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Re: bhakti-digest V1 #47

From: Prof. S.A.Shivashankar (
Date: Sun Mar 03 1996 - 01:58:49 PST

Dear Friends,

The juxtaposition of Sri Jaganath Bhardwaj's (draft) letter regarding the 
incident at the Thiruchchanoor temple and Sri Ramaswamy's preface to his 
" Oh My God" series is interesting indeed. The former takes strong 
exception to the violation of a specific practice, and the latter highlights 
the universality of our collective faith.

I have not been to the Padmavathi temple at Thiruchanoor, but if it is 
not far from the Venkatesha Temple, I presume that a large number of 
worshippers there would be non-Vaishnavas. It is possible that Devi 
Padmavati was decorated as Durga or Annapurna as a tribute to these 
"other" worshippers. Even if it were due to mischief, are the Agamas so 
strict as to forbid any other AlankAram to the image of Devi Mahalakshmi ?

My question (one of ignorance) is : Is it a violation of a SumpradAya in 
Vaishnavism or a violation of the very tenet of Vaishnavism to "make up" 
Devi Mahalakshmi in any other image ?

To equate the (alleged unethical nature of) the incident at Thiruchanoor 
to the reading of the Koran in a church, I think, is wide of the mark. 
(Perhaps it is intended merely as a dramatic statement). Islam and 
claim different prophets. Vaishnavism is contained in the BhagawadgIta, 
as stated by Sri Jaganath Bhardwaj himself. Perhaps one can say the 
Hinduism as a whole is paraphrased in the GIta. The GIta emanates 
from Krishna, who displays 
his VishwarUpa in the process. Surely, then, the analogy with the 
reciting of the Koran in a church is inapt.