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From: Vaidehi Venkatakrishnan (vv_at_elm.circa.ufl.edu)
Date: Fri May 27 1994 - 10:10:17 PDT
Hello bhakthas, My parents visited Danushkodi prior to my birth and hence my name Vaidehi. However, for reasons I cannot fully understand, I was an ardent devotee (in a limited sense that a child can grasp unless one is blessed like Prahlada) of Lord Rama from childhood. Until early adulthood I would not pray to any other God, but Rama. I am born into an orthodox and devoted family of Sri Vaishnavas. Learning and saying stotras, etc., were part of my upbringing. I do not know Samskrit except for the meaning of some words and regret not learning it. From an early stage, I have had friends of all castes and living in a highly predominant Brahmin community in Triplicane, have seen non-brahmins being treated like untouchables (though perhaps because my grand father himself had some very life long friendships with some non-brahmins, I have not sensed or seen marked differences in treatment to them, except in so called Acharams) and hated it. But living in Triplicane, blessed with a view of all five gopurams from our house, one wall of our house common with Sri Ahobila Mutt of Triplicane Car Street and being able to wake up to MLV's Thiruppavai in Marghazhi, we developed a love and passion for Sri Parthasarathy Perumal. I have seen Him dressed and decorated and patthi ulatthal, thirumanjanam, all vahanams, pushpa and rathna pallakku, thiruththEr etc., Vaikunta Ekadasi Garuda Seva, etc etc., in unmatched splendour, glory and beauty. To this day, I feel sad for this alone that we moved to Bombay and hardly got to visit a temple even once a week. But I can close my eyes and picture Him in one of his multitudes of processions even now. So my interest in our group stems not from a detailed study of any of the pasurams or scriptures except what I listened to in the temple, and countless katha kalakshebams (whether I understood or not I would enjoy going and later on started taking notes.) but an inherent unfulfilled desire to know more and more about Vishnu who had me mesmerized as a child. Sadly thoughI have not devoted adequate time to this effort. My material world education is a Masters in Physics from India and a Masters in Medical Physics (an area that interested me while working and simultaneously doing my masters at BARC) from Univ of Florida, Gainesville. I am currently working toward my doctoral degree and hope to finish by Fall/Spring. I am working on kinetic modeling of metabolic pathways, in particular that of leucine and three secretory proteins, albumin, apolipoprotein A1 and apolipoprotein B, for which it is precursor. To all of you who contribute in this group, my sincere appreciation and thanks for giving me an opportunity to learn about our profound philosophy. I wish all youth in our country would have abundant ways and means to explore whatever Hindu philosophical heritage they belong to or wish to learn. If any of you would like to ask specific questions about our SriVaishnava pasurams, scriptures, Acharyas, philosophy etc., I can direct them to my dad inIndia, who in my opinion is well versed in such matters. It may take sometime to receive his reply though. Chengan thirumugaththu selvath thirumalaal Engum thiruvaruL peRRu inburuvar embavai. If any of you would like to reach me, I am at 904-378-6958 (res). Vaidehi V.