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Dark Warrior

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  1. Certainly, our acharyas have refuted advaita. When I say 'valid', I mean it is indeed Vedic, and its practice is not condemned by the Vedas or by Lord Narayana, as many people think. The whole concept of 'ishta-devta' is nothing more than a concoction by neo-vedantins. All our Sri Vaishnava Acharyas indeed accept advaitins as Vaishnavas. Even Sri Ramanujar, who defeated so many advaitins, did so only based on their philosophy. He never had to argue the supremacy of Narayana. Many of our Sri Vaishnava acharyas were former advaitins (Nanjeeyar, Yajnamurthy, etc.). They were defeated only in philosophy and not in the deity concept. Narayana was Brahman for all advaitins at that time. Read this: According to the present day advaitins, SrI Adi Sankara Bhagavad pAdAL was a great synthesizer of all these six religions and that it is well incorporated within the advatia vEdAnta. Anyone of these specific six dEvatas can thus be considered as saguNa-brahman for them and intense devotion unto them will make these persons fit to receive the teachings of mahAvAkyas from a Guru. But, unbiassed scholars are of the opinion that SrI Adi Sankara recognized only Lord NArAyana as the SaguNa-Brahman, since in all of his commentaries on SAstras like Upanishads-Brahma SUtras-Bhagavad GIta-VishNu SahasranAma, he has equated only Lord NArAyana to SaguNa-Brahman and all other dEvatas as being sub-ordinate to Him. According to these scholars, some stotras etc on other dEvatas as being SaguNa-Brahman, attributed to SrI Adi Sankara is a later fabrication. In Sri Velukkudi Krishnan Swamy's site, (an eminent Sri Vaishnava acharya who gives discourses), an advaitin asked him a question and he gave the answer. Here it is: Question ID: 11 - Namaskarams to my Guru I am a saivaite(Smarta) by birth.Actually I feel that we do not observe any thing exclusively to identify us as Saivaites. The Great 12 Namas of Vishnu are said during Sandhya Vandanam, The Shrardams are performed before " Prathyaksha Mahavishnu" and most of the offerings made to AAdi Narayanan .and Sarvam is Krishnarpanamasthu . I do believe that Sriman Narayanan is the Supreme Lord. I would like to start my religious quest in a more ardent way. Like the true Vaushnavite can have a Samashrayanam what is possible for me being a woman. Kindly clarify. Namaskarams Kala - Question By - Kala. Answer by Swami: smarthas are not saivites. They are all vaishnavas only. You have rightly identified that there are no prostrations to Siva in our daily anushthanams which itself proves the earlier statement. You can get samasrayanam administered provided you have well understood the significance of it. This cannot be explained in mail. You have to meet an acharya in person to get all needed inputs about this. I do not know about Gaudiya or Madhva Vaishnavas, but Sri Vaishnavas accept the Smartas as Vaishnavas, definitely. The mordern day Smartas worship demigods and mistakenly consider Adi Sankara to have been an advocator of such systems. But it is all false and the corruption of advaita lineage happened in the 16th century roundabouts. Until then, all advaitins were Vaishnavas. Vaishnavism means worship of Vishnu, or acceptance of Vishnu as ultimate. It does not mean bhakti is a prerequisite to be a Vaishnava. Of Course, Bhakti is naturally the superior way, but even if you consider the Self to be Vishnu and that Vishnu has no attributes, you are a Vaishnava. Read Sri Krishnamachari's book 'Adi Sankara and Vaishnavism'. Our acharyas such as Nanjeeyar were certainly Vaishnavas even before they became followers of a personal philosophy.
  2. Theist, you are way off the mark. Like it or not, advaitins are Vaishnavas. The Upanishads talk about 32 different Brahma Vidyas. A path is provided for every seeker of the truth. Hence, Advaita is certainly a valid path to follow, albeit a difficult one. I notice that your hatred for advaitins is similar to the views of some Hare Krishnas I have met before. I have lived abroad for 17 years, therfore, despite my identity as a Sri Vaishnava, I have interacted with many Hare Krishnas, so I respect Srila Prabhupada as my own personal acharya. ISKCON played a great role in introducing me to spirituality. Some Hare Krishnas who were christians or jews have taken with them their stubborn one-mindedness - like calling Narayana or Vishnu as inferior to Krishna (akin to the monotheistic 'One Living God' of Christians), or that all impersonalists are demons (akin to saying all 'unbelievers' go to hell) , extreme hate of homosexuals (irrelevant to Vedic Culture), etc. However, these are few and far, and most Hare Krishnas have left behind their prejudices long ago. Coming back to the point, Advaitam exists in the Vedas. True Advaitins are Vaishnavas. They say Narayana is the ultimate truth, and that itself qualifies as Vaishnavism. Think about it - Is Vaishnavism simply worship of Vishnu, or all about personalism? No. Vaishnavism can be both impersonal or personal. It is up to individual choice. Christianity, for instance, may be personal, but it is not Vaishnavism. Advaitam is based on the sastras and on realising Narayana, hence it is Vaishnavism. I am myself a follower of qualified monism. I'd like to ask Theist (respectfully, with no offense intended) exactly what knowledge of the Upanishads he has to condemn monism so totally, because Vishishtadvaita is most definitely monism (although different from Advaita). Srila Prabhupada was a great Bhagavata and hence, being so in love with Lord Krishna's personal form, He went overboard in criticising mordern day advaitins (who are not Vaishnavas as they advocate demigod worship). This does not mean all advaitins are evil. They are 100% Vaishnava if they accept that Self is Narayana and that they will become one with Narayana.
  3. What separates the Vedas from man made scripture is the fact that they do not reveal who is Brahman instantaneously. Indeed, a scientific method is needed to obtain the truth. Narayana does not reveal Himself so easily. You are not looking deeper into the Vedas. As mentioned before, they have three meanings: 1)Internal, 2) External, 3) Spiritual. According to Sripad Ramanujacharya, there is indeed Non-Dualism. The Self is considered to be the body of Brahman, ie, the antaryami (Paramatma to the Gaudiyas) is the indweller of every soul. The Universe is the body of Brahman. So, He is in us and we are in Him. This is qualified non-Dualism, ie, Vishishtadvaita. Hence, it ties with the fact that worship of a separate deity, as you call it, is indeed the best path. But the Self, rather than being identical to Brahman (as proposed by advaitins), is the sariram (body) of Brahman. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad also describes it properly. Thus, He is separate and has His own identity, but He is within us. So, Self Realisation means to realise the Brahman within you. Actually, there is no contradiction at all. It is only veiled in so called contradictions. And the fact is, the upanishads can be interpreted differently, and each interpretation is absolutely valid in its own sphere. Here is pramana from Upanishads: Pramana no 1. "yo Brahmanam..mumukshurvai saranamaham prapadye" (sweta asvatara Upanishad) Meaning: ("First of all Sriman Narayana created Brahma. He taught him the entire Vedas. He has given me the clear knowledge with reference to Him. I take refuge under Him desiring salvation" says Veda Purusha.) Pramana no 2. "Tasmath Nyasa mesham Tapasam Atriktham Ahu:" (Taitriya Narayana - 50) Meaning: ("Therefore this Nyasa namely Saranagathi excels all other penances") Pramana no 3. "Nyasa Ithyahuhu maneeshino Brahmanam" (Taitriya Narayana - 50) Meaning: (Wise men declare that Saranagathi is the Brahman (Sriman Narayana) Himself) Pramana no 4. "Nikshepa aparaparyayo Nyasa: Panchangasamyutha Sanyas: styaga ithyuktha saranagathirithyapi" (Lakshmi Tantram 17-74) Meaning: (Surrendering to God (nikshepa) has five accessories. The word "nikshepa" has several synonyms like Nyasa, Sanyasa, thyaga and Saranagathi. This clearly shows that you are not a vedantin, but a layman. All acharyas, whether they are advaitin, dvatin or vishishtadvaitin, no matter what their philosophy is, accept that Narayana is Brahman. This is based on the following: 1) Narayana is mentioned to be existing eternally. No Brahma or Shiva before Creation. 2) Whenever a deity is praised as the Supreme, it should be taken that the prayers go to Narayana alone. Why do we say this? Because: 1) All these devas are shown to possess many faults. 2) Narayana Suktam establishes that Narayana is alone Brahman. 3) Purusha Suktam establishes that the wives of the Purusha are Sri and Hri, showing Vishnu to be Supreme. 4) Shathapatha Brahmana shows that Rudra is a jivatma. When he was born, he cried and asked Brahma to remove his sins. Brahma then named him isvara, maheswara, etc. 5) The Vedas, at one point say Rudra is Supreme or that Shambhu is Supreme, or Hiranyagarbha created the Universe, etc. These are explained as follows: - Rudra does not indicate Mahadeva. Rudra means 'howler' or ;destroyer of evil'. Hence, it should be taken in grammatical context because the deva Rudra has been mentioned to be a jiva in Shathapatha Brahmana already. Hence, Rudra is also a name of Vishnu (see Vishnu Sahasranama). - Shambhu means 'blissful'. Certainly, Narayana is Blissful. - Siva means 'auspicious'. Narayana is auspicious. Om is Shiva, ie, auspicious. - Similarly, when Vedas say Narayana is Brahma, Siva, it means that either Brahma is endowed with the intelligence of Narayana, or that Siva has auspiciousness. But these devas do not possess all the traits of Narayana. Conversely, it can be said that Narayana is auspicious and intelligent. - Narayana is Vishnu because the two names are etymologically related. Narayana Vidmahe Vasudevaya Dimahe tanno Vishnu Prachodayat.
  4. I do not know about Hare Krishna devotees, but in my honest opinion, Christianity is in no way related to Vaishnavism. I have read about Jesus and his teachings, the apostles, the church's doings, saints and mystics, etc to gauge him. Judging by the Gnostic Gospels, he was an essene who essentially advocated some form of Buddhism or cryptic advaita. Most likely, he picked up the philosophy from Buddhist missionaries, who were prevalent in that region at the time. The morals and renunciation aspect appears to have come from Buddhist scriptures like the Dhammapada. Coming back to topic, no ritual or initiation is required. If you want to become a Vaishnava, wear the lotus feet of Hari on your forehead, read about Him, pledge yourself in your mind to any Vaishnava Acharya ( Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, etc. ) you like, and go to the temple. That's all.
  5. Then provide me with the so-called contradictions. You should know something about Vedic literature: 1) They appear contradictory and nomadic to the mundane materialist. 2) They appear lofty to the philosopher. 3) They appear crsytal clear to the devotee. The Gita is the essence of the Upanishads. Therfore, Kena Upanishad will defin itely not be contradictory. Read Raghu's post. Since the Upanishads and the Vedas are apaurusheya, everything should be in line with them. The prasthna trayam, ie, Gita, Brahma Sutras and Upanishads are joined to form a seamless whole. This is the basic approach taken by all Vedic Schools. As far as reconciling the contradictions, you seem to believe that it involves making a compromise to adjust errors. Wrong. The purpose of commentary is to show how the philosophy meshes together. There is no contradiction at all. The statement only appears contradictory. Let me give you an example. In the Vedas, at one point it says Shiva was created by Brahma. At another instance, it says Shiva came from Sriman Narayana's forehead. This is explained as follows: Rudra is a post. A jivatma becomes Rudra by penance, and is created by Brahma. Then, Narayana meditates, and from His forehead, comes Lord Sankarshana, an avatar of Vishnu, who induces the jivatma Rudra to destroy and provides him with powers. This 'reconciliation' is correct, because the Vedas confirm it in 3 instances - 1) Shathapatha Brahmana clearly shows that Rudra is a Jivatma, 2) It is mentioned that Rudra got his powers only after realising Vishnu, 3) In Sri Rudram Chamakam, it is indicated that the prayers to Rudra go only to Lord Sankarshana. Thus, the apparent contradictions disappear. The commentators have proven that Bhagavad Gita is the essence of the Upanishads. For instance, Bhakti forms a predominant part of the Svetasvatara Upanishad, as does Nyasa Yoga (Surrender). Unless you have a sharp eye and a keen intellect, you cannot discover these in the Upanishads. As far as your faith is concerned, either you are a theist or atheist. If you are a theist, the Vedic Scripture is clearly the eternal path, and it is dilineated from man-made religions. So choose your path. The Upanishads deal with both the personal and impersonal aspects. Otherwise, Vaishnava acharyas would have been unable to substantiate their claims. The Chandogya Upanishad clearly talks about the Lotus Eyes of Brahman. The Purusha Suktam mentions that Sri and Hri (Bhu) Devi are consorts of the Purusha. There are many indications of the Lord's true form in the Vedas.
  6. The point I am trying to make is that, pratyaksha is completely valid, as long as shruti and smriti's authority remain intact. This is what Sri Ramanujar and even other Vaishnava Acharyas say. When you take the 'essence' of a story and decide that it didn't happen at all based on your own conclusions, it means you are putting yourself above the sastras. Of Course, there are certain stories that are definitely allegories, such as the stories related by a Sage to Yudhishtira when he was in exile, but it is always clearly and coherently mentioned as allegory. There is no doubt that stories such as Gajendra have an inner meaning. Lord Vishnu never does anything without a purpose. But we have the same book claiming this story to also be historical. And as for the 'essence', let us not forget that these 'essences' were brought out by our acharyas, who were great jnanis. The same acharya who revealed the essence also accepted it as historical. The reason why you accept this as historical is simple. While a parable is an allegory for a moral, this story illustrates the qualities of God, therfore, it is a historical fact. He won't give us allegories to illustrate His greatness...He will descend Himself to show us firsthand. Now, pratyaksha is significant. There are no talking elephants, so we can't say it happened. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The book talks about other lokas, so there is evidence that it is beyond the senses. Pratyaksha is certainly valid in the sense that scripture can be reinterpreted. For instance, I read a book where someone explained the cosmology of the Srimad Bhagavatam in accordance with mordern science. This is acceptable. Simply denying things makes you an authority over scripture. We have a vast body of literature, ie, Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Ithihasas, and ancillory texts. Despite this, there isn't one hint of contradiction anywhere in all of them, proving their merit. Therfore, accept what the rishis say. Approach it with a scientific mind, and understand properly.
  7. When there is no contradiction and a lot of meaning in both the so-called unreal and real portions, it is to be taken as a cohesive truth, a continuation of the great philosophy. Too many souls are caught in maya to understand this simple thing. Like I mentioned before, if any dramiticisation or mythifying had taken place, either contradictions or lack of spirituality is a consequence. Take the Greek Myths. They are myths because they have no spiritual value. Take Jesus. The influences of other cultures, plus the fact that he exhibited no godly traits proves the claim of him being divine as a myth. In Rama's case, and in Krishna's case, you get the 5 essential things needed for Moksha. Pillai Lokacharya outlined it: 1) Nature of the Supreme - You NEED to know what God looks like, and atleast a fraction of His auspicious attributes. Like Krishna said in Gita, " He who knows my divine birth attains moksha." Which means, - If we think of His birth, we are freed from further births. - If we think of how Yashoda tied Him up, we shall not be tied by Samsara. - If we think of His beautiful Body, we shall be freed from clothing our atmas with bodies in Samsara. And so on. 2) Nature of the Self - As in the Upanishads. 3) Nature of the Goal - You NEED to know where you are going, what you will do there and how you will stay there. Outlined in the Archiradi Marga portion of Chandogya Upanishad, Bhagavad Gita, Divya Prabandham. 4) The means to attain the Goal - Three slokas have been given by the Lord explaining this - Sri Varaha Charama Sloka, Sri Rama Charama Sloka, Sri Krishna Charama Sloka. 5) The obstacles to the goal - This is the only thing that is common to all religions. Because they all know that lust, greed, temptation, etc. is the obstacle. Read Bhagavad Ramanujacharya's divine works. I am not sure of other Sampradayas, but Sri Vaishnavas NEVER accept anything on blind faith. We have to be sure of what we know. It was Ramanujacharya, the brilliant analyst, who suggested that one should analyse scripture to find out the truth. And it was His great devotion that made Him climb Tirumala by literally crawling on all fours, as He deemed Himself to be a servant of the Great Lord of the Seven Hills. It is a feat that still brings tears to any Sri Vaishnava when they hear about it.
  8. Do I detect sarcasm? As mentioned by the scripture. Vedas and Upanishads are eternal. Mahabharata and Ramayana took place in the Dwapara and Treta Yuga. Just because every action of Lord Vishnu imparts a deep message does not mean that it is an allegory. It is a historical event that was deliberately fashioned by the Lord to impart a truth. Mordern scholars assign ludicrous dates based on their own biases. For instance, the Aryan Invasion Theory, Bhagavad Gita being dated as Post-Buddhist because Buddha does not mention it, etc. Books such as the Bible and Koran are paurusheya and flawed. They do not claim to be older than the dates they have been assigned. Nor do they possess the ultimate knowledge. But the dates of the Bhagavad Gita and Smriti have been mentioned by the authors themselves. And they are flawless. The Vedas and Upanishads call themselves as the breath of Brahman. In fact, there is a verse in the Purusha Sukta (I think) where the Veda talks of itself as a person - 'I surrender to that Purusha'. Thus, the Veda is not just a text, it is actually a personified Deva. Vedas have no flaws. Thus, they are apaurusheya, not even authored by Sriman Narayana. Think about the logic in this - The Lord cannot properly describe His own glory. So the Vedas also are unable to do so, except in cryptic ways. Then, the Lord takes an avatar as Krishna to explain who He is. He shows His form. This is recorded by a Rishi, Vyasa, who is the avatar of Vishnu Himself. No other religion in the world has such a tale. Considering the befuddling nature of the Vedas, it is quite logical to believe that the Lord Himself would incarnate to explain His position. Ours is the only religion in which the author of our scriptures (Vyasa) Himself is declared as a myth. Idiotic scholars who speak of aryans and dravidians have no role to play here. For instance, the say the Brahma Sutras postdate Buddha because they mention Buddhism. But this is countered as follows: 1) Buddha mentioned that his religion is eternal and that there were many Buddhas before Him. Thus, Buddhism could very well have existed before Buddha. 2) The Brahma Sutras can be interpreted in such a way that they don't refer to Buddhism at all!! Thus, do not fall into the trap of believing that Sri Hari is a myth. Based on the profound nature of Vedic Literature, and the thorough assessment of the Lord's auspicious attributes, there is enough evidence to show that He exists. The truths hidden in the Srimad Ramayana, for instance, is staggering.
  9. One more detail - Karthaveerya Arjuna was a shaktyavesa avatar of Vishnu. He had less power as compared to Parasurama, so he was killed by the latter. Parasurama yielded His powers to the Purna Avatara Raghu Rama later on.
  10. Other religions lack one thing or the other. Bhagavatam and Vedic Scriptures house just about every conceivable philosophy known to man. This should be proof enough. Let me give you a small example of the profoundity of the Bhagavatam. In one story, Lord Vishnu rescues an elephant from a crocodile. This sounds like an immature fiction, but upon closer analysis, the following details are revealed: The human is Gajendra. The world is the lake, where human plays with his kith and kin. The crocodile symbolizes the Death and Difficulties that attack man. Furthermore, the Bhagavatam mentions that Lord Vishnu, in His haste to save the elephant, actually carried His mount Garuda to the spot. This again has the following meaning: Gajendra had shouted out loud, "May the One Being who supports the Vedas and all scripture come to rescue me." Now, Garuda is the personification of the 4 Vedas. Usually He is the mount of Vishnu. But since Gajendra had asked for the supporter of the Vedas, in this case, Lord Vishnu Himself carried Garuda to the spot, showing that He is the supporter of the Vedas!! Now, another question arises. Why did the Lord wait so long to rescue Gajendra? Because until then, Gajendra was trying to save himself with his own muscle power. It was only when the elephant gave up and said, 'I surrender to the Supreme Lord', that Narayana rushed to his aid. A similar situation occurs in the Mahabharata. During the scene of the disrobing of Draupadi, she holds her clothes with both hands to save her dignity. Lord Krishna does not help her. She then clasps her clothes with one hand. Lord Krishna doesn't come to her aid still. She then lets go of her clothes completely and shouts in helplessness, "Govinda". Then Lord Krishna comes to her aid immediately. Another question arises. Having decided to help Gajendra, why did the Lord personally rush to the scene to do it? Could He not have done it sitting at His abode Himself and by merely willing the crocodile dead, thereby liberating the elephant? Equally, He could have sent His Chakra to attend to the chore. What was the need for Him to indulge in overkill, as it were, by coming down all the way from His abode to destroy a mere crocodile? Reason: while the crocodile could have very well been destroyed by proxy, Gajendra's happiness at the Lord's appearance on the scene and his joy in feasting his eyes on the divine form, could not have been achieved without Sriman Narayana's personal presence. But remember, these stories are not merely allegory. This is history because all leelas of the Lord are conducted in such a way that it imparts a deep spiritual message. Every walk, step and action of the Lord has a lot of meanings. Both the elephant and the crocodile were devas, and Lord Vishnu indeed came to save them. But by His sankalpa, this incident also illustrates deeper meanings. Thus, one simple story has so many hidden meanings. Credit goes to my great acharya, Sri Periyavacchan Pillai (rightly called 'King of Commentators'), who was born on Janmashtami itself, to reveal the truths of our scriptures. Those 'other devotees' are right. Respectfully, I am afraid you are missing many things. The Srimad Bhagavatam is pure amrita, as are most of the sattvik Puranas. They are age old histories of the world. They show us the nature of Sriman Narayana, His greatness, His beauty and His accessiblity. No text can compare to it. There are some stories that are allegory. But they are few and have been identified by our acharyas. But almost all of it is history. The alvars had the divine vision and witnessed all the leelas of the Lord firsthand. I will tell you why Vaidika (Vedic culture) can be believed: 1) The Vedas and Upanishads have no author and no date (despite mundane scholars' erroneous attempts). 2) The Vedas and Upanishads provide complete knowledge about God, the Soul, the different ways to achieve God, the obstacles faced in the process and the means to overcome it. 3) All religions are influenced by the Vedic Culture. From Buddhism and Jainism to Mithraism and Christianity. 4) No other religion knows what God looks like, or what His form is, or what His avatars are. When you think of Sriman Narayana's lotus eyes, His mischievous smile, His soft lotus feet and His beautiful complexion, you cannot find a similar experience in any religion. 5) Supernatural information that could never have been understood by humans occur in the Vedas. Such as the explanation of the significance of OM, the archiradi marga, different forms of meditation, the process of creation etc. Thus, we can easily accept the Bhagavata Purana. Some scholars claim it to be a mordern work because: 1) It appears to be a transliteration of the Divya Prabandham, so it must have been written by a south indian based on the prabandham. 2) Sankaracharya and Ramanujacharya never quoted it. Point 1 is useless argument. It shows that both alvars and Sukar had the same realisation, so both works appear similar. Sri Sankaracharya and Sri Ramanujacharya were engaged in philosophical debates. The Bhagavatam is named 'bhagavata' because of the fact that it is only for Bhagavatas. For debates, the Vishnu Purana and other Puranas are more suited. Sri Sankarar was not concerned about Bhagavata Purana because he never cared about an obviously devotional text. Sri Ramanujar had to defeat advaitins using the same texts that they used in debates, so he never referred to the Bhagavatam either. Veda Vyasa has literally raised His hands and swore, 'Satyam Satyam Punassatyam...' There is no scripture greater than Veda and there is no God greater than Kesava. I think we should take a hint from this. Our history is so old that it has been forgotten and termed as 'mythology'.
  11. I was completely materialistic for the major part of my life. Two years ago, I saw a picture of Lord Narayana and was captivated by His beauty. Even so, I was not convinced of the truth, as there are so many religions in the world, each claiming to be the truth. Therfore, I researched various faiths like Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Christianity (Gnostic, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc.), but none of them were even close to the great truth of Lord Vishnu. I researched more about the Sampradaya I was born in (namely, Sri Vaishnavism) and was touched by the greatness and divinity of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya. By His grace, I learned of my good fortune in being born in such a lineage. I think the following Bhagavad Gitas verse (as translated by Srila Prabhupada, whom I admire very much for spreading bhakti to the West) describes my position: " The unsuccessful Yogi will awaken his divine consciousness next birth by My grace even if he has not studied the sastras." I must have been unsuccessful in my last birth, because I have acquired the truth without any knowledge or endeavour on my part. This is the proof that Lord Krishna exists, because the Bhagavad Gita has been shown to be an eternal truth. Jai Sri Rama!! Adiyen Ramanuja Dasa.
  12. Advaita is semi-theism. It is not atheistic. There are some Vaishnavas who are of the opinion that anyone who considers the truth to be Nirguna Brahman is an atheist and has no value. This is however, quite far from the truth. Being a Sri Vaishnava, I am aware that the Vedas talk of the Supreme Being, Lord Narayana, as one who possesses infinite attributes. Advaitins, on the other hand, assert that Brahman is formless, incorporeal and has no attributes at all. I find Advaita an intellectual philosophy, unlike many Vaishnavas who seem to hate it. I'd call Advaita as an 'elegant error'. However, this does not discount advaitins as demonic, or as atheists. It may surprise you to know that the followers of Adi Sankaracharya are also Vaishnavas. After all, Vaishnavism means 'Worship of Vishnu'. It does not mean 'Worship of Personal God as Vishnu'. The mordern day advaitins have veered from the path set by Sri Sankaracharya. They worship demigods like Shiva, Durga, Kali, etc. as manifestations of Brahman. But Adi Sankara never advocated demigod worship. Although an advaitin, He firmly established that the highest Saguna Brahman was none other than Sriman Narayana. Therfore, true Mayavadism, or Advaitam is Vaishnavam. Advaitins may say everything is Narayana, that Narayana has no form, that they themselves are Narayana, but they are Vaishnavas in the sense that they accept Narayana as the ultimate truth to be realised. Like I said before, Vaishnavism is simply acceptance of Vishnu above demigods. The Saguna Brahman of Advaitins is indeed none other than Vishnu. Heck, there is sufficient proof to say that Sri Sankara wore a tilak, and not the ash of Shiva as he is popularly depicted in pictures to be wearing. The works such as Saundarya Lahiri, Sivanandalahiri that praise Demigods are not authored by Sankaracharya, but by another person (presumably Appaya Dikshitar) who wrote them and passed it off as Sri Sankaracharya's works. The mordern day followers of the Smarta tradition have unfortunately been mislead to believe that Adi Sankara advocated Demigod worship, so they worship Demigods as well. So, now Advaitam is corrupted. And I am quite willing to accept that Advaitam is a legitimate path, just as philosophies like Vishishtadvaita, Dvaita, Shuddhadvaita, Dvaitadvaita, etc. But in Kali Yuga, it is not an easy path to take. For instance, according to advaita, to become Narayana, you must let go of ego. But the mordern day advaitins, having accepted that the Self is Narayana, get egotistical and supercilious in the process. Hence, you have to possess the intellect of Sankaracharya himself to succeed through Advaita.
  13. I respectfully disagree. This sounds too similar to the Christian theory of the Fall of Man, and is not authenticated by Scripture of Sanatana Dharma. The obvious flaw is - If we were living with Sri Krishna once, we must have been exposed to His splendour. So, were we actually able to resist His splendour and go in search of something else? Then this makes the Lord appear as though He isn't attractive enough. Vedas and Upanishads say that the transmigration of the Self is eternal. There was no beginning to us being in Samsara, just as there is no beginning to Narayana. There is only an end, ie, when we achieve moksha. Suffering arises due to attachment. Sri Krishna has explained it quite clearly in Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
  14. Well, I am a Sri Vaishnava, and our opinion is that Sri Radha is the Avatar of Goddess Nila Devi. In any case, many questions are asked about Krishna Leela - What happened to Yashoda, Radha, the Gopis and everyone else? Why did Lord Krishna leave them? What happened to Radha and Yashoda is insignificant. Being great bhagavatas, they must have left for Parama Pada immediately. The question is, why did Sri Krishna deliberately allow the pangs of separation to exist in the heart of His devotees, who couldn't be without Him otherwise? The answer is simple. Everything is a leela, a play of God. Lord Krishna left everyone because He wanted to do the exact opposite of what He did in His avatar as Rama. Let me explain. Sri Rama was very upright, He always stuck to the narrow path of Dharma. He never killed anyone unless it was necessary. He never left His dearest devotees for a minute. Barring Sita's capture by Ravana, and some scattered incidents, Bhagavatas like Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman, etc. were always with Rama. Vibhishana was gifted an archa avatar of the Lord (Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam). When Rama avatara came to an end, Lord Rama took everyone with Him to paramapada. Except for Lord Hanuman, who wished to stay in Bhu Loka, just about everyone from Ayodhya, and all the places Rama visited, went to Vaikunta. Sri Krishna was the perfect contrast. He advocated Dharma, but never believed in sticking to one path. Here is the summary: 1) Sri Rama believed that Dharma should be accomplished by One way. Sri Krishna cheerfully led the pandavas to lie and cheat their way to Dharma. 2) Sri Rama, whenever He fought with His enemies, always left something hanging. For instance, He did not kill Shurpanaka, but only maimed her. When the 14000 Rakshasas challenged Him, He killed 13,999 only and left one. He had one chance to kill Mareecha when He was learning under Vishvamitra, but spared his life (thus allowing Mareecha to help Ravana later on). However, Krishna killed every asura that Kamsa sent, and did it casually as well. He did not spare ANYONE. Very cheeky aspect of the Lord. In addition, whenever Sri Rama ventured to fight, He would first take His bow, then His arrow, etc. according to proper Kshatriya fashion. Sri Krishna, on the other hand, wasted no time. In fact, He killed asuras without appearing to!! 3) Sri Rama ascended to Vaikuntha in the company of a great host. Sri Krishna went alone. 4) Sri Rama claimed to be a man. Sri Krishna openly showed Himself to be Parabrahman. So, from this, we can understand why Sri Krishna left the Gopis and Yashoda without concern. It was just in opposite to Sri Rama taking all people with Him wherever He went!!
  15. Buddha being an avatar is accepted by Sri Vaishnavas. Both our mordern teachers and our acharyas have referenced to Buddha.The alvars have also spoken about them. Sri Nammalvar in fact, openly calls out to Krishna in ecstasy, "O Kannan! You enter into the body of a jivatma and provide atheists with false vedas..." Furthermore, Sri Parasara Bhattar, a Sri Vaishnava acharya of great intellect, has shown that the names 787-810 (If I got it right) in the Vishnu Sahasranama refer to Buddha avatara only. The Sahasranama points out that there are many Buddha avatars of Vishnu. And Gautama Siddhartha was also empowered. However, we do not accept Buddha in the Dasavatara. Nor is He worshippable. Since Srimad Bhagavatam is pramana, we can accept that He was just a soul empowered by Vishnu. Which means, Gautama Siddhartha, after death, may even be subject to transmigration as he was never a devotee of Vishnu (although a partial avatar), and the powers of Vishnu would have been removed from him upon completion of his work. Or he may have attained Moksha/Nirvana, who knows.
  16. Sri Manavala Mamunigal is the greatest Sri Vaishnava Acharya in our Parampara. He is regarded as the avatar of Bhagavad Ramanujar Himself. This is not fanciful thinking, but has actually been proven. Lord Narayana Himself took Manavala Mamunigal as His Acharya and presented this invocatory verse (Thaniyan): Sri Sailesa Dayapathram Dhibhaktyadi Gunarnavam Yathindra Pravanam Vande Ramyaja Matharam Munim. Thus, the Lord who has stressed so much on the importance of the Spiritual Master's role in enlightening a Jivatma Himself took somebody as His Spiritual Master. And for anyone doubting this, Sri PBA Swamy has analysed the Sloka and concluded that it was authored by Sriman Narayana only, and nobody else: ARTICLE BY PBA SWAMY As Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, Sriman Narayana had surrendered to a few people and yet each time He was not happy with those people. He found drawbacks in each of them and was dissatisfied. As such, He took Sri Manavala Mamunigal as His acharya and became happy that He finally had surrendered to one who has all the qualities to be an acharya. This is clearly shown by Him in each of the terms of the taniyan. 1. SriSailEsa dayApAtram: In Sri Rama avatar, He took refuge with a sailEsa dayApAtran. Now, He salutes SrisailEsa dayApAtran. SailEsa dayApAtran is Sugriva. The sailam here is Ricyamukha mountain. The Lord of that sailam is Mathanka Muni, and Sugriva lived under this rishi's dayA. At one time, Vali had fought an asura named Dundubi and killed him. Vali then had tossed the body of the asura a long distance and at that time some blood drops from his body had fallen on Mathanka Muni's ashramam. Mathanka Muni was angered by that and had cursed that whosoever had done that and his associates would die if they stepped on that mountain. Sugriva after earning the enemity of Vali had taken refuge in this mountain to escape his brother. Hence he is the sailEsa dayApAtra. Sri Rama had taken refuge with Sugriva initially, but later was disappointed by him. Even after the rainy season was over, after the killing of Vali, Sugriva did not make any efforts in helping Sri Rama locate Sri Sita. As such, Sri Rama told Sri Lakshmana to meet Sugriva and tell him that "one who forgets the help of a friend is a lowly person; the way Vali was sent is also open to Sugriva; Sri Rama is ready to send Sugriva, his friends and relatives to the domain of Yama". Thus Sri Rama had become dissatisfied with the sailEsa dayApAtran with whom He had taken refuge. In order that this be rectified, He now takes refuge with Srisailesa Dayapatrar who is Sri Manavala Mamunigal. He salutes Sri Manavala Mamunigal who is the receipient of the dayA of ThiruvAymozhippiLLai (Thirumalai AzhvAr also known as Srisailesar). 2. dhIbhaktyAdi guNArNavam: In Rama avatar, He had bowed to the lord of the salty ocean ("lavaNArNavam"). Based on Vibeeshana's words, Sri Rama performed saranagati to the ocean. However, the lord of the ocean chose to ignore Sri Rama and at that time Sri Rama decided to send a fierce astram and empty the ocean and make it into dry land. Thus, He ended up with disappointment with one to whom He had made saranagati. In order to make up the disappointment of surrendering to the ocean of salt, He now surrenders to the ocean of great guNas who is Sri Manavala Mamunigal. 3. yatIndra pravaNam: That Lord Sri Ranaganatha is the same as Lord Srinivasa is known from pasurams such as "manthipAy vadavEnkada mAmalai vAnavarkaL santhi seyya ninRAn arangaththaravinaNaiyAn". And as Lord Srinivasa, He received the Conch and Discus from Sri Ramanuja and therefore took him as His acharya. While there was no disappointment for the Lord with Sri Ramanuja, after listening to the Ramanuja Noorranthathi verse "thannaiyuRRat seyyum thanmaiyinOr", where it is said that rather than being attached to Sri Ramanuja it is better to be attached to those who are attached to Sri Ramanuja, He decided on becoming the sishya of Yatindra Paravanar rather than being the sishya of Yatindrar. Yatindra Pravanar is a special name given to Sri Manavala Mamunigal. 4. vandE ramyajAmAtaram munim: During avatars, He became a disciple of muni's: as Sri Rama with Sage Vishvamitra and as Sri Krishna with Sage Santhipini. However, He became disappointed with them both. In Mithilai, He heard about the details of Sage Vishvamitra's past and became disappointed that He had taken such a person who was subject to rajas and tamas, as His acharya. In Sri Krishna avatar, even after knowing that Sri Krishna was none but Sriman Narayana, Sage Santhipini requested a lower purushartha which was his son's life rather than the higher purushartha which is moksha. As such, He became disappointed with this muni as well. Thus, He decided to take on the muni who is the ocean of satva guNas as His acharya, who is Ramya Jamatru Muni. Thus, this taniyan which has so many special and hidden meanings could not have been authored by anyone but Sriman Narayana.
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