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SuguNa BhushaNa Ram...

Date: Wed Oct 14 1998 - 14:14:01 PDT

Sujana jeevana, rama, SuGuNa BhushaNa.....

Forgive me, but I've been thoroughly confused by a lot of emails since I 
joined this illustrious group. Let me preface everything by saying that I'm 
grateful there is such a group and there is a forum in which to celebrate 
our Lord. When we're aware of the Majesty of the Primordial Force, we must 
naturally each feel our own insignificance, but my confusion comes from the 
"sri vaishnava edicts" and our following/not following them. On the one hand 
there are repeated injunctions to "never do Bhagawath/Bhaagavath 
apachaaram". On the other hand there are repeated emails calling most human 
beings "baddha jeevatmas" (including other Bhaagawathas who by accident of 
birth did not have the Vedasaaram handed to them in childhood) who don't 
know "abcd of prapatti" etc. The term "baddha" bothers me (it reminds me of 
the (un)Christian slogans written on the walls of some south indian towns by 
propagandists calling us all "paavigaley! paavigaley! Yesuvidam nambikkai 
vaiyungal.." and so on.) I always thought that my religion assumes my 
kinship with God, that one tiny tiny "aNu" or amsam of Perumal is in each of 
us and I will not be addressed as a "baddha jeevatma" who needs to be 
forcibly turned away from my natural tendency to sin. (Of course the great 
ones in their "Vyakyaanams" do talk about all humans (including themselves) 
as "baddha jeevatmas" (and they're usually older too, so one doesn't take 
offense, as compared to them, we acknowledge inferiority) and they do so 
only to express the infinite KaruNa of the Lord, not to belittle His 

And now the erudite members are calling into question the KaruNa of the 
Lord. Bhagawath apachaaram, anyone? He is our Father. It is true that a 
Mother will go that one step further, she may be kind to us even when it's 
not good for us, but it should not suggest that the Father is incapable of 
Mercy without her expressed or unexpressed support. Besides, with all the 
readings of human beings' books/kalakshepams in the world, how do you know 
what the motivating factor is? We're just human, and yet we're aware of, 
say, our parents' influence from thousands of miles away. If I admire my 
mother-in-law, then during an ethical dilemma, I'm going to say to myself, 
"what would she have done/expect me to do?". When such is the case with us 
limited beings, must there be proof that Sita Piratti nodded ever so 
slightly before Ramar gave refuge to a trusting ViBhishaNa?

He is Aapath BaanDhawan, Anaatha Rakshakan. Yes, it's wonderful to picture 
our Beautiful Mother standing beside Him with Her Hand blessing whoever it 
is the Lord gives SharaNam to. But it should not be a Prerequisite. (And 
really, if She is always in His Heart, is She not party to all that He 

>From my limited understanding of the RamayaNa, Rama had a Glowing Presence 
and showed an Extraordinary Gentleness since birth. His name denotes 
"ramyamaanavan" (one who is pleasing to the mind). From early childhood 
Kaikeyi loved Him. His gurus and brothers adored Him. The people of Ayodhyai 
were madly in love with their Crown Prince. He removed Ahalyai's curse 
before He ever met Sitadevi in this birth. Though He was a married man when 
He was told by Kaikeyi of the 2 promises she had taken from the father, His 
Greatness in smiling acceptance, His kind response to Kaikeyi and His 
Concern for His father were all born of His own unerring heart. Likewise, 
whether in advising Sita not to come to the hardship of forest-life or 
LakshmaNa not to suspect Bharata's motives (when LakshmaNa, in his extreme 
and blinding affection, imagines that Bharata has bad intentions in 
following Rama to the forest), Rama is above all, Kind. His speech to Tara 
the wife of Vali and to Mandodhari when she weeps over RavaNa's death are 
born of Nobility and Mercy.

Yes, feminists have gone to town for years with the two instances of His 
expecting Sita to take the fire-test, and much later asking LakshmaNa to 
take her to the Muni's ashram in the forest, but it should all be taken in 
the context of a kshatriya king's dharma, His complete faith in Sita and 
therefore the outcome of the "test" etc. Harshness does not fit with His 
character as revealed in all other instances. Even a ShurpaNakai merited 
kindness from Him at first.

In fact, the one instance that has most bothered me in the RamayaNa has to 
do with Sita's behavior. [I'm troubled by the suggestion that Ramar needed 
anyone else's bidding to show Kaarunyam. I thought it was His essential 
nature. Likewise, I may hurt one who adores Sita, (as I do too, of course) 
and I beg your (and Her) forgiveness.] But when she asked LakshmaNa to go 
and help Rama when Maaricha shouted out in Rama's voice to fool her, as we 
all know, LakshmaNa at first refused to go. Her speech to LakshmaNa at that 
time was very hard for me to reconcile with for many years. As a young girl, 
for years I thought "how could she tell that angelic brother-in-law who was 
guarding and caring for them night and day, "You want to usurp the kingdom 
and me too, and that's why you won't go to help Him now...". But with 
maturity and more opportunities to observe peoples' behavior during times of 
danger to their loved ones, when they are agitated due to extreme affection 
and fear for one or another, I feel it's quite plausible that "she so forgot 
herself as to utter such unpardonable words..". (Of course the poet had to 
get LakshmaNa out of the way, and how does one get such a karmachaari away 
from his duty..? Perhaps Sri Anbil or other experts can give an explanation 
that will help me understand better.)

In my humble opinion, if RamayaNam not only endures (like all other Stories 
of the Lord), but also deeply influences us, it is because it is so filled 
with High Ideals. And the Highest Ideals are those exhibited by our Hero, 
Rama. If we have to find some quirky way to show Sita's influence for 
everytime He behaved like the Sharanyan that He is, can someone explain what 
constitutes Bhagawath Apachaaram so I may not commit it?

Lakshmeem Ksheera samudhra raja thanayaam, Sri Ranga Dhaameshwareem,
Daaseebhootha samastha deva vaNithaam, Lokaika Deepaanguraam.
Sri ManMantha Kataakshalabda Vibhava, Bhrammendra Gangaadharaam..."
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
One who has obtained the Merciful Side-Glances of the Lord, to that Lakshmi 
I bow....
Viji Raghunathan