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thanks to Dileepan for arranging Azhagiasingar's lectures

From: Krishna Kalale (kkalale1_at_san.rr.com)
Date: Sat Jul 17 1999 - 11:25:44 PDT

Dear friends,

It is really remarkable that sri Dileepan has been consistently working on 
getting HH Azhagiasingar on the conference.  Adiyen cannot thank Dileepan 
enough for such continued kainkaryam.  May our acharyas and Malolan bless 
him for that. Today's discourse on "kanninun sirutthambu" was excellent 
like every one of the other lectures in the series.  HH Azhagiasingar 
talked in his usual inimitable style with such interesting examples to 
which any one can relate to.  The excerpts from the vyakhyanas or glosses 
by Nanjiyar, Periavacchan pillai etc. were precise driving the points so 
clear.  The explanation of "bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate" 
was precise highlighting the subtle but brilliant nature of our 
Ramanujacharya's gita bhasya - that only after thousands of punya janmas 
(ie. good births, not the birth in the bodies of worms etc.) that one 
attains bhakti (bhaktiyoga ie. immense taste, attraction and enjoyment in 
meditating incessantly without break on the divine couple srimmannarayana's 
attributes) in srimannarayana and surrenders to HIM.  Here surrender is not 
the usual prapatti, for which such difficult set of qualifications are not 
needed except full faith or mahavishvasam.

Incidentally,  the issue of "pursuit of wealth", the famous topic of 
discussion, opened up by Mani Varadarajan on bhaktilist, was handled 
uniquely by HH Azhagiasingar.

Azhagiasingar's views on pursuit of wealth :  (DISCLAIMER ::: THE FOLLOWING 
IS AS ADIYEN UNDERSTANDS IT.... PLEASE CLARIFY DIRECTLY FROM HH 
AZHAGIASINGAR IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS.  THE FOLLOWING IS JUST HOW MY DULL 
INTELLECT UNDERSTANDS THE INFORMATION GIVEN BY HH AZHAGIA SINGAR)

Pursuit of wealth, according to Azhagiasingar, is sort of dependent on the 
environment, time, geography, etc.  During ancient times, Drona who was a 
Brahmin; he took up kshatria dharma.  He probably could have opened up a 
veda pata sala (veda school) and somehow protected his family.  However, He 
felt that it was difficult for him to do so and for protection of his 
family, eventhough people openly condemned him for that, he resorted to 
kshatria (warrior) dharma which is not appropriate for him who is a Brahmin 
by birth.  In the Manu dharma shastra there is an allowance made:  " in 
times of difficulty, there are provisions in our shastras (manu dharma) 
that one can resort to anya vritti or occupation of  a different class 
other than one's own for the sake of protection of family;  family 
protection is very important; and one should not give that up in spite of 
difficulty".  Remember that this was during the times of Drona, which 
probably was much better than during times of Vedanta Desika, who, 
incidentally lived on alms (uncha vrtti - begging for living).  This shows 
Sri VedantaDesika's determination. During Vedantadesika's time there were 
people who gave alms and times were reasonable; however, his family was 
also small since he had one son only.  But it is different now.  Azhagia  
singar, interestingly brought out the point, "how can one go to Uncha 
vritti now,  ie. in Palghat (ie. adiyen thinks he is currently somewhere in 
palghat, in Kerala south India), There are hardly any agraharams or 
collection of homes, where one can walk and ask for alms / food.  How can 
one survive on uncha vrtti? today.  It is not possible; Hence, a brahmin 
can resort to job of a economist, or in accounting or in science etc.  Yes, 
it is true that some rare souls strive hard even today to be as puritan as 
possible. But that is very rare and impractical in general.  One can do a 
job of another class; But one should not do "adharma" ie. cheat for the 
sake of "wealth".  One should not stoop too low and stray far away from the 
ideal path of one's dharma, just for the sake of money.  Yes, it is true, 
that the duty of a brahmin is to study vedas, serve in temples, teach 
vedas, conduct yajnas etc.  HOwever, that can be done nowadays to a limited 
extent depending on one's capacity, determination and the environmental 
conditions such as finance, accessibility etc.  One should be as practical 
as possible; however one should try hard to keep up one's dharmas.

On the otherhand, HH Azhagiasingar stated that it is so difficult for even 
a sanyasi (ie. HH azhagiasingar) to exist without expecting the society for 
contributions for the Ahobila muth, which is a big organization.  The 
moment one becomes an acharya of a big institution such as "Ahobila Muth" 
lot of responsibilities immediately fall on that individual.  The shastras 
say ' vichitra deha samsristih isvaraya niveditum" meaning 'this human body 
is really an unique and interesting instrument given to us,  this should be 
dedicated to be offered in worship to GOD, not to be wasted on other 
pursuits". Taking care of temples which are structures dedicated to promote 
and nurture the bhakti in common people is a duty of the righteous minded 
people. That being the case, it is natural that Ahobila muth is intersted 
in taking care of the temples in Ahobila, Andhrapradesh.  It seems that 
recently, an archaka left the doors of the temple of Mahalakshmi (thayar) 
sannidhi leaving all the ornaments open for miscreants to take advantage 
of. Probably nothing happened.  But one has to be sure. For that, just to 
organize someone to get to that hilly and desolate Ahobila and take a look 
at the situation, costs funds;  On top of that these temples are taxed by 
the Government and significant funds are needed.  It is not possible to run 
away from these responsibilities.  How can I (ie. HH Azhagiasingar) deal 
with such situations without the help of support from the society?.  Even 
with the funds, one can never be  sure if the person or archaka uses the 
funds and not really do the duty sincerely.  However, this does not reduce, 
in any sense the need for money. Hence these times are different.

In essence, one should work for money by some means suitable to support 
one's family.  However, one should strive hard to uphold one's dharma 
without resorting to "unfair" means.

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