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From: Srinivasan Srivilliputhur (
Date: Thu Jan 18 1996 - 14:47:20 PST

Dear Forum Members-
Hari OM and my respectful greetings to all of you Bhakta Jans. My name is 
Srivilliputhur Gopalan Srinivasan and I'm a graduate student in Materials 
Science and Engg at the Univ. of Washington, Seattle.  This is my first 
posting to this list and I wish to thank Sri. Mani Varadarajan for making 
aware of its existence. I've already received a couple of digests and am 
glad to have joined this group.

I was born in Kumbakonam (native place of my Maternal Grand-Parents); my
father's family is from Srivilliputhur.  However, I spent my life
in Thiruvananthapuram; Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Bombay and 

My parents follow Andavan Swamigal of Srirangam. Most of my early years, 
I've been disillusioned by the double standards, other inexplicable and 
seemingly meaningless ritualisms of contemporary "Hinduism" (I use this 
word rather loosely). This made me an agnostic until my BHU days. During 
this period I was exposed to the Bhagavad Geeta Lectures of my Institute 
Director Prof. T.R.Anantharaman and to the Advaita teachings of Swami 
Dayananda (a contemporary of Swami Chinmayananda). This association 
helped me dispel a lot of false notions about the Sanatana Dharma and 
made me a believer ! The path of Jnana had an appeal for me because of my 
rational scientific background. But the introductory words of Rajaji in 
the Bhajagovindam Cassette of M.S.Subbulakshmi, "..... shows that Jnana and
Bhakti are one and the same" always kepts haunting me. Later on, I came 
to follow the teachings of Mata Amritanandamayi, a realized spiritual Master 
from  Kerala.  She also teaches Advaita but with a tilt towards Bhakti 
Marga. She says, "Knowledge without Bhakti is like chewing stones". 
I've no knowledgeable familiarity with Vishistadvaitam; but with what I 
know I feel that it has a right blend of both Jnana and Bhakti and has 
gotten me all fired up.

In one of the postings somebody (Mani?) lamented the lack of Social 
vision of the present day Vaisnava Acharya's. I remember an adage in 
Sanskrit, "Yatha Raja Tatha Praja".  The converse also holds (as we live 
in a democracy !).  We can extend this by substituting "Acharya" for 
"Raja" and "Vaishnavas" for "Praja".  We have deviated from the path of 
our illustrious Acharyas like Ramanujacharya and have become very 
parochial, egotists and egoisitic.  We treat the divine Vaishnava 
teachings as our personal properties instead of taking it to the masses 
and making the message serve as a a vehicle for Social Change.  This is 
the main reason people are not very familiar with these even in the 
Divya-Desas (as pointed out by another posting- Badri ?).

I remember a old joke that said "There are three ego states; I, Iyer, 
Iyengar; (HIGHER)Iyer you go Iyengar you become". As Baghwan Ramana 
Maharshi points out, all the schools of Vedanta unanimously declares the 
undesirability of ego in a spiritual seeker. This is what we have not 

I'm very glad to find some serious and open-minded discussions in this 
list and pray that this will continue. I really hope to benefit from your 
collective erudition.


PS: The purpose of my mail is not to ridicule Brahmins.  So please don't 
misread my intentions.

S. G. Srinivasan                email :
Graduate Student
Dept. Of Mater. Sci. & Engg.
University Of Washington        Phone : (206)-368-2649 (H)
Seattle, WA 98195                       (206)-685-3851 (W)