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Re: painted gopurams

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Wed Aug 11 1999 - 12:56:20 PDT

Lakshmi Srinivas wrote:
> What made some elders of my family sad was however
> something else: we stayed back for the sevakalam on an
> ordinary day and found that all the gentlemen who did
> the Prabandham chanting (save one), did it out of a
> handy text. They were not chanting anything rare, it
> was just vADinEn vADi varuntinEn (Periya Tirumoli
> 1.1), ArAvamudE etc  among other things. 

This indeed is a very disturbing trend.  I would say
that we only have a handful of places left where the
sevA-kAlam is done without the aid of a textbook.
Srirangam, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallikkeni, Tirupati,
Melkote, perhaps a few others such as Alvar Tirunagari,
Srivilliputtur, and Tiruvali Tirunagari.  And only
in Srirangam, Kanchipuram, and Tiruvallikkeni can 
we find a daily goshti made up of more than a handful of
people.

I suspect most of the problem is that parents do not
have their children learn Prabandham or Vedas any more.
It is a great joy to see boys as young as five participating
in the utsavams in Tiruvallikkeni, chanting Prabandham
as if they were seasoned professionals.  Since few people
value such learning these days, it is no wonder that as
great a divya desam as Amudhan Kovil has few people who
know even the nityAnusandhAnam by heart.  Like it or 
not, it is hard for retired people to learn things with
the same speed and accuracy as a young child.

rAmAnuja dAsan
Mani