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Re: Nitya Suris

From: Sumanth Kaushik (skaushik_at_MIT.EDU)
Date: Tue Dec 05 1995 - 12:48:32 PST

Mani writes:

* The question is a good one and can be stated in even 
* broader terms.  Since Vishvaksena (Senesha) is a 
* nitya-suri according to our sampradaaya, his jnaana
* has been infinite for all time.  Therefore, even 
* Vishvaksena does not need a specific upadesha.  Teaching
* of this form is only necessary for errant jivas such
* as ourselves.

It is not clear to me how from the viewpoint of a mukta,
one can distinguish itself between a jivan mukta (one who has
received moksa) from a Nitya Suri (one who has been in moksa eternally). 
At the time of moksa, time ceases all meaning. It is no longer
relevant or sensible to speak of a before or an after, only 
that which exists at the moment. 

>From the viewpoint of muktas, God doesn't differentiate between the jivatmas
(atleast not that I know of). Similarly, once a mukta, there is no chance for
the jiva to be caught up in samsara once again. If this were possible, the whole
purpose of prapatti and moksa is negated. Therefore, there appears to me no way
for a jiva to ever differentiate itself from a Nitya Suri and a jivan
mukta.

Even from the viewpoint of  errant jivas, it doesn't
seem possible to make a differentiation between a Nitya Suri and jivan
mukta. We have no knowledge of previous lives to make a relative
comparison of the state of a mukta at the present time with
the time past. Thus, from our viewpoint of jivas, all muktas
appear as Nitya Suris. 

It seems to me that if one allows for Nitya Suris to be those muktas who has
been "sent" by  Narayana to help those errant jivas, WITHOUT worrying about
their "eternality" (which does not seem sensible to me), then the
such problems of Narayana giving upadesa to Senesha disappears. 

Why can't one merely view Nitya Suris as those mukta's who continue to interact
with errant jivas, without they themselves being caught up in samsara? 
Is this a "way" to differentiate a Nitya Suri from a jivan mukta?
>From this viewpoint,  one can  suggest that any mukta can become a
Nitya Suri provided that Sri Narayana himself wishes so. Therefore, it would
imply that it would be ppossible for us to not only recieve upadesa from Sriman
Narayana (which Visistadvaita would admit), but also become Nitya Suris (if
we were to receive moksa and were so instructed by Sriman Narayana).

I am sure that this viewpoint is inconsistent with other aspects of
Visistadvaita. However, I am curious to know a bit more on the
nature of Nitya Suris. The notion of "eternal" gets used quite loosely
in philosophy, so it would be nice to hear a discussion on
the visistadvoitic notion of time.

Sumanth