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Re: Virakti of the anchorite vs our Virakti

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Wed Mar 31 1999 - 06:07:49 PST

Dear Bhagavatas,

I am writing in regard to Sri. Sudarshan's posting on Virakti.   
Sri Sudarshan states:
Virakti of the anchorite, represents the triumph of 
human spirit over matter.  Our *Virakti* symbolizes 
the exact opposite.

Although, the former part of the statement creates an impulse
 that triggers reverence for anchorites, the latter part saddens
 me; it paints a very bleak and hopeless picture of all 
non-anchorite aspirants of moksha; it does a great injustice to
the vast majority of mumukshu, who are not anchorites; and
 thus, are still subject to domination by their load of karma. 

According to the metaphysics of Visitadvaita, the association
of the soul with the body (which is known as avidyaa)
prevents the soul from realizing its true nature and its
relationship to other jivas and Paramaatma.  Birth implies 
bondage, but the degree of  bondage varies according
 to the prarabdha of each jiva.  

While in bondage the jiva is ruled by the manas and ahaMkAra,
which are responsible for desire, hatred, pleasure and
pain.  Due to the transparent nature of the phenomenal 
world, one only needs to exert minimal effort (to inquire
into the nature of the truth) to recognize the transitory 
nature of worldly pleasures.  This effort will also reveal
that the manas and ahaMkAra, acting as agents of the 
senses, are the source of misery and not bliss. This 
revelation is experiential; it manifests itself in the Cit.  The
initial effort with the ever present grace of God leads to this 
experience; which is the point at which a faith becomes a
conviction (or as per the metaphor of *The Spiritual Endevour
Is Like Climbing Mount Everest* the point where one reaches
the base and has a partial manifestation of the dharma of 
Vaikuntam.) Reaching this point, one develops a
conviction about the nature of reality and realizes that the
practice of spiritual discipline to cleanse the mind of the self 
gratifying tendencies is the means to achieving moksha.

In summary, spiritual progress for most is gradual. 
As the Manu Smriti States in Verse 96 chapter 2 
*Those organs which are strongly attached to sensual
pleasure cannot be effectually restrained by
abstinence (from enjoyments) as by a constant
pursuit of true knowledge.* (The constant here
implies continuous progress and is consistent with
the Visistadvatic interpretation of Vedanta, which
denounces the concept of Jivan Mukti.)  The first step
in the spiritual endeavor is to recognize, through
inquiry, the transitory nature of worldly pleasures 
and to realize that the manas and ahaMkAram are 
agents of the senses and that they are the source
of misery and not bliss; this becomes manifest in 
the cit by the grace of God.  This *Virakti* can be
viewed as the beginning of the triumph of human
spirit over matter (a positive entity.)  Trying to lump
bhagavatas with all other jivatmans is unjustifiable,
and goes against the fundamental tenant of 
Visistadvaita (respect for bhagavatas, regardless
of  location on Everest.)  Secondly, it is futile to
compare a bhagavata at or near the base of
Everest to someone who is nearing the summit; 
such comparisons only lead to pessimistic 
conclusions, and do injustice to the positive nature 
of our great siddantham.

Please excuse any errors as tried to outline my conviction, 
as best I can. I am well aware of my limited knowledge of our siddantham, but I am very sure that this characterization of
virakti  is not in accordance with it.  Please correct me if I am wrong.
Adiyen ,