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Gurukulam

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (Dileepan_at_utc.edu)
Date: Tue Aug 04 1998 - 12:04:07 PDT

   Srilakshminrisimha Parabrahmane Nama:
    Srivan Satakopa Sri Vedanta Desika 
        Yatheendra Mahadesiaya Nama:
  Srilakshminrisimha Dhivya Padhuka Sevaka
       Srivan Satakopa Sri Narayana 
        Yatheendra Mahadeskaya Nama:

Dear Bhagavathas,

Some time back I posted an article by Sri. R.K.
Swamy regarding the upcoming 600th Anniversary
celebrations of Sri Ahobila Mutt in India slated for
October at Ahobilam.  An ambitious target of Rs. 3
crores ($700,000) for fund raising has been
established.  While much of it will be raised within
India itself, the target for outside India is $125,000.

Why do they need so much money?  This is a legitimate 
question.  I will try to answer this as best as I can.

Many years ago a Mahan, HH the Injimedu Azhagiya
Singar the 42nd Jeeyar of Sri Ahobila Mutt,  had the
foresight to establish the Oriental School at
Madhurandhagam for young students to study our
Sampradayam, the Vedas, and Prabhandham in a
systematic way.  HH also recruited many bright young
lads for KalakshEbam.  HH also initiated the
publication of Sri Nrisimha Priya.  These efforts, 
among many others, have had several long lasting 
and profound impact upon Sri Vaishnavam in general 
and Sri Mutt in particular.

But for the foresight of that Mahan, we would not
have Sri Nrisimha Prya through which we are able to
keep in touch with our Sampradayam.   Many of us
are not in a position to see Acharyas even once a year,
let alone be able to study at their holy feet.  Sri
Nrisimha Priya fills this void  partially.  Several
illuminating series are published, including, Srimad
Rahasya Thraiya Saram, Harivamasam, Srimad
Bhagavadam, Thiruvaay mozhi amudham, Sri
Vishnusahasranaama Bhashyam, Kamban Kavi
Amudham, ThirukkuRaL, a Vishnava Treatise, and
many more.  I must confess that much of  whatever
little I have picked up about our Sampradayam is from
reading this publication.

>From the Oriental School that the 42nd Jeeyar
established and the KalakshEbams HH initiated, many
eminent scholars have emerged including the present
Jeeyar.  But for the foresightful efforts of HH the
already small circle of eminent Sri Vaishnava scholars
would have been even smaller.  This group of scholars
is aging and unless the feat of the 42nd Jeeyar is
repeated, there will be an acute dearth of qualified
torchbearers of our faith in the near future.  Without
learned scholars to defend and nurture our faith it will 
slowly wither and die.  With the brightest kids leaving 
the Sampradayic way for the lure of lowkeekam this
danger is more real than what we may realize.

To meet this urgent need for the future HH the Jeeyar
is working to establish 5 gurukulams to teach the
important granthas to about twenty five bright
youngsters in the old fashioned way.  The pupils will
live with teachers and learn.  To be able to attract the
brightest among the 100s who live and study at the
Oriental School, the Sri Mutt is planning to
handsomely compensate both the teachers and the
taught.  This is only fair.  Look at all other faiths. 
They don't expect their priests and scholars to live in
abject poverty.  Ours must not either.  These scholars
and would be scholars must be able to maintain a
standard of living that is at least comparable to a
"Gumastha" (clerk) in private or government
companies.  This takes money.  Much of the Rs. 3
Crores to be raised will go towards a corpus fund
the income from which will fund the Gurukulams.  
This corpus fund will ensure the continuance of this 
concept indefinitely into the future as well.  This is 
why we need to support this effort.

It is important that we support renovation of temples 
and the publication of rare books, etc.  But without a
vibrant foundation of scholars to defend our faith there
will soon come a time when all the temples we renovate
may not follow our Sri Sampradayam, and the books
we publish may not be of interest to anyone except
western researchers.

Some may ask, "This is a Ahobila Mutt project, why
should I support it?"  For this I would like to say that
the Oriental School accepts pupils from all
Sampradayams, including Smarthas.  While doing so,

they do not force anyone to change their practices. 
For instance, Smartha kids are not asked to wear
thirumaN-srichoorNam.  Sri Vaishnava kids are from
both kalais.  They wear ThirumaN-srichoorNam
according to the sampradayam to which they belong. 
Similarly, the proposed Gurukulam is not limited to
Sri Ahobila Mutt sishyas only.  Students from other
Sampradayams will also participate.  Thus, support for
this effort will support Sri Vaishnavam in general for
decades to come.

The target of $125,000 for us seems daunting.  But
how much of it gets raised is really up to  Sriman
Narayana.  Let us try our best to reach the target. 
Please contribute as much as you can.  We in Sri
Ahobila Mutt will not come to you asking for money
again for a long long time.  Remember, the fund you
contribute will continue to serve Sri Vaishnavam for
generations.  The Jeeyar or Andavan that your
grandchildren and their grandchildren will go to may 
come from the effort you will now support.  Your 
contributions are 100% tax deductible here in the U.S.

Please make your check out to Sri Ahobila Muth and
mail it to 1908 Preswood Dr., Hixson, TN 37343.  All
the contributions in full will be forwarded to Sri
Ahobila Mutt Seva Samithi in India.  You will receive
a receipt from Sri Ahobila Muth that can be used
for IRS purposes.  Further, you will receive a personal
acknowledgment of your contribution as well as
Srimad Azhagiya Singar's blessings from India.

-- adiyEn raamanuja dhaasan