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Re: rAmAnujar and the gopuram episode

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Mon Dec 14 1998 - 21:25:18 PST

SrImatE SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmanE namaha
namO nArAyaNA.

forwarded  is the reply from Sri Dileepan.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
ananthapadmanAbha dAsan
Mani Wrote:

>P.S. Just as one should not speculate so much as to make Ramanuja a
>revolutionary firebrand, changing everything in sight, one should also
>not speculate the other way and reinterpret all his bold moves to
>always fit the straightjacket of traditional norms and conservatism.

adiyEn tried to stay as close to the text as possible.  None of the
moves" that are in the text have been denied or made light of.  There is
need to invent new "bold moves" to improvise on the already great legacy
Sri Ramanuja.

It is unfair to say that staying faithful to the text is "always fit the

straightjacket of traditional norms and conservatism".

Mani states further:
>The spirit of the ancient biographies do not read this way.

It is best to leave the spirit of these biographies to the real
It is better for us to stick to the texts and the interpretations given
the scholars such as Sri Purisai Swamy, etc.

[Accounts of Ramanuja's fidelity to truth deleted.  No debate there.]

>> carnival atmosphere.  Would our Paramacharyan have chosen
>> such a time and place to openly impart the  most esoteric
>> of manthras to even the uninterested and incompetent?
>This, to me, shows Ramanuja's very uniqueness, and I believe
>this why he did it.  He went to the most public place possible,
>the temple, (this is undisputed) and revealed the mantrArthas

This is just speculation.  We need to be faithful to the text as much as

possible.  To say that Sri R did upadesam of the most esoteric of
in most public of places is just pure speculation unsupported by texts.

>Sri Pinpazhagiya Perumal Jiyar, in another description
>of this event in his biography, writes that Ramanuja taught
>this to "everyone" (sarvarkkum aruLicceyya).

adiyEn has written about this in detail.  This "everyone" is restricted
scope to Sri vaishnavas defined earlier in the text.  Interpreting any
other way will make the earlier reference false.

>If one would ask how this would have occurred, I can
>easily surmise the following situation. Ramanuja sits down
>with his inseparable associates Mudaliandan and Kurattazhvan.
>A crowd gathers around, attracted by the tejas evident in
>Ramanuja's face. And Ramanuja proceeds to teach.

These are more speculations.  This is the way myths start forming.
is no justification to suggest that Sri R taught the inner meanings of
most esoteric of manthras to a crowd that gathered, a crowd that could
well be like one that would gather around a politician or a street

>  referred to a particular area or room of the temple. But all
>  of the old accounts are agreed that he taught the mantrArthams
>  in this place to many people, not just a select handful of
>  disciples. ]

"anEgam Sri Vaishnavas" is the key phrase.  "Sarvar" is this group of
"anEgam Sri Vaishnavas".  How many is "many" and how many is "handful"?
can quibble about this.  But, it is clear that "anEgam Sri Vaishnavas"
cannot be the general public gathered which is likely to contain curious

onlookers than people with keen interest.  General preaching in such a
gathering is more plausible than giving out the inner meanings of most
esoteric of manthras.  Further, "anEgam Sri Vaishnavas" cannot mean Sri
broadcast the manthraarthas in public.

>Re: Sri Purisai Swami's version of the events
>I am not sure what texts Sri Purisai Swami used for his
>version, but they do not agree in many respects with
>Sri P.P. Jiyar's aaraayirappadi.

If so, please show it.  If anything, it is Purisai Swamy's account that
agrees with ARAyirappadi most closely.  Pi. Sri.'s account is the one
is most off base.  It got the Gopuram wrong, and the upadesam to K and M

wrong.  He also got the issue that is being debated wrong.
Nambi Dasar has the Gopuram issue correct, K and M's upadesam correct,
got the days mixed up.  It follows ARAyirappadi in the rest of the
 Purisai Swamy's account comes closest to ARAyirappadi in this issue.
got everything right relating to Thirumanthrartham.

>This conclusion I don't find obvious at all. Why doesn't "everyone"
>(anaivarum) simply mean everyone (or many people) at Tirukkottiyur?
>Why would Ramanuja go to the temple to teach, instead of his
>thirumaaLigai, if it were not to teach people unknown to him?
>This is much more straightforward.

"everyone" is already explained as limited in scope to Sri Vaishnavas.
went to TheRkAzhvaan sannithi because that is where he was doing
to his sishyas as per this particular text, not to look for crowd of
strangers.  Please note that Sri R did not have a Thirumaaligai in

>In general, these biographers are very specific. If they mean
>only a few or select people, they usually say so. When they mean
>otherwise, they say it.

Exactly. If those authors wanted to say that Sri R gave the mantrarthas
to Sri Vaishnavas and non-Sri Vaishnavas alike, they would have said
so boldly.  Yet they limit the audience.  Let us stick to the text.
Let us
not exaggerate what actually happened.

>Women and children are also Sri Vaishnavas and can be
>included in the group. But, it is true, children may not
>have had an interest and may not have sat and listened.

Yes, the Sri Vaishnava goshti may have had some women.  That does not
change anything.  However, the text does not specify whether there were
women in the group or not.  It is better we do not speculate one way or

-- adiyEn