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Re: Agnostic.

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Mon Jul 26 1999 - 15:33:41 PDT

Badri wrote:
> There are plenty of honest, god-fearing or otherwise
> individuals with all the good qualities mentioned in most sastras
> found in all sorts of places. It seems to me funny that they are
> somehow condemned to misery.

Badri,

I don't think the Vedantic systems make such "condemnations", as
you put it, unless you equate the very existence in samsAra with
misery.  The idea behind karma dictates that one sows as one 
reaps, and that one does not get what one does not wish for.
This is known as 'tat kratu nyAya'.  Based on this principle, a 
honest, moral non-believer or doubter will in all probability 
return to samsAra in some form or another, probably in better shape 
than he or she was in the previous life. Since the non-believer 
does not ask or perhaps even desire anything spiritual, nothing 
greater is granted. 

This does not seem like a condemnation to me.

> Basically, it is impossible for me reconcile the fact that a religion
> or set of "truths" propounded in one small corner of the world can
> be universal truth.

Don't you mean that such a set of truths cannot be the "exclusive"
truth? With this qualification, I agree with you.  But would you not
say that it is possible for some set of truths be indicative of 
universal truth? I think we can predicate at least this much to
our tradition. On the other hand, in these modern times, I do think 
that it displays a certain degree of arrogance to claim that "unless one 
is a follower of XYZ acharya/tradition one cannot be liberated." 

I do know that many eminent thinkers and teachers of Sri Vaishnavism
caution their followers not to judge others' worship. How do we
know how God will reveal himself to a villager on a South Pacific island?
Who is to say that such worship is lesser or greater than ours? All we 
can say is that we have a tradition that we are carrying on, and that 
as far as we are concerned this seems the best and is most satisfying, 
both intellectually and emotionally.

rAmAnuja dAsan
Mani