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From: Venkat V. Rao (
Date: Wed Oct 26 1994 - 18:16:50 PDT

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

Note: Sorry for the silence. My age and condition only permits this kind of
intervention. Apologies.  vvr

Part 4, contd. from part-3

In the period of over 5 centuries after the untimely disappearance of
Sankaracharya and before the advent of Ramanujacharya, the emotionally
based Vaishnavism meekly evolved slowly but surely as a counter-weight to
the 'logically' overweighted but powerful Advaitha. All shades of spiritual
activities in this period, underwent considerable changes in the ritualistic
and ontological concepts since the Vedic period. The important ones related to
the sociological structures and their need for harmony in functions and
hierarchy and power and politics. The rulers and the ruling class
exerted great influence over this. The wise ones constructed LESS than
the damage caused by the self-centered ones, with the result that the entropy
in the field registered a steady increase. When Ramanujacharya came on the
scene, he was great enough to realize what went wrong and how to pull things
in the right direction. He was also schrewed enough to estimate the extent of
opposition and the power behind it. He attributed most of the ills that have
arisen to two fundamental causes, the disappearing HUMANITARIANISM and the
vanishing DIGNITY of MAN (note: here expression 'man' surely includes
WOMAN). He set about to initiate a socio-religious reform of

Ramanujacharya was an extra-ordinarily bold and profound scholar with an
eqally extra-ordinary sense of justice, charged with the ability to
reform society NON-DESTRUCTIVELY. He went about this task with an
un-parallelled determination, vigor and hope, for which he fully relied on
divine assistance. He was totally aware of the immediate consequences over
his efforts and his personal safety. The historical incidents that followed
fully justify his care, concern and caution.

When he started the reform, he had the royal support which did not last
long. He had to rely on his own initiatives which were largely negated
by traditionalists and a sizeable section of powerful and selfish Brahmins.
The other sections of society following the pristine southern culture and
the Dravidian brand of Bhakthi largely supported his revolutionary ideas
and saw in these ideas, the kind of emancipation long overdue but
deliberately withheld thus-far.

                          To be continued...   venkat v.rao,
                          Oct.26, 1994