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purattaasi kEttaithanil puvi uthitthOn vaazhiyE!

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]:

1.   Raja gOpuram at Thiru NaaraayaNan sannithi
2.   SOpaanam (steps) for thiruppathi thirumalai
3.   NooRRuk kaal maNdapam for Kaanchi varadharajar
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 [1].  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" [2].  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.


[1]  "Achaarya vaibhavam," Published by Sri Vishistadvaitha
Research Center, 66, Dr. Rangachari Road, Mylapore, Madras 600

[2]  "Indian Philosophy," Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Vol 2., page 706.