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Date: Sun Jan 21 1996 - 03:25:44 PST
Dear Mani, You had asked me to clarify what I mean by Moksha and its time of attainment. I have based my understanding primarily on Vedanta Desikar's RTS and His various minor Rahasyas. Sri Gurubhyo Namah: All statements in scripture are context sensitive and have to be understood accordingly. For example Ramanujacharya points out in the Geetabhashya that in one verse when Sri Krishna uses the word Svarga He means Vaikuntha in very shortly thereafter He uses the same Svarga to mean the abode of Indra. In the same way the word "death" or the term "fall of this body" can also mean something other than departure of the soul from the physical body. Example: When Ashvatthama killed the five sons of the Pandavas while they were asleep, Arjuna chased after him and brought him back to the Pandava camp bound by ropes. Krishna wanted Arjuna to kill Ashwatthama while Draupadi pleaded that Arjuna should not make Drona's wife weep like Draupadi was weeping at that time. Arjuna looked at Krishna who indicated that Arjuna should somehow satisfy both Krishna who wanted Ashwatthama dead and Draupadi who wanted him alive. Arjuna cut off Ashwatthama's shika and the Mani on Ashwatthama's forehead. Forcible removal of the Shika was considered to be equal to death for a brahmana those days. Coming back to our context, death need not be simply departure of the soul from the body. It can be viewed as departure of the body from the soul. The body besides the gross body consisting of the 5 elements also includes Manas or mind, buddhi or intelligence and Ahamkara or ego. Sri Vedanta Desikar describes the journey of the soul through various lokas to Vaikuntha, where the jivatma is received by ushers in Vaikuntha and is then taken by Narayana under His feet and then the jivatma serves Narayana AT ALL TIMES, IN ALL PLACES AND UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Sri Vaikuntha is not just one loka a zillion miles from here. It will manifest itself to the mukta jivatma wherever Narayana sends it. Evidence: The sons of Kubera, Manigriva and Nalakuvera were drunk and bathing naked with many women in a lake. Narada passed that way. The women rushed to cover themselves but the sons of Kubera were too drunk to even realize that they were naked. Narada cursed them to be born as trees. They were liberated when the trees were brought crashing down by baby Krishna after mother Yashoda had tied Him to a mortar. After liberation the sons of Kubera did not go to Sri Vaikuntha but returned to Kubera where they served Narayana by serving their father. Taking the jivatman under His feet means becoming a servant of Narayana. Purification of Ahamkara means revealing to the jivatma what it had forgotten from beginningless time. That it is the servant of Narayana and it serves Narayana by serving another jivatma (with a few exceptions like Garuda, Vishvaksena etc). Purification of the manas and buddhi means replacing the mind and intelligence made up of the 3 gunas with a shuddha sattva mind and intelligence. There is no rajo or Tamo guna influencing the physical body of the mukta jivatma. In a vast majority of cases, this happens only with the death of the physical body of a prapanna. But it does not have to be so if Narayana decides to give moksha to a jivatma and still has work for that individual on earth. Besides this jivatmas may come from Vaikuntha propagate Bhagavath Dharma and liberate baddha jivatmas. Such jivatmas are the kindest incarnations of Bhagavan. They are incarnations because they are totally manipulated by Bhagavan for their purposes. It is through tnem only and not the Archa form or Antaryami form that Bhagavan finally gets baddha jivatmas moksha. Besides Ramanuja says in the Vedartha Sangraha that two types of jivatmas take part in Bhagavan's leela vibhutis - the baddha jivatmas and the mukta jivatmas. This earth is a part of Bhagavan's leela vibhuti and therefore mukta jivatmas can and do take birth here to fulfil Bhagawan's purposes. This is stated by the Bhashyakara Himself. Sri Vedanta Desikar states in the beginning of the RTS "Narayana, Himself assumes a mortal form out of compassion and lifts up the world submerged (in samsara) with sastras as His hand" and so also, "Our Lord dressed in His yellow raiment came as the guru out of compassion to impart the teachings of the Veda". In a subsequent chapter Sri Vedanta Desikar states that a God will not speak through a man who is covered with negative qualities. He also explains how these qualities are only as a result of the souls contact with a body made up of the 3 gunas and why we should not worship other deities because they are also products of Karma. Based on these I find it inconceivable to consider an Acharya chosen by Malola Himself (through the previous Acharya) to be a baddha jivatma. Mani, while you may be able to dispute my contention that a baddha jivatma may be able to get moksha without "dying" as we normally understand it, you cannot dispute that mukta jivatmas take birth to fulfil Bhagavan's purposes. To dispute my contention that all 45 Jeers of Sri Ahobila Mutt were Mukta jivatmas, you will need divine revealation. All scriptural evidence points to the contrary. Jaganath.