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Re: Two questions

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Mon Aug 30 1999 - 14:49:00 PDT

Dear Kristijan,

You ask:
> 1. Do various forms (like Krishna, Rama,...) of Sriman Narayana also
> exist on Sri Vaikuntham or are they only on Vibhava lokas?

I suggest you think of it this way. Sri Vaikuntham is a place or state
where one's consciousness is infinite and operates unobstructed.  You
therefore can perceive Sriman Narayana in all His infinitude.  Now,
Rama and Krishna are various forms of this one reality.  In Vaikuntha,
since there is no limitation to your consciousness, you would be able to 
perceive all of these, as you wished.  To cite a familiar example, remember 
how Arjuna saw everything possibly imaginable simultaneously merging and 
emanating from Krishna during the Vishvarupa darsana? 

Or, using a more mundane analogy, wouldn't it be inappropriate to say that
the numbers "2", "3", etc., while being different, unique, numbers,
are *not* part of the entire "set" of numbers? The same way, all the
forms of Narayana can be seen and perceived once one's consciousness
is unhindered. 

> 2. I've heard there are some Sri Vaishnavas who worship Smt Radharani
> as the consort of sri Krishna. 

It depends on what you mean. Traditionally speaking, the name Radha is
rarely found (if at all [*]) in the older Puranas and the works of
Sri Vaishnava acharyas.  The story of Radha as current in Northern
Vaishnavism is also not mentioned by the Alvars. Nowadays, however,
because of cross-pollenation, the Radha-Krishna stories are very
popular in South India and Sri Vaishnavas have also been infected by
their charm.

[*] There may be one minor reference by Desika in Yadavabhyudayam.

As far as "worshipping" Radha is concerned, if one identifies Radha 
purely with Nappinnai of Tamil fame (Nila in Sanskrit), as some do, 
ignoring North Indian peculiarities concerning her story of Radha, 
there's no issue. But for the most part, Sri Vaishnava acharyas 
generally do not attribute any real authority to these stories of
Radha, and do not treat her as someone of any historical or 
philosophical significance. In other words, as anubhavam goes, the
stories are respected and read with delight, but as far as tattvArtham
is concerned, they are ignored.

This is my current understanding of this topic.

Mani