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Date: Tue Jan 02 1996 - 11:32:49 PST
Asmath gurubhyO namaha! Asmath parama gurubhyO namaha! Asmath sarva gurubhyO namaha! Dear bhaktaas and prapannaas, I have been observing the kind of discussions that go on in this group for the past few weeks after I was welcomed into the group by Sri Mani. I think it is high time I dared to air (mail?) my views. 1. Please avoid bringing in discussion of topics that are not very relevant to the group - like the lengthy tete-a-tete on Murugan. I happen to express this concern of mine to other bhaagavathOthama friends of this group with whom I spent lively and joyous days this Vaikuntha Ekaadasi (thru Divya DampathIs kripai). We unanimously accepted that taking cue from Sri V. Sadagopan's mail (which did not extrapolate on this issue any further, but was tacit and informative), such topics should be gently referred to those further interested in it, giving more room for topics essentially Vaishnavaite in nature. I hope others would also welcome this idea. 2. Sri Vijayaraghavan writes... Writing about Thirumangai Alwar, historians like Bishop Caldwell held that Thirumangai Alwar was a disciple of Ramanujacharya!. This fact was accepted by some Indian historians too, (For eg. Gopinath) as it was not without any basis. However, the conclusion was proved to be entirely wrong. It was one of those instances where the secondary evidence was allowed to preponderate over the primary. It appears to me that while scientific approach to historical research could be very useful in unveiling the truth, the tools used are still subject to interpretation (which is highly subjective) and therefore there is nothing definite or conclusive about most of these findings. <<< Thus, there appears to be as much uncertainty in the modern findings, as we would assume in the traditional account.>>>>2.1 <<<<I always reconcile the differences between the traditional account and the "scientific" account in the following way: For a long time in India, information was transmitted orally. At some point in time these facts (possibly distorted and further amalgamated with fiction) got recorded in writing or entered into some kind of inscriptions. Modern historians may be able to reckon only the recorded event. I do not think they are able to get to the bottom of things which alone can give a satisfactory answer to the two fundamental questions: What actually happened and when did it really happen. Notwithstanding the uncertainty in either accounts (traditional vs. modern), I think our purpose is better served if we focus on the spirit behind those scriptural texts which alone can elevate us to a higher order of living.>>>>2.2 <<<<The system of acharam evolved by our great acharyas- Does it continue to have any relevance today. If you say we can only accept a small part of it, how would one decide what to accept and what to reject. Please do not forget to remind yourself of what Vyasa Bhagawan had said: " Achara Prathamo Dharma: dharmasya prabhu achuta:". I look forward to a lively discussion, which hopefully could sow the seeds for evolving a neo-vaishnavitic system of acharam.>>>>2.3 2.1) The uncertainty that appears in the case of traditional accounts is only apparent and is due to the misunderstanding of the truths expounded by azhwaars and the great aachaaryaas of our sampradaayam, by some self-professed scholars due to their wilful neglect (Could also be due to their egos obstructing clarity of thinking and intellect). There are definitely NO uncertainties. Please refer to appropriate treatises on our sampradaayam by our learned aachaaryaas, before making blanket statements. Referring to knowledgeable senior members of our group also will sort things out. 2.2) There is no need for reconciliation of any kind. The pramaanaas stand out clearly by themselves. Please refer to 2.1. 2.3) Definitely yes. Except in the case of what are clearly laid out as desaachaarams, the niyamams and anushtaanams are very relevant even today because of their universal and perennial (because they are well experimented truths) content. There is no need for evolving a neo-vaishnavaitic system. We are not here to re-engineer anything. The best sEva and bhakti to our aachaaryaas that we can perform comes from fulfilling our duties by putting into practice their noble teachings and the code of conduct that they have painstakingly prescribed to make our lives Saartham(meaningful). Let us make a pledge today to put an end to useless controversies and re-dedicate ourselves to the task of upholding the treasured values of our great sampradaayam in our day-to-day living in whatever way Thaayaar and PerumaaL ordain us to. As is said - An ounce of practice is better than a ton of words. I have written a ton of them. I surrender at the lotus feet of Divya DampathIs and at the feet of our aachaaryaas seeking strength to put atleast a few into practice. Vaachaka dOshaha Kshandavyaha. vENum, Dilipan.