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Re: Fact or fiction?

From: Mohan Sagar (
Date: Tue Jan 13 1998 - 08:00:13 PST

> what extent are
> we required to believe in the Ithihasas to be faithful
> to the requirement of Mahavisvasam?

I think the issue of extent is really the critical one in this discussion. 
For if we were to take every word of the itihAsas literally, would we not
in one sense be contradicting the views of our own tradition?  Take for
example, Sri Ramayanam. If we were to take this work literally, then we
would have to believe that Lord Rama is only "half Vishnu" (as is suggested
by Sri C. Rajagopalachary in his famous interpretation), that He did not
know that He was Perumal until Brahma reminded Him, that He suffered when
His Consort was kidnapped, that He saved His Consort for the purpose of
adhering to Dharma, and that he rejected Her solely on the basis of public

The traditional SriVaishnava view, at least from my understanding, seems to
be contradistinctive to this: the incidents surrounding the whole epic
adventure were merely a vyAjam, an excuse for Perumal to come to earth out
of  His saulabhyam to interact with His devotees and provide Vibhishanar,
kAkasuran, and others, as well as all of us, the opportunity to realize
prapatti.   ThayAr as Sita, allowed Herself to be brought to Lanka so that
she could serve as the purushakAram, and that Her rejection merely served
as a means for the Lord to return to paramam.

I think this idea of Perumal's saulabhyam as revealed in the itihAsas and
purAnas is what SriVaishnavas should certainly all believe.  The fantastic
tales of monkey armies, floating bridges, ten-headed demons, and talking
mountains, while having their value on mythic levels, should really be left
to personal choice and interpretation.