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Date: Tue Dec 12 1995 - 19:11:10 PST
Mani writes: * By romanticizing the Azhvaars' Vedic heritage, we make * it easy to ignore the social reality of their time as well * as ours. Consider the fact that only five centuries after * Nathamuni's revolutionary acceptance of the Thiruvaaymozhi * as another Veda, a section of Sri Vaishnavas forcefully * argued that non-brahmins cannot be acharyas to brahmins! * Is this the example set by the Azhvaars? Why then were * these great souls born amongst the entire social spectrum, * if not to show that social status meant absolutely nothing? * And that the Vedas themselves were offended by being confined * to a cloister? S Kaushik writes: This "section of Sri Vaishanavas" could also be viewed as including Sri Vedanta Desikar himself. In Rahasya Traya Sara, he clearly argues why even the most devout non-Brahmin bhaktas can nver "become" Brahmins. He argues that the para-Bhaktas ought to be respected, but they cannot and should not be considered as Brahmins. >From a "naive" reading of our scriptures, it seems to me that though the scriptures speak of EQUAL accessibility of God to all members of society, it NOT imply that the MODES of which God can be attained are the same for all members. Though our 21rst century ideals may wish otherwise, many of the most eminent Sri Vaishnava scholars in history have not believed in an egalitarian society of the sort that people wish today.... Rest of text deleted. It is correct that Vedanta Desikar said that caste distinctions continue after Prapatti, but a careful reading of RTS as well as other prose works of Vedanta Desikar reveal that the caste system is there only for the baddha atmas and at the time of Moksha he or she becomes equal to all other nitya and mukta jivatmas and that none of the rules and regulations laid down in the shastras apply except for what Perumal makes such a jivatma do. It was because Kanchipurna was not a baddha jivatma that Ramanujacharya wanted to eat his leftovers and be sanctified. Perumal not giving Kanchipurna moksha until he got Prapatti from Ramanuja was a leela just as Vipra Narayana failed to see Narayana but was crying for Devadevi instead. It is said in the Geeta that a true Jnani sees a brahmana, a cow, an elephant or an untouchable equally. This can be understood from the Vedanta Desikar's explanation that an individual pays respect to an Acharya because Lord Hayagriva is permanently seated on the Acharya's tongue. Similarly when a person without the sacred thread is paying respect to a person with one it should be understood that the respect is paid to Gayatri Devi and Sriman Narayana. There is from this point of view an equality of castes. A comparison can be made with the functioning of a car. There are various parts that make up the whole car and every part has to play its part properly in order for the car to do its work properly. Some years ago when I had done $2,000 worth of repairs my car continued to stall. Finally it was discovered that the culprit was a washer costing 89 cents and it cost 2 hours of labour or $90 to get to the washer and replace it] Similarly every individual's role is important in Narayana's eyes whether it is teaching a college course as in the case of Shri Dileepan or whether it is the Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt. How people perceive roles is another matter altogether. Coming to Sri Kaushik's point on equality, it is correct that scriptures do not consider everyone to be equal. This is because Sri Krishna says in the Geeta that He is not partial or discriminatory towards anyone. Sri Vedanta Desikar explains in the beginning of Srimad Rahasya Traya Sara that a jivatma became a baddha atma because of its evil passions and desires. How a person gets treated in this world also depends upon his original and subsequent evil as well as good acts from time immemorial. We cannot consider justice from the perspective of a few years or one lifetime's experience. 20th century will be no more perfect in the eyes of the 25th century people than the 15th century is in our eyes. Therefore having coming into this world of suffering, our vision is both limited and coloured by TRIGUNA or the combination of sattva, raja and tamo gunas. These gunas are capable of making us thing that imperfect is perfect and vice versa. In order to approach Moksha we have to undergo a paradigm shift and consider everything that Sriman Narayana does to be perfect and for our good. How this is so will be explained by the perfect Acharya that Narayana chooses for us. How do we recognize our Acharya when as soon as He approaches Triguna will work overtime filling our minds with doubts? His Holiness the 44th Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt has explained in a lecture that "one should chant Krishna Krishna all the time (or as frequently as possible). This alone with get a person who chants in this way to the point of saranagathi. To one that has had the good fortune of having had saranagathi, continuous chanting of Krishna Krishna will wipe away all sins, (including Prarabdha Karma) giving all pleasures and enjoyments in this world as well as experience of Paramanandam in Sri Vaikuntha Loka after this life. Of this there is no doubt." Jaganath.