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"Do we need to ask/beg Him?"

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Wed Dec 04 1996 - 22:21:34 PST

srimathE sri lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear bhAgavatOttamas,

On this subject I have had a private encounter with another member, Sriman
Sundar who is a great and devout scholar by all accounts. Now he took me to
task on my views of "sabhari-moksha-sakshi-bhutha" and "cross-examined" me
very thoroughly in a "trial proceeding" held "in camera".

He has now given me permission to make public the "trial proceedings" which
you may all also now watch.
                        *************************************

At 7:09 PM 12-03-96, M K Sudarshan wrote:

>
>"avandhya-mahima munijana-bhajana-mushita-hrudaya kalusha shabarimOksha
>sAkshi-bhuta !!"
>
>The above shloka of Swami Desikan describes clearly that the Lord merely
>"witnessed" the event of Sabhari attaining "moksha" : "sabarimoksha
>sAkshi-bhutha !!". Swami Desikan, the "kavi-simham", here does not use the
>Sanskrit equivalent of "Sabari attained "moksha"" or "sabari was granted
>"moksha"'. Desikan specifically employs the expression "sAkshi-bhuta" !!
>implying that Rama was mere "mute witness" to Sabari attaining "mOksha" !


Dear Sri Sudarshan,

This is a fascinating viewpoint which had never occurred to me before!
Thank you for your analysis!

For the purposes of "rasa", allow me to play your private devil's advocate
in this matter.

I will go to Sri Bhattar's Bhashyam of the Vishnu Sahasranamam to cite my
backing.

The first time we encounter the naama "sakshi" in the VS, it is in the shloka :

"pootaatma paramaatmaa ca muktaanam paramaagati:
avyaya: purusha: saakshi kshetragnyo a-kshara eva ca"


Sri Bhattar specifically states, of the name "muktaanaam paramaagati:" that
the following five names are qualifiers, or extol this name muktaanaam
paramaagati:. This firmly establishes Sriman Naarayana as the ultimate and
best destination (paramaagati) of liberated souls (muktaa:). Even Sri
Sankara says this name means " We need reach no other Devatas but Him. Who
reaches him never returns to samsaara". This is indeed a name to conjure
with.

For avyaya:, Sri Bhattar gives : Whom the muktas never part from

For puruSha : Who gives in plenty. Who gives muktas the great joy of being
interested in, or enchanted by (we have the thamizh word "eedupaadu" here)
the manifestations of his forms and natures.

For saakshi : Who happily witnesses the joy that muktas get from his giving
them that "eedupaadu" and the joy that comes from that.

So Sri Rama is the Saakshi Bhuta, but he is Saakshi, witness, the the joy
that came to Shabari from being a Muktai from the interest he gave her in
his kalyaanaguNagaNas and the roopanaamavibhavam.

He is merely witnessing what he created, is it not ?

In the second instance, where saakshi appears,

"jeevo vinayitaa saakshi mukundo amitavikrama:
amBHOnidhiranantaatma mahaa dadhishayontaka:"

In this verse, the first four names hing on the last naama of the previous
verse, "saatvataam pati:"

"saatvataam pati:" : Saatvikas are those great ones who know the
parabrahmam valled sattva. He makes the paancharaatra shaastra flourish,
that spells out the  karmas that saatvikas would do well to follow. He
saves those saatvatas, or bhaagavatas.

"jeeva:" He makes those bhagavatas well and truly alive because they
worship him (presumably, according to the abovementioned paancharaatra
shaastras). He cannot stand it if they suffer.

"vinayitaa" : He guards, supports, protects and nourishes thos ebhagavtas
as if they were princes!

"saakshi" : He witnesses and sees their exceptional conduct and acts (which
is their unequalled fortune and joy of worshipping Him )

"mukunda" : He is the only devata they worship (following the paancharaatra
shaastram), and He grants them mukti.

So, from the qualifications of the naama saakshi in both these cases, I
would argue that mukti or moksha is Sriman Narayana's to give out of his
great daya and priya for us. It is he who gives us "eedupaadu" in him, He
who has given us the shaastra to guide our karma, he who witnesses us
following that karma and being made happy by it, He who protects us like
princes in the performance of the karma, and He who gives us the fruit of
that karma, which is mukti.

If he is saakshi bhuta fo the Shabarai Moksha, that shows he is taking
great joy in witnessing what his creation sulminated in.

With my regards,

Sundar

PS : The translations are from Mahomahopaadhyaya M. V. Ramanujacharyar's
thamizh Mahabharatam. The VS Bhashyam was published separately as a volume
extracted from th Aanushaasanika parva.
                         *************************************
Dear Sriman Sundar,

Thank you for your message. I read your other postings on the group and find
them very educative. 

It is always a pleasure to hear someone use the Vishnu-sahasranamam, as you
have so wonderfully done. In a discussion/debate of 'sat-vishayam', much
like in courts of law, honourable judges are known to always have a
"soft-corner" for advocates (even the ones holding brief for the "devil"!!)
who advance clear arguments derived from the "Statute of EVIDENCE" rather
than quoting copiously from several "case-laws" or precedents from
subordinate judicial councils. Arguments based on categorical EVIDENCE make
a judge's job so much easy whereas case-laws and precedents only give him a
hard time in deciding, involving as it does pouring and agonizing over a
heavy load of legal literature !!

So in this matter your "arguments" based on the Vishnu Sahasranamam are so
strong that there is no need for further 'trial proceedings' ! Sentence can
be passed right away and here it is :

Your point that it is the Lord who actually turned Sabhari into a
"paramEkAntin" and hence simply and affectionately "witnessed" her take
"mOkshA" out of His hands, as it were, is incontrovertible. After all one
can hardly expect the Lord to do any the less than "witness", with unbounded
pleasure, the scene of a 'parama-bhaktha' of His like Sabhari "grab"
"moksha" from His Hands, since as per the Vishnu-Sahasranamam again (Nama
#353 shloka #38), He is "MahAkshah:" or the "ONE with Many Glorious Eyes" !!
(Voila ! The judge too is now beginning to quote from the same source as the
advocate!!)  

The point is, dear Sri.Sundar, I am not an "accused" here. You've caught an
innocent bystander (an ordinary "sAkshi"!) and are making him out to be a
"devil" merely because he pointed out to a poetic masterstroke of Swami
Desikan in his "Raghuveera Gadyam" which gives us all a wonderful clue as to
how to realistically and meaningfully interpret "prapatti" without getting
lost in semantic hair-splitting of the sort involved in questions we keep
posing ourselves such as "should we ask Him or not?". 

Indeed, Sri Sundar, please tell me, if we all did and ever could become
"paramEkAntins" like Sabhari would that Great Lord have any objections to
our "grabbing" "mokshA" out of His Hands ? Would He not be happy to stay a
"mere witness" to that farcical, and yet endearing, act of ours ? 

I think my posting is being grossly misunderstood again !! It is a pity. 

If you don't mind why don't we share this correspondence we have had now
also on the "bhakthi-list" so that not only will others know how thorough
and probing the "devil's advocate" has been in his investigation but also
how innocent an "ulpa-sAkshi-bhuta" like me (bystander) has been needlessly
misunderstood. The record of "in camera" proceedings will then show that I
made a fairly good job of defending myself. And charges therefore may be
summarily dropped against the accused !!

OK ?

Regards,
sudarshan
                     ****************************************
Dear Sri Sudarshan,


Thank you for your reply =) To indulge in more 'semantic hair splitting', I
termed *myself* the devil's advocate here. To you goes the credit and
puNyam of making me even think about this subject =)

So if you are the "alpa sakshi" then you have given an excellent witness'
account of Sriman Narayana's acts - even if it is hearsay from the
Kavitaarkikasimham's poetic masterstroke. So there is no question about
your reliability or excellence as a witness =) The Court commends you!

>Indeed, Sri Sundar, please tell me, if we all did and ever could become
>"paramEkAntins" like Sabhari would that Great Lord have any objections to
>our "grabbing" "mokshA" out of His Hands ? Would He not be happy to stay a
>"mere witness" to that farcical, and yet endearing, act of ours ?
> I think my posting is being grossly misunderstood again !! It is a pity.
> The record of "in camera" proceedings will then show that I
>made a fairly good job of defending myself. And charges therefore may be
>summarily dropped against the accused !!

You are absolutely right in this respect, and the misunderstanding is mine.
The Lord's attitude at this point is like one after watching a child crawl,
when the child finally gets up to walk and takes a fruit from its mother's
hands. The pride and joy she would feel at this is indeed, unbound, and she
would be happy to "merely" witness it after supporting her child's first
hesitant steps, even though she has been "holding out " this fruit to the
child since the child recognized the fact that the fruit was sweet.

However, allow me to disagree with you in the fact that it was a pity that
your posting was misunderstood. Your posting fascinated me and prodded me
to the effort of thinking about this sat-vishayam.. This credit goes
entirely to you. I remember a while back, someone wrote about a taxi driver
who drove so recklessly that his passengers called on God often, and that
puNyam accrues to the taxi driver for bringing about that. Let this be in a
similar manner, to your credit. Of course, I wouldn't dream of implying
recklessness on your part. Rather, as I started out thanking you, I feel a
sense of gratitude.

Please feel free to share whatever portions of the correspondence you see
fit with the list.

With my regards,

Sundar
    ***************************************************************
srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha