Are GODs just symbolic ???

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Jul 28 10:15:36 CDT 2002

On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:

> (correction: If we accept that the story of Kshera
> Sagara Matnthana
> is a cookedup story to express some symbolism,
> )
> > which meaning or concept would not be understood by
> > ordinary, ignorant masses, and that this figurative
> > expression has been discovered and masterfully
> > utilised to author the Puranas, then I would feel it
> > is not correct.

And you would be right.  It is not correct.  But that isn't what I said.
A story needn't be "cooked up", in fact I believe most of our puranic
kathas have at least a kernel of historicity to them, if not more.  But
their value is not in being a sequence of events just as the value of a
dollar bill is not in being a piece of paper but being a piece of paper
stamped by the US government.

>  Just because someone does not
> > understand we do not have to alter the facts or
> > create
> > 'stories',

Symbolism does not have to be a sop to the ignorant either.  That is just
one kind of symbolism called allegory which tries to explain complex
concepts by analogy to simpler ones.  For another type, look at
Mathematics.  That's entirely about symbols but is practiced by very
brainy people not peasants.  There is an influential style of philosophy
called semiotics that deals entirely with symbols and their significance.

> I guess. I do not know how all the saints
> > and sages would concur on the same technique.
> > Specially, when all the efforts are driven to find
> > the
> > 'naked TRUTH', would such gimmics or conveniences be
> > accepted in the Sastric tradition ??
> >

I'll write a bit more about the Shastraic methods of interpretation when I
resume translating from the Mahabharata.

> > The referred swami's words did not sound to use the
> > 'Symbolic' Gods in that sense. That is the reason, I
> > am seeking clarifications.
> >

That Swami was asking the wrong questions so it is no wonder he got the
wrong answers.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -
>From ADVAITA-L at LISTS.ADVAITA-VEDANTA.ORG Mon Jul 29 00:44:42 2002
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Subject: Re: avatar and GYAnI (was Re: "Jagat satya!")
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On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> Can you provide the reference where this story is mentioned thus.

In Valmiki Ramayana, it is Yuddhakanda, sarga 106.  Tulsidasji seems to
gloss over this.

> So far, I
> have only read/heard/seen about the Agni Pariksha as being the means to 1.
> Claim the real Sitaji back from Agnidev and 2) Demonstrate to the world
> Sitaji's purity.

At the end of the sarga Shri Rama tells the Devas that he made the
accusation only for 2)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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