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Re: purattaasi kEttaithanil puvi uthitthOn vaazhiyE!

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Thu Sep 29 1994 - 10:47:32 PDT

K. Srinivsasan writes:
> I have heard that there are two stages in the vadagalai tradition,
> "samaasrayaNam" and "bharaNyaasam". Is that what you mean? I am
> not quite familiar, though some of my relatives will be.

Yes, this is what I mean, from my understanding of the Vadagalai
tradition.  The 'samaaSrayaNam' (also known as the 'panca-samskaara'
for the five-fold initiation rite that it encompasses) is akin
to a baptism into Sri Vaishnavism. It is a formal recognition that
Sriman Narayana is our All. I suppose this is also why Sri Vaishnavas
are invested with the three sacred 'mantras' at this time.

For the Thengalai sampradaayam, this is it. The recognition that
Sriman Narayana is the ultimate is the primary element in their
"non-resistance" to His grace.  Vadagalais, on the contrary,
belief that a separate surrender ('bhara-nyaasam' -- placing the
burden of achieving moksha upon Him) should be performed.  They
also call this prapatti, SaraNaagati, and Atma-nikShEpa. This
is usually done through an acharya, but I am of the opinion that
PerumaaL will not refuse those who do it themselves in all 
sincerity. Such is His nature.

> There are some practices which I found to differ, the number of
> times one does "sEvippu", for example.

Yes, Thengalais only sEvikku once, but Vadagalais do it (at
least) twice.  I'm not sure the reason for this. Though, in
A.K. Ramanujan's book "Hymns for the Drowning", a translation of
Nammaazhvar's poems, he cites an interview with a Thengalai
acharya who says, "Don't prostrate before Him more than three
times; don't work His heart that much. He'll come to you."
Such a soft and beautiful statement of His affection for us!
Very anthropomorphic, but I like it anyway.

> In my father's funeral, five years ago, I was made more aware of the
> differences. The vadagalai "sambandhi" of my father insisted
> on so many stricter rituals. The thengalai "sambandhi" was
> very tolerant and tried to be more adjusting. I do not know
> if that can be generalized.

It has been said that the Vadagalai side is closer to the 'smaarta'
tradition, but I'm not sure how true this is. Perhaps in your case
the Vadagalai sambandhis just happened to be more conservative 
than the Thengalai ones, all community issues aside.

> Srinivasan