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Social aspects of Visishtaadvaita..

From: P.B.Anand (cbp95183_at_ccsun.strath.ac.uk)
Date: Fri May 16 1997 - 07:24:59 PDT

Dear Bhagavathas

I have two issues haunting me for me some time. I would request the 
members of the group to kindly respond and enlighten :

A. What is the role of acharya with regard to our day to day problems?
   In many cases, we do like to consult our acharayas on important 
matters, but that is an exception than the rule. As an institutional 
provision, do we have a system where any person, can approach a religious 
leader just for moral support? IS is obligatory for the religious leader 
to listen to such person or is it subject to their convenience?

 
(This may need some expansion : In many religions, the religious leader 
plays the role of spiritual guide as well as a friend or philosopher. 
This is specially true of the role played by many christian missionaries 
who besides their religious duties, are involved in some exemplary 
development projects, using the church as a medium to focus the attention 
of the society on some problems which cannot be solved solely by 
government or some one else. Also, there are specific provisions such as 
'confessions'.) 

B. With the sole exception of Tirupathi temple, why our temples as 
institutions have become isolated from their role towards the larger society?

(This relates to the criticism that temples and religious scriptures are 
'engineered' by one community for their benefit and not for the larger 
public good.)

I found it difficult to concentrate on the anantha kalyana gunas of our 
lord if a few yards from the temple is a low income area and each of them 
(i.e., the temple and the low income areas)  completely ignore the 
presence of the other. I see in Bhagavad Ramanuja's efforts of climbing a 
gopuram and spreading the knowledge of dwaya manthra as a clarion call to 
all vaishnavas to seek to unify our religious duties with our social 
responsibility. 

I was told that even today in some temple-towns such as in Karpangadu, 
when there is a utsavam in the temple, the entire town is invited for the 
thaliyaradhanai and prasadam. But such cases seem to be exceptions.

I would be grateful for the responses and comments of bhagavathas of the 
list on this matter.

Adiyen
P.B. Anand