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Issues before Srivaishnavism

From: TCA Venkatesan (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 15:52:27 PDT

Dear BhaktAs,

I recently returned from a trip to India and 
while there came across some issues pertaining 
to the sampradhAya differences before 
Srivaishnavam today.

After the yati sammELan recently, I had
responded to Sri Anbil Ramaswamy on what we 
need to do next to keep the momentum going.
In that mail I had spoken of 3 steps that
I thought should be accomplished. They were:

1. Srivaishnavas of either kalai stop speaking
poorly about the other group (including such
things as the origin of the group, etc.).

2. Start reciting the taniyans and vAzhi
tirunAmams of the primary AchAryAs of both
kalais at all divyadEsams.

3. Stop all attempts to change or introduce
new traditions in temples, no matter what
the past and/or future grievances might be.

The first step is at the individual level, so
that would have to happen on its own.

It is in steps 2 and 3 that I found I might 
have erred in the order I presented them. Step 
2 is never going to occur until step 3 happens.

What I noticed in a nuumber of talks I had
was that fear is what dominates the thought
processes of most people. Fear that if an
inch is given a yard will be lost. Fear that
the sampradhAyam of their local temples
would be changed if they give in even a 

I will give two illustrations to this. One 
was a rumor that I heard where a certain 
Jeeyar had claimed that he would see a 
certain divyadEsam changed before his time. 
Now, this is only a rumor to my knowledge, 
but the credence given to it shows how much 
fear people have in these matters. Two is 
to do with the presentation of the Tridhandam 
to EmperumAnar about which our own Sri 
SatakOpan can expand more on. I am not aware 
of all the details surrounding the holdup, 
but the primary reasoning I could see was 
some small issue with the design which
normally would have been ignored but under 
a fear that it might play a larger role in
the future has held up the kainkaryam.

It is all fine to talk about how both
sampradhAyams are the same but if the actions
are out there in trying to change temples
and their traditions, then the words are 
empty. Some of our 'leaders' speak lofty
words about Srivaishnavism, its noble
history, about bhAgavatha respect, etc.
and yet their actions are just plain 

So how does one accomplish step 3. It is my
opinion that this has to come from all the 
Jeeyars and AchAryAs of both sampradhAyams.
They have to make it plain, no, they have
to vow that they, their sishyAs and all
the people to follow in their mutt/household, 
will not make attempts now or in the future to 
change traditions. No matter what the history 
of a temple might be, let it be left exactly
as it is today. Let their be no attempts to 
change it; let there be no attempts to 
introduce new traditions; let us not have to
run to the courts to maintain or change

We state that emperumAn delights in wearing
the tirumaNkAppu that we wear. Why cannot we
accept that at Srirangam He delights in
wearing the Tenkalai tirumaN while in 
Kanchipuram He delights in wearing the 
Vadakalai tirumaN.

If step 3 were to be acomplished, then the day
might not be far off when we might hear, recite
and be proud of all our AchAryAs and their 
works no matter which kalai they belong to.

If some of the words I have used sound a bit
harsh, I apologize. But sometimes it is 
important to recognize issues and face facts
than to cover them up with empty words or
with thoughts of being only polite.

I welcome any and all opinions on my words.
In the next email or two I will also talk about
some issues that we face collectively.

adiyEn madhurakavi dAsan
T.C.A. Venkatesan

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