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Charadu Pandige and Thiruvaraadhanam

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sun Mar 30 1997 - 20:46:18 PST

I must apologize for replying so late to these postings.  It has been a very
busy week.

Mrs. Kanaka Vasudevan writes:

>The only thing i would 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.

Mr. Keshava Prasad has already provided us with some interesting insights
into this, but I thought I would add to the conversation.  The question is a
little difficult to answer, because holidays such as Charadu Pandige are
really not the product of, nor are exclusive to, the SriVaishnava Community.
As a result, they may not be based on the paradigms of our Sampradayam.

But, from the SriVaishnava perspective, to consider that the performance of
a certain ritual is required to obtain a particular blessing would be in
stark contradistinction to the basic tenets of our philosophy.  Our
tradition emphasizes that all our Blessings, whether material or spiritual,
are solely due to Perumal's spontaneous and unbounded Grace, with our self
efforts having little or no effect.  While the proper performance of such
rituals is recommended for the preservation of tradition, the role of this
adherence has little importance when compared to the level of magnitude of
His Love for us.  Our only obligation, if any at all, would be to recognize
our utmost dependency on Him, and maintain an attitude of what some have
called "non-resistance to His Grace."

In response to the same question Mr. Prasad writes:

>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.

Terms such "protocols" or "duty" may tend to further the view that these
rituals in some way are demanded by the Lord in return for His Protection
and Blessings.  Thirvaraadhanam is a very beautiful experience that is a
direct expression of the Goal of serving the Lord. The Lord, out of His
Soulabhyam, manifests Himself as the Archavatharan in our temples and homes.
Through this, the most dynamic and powerful Being becomes immobile and
utterly helpless so that devotees may interact and associate with Him.  As a
result of this, the parent-child relationship that we have with Perumal is
reversed as we wake Him, bathe Him, sing His praises and feed Him just as we
would do for our own children.  The entire process is a simple expression of
love and devotion that is more of a joy than an obligation for those who
regularly perform it.       

I also have some observations to make on Mr. Prasad's discussion on our two
schools, but in order to prevent this message from becoming too long-winded,
I will discuss these thoughts in my next posting.

Daasanu Daasan,

Mohan