You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1996


From: Raymond Crawford (
Date: Mon Jan 01 1996 - 20:53:11 PST

It was with interest that I read where Sri Sriram referred to the leaders of 
Mutts as "Pontiffs".

Why is this so?  On numerous occasions, in different ways, by numerous people, 
I see the name Pontiff used in reference to leaders in many shapes and forms. 
In my BBC English Dictionary, the meaning of Pontiff is - The pontiff is the 
Pope; a formal word. When I turn to the Collins English Dictionary (admittedly 
not of recent edition) the word is described thus: the Pope; a bishop; a high 
priest, as of the Jews.

I have always wondered why, in a society which prides itself on the exact 
meaning of each little word (especially in debates), such borrowed words from 
another religion are used to describe our own beliefs.

Just a whimsical wondering to start off the new year!