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Re: Srivaishnavism in isolation.

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Dec 09 1999 - 02:07:20 PST

--- Sheshadri Ranganathan
<sheshadri_ranganathan@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Bhaktas,
 Consider a> person so much in love > with the
Srivaishnava sampradayam and day-in and> day-out
mingling with the > Srivaishnavas discussing about the
Lord and> immersing in his bhakthi. He > comes out of
this environment and lands up in a> place where he
gets no > company of Srivaishnavas or people who can >
understand the value of the > devotion or
Srivaishnavism. How should a person like > this
maintain his > Srivaishnavite thoughts in the midst of
people who> talk of other things?
> Sheshadri

adiyen is really glad to see young members like
Sri.Sheshadri and others asking sharp, realistic and
interesting questions.

Sri.Sheshadri's is very good question. To tenaciously
practice the tenets of SriVaishnavism one needs strong
and constant inter-action with other like-minded
SriVaishnavas. Also one needs SriVaishnava role-models
or 'walking examples' to be around us all the time.
Our faith in Srisampradayam flowers when it is tended
to and cultivated in an environment where satsangham
with other 'bhagavatas' is easily available or
accessed. 

In an environment barren of day-to-day Vaishnavaite
symbols, practices and institutions the faith can most
likely begin to wither.

To those who leave the shores of India to foreign
lands this predicament is particularly common. Ancient
seers and 'achAryA-s' never left the shores of
Bharatam for fear that they may not be able, even if
for only a day, to maintain "nitya-agnihOtram" -- to
keep the daily sacrificial fires lighted.

In these modern days, our young boys and girls travel
to far-off lands and live there to earn their
livelihoods. Some of them do it out of pure personal
choice. Some do it out of force of personal
circumstances. In either case they find themselves in
alien environments amongst alien peoples and alien
faiths. The feel disorientated and rootless.

Fortunately, in countries like USA or as in some
countries of the Gulf, there are sizable populations
of SriVaishnavas and hence some kind of 'sampradAyic'
environment is created by them amidst their community.
They build surrogate 'Tirupatis' and 'SriRangams' in
foreign lands and seek to recreate the SriVaishnava
ambience even in the middle of Beverly Hills, Madison
Square, Hyde Park or a Dubai shopping mall. But a
surrogate is always a surrogate and to the true
Vaishnava faithful it may not always fulfil a yearning
for the original.

adiyen has also acutely experienced the problem of
"isolation" that Sri.Sheshadri has openly shared with
the group.

adiyen feels that the problem can be alleviated to
some extent as follows:

(1) There is the modern appliance of cassette-players
and recorders. Very useful. You can record your
favourite shlokas, upanyasams, kalapshepams, vedic and
prabhandic recitations. With a wonderful collections
built over the years you can instantly recreate by the
touch of a button Vaishnavite experiences in your
mind.

(2) There is the inter-net and there are chat-groups
like the Bhakti-group, malolan-net etc. galore in the
cyber landscape. Choose one in which you think you
will be most comfortable. You will instantly have the
satsangham of like-minded and like-speaking
bhagavatas.

(3) There are plenty of publications these days from
Ahobila mutt, TTD, Krishna-consciousness, etc. You can
subscribe for them and stay abreast of what is
happening in the religious world. Magazines like
"nrsimha-priya" can also take you out of your
isolation.

(4) Try and see a Srivaishnava trait in everyone
around you. Your friend may not be wearing
"urdhva-pundhra". He may not have had "samAshrayanam".
He may not even know what "prappatti" is or what
"dvaya-mantram" is. But he may be a good humble
individual. He may be truthful and sensitive. He may
have a charitable disposition. He may be soft-spoken
and gentle nature. he may love fine things in life
like music poetry etc. Is he not also a Vaishnavan?
Can you not be friends with him? Can he not help you
overcome your "isolation"?

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran 


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