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Why Have Kalais
Date: Tue Jan 05 1999 - 19:41:18 PST

In my previous notes (longer than several epics known to man), i had reffered to
an incident at Thiruvarangam. I thought i will share my views on the same.
based on my experience at thiruvarangam ,and discussing the same with others
(back in Madras and here in the US), i have come to realize that one is
discriminated based on his/her kalai (Vadakalai/Thenkalai). It pains my heart to
know that in a community as small as ours, we are out to outdo our brethren from
the so-called other kalai, purely because we consider ourselves as the better
kalais. Little do we realize that when we start our Thiruvaradhanam, we start as
"Ramanuja Dhaya Patram", and not with what kalai we belong to. If we truly
consider Ramanuja as our Paramacharya (and i am sure all of us do), why are we
restricted to following only one kalai. Please correct me if I am wrong (which I
am always), Ramanujar did not divide us in to the Vadakalais and Thenkalais, but
it came about later (since, I am not sure about its origin, I will refrain from
speculating).  Azhwars were never concerned with the kalais and were focussed
towards surrendering to Perumal and attaining moksham. It is also surprising
that we in turn divide the Perumals belonging to the Divya Desams as a  Perumal
who wears only a Vadakalai or a Thenkalai Thiruman.
I have always wondered if Perumal were to grant me a wish, what is it that i
would ask for. What was initially the act of ridding others of their sin, and
transferring the same to me (this way, i will never reach Paramapadham, and can
sit back here and enjoy the greatness of our sampradhayam) has now changed for
something else. My wish now would correspond to seeing our Sadacharyas getting
together and deciding that we get rid of the kalai factor, and adopt an
universal symbol for the holy thiruman and we all become one and strive to
achieve our goal. If the concept of SriVaishnavam deals with humility and
respecting our fellow bhagavathas, aren't we being hypocrites when we tend to
criticize bhagavathas of a different kalai? I kid about the kalias with
Sri.Varadhan, Mohan and Madhuri (Sagars), but never actually mean it. It is
strange that in my koil azhwar i have a photograph of Sri Manavala Mamuni
instead of Sri Vedantha Desikar (i am a Vadakalai ?). It is not that i prefer
the former to the latter, but merely because i do not have a photo of Desikar. I
am curious to know if our Acharyas have addressed this aspect? Or, am I blowing
a tiny little misunderstanding way out of proportion???
Please feel free to correct me and i would be extremely happy if someone told me
that everything i have written is purely a figment of imagination.

Ramanuja Thiruvadigale Saranam