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Exchanges on Soundarya lahari

From: Dr. G. N. Mahesh (
Date: Sat Mar 27 1999 - 07:45:35 PST

Dear Shri Rajan,

Namo Narayana

This mail is a supplement to Sri Madhava Kannans reply.

You wrote :

I have had occasions to study religious writings of repute and have always
observed this. The God in praise of whom the work is done is always elevated
and all others depicted as subservient to Him / Her. Srimad Bhagavatam, Devi
Puranam, Skanda Puranam are a few examples in point.
Similarly the relative positions or grade given to the Trimurthis.


I would like to make a few clarifications. There are 18 puranas, which are 
classified as Satvik, Rajasic and Thamasic in nature. The first 6 the sathivika
puranas are the most authoritative, they are as follows.
1. Vishnu Puranam
2. Sri Bhagavatam
3. Narada Puranam
4. Padma Puranam
5. Varaha Puranam
6. Garuda Puranam

The other puranas for example the Skanada Puranam and Siva Puranam are 
not authoritative works. (You can refer to the book "Dialogue on Hinduism by
Sri. Gopala Desikan and published by the Visishtadvaita Research Center).


You wrote :

Once I read an episode in a commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam where Siva was
supposed to have taken refuge with Sri Mahavishnu. I couldn't the relish the
way the commentary expanded on the slokam. It was all in praise of
SriKrishna and Lord Siva was shown as asakthan.


It is not portrayed that Sivan is an asakthan. It is to show that such a powerful
deity as Sivan is also a Bhagavatha subservient to perumal. There are numerous
occasions to highlight this point.

Tulasi das initially began writing Ramayana in Sanskrit, every night he would 
complete a set of slokas and the morning when he gets up, all the slokas would 
have disappeared mysteriously. One night he pretended to be asleep and waited 
to see who is stealing away all his slokas. In the midnight he could feel the 
presence of some body and opened his eyes to see that Kasi Viswanathar in
all his glory standing besides him. It was at the behest of Sivan that Tulsi das
took to writing Ramayana in the local spoken language Hindi. 

In Mantraraja Parastotram shiva himself says "All Jivas are for the Lords service
and he also belongs to the lord". (Dasaboothas swathas sarvae Hiyathmanah

Sri. Madhava Kannan had also mentioned about the sanctity of Rama Namam
and the upadesam given to Parvathi by Siva. 

Kasi is believed to be a place where any body who attain kalagadhi attains 
Perumal Thiruvadi. This sounds slightly out of the blue, but the reason is that 
Lord Siva  chants  Shri Rama Nama in the ears of all living beings including animals. 
Therefore any living being that breaths the last in Kasi is believed, to attain Perumals 
Thiruvadi because they listen to Rama Nama during their anthima swasam (last breadth). 


You wrote :
But we also see the same author praising various deities with similar
importance in his various works. May be this is a poetic convention. May be
I am too simplistic in coming to such a conclusion.


It is true that a lot of poets tend to praise the presiding deity, but i think
we should give it only the right place that it deserves as poems with artsitic and
as a good piece of literature. We do have a lot of works which are authoritative
and non deviating from our sampradaya. Going through such works would be
the preferred option. In Upagarasangraham Swami Desikan lists the help
that Perumal has done us and he says we thank the almighty for not making
us have sinful thoughts as if we were paramathma himself. So going through
such works not connected to our sampradaya would only create unnecessary
doubts, confusion and under very unique circumstances if the reader is not
strong willed would even be a reason to change track. 

AzhvAr tiruvaDigaLE SaraNam
Praveena nAmni Ramanuja dasi
Ramanuja dasan Mahesh