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Re: New member

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_uswest.net)
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 21:51:59 PST

Dear Sri Venkataraman,

You have already received some very interesting and insightful
responses on your thought provoking questions.  I was also
inspired by reading through them, so I thought that I would share
my views on this subject:

----- Original Message -----
From: K.N.Venkataraman <knv123@yahoo.com>
To: <bhakti-list@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 8:21 PM
Subject: New member


> :: Sri GuruBhyoh Namah ::
>
> 1. "Is the surrender at the feet of the Lord Naaraaayana
> more sublime, more important, more necessary than a
> surrender to one's ['Janma Hetu'] - parents, and one's
> SadGuru?
>
> 2. Can surrender be of differing shades - i.e., the
> surrender to the Lord being the highest form of surrender
> and all other surrendering being of lower nature?
>
> 3. Can a surrender to the Lord without the blessings of
> one's parents and Sadguru result in Liberation?
>

I think that all 3 questions can be cleared up if one understands
how SriVaishnava Siddhantam defines surrender.  According to our
AchAryans, the sAstras speak of 2 main ways to realizing God. One
is bhakti yOga, or the path of devotion, that is supported by
karma, selfless action in the form of worship, and jNAna, proper
understanding of the nature of this Universe.   The other is
prapatti, or the path of self surrender.

Contrary to present day belief, no one in this age is really
qualified to practice the rigid discipline required to following
this first path, so the Lord out of His Boundless Love offers the
second and more direct path to Himself, the path of prapatti,
self surrender.

The nature of Surrender lies in completely leaving aside any self
effort in seeking our own means to self realization and
salvation, and simply and wholeheartedly relying on the mercy of
Sriman Narayana, knowing that He alone is the Means our
Salvation, and that serving Him Alone is the only True Happiness,
the only reason for seeking Salavation.

Now while this on a superficial level seems simple, particularly
when compared to the challenging path of yOga, the emotional and
spiritual aspects of surrender are in reality very complex,
making it virtually impossible for those of living in the age of
ignorance to surrender by ourselves.  So, once again, the Lord in
His Infinite Mercy and His ever constant desire to redeem us,
gives us a means, the AchAryan.  As Sri Venkatesh has so
wonderfully brought forth in his posting, the AchAryan can be
likened to a mother who sacrifices everything for her children to
raise them and guide them on the path that will lead to True
Happiness.  In this case, that path that the AchAryan reveals to
us is the path of Surrender, prapatti.

Interestingly, however, and once again as an expression of the
Lord's mercy, the AchAryan goes even one step further.   A
mother's love is such that she cannot even bear to see her
children suffering even slightly, even if such struggle leads to
something good.  The AchAryan's love being the same way, he
actually takes on the path that he intended for us to take by
surrendering on our behalf, becoming the connection between
ourselves and the Lord to assure our salvation.

Such a loving act on the part of the teacher cannot help but help
nurture feelings of love in our own hearts, and we began to
naturally engage in AchArya abhimAnam as described by Swamy
Pillai LokAchAr.  While it is described that this service pleases
the Lord so much that He assures our Salvation, the spirit of
Loving Service to Sriman Narayana through service to the AchAryan
and other devotees is such a joyous experience, that we soon can
begin to even forget the very desire for the fruit of salvation
that brought us to the AchAryan in the first place.

Consequently, Absolute Faith in the AchAryan is equivalent, and
indeed in my opinion, is essentially the same thing as
surrendering to the Lord.  Since this surrender is a direct
experience of the Supreme Lord Sriman Narayana's Love in one's
heart that is experiencesd as the AchAryan's loving intercession,
it is an all encompassing and all inclusive experience that has
no gradations or substitutions.  And, since it is only brought
about by Sriman Narayana's Grace Alone, there really can be no
question of the need for approval or blessings from others.
All that is necessary, other than the inclination and acceptance
on the part of the aspirant, is an AchAryan having thorough
knowledge of the path of surrender as promoted by the foremost
example of this "maternal" affection for humanity, Sri Ramanuja.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
Mohan




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