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Re: Biographies of Sri Ramanuja

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Wed May 01 1996 - 05:38:05 PDT

On Tue, 30 Apr 1996 19:55:31 +0800 S. Vidyasankar said:
>>     If Nammaazhvaar was the supreme to Madhurakavi, if Sri Ramanuja
>>     was the five dhivyaayudhaas for amudhanaar, *in the same way*,
>>     nothing more, why can't maNavaaLa maamunigaL be AdhisEshaa
>>     for then aachaaryaa follwers?  Why can't Swmai Sri Desikar
>>     be the amsam of Thiru Mani for vada kalai Sri Vaishnavaas?
>Pardon me for entering into what seems to be an internal SrI vaishNava issue,
>but it seems to me that considering nammAzhvAr and rAmanuja to be amSas of
>the Lord would be acceptable to all,

      By "all"?  Not here in "prapatti"!!!

but not so in the other two cases. Unless
>the vaDakalai-tenkalai divide is sought to be crystallized further.
>It is the general Indian tendency to glorify the gurus of our tradition, to the
>extent of deifying them. But the moment this is done with an intention of
>one-upmanship, sourness results.

    Are you sure that this is the case, i.e. one-upmanship,
    in these two cases?  Please explain.

    If your line of argument is to be accepted, then you MUST
    object to considering Nammaazhvaar and Sri Ramanuja as
    amssas of the Lord also, which I am surprised you don't.
    If your intent was that the first two are acceptable by all
    Sri Vaishnavaas only, then the argument should support
    maNavaaLa maamuni and Swami Sri Desikar equated to the
    respective amsaas by the respective kalais.  What is the problem?

    I don't understand what is the big deal about all this.
    On the one hand the "rationalists" question the mere
    celebration of AchAryaas as amsaas of God, yet perfectly
    willing to accept that Sri Krishna was indeed Lord.  Why
    do you accept this?.  Why can't you question that He simply
    claimed He was God, or His followers went to the extent of
    deifying Him?  Why can't we say all this was just a pigment
    of Vedha Vyaasaa's vivid imagination?  Why do you accept
    the vEdhaas are eternal?  What logical and scientific
    explanation can you give for this?

    To me personally, the writings of aazhvaar's and aachaaryaas
    are so inspiring that I am moved more by their words than
    even Sri Krishna's or  the Lord's dharsan in most temples,
    save a few.  Nammaazhvaar, Sri Ramanuja, and Swami
    Sri Desikan are God, even more than God, to me.
    Kulasekaraazhvaar's words move me more than the words of
    Sri Krishna or the life of Sri Rama, etc. etc.  As for present day
    aachaaryaas, I cannot do without the direction they provide.
    To that extent they are God to me.  If this is
    blasphemy, so be it.  As a Sri Vaishnava I would like
    to look to Swami Sri Desikar and learn to be a good
    Sri Vaishnava and a good pupil.  Part of that is not
    to judge my acharyaa's conduct.  I would rather try to remove
    the log in my eyes than remove the spec of dust that
    I may imagine to see in someone else's eyes, let alone
    my achaaryaa.

To take a specific case from the advaita
>tradition, some modern advaitins want to find support for SankarAcArya's
>avatAra in the SatarudrIyam of the yajurveda. Other learned advaitins, however,
>point out that this is not desirable, because the interpretation is
>The point is that in the drive to declare our gurus to be amSas of one or the
>other thing associated with divinity, we are apt to get carried away and make
>hagiographic claims that only serve to cloud the real personalities, in the
>long run.
>Also, if it is claimed that maNavAla mAmuni is to be considered AdiSesha by
>tenkalais and vedAnta deSika as tirumaNi for vaDakalais only, this is not
>very helpful, is it? It is reduced to the level of aitIkam, rather than upheld
>as really real.

    I am not knowledgeable in this area, but I think
    maNavaaLa maamuni and Swami Sri Desikar are
    highly respected by the two kalais.  The past
    bickerings are more among the later-day followers,
    not due to the claims of amsaas.

    BTW, what is wrong with aitIkam?  What in our Hindu
    religious tradition can be logically proved to
    be "really real"?

    Somehow it does not bother me that our figment of
    imagination is not acceptable to  historians
    and secular scholars.

It cannot be logically defended, excpet through the adoption
>of very advaitin-sounding arguments. I doubt if SrIvaishNavas would want to
>do that.

   How far can one progress spirutually with logic?


-- Dileepan

p.s. I have no quarrel with logic minded bhakthaas, (some
may feel this is a contradition in terms); all I ask is
permit me some illogic, i.e. faith.