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Re: Garuda Poems

skaushik_at_mit.edu
Date: Wed Mar 12 1997 - 08:17:41 PST

Mani raises some interesting issues on the 
merits of prayers, especially in context with
Garuda poems of Swami Vedanta Desikar.

Out of curiosity, why is it "wrong" to ask for
material benefits from Sriman Narayana? Whereas it
it maybe silly to ask something so trivial, when 
there is something more grand (i.e. moksha), why is
it so objectionable to ask Narayana for say, a car?
After all, when we are children, we ask our parents
for so many things.  At times, our parents give
us what we ask (out of purely a love for us), and 
at other times, they do not (presumably for our
"own good").  

Therefore when do not resist from asking our parents 
for material pleasures, on what logical grounds should we resist 
from asking Sriman Narayana for worldly pleasures?
Is He not as dear to us as our own mother and father?
If we can take liberties with our parents, can we not
do so similarly with Narayana who resides in our hearts?
Just as our parents think no less of us because of what
we ask of them, why should one expect Sriman Narayana
to think any less of us because of what we ask of Him?

Of course, one could argue that we are *not* children and 
that as such, we must "grow" out of our childhood fancies 
and desires and view God at a more "mature"/"fundamental" level.  
I see nothing in our own lives to suggest that we are so evolved
spiritually that despite the power expressed by the charama sloka, 
we do not need the occasional "candy" (in the form of material 
benefit) to remind and reassure us that Sriman Narayana exists 
and is by our side.

If Swami Desikar can be criticized for using fanatastic
(unbelievable perhaps?) puranic mythology as a vehicle for
conveying spiritual truths, what then can we say of
of the prabhandams which are so intertwined with fanciful
tales from the Puranas (e.g. Thirrupavai ofAndal)?  In this sense, 
all our Sruti is contaminated by fanciful (at times, apparently 
incorrect) views of nature.  

sk