Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 14 14:04:51 CDT 1998

 This discussion is interesting, but unfortunately it seems to be
 generating a lot more heat than throwing light! Let me add my own
 comments hoping that my contribution is towards the light-side (pun
 not intended) and not the heat-side. (Don't forget it is summer now;
 we don't need to generate heat anymore. :-) )

 It is well known that karmas enjoined by the Smritis and shrutis
 should be learnt from a qualified Guru. If this is the case, then
 such karmas must be performed as taught by the Guru. There is no
 scope for altering what the Guru taught, unless, of course, the Guru
 has mentioned there is a choice in the performance of a karma.

 As an example, consider Vedic mantras such as the Purusha sUkta
 that are employed in the devatA-pUjA. This has to be chanted exactly
 as taught by the AchArya, with the exact  accents/pronounciation.
 There is no leeway at all here. One cannot claim, "I have bhakti. So
 I will chant it any way I like." Nor can anyone think thus: "I
 have not been taught the Purusha sUkta. But I have bhakti. So I will
 recite it as best as I can with bhakti. God will be pleased." In
 fact, the rules for chanting Vedic mantras are quite rigid and have
 been this way from time immemorial. So who gives us the authority to
 change them now? Also reciting a mantra at lightning speed is no
 good either. So such things must be performed correctly.

 As Shankara says in his upadesha-panchaka:

  "vedo nityamadhIyatAM taduditaM karma svanushhThIyatAM
   teneshasya vidhIyatAM ..."

   One should study the Vedas constantly, perform the karma(s)
   mentioned therein well (correctly) and worship Ishvara (God) with
   such performance...

 In the same pUjA, there could be a choice, as in the case of some
 stotra that has to be recited. There could be different versions of
 a ashhTottara-nAmA-valI (108 names) of a particular God, depending
 perhaps on the local region. When there is a choice, of course, we
 can chose one that we are comfortable with or like.

 Sometimes there are variations that correspond to different
 traditions. For example, the famous ShrI Rudram or the shatarudrIya
 occurs both in the Shukla Yajur Veda and the Krishna Yajur Veda.
 The two versions have different accents (svaras) and there are
 some minor textual differences as well. In this case, one may follow
 the version learnt from the Guru, be it the Shukla Yajur Vedic
 version or the Krishna Yajur Vedic version. Usually one learns the
 version of one's own shaakhaa.

 In some cases, there may be considerable freedom to worship as in
 the case of bhajans. There is nothing that prevents anyone from
 composing devotional lyrics/hymns and singing them as an offering
 to God.
 Even if these lyrics lack a high literary value, they are still fit
 for praising God because they have been composed in the spirit of
 bhakti. Kanakadaasa, who is famous in Karnataka as one of the Hari
 daasa's, is said to have belonged to the shepherd community. He was
 blocked entry to the Udipi temple by the priests there. But he was
 not discouraged. He went to the back of the temple where he could
 manage to get a glimpse of the back of the image of Krishna within
 the temple. He could only see  the Lord through a small window,
 called a  "khiNDi" in Kannada.
 He started singing his daasara-padas (bhakti songs in Kannada)
 and lo and behold! The image of Krishna is said to have turned
 around so as to face the khiNDi. Kanakadaasa thus had the darshan
 of his Lord; the priests could not prevent it.

 Now imagine Kanakadaasa had thought of singing the Purusha sUkta
 instead, in a tune that he felt appropriate. He would never have
 been able to invoke the grace of Krishna this way even if he had
 claimed to have bhakti.

 The gist is that learning how to worship God correctly is as much
 part of bhakti as it is to express the heart-felt bhakti in words
 and good/sAttvika intentions.


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>From  Wed Jul 15 06:12:40 1998
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Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 06:12:40 +0530
Reply-To: kamal at homeindia.com
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Kamal Kothari <kamal at HOMEINDIA.COM>
Organization: Oriental Corporate Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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This is a genuine request from a young lady. Please help her if you can.

Regards,  Kamal
Kamal Kothari
E-Mail : kamal at homeindia.com     http://www.homeindia.com
"Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. "
(Shakespeare in "Macbeth")

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