Answers and Beyond #9

In this series of “Answers and Beyond”, we shall read, understand and enjoy Sri Swamiji’s lucid answers to some thought-provoking questions posed by various devotees. 

Sri Swamiji’s Answers to Questions Asked by Devotees

Question:
There seem to be a lot of shortcomings in our Varnashrama Dharma today? Is this institution necessary in this state?

Answer:
There is no issue with the institution. Democracy is followed in most countries. Yet we observe corruption, anarchy and injustice in such a structure. So can we say that democracy is totally wrong? If a company goes through issues with its governance and gets almost to closure, could we call the entire governance structure wrong? Any governance structure is created after much deliberation, analysis and  sacrificial mindset for the good of the society. Flaws happen from self-serving people, scammers and fools. So there is nothing wrong with the Varnashrama Dharma. There have been flaws only in implementing it.

Question:
You tell us that we need to worship Vedic scholars and Bhagavathas with due respect. But  when we get to know that they have so many flaws, why should we worship them?

Answer:
In a workplace, a higher official is treated with respect by others (including older people) even if he is young by age.  In official matters, the respect a country’s prime minister or a president commands while in office is not the same as when they are not, right? Hence, the respect and honor are only for the position and not for the individual. Similarly, the respect that we give to Vedic scholars is for the Vedas that they have; the respect that we give for Bhagavathas is for the name of God that they have and not for the individual.

Question:
We call many Mahatmas as ‘avatara purushas’. Despite the advent of so many of them, why does the world remain the same?

Answer:
In a room, many things and books are scattered around messily. One day, we arrange them well. Everything is in order for some time. Little by little, things get disorganized and get back to the old state. Likewise, after mahatmas come and put things in order, dharma gets to be in jeopardy after some time. Avatara purushas come and correct it.

Article originally published in Tamil Madhuramurali Magazine, Nov 1996 issue.
Translated by Smt. Mangala Gowri Sridhar, Jacksonville FL

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