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Arguments over "who's better ?"

From: V SUNDAR (V1S_at_ecl.psu.edu)
Date: Fri Apr 05 1996 - 08:03:17 PST

It's interesting that there is a definite divide among us on how best to go
about being Sriviashnavas.. 

On the one hand, there are people - and yes I am among them - who definitely 
seem to take a tolerant attitude towards other maargas. The response I have
cultivated over years of argument, especially with Christians is " Well, my
religion says 'svadharme nidhana shreya:' . I take that to mean you have your
way and I have mine. We are heading to the same place. Hopefully, I'll see
you there".

Now we come up against what is difinitely, and undeniably established by
acharyas and commentators - whether it be in 'para matha bhangam' in 
Sri Nigamaantha Desika's turgid sanskrit or 'saakkiya peygaL' in aazhvaar
thamizh. Can we choose to ignore these parts of Sri Vaishnavism ?

To digress a little, this is a dilemma faced by many catholic friends of 
mine. Is it possible to pick and choose the parts of your heritage that appeal
yo you as undeniably beautiful and choose not to practice the rest ? The same
question applies here I think.

Personally, I think the answer is yes. Consider that Hinduism has definitely
been an evolving religion. Of course, with a very heavy traditional 
rearguard action but a dynamic and changing religion that has lived, and
evolved through the ages yes. It is possible to remain on the sidelines and
bewail the loss of many things.

However I think it is also possible to do what is known in Thamizh as
"muththu kuLiyal" - diving for pearls. Go into the ocean, and bring out what
you like. There is enough in the ocean that you should find SOMETHING you 
like.

We do not, by choosing to differ from Acharyas on some issues, negate all the
beautiful simplicity that they established. Yes it is possible to question.
If that possibility is stifled, I think we will end up the losers as a
community of SriVaishnavas - the thondar kuzhaam.

With my regards,

Sundar