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Re: (Fwd) Re: Biographies of Sri Ramanuja

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Tue Apr 30 1996 - 08:51:04 PDT

On Tue, 30 Apr 1996 11:27:11 -0400 Badri said:
>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.

      I am reasonably sure that no one advocated a direct
      relationship between age and merit of a posting.
      Showing a little respect and deference for all postings,
      at least to the posts of elders, is not an unreasonable
      request I think.

>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.

    I don't think Rengi intended any special significance
    when he used the term "prophet".  Many of us use these
    terms without worrying too much, or more likely not even
    realising, about the variety of possible interpretations
    that an astute reader can ascribe to them.
    Most people in this group write while on break at
    work.  A term here, or there, that is not precise
    or not to the standard of scholars is to be expected.

>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 think blind belief has a place.  Not all can
    and/or would like to research through the volumes
    of theological works and arrive at an informed opinion.
    As a matter of fact, one of Sri Ramanuja's dictates is
    to have unflinching faith in ones' acharyaas.

>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?

   Swamy Sri Desikar is an avathara of saakshaath
   thiruvEngadavan :-)

>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?

    Were AchAryaas jeevanmukthaas?

    Are AzhArs and AchAryAs considered NithyasUris?

>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.

   In my understanding no one has ever forced an universal
   acceptance of any of these beliefs.  I find nothing wrong
   in celebrating the memory of ones own achaaryaas by
   equating them to certain amsaas of the Lord.  It may
   of limited value when it comes to arguing an esoteric
   point with another sampradaya, but within a sampradaya
   it is hardly of limited value, let alone spurious value.

-- Dileepan