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Re: Bhakti

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Thu Jul 30 1998 - 19:49:23 PDT

Dear Srimathi Radhika Srinivasan :

May I congratulate you on the high points 
of Sri Vaishnavism that you have touched 
in your poem ? It is simply beautiful to read 
some of the lines in your poem dealing with 
the relationship between JivAthMaa and ParamaathmA .

I have underlined those passages on AathmApaharaNam ,
Kaimkarya Vruthti of a Prapannan and other sublime
thoughts of Sri VaishNavism that you have housed 
in your poem . It reminds me of number of passages
from RabindranAth Tagore's GeethAnjali .

Thanks for sharing theis lovely poem , which 
has already answers to your query on Unconditional
love .You have touched on Sarira-SaarIri doctrine ,
Aakinchanyam , NirvEdam and number of other central 
and uniquely profound doctrines of Sri VaishNavam .

Love Offering
**************
>
>
>Flowers and fruits, milk, honey and incense,
>Rice cakes and candles, sweet songs and chanting,
>Sandal and camphor to fill Thee with fragrance;
>All these and more, sense-tingling offering.
> 
>Indeed! what can I offer Thee when I am Thine?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>How can I offer Thee when nothing is mine?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>When Thou dwellest in mine heart pristine, 
>Can I be anything but Thy Sunshine? 
>
>Yet, Hrishikesha ! why do I feel the way I do?
                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>Sense controller! Dost Thou feel that way too?
                   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^             
>Oh tell me pray, why do I see stars in my tears?
                  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>Why do I see my heart's murmur as Thy fears?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
>When t'is Thy body I wear and Thy soul I bear,
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>T'is then Thee that suffers, through my pain.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>So, what on earth can I truly offer Thee?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>No pain, no gain;  not even a sand grain!
                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Regarding your empathetic resonance to Budhdism ,
I can comprehend it . For our Darsanam however ,
Budhdism is not a Vaidhic matham .Professor VasudhA
NaarAyaNan is very knowledgable on Buddhism .
She might comment more on this subject precisely .
I will summarize the issues that made our AchAryAs 
reject Budhdism and Jainism . I will focus on Buddhism :

1. There are  Four Schools of Buddhism ( VaibhAshikA,
SautrantikA YogAchArA and MaadhyamikA ); on these 
following points they agree .

2.All entities are Impermanent , transitory and 
are in a continous state of Change.

3. Apart from the flow of cognitions , there is no
soul or Athman as the seat of cognition or consciousness.

4. Nothing is permanent , Nothing has any Self or 
inner substratum , and NirvANA is Tranquility .

5.There is no being , but there is only becoming.

6. A Person or a Thing or God is merely an aggregation
of component elements.

7. An Entity could only be momentary ; in this context ,
the so called eternals are nothing but non-existents .

8.Substaratum and Attributes are not mutually seaprate 
or distinct .

As you can quickly recognize , all of the above and other 
core doctrines are anethma to those , who believe in 
Vedic and Upanishadic Teachings . Hence Buddhism has been 
termed as Avaidhika or Veda-Baahya Matham or Soonya Vaadham 
and Budhdists have been classed as VainAsikAs by our
AchAryAs , MaadhvAchAryAs and Advaitins. Volumes have been 
written about the fallacies in Buddhistic arguments 
against Vedic Darsanams like ours.

The personal relationship between the Jeevan and 
ParamAthman celebrated in the moving Paasurams of
our AzhwArs and the doctrines that you touched in 
your poem have no connection whatsoever to Buddhistic
doctrines quoted above . 

To take a specific example , Maadyamika does not accept
the authority of the Sruthi and denies emphatically the 
need for a real aadhAram (basis/adhishtAnam ) for unreality.
Hence this school of Buddhism like the others deny the existence 
of Brahman and becomes equal to atheism .The one differnce 
between Buddhism and AdvaithA doctrine is that the Advaitin 
rejects the BudhdA's atheistic rejection of Brahman , while 
agreeing with Buddhists on the concept that the world is
illusory ( Brahma Satyam, Jagan mithyA ).

As you can see , this is a cause for major disagreement 
between these philosophies and Sri VaishNavA doctrines 
that celebrate the World as Real and that it is the body 
of the Lord just as the Jeevans . The three tathvams ,
Chith, Achith and Iswaran , are very real in contrast to
AdvaithA , where Brahman alone is real and every thing
else is false.

Our concept of HithA (means/upAyA )by which the goal 
of life (PurushArthA) is attained by either Bhakthi
or SaraNAgathi .The PurushArthm is the transcendental
enjoyment of the Lord in the other world (ParamaPadham )
with all His auspicious atributes.The Vedic pramANams like,
" niranjana: Paramam Saamyamupaithi "( the muktha jeevan 
gets supreme equality and gets equality of enjoyment 
with the supreme being ( BrahmaNa: Saayujyam Gacchathi )
in Sri VaikunTam and engages in nithya kaimkaryam 
to the divya dampathis . 

The above vision is a hopeful , fulfilling and 
energetic vision and that is why our darsana 
sthApakAs had immense difficulty with Veda-Baahya
mathams like Budhdism and those which denies the
reality of the World. 

V.Sadagopan