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

Resounse to some concerns of Mr. Kaushik
Date: Mon Jan 15 1996 - 21:10:42 PST

Dear Prapatti members:
I like to address some of the issues raised by Mr. Kaushik.
I think he has raised many valid points. I like to share
my thoughts on some of them and share some of my
personal experiences in this regard as well. I request 
you all to take my comments as just another way of 
looking at those  quite valid concerns. 

Mr. Kaushik said:
@@@@@However, the notion of "essay competitions, the projects, etc" is
something quite alien to our tradition.  All the temples in cities do things
like this. Has it really fostered reglion in our youth?@@@@@@

I tend to believe  that monetary incentives, 
parental involvement or  commitment, 
bribe, peer pressure, societal pressure, 
competetion, recognition,  
week-end party discussions, 
parental competition ,  no matter how disgusting
some of these  may sound, CAN influence POSITIVELY.
After all,  these are the very same things that 
are making many of our kids to excell in academics.  
However, no guarantees! 

As a 9 year old kid, I committed to  memory
the entire 18 chapters of the Bhagavadgita. 
The  motivators for me  to do that were:

1. The School  I attended conducted annual
Gita recitation contests (one set of 6 Adhyams in
any given year) and gave monitary rewards for
the contstants and winners.

2. My dad (who taught in the same school) 
made it clear to me that being his child, I
should take part in the contest.

3. Of course, my dad did his role of teaching the Gita
and I did my part with a lot of fuss. 

4. I had a terrible reservation to learn anything
that was out of line with school/friends setting.
School itself organizing the contest, made me to
think that Gita was afterall not such an alien thing
unique only to my house!

Mr. Kaushik also said: @@@@@Carnatic musicians are 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@@@@@@

There was a time when artists  used
to refuse their art to be traded. They realized the
simple truth, what is not traded will be eroded.  
After all both Vishnu Sahasranamam and
Suprabhatams were made popular by
carnatic musicians. Especially, All India Radio
had much do with it as well. Even a Mislim in
Bangalore recognizes M.S.S's V. Suprabhatam.
Recent popularity of Ramayan and Mahabharat
DD productions is another success story of 
marketing our past heritage.

Many were opposed to public discourses of 
Swami Chinmayananda on  Gita and 
Upanishas in the sixties  Fortunately, 
we have come a long way and most religious scholars 
are also happily willing to offer their services. 
I have seen many  scholars who openly discuss 
the fee for their visit and  pravachanams. 
 There is nothing wrong with it. 
It should even be easier with Sri-Vaishnava scholars. 
because, most of our
 scholars as per our tradition are grihasthas,   
and would be  more reasonably priced than 
 a Sanyasi who has accepted a bigger responsibilty 
(Eg., uplifting all the adivasis of Bihar or Gujarat).

At times,  I think, it is our own over-sensitivity
and undue expectations that  prevents scholars 
from being open. 

Growing up in a very traditional family, I noticed
that mnay  Vydhikas behaved like devatantarams
(made unusual demands and unnecessary fuss)
ONLY in our house. Elswhere, I have seen them 
to be so much more human!

Any time I have to arrange a religious
discourse with one of the visiting 
scholars, I ask the fee and they have
quoted the fee clearly. I have also negotiated
the fee with them often.  Some rare individuals, who
resisted to quote a fee,  never 
refused a sambhavanai.  Many times,
I have seen that actor Amitab Bhacchan is more
reasonably priced than someone like 
Sri Ramesh Bhai Oja or Sant Morari Bapu.
Mr. Oja, refused to give a discourse (for 2-3 h)
for anything less than $65,000 (sixty five
thousand dollars). That's what the market dictates
for Mr. Oja.  


-K. Sreekrishna (Tatachar)