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Re: A few words...

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_worldnet.att.net)
Date: Mon Jun 29 1998 - 21:34:05 PDT

Dear Sri Balaraman Sriram,

you certainly have stirred up the proverbial coals in the few short weeks
that you have been a member of this group.  For that, both my compliments
for bringing out some interesting conversation and a few well-meaning words
of advice from one who had to learn his own lessons about the group the
hard way.

My interest in SriVaishnavam goes back to times long before this Bhakti
group and long before what I hope is more than just a fad resurgence in
SriVaishnavam in the US cities of late.  So, when I joined Bhakti, I
brought with me an attitude of a self-proclaimed expert with a chip on his
shoulder.  In my sense of bravado, I challenged good bhAgavathas like Sri
Dileepan, Sri Sadagopan, and many others, thinking that after 10 years of
book knowledge, I knew something that all these new acquaintances, who at
the time were known to me more as e-mail text than people, did not know.

My lessons did not come easy, as I was asked on more than one occassion to
directly quote from the AchAryans' teachings, as these learned individuals
can do, to justify my oftentimes overly idealistic view of things. 
Obviously, with my US upbringing and my limited familiarity with Sanskrit
or Tamizh, I was unable to do so.  But, I did not let this stop me from
taking the good advice of local SriVaishnava friends to maintain an
open-minded learning attitude when participating in this forum.  

All this continued until last year, when on two occassions I had the
bhAgyam to meet the people of this forum in person.  I discovered people
who were in many ways like myself, trying to balance their eastern
spirituality with the pressures of western/modern life.  But, I also found
people who could do so with much more ease than I because of their faith in
the teachings of their respective AchAryans, and in the vision that
EmperumAnAr has given to all of us.  Such a viswAsam is something that I
began to admire in each and every member of this group, and it is this
faith, and the humility that comes with it, that brought me down to earth
(hopefully :-).  It is this faith that made them stay up all night - as Sri
Sadagopan did - transliterating and translating nityAnusandhAnam so that US
raised people like myself could participate in the ghOshti.  It is this
faith that gave the strength to many learned bhAgavathas like Sri Dileepan,
Sri Jaganath, Sri Madhavan, Sri Vijayaraghavan, and many others who
attended the Denver Conference, such that they were able to go with only an
hour or so of sleep each night for four days, and still wake by 4:00 AM to
do kainkaryam to the Lord. 

Yes, it is true that none of us are perfect.  If we were, we would be in
paramapadam, or in one of our divya dEshams, and not here in this samsAram.
 We all have to gulp down a slice of pizza now and then, and the vast
majority of us cannot go without a cup of coffee in the morning.  But, I
personally do not think that this should be used to downplay our interest
in our tradition or in our desire to serve Him.

Just a few words in return....with all due respect.  

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

Mohan