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Personal Spiritual Journeys

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Apr 12 1997 - 13:12:02 PDT

Dear Members of the Bhakthi Group :

Sri Jagannathan"s posting and the comments by Sri Sudarshan
and Sri Rengarajan 's  on the call fo prayers from the minaret 
connected me to the thoughts expressed recently by 
Professor Neil Gillman , the chairman of the Philosophy
Department of the Jewish Teological Seminary at Manhattan.

What he said in connection with the Jewish Religious identity 
has validity for audiences beyond his immediate one . He identified
three options for fully expressing a Jewish religious identity  
through a careful focus on ritual observances ( Behaviorism ),
a devotion to the study of sacred texts ( intellectualism ) ,
and the pursuit of a personal relationship with God 
( Spiritualism ) . ..." our  challenge as a religious institution
(seminary ) is to struggle for a healthy balance (among the three)
and they need to remain in tension ."

I found these thoughts universal in scope and apply to 
all religions . In the context of Sri VaishNavism and other 
mathams based on the VedAs( Vaidhika Mathams ) , 
the AachAram , anushTaanam , Aacharya Bhakthi , 
the svAdhyAyam ( study of sacred scriptures and texts),
Divya Desa YaathrA , Bhagavatha sEvaa , involvement 
in Sathsangam and the various exercises to develop
a personal relationship to Sriman NaarAyaNa /Ishta Daivam
through the performance of Prapatthi appear to cover
the three classifications of one's efforts as " Behaviorism ,
intellectualism and spirtualism  " . Clearly striking of a balance 
among these three types of efforts would be  beneficial for 
the rapid advancement in one's spiritual journey .