You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1996

Re: Ekadashi

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Thu Mar 07 1996 - 16:11:02 PST

> On Thu, 7 Mar 1996 21:32:58 +0000 (GMT) Anand said:
> >
> >
> >Secondly, as our Acharyas always point out the concept of sin and
> >deliverance is not there in our philosophy.
>     How would you interpret the Charama slOka?

We should clarify the difference between sin and paapa (Sanskrit)
or vinai (Tamil).  Sin in English connotes a moral offense against
God that affects the very essence of being.  This is a consequence
of Christian conceptions of the polarity of good and evil.

In Vedanta, there is no polarity of good and evil. In
Vedanta, particularly in Visishtadvaita Vedanta, there is
a continuous spectrum of jnAna, which is extremely contracted
in those who have a lot of avidya in the form of karma, and
which is infinite in those blessed released jivas enjoying
the bliss of God in parama padam.

Paapa is of the form of karma, and does include violations
of Saastra, but is not purely so.  There is definitely a distinction
here.  In the charama sloka, Arjuna is grieving because he
is unsure as to whether he can ever undertake bhakti-yoga due
to the immense karma that he has accumulated in the form of
paapa, etc.  It is *not* a feeling of guilt for violating
``God's law'', but a feeling that he has for so long acted
under the impression that he is the agent, and in doing so,
has accumulated so much karma that he sees no end in sight.

At this point, Krishna says, ``Come to me for refuge, don't
give up hope. Your single resolve of sincere SaraNaagati will
unleash the floodgates of My grace and release all your paapas
and clear the path for moksha. I myself will accomplish that

Is God ``pleased'' in some simple way by our actions?
Yes and no, but as per my understanding, mostly No.  God
cares about the jivas, how they feel, and the beauty
of creation.  However, He is also satyakAma, satyasankalpa,
and He has no desires that need to be fulfilled. He has
nothing to gain by anything, and nothing can increase the
bliss inherent in His nature.

I also say that He is one small sense ``pleased'', because
He responds to our requests.  It does not affect Him
*personally* either way, but the request for protection
causes His irresistible grace to flow, for example. Only
in this sense is He pleased.

This should not be thought of as a shop where God is
the shopowner and where moksha can be bought by pleasing God.
The jnAna that consists of prapatti and bhakti should be
practiced because they are in line with our nature, and not
out of seeking favors from God.

As far as naraka/hell is concerned:

I may have a revolutionary viewpoint here, and I know it
is not supported by smritis and puranas, though it may
be supported by the Upanishads. I do not believe in any
kind of hell. Rebirth itself is hellish enough, and the
karma is then experienced in a terrible way.  Contracted
jnAna is the worst kind of hell I can imagine, since it
alienates one from the blissful essence of God.