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Re: Ramanujacharya on Brahmanical Orthodoxy

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Wed Mar 13 1996 - 06:17:35 PST

On Wed, 13 Mar 1996 07:57:39 -0500 Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan said:
>Our Acharya respected the traditional Brahmanic codes (classified under
>shastras).  But where Bhakti or love is overwhelming, these conventional rules
>give way to exceptions.  This will explain the position taken by our acharya
>with regard to the partaking of left-overs from Thirukachhi nambigal, or his
>leaning on shoulders of Urangavilli Daasar.  I think intentions are more
>important than the action itself.

   I think this was more than just a few exceptions.  If one
   accepts the stories of 3000 and 6000 padi Guruparamabara
   as more than just exaggerations of a few star struck devotees of
   Sri Ramanuja we have no other option but to accept that a serious
   effort at opening up our institutions was under way.  Just imagine
   Alavandhaar having an untouchable as a disciple along with caste
   brahmins such as ThirukkOshtiyoor nambi.  Almost all through his
   life Sri Ramanuja attempted to overcome the objections of "high-born"
   and secure rights for the "low-born."  He took Sri Vasihnavam to
   everyone.  He climbed on top of the temple tower to spread his
   gospel.  He sought out Urangavalli dhaasar and turned him into
   a great bhaktha.  These are the reasons he is "perumpoothoor
   vandha VALLAL" not "perumpoothoor vandha muni" or
   something like that, I think.  This is far from simply
   allowing some exceptions after someone has already
   proved himself worthy of inclusion by showing extraordinary

   The first jeeyar of Srimad Ahobila mutt was also known to have
   worked for the inclusion of adhivaasees. All these efforts may
   seem precious little by today's standards.  But the precious
   little was the result of systematic effort, not exceptions, I think.

   In Sri Vaishnavam we are supposed to follow caste dictates
   only to the extent of who does what.  For instance, perumaaL
   aaraadhanai can be performed only by a practicing vaidhikaa.
   Temple adminstration can be by any able bhaktha, need not be
   brahmin.  Entrance into the temple, worship, mutual devotion,
   prapatti, for all of these, caste no bar.

   Please pardon me if my understanding is not fully
   supported by the texts.

-- dhaasan parthasarati dileepan