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RE: Question :BhagavAn svayam - 2

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sat Aug 29 1998 - 22:30:23 PDT

                               Sri:
            Srimate Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane namaha
    Srimate Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Divya pAdukA sevaka Srivan  Shatakopa -
                Sri nArAyaNa  Yateendra mahAdesikAya namaha  

    Dear  Sri rAm gopAlswAmy & other devotees ,
    namo nArAyaNA. Kindly accept adiyen's pranAmams.

   ---- cont --------------

5.  Qtn :  Who is nArAyaNA  ? what is the difference between  Him &  the 
           avatArams like KrishNA , rAmA , ranganAthA & PeraruLALan ?  

    Ans :  nArAyaNA is not  merely  someone with 4 hands , conch , chakrA
           etc . nArAyaNA is the paramAtmA who pervades everywhere with 
           infinite kalyAna gunAs & ever associated  with "Sri" (Lakshmi).
 
           "nArAyaNA" refers to the divyAtma svaroopam which  pervades 
            everywhere & He is the Brahman (source of creation , 
            the maintainer &  in whom it dissolves ) .

            nArAyaNA is  always  personal  because  of His infinite kalyAna 
            gunAs . Just because He is all pervading , it doesn^t  mean that 
            He is impersonal . The  same infinite nArAyaNA takes  many  
            forms  for the pleasure of His devotees &  the body of  such forms
            are made up of  the special aprAkruta material called 
            "suddha sattvam " & such incarnations are out of His own will
            (ie.Not because of karmA). The infinite qualities of nArAyaNA 
            are not because of His form . It is based on His svaroopam &
            His  dharmabhooda  jn~Anam both of which are infinite . For 
            example , a human being speaks , laughs , shows compassion to 
            others , makes friends etc  because  of the  jIvAtmA & not
            that the material body  by itself is doing all these things . 
            Similarly,nArAyaNA is present inside the divine body (divya mangaLa 
            vigraham)  & thereby gives oppurtunities to  His devotees to serve 
            Him. Thus  "nArAyaNA" is different from  nArAyaNA^s form . 

            But , nArAyaNA eternally gives the sevai (darSan) with divya 
            mangaLa  vigrahA  at  Sri  VaikuNTham . But muktAtmAs & 
            nityasUrIs  can also enjoy the divyAtma svaroopam of 
            nArAyaNA  which is million times more blissful than His divya
            mangaLa  vigrahA .

            Unfortunately , baddha jIvAtms can^t  have the sAkshAtkAram of 
            Him (ie. DivyAtma svaroopam). It is debarred for them by the 
            sankalpam of  nArAyaNA . Wherever "nArAyaNA" is mentioned 
            it refers to His divyAtma svaroopam & not to His form , of which 
            the four handed form which He takes is the most  famous . A 
            baddha jIvAtmA can  atbest know about  nArAyaNA (divyAtma
            svaroopam ) & discuss  about His kalyAna gunAs &  in that way
            meditate on His  divyAtma svaroopam , but cannot  have its
            sAkshAtkAram.
                             
            But nArAyaNA doesn^t  wash away his hands . He is ever 
            merciful & thus  takes  beautiful forms  . So , His 
            "divya mangaLa vigrahA"  is the sole  refuge for His devotees.

            A yogi  does the sAkshAtkAram of  His  divya mangaLa vigrahA      
            at his heart  if he chooses that upAsanA . If some other yogi 
            chooses  to  perform some other Brahma VidyA (upAsanA) , he 
            can have the sAkshAtkAram of  the divya mangaLa vigrahA of 
            nArAyaNA  say in  the orb of the sun.  But , the greatest  & 
            most merciful  avatAram  is the archAvatAram , in which  even 
            the rouges , thieves , non - devotee , devotee , rich ,  beggar , 
            athiest,animals & all sorts  of   living entities can  see with
            their  material eyes  the  archA thirumeni ( divya mangaLa 
            vigrahA )  of Sriman  nArAyaNA . This  display  of  immense  
            Soulabhyam &  Sowseelyam  by Sriman nArAyaNA  although 
            being  the Param poruL (Supreme Being)   is the main 
            reason  for  His  ardent devotees  like  AzhwArs to  dive into
            various devotional moods  filled with  mystic experience  in 
            communion with  the supreme Lord  &  in that  bliss comesforth 
            their  most nectarian  Divya Prabandhams  , which  is so potent   
            to change  even  a stone hearted  athiest  into  a bhAgavathA 
            filled  with all bodily  horripulations  during  his bhagavad 
            anubhavam . 
                                   
            When  we  meet  a friend , we don^t say that we are meeting a 
            "material body" of a jIvAtmA . The whole system of jIvAtmA & 
             the material body is  taken together in consideration & thus we
             say "I  met  Mr.X out there ".This  is basically because ,the 
             jIvAtmA  is  inseparably united with the body , as long as  it is 
             within  it . Similarly , though  we would have had the fortune of  
             seeing  only perumAL^s archA thirumeni  (or possibly only the 
             ornaments ) , we  would say  "I  saw  PerumAL  in Garuda 
             vAhanam (  during  temple Uttsavam)"  because  nArAyaNA
             is inseparably united with that archA thirumeni .     
                                    
             The greatness of the archAvatAram  is  that  the greatest 
             purushArtam  of   Bhagavad kainkaryam  at  Paramapadam 
             (Sri VaikuNTham)  can even be experienced (though  not in 
             same degree )  in this  world  of  samsArA .Thatswhy , Divya  
             Desams  are  known  as BhoolOka  VaikuNTham - it  doesn^t
             belong either to the actual paramapadam , nor  to the 
             materialistic  world ( because of the special bhagavad
             anubhavam &  performance of kainkaryam ) . There is  no
             other  refuge  to a baddha jIvAtmA than  to  enjoy  the  Divya 
             MangaLa  vigrahA  of  Sriman nArAyaNA  in various  Divya 
             Desams  &  simultaneously  enjoy  His kalyAna gunAs 
             through  most  nectarian  Divya prabandhams 
             ( anubhavam of AzhwArs)  & perform  various  kainkaryams 
             to Him  &  His  devotees . All  these  become  possible  only 
             because  of the most merciful archAvatAram which  rightly 
             makes the  devotees  act according to their  svaroopam 
             ( nature )  of  being  a seshan ( servant)  of  Sriman nArAyaNA.
             But for the archAvatAram , the devotees  would be like "fish 
             out of water" since  their natural state (svaroopam)  of 
             performing  bhagavad kainkaryam  won^t become possible in 
             that  case . 
                                   
             The glories of  archAvatAram  esp. in Divya  Desams is that , 
             each  such  avatAram  has  a  unique  story  behind it . The 
             story (sthala purAnam)  by itself will  be so much nectarian & 
             such leelAs  of  Sriman nArAyaNA   can  be remembered
             forever. PirAtti takes   the  role  of a jIvAtmA  &  teaches how
             a  baddha  jIvATmA  should yearn for  Sriman nArAyaNA 
             culminating   finally in  their marriage of  prapatti . What  a  
             glorious way in which the Divya DampatIs preach the prapatti 
             sAstrA  to a baddha jIvAtmA  through  their  sacred marriage 
             (thiru kalyAnam)  &  kalyAnotsavam !!  On top of this , 
             nArAyaNA performs various leelAs  in His archAvatAram 
             (Speaking  with the likes of thiruk kacchi  nambi &  AzhwArs ,
             order someone like  Adivan  Shatakopa Jeeyar  for  sampradAya
             propagation , write  taniyans  for  the likes of ananthAzhvAn ,
             so on & on ) .

             No stopping  at this ,  He even  brings apparent
             suffering to  Himself  (  RanganAthA   during Muslim Invasion 
             etc ) just like  rAghavan (rAmAvatAram) was in deep sorrow &
             cried heavily  due to His separation  from  SItA . LeelAs  such 
             as this can^t be beared  by  His devotees  & 
             they  still more  vigorously engage in bhagavad anubhavam & 
             kainkaryam (  Just imagine the deep  emotional traumAs  that
             our  AchAryAs  would have experienced  during the time  of 
             muslim invasion &  how our AchAryAs  saved ranganAthA  & 
             sampradAyam ) . Infact , such leelAs are for those  supreme 
             devotees , who would  display their  deep love  to the fullest 
             possible extent  in such situations since  in archAvatAram , 
             it is the responsibility  of the devotee to even bathe &
             dress Him ; what to speak of protecting  Him  from invaders ?

             While contemplating  on these things,  one can say  that
             the leelAs of vibhava avatArams  also  fade away in 
             comparison with that of the leelAs of archAvatArams.  

             Thus , after  understanding the actual tattvam of nArAyaNA one 
             can easily say that there is no  difference  between rAmA , 
             krishNA  &   ranganAthA  since it is the same nArAyaNA who 
             is taking  various such forms  for the pleasure of His devotees.
             Be it a four handed  form , two handed human form  or
             a form of a fish (matsyAvatAram) , it is the same nArAyaNA
             (divyAtma svaroopam) who is inside such forms. Since  the 
             paramAtmA who is the possesor of all kalyAna gunAs , is
             the sameone  irrespective of whether He is  inside a  four
             handed  form or a two handed form , the personality  in rAmA,
             KrishNA , ranganAthA & peraruLALan  are  all same though 
             their forms are different .  So , it is completely  wrong to say
             that  four handed form of nArAyaNA  will  have  x  number of 
             qualities , two  handed KrishNA form will have y number of 
             qualities ,  four handed  archA form will have z number of
             qualities etc , since it is the  same  nArAyaNA (divyAtma 
             svaroopam)  the possesor of  all  the  kalyAna gunAs , present 
             inside  all  these  forms .  Moreover it is also  completely wrong
             to limit the number of  qualities of nArAyaNA to a finite number. 
             He actually has  uncountable   number of qualities .           
                                 
                                  
             Having  understood the tattvam , one should engage  in 
             bhagavad anubhavam . Now ,if someone asks "who is nArAyaNA ?"
             then  immedietly  the  beautiful  divya mangaLa  vigrahA  of
             Sriman nArAyaNA in any one of the Divya Desam should come to
             the mind  in a flash :  
             ( thiruk kamala  pAdam , araich chivanda Adai , andhi pol 
               niRaththAdai , UndhI , thiruvayitRu udharabandham , 
               thiruvAra mArbu , mutRum  unda kandam , seiya vAi ,
               kariyavAgip pudai parandhu miLirndhu sevvari vOdi neenda
               ap peria vAya kangaL , kOlamAmaniyAramum muththuth
               thAmamum  neela meniyum  , sudarAzhi , pAnchajanniyam,
               kousthubam , Srivatsam , vanamAlai ,  thiruthuzhAi  mAlai ,
               kireetamum .....) . All  the  bhagavad anubhavams of 
               our  AchAryAs &  AzhwArs  are  perfect  since they are 
               born out  of  the  deep  understanding  of the tattvam , hitam 
               & purushArtam .    

               So , if  someone  holds the view  that  the form of nArAyaNA   
               is same as nArAyaNA , then  hundreds of pramAnams which 
               describe Brahman / nArAyaNA , suddha sattvam etc  are 
               violated . Neverthless , the  deep love  of  a devotee towards
               nArAyanA's divine form  might  make  him  think  that  He &
               His form are same ( baddha jIvAtmAs  have  access  <seeing>
               only to His  form .

               It is also to be noted that  meditation on the divyAtma 
               svaroopam  of nArAyaNA  is  completely different  from the 
               theory  proposed by mAyAvAdIs regarding the  meditation on 
               Brahman who is nirviseshA (attributeless ) .
               Sri U.Ve. KarunAkaran  swAmy during upanyAsams beautifully 
               says  regarding the thiru uLLam  of  Bhagavad   rAmAnujA 
               on those who try to meditate  on an attributeless  object  : 
               "First of all , for an object to be known , it should have
               some attributes. Without any attributes , there is no
               possibility of meditating on it , since how will you fix
               its co ordinates ?. Actually , Brahman is full of attributes.
               Nirvisesha  Brahman  is not supported either in pratyakshA or
               anumAnA or  sabda pramAnam . So, those  who  claim that 
               they are meditating on an  abstract attributeless object  are 
               #1  frauds for they are telling something which is 
               impossible ".
               
               Anyway , by telling that an object is attributeless , an
               attribute is ascribed to it !

     namo nArAyaNA
     adiyen
     anantha padmanAbha  dAsan
                               sarvam sri krishNArpanamastu