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Re: role of Lakshmi

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Wed Sep 18 1996 - 11:56:33 PDT

Krishna Prasad summarized the relationship between Lakshmi 
and Narayana very well in answering Mohan's questions.
I want to clarify one sentence of his which could lead to
confusion.

Krishna wrote:
> A lot of research has been done by Visistadvaitins on this
> issue and since the two entities are said to be equal, coeval, both are
> independent and equally powerful ...

The word ``independent'' is misleading here.  They are only
independent in the sense that they are conceived as being
distinct in form and function.  But they are forever united,
and it is virtually impossible to conceive of Lakshmi without
Narayana and vice versa.  

Andal sings, addressing Thaayaar:

	eththanaiyElum pirivaaRRagillaayaal

	You do not want to be separated for even an instant
	from Him.

Just as the light source and its effulgence are inseparable
but yet distinct, so are Thaayaar (Lakshmi) and Perumal (Narayana).
In his introduction to Raghuvira Gadyam, Desika brings this
point out:

	prabhAvAn sItayA devyA parama-vyoma-bhAskara:

This can be understood two ways: (1) Rama along with Sita 
is the shining one, or (2) Rama is the resplendent one
*because* of Sita.  

Either meaning is appropriate, but the second one brings 
out something more -- that the conception of Lakshmi brings 
out the relational aspect of Perumal -- how he is resplendent, 
how he makes himself apparent to us out of his mercy, which 
is nothing but Lakshmi herself.  

Desika writes in the dayA Satakam about Lakshmi, ``Sreyase
SrInivAsasya karuNAm iva rUpiNIm.''  Lakshmi is as it were 
the embodiment of Lord Srinivasa's compassion.  How then,
can Narayana be conceived of without Lakshmi, when 
compassion (i.e., Lakshmi) is fundamental to his character?

It becomes apparent whenever Narayana is mentioned in the Sastras, 
Lakshmi is also implicit.  According to our sampradaya, 
Krishna's reference to himself in ``mAm ekam SaraNam vraja'' 
(take refuge in me alone) of the Gita includes Lakshmi, as
is explicitly elaborated in the Dvaya mantra -- ``SrIman 
nArAyaNa caraNau SaraNam prapadye.''

adiyEn vAcaspati dAsan

P.S.

upeyatva of Lakshmi (that Lakshmi is included in the goal)
is a slightly different issue, and our pUrvAcAryas have
disagreed about this.  In my opinion, however, if Lakshmi
is conceived of as being the embodiment of the Lord's
mercy, as above, I do not see this as being a big issue,
and her being included in the upeya is a moot point.