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From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Mon Sep 26 1994 - 07:24:00 PDT
Dear Bhakthi/Prapatthi group, Fall semester is in full swing. The days are getting shorter. I already see Halloween decorations in the yards of my neighbors. Soon we will see Christmas decorations. To me Christmas decorations mean the arrival of Maargazhi and thiruppaavai. But let us not forget what we have on hand right now, purattaasi, the month blessed with the thiru nakshatram of two of our greatest aachaaryaas, Sri Swami dEsikan (ThiruvONam, 10/13) and Srimadh aathivaN SadagOpa yathendhra mahaa dEsiakn, the founder of Sri AhObhila madam (kEttai, 10/10). Here are some of His thiruppaNikaL : 1. Raja gOpuram at Thiru NaaraayaNan sannithi 2. SOpaanam (steps) for thiruppathi thirumalai 3. NooRRuk kaal maNdapam for Kaanchi varadharajar sannithi 4. thooppil dEsikan sannithi 5. Utthara veedhi raaja gOpuram at Sri Rangam 6. Dhasaavathaara sannithi at Sri Rangam 7. Sri dEsikan sannithi, near Sri Ranga Naachiyaar sannithi in Sri rangam 8. Sri dEsikan sannithi at Thiru naaraayaNapuram 9. Sri dEsikan sannithi at aazhvaar thiru nagari (Mani, look this up during your trip) Another interesting tidbit; this azhagiya singar granted sanyaasam to Sri MaNavaaLa maamunigaL. Digressing a little bit, until the time of the fifth azhagiya singar, Sri Sarvathanthra Svathanthra Sri SadagOpa yatheendhra mahaa dEsikan, (1493-1499) there was no thenkalai and vadakalai separation . The rivalry perhaps reached its peak about 30/40 years ago. Since then, I suppose things have been improving. During my last trip to India in 1991, as we were coming down from Hayagreevar sannithi at Thiruvaheendra puram, I noticed the front door of Sri DEvanatha perumaaL kovil hastily closed shut as a group of thenkalai sri vaishnavaas passed the front door with Sri MaNavaaLa maamuni utsavar on their shoulders (\bt ELappaNNikkoNdu \et. After the group passed, the door was opened. This incidence has left a mark in my heart. I may have read more than what there really was; this may just be a tradition that has its roots in bigotry, but followed blindly today. The two groups in Thiruvaheendra puram may be getting along just fine. But I wish there is just one group and traditions such as the one I have described are abandoned. With less and less people taking interest in spiritual matters it is ever more important for Sri Vaishnavaas every where to act consistent with the teachings of our ethiraajaa. With this objective in mind, I would like to learn more about what separates these two groups. I request knowledgeable members to contribute. Dr. Radhakrishnan, ex-president of India, captures the essential difference between the two groups in his "monkey theory" and "cat theory" . In the case of monkey, the baby monkey has to cling onto the mother, i.e. action is required from the jeeva for salvation => vadakalai. In the case of cat, the cat carries its kitten in its mouth, i.e. no further action is required after prapatthi => thenkalai. Is this correct? I was under the impression that no further action is required after prapatthi, thenkalai or vadakalai. Two other differences, I think, are the number times one performs formal prapatthi and the role of thaayaar in prapatthi. Are these correct? Are there any more? What is the difference that led to the separation of thenkalai and vadakalai and the causes for the rivalry? The intensity of the rivalry seems to differ from place to place. In vaduvoor, my native place, the rivalry is practically non-existent. regards, dileepan P.S. Perhaps I have raised a controversial topic. My intent is to discuss it in Sri Vaishnava spirit. If the group feels this is not an appropriate topic for us, just ignore my comments and I promise not to raise these again in this forum. References:  "Achaarya vaibhavam," Published by Sri Vishistadvaitha Research Center, 66, Dr. Rangachari Road, Mylapore, Madras 600 018.  "Indian Philosophy," Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Vol 2., page 706.