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Re: Biographies of Sri Ramanuja

vidya_at_cco.caltech.edu
Date: Wed May 01 1996 - 17:06:18 PDT

Dileepan wrote: 

>       By "all"?  Not here in "prapatti"!!!

I'm sure the SrI vaishNavas on "prapatti" would have no problems with
considering rAmAnuja to be an incarnation of AdiSesha. Or, am I wrong?

>>It is the general Indian tendency to glorify the gurus of our tradition, to the
>>one-upmanship, sourness results.
> 
>     Are you sure that this is the case, i.e. one-upmanship,
>     in these two cases?  Please explain.
> 
>     If your line of argument is to be accepted, then you MUST
>     object to considering Nammaazhvaar and Sri Ramanuja as
>     amssas of the Lord also, which I am surprised you don't.
>     If your intent was that the first two are acceptable by all
>     Sri Vaishnavaas only, then the argument should support
>     respective amsaas by the respective kalais.  What is the problem?

I don't know if one-upmanship does or does not contribute to talking of 
different AcAryas as amSas. However, I don't think I can honestly object
to the SrI vaishNavas considering rAmAnuja and nammAzhvAr as amSas. The
idea of amSas and avatAras is not strictly consistent with advaita, but we
do accept that disciples can and do regard their AcAryas thus. Similarly
for describing SankarAcArya as an avatAra of Siva. 

As for the argumentt about the kalais, is the division between the two kalais
as deep as say the division between smArtas and SrI vaishNavas? My impression
was that it was not. Now, if one kalai says vedAnta deSika is such and such
an amSa, and maNavAla mAmuni is another, and this is not acceptable to the
other kalai, won't this create unnecessary sourness? 

>     BTW, what is wrong with aitIkam?  What in our Hindu
>     religious tradition can be logically proved to
>     be "really real"?

Only the Atman, and only because one cannot logically admit any denial
of the Atman. Obviously, this is different from "proof" as understood 
from a mathematical perspective. 

>    How far can one progress spirutually with logic?

Maybe not very far, but no tradition asks you to suspend logic or swing
to the side of being completely illogical, in order to achieve progress. 

In a general vein, while talking of amSas and avatAras, it is informative
to note how Sankara describes kr.shNAvatAra in the gItA-bhAshya. Every 
statement he makes of how bhagavAn Himself came down to earth in order to
protect dharma, is qualified by an "as it were" (iva). This obviates the
need to describe kr.shNa as a pUrNAvatAra, but the acceptance of kr.shNa
as bhagavAn Himself is more than mere aitIkam. The reasoning is that 
the taking up of a material body for the purposes of living on earth is a
limiting adjunct that parabrahman is associated with. 

S. Vidyasankar