You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1999

Re: Digest bhakti.v003.n382

From: Sudarsan Parthasarathy (nihitha_at_singnet.com.sg)
Date: Sat May 22 1999 - 01:55:57 PDT

> Sri Raamajayam

Dear Sri.Mani,
                               Thanks for your nice reply, lavishly supported by views confirming to Sri Vaishnava Poorvacharyas.  But still why should we even seek a Post Office or address their name, and think of Sriman
Naarayanan, when we can directly invoke our Supreme/Compassionate Sriman Naarayanan.   Mantra Ratnam, Dvayam and Charama Slokam should be sufficient, and other Shruthi's relevant to Nitya Karmas containing only reference to
Sriman Naarayanan should be practiced.  Why the post offices, when my Lord is beside me and inside me.  Adiyen's intention is not keep on asking elementary questions, but develop a deeper understanding on this topic from
Bhagavathaas like Devarir.  Please forgive me for committing Apachaarams.

As for your question, where Sri Vaishnava Sandhya Vandhanam contains reference to 'Rudra Daivatyam ...Rishabavahanaam',  I happen to have a Vadakalai Sandhya Vandhanam published by Lifco, where before Japam there is verse
mentioned for each of the Sandhya Kaalas as follows,
"Pratharthyaami Gayathreem! Ravi mandala Madhyakaam, Rig Vedam Muchaarayanteem, Raktha Varnaam Kumarikaam, Akshamaalakaram Brahma Daivadyam Hamsa Vaahanaam"

"Madhyam tinaethu savithreem Ravi Mandala Madhya Kaam Yajur Vedam Vyaharantheem Svaetham Soolakaraam Sivam Yuvatheem Rudra Daivathyaam Dhyayaami Vrishibavaahanaam"

Please let me know if these are not a standard Srivaishnava Sandhyavandanam practice, I would get a proper Brihaspathi to unlearn and re-learn the correct way.  On the other hand I have poor comprehension of Sanskrit, correct
me again if I had mis-understood the verses.

>>Based on the comments in
your article, it appears to me that you have not properly
appreciated the Visishtadvaita approach to Vedic worship.

I am trying to make my mind, thoughts and action clear and dedicated to Sriman Naarayanan.  Towards that direction, I am trying to understand more Srivaishnava Sath Vishayam and views on some topics of Adiyen's interest.  It is
certainly not cast doubt on our Philosophy or our Acharya Parampara.  Even though Adiyen is fortunate to be born in a Sri Vaishnava family, I do not take it for granted what I practice is correct, but substantiating my
practices with more deeper understanding from Bhagavathaas, Acharyas and Poorvacharyas.  Once again thank you very much, I would look forward to some more comments to this mail.

Adiyen,

Sudarsan

> From: Mani Varadarajan <mani@be.com>
> Subject: Re: Vedic deities
> Date: 21 May 1999 20:06:39 -0000
>
> Sri Sudarsan Parthsarathy wrote:
>
> > Personally Adiyen is of the same view expressed by Mani.
>
> Dear Sudarsan,
>
> I am certainly not endorsing in any way worship of deities other
> than the Parabrahman Sriman Narayana. Based on the comments in
> your article, it appears to me that you have not properly
> appreciated the Visishtadvaita approach to Vedic worship.
> All these topics are discussed in detail in the Vedarthasangraha
> of Ramanuja and Srimad Rahasya Traya Saaram of Vedanta Desika.
>
> First and foremost, the Vedic deities such as Indra, Mitra,
> Varuna represent "posts" or "offices".  A person who has a
> balance of merit ("good karma") is placed in one of these posts
> by Sriman Narayana as a reward, much as human birth itself is a
> reward.  While the posts themselves are thought to be eternal, as
> they represent principles mentioned in the Vedas, the
> personalities occupying the posts are not.
>
> Hence, Indra is the presiding deity of rain and thunder, among
> other things.  Mitra and Varuna are solar deities who are closely
> related and often identified. Varuna is also associated with
> water.  Usha is the deity of dawn, and so on.
>
> When the Vedic mantras address the deities, they do so in a
> twofold manner:
>
>   a) They are addressed to the personalities occupying the posts
>
>          AND
>
>   b) More significantly, these prayers are addressed to the
>      Absolute Self, the Paramapurusha who actually empowers and
>      moves all the deities.  The deities are viewed as modes
>      (prakAras) of the Absolute who presides as their inner
>      controller (antaryAmin).
>
> So when using a Vedic mantra in your daily and occasional duties,
> depending on your mental attitude, you are either addressing a
> subsidiary power or the ultimate power.  The Sri Vaishnava
> philosophy is to solely use mantras to worship the latter,
> because the Absolute is the true entity behind everything.
>
> This understanding of the mantras comes from the Vedas
> themselves.  The Rg Veda, in a hymn addressed to Vishnu, says
> that "all these other deities are merely your limbs" (angA anyAni
> devatA).  This expression is repeated in the Taittiriya
> Upanishad.  The Purusha Sukta, which occurs in the tenth mandala
> of the Rg Veda, says that the various deities spring forth from
> the self-sacrifice of the universal Purusha.  This same Purusha
> is described as Narayana in the Taittiriya Aranyaka. The
> Brhadaranyaka Upanishad declares that out of fear of Brahman (the
> Absolute), the sun rises, the wind blows, etc. In another
> section, the same Upanishad reduces the millions of Vedic gods
> down to one principle, Brahman.
>
> Western scholars use the term "henotheism" to describe the poetry
> of the Vedas. Henotheism means taking a particular deity and
> treating it as if it were the greatest, and then moving to
> another deity and doing the same.  This only presents part of the
> story.  Certainly the Vedic hymns move from one deity to another
> and lavishly heap praise upon each one.  But the Vedas are
> operating under the axiom that Brahman is the ultimate principle
> which manifests itself as these deities; it is therefore to Brahman
> ultimately that the prayers are addressed.
>
> This is further explained in the first chapter of Brahma-Sutras,
> in indra-prANAdhikaraNa.
>
> > On careful analysis of our Nithya karmas(like Santhya
> > Vandhanam, Yajnas, Homam etc, where we still invoke prayers to
> > Anya Devathaas), we specifically worship the other
> > Devas/Devathaas and not the Antharyami Sriman Naarayanan in
> > them, "like Rudra Daivatyam Vrushabavahanaam" in Maadhyanika
> > Sandhya.
>
> The nitya-karmas are all dedicated solely to Sriman Narayana, or
> at least they should be for a Sri Vaishnava.  In your sankalpa,
> do you not say "Sri bhagavad AjnyA, Sriman nArAyaNa prItyartham"
> or some variant? This should be followed by a sAttvika tyAga
> which once again declares that the entire act and all its fruits
> are for God alone, and no one else.  If any names are used in the
> course of the worship, the idea is that these names signify only
> Narayana, who is defined to be the Absolute.
>
> Let's take the example of sandhyAvandana.  There are two main
> parts to this ritual, the arghya-pradAna and the gAyatrI-mantra
> japa.  During the arghya-pradAna, the 'devata' is paramAtmA
> savitA, the Supreme Self Sriman Narayana as seen as the power
> within the sun.  During gAyatrI-japa, once again the same
> paramAtmA savitA is the object of meditation.  During the
> upasthAnam Narayana within the sun is addressed as Mitra, Surya,
> or Varuna. (I am not familiar with your line "rudra daivatyam..."
> As far as I know this is not part of any Sri Vaishnava
> sandhyAvandanam; in any case, it may also be possible to
> understand that line in a conformant way).  This is further
> clarified by the smRti sloka we recite after the upasthAnam,
> "dhyeyaH sadA savitRmaNDala-madhya-vartI nArAyaNa...", which
> guides us to meditate on Narayana as residing within the orb of
> the sun.
>
> In homas, typically if any other deity's name is used, Sri
> Vaishnavas say "[other deity] antaryAmine samarpayAmi", and are
> advised to think only of Narayana and nothing else.
>
> Sri Desika explains in 'Varadaraja Panchaasat' how the words
> Brahma, Sankara, Indra, Atma, Sarva, etc., refer only to the
> Highest Self Narayana and not to any lower entity:
>
>       brahmeti Sankara itIndra iti svarAD iti
>          Atmeti sarvam iti sarva carAcarAtman |
>       hastISa! Sarva-vacasAm avasAna sImAm
>          tvAm sarvakAraNamuSanty anapAya vAcah ||
>
> > Also for quite a few years, I have personally tried to
> > understand why Sri Vaishnavites do not go to non-Sri
> > Vaishnavite temples.  I heard several arguments ranging from
> > "Sriman Narayanan is Parathvam", so no need to worship Anya
> > Devathaas who are not subservient to lord.  ...  So I was even
> > more confused why we do not worship a Shiva Linga, or Ganesha
> > in their idol form.
>
> It is not just a matter of "no need"; it is a violation of our
> faith in God to go pursue goals elsewhere.  The Sri Vaishnava is
> supposed to have "mahA-viSvAsa", or supreme faith, that God alone
> will do the needful.  It is intellectually dishonest to claim to
> have faith in God and worship anything else (money, cars, stones,
> humans, Parvati, Ganapati, etc.), apart from the conception that
> God is the inner controller of all of these.
>
> Also remember that our sole purpose in life is to glorify the
> innermost Self, who is none other than Narayana. This can only be
> done if we take our 'seshatva' seriously.
>
> This is explained in great detail by Vedanta Desika in the
> paradevatA-pAramArthyAdhikAram of Srimad Rahasya Traya Saaram.
>
> > Of course Parathvam is Sriman Naarayanan,
> > and all the Parabhakthi, Paragnana, Prapatthi, we seek comes
> > from this merciful Parabrahmam of Sriman Naarayanan, even if we
> > seek it from other Gods/Demi-Gods(words from the Geetha).
>
> And such worship, according to the Gita, 'avidhipUrvakam', i.e.,
> not recommended by Krishna. The 'yuktatamo', the best of yogis,
> is the one who exclusively worships Krishna alone (6.47). What
> the Gita says is that anything you seek is given by Narayana
> alone; so why resort to anyone else?
>
> namaH paramapurushAya,
> Mani
>
> -------