Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Tue Aug 10 20:39:48 CDT 1999

Ravi <miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

> 1. Is there a vedic basis for hierarchy of devata-s as proposed by
> dvaitin-s and other vaiShNava schools of thought? Is not vedic
> comes under something like henotheism (I think vidya used this or a
> word something like this sometime in the past)?

It's all a question of interpretation. The dvaita school quotes some
verse in the taittirIya to derive this heirarchy. I think it's the
brahmAnandamImA.nsA section of AnandavallI. Shrisha Rao, please
correct me if I'm mistaken.  We don't accept that interpretation.

> 2. What is the basis for the concept of nityakaiMkaryam of
> shrIvaiShNava-s? Residing in vaikunta as servants of Lord viShNu
> similar to residing with Father in heaven of Christianity. Can an
> influence of Christianity be seen in this school of vaiShNava
> Does this idea  (servants of ...) have any vedic basis?

We could quote the shvetAshvatara which talks about the jIva as pashu
and brahman as pati for the "servants" of vishhNu idea. However,
eternal service or nityakai.nkaryam is a concept not to be found in
any veda. I doubt if it is in the pA.ncarAtra either. The
pA.ncarAtra-s do not admit any distinction in the state of release.
Why would shruti talk about brahmavid-brahmaiva bhavati if there is
any distinction in the state of release?
Anyway, I would be surprise if Christianity really influenced any
Vaishhnavite school. It's probably from some Azhwar poetry in the case
of vishishhTAdvaita.

The vedas praise different deities at different places as the supreme.
In one place it is indra, one it's sUrya, another place it is vishhNu
and another place it's rudra. Sri Ramanuja tries to make out vishhNu
as supreme. As also does yAmuna in his AgamaprAmANyam, where he quotes
many verses from different purANa-s etc.  SrikaNThashivAchArya
vigorously promotes shiva in his sUtrabhAshhya. All of them follow the
same modus operandi, interpreting verses about their own preferred
deity as it is, but giving etymological derivations for other verses.
For some verse praising vishhNu as supreme, ShrikaNtha brings out some
other verse calling shiva supreme. And so it goes. As a smArta, I
usually start running 180 degrees in the opposite direction whenever
such discussions crop up :-).


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