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new literature

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Thu Feb 27 1997 - 02:22:46 PST

Dear friends,

I was browsing through and organizing my personal archives of the past 6
months. 

Sifting through various "bhakti-list/SDDS" posts of many members I could not
help wondering if we are not seeing the emergence of a new language amongst
ourselves.

Most members make generous use of Sanskrit and Tamil expressions in their
learned and interesting posts. It is a wonder how beautifully sometimes
these Sanskrit and Tamil expressions blend with English in some your posts
(I will post examples later)!!

I confess I consider myself neither a literatteur nor a SriVaishnava in the
true sense of the word. But I am a 'rasika" and firmly believe that the
hallmark of SriVaishnavism is its 100% "literary character".

Tell me, dear friends, what would our faith and people be, indeed, without
the precious poesy of an Andal, a Desikan, a Kuresan or a Bhattar !! I have
yet to come across a SriVaishnava who is also not literary-minded ... who
melts at the sound of poetry, who is carried away ....by a mere phrase, a
simple lyric and a hymn .... into a paroxysm of devout pleasure !! 

In my dictionary, dear friends, the "brahman", too loves verse !! For it is
"shabdam" that reveals and revels in Truth !!

By ALL MEANS and ALWAYS, dear friends, will I personally continue to welcome
and encourage lay and popular "literary feeling" in SriVaishnavism !  

We all know that sometime during the 7th and 14th centuries Sanskrit came to
be profusely used by our 'acharyas' in several of their Tamil works. The
style of writing evolved slowly into what came to be called "mani-pravAlam".
Several extraordinary works of literature were born therefrom. 

And then the style suddenly went out of fashion and became virtually extinct
for no good reason. Both religion and literature lost a source of treasure.

Now, today everywhere, dear friends, in SriVaishnava communities both in
India and elsewhere, as can be witnessed even in the "bhakti-list" posts,
there is a clear trend of people using, generously and comfortably, the
majesty of the English language too in their Sanskrit/Tamil appreciation of
SriVaishnavite subject-matter !! 

The style may sound odd but nobody is really complaining and in fact they
are sometimes enjoying it, too, isn't it ?!!

Who knows, dear friends, by combining the beauties of 3 different languages
we are perhaps witnesses on the threshold of a new phase of development in
the history of SriVaishnava literature !! We may yet see the evolution, in a
few hundred years from now, of a new style of writing called
"anglo-mani-pravalam"!!

Please do not laugh away or "pooh-pooh" this idea of mine, dear friends !!
It might sound cranky but may well be prophetic --- as most prophetic ideas
of the world are!! Perhaps our great, great grandchildren may bear it out in
some distant future !

What is wrong with such a style anyway ?! What was wrong with the
"mani-pravAla" literary-form when it first emerged ?!

You tell me.

sudarshan