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Muslims and Sri Vaishnavism

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Sun Apr 13 1997 - 04:25:24 PDT

Dear friends,

My casual account of experiences with muezzins' calls for prayers in Bahrain
seems to have stirred quite a bit of interesting comment from members.
Sri.Sadagopan has even kindly referred us to a very insightful Jewish angle.

It would not be out of place to mention here that even today in Kanchipuram
there is a big noisy mosque next-door to the "Sankara Mutt" premises. When
that greatest Advaitic pontiff of this century, Chandrasekarendra Saraswati,
beloved "peria-periyavA" to many millions, lived there, it is said, in the
midst of his prayers or discourses he used to be interrupted daily by the
calls for "maghreb" or "ishA" prayers from the neighbouring mosque !

The great "AchAryA", it is reported, used to advise his devotees not to get
irked by it. In fact, they say, he used to pause in reverent silence, close
his eyes in deep meditation as if he were inwardly "enjoying" the muezzin
calls until it all ended. Then the "paramAchArya" proceeded to re-commence
his discourses !!

When the "achAryA" attained "samadhi" some years ago the rites were telecast
over Doordarshan. Everyone was pleasantly surprised to see Muslim clerics
from the neighbouring mosque streaming in to pay their last respects to the
great soul!!

It is all an example, I think, of the "universalism" of the Vedantic
tradition unique to India --- where even today, in the post-Babri-Masjid
period -- ordinary people in the countryside know that "being tolerant of
each other" is vastly and essentially different from simply "tolerating each
other"!!

And, not for nothing was that great Advaitin of Kanchi known as "jagat-guru"!

adiyEn,
sudarshan