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Re: On worship - (Salagramam)

From: Ram Gopalaswamy (
Date: Wed Jul 29 1998 - 19:42:22 PDT

shrii.Mani writes:
> Vijay Srinivasan wrote:
> > Our experience shows that any system that tolerates mistakes and
> > imperfections, ultimately degenerates into nothing.  I think sincerity of
> > purpose and striving for excellence go together.  An earnest aspirant will
> > do his best not to compromise.  For example - if we take the Vedas - but
> > for the emphasis on right svaras and varnas it would not have been possible
> > for a tradition that depended on oral transmission to preserve them intact
> > for thousands of years.
> [...]
> The philosophy of Ramanuja strives to point out that the
> Lord stands in the way whenever our inability causes us
> to fail, provided we have the right state of mind.  This
> is why nAma-sankIrtana yields the same benefit as a Vedic
> sacrifice, why prapatti yields the same fruit as bhakti-yoga,
> and why we say at the end of any Vedic recitation:
> 	yad akshara-pada-bhRshTam mAtrA-hinam tu yad bhavet |
> 	tat sarvam kshamyatAm deva nArAyaNa namo'stu te ||
> 	If there was any mistake in the pronounciation of
> 	any syllable, sentence, or measure, forgive them all,
> 	O Lord Narayana! None of this is for me, but only
> 	for You.
> This of course requires the participant to have the utmost
> sincerity -- but that's all. The striving for excellence in
> worship comes as part of the sincerity.
> [...]

I fully agree with shrii.Mani. 

I, though am not a vaidika scholar at all (obviously), cannot resist the
temptation to call members' attention to criticality of phonetically
correct recitation of shruti.

It is said that the following key text in kaTha-upanishhad:
   "nityo nityaanaam cetanashcetanaam-eko bahuunaam yo vidadhaati kaamaan"
was interpreted differently:

"nityaanaam bahuunaam" (the several eternal souls) by shrii.raamaanuja

"anityaanaam cetanaam" (the many non-eternal souls) by shrii.sha~Nkara
   [advaita scholars, please validate this.]

Would missing a maatra possibly contribute to such drastically different
ways of parsing ? 

[ so an earnest bhakta could stay away from (difficult?) vedic recitation and
 rather stick to simple means of worship like naama-sa~NkiirtanaM etc ?? ]


PS: vaishhNavas, please bear with my irresistible (and useless) 
    speculating tendency.