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Re: acharyas and their hagiologies (aitihyam)

From: TV Venkatesh/FXSLF/SEC/SANMAR (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 21:03:03 PST

srImathe rAmAnujAya namaha
srImadh varavara munayE namaha

Dear Sri Mani,

This is a wonderful note (rather essay) that you have written. I agree with
you fully on all the points. However I would like to bring to you
attention, the following.

First :        Sri Sadagopan Iyengar wrote a really wonderful article
explaining the kalyANa guNas of Sri Ananthan in which he elaborated on his
avatArAs and stopped with Sri rAmAnuja as the final avatArA, though he
"hailed" srImadh Azhagiyasingar as his present day avatAram, out of utmost
love and devotion to his AchAryA.

Second:   I posted a message indicating that swAmy maNavALa mAmunigaL was
also considered as his avatAram and he is the FINAL avatArams "according to
the scriptures available".

There ended the matter. Where was an argument in this, until Sri Srinath
Chakravarthy posted a message attributing swAmi maNavALa mAmunigaL as a
kalai specific AchAryA. If this posting could be avoided, there was no
arguments in this. Of course, he was honest enough, to say indirectly swAmy
dEsikan is a kalai specific AchAryA. But the fact is, not. Because, while
the vadakalai consider swAmy maNavALa mAmunigaL as kalai specific AchAryA,
the thenkalais have as a part of their guruparamparai, swAmy dEsikan also
and they rever them much. This point can be clearly established from the
fact that mostly all the thenkalai temples DO have a sannidhi for swAmy
dEsikan, even, if they fail to have some AzhwArs, whereas, none of the
divyadEsams, which are completely vadakalai in character do have a sannidhi
for swAmy maNavALa mAmuni.

Your point, that the origin of our AzhwAr-AchAryAs, have no importance in
understanding their works is very good. Yes, I agree with it fully.

But I believe, strongly, that the way to put down this argument is NOT by
attributing these claims as "hagiologies", but only by accepting the fact
or atlease by not writing ill about other AchAryAs. As Sri Mukudan had said
in response to your posting, not considering swAmy maNavALa mAmunigaL as
the avatAram of Sri Ananthan is not at all a loss for him and to Him. Also
it does not go any longer in understanding their works as correctly stated
by you.

On the otherhand if we are to discard finally these as only "aitihyams",
and cannot be proved, what kind of sanctity are we to have on our AchAryAs,
who have eulogized this in their works. How much are to consider their
works are nothing but truth, if we are only to insist on historical
evidences or the "pratyaksha pramANAs"?

AzhwAr emberumAnAr jeeyar thiruvadigaLE saraNam
adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
Thirumalai Vinjamoor Venkatesh

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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