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Re: Prof Shiv Sankar's Reply

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Mon Mar 04 1996 - 06:39:11 PST

I would like to appreciate Sri Jagannath for his letter and want to make a few
comments as a reply to Prof Shivsankar's letter. It was indeed a very restraint
letter formatted by Sri Jagannath, as he had omitted to mention the two
pontiff's (they are respectful) in his letter respecting the sentiments of
people from other faiths.

A large number of people visit USA as it is considerd the dream land of many if
not heaven for some. But as they are in US , US has its own civil Laws and
rules in place for every person in US and the same is applied for the visitors
also as the law protects the citizens and visitors to the same extent. Just
because many outsiders than the locals visit here to the places of attraction
like, Statue of Liberty, and other such, they donot change their local laws in
such places to please the outnumbering visitors nor they change the costumes of
their most respected symbol. The argument that one should change their costume
of the deity to the whims and fancies of visitors is ignorance (unless
otherwise approved by the poovaahcaaryaaLS) and cannot find support from our
established paths of mutts that follow the fundamental philosophies. Agamaas
are to be strictly followed and there is no exemption except to few cases where
there has been a customary practice for some centuries now and is in a way
nodded by our achaaryaaLS. We go by what our achaaryaaLs (Sri vaishnvaa
achaaryaaLS) say in these matters.

	Before quoting three such cases, I want to make a note that Sri
Sudarsanam iyengaar is a very well known scholar in SriVaishnavaa works, and is
considered one of the strong pillars of Srivaishnavam. Before writing about
this incident he would have thoroughly enquired about the practices of these
alankaarams and he has also mentioned the same in his letter as such. Sri
Nrsimhapriya is also one of the holiest magazines for us. It is not like the
olden days of colonial government where in they (the British and French) had a
heavy influence from the orthodox churches which were also called ministries,
that we are trying to imitate from our scholars and religious leaders.
(Surprisingly even the colonial governors never interuppted with our practices
of worship). We have come a long way now and refined ourslevs from the
cluctches of clonial rule and we want to respect every other religions
sentmients and expect that they also reciprocate the same to us.

The three incidents are

1. Srimushnam

Every year, the purappaadu of the Perumal passes thorugh a mosque and prayers
are offered to the perumal from the mosque. TN GOVT is conducting this as unity
symbol festival every year. This practice is believed to be in place for
centuries since mogul's rule.

2. ThiruK KaNNapuram

This Lord is also appearing as mummorrthis here. On the brahmOtsavam 7th day,
the deity is costumed as Sri Maha vishnu in "sthuthi kaaththaruLum" state, and
in the same night he is dressed in the middle of the lotus flower using the
"tharba naaLangaL"  in the srushti devaa pose as Brahmaa, and morning as Lord
shivas for less than 1 muhoortha naazhi ie less than 3 hours and 45 minutes.
This is not to be seen in any other of the 108 DD as this place is unique
(please read the previous posts on pancha krishna arranyam kshEthrams).
(as per thala puraaNam)

 3. Thiru Arangam
 When they invaded the Koil, the emperor's (paadhshaa) daughter fell in love
with the archamoorthy. When the vigraham was restored the lady also followed
with HIM, and the Lord blessed her for her devotion it seems. Adoring her
resolve for perumaal srivaishnavaas named her as "thulakkachi naachiyaar" and
remebering this incident there is a festival in maargazi eKaadEsi that the Lord
wears saaram or lungi and vasthram to please the naachiyaar (as per
thalapuraaNam). Please note that she is not any visitor but the very emperor's
daughter who invaded. The Lord would show HIS mercy even for such (invaders
clan) people who are in some way "attached" to HIM.

 Regarding equating Thiruk Kuraan and church, please note that Sri Jagan
nath had asked the individuals to omit and edit what ever they want. However,
one who knows the basics of thirukuraan and churches can  find his argument is
very meaningful and that any opposing argument as inconclusive. Please note
that just as the same way you derive Srimath Bagwath geetha as the rule book
for HINDUS, thirukuraan acknowledges Christ as a prophet in the begining and
lists all the prphets who had appeared prior to His Holiness Muhammad. These
were considered the three religions launched from this part of the world and in
a way luanched in the population of the same group of people living there at
the time of founding. For Islam, Thiruk kuraan has so much to offer as such and
it is really a very sacred rule book for ISLAM. What is interpreted by
different sects of ISLAM may vary. But thiruk kuraan is a holy book and that IT
lists very much Jesus christ as one of the propehts of the early days. However,
christians have their own rule book, the HOLY BIBLE, and they will very much
want their HOLY BIBLE recited in their churches, though other HOLY BOOKS have
mentioned about their prophet. I didnot see any disrespect caused by such
statements in his letter, nor was it out of the scope of our topic. Perhaps he
would have mentioned it as a valid argument for drawing attention of the
governing instituitions. However, With due respect to all the religions, we
need not quote other religions in our notes and letters. . But the argument
that such quote is inapt is in a way primitive and very much invalid.

Sampath Rengarajan