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Re: Lakshmi

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Tue Sep 01 1998 - 10:35:55 PDT

Sri Ananta Padmanabhan wrote:
> The "problem" which may be in Sri Mani's mind is that , if there
> are two persons (Sri & nArAyaNA) who are the Ultimate Realities , 
> equal in every respect, then the "ekatvam" ie. Single Ultimate 
> Reality" portrayed in the vedAs gets contradicted .

Yes, this is exactly the problem that I have in mind.  
Vedanta says, "ekam eva advitIyam" -- the cause of the
universe is One alone, without a second. Sri Ramanuja
says repeatedly that no one else cooperates or helps
Brahman in creation -- Brahman alone performs it.

Permit me to play devil's advocate in the rest of this
email.

>  "pirAtti" is also a "vishesanA" for nArAyaNA 
 
This is agreed. 

>   ie. perumAL is the sarIrI & pirAtti is sarIrA for Him. 

Let us also accept this for now.

>   aprudhak siddha viseshanA exists between
>   the two. Since perumAL is present as visEshyA & pirAtti as His
>   aprudhak siddha visEshanA , both of them can be referred by a single
>   word . This resolves all the "confusions" . "ekatvam" is not lost.

Why then, is not ekatva lost if caturmukha-brahma is also taken
as part of the "ekatva", since since caturmukha-brahma is
also a viseshya in apRthak-siddhi relation to Brahman?

pirATTi's viseshaNatva does not automatically lead to 
ekatva of the jagat-kAraNa, because this could equally
apply to any jIvAtmA in Brahman's SarIra, or worse, 
to prakRti itself.

>   But , pirAtti is also Brahman ( Jagad kAranatvam) & belongs to
>   category of IswarA ie. she is neither a jIvAtmA nor prakruti, but
>   Controller of all jIvAtmAs & achit . She is also "upAyA" & "upEyA".
>   for baddha jIvAtmAs . 

The supposition is that SrI and nArAyaNa are distinct tattva-s
related in a viseshaNa-viseshyA relation. This being the case,
the same objection from above can be applied here, that this does 
not necessarily mean that SrI must have upAyatva. If furthermore,
SrI is in the ISvara class as a separate tattva, how at the same
time can she be SarIra to nArAyaNa? In other words, if the Lord 
is already Infinite, how can she also be Infinite? Can there be
two Ultimate Infinites?

These are the classical objections to your viewpoint.
I know Desika has answered many if not all of them. 
However, I am not 100% convinced by them, as I understand
them. I look forward to hearing your explanations.

My initial reconciliation was that SrI was indeed a
concept and not a distinct tattva -- a viseshaNa or guNa 
in the true sense. My thought was that SrI was Brahman 
acting in the most gracious, motherly fashion, and that 
nArAyaNa was Brahman in the mode of the universal father and 
progenitor.  The Vishnu Purana states that all
things female in the universe are forms of SrI and all
things male are forms of vishNu.  

An objection may be raised as follows: how then can
the Lord be described as SrIman-nArAyaNa? How about
SrI being described as the "patni" or consort of
the Highest Purusha?

My answer was that "SrI" represents, in essence,
the personifestation of all grace, compassion, patience,
and motherly love -- qualities which we are all
agreed exist in God.  This does not make SrIdevi false
in any way, but a personification so we can relate better 
to God.  God in Its Infinite power manifests Itself
in two forms eternally united as SrIman-nArAyaNa to 
show that the Infinite God, SrIman-nArAyaNa is at the 
same time mother and father of the universe. This is 
naturally within the power of God.

To me, this understanding solved all philosophical
problems.

I held this philosophical position until I read Desika's
comment that SrIdevI should not be seen as God taking
on a female form.  And then I became completely befuddled.

Please write more, Dear Ananta Padmanabhan, so this
discussion can continue!

Mani