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Re: Sri Vaishnava tradition

From: Shobha Srinivasan (srinivasan_at_clarityconnect.com)
Date: Thu Aug 05 1999 - 06:31:34 PDT

Dear Mr. Al:

I agree with Sriman Mani Varadarajan.  There are three philosophys.  One is
Shankara's philosophy which is Advaitha, Ramanuja philosophy which is
VisitAdvaitha primarily which is discussed here, & third philosophy is
Madhwa philosophy.  I am a MAdhwa.  Even MAdhwas truely believe that Sriman
NArayana is a Ultimate reality & only He can give moksha. There are few
details like (Taratamya) status of Gods & jivas like us is not discussed in
Ramanuja philosophy.  

In Madhwa philosophy, it is further discussed that there is no one equal to
Vishnu, who is greater than Vishnu.  Lakshmi comes next in the line.  And
other gods come later like Brahma, Vayu being Brahma elect, Saraswathi,
Bharathi (VAyu's wife), only then comes Garuda, Rudra & Shesha.  Shiva is
one of the aspects of Rudra.  Purandara DAsaru says in the song chandra
chooda Siva shankara parvathi ramana ninege namo namo.  In one of the
verses of that song, he says Siva is a parama vaishnava & is the greatest
devotee of Mahavishnu who always keeps chanting Rama taraka mantra to
Parvathi devi.  In our MAdhwa tradition, it is told that even if you
worship Lakshmidevi, the Jagan MAta alone, She will give blessings only if
we worship Mahavishnu.
  
It works this way.  For everyone of us, we have some Supreme God we worship
who is permanent.  Next comes is the President of the country, name it
Clinton.  Mrs Clinton becomes the first lady.  Likewise, we call Mahavishnu
& Lakshmi as Supreme God & Goddess.  Then we call Brahma who is the creator
of the Universe with the blessings of Mahavishnu.  He becomes the president
& Saraswathi who is the VAgdevi who becomes the first lady.  Then in
Clinton's administration, there are many ministers he appoints.  Likewise,
Brahma appoints Sungod to give light, heat, energy etc, Indra to give rain
etc the lists goes on.  So, when the Brahma's term of 100 years is over,
then Brahma's elect, VAyu becomes the next Brahma & he chooses his devatas
like when Clinton leaves office, all his ministers leave with him & the
next President chosses his own.    What I am bring out the point is MAdhwas
believe that there can be only one Supreme God, He is Mahavishnu who is
Perfect & next comes Mahalakshmi.  Both are permanent. Brahma, Vayu,
Garuda, Rudra, Shesha & others are also jivas & different from each other &
they are all great devotees of Mahavishnu.  We know of the fact that
MahAbali is Indra elect which is told in Vamana Avatara story.  Likewise,
all the devatas like Rudra, Shesha, Garuda, Sun, Moon, Indra etc (the lists
just goes on & on leaving none) will change status after their period. I do
not want to write this in detail, these are not discussed in Ramanuja
philosophy.

Lastly, we worship Sriman Narayana, Mahashiva or other Gods' for Bhakthi
sake & not for any material comforts.  So, whoever you worship with great
devotion, it reaches Sriman Narayana. 

With services to Shri Hari,

Shobha Srinivasan