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From: KESHAVA PRASAD (103020.541_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Mar 28 1997 - 10:01:48 PST
Dear Bhagavathothamas: Thanks to Kanaka and Mohan Sagar who showed some interest in my posting about Charadu Pandige. I appreciate it and have further comments to offer as follows. Kanaka wrote: "THANKS MR. PRASAD FOR THE EXPLANATION. WE ALSO MAKE UPPU ADAI AND THEY ARE ALSO HAVE TO HAVE BLACKEYED PEAS [ COOKED FROM DRY ONES ] I could never make them right and so i just offer eat some butter with sugar and raisins to god and wear the charadu myself before i go to work . isuppose everyone does it to their own cofort level .The only thing iwould like to know is does anyone think that if you believe in the concept but unable to do it the ritualistic way would that have the same blessings from the lord . this might be a silly question but has been bugging me for a while re . all pandigais. thanks , kanaka" Dear Kanaka: I described in my posting what I learned from others about the traditional Charadu ceremony. Like any other traditional custom, this has background, history and a protocol for its observance. Protocols ensure uniformity so that everyone knows what to do especially when such observances occur in an assembly. Protocols also provide a basis for giving rise to a sense of fulfillment and also documentation so that future generations can learn and perpetuate the practice if they choose to. The important aspect in observing any religious or cultural ceremony is one's state of mind and focus of thoughts during the ceremony. This can vary among individuals depending on their understanding of the need for such a ceremony and their expectations as a result of such observance. We all seek the blessings of the Lord for success in whatever tasks, projects that we undertake to facilitate our living on this earth. This has been a subject of extensive discussions recently on this forum. There are also protocols such as "Thiruvaradhanam" offered to the Lord which are performed because it is our duty as His devotees and there are no materialistic expectations associated with them. Charadu ceremony like most such observances in our religion, in a way combines the two aspects of our worship. By following the tradition of offering the Charadu to Lakshmi Thayar first, we recognize the presence of the mother of the universe among us and are fullfilling a duty as Her sevakas. By doing so, we are left with a sense of accomplishment and also a sense of expectation that our interests are being looked after. In this case, it is preserving the good thoughts and feelings between a husband and his wife or between a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law or a young woman and the future partner of her dreams depending on the circumstances. If we stop there, we will be conducting ourselves in accordance with "Marjala Kishoranyaya" (explained later). Many of the religious observances are more often than not, an excuse to remind ourselves at least on an annual basis of not only the special relationship that each one of us enjoys with Paramatma but also, of our feelings and responsibilities towards one another in basic human relationships. Though it is important to stick to the traditionally established protocols in such ceremonies, it is more important however, to orient our thoughts and mind towards what we expect to accomplish with such observances. It takes an effort on our part and if followed, we will be conducting ouselves in accordance with "Markatakishoranyaya" (read the posting further for an explanation). This is my opinion and you may seek other explanations from the learned members of this forum. Hope this answers your question at the least. Mohan Sagar wrote: "..........................................However, in my personal opinion, this harmony should not provide us with cause to just throw aside the distinctions between the two schools as passe and petty. There a number of philosophical and epistemological issues in this debate that, at times, are crucial to the understanding of our Sampradayam. Included in these is how the two schools view prapatti, which all would agree is the essence of our religion. While neither school should (or would) proclaim supremacy over the other, I would concur with Mr. Sudarshan that a certain level of healthy conversation would be helpful in furthering our understanding of the teachings of our poorvacharyas............................................." Dear Mohan: Thank you for your observation. I took the example of "Vadagalai" and "Thengalai" arguments only because they were currently taking place on this forum and appeared to be a good example to make a case in point. My understanding of how these divisions came about is as follows: A sectarian split among Srivaishnavas took place after Sri Ramanuja attained "Thiruvadi". They literally mean Northern and Southern schools of thoughts very much similar to what exists in India as well as in the U.S. even today. The two sects developed different view points of "Bhakti" and "Prapatti" for the soul on its way to liberation. Both emphasised different aspects of scriptures for study, interpretation and adoptation in matters of practical importance to Jeevatmas. They even went to the extent of defining their own methodologies for observances of traditional ceremonies, their social status in relation to others and so on. Vadagalais who favored Sanskrit works and the path of Bhakti assumed self-effort as a prerequisite to Prapatti based on the maxim of "Markatakisoranyaya" (The maxim of young one of the monkey which has to make an effort to cling to its mother in order not to be left behind). The Thenkalais on the other hand, preferred Tamil works and the path of Prapatti (Self-surrender) for the liberation of the soul based on the "Marjalakisoranyaya" (The maxim of the kitten totally dependent on its mother to take care of it without having to worry about its own abilities). Though there has been no known checks to interdining, intermarriage and social harmony at home and temple, when it comes to control of power in various aspects of society and affairs of the temples, the division has been perpetuated even today. Yes, a lot of good has come about with the division especially in the development of literature in both the languages. But the division raises its ugly head time and again causing problems and mistrust among humans just like the distincton between North & South Indians, Northerners & Southerners in the U.S. The solution perhaps lies in bringing about some sort of integration in thoughts and deeds among the divisions so that the concept that all men and women are created equal and we can totally dispense with the arguments about anyone's superiority over the other, whether humans or Gods and Goddesses. Such reforms, even if in a limited sense, not to hurt the progress of independent creative efforts but only to cause social harmony, could be be instituted only by our religious leaders in the past and can be tried by the religious leaders of the present, to be rewarded with any degree of success. It is upto us their followers, to bring the case to them. This was the point I was trying to make. Adiyen. Keshava Prasad.