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Tengalai/Vadagalai

From: Venkat V. Rao (vrao_at_bga.com)
Date: Tue Oct 04 1994 - 18:54:40 PDT

      Thengalai/Vadagalai: about some settings related to the concepts
      as heard from elders.

      This is rather going to be a lengthy one and I prefer to do it in
      instalments. May be most of what I am about to say may have
      appeared in print and it is equally possible that it may not have.
      My exposure to the current literature on the subject is
      practically nil and yet I dare to write this as I had heard by
      word of mouth from people who had deep experience of the presence
      of Ramanucharya in Srirangam, being located in the field that still
      exists and electrifies me every time I am there. I hope the field
      will prevail; the vanishing breeds have vanished or about to
      vanish.

      I have been following with keen interest the debate on the two
      sects. This debate triggered me to recall some of the
      conversations I had some forty and odd years back with an elderly
      Prapanna in Srirangam, who hailed from a family directly in the
      line of one of the 74 disciples of Ramanujacharya. He was a scholar
      both in the Granthas of the Acharya and his followeres and also
      in the historical developments since that time, with a keen
      understanding of the link between the prevailing social conditions
      at various stages and the events that propelled the changes and
      defined the states in SriVaishnavism.

      I had also verified most of what follows with a relative of mine
      who was equally a great scholar and publisher in the script Grantha
      (otherwise known as Manipravala). For generations his family
      resided in Srirangam and participated in the affairs of
      SriVaishnavism making the Granthas written since then available to
      the general public by inventing Manipravala, a hybrid script partly
      tamil and partly Sanskritized representations easy to compose for
      printing and harmonizing with the outlines of the Tamizh script. This
      invention greatly influenzed the spread of SriVainavism among the
      Tamizh speaking population and also the spread of Sanskrit
      literature in Malabar after the Malayalam script was reformed on
      the anlogy of Manipravala. In fact, the kings in the then Malayalam
      speaking states had a joint effort made towards the reformation of
      that script and sent delegations to Srirangam to study
      Manipravala. My father used to tell me very interesting stories of
      that time and the very many efforts that were made with great
      dedication.

      Now let me branch off to the subject in point in a rather
      round-about way.

                          To be continued...   venkat v.rao,
                          Oct.4,1994