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Issues before Srivaishnavism - 3

From: TCA Venkatesan (vtca_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 05:22:13 PDT

Dear bhaktAs,

In this mail, I would like to talk about a 
specific thing going on Tirumalai that is of
concern to all of us.

This is to do with the sAtthumaRai that happens
every morning at the temple, where a Srivaishnava
gOshti is alowed to enter the temple all the way 
up to kulasEkaran padi freely. As you all know,
getting close to the sannadhi is not an easy task
these days at the malai.

This temple at this point has lost most of its
proper traditions, what with the temple being open
almost 24 hours and all kinds of new sEvAs 
introduced all the time. He is now not only 
nithya-kalyANap perumAL, but also nithya-
brahmOtsavap perumAL. One of the few things 
still left is the sAtthumaRai.

For long the TTD has been trying to either remove
this practice or restrict it somehow. On this trip,
what I heard was that the issue is in the courts
at Delhi now. I was told that if the TTD cannot 
stop it they want to issue tickets for the same.
The cost being either Rs.100 or even Rs.1000! 

One of the things that the TTD is pointing out
I hear is the boorish behaviour of the gOshti
during sAtthumaRai. For those of you who have 
not attended one, in the past it has indeed
been a spectacle. The sAtthumaRai is allowed
to begin even before the gOshti is assembled,
with the result everyone ends up running inside.
Then once inside, there is great amount of pushing
and shoving with some coming close to stepping
even inside the sanctum sanctorum. This time I 
noticed, that there was some streamlining going 
on; not everyone was allowed to go in; everyone 
was requested at all times to maintain order and
overall they did.

This ticketing would be a sad thing if it were 
allowed to happen. Yet, I am sure that most 
people would not have a problem if there was 
a 100 rupee price. It is also sad that the issue
had to go the courts before we decide to maintain
order amongst ourselves. Again, a general sense
of apathy runs amongst us in these matters.
There is also the matter of archakAs. Just as
in Srirangam recently, at Tirumalai there are 
cases of some archakAs systematically allowing
long held traditions to be removed or changed
for personal benefits.

So, why bring this specific issue up? It is just
one example of a number of common things that
face all of us. My request through these egroups
is that if you or anyone you know can exert any 
pressure on these kind of situations, please do
not hesitate to do so. It may work or it may not,
but please let us not become bystanders on these
issues. For too long we have done that while 
concentrating on differences within and missing
out on the greater picture.

There is also the matter of AnanthAzvAr's 
thirumALigai at Tirumalai that was of great
personal pain to me. I will not talk about
it in this email but it was an instance where
attempts were made to do something and still 
did not succeed. It only goes to show how
much tireless efforts remain to be done.

adiyEn madhurakavi dAsan
T.C.A. Venkatesan

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