You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1998

Re: hierarchy in our sampradayam

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Mon May 11 1998 - 11:51:14 PDT

There is no rigid hierarchy in our tradition that places
one class of acharya higher than another.  Technically
and traditionally, a sannyAsi (jeeyar svAmi) is in the
most revered stage of life, as he has renounced everything
to dedicate himself to bhagavat-kainkaryam (service of
the Lord).  Jeeyar svAmis are also accorded respect
more automatically because of this.

Speaking in real terms, however, learned acharyas in any
stage of life are fully respected.  We only need look at
our greatest acharyas as examples.  Ramanuja, Manavala
Maamuni and Alavandar were sannyAsis.  Vedanta Desika,
AmmaaL, Periyavaaccaan Pillai, Nambillai, and others were
gRhasthas (married householders).  Pillai Lokacharya
and Azhagiya Manavala PerumaaL Nayanar were lifelong
brahmacharis.   Equal respect and reverence is paid
to all as acharyas in our sampradAya.

Acharyas in all stages of life today administer
the sacraments and explain the nuances of Sri Vaishnavam 
to their disciples.  

Can someone who is more familiar the life of a sannyAsi
speak about their daily duties?