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Bad sinner

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (Dileepan_at_utc.edu)
Date: Thu Jul 30 1998 - 13:22:13 PDT

At 02:44 PM 7/29/1998 +0500, V. Chandrasekaran wrote:
>
> It is not justified admiring any saint who intends to cause 
>violence to or severely criticizes followers of other darmas.

[...]

> [ He is as bad a sinner as the Chola king who plucked 
> the eyes of a disciple of Srimad Ramanuja for worshipping Narayana. ]


Since a link to Badri's comments on the paasuram was already 
provided I don't intend to go into that here.  However, I would like to
add just a point or two from Sri Periyavachchaan PiLLai's (PP)
commentary on Thirumalai.  

"Why is the most kind, the most righteous, and the 
most peace loving Azhvaar advocate killing?"  

"The vEdhaas say "na himsyaath sarvaa bhoothaani"
(non-violence must be practiced towards all living creatures),
and yet as an exception, the vEdhaas do permit violence
in AgnIshOmIya yaagam for the benefit of everyone.  Thus,
there is no harm.  There can never be friendly contact between
those who deride perumaaL and those who love Him.  They will 
always be in opposite ends.  Thus there is no harm in
what Azhvaar says."

(The above is a rough translation of a small section of 
Sri PP's commentary on the verse in question.)

Before criticizing the Azhvaar we need to really 
understand what the paasuram actually says.  
First off, cutting off the heads is figurative and not literal.
(More about this later.)  Be that as it may, even this 
figurative act is not a blank fatwa issued against all Buddhists,
Saivites, and Jains.  The verse talks about only those who 
come looking for trouble and start deriding our Lord.
The phrase is "poruppariyanakaL pEsil".  The word pEsil
means "if they say."  Azhvaar's figurative curse is 
conditioned upon this happening.  That is, the Azhvaar 
_wishes_ extreme punishment only for those who 
without cause, deride the Lord with unbearable words.

Sri PP mentions Mahabali in this context.  When Mahabali 
derided Lord Sriman Narayana, Prahaladhaazvaar cursed 
his own grandson that he will be destroyed.  We don't fault 
Prahaladhan for this, do we?  Similarly, our Azhvar's curse 
against those who go out of the way to deride the Lord 
does not make him out to be a "bad sinner".

Now is there evidence to show that the Azhvaar's curse born out
of frustration towards the obstinate Buddhists, just figurative?  
I think so.  But, not all may accept what I am about to write.
Even so, I shall present it anyway.  Araayirappadi 
Guruparamparai says Sri Ramanuja defeated 12,000 
Buddhists (other texts refer to them as Jains)  in Padmagiri 
and put them into stone grinders "sekku".  If we literally interpret 
this we have to say that Sri Ramanuja put these poor souls
to death.  Obviously, this is not so.  If this actually happened 
we would find references to this event in other texts.  Not even 
the Jain texts corroborate such as event.  Thus, what is mentioned
in Araayirappadi is simply a figurative account of defeating
them in debate.  A similar view could be taken towards
Azhvaar's words.  It is simply a figurative expression, born
out of frustration, towards some obstinate opponents, who, 
without provocation, make it their business to shower 
unbearable abuses upon our Lord Sriman Narayana.

-- adiyEn