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Re: (Fwd) Re: Biographies of Sri Ramanuja

From: Badrinarayanan Seshadri (
Date: Tue Apr 30 1996 - 08:27:11 PDT

Sri Sampath Rengarajan wrote in response to Mani's remarks:

* On Apr 29,  4:38pm, Mani Varadarajan wrote:
* > Subject: Re: Biographies of Sri Ramanuja
* >
* > Sampath Rengarajan writes:
* > * A saints life is full of events every day and historians
* > * write or track only a few as they see it important in
* > * their context. A prophet's life is
* > * full of events every second (1/60 th of a minute).
* > * Sri Ramanujaas life ...
* >
* > So now Ramanuja is a prophet? I wonder when Mutt
* > Infallibility will be declared and the Inquisition
* > started ... ;-)
* >
* > Mani
* >-- End of excerpt from Mani Varadarajan
* Dear Mani,
* Your comments are good joke, though they are taken out of context and
* *very* reactionary as similar to such sevral past instances from you.
* The  exhibition of inconsistancy by young persons in this
* group are not new to me or
* several learned members of the group. It only shows that they
* are growing in their *interest* (not faith, because faith comes
* later only)
* and we welcome it.

[much more deleted]

viRalmiku vizhuchcheer andhaNar kaakkum
aRanum, aarvalarkku aLiyum nee!

thiRanilOr thiruththiya theedhutheer siRappin
maRanum; maaRRalarkku aNangum nee!

angaN_Er vaanaththu aNin^ilaath thikazhtharum
thingaLum, theRukathirk kanaliyum nee!

aindhalai uyariya aNangudai arundhiRal
maindhudai oruvanum, madangalum nee!

nalamuzhuthu aLai_iya pukaraRu kaatchip
pulamum, poovanum, naaRRamum nee!

valanuyar ezhiliyum, maaka visumbum,
nilanum, neediya imayamum nee!

                                      -- paripAdal 1.40-51

I pay my respects to Sriman NArAyanA, and his divine consort Sri.
I pay my respects to SadagOpA, Naathamuni, YamunA, and Ramanuja.
I pay my respects to all the vaishnavAs in this mailing list.


It appears like a few people in this mailing list find Mani's
objections to certain postings from elder Bhakthas distasteful.
I have myself found a few postings from Mani to be harsh,
especially the ones in response to Sri Ramaswamy's postings. I
respectfully submit that age of the poster be not considered in
evaluating the merits of a posting. I only have to mention
Bhattar and Nanjeeyar, in this connection.

The lighthearted comments by Mani quoted above, in fact makes a
very important point. It cautions us not to compare any of our
AcharyAs with the traditional western view of the prophets,
papacy etc. I myself do not like using the words 'Pontiff' to
refer to the matAdhipathis in India.

VedAntA does not ask us to believe something merely because it
has been brought to us by the "claimed messengers" of IsvarA. Sri
Ramanuja did not ask us to believe his words blindly nor did he
ever claim that he was a prophet or even an avatArA of AdisEsha.

I find it disturbing that several hagiographies, and in
particular the sectarian portions of the guruparampara
prabhAvam(s) trying to upstage one another by projecting one
person as an amsA of Parabrahman or one of His attendents, in a
bid to legitimise one set of views over the other.

In particular, the efforts to show Sri manNavaaLa maamuni as
another avatArA of AdisEsha and hence his views as that of Sri
RamAnujA himself - who is thought to be an avatArA of AdisEsha -
and therefore the "right" one as opposed to that of, say,
Desikar. Where is the pramANA for all this?

It is perfectly possible that all the AzhvAr and AchAryA were
mere jeevAtmA like us who through the grace of IsvarA and
brahmagyAnA attained their mukti. If they all were one or the
other amsA of the Brahman Himself, and only such people attained
mukti, is there any point at all in us, mere mortals, in trying
to understand vedAntA and aspire to attain mukti?

If that may be the case, why would other jeevanmuktAs like the
succeding AchAryAs wrote and claimed that the AzhvArs & AchAryAs
before them were in fact nityasUris?

It has to be noted that beliefs of this kind stay only within a
sampradAya. Naturally so! Because, the pramANA for all this does
not come from texts that are commonly accepted by all the
sampradAyAs, and hence only of spurious or limited value.


perumaiyin vallaay! yaamivaN mozhibavai
melliya enaa_a veRaa_adhu, alliyam
thirumaRu maarba! nee! aruLal vENdum!

                                   -- paripAdal 1.31-39


Badri Seshadri 
Graduate Student
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Cornell University