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Thengalai/Vadagalai

From: Venkat V. Rao (vrao_at_bga.com)
Date: Thu Oct 06 1994 - 14:54:21 PDT

Thengalai/Vadagalai: about some settings related to the concepts
                    as heard from elders.
Part 2, contd.

The desire 'to be' and the desire 'to do' are base urges of all human
beings. What 'to be' and how 'to do' have been the primary concerns of
the spiritually inclined in elevating themselves with the guidance of
whatever spiritual instructions they were exposed to. The three Acharyas
were fully conscious of their role in this guidance but their methods
were based on their own disposition towards their sishyas and followers,
appropriate to the Samskaras, the environment, and the Purusharthas
of the syshyas and followers themselves.

In this regard, Acharya Ramanuja demonstrated remarkable ability in
opening up to the aspirants, the appropriate paths suitable for them.
He tried to harmonize their 'needs to be' with their 'will to do' without
imposing nothing more than their capacity to accomplish their goals in
the most gratifying and pleasant way imaginable. He was master_minded
in the art of devising individual salvation without compromising the
tranditional values of the Vedic dictates, the Pancharathra  principles
and antecedents, the 'be and do' of the Bhagavat Gita, the glorious
humanism of the Bhagavata, the tempered rigor of the Upa-Sashtras and
the Saramsas of the Ithihasas and Puranas, all centered around the
prevailing human concerns and cast into methods flexible enough to absorb
their evolutionary patterns at the social level. This style of the unique
and all-embrazing approach has never been seen before in human history.

During the Acharya's life time and the period of several decades that
followed, the revolutionary and evolutionary methods outlined were
exposed to scathing criticisms and attacks with a view to eliminate the
entire system out of existence. The initial royal support the system had
received from the Chola kings, often went through subsequent phases of
push and pull to varying degrees. The well-routed existing systems and
practices of the brahmin-theocrats, the mis-interpreted, mis-represented
but well-meaning preachings of holy and poly 'Azhwars' as well as the
Thirthankaras, miscellaneous sects of Jains, Adeenams, the residual
Buddhist-agnostics and a whole host of spiritual peddlers who had a
strangle hold on the various sections of society, women as a class and
the down-trodden were finding in the new force, either a threat of
their existence or the hope for a healthy change. This resulted in many
actions and reactions of every kind. The society was in great flux.

Apart from this sort of reactionaries, even the spiritually conscious
but unstable section were polarized by sheer tradition or otherwise into
the overly 'be's and the overly 'do's. I shall call them the 'bebes' and
the 'dodos'. The balance was missing. These polarizations were the
result of the socalled Vedantins in action and simplistic Vaishnavas in
reaction. I shall cover this situation in the following section.

                          To be continued...   venkat v.rao,
                          Oct.6,1994