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Re: VibhIshaNa saraNAgati

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Thu Oct 15 1998 - 19:42:08 PDT

Srimaan Ramakrishnan wrote:
> Aren't we making a big assumption here? We are deciding what is good and
> bad for the devotees based on our prejudices. Eg, it has been assumed
> that the Lord did not show mercy to Hirnayakasipu, Bali, Ravana and so
> on. 

The problem with this argument is that we are left
with no teaching whatsoever. We can no longer make
any distinction between the Lord's ability to punish
and the Lord's ability to forgive and protect.  
In any case, the cases of Hiranyakashipu, Ravana,
Kakasura, et al, are cited as examples of the Lord
punishing someone for misdeeds; and Vibhishana, 
Kakasura (again), Sabari, et al are cited as examples
of His grace.  These interpretations are not our
inventions but (a) fall out naturally from the 
stories and (b) are how our acharyas have presented
them to us.

If everything is an act of mercy, we are essentially
speaking in vacuo. Why differentiate at all between
the times piraaTTi is present or otherwise?

In this discussion, we need to keep in mind the assumptions
set forth in the beginning -- that our acharyas have
stated that Srimad Ramayanam is the "SaraNAgati veda",
and that Vibhishana SaraNAgati is the upanishad of this
veda.  Another assumption is that our acharyas teach
that Sita (piraaTTi) acts as purushakAra, and without
her blessing and intercession Rama will perhaps have
a tendency to exercise his sovereign right to punish
someone for his misdeeds.  The final assumption is 
the truths embodied in Sriman Ramayanam are not so
confusing such that we cannot even distinguish between
punishment and grace -- there would be no point for
the "avatAra" of this divine work, then!

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani