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"tiruppAvai" and Mahatma Gandhi

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 00:06:45 PST

Dear friends,

In the "tiruppAvai", AndAl has the "aayarpAdi" girls
waking up each other and first congregating and only
then proceeding in assembled procession to God's
doorsteps.

The principle of "worshipping together" is greatly
stressed through the phrase: "koodi-irundu...
kuLirnthu...mahizhirndu..." etc.

In the whole of the "tiruppAvai" adiyen notices that
the girls never even once speak in the first person
singular! They all speak in one voice but never
individually!

The pursuit of God according to AndAl cannot be
undertaken in solitude. Like most things in life,
achieving God too requires "team work"... the ability
to work with other people, communicate with other
people and share with other people.

Mahatma Gandhi, who may not have been a SriVaishnavan
bearing the marks of "samAshrayanam", but who was
deeply religious in outlook, once seemed to echo
exactly the very same sentiment of the "tiruppAvai".  
He said, "I want to find God, and because I want to
find God, I have to find God along with other people.
I don't believe I can find God alone. If I did, I
would be running to the Himalayas to find God in some
cave there. But since I believe that nobody can find
God alone, I have to work with people. I have to take
them with me. Alone I can't come to Him." 

It is amazing how some of the truths of SriVaishnavam
... and of the poetry of the "tiruppAvai" ... are
actually grounded in universalism... and not only in
SriVilliputtur or SriRangam alone!

adiyen hopes that my drawing this parallel between
Gandhi and "tiruppAvai" will not hurt the sentiments
of orthodox members on the list.

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran
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