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Achara, Anushtana.....Dasavatharam

From: Sudarsan_Parthasarithy_Sampath (sudarsan_at_sinserv.ezm.sgp.hl.siemens.de)
Date: Wed Jan 03 1996 - 03:12:26 PST

Dear Friends,
               It is interesting to know the views of Sri.Vijayaraghavan regarding our Achara, Anushtaana and of Sri.Sai of Dasavatharam.

Achara, Anushtaana - Achara as Swami Vivekananda mentioned means cleaniness.  In fact even to this day in Srivaishnavite households we use the term to somebody unclean as he/she doesn't have any Achara/Anushtaana.  Anushtaana means undertaking in the literal sense.  I guess we cannot follow 100% of our Achara/Anushtaana since these are time specific.  The Achara/Anushtaana prescribed in the Vedas are restricted to,
Achara-Yechill(saliva), Theetu(bad disposition of health - vyathi, women's menstrual period, death, birth etc where we can cause/can be affected health disorders) and Vizhuppu(relating to uncleaned/unwashed).  The caste discrimination also started due to blindly following the aachara with blatant disregard to the jeevathma(present in all beings).  However the way Aachara is achieved is not prescribed strictly.  Like some people used cow dung to settle dust on the mud floors in old times, still do it in Mosaic/Marble tiles which might frustrate some people to think the whole system is wrong.  There are just 2 ways to answer this,
a.Either adapt the Acharas to times
b.Follow it with the intent we discover its real importance some day.  A direct analogy is that we are taught Slokas at early ages even before we learn their meaning and later on we appreciate its meaning.
Anushtaana- This is a more difficult ground to tread on.  The Anushtaana can be Aagamaas, Karya, ... which are defined clearly and you would find it in the Abhivathanam you recite.  

But I would agree with Sri.Vijaraghavan on the selective discrimination most of us follow in the name of Acharaas(Anushtaana's never steps in this picture).  

Sri.Ramanujacharya, Life of Alwars like Thiruppaana Azhvaar, Purandhara Dasar have shown in their life the way to lead life with Aachara/Anushtaana.

Regarding Dasavathaar,

First of all let me say this. All the people we discuss are truly great namely Buddha, Balarama or Parashuraama.  Who is an Avataar has been a debate for even our Acharyaas.  The Dasavathaara Sannathi in Srirangam includes the 10 Avathaars and I hope Sri Vaishanavaas would continue to accept them as our Sriman Naraayana.  Regarding an explanation why they are the true avataar and why not Buddha, Jesus, Sri.Desikar, Sri.Shankarar etc...the answer is real simple.
All the Avataars occur during Pralaya and these times are mentioned clearly.  Of course Parashuraama didn't reach the masses like Buddha did, but this not a category for classifying an Avataar.  Lets trust our Acharyas to offer an explanation why we have the select 10 Avataars and not Hypothesize whom we think they are.  Also in my opinion either we should research the subject well(which is purpose of this site) or accept the Sri Vaishnavite Parampara as what our great leaders have accepted as Dasavathaar..  

Please continue to present your ideas on these issues.

V.D.S(Vasaka Dosha Shandavyaha)

Sudarsan

PS:  I would be happy if somebody elaborates on Abhasthamba Soothra and other Soothras.