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Recent Discussions

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Mar 14 1996 - 18:25:42 PST

Recent discussions on "Outmoded forms" of
worship, blind faith, the need to question the statements 
of the Acharya regarding their relevance to modern times 
have been exhilirating , infuriating and Constructive at the 
same time.  Our sampradhayam  has answered  these    
questions by rational humans over the centuries. One is 
inclined on that basis to state that  There is nothing new under the sun
regarding such Sankhaas or doubts. Fortunate are the few , who are not assailed
these  doubts, because of their utter faith in the safety of 
the path prepared for them by the compassionate 
Acharyas of their different traditions. Others  go through the processs
and rediscover the truths and feel comfortable with the process
of rediscovery.Others are consumed by these doubts . These are then 
the varieties of Human experiences. 

Our Vedas were the first ones to ask these questions. For example, 
a Rg Veda Mantra asks: " Who is the giver of spirit and  strength? Whom
does the Universe worship ? Whose commands are obeyed by the Gods?
In whose shelter is said to be immortality? and in whose shadow is Death?"
Atharva Veda asks : "Who is all that was in the past? Who lords over the 
Universe and who is pure bliss by nature? " and so on. 
The Vedic seers through meditation got the answers for these questions 
and  recognized a supreme being as the pervader of the whole universe
and recognized that supreme being as the last resort of the souls and that
the  Krupa or Mercy or Grace of that supreme being alone can protect
and lead the soul to the path of deliverance from the worldly sufferings.
Prayer thus became the core of the Vedic literature. A spiritual relationship
 was established between Man and God thru such prayers, rituals and 
other acts of worship. Upanishads continued that tradition and prayed for 
for divine intercession . Taittiriya Upanishadic portion quoted below is 
one example of such prayers for success in learning and spiritual inquiry:
" May that Divine arm,which pervades all and is the essence of  all the Vedas
and which has come out of the same eternal Vedas ,enrich me with intellectual
O God! May I become ther recipient of the knowledge that leads to immortality!
May my body become fit! May my  tongue become extremely sweet!  May I 
hear much with my two ears! Thou art the sheath of the supreme being 
covered with worldly knowledge .Protect my learning." The Mundakopanishad
goes one step further and states that nothing short of divine intervention 
can result in knowledge of the Self. It says that Atman can not be known by
Pravachana, or Medha (intellect ). The unique role of Iswara Krupa is
implied here.

The Vaishnavite mystics revered as Azhwaars had Bhagavat Anubhavam 
and were objects of the immnse Krupa of the Lord and they poured forth
their feelings in the form of the moving Paasurams.Their mystic experience
was blissful and deeply devotional .The sufferings of theirs , when they did
not have the union with the Lord and the exhiliration at times of their union
with the Lord are housed in their Paasurams. Their basic belief was that
a Personal God is accessible and he is the very incarnation
 of Love and righteousness. He is recognized as the embodiment of Grace and 
they prayed for that grace to bless them and made that their way of worship.
Their God experience made them acccept and realize the Archa murthy is 
the iconic presence of God in the Divya Desams that they visited and sung about.
Their love was intense,personal and possibly driven by "blind faith". There was 
no other way as Sumant pointed out. They were also not worried about 
approbations or reprobations from others. Acharyas that followed the Azhwaars 
drew their sustenance from the Bhagavad Anubhavam of the Azhwaars and 
showed by their exemplary life steeped in simplicity and piety th eway for us
to follow that exquiaite sampradhaya .

Therefore,  when I see some one spiritedly defending the way of the Acharyas 
Or quote their works with due reverence, I am exhilirated , since I feel I 
recognize our  kula Dhanams. When I see some one spiritedly questioning 
them to customize these Traditions for their as a part of their Sadhanas , I
joyous at the sincerity of the thrust. When these two approaches reconcile, I
that it has been a constructive and a fruitful dialog .
May we have the blessings of our Acharyas and Azhwaars to carry on this search
for meaning in our lives , wherever we happen to be. Let the thoughts, Dhruva
Smrithi unite us and give meaning to this Prapatti group .