|You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1998|
From: Parthasarati Dileepan (Dileepan_at_utc.edu)
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 views. 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.