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Re: The Ultimate sharaNagathi and personal beliefs ...

From: Raja Krishnasamy (raja_at_cyberdude.com)
Date: Wed Jul 23 1997 - 10:05:43 PDT

Before I get anywhere with this posting, I wish to let the learned members of
this group that I do not mean to stir a hornet's st by my questions.  All I
expect to is to gain the knowledge I so much lack, so much that leads to the
following confusion.  If any of you do feel that I should not be doing this and
that my questions are indeed controversial to any extent, please let me know,
and I will gladly direct my questions to a different sadas.  For I indeed
consider this group to be an esteemed sadas, and I do not wish to affect its
regular functioning any way.

I have received responses to my posting on this topic, and I am fortunate to be
blessed with this medium of education.  I wish to specifically thank Shri.
Murali Rangaswamy, Shri Vijay Triplicane, Shri Krishna Kalale and Shri Sampath
Rangarajan for sharing their knowled on this topic with me.  There however
seems to be some misunderstanding of what I tried to convey.  My question
assumes that sriman nArAyaNa is indeed the supreme Brahman, and that he is the
ultimate destiny.  However, having recognized this as fact, some of us
specifically seem to be tied down to specific forms of the Lord.  By
surrendering to the Ultimate Brahman, should I not visualize the nArAyaNathvam
in all His various forms, as opposed to isolating them because of any
particluar reason.  It is quite possible that these forms possess certain
qualities that we must learn by example that will help us to understand the
supreme goal.  We visualize and idolize Shri Rama for all his KalyANa guNams. 
He has indeed set supreme examples for a naran to attain srIman nArAyaNa.  We
idolize srI nrisimhan as the supreme protector of his devotee ("tvai rakshathi
rakshakaihi kimanyai, tvai sA rakshathi rakshakahi kimanyai" from
kAmAsikAshtakam).  Similarly will we not miss some of the qualities that may be
apparent in some other of His forms, but hidden to the agnAni in his form as
sriman nArAyaNa.  Should we not maintain an open mind, and seek the best
qualities that have been exhibited by the various avathArams of our Lord -
irrespective as to what kind of a religious following some of these forms may
have.

I have been doing some reading of works by srI chandrasEkhara sarasvathi of
srIkAnchi kAmakOti pITam who attained mahAsannithAnam a few years back.  His
discourses at various sadas have been compiled by the pITam in the form of
fifteen volumes called "theivaththin kuRal".

There are some sections in Volume 1 where he discusses the abhEdam in srIman
nArAyaNa and srI paramEshvaran.  Again I am not trying to incite anyone's
feelings here please.  In doing so he tells us that it is true that the concept
of one God has been propogated, but that is none else but the great paramAtma. 
The paramAtma who is without form resides in all forms, and we as mortals are
not able to imagine the absence of the lines that have been defined to focus
one's efforts on following one path to the paraman, so we are not diverted from
our goals.  And when the AtmA attains that maturity, then such an AtmA is
indeed pure and attains parama pAtham.

He quotes srI pEyAzhvAr from moonRAm thiruvanthAthi (Verse 2344):

"thaazsadaiyum neeNmudiyum,  oNmazuvum sakkaramum,
soozaravum ponnaaNum, thOnRumaal, soozum
thiraNdaruvi paayum thirumalaimEl enthaikku,iraNduruvu monRaay isainthu"

While indeed there can be several literary interpretations to this verse, the
great AchAryAl illustrates this as the duality of Lord Shiva and srIman
nArAyaNa, where pEyAzhvAr describes the Lord at Thirumalai as none other than
the union of the two divine forms.

"mazuvu" would mean the "udukkai" that srI natarAja has in his hand.  While
soozaravu could mean Adiseshan, it could also mean the snake that is around
Lord Shiva's shoulders.  He says the Lord at Thirumalai composes these two
divine forms into one beautiful pristine form, that of Sri VenkatEsA.

The AchAryAl elsewhere explains to us the tale of two kings:  srI rangarAja of
thiruarangam and srI natarAja of thiruchithambaram, both of whom are the Lords
of the resptive sabha's (thiruarangam would mean the holy sabhai, and srI
nataraja is also referred to sabhApathi).  They both have south facing
thirumandalams, to signify the victory of fear over death and the concept of
salvation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.  He says that while these
two are indeed worshipped by people of different walks of life, the learned man
would stop drawing the differes there, and understand the spiritual
significance of the Lord having taken the two forms so he may educate the two
kinds of people.  This does not mean that we should disrespect the dEvathAs by
refusing to even look at them.  The anology is of having several guests in a
house, but rendering preferential treatments to a few.  As srIvaishNavas, one
should indeed worship srIman nArAyaNa, but this srIman is indeed all
pervading.

I am not familiar with discourses of our AchAryAL's from the srIvaishNava
paramparai and hence would hope that someone in this sabhai can help me out.

Raja Krishnasamy
raja@cyberdude.com