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Date: Tue Mar 19 1996 - 23:44:10 PST
Asmad Gurubhyo Namah: Asmad Parama Gurubhyo Namah: Asmad Sarva Gurubhyo Namah: Srimate Ramanujaaya Namah: There is an English proverb which says "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread." I am not sure if I am doing exactly that by writing this piece. However I decided to listen to my heart and decided to write it. If this is a result of Bhasyakarar's inspiration, then there is nothing regrettable about it. If it is the result of my use of independent will then such writing has no value and I seek the forgiveness of the group for having written it. The Vedas are full of seeming inconsistencies. They have been "breathed out" by Sriman Narayana in this way to eternally keep the doubting Thomases in illusion. Our Acharyas who are beyond the dwandva of this material world have explained in their various works how these controversies are resolved. Through the Visishtadvaita philosophy our Acharyas have reconciled the seemingly irreconcilable Vedas which by itself has advaitic dwaitic concepts as well as everything in between. It is with the understanding of this reconciled Vedas that Swami Desikan has written that "All the Vedas etc declare with one voice the Supremacy of the Lord of Sri over all that exists". If we accept that our Azhwars and Acharyas were not born in Samsara but took birth to help the rest of us get out of Samsara then we also have to accept that their works were inspired by the Lord Sriman Narayana Himself and are therefore as good as the Lord's own composition. Such compositions are therefore timeless and as valid today as they were at the time they were composed. The 4,000 Pasurams especially are given equal authority with the Vedas. Then the 4,000 Pasurams too have to be relevant at all times and not just at the time they were written. The Srimad Bhagavatam quotes Bhakta Prahalada as saying that "even sages and rishis rejoices at the killing of snakes ...". I was told by a learned Prapanna that snakes here means destruction of evil and not jiva himsa as is implied in the shloka. If this is used as an analogy in the case of Thondaripoddi Azhwar's Pasuram, then cutting the heads of buddhists and Jains is not meant literally. Note the use of the words "Our KIND Lord Vishnu..". What is probably meant here is that gave the Buddhists and Jains the association of pure Vaishnavas as a result of which they would have accepted the Vaishnava path. This is a total change of mentality from one of forgetfulness of Sriman Narayana to one of reawakening of the jivatma's relationship with Sriman Narayana as His sesha and dasa. This is as good as a head being cut off and new head replacing it. Please note that our Azhwars never equated all religions. Buddha preachings were athiestic and the Jains' as well as the Buddhists' nirvana does not include eternal service to Sriman Narayana which means that followers of such religions continue to remain in illusion. It is not clear from Badri's post which words of Siva are being referred to by Amudanaar. Could it be the words of Adi Sankara (an avatara of Siva) as misinterpreted by Yadava Prakasa? Or could it be the practice of Saivism as followed by the king who blinded Mahapurna and KoorathAzhwAn? A person not engaged in the service of Sriman Narayana can be considered to be idle, just as an employee who does personal work during office hours at the cost of neglecting office work. Visishtadvaita philosophy explains that by nature we exists as servants of Sriman Narayana and He owns us and therefore has a right to demand that we do what He wants us to do. Swami Desikan explains two forms of infedility in the Rahasya Traya Sara: "It has been said , 'He who understands dharma prescribed in the Vedas and the smritis with the help of arguments not opposed to the spirit of the Vedas and Sastras -- he alone knows dharma, and not others.' Those who have not understood dharma by the proper exercise of reason will become rationalistic (and sceptical) and will misinterpret the true meaning with specious arguments inconsistent with the Vedas. "The misinterpretation or denial is of two kinds -- that concerning the glorious possessions (vibhutis) and that concerning the one who possesses these glories. That concerning the One who possesses the glories consists in denying the existence of the Supreme Ruler, the Lord of Lakshmi, or declaring some other deity as the Supreme Ruler and relegating the real Supreme Ruler to the category of His possessions (vibhuti). The misconception or misinterpretation concerning the glories consists in this:- denying the existence of these glories (or objects created by God) or considering these vibhutis as existing but as independent of the Lord by denying their relationship to Him, or declaring that they are dependent on oneself or others." Swami Desikan in this instance was referring to Buddhists and followers of Kanada but this can very well be extended to Saivism, since Swami Desikan elaborates in other chapters why Brahma and Rudra are no more than Jivatmas. From the Visisthadvaita point of view therefore, Badri's description of Amudanaar's statement as offensive, and blatantly false is incorrect. No disrespect is meant here for the Saiva saints. Sri Krishna says in the Geeta "In which ever deity you worship, I will make your faith strong in that deity". It is possible that the Saiva saints came to this earth as their service to Narayana to fulfil the above verse, just as the Yadava army though surrendered to Krishna had to fight on the side of the Kauravas. It is not for me to judge who is serving Narayana and who is not. All that is stated here is that for one who has been struck with the disease called Samsara or forgetfulness of one's relationship with Sriman Narayana worship of all other deities does not provide the cure for this disease. Just as a prisoner hoping for parole resorts to good conduct and keeps away from fellow prisoners who indulge in bad conduct, similarly a Prapanna resorts to devotees of Sriman Narayana for spiritual association and interacts with others only to the extent necessary as a result of work or family or other ties. Sri Ramanuja Dasosmi. Jaganath.