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who's a mumukshu?

Date: Mon Jan 26 1998 - 19:43:31 PST

Dear Prapatti groupmembers,

Our Godapiratti worked her magic on the postings, and Margazhi was filled 
with the sweetness of Tiruppavai and other beautiful "paamalais". Thank you.

I also had to smile when I saw Sri Mani's gracious invitation to all "to ask 
questions however silly or stupid you may think it is...".
I remembered the story of a father who was walking with his son:
"Appa, why do leaves turn yellow?"
"I don't know"
"Why do squirrels sit on 2 legs and run on 4?"
"I don't know"
(after 4 such non-answers)
"Appa, why does...(and then the son stops and says) never mind."
"No, no, son, ask, ask any question, how else are you going to learn?"

Of course this is not to suggest that one does not get answers from the 
learned members. On the contrary. But the fervour with which some answers 
are stated can inhibit others with "seemingly simple" queries.

With due apologies to Sri. Krishna Kalale, I will take a portion of his 
answer (with which I agree in the main) an example. The question was 
whether it was okay to propitiate Sani if one hears that otherwise one would 
be in trouble..and in general to pray for a "phalam".

"In general, there is nothing wrong in praying to lord Srihari to save a 
life except that a MUMUKSHU (one who seeks release from this bondage) does 
not pray to God for anything however important that may be, other than the 
lotus feet of srimannarayana. I am sure in this case that person who prayed 
for her mother's life was not a mumukshu.  But Lord Sri Hari, if he wishes, 
will help in whatever situation a person is in. "

I remember feeling much stronger about my position regarding this at the age 
of 16. I used to laugh at my friends who became fearful and prayed extra on 
examdays, and said that if I did my karma (studied), the result would take 
care of itself. One must not pray asking for anything, the Lord has better 
things to do....

But we humans are often tested, and we do fail at different levels. My 
waterloo was the time when my husband got a fast-growing cancer, and after 
months of treatment the oncologist, chemotherapist and radiologist called us 
in and told us there was no hope. They said he had a month or two to live. I 
remembered a joke I had read in "Aanantha Vikatan" in which a sick man says 
"Aalopathiyum paathaachu, homeopathiyum paathaachu, inime 
Venkatachalapathiyaithaan nambindu irukken...". Now it didn't seem that 
funny.  A voice inside told me that nothing terrible would happen, and I 
would tell my husband and all others that doctors were mere humans, how do 
they know what's ordained? I confess, tho, that while outwardly (especially 
to our 2 young daughters) I kept up a brave front, I begged of our Lord as 
if my stupid little voice could change anything. I also found that just as 
Gandhiji said, "If you have to choose between being honest and being kind, 
be kind", it was difficult to push off well-meaning efforts from others. So 
if someone did a puja at the temple of a "lesser God" (an oxymoron?), and 
asked me to be sure to give my husband the "vibhuthi", I collected it saying 
"thank you". (Of course I had to set limits when it came to "godmen"....when 
an "until-then-seriously-srivaishnavaite" relative wanted to visit a 
godman's expensive ashram, saying "I believe if he shakes his arm and 
sprinkles magic vibhuti, people's tumors disappear", I wrote to him "It is 
when we are at our most vulnerable, when our faith is tested, that we must 
remember that to our Lord we are all children. Why would He listen to one 
and not the other? Besides, if anyone can cure tumors, I suggest that person 
go and sit in front of Adyar Cancer Hospital waving his holy hand all day 
long... Think of the good he can do." It's now 5 years since that time, and 
my husband is fine. Of course, once calm returned, I quite realize that this 
must have been ordained, and laugh at myself for thinking I could change 
anything. (Since we're a product of our British education also, and have 
"God helps those who help themselves" ingrained in us, I also read about 80 
books on cancer, consulted with specialists everywhere and we tried 
"Experimental Heavy Particle Radiation".... But when I look at the sweet 
face of the Lord at our altar, I am always moved as if He did a personal 
kindness to me...)

There's an anecdote about 2 sets of parents (who are friends) whose only 
sons (A and B) have gone to war. One day they hear that A has been killed. 
A's parents are devastated, and it is left to B's parents to console them 
saying "How can you lament? You've read the Gita, you know that the jeeva 
has taken another know this life has to end and these are 
artificial bonds...". Then the phone rang and they heard that there had been 
a mistake, actually B had died....and then B's parents forgot all their 
philosophy and howled and screamed on the floor. A's parents hugged them and 
said "God's will be done...".

I like to think that our Lord is ever-smiling and benevolent....if I'm so 
foolish as to ask for something transitory, I think He will wait patiently 
until I have the maturity to know better. It would be wonderful if the more 
evolved Bhakti groupmembers speak just as indulgently, saying that while 
they themselves would hold back from praying for their own sick mother's 
recovery, they can understand if ordinary people bind themselves in tighter 
knots..I feel better when I pray, (thinking "here's one thing I can do in 
this situation, and I might as well do it") and so I responded to the 
following email from a Bhakti posting also by praying fervently...

"Dear BagavathAs,

Sri Anbil  Narasimhan,  son of Sri Anbil Ramaswamy  called me last
night and informed me that Sri AR is seriously ill and is admitted
to KAliappA  Hospital,  Chennai  since  yesterday.  His health has
been steadily  deteriorating  in the last 2 weeks due to his trips
across India.  Sri Narasimhan requested me to present this news to
this forum and request  fellow  bAgwathAs if they can pray for the
speedy recovery of Sri AR.

I pray to the Lord's  thiru uLLam for the same and request you all
to please do the needful prayers if possible."

Today, when we hear that Sri AR is better, I'm sure none of us thinks that 
our prayers had anything to do with it...but at that time, his son would 
have wanted to try for any help...

In our stories, Gajendra doesn't simply let the crocodile have his foot for 
lunch, knowing that the Lord will send his Chakram if He so chooses. He 
screams "Aadhimoolame!". Draupadi prays to Sri Krishna when in 
trouble....and so on. Once this is ingrained in us, it is difficult to sit 
thru a tough time in one's mortal life, knowing all this to be Leela. Of 
course, should something untoward happen in spite of best efforts, one 
cannot be so foolish as to blame the Lord, and understand that it is one's 
own past actions that determined that result....Our philosophy helps us to 
view the result, whether success and failure, less passionately....

As to the question of lesser Gods or lesser people (should women "be 
allowed" (by whom?) to recite the Lord's names), I think a level of 
insecurity seeps into the voice when we tell others they "must not" do this 
or that. I can attest that once we acquaint even our young in this "somewhat 
godless" country with our Kuladhanam, the roots spread naturally. Having 
never stopped the children from reading other books, I remember the 
happiness I felt when my 10-yr-old daughter said to me..."Amma, I join in 
the shloka and bhajans in other temples and homes, but when I hear M.S.'s 
Vishnu-Sahasranamam, it makes me feel really safe...". Each of us knows 
exactly what she's talking can that feeling be described or 
taught, let alone forced? (In this regard, it is also our great good fortune 
that no one told M.S. that she must not recite the Lord's names...)

Of course, if we were to only remember the Lord in times of trouble, that 
would be missing the point...There has recently been some interest in "North 
Indian" thought, so here is a Kabir doha:

"Dukh mein sumiran sab karei
Sukh mein kare na koi
Sukh mein sumiran jab karei
Tab dukh kaahe ko hoi"

(All remember (Him) in times of trouble...and no one prays when all is well. 
If one prays when all is well, why would there be trouble?)

And to thank you for having read this far, here's a shlokam Hanumar recited 
before leaving for Lanka....which therefore is said to be powerful when 
embarking on something dangerous. (True mumukshus may of course 

"Jayathyathi balo Ramo
Lakshmanascha mahabalaha
Raja jayathi sugreevo
raghaveNabhi paalithaha

daasoham kosalendhrasya
ramasyaa klishta karmaNaha
Hanuman Shathru sainyanaam
Nihanthaam Maruthaathmajaha

Na Ravana Sahasram me
Yuddhe prapathibalam bhaveth
Shilabhisthu praharathaha
Paadapaischa sahasrashaha

Ardhayithvaa pureem lankam
abhivaadyacha maithileem
samruddhaartho gamishyaami
shirasaam maarurakshasaam

thasya sannaadha shabdena
they bhavan bhayabhaktithaah
dadhrushuscha hanoomantham
sandhyaamega mivonnatham"

Om Namo Narayanaya....
Viji Raghunathan