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Re: Sri Garudaazhwar

From: R. Skrintha (srik_at_iiap.ernet.in)
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 05:49:59 PST

Dear Bhagawathals,

  Recently our esteemed list owner, Sri Mani had written:-

>  these ``recite the mantra and get results''
> stories smack of a very unenlightened and selfish form
> of religion

  in the context of Sri Murali postings on Sri Garudazhwar.
Dear friends, let me add my humble view to this. If this be offensive
to anyone, please let me know!

  I think that such religious practices point not so much to 
an unenlightened and selfish form as an incomplete part of religion in
the "recite the mantra & get results" approach! Unless i am greatly
mistaken Sri Krishna does not disrespect the vested-interest bhaktaas, 
but merely grades the ananya bhaktaa at a higher level. Afterall,
the former bhaktaa pleads with the supreme, not a temporal human agent,
for succour. Hasn't s/he, in whatever small measure,
rightly resolved (samyag vyavasito hi sa:)?! 

 The "average" jeeva graduates into increasing levels of spiritual
maturity, until it can effortlessly remain in pure union with His
Lotus Feet. It is better to appreciate the religion that finds room
to be concerned with lowly worms than to condemn it for its lowly
dealings!! Sri Aurobindo, the great Krishna Bhaktaa and modern mystic
has said that the natural upward path for soul is thru fear, then respect
and then Love. CAtering to the fear/desire aspect of our Srivaishnavism
is evidence of its comprehensiveness, rather than unenlightenedness!
If we are so pure that we would not hurt a single ant, that we would
not speak a single harsh word to the even one who insults us, that we
consider the whole world including all lowly creatures as our natural
suhrts, and bandus, then- it seems to me- only then are we above the
need for that aspect of our religion that pampers some mild version 
or other of self-interest! The idea is that self-interest channeled
thru Him will gradually be sublimated to nobler desires until the state
of desirelessness is reached. To aspire to reach in a jiffy the utmost 
purity/Godliness is in vain, since vasanas gained over thousands of births
have got imprinted as atavistic reflexes that are deeply ingrained in
our psyche. A religion that does not reflect this plain truth is either
careless or not intended for the common person! 

 No one knows (except the Mahaans) why the perticular instrument of
human being has been chosen for the accomplishment of {what?}. Like the
rain-cloud dark hue of Sri Krishna Paramaatma, the ultimate cause of this
jagat remains, in an absolute sense, in the dark- unknown! What seems to
be clear is that an evolution of consciousness is in progress. In an
earlier posting i had noted how Sri Vishnu's Dasavatara reflects
Darwinian evolution. If we combine the lessons of our ancient lores
and those of modern anthropology, it appears possible to discern that
the path of evolution has been in the path of
self-interest. That's how the psyche of the species has been 
programmed ("selfish gene, etc.; but admittedly, the game is more complex;
it appears, as has been alluded to by Sri Aurobindo and others, that there
is an aspect of collection (sub-)conscious at work whose intrests are 
more global!). Thru that, human being has evolved. To use the faculty
of reason to suddenly deny this aspect of self-interest/or to
aggravate it, is to do oneself a self-violence. A vested-interest
bhakti is just a path of sublimating mundane desires into nobler
ones. As shrewd psychologists no less than bhakthaas, Swami Desikan
as well as the galaxy of other mahaans, have condescended to favor
the less previleged by recognizing this! Moreover, whereas some of us 
view these in terms of Sampradayam, he prob'ly viewed it as a simple 
personal affair, so there was no need for him to clothe his thanks to Sri
Garuda in such a way that possible future commentators won't fault him!!

May the more tradiational of us forgive my unusual approach to religion,
but, in confomance with my understanding of science etc. my view of religion
is rather modern! I think we don't have the time to be
intrested in it just because we are born into it. An interest so generated
might be reserved for perhaps purely cultural stuff! Rather, it is the
invigorating accounts of mahaans like Garudazhwar, et al, and the
way they lived and symbolized the Vedic Truths, that seem to make
life itself worth living!!! 
 
 Dear Sri Murali, i request you to continue with your most interesting
postings, for Bhakthi mailing list will surely be
poorer without your invaluable postings. I am sure that Sri Mani spoke
in an attitude of query rather than desire to hurt anyone!
My humble thanks also to Sri Sampath Rengi for his postings on Thiru
Allikkeni and to Sri Sadagopan for his beautiful postings on RPS.
Sri Sudarshan's well honed analysis of use of "prapadye" proffered ample
food for thought! Thanks and loving salutations to all of you!

Hari Om
srikanth