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Re: Disagreement Vs. Apachara

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Sun Jan 19 1997 - 18:38:25 PST

At 12:00 AM 1/19/97 -0600, Sri Sridhar Srinivasan wrote:
>I would like him to produce the relevant stanzas, especially from
>the Bhagavad Geetha that support this position."

I am not well read or a scholar by any stretch of the imagination.  
What little I think I know is through casual reading of commentaries
and listening to Upanyaasams.  From this limited understanding I
produce the following:

*  Please look at what Arjuna says in BG 1.41 and 1.42
Lord Krishna not repudiating it shows that birth is, "a"
determining factor for caste.

*  Sri u.vE. ThirukkaLLam Nrisimharaghavachariyar Swamy
gives the following interpretation for "paapayOnayOpi Syu"
from BG 9.32: 

    "janmAndhra paavaththAl thaazhndha piRaviyaip
	 (even if born into low caste due to sins of 
	 previous births).
The preface of this book says the following about ThirukkaLLam
swamy's commentary,

   "Sri raamaanuja sidhdhaanthaith thazhuviyum, thaathparya
    chandhrigaiyil uLLa vishEshaarththanGalaith thazhuviyum" 
	(This commentary is based on Sri Ramanuja's doctrine and
	 Thathparya Chandrika)

Thus, what this swamy says is in line with Sri Ramanuja and 
Swamy Sri Desikan.

* BG 18.41 - 18.48 describes the duties of the four varNaas.
It goes to the extent of stating that it is better to do one's
own duty even if it is not done well, than to do someone else's
duty well.  Our sampradyam has held that one's duty is determined
by the varNaa in which one is born.

*  This point is based on an Upanyasam of Sri Bhashyam by 
Sri M.S. Rajagopalacharyar.  (Sri Mani Varadarajan has a
copy of this set of cassettes.)  I am unable to provide 
further references such as an exact quote.  In the chapter(s)
dealing with criticism of other religions, Sri Ramanuja states
that Manu Smrithi is sacred.  I request any knowledgeable
member to provide the exact quote for this.

Now, let me ask a question, is there anything in GPP or other 
sampradaya text where in someone born in the fourth varNa was
elevated to a full brahmNa status due to conduct, in either of
the two kalais?  If not, it seems action is consistent with the 

It is my understanding based on the writings of individuals 
who are full-time Sri Vaishnava scholars that in our tradition,
from Sri Ramanuja's time to the present time, birth was never
ignored in determining one's varNA duties.

I have no comment about the need for not feeling superior, 
all varNAs are brought together for ascending to Sriman Narayana's
lotus feet, overcoming one's own state of nescience, etc., etc.  
There is no disagreement with these.  Only thing I wish to submit 
is that our sampradayam has held that the practice of varNAshrma 
dharma is not inconsistent with any of these.  

-- Dileepan

p.s. 1: My position on VarNashrama dharma is, having chosen a life of
convenience, we ought not try to redefine it in a blanket fashion for
everyone including the vedhic scholars who are dear to our Lord
Sriman Narayana.

p.s. 2: Sri Sridhar says Manu Smrithi is morally repugnant.  Is this
view shared by Sri vaishnavas of thenkalai or vadakalai?  What is the
orthodox view?  Do the Jeeyars of either kalai think it is morally
repugnant?  If Sri Rajagopalachariyar is to be believed, Sri Ramanuja
himself did not think so.  I have no reason to doubt his words.

p.s. 2: IF discussions should remain above personal level other's
opinions should not be characterized as "ignorant", "careless",
or "superficial", disclaimers not withstanding.  Unfortunately,
such characterizations are by nature personal.

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