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Vedic deities and anya dEvata archana

From: S.A.Shivashankar (shivu_at_mrc.iisc.ernet.in)
Date: Fri Jun 04 1999 - 06:13:46 PDT

Dear BhAgavatas,

One of the slOka's I was taught to recite towards the end of the 
SandhyAvandanam is:

AkAshAtpatitam tOyam yathA gacchati sAgaram 
sarwa dEva namaskArah kEsavam prati gacchati

I would like to know where this slOka comes from. Is it of scriptural
origin ? Or, is it a relatively recent one that in some way "permits"
or "condones" worship of anya dEvata's, EVEN by VaishNava's ?  

One of the most beautiful parts of the nArAyaNa sUktam is-

Yaccha kinchit jagatsarvam drishyatE shrUyatEpi vA
antarbahischa tatsarvam vyApya nArAyaNah stitah

As this "ether" of nArAyaNa pervades all Universe, it appears to me that
there can, in effect, be no anya dEvata archana, as all of it really flows
towards nArAyaNA. I have therefore often wondered why there needs to be
strong (or even fierce) disavowal of other deities. Many of these deities
such as Agni, vAyu, VaruNa, SUrya etc. are representations of awesome
natural forces which were seen as manifestations of God (nArAyaNa). 

I am no scholar of the sAstra's or of the doctrines of advaita and 
VishishtAdvaita. I do believe deeply in the notion and path of bhakti
and prapatti. It has, somehow, never mattered to me whether that bhakti is
directed towards this deity or that. When, on occasion, I am fortunate
enough, I experience the same intense feeling of tearful joy and surrender
whether I am praying to (or listening to the musical and hymnal worship
of) Shiva, Vishnu, Saraswati, Krishna, or ShaNmuga, or Jesus.

I most definitely do not intend to offend the sensibilities of
SrivaishNava's by saying what I have said above. I would appreciate
comments from the scholars on the list.

Respectfully...............///shivashankar 
_____________________________________________________________________________

S.A. Shivashankar		      Tel: (91)-(80)-309-2782 (Office)
Materials Research Centre		             331-3921 (Residence)
Indian Institute of Science           Fax:           334-1683 
Bangalore 560 012, INDIA              Email: shivu@mrc.iisc.ernet.in