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Position of SRI in "Sri"Vaishnavam

From: Sampath Rengarajan (srengara_at_ford.com)
Date: Tue Jan 23 1996 - 05:34:33 PST

Mr. Vidya Shankar asked for some official explanation for "SRI" in
Srivaishnavam. Though some of the passurams explained the "Sivaa - Brahmaa -
Head Count reduction" in a comprehensive way, I was still looking for a direct
answer to the question. I found some of the thoughts of one of the Researcher
(Mr.Seshadri) write up suiting the present discussion as well on sita. The gist
of that is presented with some additional analysis by self,  below.

The south indian legend Pillai Lokaacharyaa describes the nature and qualities
of ISvara or god by stating that HE is the lord of "sri" , boomi devi and Nila
the three forms of lukshmi. SRI is identified with "icha" or "will" and also
with sun and
boomi with "kriya" or action with "pranava" or the sustaining power of the
universe and also with the moon ;
sri is also identified with "gnana". WIth six of the traditionally attributed
qualities with the supreme being
1. (sakthi, or power that is used in creation,
2. gnana or spiritual illumination (the so called arut perum jothi),
 3. aisvarya or the spontaneous mercy of God,
4. bala or the strength that never is tired of in saving protecting,
5. virya, god'd unending energy
6. tejas which is the self sufficiency and state of calmness
It is considered that the aseemblage of all these are called Lukshmi.The
functions of creation, maintenance and destrucionand granting of grace or with
holding it are immanent in a state of internal agitation in this form which is
also called the "mayaa of vishnu". When these potential form is contained in
HIM at the time of yoga nishtai, SRI is ever present in HIM as kis "kalyaana
gunakaL" which is sqaurely the difference between the Adviatin and
vishitaadhvaidin schools. When these potential or imanent qualities emerges
out, vishnu's sankalpa or desire or idea of  producing material objetcs and
spiritual entities becomes equated with Lukshmi. Lukshmi then becomes a
separate entity as percieved by all others (Except vishnu) and is seen as the
dual form of of the supreme being for the expression of HIS will. Sri is also
in the lineage to HIM and it is believed that mercy is granted and transmitted
through SRI. The three main qualities which are essential for the functionof
Sri as a mediator are

1. krupa or mercy
2. pratantarya or steadfastnessin devotion to supreme being,
3. ananyarhatva or non-separation from HIM.

Ardent Srivaishnavaa beleive that Lukshmi, incarnate as Sita, ( conducts this
DRAMA for us to learn from) , and on being put to test, (as seen by the
jivaatma)  displayed these three qualities on three different occasion,
revealing

a) her mercy, when she protected a rakshahsaa women who ere her protectors and
also tormentors in Sri Lanka

b) her stead fasteness in submission to her LORD, when she went to the forest a
second time but refrained from resisting or reacting adversely HERself on the
ground that it would not be in the interests  of HIS family and would result in
detraction from his glory

c) her sense of non separation from HIM and her total devotion to HIM and
nothing  else saved HER during her ordeal in fire as fire would not destroy a
part of HIM.

Sri vaachana Bushana says Lakshmi never separated from GOD for anytime so that
it is possible for "any"one to approach HIM through her all the time. Besides
the duality concept is derived from one of three main "rhasyaas" of sri
vishistaadh vaidam (both "4000" and Swami desikan's Srimath Rahasya tra saaram
deals them in detail), nemely the dvyam.
"Sri"man NaaraayanO Charanam saranam prapadyE, "Sri" matheE naaraayanaaya
namaha"
According to Sri vaachana bushana the mention of "sri" in dvyam shows the
non-separation of HER from god for granting mercy through her for "ever" as the
mediatrix.

Besides, the three rahasyaas arranged in this order also calls for three
different explanations.
The ashtaaksharam presents the form of HIM in enveloping everything and every
one and Sri is present in HIM at this stage as the "potential" sources or the
kalyaana kunanGaL. The second rahasyaa portrays "Sri" exclusively as the
creations are in place and the Jivaans have started to  seeking saraNaagathi
through HER and so Sri is present exclusively as a mediatrix but yet not
separarted by HIM. The thrid namely the Sarama sloka not only indicates how to
surrender but also says the "maam eKam" which shows that Sri and me are
"one"and also indicates that this  is the winding back stage to "oneness" (in
the cycle of creation , preservation and destruction) and reminding us that we
are all anyway going to endup as "one" in HIM and better surrender now itself
instead of taking several births and deaths.

Sri Oppilaippan Sri Boomai dEvi thiruvadikalE saranam
Sampath Rengi