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Re: Ekadashi

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 08 1996 - 06:40:25 PST

On Thu, 7 Mar 1996 16:11:02 -0800 Mani said:
>> On Thu, 7 Mar 1996 21:32:58 +0000 (GMT) Anand said:
>> >
>> >
>> >Secondly, as our Acharyas always point out the concept of sin and
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>> >deliverance is not there in our philosophy.
        I fully agree with your analysis of charama slOka, but
        nowhere have you denied the concept of sin and deliverance
        from sin!  You have pointed out that what we mean by sin is
        different from the what is understood as sin by Christians.
        You will get no argument from me in this regard.  I also
        take it, then, that you disagree with Anand's statements
        about the absence of the concept of sin, defined differently
        relative to Chritianity, in our sampradaya.

        The most disagreeable part of the above is the claim that
        our Acharyas have always denied the concept of sin and
        deliverance.  This, to me, is completely contrary to fact.

>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.

    However we may choose to explain, the bottom-line
    is, in either religion, i.e. Christianity and
    Sri Vaishnavam, there are some actions that are
    considered sinful or paapam, call it bad karma if
    you like.  If we don't have sin (bad karma) and
    just a continuum of characterless action, why should
    we have hell and heaven between births?  Your views
    not withstanding all our Acharyas including Sri
    Ramanuja and Swami Sri Desikan have accepted the
    existence of such places.  Only their views are relevant
    here because this discussion is about what our AchAryas
    have accepted or denied, not what our opinions are.

    Coming back to Christianity and us, the main difference,
    it seems, is the opportunity to get released from
    these sins.  Christians believe we get just one crack
    at it and if we fail we are condemned eternally.  My
    understanding of Sri Vaishnavam is that it is just
    a matter of time.  We get many lives (opportunities)
    to evolve and see the light; hence there is no
    polarity of permanent evil or good.  But to say that
    there is nothing called sin and that our actions
    neither please or displease our Lord cannot be supported.
    If you do believe this to be true, how would you
    explain "anukoolya sangalpam" and "praathikoolya
    varjanam."  How would you explain "parithraaNaaya
    saathoonaam ..."  How would you characterize the
    actions of the "dhushkrthaas"?  If the actions of
    "dhuskrithaas" do not displease our Lord, why should
    He repeatedly come into this world and destroy them?
    He can tell the saadhoos, "your actions don't please
    me, neither do I get displeased with the actions of
    "dhuskkrithaas"; just put up with it until you get
    to paramapadam."

    I am not fully conversant with Thenkalai sampradayaam;
    but I think they would say that our Lord's grace will
    turn us away from sinful acts, or our Lord's grace
    is such that He would not mind our sinful acts.
    I don't think they completely deny the existence of
    sinful acts, but I will take your word for it :-)

>This should not be thought of as a shop where God is
>the shopowner and where moksha can be bought by pleasing God.

    I don't know where you are getting this?  I am not aware
    of any serious bhaktha who would view our Lord as a
    shopkeeper.  See below for more.

>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.

    Prapatti and bhakthi are successful only because of our
    Lord's mercy, not the power of our prapatti and bhakthi.
    In that sense, yes, we do seek His favor!  If He is a
    shopkeeper, there is no price for what He is selling except
    our unfettered faith and helplessness.

>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,

    I respect your views, but my arguments are
    directed against what are claimed to be the
    views of our Acharyaas.

though it may
>be supported by the Upanishads. I do not believe in any
>kind of hell. Rebirth itself is hellish enough,

   Many a Azhvaar and Acharyaas have expressed contentment
   with worship of Archaa moorthees.  While the bliss of
   paramapadam is infinitetly superior, I wouldn't downplay
   the bliss that can be experienced in this earth itself.

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.

   From a modern scientific perspective it is hard to
   develop literal belief in hell/heaven sin/good deed, etc.
   But the point is whether such concepts are accepted/supported
   by our sampradaya.  The answer, I think, is a resounding
   YES.  You, and to some extent even I, may question, in our
   heart of hearts, some parts of it.  But there is no way
   I will project my lack of faith upon our dear AchAryas.

-- dhaasan Parthasarati Dileepan