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Re: asking the Lord

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_worldnet.att.net)
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 17:08:44 PST

Mr. Sumanth Kaushik writes:

>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?


While asking the Lord for material and spiritual benefits may be alright
(albeit selfish and egoistic) in non-ritualistic traditions as Protestant
Christianity (I know many Protestant churches that have special worships on
the Sundays that our football team is playing), it proves to be detremental
to spiritual growth in ritualistic traditions like the ones that comprise
Hinduism.  This is because most people would tend to be more focused on the
ritual and its fruits than on the particular Deity.  Take for example the
popularity of Sri SatyaNarayana Pooja in the US.  I am sure that we can all
think of a number of examples where families performed this ritual to get a
job or a promotion, for the blessings of a child, or to celebrate their
purchase of a new home.  It is ironic that many of these families seem to
think little about the Lord, Sampradayam or philosophy at times other than
these rare occassions.

The performance of rituals in this mood seems to be reflective of the Vedic
Age of the Brahmanas, where the gods were viewed as being "appeased" with
various offerings such that they would bestow material and spiritual
benedictions upon the offerers of the sacrifice.

This approach is clearly contradistinctive to our philosophy, which holds
that the Lord is our ultimate Benefactor, who Loves and Cares for each and
every cetana, whether or not that cetana cares for Him in return.  Indeed,
the Lord's Desire to Protect and Save us is immeasurably greater than our
desire to be saved.  It follows then, that all the benefits that we receive
are the result of His Boundless Grace, and are provided solely by His Love
for us, and not through any propitiation on our part.  Ours is just to
accept such Grace with awe and humility.  Do we have to ask our parents for
their unconditional love?  Would it right for us to do so?

Daasanu Daasan,

Mohan