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Re: asking the Lord

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Fri Mar 14 1997 - 09:33:00 PST

Sri Mohan wrote:

>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.

Only the performers will know what effect rituals produce on
them irrespective of the goal of those rituals.  I don't think
we should suspect the sincerity of devotion just because 
someone is seeking some worldly reward.

>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,

Could anyone name some of these sages who belong to the 
"Age of the Brahmanas"?  Would Vasishta and Veda Vyasa be
among them?  Does our sampradayam hold these sages in an
unfavorable light that Sri Mohan Sagar's above statement
seems to imply?  If my reading of the ithihaasaas is 
correct many of the heros of our tradition such as 
Yudhishtira and Arjuna performed these rituals.  Why,
even Lord Sri Rama performed Asvamedha Yaga.  I don't
think any of our poorvacharyas or the present day acharyas
would say that these vedic sages are not a part of our tradition.
Further, IMO, it is counter productive to think that our present
day practices are enlightened compared to the practices of 
vedic times.

>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.

I think no one in this group will deny that mOksham _should_ be the
only goal and that the Lord is just waiting to bestow it upon us, if
only we ask or if only we accept His grace.  But that is not the 
question here.  For whatever reason, call it karma if you must, 
we all have desires.  Some desires seem enlightened such as 
universal love and peace among nations, and others seem mundane
such as Rolls Royce car or a coveted job in the Silicon Valley, or 
admission in top rated universities.  But, in comparison to mOksham,
all these desires are insignificant, irrespective of how enlightened
some may seem.  

Given that we experience a need for material gratification it is better
to ask for it from the Lord and accept whatever we get.  The important
issue is not whether we should or should not ask, but how we should act 
when our prayers are answered or not answered.  Sincerity in asking and 
accepting the outcome, favorable or unfavorable, as the Lord's will 
is much more relevant to our daily lives than the theoretical question
of whether or not we must ask.  Only a pure sanyaasee is free from 
any material desires.  Just think what you will do if one of your
loved ones has cancer, God forbid.

In any case, how many in this world seek mOksham exclusively with 
unwavering vairagyam?  Not many.  Even Sri Krishna says something 
to this effect in Sri BG.  Given that the vast majority of us are 
swayed at least at some point in our lives with material desires, 
it is imperative that these desires are channelled into spiritual 
ways.  I think it is counter productive to put down prayers for 
material gains as unenlightened.  If our ascent to bhakthi for the 
sake of only mOksham is a ladder, would anyone say that only the 
last step in the ladder is important or enlightened and all the 
other steps should be removed?

When the panca paaNdavaas performed Rajasooya yaagam Sri Krishna
did not tell them it is foolish to perform these yaagaas.  
As a matter of fact he participated in it and accepted the
first mariyaadhai thus encouraged them in those rituals.  Not
until Arjuna was ready did He give him Sri BG.

>  Do we have to ask our parents for
>their unconditional love?  Would it right for us to do so?

The question is not whether we doubt the Lord's love.
Given that we are convinced of our Lord's unconditional love
what is wrong in asking for a little "candy" as Sri Suman 
Kaushik says?.  No doubt the candy is worthless, but what
is wrong in asking for one if you have a keen desire for it?
Yes, yes, we should not have desire for such worthless
stuff, but unfortunately I have a desire for a nice piece of
candy.  What should I do?  Is it not better to ask Him than
to simply grab one?

Thanks, Dileepan