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Re: nityatvam of jIva-s & paratvam of SrIman-nArAyaNa

From: mani2 (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 10:02:02 PST

--- In bhakti-list@y..., "tg_ram" <tg_ram@y...> wrote:
> It is said that the jIva-s always existed from beginningless time.
> 
> How do we understand this correctly, in conjunction with the 
paratvam 
> of SrIman-nArAyaNa ?
> 

Dear Ramkumar,

I presume your question is the following. If the jIvas
are said to exist eternally, does this not affect the
infinitude and absolute paramountcy (paratva) of the
paramAtman SrIman-nArAyaNa?

The answer is that the eternality of the jIvas is
itself dependent on the nitya-icchA (eternal will)
of the paramAtman.  The idea is that the jIvas' very
existence is rooted in the eternal will of the Lord.
Theoretically, the Lord, if He so chooses, can decide
that the jIvas should no longer exist. But His will is
such that they do.

There is a sloka by Kurattalvan that expresses this
idea (unfortunately I cannot recall it right now).

The Svetasvatara Upanishad declares in no uncertain terms
'na tat samaSca-abhyadhikaS ca dRSyate' -- there is nothing
equal or greater than It. This is echoed by our Alvar
in 'ottAr mikkArai ilaiyAya mAmAya!'.  The implication
is that not only is there nothing that can compare with
the Parabrahman in terms of total infinitude and other 
kalyANa-guNas, but even if some entity shares some quality
with It, that entity depends on its glory on the Parabrahman,
whereas the Parabrahman depends on absolutely nothing else.

The liberated jIva enjoys the same bliss as the Parabrahman
(mam sAdharmyam AgataH, says Lord Krishna in the Gita).  As
you have indicated, all jIvas share the quality of eternality
with the Lord. For that matter, even the stuff of the universe
(acit or prakRti) is eternal.  However, all these derive their
guNas from the paramAtman, whereas He derives them from nothing
else.

The very definition of the word 'Brahman' conveys this
idea. Brahman, while also signifying the jIva and acit, 
principally signifies the Supreme Reality because of a
unique twofold meaning.  Sri Ramanuja cites an ancient
authority that assigns the name Brahman to the Supreme
because, not only is it Great, it *imparts* Greatness to
everything else (bRhatvAt bRhmaNatvAt brahmA iti).  

This is the idea one should keep in mind when one says,
"SrI lakshmI-nRsimha *parabrahmaNe* namaH", "SrI lakshmI-
hayavadana parabrahmaNe namaH", etc.

rAmAnuja dAsa,
Mani



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