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Re: Fact or fiction?

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (
Date: Thu Jan 15 1998 - 12:02:02 PST

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      
                  Srimate NigamAntha MahAdesikAya Namaha 
                  Srimate  Bhagavad   RAmAnujAya  Namaha      
                    Sriyai Namaha ; SridharAya  Namaha

     Dear  Sri Dileepan SwAmi and others bhAgavathAs ,
     Namo NArAyanA . kindly accept adiyens pranAmams. 

> One of the issues that captured the attention of the participants in the
> Denver conference was the importance of implicit belief in our Ithihaasas
> and PuraaNaas.  One of the key questions was, to what extent is it
> important that we believe Lord Krishna actually stood on the chariot, with
> the two armies patiently looking on, and went about preaching to Arjuna.
> Or, should we simply look at Sri Bhagavath Geethai as an important
> philosophical work and ignore the story surrounding its origin?  

       The vibhava avatArams of Sriman NArAyanA as NrusimhA , RAmA ,
KrishnA are all true. It is a fact that NArAyanA out of His Sowlabyam and
Sowseelyam has taken all these vibhava avatArams. Whether someone believes
it or not depends upon the individual . If one has the real devotion
towards AzhvArs and AchAryAs , he can understand all these things with
great ease . But for big time speculators who rely on their own puny
brains to understand sAstrA , thinking that AzhvArs ,Rishis like ParAsarA
,VyAsA , SukA etc , AchAryAs like RAmAnujA , Desikan etc  are all fools ,
understanding of IthihAsAs and purAnAs ( vibhava avatAra leelAs, archa
avatAram  etc ) are certainly difficult.

     If one understands the philosophy of Bhagavad GItA properly ( under a
sadAchAryA) , it is highly appreciated. Actually it is not highly
necessary to know all the episodes in MahAbhArathA since much of the part
deals  with arthA, kAmA and dharmA. Neverthless , all are facts only. Various
events were recorded by vyAsA .

     Similarly , RAmAyanA is a collection of the events happened during
RAmAs avatAram ( trethA yugam) . It is perfect in toto . There is no need
to speculate . If by chance a 20th century man goes back in time to 11 th  
century  , and talks about Computers & Robots, everyone will heavily 
laugh at him . This is because of their limited knowledge and experience. 

     Just because some of the events in IthihAsAs and PurAnAs are beyond
our limited experience doesn't make them as impossible events. It  is a
fact that IthihAsAs and purAnAs( I & P) were compiled for the general
public to relish & also to understand the Upanishads in the light of
I & P.Never it is to be understood that I&P were the products of VyAsAs /
vAlmIkIs speculation to make one understand Upanishads.          

If you are
> in the "implicit belief" camp, what about the conversation between Dharama
> Raja and Nagusha the snake, and the other fantastic stories?  Would our
> spiritual appreciation suffer if we are unable to simply accept stories
> where snakes speak to humans and the dead are brought back to life as
> actual recording of real events?  Or, is it alright to simply accept the
> morals and ignore the stories? 

     Any true vaishnavA is in the "implicit belief" camp. 

  IthihAsAs and purAnAs are not a collection of life histories of mundane
people. There is no need to specially record about mundane people. Any
incident recorded in them has their own value because of the spiritual
importance ( but may pertain to dharmA , arthA and kAmA also apart from

    Jada Bharath ( jIvAtmA ) was having a Deers body. But continued his
Bhakti Yogam . So , a fool may say this to be impossible. sAstrAs will
never be understood by fools and idiots who indulge heavily in
materialistic activities (ofcourse , mercy of a sadAchAryA can turn
anyones life anytime). Even amongst those who have renounced all
materialistic pleasures only those who have the grace of Sriman NArAyanA
can resort to a sadAchAryA and understand the actual facts .

      The very reason that snakes spoke to humans (which is quite extra
ordinary) makes it qualified to be recorded. There is no need to record
about millions of snakes which lived as mere snakes and died. Moreover ,
the jIvAtmA inside the snakes body ( Nagusha episode ) was only under the
curse. So , it is a very special case. It can have the power of speech
also.Since it is reported to have the power of speech , it has the power
of speach.There ends the matter . Our speculation is of no use.    

   We are not reading  Amarchitra kathA to take only the morals ( the
story is fictitious). Everything has to be accepted in toto . 

   VyAsA is incarnation ( anupravesa avatAram) of NArAyanA. He has
recorded the events => All are true only. But one should be careful in the
interpretation. The exact implication of the author can only be understood
from the GuruparamparA . 

For instance Siria Thiruvadi (Hanuman)  is worshipped in pancha mukam ( 5
headed) form. AgamA prescribes this. The five heads are 

         1. HanumAn's own head   2. HayagrIvA  3. Peria Thiruvadi (
GarudA)  4.Nrusimhan 5. VarAha

   One should not speculate that "since Hanuman cannot have five heads
like this , hanuman never existed ".

    The actual implication is that each head corresponds to a particular
attribute of Hanuman. He  has  extensive knowledge (J~nAnam ) as that of  
HayagrIvA , Great Speed as that of Garudan .He is  AbadhpAndavA ( one who
rescues the devotees from danger/evil) like NrusimhA and  has great
Strength as that of VarAhA.

     Similarly , RAvanA literally didn't had 10 heads. It simply means
that RAvanA was 10 times intelligent/capable than any ordinary man.

    Our dear YatirAjar ( Bhagavad RAmAnujA) heard 18 ( or 21? ) different
 inner meanings on the 'SaranAgati Vedam' ( RAmAyanam) . If he himself has
given so much importance to RAmAyanA ( I & P in general) , there is no
further question on it.

> As ones brought up in India and to a great extent willing in our
> Sampradaya, many of us are prepared to accept simple answers such as, "our
> Acharayas say so, and therefore we must simply accept it."   But the future
> of Sri Vaishnavam is not about us, it is about the youngsters.  For them,
> such answers do not resonate.

   The answer "our achAryAs says so and therefore we must simply accept
it" is not only simple , but also FINAL. The mind obtained in this janmA
for a particular jIvAtmA is according to its past karmA. It will give him
a hard time to understand about NArAyanA properly. Mind's nature is to
speculate freely ( boost ones ego  etc) , instead of perfectly following
the sampradAyam. As long as one is highly impure in his heart , filled
with all materialistic dirts , he has no way of knowning the Realities (
IswarA , chetanA,achetanA) and their relationships , except to accept the 
sAstrAs .Millions of years of speculation is also of no use. Only way is
to follow the paramparA since the Supreme Lord  NArAyanA is the first
AchAryA . 

   Eventhough all the events recorded are true , actual import of the text
can only be understood through the paramparA. 

       For the future generation , somehow make them chant 'Namo NArAyanA'
constantly. The Holy Name will make all other arrangements. We can't talk
about NArAyanA directly to anyone. Qualification is essential. Only after
removal of some dirt will one start understanding the things.

     Right from young age if proper training is given , they will receive
the grace of Sriman NArAyanA . It will certainly then resonate to them.    
Anyway 'proper training' demands that the parents be pure in the first

> Somewhat related to the above is, what is the extent of Mahavisvasam for
> prapatti to be complete?  Of course we must have unshakable faith that the
> Lord will grant us mOkshan at the end of this life.  But are we required to
> believe implicitly in every details of the Ithihasa puraaNaas for the
> prapatti to be fruitful.

     Adiyen doesn't know the answer for this . Speculation is never good. 
This is a question to be submitted to AchAryAs.  

> Azhgiyasingar thiruvadigaLE saraNam...
> -- adiyEn
> -----------------
> P. Dileepan
> 423-755-4675 (Work)
> 423-877-9860 (Home)
   Namo NArAyanA


   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  

                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu