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Dalls NAMA Conference

From: Anand Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sat Jan 09 1999 - 19:35:43 PST

Sri:
Srimate Sri Lakshminrusimha Parabrahmane namaha

Dear devotees,
namo nArAyaNA.

This is a short report by Sri Venkat Rajaji on the recent NAMA
conference held at Dallas. Sorry if this has already been posted
to the list.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
ananthapadmanAbha dAsan
krishNArpanam
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I would like to give my feedback on this year's conference. I think the
conference was done very well, and I enjoyed everything about it. I was
glad to witness the Thirumanjanams performed for Sri Rama on two days
and listen to the Veda Parayanam and Prabhandam Ghosti. It sounded
electrifying.

The conference started off with Sri Dileepan's speech on the history/age

of Sri Vaishnavism and Bhagavath Seshathvam. He complimented his
speech with a nice PowerPoint presentation. He made the point that Sri
Vaishnavism is timeless dating back to the beginning of time, since it
is
mentioned in the Vedas. He also talked about the importance of serving
other Bhagavathas, which is more pleasing to God than serving Him. He
used quotations from Naalaayira Divya Prabhandams to make his point.

Sri Krishna Kalale did a great job discussing the Life and Works of Sri
Ramanuja. Since I helped my mother with the Ramanuja Poster
Presentation, Sri Krishna Kalale's speech made it easier for me to
realize
the greatness of Sri Ramanuja and what he has done for us.

The next day's speeches began with Sri Nadadur Mathavan discussing the
Principles and Practices of Sri Vaishnavism. I have heard Sri Nadadur
Mathavan speak before, but both times he had to stop in the middle of
his
speech for lack of time. Well, it was well worth the wait to hear an
entire
speech of his. He concisely captured the essence of the ocean we call
Sri
Vaishnavism. He concluded with a beautiful recitation of a Desika
Prabhandam. It was absolutely magnificent.

The next speech was given by Sri Anand about Pancha Samskaaram.
This particular topic is a very important topic that needs to be
discussed in
forums like these. Sri Anand discussed the significance of Pancha
Samskaaram in a very clear and simple manner. It was a good speech,
and I hope that people were inspired by Sri Anand's speech to go get
Pancha Samskaaram done.

The next thing was a panel discussion on the Role of Women in Sri
Vaishnavism conducted by Srimathy Nagu Satyan, Sri Krishnaswamy,
and Sri Krishna Kalale. I really enjoyed Srimathy Nagu Satyan's speech.
She did a great job and gave a rather fascinating and in my opinion
logical
interpretation as to why Shastras and Manu Smruthi are the way they are
and give the rules that they do. Sri Krishnaswamy also gave a nice
speech
with a very complimentary computer projection that was also interesting.

I also liked Sri Krishna Kalale's slant. He did a good job of quoting
Bhagavad Gita and Manu Smruthi to give a very substantiated and
convincing speech. I was impressed to learn how our Sampradaayam
gives prime importance to the married woman.

Sri Venkat Kanumalla gave the final speech of the day on the subject of
Mahavishwasam. I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed his speech. First, it

does not matter what he says or even if you agree or disagree with what
he says, he is a riveting speaker. He just absolutely captivates the
audience,
and you as the audience are just begging to hear more of what he has to
say. The actual content of his speech was very important for all Sri
Vaishnavas. He spoke on Mahavishwasam or absolute surrender to
Sriman Narayana, which is one of the most important aspects of Sri
Vaishnavism. His speech was so good that someone who had not
previously done Prapatti, would have immediately stopped what they
were doing and gone to India to get Prapatti done after hearing his
speech. His speech was so simple and so convincing with simple
illustrations like, why do you not get insurance for your soul by
getting
Prapatti done when you have insurance for your car and house, which are
merely temporary objects? I just cannot say enough good things about his

speech.

The next day Sri Krishna Kalale spoke on Bhagavaan Naama Prabhaavam.
He gave an excellent speech with, according to him, very little
preparation.
He gave a talk every day of the conference. What that tells me is that
he is
very knowledgeable in Sri Vaishnavism even though it is a vast subject.
It
is impossible for someone like me to ever learn or have as much
knowledge
about Sri Vaishnavism as Sri Krishna Kalale has.

The final forum during this conference was a debate on Divya Desams.
Even though it was light hearted and fun for us to listen to, all the
participants made compelling arguments for the Divya Desam they were
defending. It was a debate as to which Perumal was the greatest, but as
we
all know, anywhere there is Perumal, that place is the greatest place.
So it
was a debate that really could not be debated, but regardless of that I
still
think there was a winner. I think Sri Anand made the best arguments in
his
defense of Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal. He refuted all the other
Divya
Desams and gave clear and convincing arguments that supported his case
as
to why Kanchipuram is the greatest Divya Desam of the 106 on earth that
people can see.

I think both the entertainment programs on Friday and Saturday night
were done very well. I know that Srimathy Revathi Srinath and Srimathy
Vijaya Chakravarty worked very hard to provide entertainment for the
audience. Srimathy Revathi Srinath did a great job of directing the
Friday
night's play. I know first hand because I was in it, and she did a great
job
of keeping her composure and being patient with all of the kids who were

at times tough to deal with (not me!). Srimathy Vijaya Chakravarty
assisted
by Srimathy Nagu Satyan also did a good job with Saturday night's
program
coordinating entertainment with people from all over the United States,
which I am sure is tough to handle especially when you only have two
hours
to rehearse all of this together in one big group.

I think this NAMA conference was a great success. All the speeches were
easy to understand and were given by very qualified speakers. The
speakers
made some of the more complex topics so easy that even someone with no
knowledge of Sri Vaishnavism like myself could easily understand them.

This, the previous NAMA conference held in Denver, and Sri Ahobila Mutt
conference held in New Jersey earlier this year have all been great for
me to make new friends. There was enough time during the breaks for us
young adults to sit down and get to know each other well. On the free
day
we as a group of 12 people spent a few hours together just hanging out
at
the mall. After the end of the conference a group of 6 of us spent all
night
hanging out watching videos. I am sure we will keep in touch with each
other
for many years to come.

Ultimately, I think this concept of NAMA is a great idea. Without it, I
am not sure that I would have learnt that much about Sri Vaishnavism. I
have also met so many new people and made so many new friends that I am
not sure I would have met without these NAMA conferences. I think this
conference and the past conferences that I have attended have all been
successful. I really see Sri Vaishnavism headed in the right direction
for the
21st Century in America. I really enjoyed this conference, and I am
really
looking forward to the next one.

Venkat Rajaji

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