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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:

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.


Keshava Prasad.