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Re: "sandhyavandanam" and Sri Sudarshan's soup con of thought

From: Sridhar Srinivasan (
Date: Thu Aug 05 1999 - 01:43:35 PDT

Dear Sri Sudarshan:

Thank you for a spirited and eloquent response to some of my queries. 
You have, however, missed the MOST important part of my 
earlier message, which provides the context for all that I say:

 aDiyEn wrote:

******begin quote from 8/2/99*******

Duty and devotion are not mutually exclusive.  Rather, recognition of 
 their symbiotic, integrated nature in our practices will allow us to
elevate ourselves to mental states closer to that of attaning the
ultimate anubhavam.  To even think that devotion requires
relinquishment of duty ("venture to transcend duty in  favour of
devotion" in your words) may take us down a path where we will neither
be performing our duties nor have the benefit of being devoted to the
lord.  And yes, Azhwaar/Acharya outpourings are not meant for their
own ilk, they are directed towards us, for our specific benefit, as a
consequence of divine insight that those exalted souls were given, a
vision  that we may never hope to get near if we are NOT willing to
even consider that they are meant for us.

************end quote***********

Now, do you see where I (and possibly, Mani) are coming from?  Duty 
and devotion are not separable as you seem to indicate below:

> Sri Sudarshan wrote:

> So in these discussions of "sandhyAvandanam" and
> "bhagavath-kainkaryam" please do not be carried away by the 
> devotional lines of a "pAsuram" divorced from the real context in 
> which it was sung. Yes, the lines of the AzhwArs are, of course, 
> beautiful and very evocative. But they are the outpourings of 
> liberated mystic souls. We are not AzhwArsa.  We must learn to first 
> temper devotion with duty before we venture to transcend duty in 
> favour of devotion.

Tell me, Sri Sudarshan, have you been able to imbue duty into 
devotion as a separate process? I, like mani, would like to know what 
is the source for saying that we should ***first**** try to temper 
duty into devotion, then to be followed by a state where we leave 
duty to enter into the realm of devotion?  Where does one start and 
the other end?

What is your basis for saying that we should jettison the divine 
insights of the Azhwaar's meant for us and relegate them to the realm 
of mystic (????) outpourings, simply because we do not make the 
effort to comprehend them?  Let me reproduce the context (from an 
earlier posting) and it is very relevant (contrary to your stated 
view) to the current discussion:

aDiyEn wrote on 726/99/:

*********begin quote************

mEmboruL pAsuram, which is the dvayArtha prathipAdakam, in Sri PVP's
words, is to thirumAlai what the charama slokam is to mahAbhAratham.

>> Sri Venkatesh wrote:
>> This is even supported by Thondaradippodi AzhwAr in ThirumAlai, in
>> the pAsuram "mEmporuL pOga viTTu...." which is the heart of the
>> entire work of ThirumAlai. I would like our members to go thro' 
>> archives of 1996 where our Sri T.A Varadhan has given an excellent
>> translation of Sri Periya  vAchhan piLLai' s vyAkhyAnam for this.
>> Here the AzhwAr says, perumAL loves and grants mOksham to those 
>> lazy people, who renouce all the worldly desires, realize that 
>> He(Sriman
>> Narayanan) is THE ONLY reality, and control all their senses and
>> just do kainkaryam or even nothing ("sOmbharai ugathi pOlum...").

However, the sOmbhar referred to above are not those who have turned
their back on nithyAnusandhAnam or nitya karmas that one has to 
perform as part of their ordained duties.  The sOmbhar above refers 
to exalted souls who have realized that they are SrimannArAyaNA's 
property, those that have given up anya-sEshatvam and sva-sEshatvam 
to seek bhagavat and bhAgavatha sEshatvam.  

The reference here is to karma phala and phala sanga thyAgam ( 
(kartrutva buddhi thyAgam) rather than karma thyAgam.   They display 
total dereliction (laziness) when it comes to taking care of 
themselves in that they have realized it is srImannArAyaNA who is 
going to be their ultimate care-giver, upAyam and purushArtham 
(Aamparisu arinthukoNDU).  They have realized that even this 
realization is a consequence of His nirhEthuka krupa (athuvum 
avanathinnaruLE) in that they display a total lack of 

 Also, the reference to sOmbhar in the mEmboruL 
pasuram has to be used in the context of the meaning of the overall
pasuram because Azhwaar clearly delineates the state of awareness of
those that have found srImannArAyaNA as siddhOpAyam (the very essence
of dvayam) before extolling such sri vaishNavAs as sOmbhar.  That is
the reason you have the first three lines describing the so called

As our dear lord KrishNa delineates in bhagavad geetha, one cannot and
should not dissociate oneself from one's ordained duties, the duties
that we have accepted as the basis for our existence.  It is said that
emberumAnAr performed arghya pradhAnam as part of every day
sandhyavandanam even at a very advanced age (greater than a hundred
years), in spite of being debilitated due to the the effects of
physical aging, with the assistance of his shishyas.   Clearly, given
his gnyAna, bhakthi, vairAgyam, it would hardly have mattered if he
had decided not to persist with all the aspects of nithyA karmas,
but obviously, he chose to toe the line of what was ordained by
shAstram as part of kula dharmam.

*********end quote from earlier post*************

May be the above context provides adequate clarification of my 
position on this issue.

> Sri Sudarshan writes:
> Next time when you talk of the "charama-shlOka", you should give the 
> pole-vault analogy a serious thought. Who knows, you will never again 
> misunderstand its true meaning.

Sri Sudarshan, please do not take personal affront at what follows, 
but is it necessary to make the statements such as the one above? It 
does not befit a person of your apparent erudition to be bandying 
about with statements that seem simply confrontational.  If you had 
taken the pains to read my previous post with some attention to 
detail, I would be inclined to think that the good folks on bhakti 
may have been spared the agony of reading through verbose tales 
of pole-vaulters and trembling brahmins. 

It is important to measure one's words and comprehend them before 
going public, especially if we don a hat of being authoritative and 
knowledgeable.  Because the average reader takes you at face value,  
it is especially critical to not comment on azhwaar aruLiccheyals 
without proper comprehension obtained through a qualified Acharya.
It is not difficult to indulge in  dialectic calisthenics 
that tend to often obfuscate than clarify.  What is difficult is 
recognition of one's own naicchyam (state of inferiority) in terms of 
true knowledge and let that recognition subjugate one's ego and 
concomitant adrenaline-driven need for ego gratification.

Azhwaar EmberumAnAr Jeeyar thiruvaDigaLE sharaNam