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Re: dhyAna - 2

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sun Aug 30 1998 - 23:16:12 PDT

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      

     Dear devotees,
     Namo NArAyanA . pranAmams.
    ----  cont ---

     mAyAvAdIs & ashtAnga yogA  :  For mAyAvAdIs , a thing called Brahman
     which has no attributes whatsoever is the only reality. All other
     things are only illusory ie. unreal . So , for them , ultimately ,
     there is no one called nArAyanA the supreme Lord with infinite gunAs.
     For them there is no God , there is no jIvAtmA , there is no prakruti
     (ie. matter ). All these things are only products of illusion.
     Brahman which according to them is nirviseshA (attributeless) is the
     only reality.   
       
     But , as long as one doesn't realize these things , he needs to
     practise contemplation on nARAyaNA who has infinite kalyAna gunAs &
     follow vedAs. Ultimately , vedAs are also illusion for them .

     SankarAchAryA & his teachings though valid for a while , they also
     are ultimately illusory  for them . RAmakrishnA , RamanA etc have
     their own versions of "mAyAvAdA" & have some changes here & there
     on the "advaitA" of SankarA .

     In other words , if nArAyaNA Himself comes in front of a "mAyAvAdi"
     giving the darSan of His most beautiful divya mangaLa vigrahA to him, 
     & say even speaks with him & say even plays with him , then also the 
     "mAyAvAdI" somehow convinces himself that it was also an illusion
     since anything other than the so called nirvisesha Brahman is only an
     illusion . Thats the really pitiful state of mind a "mAyAvAdi"
     develops & is in his own world of beliefs. He strains himself to
     condition his mind in such a way . Anyway , the prArabdha karmA of a
     jIvAtmA makes it undergo all these kind of happenings & makes it
     believe in such things .

     These mAyAvAdIs too write devotional songs, sings & dances , performs
     nAma sankeertanam etc . They believe that these things will slowly
     lead them to mokshA which according to them is realization of
     themselves being that nirvisesha Brahman. They also speak big things
     like "one should shed one's ego" , "there should be no identification
     of "I" "  etc etc . All these things simply mean that since the
     only reality is the nirvisesha Brahman , there is no existence
     of "jIvAtmA" => one should shed the ego of thinking that he is a
     separate individual. 

     So , according to Sri VaishnavAs , "mAyAvAdIs" fall under the premier  
     category of persons performing "Bhagavad apachArams" & their
     philosophy is worse than athiesm . Atleast an athiest doesn't
     care about God . But a "mAyAvAdi" accepts that God is there for a
     while & then rejects finally . This doesn't mean that Sri VaishnavAs
     deride them etc . No one can change the vidhi (ie. fate) of a jIvAtmA.
     It will sail according to its deeds. 
     ( avaravar tama tamadhu aRivaRi vagai vagai ........
       avaravar vidhi vazhi adaya ninRanare ) . 

     Lets imagine that two persons are eating something . One can at the
     outset describe their way of eating nicely & conclude that both are
     doing the same thing . On closer scrutiny one can be seen to eat beef
     & the other person eating Bhagavad prasAdam. Similarly ,the
     devotional song of a "mAyAvAdI" & that of a parama Sri vaishnava 
     bhAgavathOthamA may be similar & one can keep eulogizing both to be
     of the same cader . Unfortunately , the intention with which the
     "mAyAvAdi" has composed it makes the whole song to be unfit for
     singing , just like adding a drop of poison into the milk before
     eating it . 
      
     Composing devotional songs is not a big deal. The _real_ "devotional 
     fervour" is the thing that is important . AzhwArs are those for whom  
     the divine wisdom has been directly benedicted by Sriman nArAyaNA (
     madi nalam aruLiyavan ) & thus each & every letter of their pAsuram 
     will be highly relished by nArAyaNA. The purity of the pAsurams
     shouldn't  even be compared with some mundane devotional song of some
     "mAyAvAdI" for whom both the seeker & the person to be
     sought are same => there is no meaning to "devotion" for him.

     Be it SankarA ,madhu soodhana saraswati , nArAyana theerthar , 
     RAmakrishnA , RamanA , Sai bhAbA & other hosts of "mAyAvAdIs" , for
     all of them seeker & the sought are the same => devotional songs are
     only non sensical for them in the ultimate reality . Anyway in the
     ultimate reality , such devotional songs are also non-existent
     for them. Seriously adiyen doesn't know whether to laugh or shed
     tears at their philosophy .  

     The member who has raised the above question must have had all these
     things in his/her mind & thats why is surprised at the references 
     to "mAyAvAdIs" by some other members.

     Anyway , mAyAvAdIs may follow either X yogA or Y yogA , but
     their goal is entirely different. They might follow the same angAs 
     of ashtAnga yogA also in the belief of obtaining mokshA (alias
     self-realization for them since there is only one thing called "self"
     & all other things are unreal) according to their theory. Just
     because mAyAvAdIs are prone to do such meditations , the pure process
     of ashtAnga yogA cannot be looked down.   
     
     The possible reasons for a person to refer to "mAyAvAdIs"  might be
     as follows. adiyen is obviously not saying that the following are the
     reasons for the references made by bhakti list members. Their
     reasons might be outside the reasons adiyen is giving .It is entirely
     member dependent &  he/she will have their own reasons. But we shall
     just discuss a possible few reasons in general.

     a. A person may be a thorough believer in what "mAyAvAdIs" say.

     b. A person might be unaware of the philosophical intricasies
        of the "mAyAvAdIs" (ie. their actual beliefs) & might just
        consider them also as great devotees of nArAyaNA just like other
        Sri Vaishnava AchAryAs while there is no ultimate meaning to
        devotion for mAyAvAdIs.

     c. A person may have half knowledge in Sri Vaishnavam & half
        knowledge in "mAyAvAdism" & is in a confused state as to 
        what is right & what is wrong , thereby refers to both
        Sri Vaishnava AchAryAs & "mAyAvAdIs" .

     d. A person might want to "show off" his knowledge regarding his
        mastery/partial knowledge over "mAyAvAdism" .

     e. A person who is after fame might think that glorifying mAyAvAdIs &
        their instructions might please some other "mAyAvAdIs" , completely          
        forgetting the central principle of Sri Vaishnavam that it is
        one's svaroopam to glorify his poorvAchAryAs & Sriman nArAyaNA &
        his existence is merely for the pleasure of Sriman nArAyaNA , for 
        this is the final essence of vedAs & its actual understanding.
        ( this doesn't mean that Sri vaishnavAs doesn't glorify mAyAvAdIs 
          at all. Whatever good deeds they have done needs to be
          applauded on a merit basis. This also doesn't mean that a Sri
          VaishnavA should indiscriminately make "mAyAvAdIs" on par with 
          his AchAryAs & keeps glorifying them & in that process
          display their ignorance ie. lack of discrimination through
          knowledge).

     f. A person having studied mainly the books of "mAyAvAdIs" can only 
        quote from there , though at present he is very keen in following 
        Sri Vaishnavam.        

     g. A person may want to portray himself as a great follower of all
        sorts of philosophies like "mAyAvAdism" , Sri vaishnavam etc, by
        which he feels that he has risen above everyone while displaying
        the fact that he doesn't know either "mAyAvAdism" or "Sri
        vaishnavam"  properly .  

        There are many many other possibilities .But , with respect to
        some of the refernces by the bhakti list members to mAyAvAdIs on
        say "prAnAyAmam", they might have felt that "prAnAyAmam" is after
        all "prAnAyAmam". Its going to be same whether a "mAyAvAdi" talks
        about it or a Sri Vaishnava AchAryA talks about it. In a way its
        true. One can extend this idealogy to some of the other things. 
        When the presented matter is the same irrespective of the
        source ,some might feel that there is no harm in referring to
        mAyAvAdIs.But the correspondent feels that there is no need to
        quote a mAyAvAdi , while one can refer to one's own AchAryA's
        words. This is also a genuine question .

        But , the member may be unaware of such writings of Sri
        vaishnava AchAryAs , but in full earnest interest wanted to share
        his/her knowledge that will help others ..  

        The books of the mAyAvAdIs in english are in hundreds & almost
        everyone somehow reads them on their own since they don't have any
        spiritual guidance from a Sri Vaishnava AchAryA . Due to the lack
        of AchArya  sambandhA , they start developing their own views &
        idealogies from various books .This may be leading to various ill
        effects which one might not be aware of. Finally it is through the
        mercy of a sadAchAryA that Sriman nArAyaNA will bestow His
        blessings. It is not one's own sanskrit knowledge or things like
        that which is the reason for one's understanding of sAstrAs. It is
        Sriman nArAyaNA who is going to reveal it through a sadAchAryA.
        Till that dawn of "true divine knowledge" because of the mercy of
        a sadAchAryA, one will be wavery in his mind in confusion. 
         
        Bhagavad dhyAna sopAnam of SwAmi Desikan is there. But ,it is
        still for a much superior bhaktAs. Because of various sins,the
        attraction for perumAL's divya mangaLa vigrahA won't come easily.
        Rather , one would like to avoid them. Without following the Do's
        & Dont's of sAstrAs properly , one cannot hope to meditate on
        Sriman nARAyaNA's divya mangaLa vigrahA steadily . 

        Neverthless , we have to try to meditate properly . Any
        single pAsuram from  Divya Prabandham is sufficient to boost our
        devotion & be charged in meditating about nArAyaNA's divya mangaLa
        vigrahA , qualities etc . 

   Namo NArAyanA
   adiyen
   anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  
                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu