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Re: Jeeyars

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_uswest.net)
Date: Sun Jan 07 2001 - 17:54:45 PST

Dear Sri Naryanan,

More erudite members within our forum can probably go into much
more detail as to the importance of Jeeyars in our sampradAyam.
But, I thought I would start this discussion off with the
following brief summary, based on my limited understanding.

----- Original Message -----
From: zz_nrsalarycell <zz_nrsalarycell@bharatpetroleum.com>
To: <bhakti-list@egroups.com>
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 4:52 AM
Subject: Jeeyars


>
> 1. Who are Jeeyars ?  what are their duties.  How many Jeeyar
> Matams are now. and where are they.

The Jeeyars (also spelled as Jeears) are ordained heads of the
SriVaishnava monastic institutions known as muthams or Ashramams.
In almost all cases they are sanyAsins, who have renounced
secular and householder life for purposes of serving the Lord and
His SriVaishnava Community.  Their duties are centered in living
and propogating the scholarly and devotional teachings of our
poorvAchAryas, and to serve as the mediators and guides in the
doctrine of prapatti, the summum bonum of the SriVaishnava faith.
Thus, connection and dedication to them is of utmost importance
in our tradition. So much so, in fact, that it would be no
understatement to say that, from the standpoint of our beliefs,
respect and whole-hearted following of the AchArya is our only
means to achieving God realization.

While I could not venture to say how many Jeears there are
currently, it would be safe to presume that there are several
dozen, if one counts those that are directly involved in service
to a divya dEsham or abhimAna sthalam.  Among these however, the
following can be considered as examples of the most well known
muthams in our tradition today:

* Sri Ahobila Mutham
* Sri Rangam Andavan Ashramam
* Sri Poundarikapuram Andavan Ashramam
* Sri Parakala Mutham
* Sri Vanamamalai Mutham
* Sri Yatiraja Mutham
* Sri Tridandi Jeear Mutham
* Sri Tirupati Peria Jeear Mutham
* Sri Tirupati Chinna Jeear Mutham

> 2. Who started this system.

The system has been around since time immemorial, according to
the adherents of our tradition.  But, if one were to speculate on
the primary exponent of these, it would have to be Ramanuja
himself, who served as the pontifical head at SriRangam,
following Sri AlavandAr.  He established muthams at several holy
places, such as Tirupati, Melkote, Kanchipuram and Badrinath.
The great exponents of our faith who followed Ramanuja, Swamy
Vedanta Desika, Sri Manavalamamunigal and their disciples
followed emperumAnAr's methodology in continuing to support
existing muthams and Ashrams and establishing new ones where
necessary.

Many Jeears are connected to a temple or set of temples, but the
more renowned ones are those that travel away from these
locations to bring the doctrine of prapatti to the masses.

> 3. Are Jeeyars some among the 74 Peetadipathis Sri Ramanujar
> appointed.

While some of our Jeears hail from these families, each of the 74
families that descended from Ramanuja's immediate set of
disciples generally select an elder and more knowledgeable member
in each generation to serve as the AchAryan for that specific
family or set of families.  This person takes the role of the
Jeeyar in performing the sacred samAsrAyanam that provides the
individual with the connection to the ancient Acharya-sishya
lineage that leads through Sri Ramanuja to the Lord's Lotus Feet.

> 4. In what way are they different / special from our Acharyas

The terms Jeear and AchArya can virtually be used synonomously
for the mutham and Ashram heads .  However, as Jeears are
sanyAsis, there purpose is to provide their knowledge and
connection to Sri Ramanuja to a broader community.  The Acharyas,
such as those of the 74 described above, generally limit
themeselves to smaller communities or to their own immediate
circle of families.

It is important to re-emphasize, though, that whether he is
married or monastic, the role of the AchArya in SriVaishnavam is
of utmost importance.  For it is only the AchArya that can open
the door to our connection to Sri Ramanuja and the Lord's Lotus
Feet, who are, for the members of our faith, the Way and Goal of
our Salvation.

I hope this helps as a start.   I would suggest searching the
Bhakti list archives and checking the many links provided through
the SriVaishnava Home Page or Srivaishnava Universe for more
details.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
mohan raghavan


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