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Nitya Suri, Jeevan Mukta, Ontological Status of Maha Lakshmi

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Dec 10 1995 - 19:15:11 PST

Dear Lakshmi Narayana Dasaas:

Recently Murali Rajgopalan started us off to think about the nettlesome
question, which has 
been heavily commented upon by the Acharyas of Sri Bhagavat Ramanuja Siddhantam.
Although I am not a scholar under any sense of the term, I  must confess that
the Subject 
has intrigued me. I did a lot of looking up  of the original source literature
and Bhashyas
to find clues to the doctrine of Goddess Sri in Sri Vaishnava Sampradhaayam. I
will be happy to 
share these thoughts with  you  , mostly from the point of view of stimulating
additional 
discussions. May  I ask as to how many among the group have a copy of the
following two books ,
WHICH PROVIDE A LOT OF PERTINENT REFERENCES TO BEGIN WITH:

1. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam book on  Visishtadvaitam by Sri A. Srinivasa
Raghavan.(Publication 
no.277, 1985).
2. Vaishnavism , its Philosophy, Theology and Religious Discipline by Dr.
S.M.Srinivasa Chari 

The reason for asking is that these two books cover extensively the essence of
the answers
for the questions on the Status of Sri Devi  vis a Vis Her Consort , Sriman
Narayana.

If these books are not available to the majority of the members, I would have to
include lengthy 
Quotations from them to avoid commentary or summarization. You can send me a
note online
directly on this , so that I can get an idea of how extensive the reference to
the source literature has 
to be included in the postings. This is a very important subject for all of Us
and therefore,
I do not mind spending some time on it as a Labor of love and NOT  for purposes
of pompous 
pontification by  a novice. What I may be able to put together might still not
anticipate all questions and doubts. That is the exciting part in so far as it
sets the stage for further  discussions amongst us..

Swami Desikan himself has said that doubts are likely to arise in the minds of
people about
the  Vaishnava Tattvas  and it is essential that the doubts should be cleared.
He has anticipated 
such doubts in many of his works and has also cleared them as he understood from
his
Acharya Parampara. He probably  had all of us in mind , who are some what
stranded here without
 the benefit of direct contact with our own learned Acharyas to ask the
questions and have the doubts
cleared. My attempt will be a poor substitute, but I am willing to make an
attempt to 
stimulate discussions on this important topic..

The questions related to the Bhaddha Jivan, Mukta Jeevan, Jeevan Muktan, and
Nitya Suris are much
easier to explain in the light of our Acharya"s views. I will start with that
first and then focus on
the  issues discussed by our Acahryas on the Unique status of SRI in  Our  SRI
SAMPRADHAYAM.

Our  Siddhantam has its roots in the Vaishnavite Doctrines understood and
explained by Alavandaar,
Natha Muni and Nammazhvar. Swami Desikan clarified much of it for us in his many
works
and  reconciled many apparently  conflicting views. He has  established the
Vibhutvam,
Iswaratvam and Jagat Kaaranatvam of SRI  and reconciled it with her role as the
Saha Dharmacharini
of her consort . He has written Bhashyams on Chatusloki and , Gadya Trayams. He
clarified further 
for us the role of SRI in Visishtadvaitam in his other works known as SaaraSaram
and Nyaya 
Siddhanjanam. In his Chatusloki Bhashyam (a Commentary on Yamuna"s Chatusloki) ,
he 
establishes that the nature, Power and position of Goddess Lakshmi is equal to
Her Lord. 
In other Rahasya Granthas  such as Rahasya Ratnavali, Sarasara and Sarasangraha
, he
sheds light also on this subject.  His Virodha Parihara summarizes 109 doubts
and objectons 
to Rahasya Trya Mantras -the topic of his Magnum Opus, Rahsya Trya Saaram-- and
answers 
them. This was more or less the  last work  with which he blessed us as he
approached 
his last years of his one hundred and one years of life on this earth. The
questions on her receiving 
Upadesam form her Lord and her relation to the Nitya Suris can be the topics of
our discussions.

V.Sadagopan