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Subject: SVTK
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The following post is self explanatory.  I shall comment
on Sri. S. Kaushik's points later.


-- Parthasarati Dileepan


==============Sri Sumanth Kaushik's post==============================

----------------------------Original message---------------------

Sri Dileepna: I had originally intended to send this to the whole
group. But it turned out so long that I did not want to "bore" the
others iwth this much verbage.

Hence, I am sending it you only. If you think these points are worth
anything, feel free to repost the whole letter, or parts of it , to
the whole group.

Sumanth
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In his most recent e-mail, Sri Dileepan listed some of the rationale for
SVTK. I agree and support a number of his points, but I some I have further
questions and concern.

1. CD-ROM project. I think as a one shot project, this is fine. But I am
really not sure if this is a "money making" project. I think it is good
for all this to be on-line, from the viewpoint of a concept. If we can
sell a few of the CDs and make money, great. But as a vehicle for
propagating religion, I am a bit  skeptical. The way we ought to teach
our children our shastras is in our perumal rooms, not in the computer
room. Somehow, for children, computers are more like toys and it is hard
 to see how the seriousness and bhakti can come about with something having
"neat" graphics and sound.

But that shoulddn't stop the CD-Rom effot. If this brings a greater sense of
devotion in us who make the CD-ROM, that itself is sufficient. We can treat
it as a meditative tool and perform it with all the due reverence.

In terms of future efforts, digitizing images, storing books on-line are all
great. These are all worthy and noble from the viewpoint of providing
information
for all. However, I don't see these requiring any capital investment on our part
--
ust our time (which may be even more valuable!).

2. Support of S-Vaishnava Publications. I think this is great. Have very little
quibbles
with anything Sri Dileepan wrote. However, the notion of "essay compeitions,
thematic
projects, etc" is something quite alien to our tradition.  All the temples in
the major
cities do things like this. Has it really fostered reglion in our youth? I am a
bit
skeptical about that. I feel a lot of this becomes a social club where the
parents
are more the principal "winners" and "losers" than the kids. The last thing one
wants
is SVTK becoming  a "club." If we are not too careful, I am afraid
that this will be exactly what will happen.

3. Support needy temples. Whereas this is a great idea in concept, I
am not sure if we really ought to get involved in this. In India,
there are govt. sources of funds for temples. The same cannot be said
for our muttams and (often) poor vaidikas and their families. The
muttmas have survived on lands given to them by ancient kings. Now,
the govt. is takinga way a large portion of this wealth. I hear that
the Parakala muttam is facing this problem in Mysore. Ahobila Muttam
also derives its wealth from lands. I am not sure the status of these
lands. If anything, the tides of affairs are turned against the
muttams. I think the tempses are relatively better.

Besides, I just think it is very hard, despite all our efforts, to
administer funds 15000 miles away. Groups within India have enough
trouble managing funds 5 km away. We have two levels of trouble to
 deal with money going from here (the middlemen, and their
subordinates)

4. Budding Scholars. Again, who are we to decide? Suppose we were to
have this double-blind nomination procedure etc., nominated by Jeers
etc, then why not directly give money to the Jeers and let THEM decide
who is worthy and who is not?

If an aged poor Vaidika were to write to us and ask us for money, what
will we tell him? We can randombly accept every one who asks for
money, but then, we cannot refuse a request made directly to us either
(atleast I would be hard pressed to say no to someone).

Thereforee, why get involved in this business inthe first place. Let
our Jeers whose responsibility is the very administration of our
religion do this. It is their job.

I don't think we should have any contact with the money we collect.
When money touches anyone, even Vaidikas,  it contaminates. We are not
Vaidikas and for us, this will be even more a source of problem.

I just don't think we ought to handle money directly. Religion should
never be a business and if we start disbursing funds, our organization
will become  essentially a business of sorts.

5. SV in the US. I don't really see a role of SVTK in this business.
Organizing lec. tours etc presupposes there will be people to "tour."
The scholares who come here do not come here with the intention of
"touring." Often they come to visit their kith and kin and very rarely
at the solicitation of an university.

Certainly, people should be made aware of important scholars who are
in the country. That we can do. But if people want to get scholars for
having them give upanyasams at their local temples etc, they can do it
in private.

Again, can anyone here really have the stomach to refuse funding for
some individual if directly asked? I know I couldn't do it. Why even
get into a situation that allows for such?

Carnatic musicians arre part artists, part businessmen. Hence, we can
negotiate with them in financial matters. This is not the case with
religious scholars. I think it is a big mistake to equate the two.


6. Fund Raising: Here is where I see the primary role of our
organization. Not to use funds, but to collect them. Sri Sampath Rengi
raised a very important issue about V-galai and T-galai, the specific
muttams etc. This is highly relevant.

What I see we can do is have all the major muttams under an umbrella
organization. People send money to whichever muttams they wish to. We
AS A SERVICE ORGANIZATION, see that it gets to its proper destination.

Why not directly send money? Well, there are tax advantages for those
organizations affiliated with a US registered non-profit organization.
Further, we can take care of the "dirty business" of ensuring the
money reaches its proper destination.

This is dirty, thankless business in some sense, BUT truly service.
Now, one need not worry if their money is reaching the intended
organizations. We should report back to people on what the moeny is
doing, provide feedback and reassurance that the money is being spent
well. I don't think this rquires exceptional effort. The publications
etc. from the muttams more than enough establish this.

The Jeers of the different muttams can instruct us on how to disburse
the funds. Perhaps they may wish us to remit monthly, yearly, or to
specific organizations. Whatever is decided, it is NOT US who
explicitly handle money.


SUMMARY
------

In short, I am very concerned about handling money and having our
organization be responsible for actual disbursement of funds. We
should merely be a conduit for organization for established
organizations in India.

Our role should be only one of service. We should feel happy to do the
dirty work of distributing information, collecting money, seeing that
it gets where it shold get. ALll this requires no funding, no
membership fees, nothing -- except service. This is perhaps thankless.
We may very well remain nameless and faceless, but I think we can be
truly successful this way.

Sumanth

=================End of Sri Sumanth Kaushik's mail=========================