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Free spirit and respect

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Mon Nov 24 1997 - 14:28:25 PST

It is difficult or even downright impossible to disagree with
statements that extol spirit of free enquiry, that caution us 
not to be superficial, etc.  Who in their right mind will want
to be superficial?   Who will deny the virtue of free spirited
enquiry?  Who can object that this enquiry must be done in a 
respectful way.  All this is well and good, but what is the 
standard for showing respect?  Here I am reminded of Sri 
Ramanuja's expression of disagreement with Yadhavaprakasa.
To my knowledge Sri Ramanuja did not even speak up until
he was told to do so.  (BTW, it is not my intention or 
place to propose any standard, let alone this high a 
standard for this forum.)

At 01:00 PM 11/24/97 -0500, wrote:

>If I were given a choice to lead a life where I can think
>with a free spirit of enquiry and at the same time being
>respectful to our traditional institution and on the otherhand leading a
>life of fear (constant fear of Bhaghavat/Bhaghavata Apacharam) as a prize
>for moksha, I would prefer the former.  Personally, such a goal has no

If I may say so, Sri vaishnava life is not a choice between 
these two extremes.  For a Sri Vaishnava respect to bhagavathas
comes naturally and with willingness, not out of fear, let 
alone constant fear.  Further, what is mOksha but constant 
service to the Lord and Bhagavthaas.  Service to bhagavathaas
is sweeter than the service to the Lord Himself.  Service
to bhavathaas is the very pinnacle of bhakthi for the Lord.  
Is our bhakthi for the Lord predicated upon fear?  Obviously
not.  Then, there is no question of we avoiding "bhagavatha 
apachara" out of fear.

Please allow me to present a different dichotomy; if the choice is 
between free spirit of enquiry which includes characterizing learned
scholars as intellectually lazy, not digging deep, and studying 
superficially, etc. on the one hand, and on the other, service 
to bhagavthaas even at the expense of brahmma jnyana, I will 
choose the later without a moment of hesitation.

Fortunately, we don't have to choose between such stark contrasts.  
I think we can vigorously debate with our present day acharyas and
scholars, and even disagree if you must, without telling them that
their understanding fails to give credit to our poorvacharyas and 
azhvaars.  Restraining oneself in this manner will not diminish 
any free spirit.

-- adiyEn

p.s.  I may have missed some posts, when did bhagavatha apacharam
enter this discussion?