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RE: Challenge

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_worldnet.att.net)
Date: Wed Sep 03 1997 - 16:53:14 PDT

I must begin by saying what a pleasure it was for myself and my family to
meet all of you who attended the SDDS conference this past weekend.  By His
Grace, we will have many more such opportunities in the near future.

Mr. Keshava Prasad's challenge to us is certainly not an easy one.  But, I
would agree that we do have some responsibility to take it on, in the spirit
of trying to develop some inclination towards Him in our youth.  So, here is
my attempt:

>My basic attitude is that I cant bring myself to believe that there is a "God"
>whom we can look towards for guidance, comfort or to fear. All my
experience has
>been to suggest that there is no influence that can be attributed to this
"God".
>I am using the quotes as I am using God in the context most people
understand as
>- as someone who is in charge of the universe, who takes care of his "devotees"
>and who punishes people who "sin". Let me know if we are on common terms here
>when we refer to God or if you mean God in a more inclusive sense and if so
what
>it is.
>
>I think of God in a more general sense as someone/something we dont know about
>and because our minds need some explanations to the processes that go on around
>us, we *need* somebody to be the cause of this. I cant crystallize the concept
>beyond this.

God, in my interpretation of what I have read, is both of these, the
personal Deity and the Indescribable Mystery.  He is the all pervading
Principle, the Mystery behind all that is, and yet He is near to us as to be
in our own hearts.  And we, whether sinners or saints, are more dear to Him
than children are to their mother. By limiting Him, in one way or the other,
we can never really begin to experience His Wonder.

(An scripture to cite for this, which I have always found personally
inspiring, is Thiruvamozhi 1.1.  To keep this message short, I won't quote
from this, but, an English translation of this can be found in the Tamil
Veda by John Carman and Vasudha Narayanan)

>But this
>benefit I reckon can be got only by total belief in the presence of God and I
>cant bring myself to believe in this God for the simple reason that as soon
as I
>want to do this my mind asks: how do you know that there is this person?
>
>As for religion, I can only appreciate the social benefits and nothing beyond
>that.........................................................."

Although I cannot deny the social role of religion, at least as far as
eastern religion is concerned, I would contend that its function is much
more than that. For, I believe the very aim of a religion like SriVaishnavam
is to answer the question: "how do you know that there is this person?"  Not
to make it sound like a catch-22 situation, but  to develop the faith that
you need to know Him, you have to have faith in Him enough to follow religion.

I hope this helps, Mr. Prasad.  Please let us know how it turns out with
your young friend.

adiyEn,

Mohan