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Sriman Narayana and other Devatas

Vijay_Srinivasan_at_praxair.com
Date: Thu Jul 24 1997 - 07:20:37 PDT

Dear Prapatti Group Members:

The topic of exclusive worship of Sriman Narayana seems to be a never
ending topic. We have discussed it so many times before but it still seems
to hold our interest.   Thanks to Vidya Sankar, Sadagopan, Dileepan and
Sampath for their interesting contributions. Shri Verma writes that
Madhavacharya again and again revisits this topic (because of the seemingly
conflicting nature of the texts).  From what my little mind could gather
from all this, my own conclusions on this topic are as follows:

(1) People (Geniuses) like Vyasa, Adi Sankara, Ramanujacharya, Vedanta
Desika, Varavara muni, and Madhvacharya who had devoted their entire life
to the study of these topics, who have analyzed the shastras inside and out
have concluded that the term Narayana denotes the supreme being.  Manu
shastra says that only the supreme being has to be meditated upon.  "Alodya
Sarva ShastrAni VichArya cha Puna: Puna:.. of Vyasa, Harer Eva DhyAya:
Bhavadbhi: Moksha Kankshibhi:. of scriptures, Adi Sankara and all sanyasis
signing as Narayana Smruti:, Adi Sankara choosing to write
commentaries(apart from his Bhashyam) only on Vishnu Sahasranamam,
Bhaghavad Gita, and Sanat Sujhateeyam all of Mahabharata (a Vaishnava
Grantham) and the position of later Acharyas clearly shows that Narayana is
the supreme.  I think this is very clear indeed.  Philosophies that do not
support the theory of two Brahmans (one for VyAvaharika and the other for
PAramArthika) maintain the above at all times.  Philosophies that
ultimately conclude that you are yourself a Brahman - names and forms do
not matter to them anyway.

(2) The difference between other devatas and Naryana is that all other
beings have Narayana as the Antharyamin but Narayana  has none.  In the
Bhaghavata,Suka Muni says: Ye they cha Amsa Kala Pumsa: Krishnasthu
Bhaghavan Swayam.  While all these manifestations are like the rays of the
sun,  Bhaghavan Krishna is the Sun itself.  In Narayana Suktam, Siva, Indra
and Brahma are all described as glories of Narayana and He stands apart
from them.

(3)  While all the known and the unknown worlds are manifestations of
Narayana (Sarira of Narayana), and while He permeates everything as their
inner being, nevertheless, He Himself has chosen to take the forms of
Archa, Vibhava.. etc. for the sake of His devotees who can not worship Him
in the 'formless' aspect.

(4) For devotees like Meera and Krishna Chaitanya the question of whether I
can worship Siva etc., didnot arise.  That is the quality of Ananya Bhakti
or PAtivrathya Bhakti.  For them Krishna was everything and nothing else
mattered to them.

(5) With regard to worship of any other form other than Narayana's
(including Nitya Suris and our Acharyas) the test is are they Prapannas in
the first place.  If yes, then we must do whole hearted service to them.

I hope this helps in clarifying some of the interesting questions raised by
Raja Krishnaswamy.

Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan