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Re: VibhIshaNa saraNAgati

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Sun Oct 18 1998 - 19:48:22 PDT

At 05:24 PM 10/18/1998 -0400, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:
>But the one difference between puNya and pApa karma is that puNya karmas
>can help in purifying the mind, which is essential, is it not? (So can

This is a complex topic.  AdiyEn's understanding could
be flawed, but will dare to present it in an informal 
way, with the caveat that it can be properly understood 
only under the strict guidance of a proper  Acharya.
What follows is based on adiyEn's reading of two 
commentaries of Srimad RTS, one by Sri Uttamoor Swamy
and one by Srimad Azhagiya Singar.  If anything in the
following is correct, then adiyEn has understood them
correctly.  If there are any mistakes then, adiyEn
has not understood them and have misrepresented their

Swami Sri Desikan in artha pancaka athikaaram (Chapter 4
of Srimad RTS) describes a group of impediments for
mOksha, i.e. mOksha virOdhi vargam.  They include,
avidhyA, karma, vasana, ruchi, and prakrithi sampandham.
Among these prominence is given to karma because it causes
the displeasure of the Lord (karmaavukku pradhaanyam -
Sri Uttamoor Swami).  Here, both Sri Uttamoor Swami and
Prakritham Srimad Azhagiya Singar say karma includes
both paapa and puNya as they both are impediments to mOksha.

Actually, the impediment for mOksha is really the Lord's
displeasure.  It is easy to see why paapaa causes His
displeasure.  The reason even puNya causes His displeasure
is because of the nature of puNya.  This is explained below.

Karma is classified into three categories, puNya,
paapa, and anubhAya karma.  anubhAya karma are acts
that are done involuntarily, like breathing etc.  
Acts that are forbidden by Sasthras are "paapaas".  
pUnya are those karma that are enjoined for a 
particular result in the Sasthras, i.e.,

   "saasthirangaLil oru palatthukku sAdhanamAgach
    seyyumpadi vidhikkap pattuLLa karmam puNyamaagum"
           - Srimad Azhagiya Singar.

puNya, which are deeds done with a particular end in 
mind, also causes displeasure to the Lord because the
jIva has chosen something that is of transient/lesser
value.  For example, parents will be understandably 
upset if their son does a lot of public service, but
fails to take care of their needs.  (This example is
meant to understand why even a good deed may cause
displeasure; please do not extrapolate.)

Depending upon the predominance of paapa and puNya
of a jIva, the Lord gives different effects to the
jIvas.  The Lord makes those for whom paapaas 
predominate to be born in lives in which the 
jIva cannot act according to Sasthras, like plants 
and animals.  Even if born in forms where one could
act according to Sasthras the Lord gives them 
dangerous knowledge (vibhareetha j~nanam) and make 
them confused, etc., etc.  These keep the jIvas 
in the vicious circle of birth, old age, death, 
and birth again.

Those for whom puNya predominates, are given 
life in svarga, or posts such as Indra, Siva, 
or Brahmma.  They may be born in high castes
and get the opportunity to perform upasana.
However, at the end of their tenure as Indira,
etc., or when they fail to complete their
upasana, they are no better off than those who
had committed paapaas.  Swami Sri Desikan says: 

   "muppaththiraNdu adiyaana thuravuthaththuvaar
    munadiyil vizhundhathOdu, muppathiOrAmadiyilE
    vizhundhathOdu vaasiyillathaappOlE"

    (When crossing a well that is 32 feet in width,
     whether one falls at the very first feet or the
     thirty-first feet, it makes no difference.)

The comparison Srimad Azhagiya Singar makes here is
between those who had to endure lives of animals and
birds on the one hand (those who fall at the first feet)
and those who perform upasana, but could not complete
it (those who fall at the thirty-first feet).  The former
is perhaps characterized by a predominance of paapa,
and the later by a predominance of puNya.  Even though
there are differences between these two groups in terms
of j~nayam, etc., they both are equal in terms of
not having been able to overcome the displeasure 
of the Lord.

If even puNya is not sufficient to overcome Lord's
displeasure, what is the way?  The only way to free
ourselves from the group of mOksha impediments that
causes the Lord's displeasure is, Swami Sri Desikan
quotes Sri Ramanuja:

    "thaSya cha vasIkaraNam tachcharaNaaragatirEva"

    (the only way to please the Lord is to surrender
     at His lotus feet)

How would this come about?  Due to the Lord's 
overwhelming and unpredicated krupaa He looks 
for some excuse (vyAjA) such as the jIva helping 
a bhAgavatha, etc. and puts the jIva in contact 
with a sadAcharya.  Then, depending upon the choices 
we make one thing will lead to another and finally, 
the Lord will create circumstances in which the 
Acharya would lead the jIva to perform "prpatti"
(sAdhyOpaya).  Accepting this prapatti, the Lord, 
out of His own compassion (siddhOpaya), graces the 
jIva with mOksham at the end of his/her stay in 
the current body.

In summary, puNya, which are actions according to
Saasthras for a specific end, is as much of an 
impediment for mOksha, i.e. cause for Lord's 
displeasure, as paapaa.  The only way to be 
released from this displeasure is the total 
surrender to the Lord in the proper way.  

-- adiyEn raamanuja daasan

p.s. Vishnu Puraanam is one of the primary pramanas
for our acharyas and they quote extensively from it.
In as much as the main points stated above are
that of our Acharyas, even if adiyEn may have made
mistakes here and there, adiyEn feels there ought not 
be any contradiction between them and VP.