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

RE: Social aspects - part I

From: Sriram, Manjula V (mvsriram_at_mke7.ra.rockwell.com)
Date: Wed May 21 1997 - 11:46:32 PDT

I would like to take a stab at this.  Not only SriVaishnavism, but the   
purpose of our
religion(Hinduism) is to attain Moksha.  If we refer to Bhagvad Gita,   
Lord Krishna
says to Arjuna:
"You do the Karma, leave the results to me. " When Arjuna (living in this   
so called
samsaram) asks Krishna, will all the people I care about live in this   
world after the
war and to this Krishna replies: Its not for you to care who will live or   
die, you do your
dharma and karma.  These people were living before you were born and will   
be
there after you die.  I bring this up because the western religion has a   
completely
different base/foundation.  We as hindus, believe that we pay for our   
sins in this
life time or when we are born again.  The religion of the West, be it   
Christianity,
or Islam believes that the lord has already paid for their sins.  All   
they need to do is
confess their sin, or mistake and thats the repentence.  No matter how   
famous
or spread out Sri Vaishnavism is, we can never change the foundation of   
Moksha.
Our priests are trained in the Vedas, to take us closer to attaining our   
goal of
Salvation.

Many a times, living in Utah, I ran into Mormons and they always tried to   
convince me
that their religion is the best because of the bishops who care for the   
people.  I
remember a close friend of mine(a mormon) did something not supposed to   
be
done, and she went and confessed it to the bishop.  The bishop told her   
to
not attend the church for three weeks and even if she did to not take the   
sacrement
or prasadam.  Our priests on the other hand would say that we should   
spend
more time in the temple thinking about GOD and going through paschatapam.
I think our priests are well trained in what our religion is supposed to   
depict,
our scriptures state that worldly things are useless, what we need is   
faith and bhakti,
this is the primary cause when we are sad because of the materialistic   
things of this world,
they explain to us that materialistic things are not so important.  We as   
humans usually seek
help when we feel we have committed a mistake, however small may it be.   
 A lot of times
when I was 15 or 16 years old, I would tell my friends or family back in   
India, that I would not
be able to make it because I was extremely busy, though I was not.  This   
may have been
a white lie and not cause any harm to anyone, but the day I told that I   
would not be able
to eat, sleep or just be myself.  When I would tell my mom that I told a   
lie, she would not
say its ok don't do it next time, she would say when you new you were   
making a mistake,
why did you do it?  To this I would answer I don't know, and she would   
say go ask for
forgiveness from who you told the lie to and then go and pray to GOD to   
give you
strength, so you would not repeat it again.  This is the basis of our   
religion.

However, one would think that our priests should take upon this role, as
they are about as much a part of loukikam as we lay followers are.

I would like to differ on that.  We should know that our priests have   
devoted their
life to swami seva.  As a believer of Hinduism, I believe (this my belief   
only) that
as long as we have utmost bhakti and faith in Swamis decision, we will   
never
be sad or unhappy about the worldly things.  This weekend, my husband and
I wanted to go to Pittsburg, and our entire family was to accompany us.   
 By
the time all of us got ready on Friday, it was too late at night, hence   
we had
to change our plans and not go to Pittsburg.  We were all disappointed,
but we thought it was best.  On Saturday night, something happened that   
made us
realize that it was best to not go.  Had we gone, we would have been in   
trouble in
a new place.  What we need to do is have faith in GOD, then we need not   
look
for solace or peace from a priest, whose dharma is only to help us have
faith in Swami.

Being young and having grown up with a very conservative Western   
Religion,
I feel that the  future generations, will be able to differentiate better   

if and only if they feel deep inside them that no matter where they are
born, they are Indians and Hindus.  Its not written on our face that we
are American.  I am a US Resident, but everytime I change jobs, or
register for classes,  I have to show proof that I am a US Resident,
this is because its not written on our faces that we are legal
residents of this country.  Once we identify ourselves as Indians and   
Hindus,
we need to believe that whatever GOD does its for our best.

All the above statements are from a mind and mouth of a person (me) who   
is
not very learned when it comes to SriVaishnavism or hinduism.  What I   
share
is from my experience and feelings and my talks with Srimati and Sri   
Jagannath
Bharadwaj who are very learned and have been able to explain the meaning   
of
life in a very few words.  If I have offended anyone or said something I   
should
not have I do hope that you will forgive my ignorance and pardon me.  I   
certainly
would like receive email in reply to this so I can correct myself.

Following this elaborate post I have a few questions that I hope that   
some of you
will take a stab at.

1)  What is the purpose of life?  I ask this because, when I was growing   
up and even
 now I read that hinduism is not for converting people.  This is the
 only religion that does not go around converting people.  Is this   
correct?

2)  What is Nari Dharm?  Tulsidas Ramayana states that a woman's duty is   
towards
 the family.  But then if women read the bhagvad gita, are we to follow
 krishna and his teachings?

3)  How would non Sri Vaishnava's convert to Vaishnavism?  We don't have   
baptism..
 When we don't convert people, then how can we say that this religion   
willl
 be extremely popular?  Only the people born as Sri Vaishnava's will
 know about it, unlike other Western religions.

Forgive my stupid questions but just have to ask, because in my opinion,   
being
a SriVaishnava is for two reasons and these can be wrong.
1.. if you go for the arrange marriage for the two parties to start on a   
common
 ground
2,, To worship lord Vishnu.

I thankyou all for your time to read this post and answering an ignorant   
person's
questions.  Thanks.

Manjula V. Sriram
Programmer Analyst
Rockwell Automation
Milwaukee, WI
414-382-0530
 ----------
From:  Mohan Sagar[SMTP:msagar@worldnet.att.net]
Sent:  Tuesday, May 20, 1997 8:26 PM
To:  bhakti
Subject:  Social aspects - part I


Mr. P. B. Anand has asked some interesting and thought provoking   
questions:

>A. What is the role of acharya with regard to our day to day problems?
>   In many cases, we do like to consult our acharayas on important
>matters, but that is an exception than the rule. As an institutional
>provision, do we have a system where any person, can approach a   
religious
>leader just for moral support? IS is obligatory for the religious leader   

>to listen to such person or is it subject to their convenience?

I can personally relate to this question, because there was a time in my
life where I found the sagely advice and friendship of a Catholic Priest
comforting in trying to deal with some of the confusions of growing up in
the west.

>From what I have observed and read of Acharyas in our community, they   
have
the unique function of teaching the devotee the method of detaching from
this samsaram and turning towards the Lord.  Such a responsibility would
obviously conflict with trying to comfort someone within this samsaram.

However, one would think that our priests should take upon this role, as
they are about as much a part of loukikam as we lay followers are.   
 However,
one must recognize that unlike the priests, ministers and rabbis of   
western
religion, our priests do not have the proper training in peer counseling   
and
psychology that are required to be a mentor or social worker.  At best,   
the
most well wishing priest will listen to one's problems, and either   
suggest a
special pooja be done, or will bless the individual while chanting a few
vedic slokas and saying a few comforting words.  While this certainly
provides some solace, it falls short of the sage advice of the western
counterparts.

I would think that as SriVaishnavism becomes more established in this
country, the elders of each community may take upon such a role, giving   
both
comfort and sound advice to the future generation.

 ---continued---

Daasanu Daasan,

Mohan