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Question relating to bhagavad rAmAnuja's major works.

From: Narasimhan Krishnamachari (champakam_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sat Apr 15 2000 - 23:36:25 PDT

SrI Anand KaralappAkkam:
BhAgavatottama-s:

The following mail relates to the following posting from SrI Anand
Karalappakkam on the topic of SrImad bhAgavatam vs. SrI vishNu purANam
etc. 

Message: 10
   Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 00:31:05 +0530
   From: Anand Karalapakkam <kgk@md2.vsnl.net.in> 
Subject: Re: Sri Bhashyakarar and Sri Vishnupuranam etc 

I had originally raised the question a week back or so, on why bhagavad
rAmAnuja had not quoted DIRECTLY from any of the aruLicceyals or from
pA'carAtram in any of his major works.  To this,  SrI MaNi added that
emperumAnAr had not quoted DIRECTLY from SrImad bhAgavatam as well.  I
had included the explanation in my pA'ncarAtra-5  write-up that for the
case of divya prabandham and pA'ncarAtra, this can be attributed to the
fact that in emperumAnAr's time these were not accepted by everyone
universally as vedic in character, and emperumAnAr could establish his
points based on the quotes from the Sruti and SmRti-s only without
biasing his case by including quotes from sources that might have been
considered sectarian at that time.  The mails from SrI Murali KiDAmbi,
SrI MaNi, SrI Bharat etc., confirmed, at least as I read it, the above
point.

The question that was initially raised was:  Why did bhagavad rAmAnuja
not DIRECTLY quote from divya prabandham, pA'ncarAtra, SrImad
bhAgavatam etc.  The question was NOT whether SrI rAmAnuja did or did
not base his philosophy on nammAzhvAr, pA'ncarAtra etc., and NOT
whether his commentaries on gItA etc. were heavily influenced by
AzhvAr's aruLicceyal.  The points made in SrI Anand KaralapAkkam's mail
are that SrImad bhAgavatam is a very valid and authoritative work, that
emperumAnAr has extensively used the ideas conveyed by nammAzhvAr in
his gItA bhAshya etc.  This was NOT the issue. I agree that the
statements made in SrI Anand's note are valid.  

The explanation I had included in the pA'carAtra write-up for the
original question I had raised (as stated in the 1st para above) seems
to be confirmed based on postings from SrI Murali Kidambi, Sri Mani,
Sri Bharat, etc.  No one so far seems to have disagreed with this point
openly in the bhakti list.  I had a couple of people who privately felt
strongly that my position was at the minimum lilely to generate
controversy, and probably will be considered an affront to our
sampradAyam.  I posted the question in the bhakti list to find out what
the position of our pUrvAcArya-s is on this matter, and to correct
myself if I am contradicting any accepted sampradAyam.   While the
explanation I had offered initially seems to be confirmed based on the
mails, the additional thought that came out of the discussion is that
since others (such as SrI Samkara, the MimAmsaka etc.) in and around
SrI rAmAnuja's time were writing in samskRt and quoting only from Sruti
and smRti-s to support their points,  he was responding to them on
their own terms, and so was not quoting from divya prabandham.   So now
we have two possible explanations, neither of which seems contradictory
or contrary to our sampradAyam as I have heard from our members.  

So the question on which I need advice and help from SrI Anand and
others is: 
1) Is there any other explanation than the ones we have discussed so
far, 
2) have our pUrvAcArya-s offered any different explanation, and  
3) is there any documented evidence of any other explanation than the
two so far that we have seen. 

 I fully understand and agree that 
- emperumAnAr was a great devotee of our AzhvArs, 
- was heavily influenced by their thoughts in all his writings and
philosophy, 
- that nammAzhvAr's tiruvAimozhi etc. are nothing but a great benefit
to us because they simplified the otherwise difficult-to-comprehend
veda-s so that we can benefit and thus understand the way to reach Him,

- that he was well-known as the tiruppAvai jIyar, 
- that he personally approved the rAmAnuja nURRantAdi by
tiruvara'ngattamudanAr which repeatedly confirms his great devotion to
our AzhvArs, 
- that the pA'ncarAtra is entirely vedic in character, 
- that his philosophic thoughts were heavily influenced by both the
divya prabandham and the pA'ncarAtra, 
- that his gItA bhAshyam has a lot of places where one can clearly
trace the influence of aruLLIceyals on his thought
- etc.  So these are not the issues.

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan

 


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