedanta Desika controverts this position in his
catuh-SlokI-bhAshya.

There is also significant debate among Sri Vaishnavas about
the nature of "Sri", and whether or not the Goddess is Infinite
in Her essential nature, like nArAyaNa.  The topics have been
debated in the time of Vedanta Desika himself.  Desika took
the position expressed by SrImad azhagiya singar in the
previous post.  Others, notably nAyanAr AccAn piLLai, son
of "vyAkhyAna cakravarti" periyavAccaan piLLai, took the
position that the Goddess is a finite self.  Each side
quotes from SAstra and has its own philosophical details
to wrangle through.