You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1997


From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Sat May 03 1997 - 16:08:49 PDT

Dear Bhakthi members:

To further focus the question of whether or not Sri Krishna misunderstood
Swami Sri Desikan I am reproducing a passage from the 23rd Chapter entitled
"SiddhOpAya sOdhanA athikaaram" of Srimad RTS.  I am not suggesting that
you must agree with Sri Krishna.  But you can't say that the Vadakalai POV
as stated by him is a misunderstanding of Swami Sri Desikan.  This in
effect challenges its very legitimacy and thus should not be allowed to
stand.  I am sure this was not done intentionally.

Not long ago Sri Varadan claimed Thenacharya sampradayam is equal to Sri
Vaishnavam and Sri Vaishnavam is nothing but Thenacharya sampradayam, thus
completing the necessary and sufficient conditions defining a Sri Vaishnava
and quoted Sri PBA in support.  However, he is yet to furnish the
clarifications I requested.  He further went on to accuse me of being
sectarian!!  While I have no interest in silly fights about Kalais, I am
not going to be the one to simply stand by when views such as this are
stated.  Please remember, no one has suggested  here that Desika
Sampradayam is Sri Vaishnavam and Sri Vaishnavam is nothing but Desika
Sampradayam!  Thus, the origin of sectarian views is obvious.

Let me also add for the sake of clarity, this note is not about Vadakalai
vs. Thenkalai.  Such fights are just a waste of time.  Which of the two
kalai's POV appeals to you is purely your personal decision and I am not
here to say to you which should be the right choice for you.  I would like
to see the followers of both the "Then" and "Vada" acharya sampradayams
respect each other and serve Sri Ramanuja Darsanam.  It pains me when I see
a Vadakalai disrespected just because of his affiliation.  But it pains me
without measure when I see the great Acharya Sri Manavala Maamunigal
disrespected routinely in certain temples.  Taking our cue from our
Acharyas such as Srimad Azhagiya Singar and Sri Vaanamaamalai Jeeyar Swami,
we, as expatriates, should lead the way in showing how the two kalais can
coexist in a respectful way.  One of the prerequisites for this to happen
is to not label one or the other POV as misconceptions even unintentionally.

Anyway, this note is mainly about Sri Krishna's views being characterized
as misconception.  Read the passage I have excerpted and decide for
yourself.  There is much more in Chapter 23 and other chapters of RTS
dealing with this subject.  But I think the passage I have quoted below
clearly shows that Sri Krishna was right on the money; no misunderstanding,
no misconceptions.

Again, I am not suggesting any intentionality on the part of Sri Mani or
Sri Mohan Sagar.  I respect both of them.  Sri Mani is a treasured friend.
But I do feel we should be restrained in labeling other interpretations.

Thanks, Dileepan

=====Passage from the 23rd Chapter of Srimad RTS passage============
Doubt (1):- No upaya is necessary on the part of the jiva:

(1)	Iswara who ignored a man from beginningless time has now concerned
Himself with him. (for his protection ). This is not due to any action or
work on the man's part, but only to the Lord's omnipotence.  If it is not
so, how is it that when the Alwar asked:- "The Lord has now made me realise
Him and placed Himself within me.  Why is it that He allowed me formerly to
stray from Him?," no reply was given except that "the cloud which adorned
the measureless sky thundered in music." (TVM 10-9-1) The implication is
that there is no answer to this question except that it was the Lord's will
to do so.  Therefore why should we perform or adopt any upaya (for securing
His protection)?  Some say, therefore, that, of His own accord, and at the
time when He chooses, the Lord saves us and that the Lord bestows His grace
on His servants and protects them when He is pleased to do so and that no
endeavour of any kind is incumbent on us.

This doubt may be cleared as follows:- Although Iswara is omnipotent, He
makes the man adopt some gesture, some means vyaja ) or pretext on his part
and, in consideration of it, protects him in order that the fault of
partiality and cruelty (vaishamya, nairghrnya) may not stain Him.  The
Alwar himself has declared this truth in:- "I said "'Tirumalirunsolai" and
immediately, the Lord of Lakshmi filled my mind with His presence." (The
Vyaja, endeavour, or gesture, here, is the utterance of the word
Tirumalirunsolai by the Alwar).  It may be asked "This vyaja, too, is
adopted by the Lord's grace.  Why did He not make the person adopt it
before?"  The answer is as follows:-  "The souls of men have streams of
karma flowing from beginningless time.  These streams of past karma produce
their respective consequences at different times and Iswara has to bestow,
on each individual, the rewards or punishments that are in accordance with
such karma.  If He were to do otherwise, He would be tainted with
partiality (and injustice).  Iswara did not make the person adopt the vyaja
before, as the time for the ripening of the fruit of the karma had not yet
come.  Therefore from the effect we have to infer the cause, as stated
above.  If this view be not accepted, no follower of any system will be
able to, answer the question why a person acquires, (at a certain time),
such things as eagerness for moksha which did not exist before.  That these
are due to the varied nature of the streams of beginningless karma is the
common explanation for both those who believe in Iswara and those. who do
not.  Iswara's independence and omnipotence, consist in His determination
to protect the jiva when He chooses to do so, on the adoption of a vyaja or
some form of upaya (endeavour) (or even an, apology for vyaja) and in there
being no power to prevent Him from doing so.
=========From the translation of Sri M.R. Rajagopala Aiyangar======