You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : September 1996

RE: role of Lakshmi

Date: Wed Sep 18 1996 - 22:25:50 PDT

All of the comments that I have received on my questions have been 
very thought provoking.  I am looking forward to more mailings on 
this subject.  However, Mani's comments this evening encouraged me to 
re-read some pertinent passages.  I quote from Patricia Mumme's 
translation of Manavalamamunigal's commentary on Mumuksupatti of 
Pillai Lokacharya.  These passages seem to confirm some of Mani's 

Mani writes:
---------------------begin quote
"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 
> 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."
----------------  end qoute

Sutram 131 states: "Only in conjunction with Her does the Lord exist.
"  Manavalamamunigal's commentary: "The Lord's quality of being the 
husband of Sri is stated before the attributes of knowledge,bliss, 
etc., which describe His essential nature in Thiruvaymozhi 3.6.10.  
Therefore, since this is the primary designation of His essential 
nature, it is only in conjunction with Her that the Lord truly exists.
  Thus, Lokacharya has revealed that Their Eternal Union results from 
Their relationship being an aspect of the Lord's essential nature."
Mani goes on to state:

-----------------------begin quote

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.''

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.

--------------------end quote

I concur that the role of Lakshmi does vary between the two schools 
of thought in our Sampradayam.  But, as Mani says, it really does 
become a moot point when one considers that since the Lord is 
inseperable from Lakshmi, it is not possible for one to surrender to 
Him without Her presence.  And, indeed, according to Sutram 169:

"Only in Their union will service be obtained and bring joy."  
Manavalamamunigal's comments: "She is the one who causes the 
automonous Lord to graciously accept the cetana's service rather than 
ignore it.  For this reason, it was when She was present that 
Lakshmana requested and attained service in accord with his true 
nature.  Furthermore, just as a son will enjoy attending to his 
parents only when both mother and father are together, it is only 
when the Lord and Sri are united that service will be pleasurable."

Daasanu Daasan,

Mohan Raghavan