Anyashraya

 

As Suddhadvaita is founded on the Vedic dictum that "Ako Avam Brahmaha:" - ie "there is only God" (and that too without a second), than in my view, it is impossible for anyone to commit sacrilege by worshipping anyone / anything other than God - because there is no "other" !!

There is a famous verse that adds to this -

Akashat patitam toyam,
Yatha gachati sagaram  l
Sarva deva namaskaram,
Keshavam pratigachati  ll

i.e. Rain water falls on various parts of the earth, but, of it's own accord, in its own way, it always makes its way to the ocean. Similarly, worship offered to any divine being will eventually end up at the feet of Shri Krshna."

This too supports the view that it is impossible for a true Vaishnav to fall from grace through "anyashraya" (taking refuge in anyone other than God). If everything in the universe is imbibed with the Lord, how can a Vaishnav do anyashraya ?

In my view, this is sect of Annayashraya - ie absolute faith in the Lord - by talking of anyashraya, we admit to the "anya" - ie a "second entity" - something the Shuddhadvaita philosophy cannot admit to in the first place. We must remember the guiding principle of the marg is - Ako Avam Brahmaha:

If there is no "other" and the omnipotent, omnipresent universal spirit pervades everything, how can you worship anything / anyone other than that universal spirit ?  Even if you ignor this point, even if you accept, as some people insist, that all other Hindu Gods are simply "inferior relatives" of the Lord, it would be an insult to your Lord not to pay due honour to His relations !  A wife, no matter how dedicated to her husband, must recognise the importance of all His relatives and be courteous to them !  Her husband would be none too pleased if she was rude to his brother / sisiter / mother etc.  After our Brahmasambandha, we are wedded to the Lord and all his creations !!  Surely, by paying due homage to other gods, we are only honouring their relation to our Thakorji !!

In my humble opinion, the only time we fall into sin for anyashraya is when we stop believing in God as the be all and end all of our life. When we seek the grace of the Lord for such mundane things as health, wealth, children, status, fame etc - than and only than have we committed the cardinal sin of anyashraya.  When we barter with God and say I will offer such and such seva / manorath for getting something I want - than we have commited anyashraya.

The gopies of Vraj performed the puja of devi Katyayani, but the Lord never said that you have sinned by worshipping a demi God/ goddess. The sole reason for this is, even when the gopies worshipped Shiva or Devi or any other God / goddess, they always sought the Lord Krshna as their boon for their worship. Lord Krshna and total devotion to him was their eternal aim of worshipping any of the Vedic and even non-Vedic deities. As long as devotion to the Lord is the axis around which all our actions - spiritual and temporal - revolve, we are on the path preached by the ancient gurus of our sect. Only when we deviate from this and seek the Lord's grace for anything other than His love, do we leave the annayashraya for anyashraya.

 

Bhagwat Shah

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