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Response to some BHAKTI issues

From: usdeiva (
Date: Mon Apr 28 1997 - 21:25:06 PDT

Memphis April 28 1997.

Dear Shri Mani Varadarajan,

This is to ack yr message 23rd accepting Sri UchANi Deivachilai's
made on my behalf.   May I say thanks to you, Shri Mani, and to Shri 
Dileepan Parthasarathy, for so cordially admitting me to yr conversation
about Srivaishnavam.    As required in yr message, hereunder    

             SPEAKING OF MYSELF ~~ T.S. Sundara Rajan,
My name wd read TIRUMANJANAM Srinivasa Sundara Rajan.   I am the 
father-in-law of Shri UchANi Deivachilai who has introduced me.
The Lord at the 'divya-desam' TiruppullANi (near the setu) has been
christened by Tirumangai-mannan as DeivacchilaiyAr.   This is a 
data in paranthesis for those who have not been to TiruppullANi, or
have not come upon the relevant Peria Tirumozhi verse.    UchANi is
a native of AzhvAr Tirunagari; my wife and I belong to Srirangam 
where I have returned & settled down, in retirement after 34 yrs
in Government of India in New Delhi as Under Secretary in Ministry
of Human Resource Development.

The family name Tirumanjanam stands for the service of organising
the ceremonial bath of the deity namperumAL (= azhaGiamaNavALan 
= SrirangarAja-svAmi) of Srirangam.   This honorofic attached to one 
of the 'sthalattAr' functionaries (administrators) of the Srirangam
Peria Koil;  he was also among the personal attendants ('kinkara') of
'udaiyavar' (Sri rAmAnuja).  The Tirumanjanam is of the fortunate many
counted among the disciples of the House of Sri Mudali ANDAn, the nephew
of Sri rAmAnuja and the principal of the 74 'simhAsana-adhipati'
preceptors identified by Udaiyavar. My sparse but precious knowledge of 
the Srivaishnava 'sampradAya' is owed to my father's extraordinary book
collections and my mother's unobtrusive devotion and, not the least, 
that the Lord had granted unto me to meet some of the great personages
of our times.   

I have received Grace in one particular respect:  both while in service
and out of it, there were opportunities for me to make my small 
contributions to the 'sampradAyam' either through crucial writing or 
supporting important publications.   Lately (at the request of the
district collector of Tiruchirappalli) I wrote a handy booklet entitled 
'The Great Temple of SRIRANGAM ~~ an Introduction';  this was presented
to the President of India, Shankar Dayal Sharma, when he visited the 
Temple on Oct 26 1996.    I shall be glad to disseminate this booklet 
through this internet eventually.

I am pleased to receive A.K. rAmAnujan's translation of "kaRpAr".   
I recall I did an interview of A.K.R. in the HINDUSTAN TIMES
in 1969 when he had just published his rendering of the Sangham classic
'kuruntogai' and 'Speaking of Siva'.   I wrote to him to attempt the 
Tiru-voy-mozhi, and I like to believe that his eventual rendering of
Tiru-voy-mozhi resulted from this.   

My wife and I are visiting my daughter in Memphis, and plan to return
to Srirangam by end of July'97.


The text:

          "seththadin vayiRRil siRiyadu piRandAl,
           eththai thinRu engE kidakkum?"

occurs in the account of madhurakavi AzhvAr incorporated in the chapter
on Sri nammAzhvAr in the 'Guru-paramparA prabhAvam' (pinbazhagia-perumAL
jeeyar).   The note thereunder goes like this:  'seththadu' is the
and the 'siRiyadu' is the diminutive, that is the soul.   The soul
and subsists on the corporeal.  

Dileepan, Mani and Krishna Kalale have made a triangular seminar on this 
text.    Kalale points out this text is not from the body of the arulic-
cheyal (divya-prabandham) itself.   (Is Shri Kalale possibly a native 
marAThi-speaker?    If so, it is gratifying evidence that discussions on
AzhvAr theme are enlisting scholars outside of the Tamil heartland!) 

That the text is not from the divya-prabandham (but figures in the Guru-
paramparA-prabhAvam) does not diminish its importance as a philosophic
episode.    The GPP would have the same relationship with the Divya.P as 
'smrti' has with 'sruti'; cf 'itihAsa-purANAbhyAm vedam samupa-brhmayet'
~~ a dictum which occurs not only in the opening chapter of MahAbhArata
but in every PurANam as well.
The text is a verbal vignette of the 'jeeva' (the soul) situated in the
'Sareera' (the body, or its material abode).   This would eventually
provide the title and framework ('SAreeraka-meemAmsA') for the later 
Sribhashyam of Udaiyavar.    Apart from this, two additional metaphors
also possibly emerge from the text; 'padma-patram ivAmbhasA' (like the
leaf arising from water but remaining un-wetted), ~~  and 'dvA suparNAh'
(like the bird that passively looks on while its companion pecks at the
berries off the branch where they rest), ~~ both from the Bhagavad GeetA
of being with it but not of it.   [This is not the same as modern
principles of motivation & involvement or lack of them.]    If one can
about it aright, then one is lodged in karma-yoga.   The two metaphors
available in the Bhagavad Geeta can also represent the jeeva-para (the
individuate and the soul absolute) equation;   the 'siRiyadu' signifying
Absolute, going by "angushTha-mAtrah purusho janAnAm hrdaye
and "aNoh aNeeyaan" of the upanishad.

On this text, I sign off for the while.


Kalale makes an incidental remark, "if we strive towards spiritual
we may reach arciradi marga".    Good action has, no doubt, its built-in
good effect, but in my humble opinion, a life of spiritual protocol is
to be regarded in terms of input-output situation.   We are to practise
religious observances merely because they are prescribed in the sAstra:
sAsan trAyate iti sAstram (it protects by ordaining).    There is always
the question whether we speak of the authentic sAstram, or get beguiled
false and cynical texts ('poi noolaiye mei noolenRu', in the words of
Tirumangai mannan).   For the present, I will merely cite two texts: 
"yameva esha vrNute tena hi labhyah" and, "aduvum avanadu innarule". 


Mani Varadarajan has asked for the right 'sabda-roopam' (orthography)
of brahma (God absolute, in neuter gender, and if the terminal ma is not
accented, ~~ or, the deity of that name, in masculine gender, and if the 
terminal is accented); vahni (fire); and  jahnu (the rshi who held the
Ganga in spate in his ear).

I am glad that Mani has asked about this, since it is important to know
the words in correct form.   'yadakshara-pada-bhrashtam...' and
bindu-mAtrANi...', is how we have worried about knowing the words
I have written the correct forms.  In Sanskrt, the phonetics is built
into the spelling, hence you pronounce as it is written.   
"brhat iti brahma" is the 'vyutpatti', (Brahm because it is large). 
bram-ha has, as such, no sense.   Further, the suffix 'haa' is archaic
(Arsha-prayogam) for 'slayer';  as 'Indro vrtra-hA' in the vedam;
the vedic 'hA' becomes 'ghnah' in PaNini, as in Satru-ghnah.  
Nara-simha is right, and not -sihma.   

The Hindi politicians solicit yr votes for their 'chinha' (emblem); 
we cannot oblige, since we want to vote for someone's 'chihna'.
One renders the ShrAddham (and not 'ShrArddham') on the anniversary of a
parent's demise.   The temple prasAdam consists of puLi-orai (and not
puliyodarai), and dadhyodanam (and not dadhyonnam).   We are all devoted
to Vaishnavam (or Vishnuism), and NOT Vaishnavism;  in Sanskrit,
is the sufficient inflexion to signify the sixth case of declension;  
in English, the early Indologists properly referred to it as Vishnu-ism 
(by adding the suffix abstraction).     Can someone secure a project
assistance for compiling a Dictionary of Errors, please?  ~~ we need
such a
dictionary in Tamil.


I am a little uncertain about writing Tamil or Sanskrit texts over the
English language key-board, without diacritical support.   I have
gone thro the 'bhakti' messages and tried to adopt the phonetic system
to the extent I understood.

T.S. Sundara Rajan, care UchANi Deivachilai, Memphis.
Phone 901-367-2185.