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December Sri Vaishnava Conference Report

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri Jan 16 1998 - 11:44:43 PST

[Forwarded on behalf of Smt. Nagu Satyan]

------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) -------
From: 	Satyan, Nagu
Sent: 	Monday, January 5, 1998 9:58 PM
Subject: 	December Sri Vaishnava Conference Report

On behalf of Colorado NAMA Chapter Sri Vaishnava families, I
would like to thank all the participants who attended the
conference.  In all aspects, we think it was a successful event.
As Smt. Malathiy Dileepan stated, the conference addressed many
facets of Sri Vaishnavism--religion, philosophy, cultural,
networking, and social aspects.  On the first day of the
conference, she saw us loading to multiple cars all the
provisions, vegetables, fruits, cooking utensils, paper products,
cleaning materials etc. Her comment was that the effort was
similar to a marriage!  I agree with her assessment.  We had 15
people in our home.  All were busy getting ready to be on time at
the temple.  It was fun!  Malathiy, my sister-in-law Harini
Dasarathy and I would be at the temple past midnight cleaning up
and organizing for next day early start.  We would be back at the
temple by 6 AM.  I would like to thank Malathiy and Harini for
their hard work.  Needless to say that there were many people who
provided support. The experience has been extremely blissful and
fulfilling.  We still talk about the conference and eager to meet
again.

Thursday December 25, 1997
--------------------------
We started on Thursday, 12/25 at 1.30 PM and continued till 11
PM.  We started with the taniyans for our Acharyas.  Sri Dileepan
read and translated the Srimukham from Sri Azhagiya Singar and
Sri Madhavan read and translated the Srimukham from Sri
Andavan. We did not receive on time the Srimukhams from other
Jeers.  Smt. Kalpana Iyengar gave an excellent rendition of a
song on Lord Nrusimha, followed by Alaipaayude by Suma
Krishnachandra.  Sri Krishna Kalale did an outstanding job of
introducing Vedas and Upanishads.  In spite of the fact that the
topic is vast and difficult to summarize and we had to reduce the
available time for him, he approached the topic in a manner that
people were able to appreciate the greatness of our Vedas.  The
second panel was on Sri Vaishnavism, with Mani as the chair.
Mani, as usual, did a super job of communicating with the
audience, in very simple terms what is the essence of Sri
Vaishnavism.  He had excellent support from Mohan.  After each
session, we had questions and answers.  We had a break to have
dinner -- all those who ate were provided with prasadam
appropriate for Ekadasi. This was followed by Sri Dileepan who
chaired the panel on Azhwars. He gave an excellent introduction
on Azhwars, and with his panel members provided an appreciation
of the greatness of the Azhwars.

The session was over around 10.30 PM.  We straightened out the
facility to be ready for early morning start.  That night we
prepared sandwiches for the ski group.  Malathiy, Harini and I
had a production line going to prepare for about 15 people.  My
husband, as usual, being a true Sri Vaishnava volunteered to
drive the van and escort the youth.  According to the younger
kids, he took care of them by carrying their things, handing out
lunch packets etc.  While the others were skiing, he waited alone
the whole day at the mountains to bring them all back safe to
their parents.  The ski trip helped the youth in forming new
relations.  In many respects, this type of association helps
nurture the heritage.  Many of these kids had not met each other.
However, at the end of the conference they were extremely close.
About 125 (includes 40 from out of state) attended the first day
of the conference.

Friday, December 26, 1997
-------------------------
On Friday, 12/26, we started at 6.30 AM for Dwaadasi
ThruvAradhanA by Sri Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan.  What a pleasing
voice and what an emotional experience!  The most fulfilling
moment for me personally was when Sri Jaganath, Sri Nadadur
Madhavan, Sri Vijayaraghavan, and Sri Dileepan set up the
Acharyas pictures in front of the Perumal.  We had photos of Sri
Nammazhwar, Sri Ramanujacharya, Swami Desikan and Sri Manavala
Mamuni in a row.  One by one the pictures of Azhagiya Singar,
Poundareekapuram Ashramam, Vanamaamalai and Tridandi Jeers were
added to the second row ( Due to my oversight, we did not have a
picture of other Jeers).  It may appear symbolic to some.  In my
humble opinion, this is the first step to unify all Sri
Vaishnavas on our common binding theme, recognizing we all have
our individual varying traditions.  I was silently listening to
the discussions among the above four.  They were ensuring to
recite both taniyans at the start and recite both sarrumurai.

We had 12 saligramams, Sri Malolan's Padhukas and Vigrahams.  We
were thrilled to learn that any time we have 12 Saligramams, it
is considered as a Divya Desam according to our traditions.  We
were truly blessed by the Divya Dampithis to be able to have such
a rare occasion as well as to be associated with so many learned
scholars and bhAgavathAs.  We could have kept on listening to Sri
Vijayaraghavan's recitation all day!  What a voice and what
dedication!  The thiruvArAdhanA was followed by prasadam in line
with Dwaadasi.  Many of these bhAgavathAs did not eat on Ekadasi
day.  Some had not eaten anything for nearly three days due to
travel on 12/24.  We learnt a lot of new aspects of Dwaadasi from
Sri Madhavan, Sri Vijayaraghavan and others.  The ladies who
cooked were having their own fun struggling with the
range. Smt. Vimala Rajaji and her mother Smt. Indira Srinivasan,
Smt. Bhargavi Keshava Prasad, Smt.  Malathiy Dileepan,
Smt. Harini Dasarathy managed to cook a delicious dwaadasi menu.

After the lunch, the men had a discussion led by Sri Dileepan,
with Srimans Ramesh, Madhavan, Vijayaraghavan, Mohan, Jaganath
and Chis Anand, Shrikanth, and Vijay.  In the evening, we had Sri
Vijayaraghavan leading in Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Sri Lakshmi
Astothram, Sri Stuthi.


Saturday, December 27, 1997
---------------------------
On Saturday 12/27, we started at 7.45 AM with Sri Jaganath
performing the thiruvArAdhanA for Perumal and Acharyas.  We were
impressed by the devotion of Sri Jaganath. His respect to
Acharyas is deep rooted. Sri Vijayaraghavan lead the recitals,
with the full goshti support.  Sow.  Suma Krishnachandra did a
Bharatanatyam dance.  Smt. Krishnapriya Kalale sang a Meera
Bhajan accompanied by Sri Anil Sriram on Tabla.  Smt.  Krishna
Priya's rendition was so moving and touching.  Due to time
constraints we could not hear more songs.  After the sarrumurais,
we had prasadam.  Then we had the open forum on Sri Vaishnavism,
with Sri Rajaji Raghavan chairing the panel.  There were numerous
questions from the audience, and many from the youth.  Mani,
Mohan, Dileepan and Keshava Prasad fielded the diverse questions,
with good support from Krishna Kalale and Vijayaraghavan
Srinivasan.  Again, we could not get to all the questions due to
time limitations.  This was followed by the Prapatti Panel, with
Sri Vijayaraghavan as the Chair.  This panel lasted for more than
three hours.  The subject seems to have gotten the interest of
all ages.  Sri Vijayaraghavan gave an outstanding overview of
What is Prapatti and its significance. Sri Dileepan did an
outstanding job of compiling and explaining Azhwars references to
Prapatti concept.  Sri Krishna Kalale and Chi. Varadan presented
the two Sri Vaishnava approaches to Prapatti.  After this panel,
we had entertainment--dance by Sow. Dipti Prasad (daughter of
Keshava Prasad), a Hindi bhajan by Sow. Netra Sreeprakash, a
Purandaradasa Devarnama by Chi. Krishna Satyan, two bhajans by
Smt. Ambuja Sreeprakash, Smt.  Indira Sreenivasan, Smt. Sudha
Ramesh.

We had planned for three hours of session on Acharyas.  However,
we had to request Sri Madhavan to summarize all by himself in one
hour session.  He has spent numerous hours to research about our
Acharyas and has done an outstanding job of putting some charts
together to explain the ages of the Vedas and the two eyes of Sri
Vaishnavism--1) Sanskrit Vedas and Tamil Prabhandham; 2) the
second identification is the two kalais.  He conveyed the message
in a very succinct way that both eyes (and both sets) are equally
important to Sri Vaishnavas.  In spite of the fact that it was
close to 10 PM and we had deferred dinner to after the session,
people sat there engrossed, trying to assimilate the great
lineage.  Again, I have to apologize to Sri Madhavan and the
other panel members for the poor time management.  After his
presentation, quite a few Sri Vaishnavas expressed their
disappointment that we did not have enough time for this panel.
After a late dinner, people went home extremely happy with the
full (and long) day.

Sunday, December 28, 1997
-------------------------
On Sunday, 12/28, we started at 8 AM, with the thiruvArAdhanA,
followed by recital of Sri Raghuveera Gadyam by Sri
Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan and Mani taking the lead.  One has to
heat that recital by these two talented people to appreciate when
I state that it was a moving experience.  After other Desika
Stothtram recitals, the goshti led by Varadan went into full
swing with Divya Prabhandham recital.  This was not on the
original Agenda--however, the enthusiasm was beyond description.
After lunch, we had Carnatic Music recital by Mani Varadarajan,
Ravi Srinivasan (Son of Sri K. Srinivasan) and Netra Sreeprakash
and Ambuja Sreeprakash.  Both Mani and Ravi astonished all with
their deliverance.  It was an appropriate finale for a successful
Conference.  Most of the participants left around 4 PM on Sunday.

A few of us had to stay late to shift the things and clean up the
facilities.  By the time my husband and I went home, it was 9.30
PM.  That night Krishna Kalale and his family joined us for
dinner.  I was amazed to see Amritha Dileepan and our son Krishna
stay up past midnight to learn from Krishna Kalale.  In my
opinion, because of the small group and the close relationship
that had been formed during the four days of association, there
was free exchange of ideas and thoughts.  Both Amritha and
Krishna Satyan impressed the adults with their quick grasp and
their keen interests.

I am sure I have missed various other important aspects of this
conference.  I request thaose of you who attended the conference to
post your observations and assessment of the conference. However, we
were truly blessed to have been able to bring so many devout Sri
Vaishnavas together to share knowledge, thoughts and opinions freely.
In my next posting, I will share some lessons learned so we can plan
the next conference better.

Again, our thanks to Sri Dileepan and family, Sri Vijayaraghavan
Srinivasan, Sri Jaganath Bharadwaj, Sri Nadadur Madhavan, Sri Rajaji
Raghavan and family,  Sri Krishna Kalale and family, Sri Belur
Dasarathy and family, Sri Keshava Prasad and family, Sri Murali
Kadambi and family, Sri Sridhar and Mangala Kadaba, Sri Tirumalai
Krishnaswamy and family, Chis Mani Varadarajan, Vijay Triplicane,
Varadan, Shrikanth, Anand, Ravi Srinivasan, Srihari Gopalakrishnan and
Sow. Keerthi Bhaktisarar Iyengar and Sow. Madhavi Samudraala.

Nagu Satyan