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Date: Fri Jan 23 1998 - 14:22:07 PST

Recently the question of worshipping Sani Bhaghavan was raised by Smt.
Kalyani and Shri Kalale had nicely stated the position of a SriVaishnava.
Such questions are common to most of us and I thought I would add to the
discussions by summarizing what I have been able to gather from our elders.
Our position is largely related to the concept of Baranyasam.

(1) Ideally, Baranyasam shoud be a reflection of the state of one's mind
rather than being a mere ritual.  Mumukshus (one desirous of obtaining
Moksha) discards all activities leading to Ihaloka sukham or welfare and
his only goal is to reach Bhaghavan.  He is not bothered with such
questions as; can I pray for this or can I pray for that etc.,  Such an
ideal state is the state of a Paramaikantin.   The Vidwan merely awaits his
release from this world to join the world of Muktas.

(2) On the otherhand an Ekantin (who is in the process of becoming a
paramaikantin) is still interested in his yogakshemam.  While he
theoretically appreciates that the pleasures of this world are temporary
and must be discarded to reach the ideal state of moksha, he has still not
developed the vairagyam to lead a life that would reflect this ideal.
Hence an Ekantin resorts to actions that gains felicity in this world. This
he does with one restriction viz.  For all his needs he will approach none
other than Sriman Narayana.  Nonetheless, an Ekantin's position is less
than the ideal.

(3) All Gods and for that matter even human beings are vested with some
power to grant other's wishes.  Resorting to them one can easily appease
one's desires.  However, scriptures tell us that only Emperuman can grant
the highest.  It is the goal of our acharyas that we must attune ourself to
praying to Emperuman alone for whatever may be our needs.  This way one is
gradually lead into the state of paramaikantikatvam.

(4) Why do we resort to other devatas.  Scriptures tell us Lord Narayana is
generally slow in granting boons! He does not quickly respond.  Devatas
like the Navagraha etc., can mitigate the effects of Karma more quickly
than the "leela-oriented" perumal who knows what His bhakta actually needs
and therefore may not grant your wish at all!

(5) Like Emerson once said: "Patience and patience wins at last".  This is
what we must experience to reach the highest goal of existence.  I think
there are no short-cuts.

Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan