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SRI STHAVAM 3: "THE OMNISCIENT BHAGAVAN IS IGNORANT!"

Ramanbil_at_aol.com
Date: Tue Feb 15 2000 - 18:35:33 PST

Dear Bhagavatas:
Given below is SlOkam 8 of Sri Sthavam of Sri KoorathAzhwAn in which he 
comments on how the All-knowing BhagavAn is ignorant and proceeds to 
reconcile the paradox of BhagavAn being at once omniscient and ignorant at 
the same time!
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
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SRI STHAVAM 3: "THE OMNISCIENT BHAGAVAN IS IGNORANT!"
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dEvi !tvan mahimAvadhi: na hariNa nApi tvayA jnAyathE
Yadhyapi yEvam; athApi naiva yuvayOh: sarvajnathA heeyathE /
Yath na asthy Eva tad agjnathAm anuguNAm sarvajnathayA vidhuh:
VyOma ambOjam idanthayA khila vidhan bhrAnthO ayam ithi uchyathE //
(Sri Sthavam SlOkam 8)
MEANING
"Oh! Periya PirATTi!
Your greatness is such that it is beyond the knowledge of both yourself and 
EmperumAn. In this, both of you may be deemed to be ignorant!. 

Paradoxically, however, this ignorance does not detract from both of you 
being omniscient also!

But how does this happen?

Because, those who know, know that real knowledge consists in not trying to 
know what cannot be known. The one who imagines the existence of a "skylotus" 
(AahAya thAmarai) which really does not exist is known to be crazy! (bhrAnthO 
ayam)

COMMENT
What is knowledge? 
AzhwAn answers:
Knowledge is to know that you know what you know.
Knowledge is to know that you do not know what you do not know

AzhwAn implies that the omniscient Lord and His equally omniscient spouse
are ignorant of certain things, for example -
1) The KalyANaguNas of the Lord that are 'ad infintum'
2) The KalyANaguNas of ThAyAr which are also equally limitless.
3) The number of AvatAras they had taken are countless 
(avatArah hi asankhyEyah)

AalavandAr in Chatus SlOki SlOka 2 alludes to this kind of ignorance:
"YasyAs thE mahimAnam aathmanA iva tvad vallabhOpi prabhu: nAlam mAthum 
iyaththayA niravadhim nityAnukoolam svathah:"
meaning
"I do not think that even BhagavAn is capable of comprehending the full 
extent of your glory because your glory is as great as His which is also 
beyond comprehension. But, He is not jealous of you because your limitless 
glory only compliments and complements His own and is as eternal as His own, 
both constantly surpassing each other all the time. Because, the Lord is all 
knowing, He knows the fact that He cannot measure it"

Swami Desika in YathirAja Sapthadhi SlOka 2 refers to Periya PirAtti as one 
who is not only the personification of showering grace "anugrahamayeem but  
also one who is 'ignorant forever' of the very concept of punishing (agjnAtha 
nigrahAm) 

Saha dharma chareem SourEh: sammanthritha jagad vithAm/
anugraha mayeem vandhE nityam 'agjnAtha nigrahAm' //

In other words, the word "punishing" has never been and will never be in her 
dictionary. Such is the compassion of our ThAyAr. How eternally valid and how 
truly comforting and reassuring is this message for us! 

In a somewhat different but related context to this 'ignorance', appears 
another dimension to the so called ignorance of the Lord.

Sri ParAsara BhaTTar in his Bhagavad guNa darpaNam uses the word "AvijnAthA' 
as one of the thousand names of the Lord (Vide Nama 483 of Sri VishNu 
SahasranAmam). This means "Non-cognizant" as per the English translation by 
Prof. A. Srinivasaraghavan (page 474 published by Sri VisishTAdvaita 
PrachArini Sabha in 1983). 
He interprets it as follows:
" Even though He sees the innumerable sins committed by pious devotees, He 
not only does not punish them but also forgives them. Not only this much. He 
is even OBLIVIOUS of their sins"

ParAsara BhaTTar adds-
"Not taking into account the faults committed by those who have taken refuge 
in BhagavAn, is certainly a quality that is commendable. Therefore, my 
revered father (Sri KoorathAzhwAn) has said-
Thus we speak in reproof of thy omniscience and say
 'Thou art ignorant. Thou dost dote on the faults of thy devotees'

The above gives the lie direct to the argument by some that the Lord 
"relishes" the sins of the Jivas. What is meant is the He "ignores" and 
"forgives"- not "relishes"'

KoorathAzhwAn's exact words in this context are-
"Sarvajnatham Evam upalabhAmahE tvam hi agjnA Eva  Aasritha dOsha jOshana:" 
which means -
"Oh! Lord! Knowing the faults of your devotees, you choose to look the other 
way. This leads people to think that you are ignorant and therefore your 
omniscience itself seems to appear as a big joke"
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To Continue: Sri Sthavam 4: " Shining in borrowed feathers!"
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