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Re: Disagreement vs. Apachara

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (Dileepan_at_utc.edu)
Date: Thu Jan 16 1997 - 11:41:14 PST

I do appreciate Sri Mani's efforts in running this e-mail list as much as
any other person in this list.  However, his efforts do not automatically
exempt him from occasional criticisms.  This post includes such criticisms
and I seek Sri Mani's forgiveness.


At 10:04 AM 1/16/97 -0600, M Srinivasan wrote:
>.... If respectful disagreement is to be construed as bhaagavata
apacahara, >then there is not much room for philosophical or theological
discussions in >this group.


To my knowledge Sri Mani's objections to Sri Murali Rangaswami prompted a
few mild and quite respectful disagreements.  Sri Mani's response included:

   "Practice your sandhyavandanam, be a vegetarian,
    do thiruvaaraadhanai; but don't let these be the
    excuse for committing bhagavata-apacharam."

>From this it can be argued that Sri M. Srinivasan's complaint applies more
to Sri Mani than to Sri Anbil Ramaswami, the unnamed accused.  Further, I
am unable to see any respectful philosophical or theological exchange of
ideas in the above quote.  All I see is a blanket innuendo that those who
are serious about anushtaanam take that as an excuse to commit bhagavatha
apacharam against non-brahmins.  It is not surprising that such a blanket
statement is itself seen as a bhagavatha apacharam.

Digressing a little bit, not much, all the different interpretations of
Azhvaar life stories and GPP not withstanding, I think most would agree
that there was no call for doing away with Manu smrithi or Varnashrama
dharama by any of the aazhvaars or our poorvaachaaryas including Sri
Ramanuja.  Even the disputed episode goes to show that Thirumazhisai Azvaar
was not about to challenge the practice of Varnashrama dharma.  It is clear
from these, at least to me, that the practice of Varnashrama dharmaa _per
se_ is not considered disrespectful to bhagavathaas and thus not bhagavatha
apachara in our tradition.  Therefore, Sri Vaishnavas who are serious about
radical changes such as throwing out/modify Varnashrama dharma have no
other option but to leave the fold of Sri Vaishnava tradition and initiate
a new revolutionary tradition that declares void the parts of prasthana
thraiya and other important scriptures they find objectionable.  On the
other hand, if evolutionary change is in their minds they should shed
themselves of the strong rhetoric and become influential among the ranks of
practicing Sri Vaishnavas so that they can someday come into the position
of making some incremental changes.  Those who are unable to do either will
have to endure the frustrations of the inherent contradictions between
their modern-day liberal thinking and their inexplicable desire to follow
tradition.


Thanks, Dileepan


p.s. 1: It is not my intention to criticize Mani; if that was so I would
have followed up his article long ago.  The main purpose of this post is to
show that Sri M Srinivasan's complaint against Sri Anbil Ramaswami, who was
not named but obviously meant, is baseless.

p.s. 2: I once again wish to apologize to Sri Mani if I had disappointed
him in any way by the frank expression of my opinion about his comments.