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From: Sampath Rengarajan (srengara_at_ford.com)
Date: Fri May 29 1998 - 08:56:23 PDT
Dear BAgawathALS, Welcome to the bAgawthALs who are back from the conference. It is a tradition that adiyEn write about the abstract of the conferences adiyEn attended and took some role in it. As requested by Sri VS and other friends, adiyen has attempted to present the abstract of the speeches once again from the bottom of my memory. This conference is much more than many others. I need to write a few lines on this. First of all "Bravo, Sriman Sadagopan. You did it 'again'." Yeah "AGAIN". Some bakthALS who are seeing Sri VS only now, want to honor him with a title for his performance in this conference. It is a very good thought to do so. He has done it before and now and remains as sArdhulams and thilakams for ever. Sri Sadagopan is doing such a wonderful kaimkaryam for many years now. "He was and is and will always be a thilakam". Coming back to the conference, I will write on the portions of the conference that was not covered by Sri V.Sadagopan in his write up. It is a norm to write abstract as per the order that was followed. It is in this context that I have to write the abstract of the speeches in the order that they were delivered, ie., begining with the abstract from my speech. The speeches started with adiyEn delivering what was seemed tough to cover in 45 minutes on 5 AzwArs aruLich cheyals. In brief, I first delivered on puRa iruL i.e. external darkness and aga iruL i.e., internal darkness and prathyaksham i.e. direct appearance of the divine dampathis as the outer most meanings of the three AzhwArs muthal moonRu thiru anthAthis. Then I went on to explain para bhakthi nilai, para nyAna nilai and param bhakthi nilai as the inner message of their 300 pAsurams. I then delivered some aspects on the most important concepts of our siddantham charama slokam and thirumanthiram and dwayam as the inner most anubavam of these 300 verses. I attempted to present a different concept in the vyAkyAnams of these 300 as to how one's mukthi nilai led the others and emphasized the company of bAgawathALs such as the sathsangams of Pittsburgh and the others in the past. I dealt one pasuram for each of these 3 AzhwArs and attempted to explain all these three layers in them. I will write about it in detail later. On thiru mazhisai AzhwAr I delivered on parathatthva nirnayam i.e. validation of supremacy of Sriman nArayana as the message of this AzhwAr and dealt his neermai in a pasuram. I finally concluded as to why all these four stages are of less value in the spiritual ladder and urged everyone to choose the 'ellai nilai' or "final state" declared in thirup pAn AzhwAr's pasuram to choose the bAgawatha kaimkaryam as their purushaarttham and serve sri VS and Venkat in building the Sri Ranganatha temple. I finished 7 minutes earlier than the allotted time. (*) Sri Madhavan dealt at great length about Sri Vaishnava gurupArampariyam in the beginning in a very clear way and explained the hierarchy. He then went on to talk on the essence of naMMazhwar's arulich cheyal on Lord Venkatan. He finished 15 minutes earlier than the allotted 45 minutes time and the lost time was regained. Sri Ragavan talked about ANDAL's arulich cheyals. He took an elaborate attempt to bring out the 6 angas of sarangathi from ANDAL' s pasurams and most of them from nAcchiyAr thirumozhi. He also provided his insightful study as to how ANDAL loved Lord Venkatan as a lover and worshipped Lord Arangan as a pirAn from naachiyar thirumozhi pasuramns. He also attempted to connect thiruppavai and naachiyaar thirumozhi and provided insights as to how they are so enjoyable to have an anubavam. "Sri Swami Desika darsana nidarsaka Simham", Sri Anbil Swami dealt on the basics first as to who is a vaishnavan and who is a srivaishnavan. He then went onto explain the details on saranagathi as observed in Srivaishnavam. The extent of pramAnam he presented amazed me. There were so many quotes from vedas, upanishads AzhwAr pasurams, sri sukthis and slokams as well. This is a high pitched speech delivered in a very voiceful and forceful style. I am reminded of our kalaskshEbams in India. One cannot go without the words of nirvEdam ringing in their ears after his speech. Meaningful explanations were presented in his speech on nirvEdam as a part of saranagathi. Now comes the power house speech of Sri Krishna Kalale. Oh man, did guys in Washington write his speech ? (you all may know that Washington is known as the speech capital of the world). Kidding! He delivered such an eloquent and dynamic speech that I cannot forget. It was also hitech , ,i.e. he used his laptop to present. May be it was an artillery firing across the border. No, No, it was heavy shelling and pounding on the opponent's lines. He went onto tell us as to how Bagwath Sri Ramanuja saw Sri Sankara's advaitham and opened it out loose and easy for us to understand in perspective as to why we Srivaishnavas must reject it. It was like a pandora box as he digged into each and every aspect and denying them contradicting them and one aspect after the other fell in dismay at the hands of Sri Kalale'e skilled discourse. He went on to prove that the sareera aspect of advaitham preached by others holds water as per the vyaakyaanams of Sri Ramanuja. These are not my words but Sri Ramanuja's as interpreted by Sri kalale's. So please forgive me if anyone feel offended by these . He delivered these in an unique style in which the sanskrit original slokams were delivered first and English translations spelled out as a follow up. NarAyana, adiyEn and Sri VS were worried if this heavy subject is too heavy for the timing of the day i.e. the last event of the first day. But many people stayed put and didn't leave as this high voltage speech was delivered. He had to wind up the critical view of advaitham and deal the last 10 minutes on what Sri Ramanuja told us about Sri Vishishtaadvaidam as the hall had to be vacated for evening cultural events at 5:30pm. I very much wanted to hear this part more than the previous one and pleaded to him to cover this in great detail next time. He did accept to do so. In the evening we participated in Sri Vishnu Sahasra nAmam pArAyanam at Sri Bindhu mAdhavn's house and the dinner was served there as well. There was a mini session on Srimad Rahasya trya saaram rendered by Sri Anbil Swami. He did cover 22 adikaarams in as short as 1 hour and 15 mintes. Besides, there were questions and answers and Sri Anbil was also kind enough to part us with some of the confidential discussions he had with his AchAryAn and cleared some fundamental doubts even for Sri VS and few of us. It was an useful time spent as well. Once again I will cover day 2's speeches mainly. Sri Vijaya Ragavan delivered a powerful speech on daya sathakam. I am in no doubt that this was indeed the best speech of its kind. One may ask how much one can talk on a slokam ? Believe me, the quotations and references made by Sriman Vijayragavn were simply unmatchable and people were chanting some of these verses as he was going through them in an "appealing speech". Hats off to Sri VJRagavan. It is indeed a wonderful speech with so much research and efforts that were dealt in. He referred to many aspects of saranagathi as well in his speech. The speech was within the time slot and as well wide in content. I am extremely happy to have heard this speech which marks as one of the jewel of the conference. Sri Varadhan first talked about the AchArya vaibavam of thirumangai's life and went on to deliver the fundamentals of the six prabahndams of thirumanagi briefly. He then was swift to move into the 60 and odd pasurams of thirmangai AzhwAr. The important thing to note is that when the other 3 of us dealt few pasurams or only the essence of the respective AzhwAr's arulich cheyals, he went through each and every pasuram with some quick meaning. While doing so he touched on two important aspect of thirumjangai's pasuram i.e. naicchi anusanthaanam and saranagathi as well. His speech was very fast in delivery and was having so much of details to cover on all the 60 and odd pasurams delivered by this AzhwAr on Sri Venkatan. Sri Krishnan of Buffalo spoke nicely on periaszwar's vaibavam and delivered a related speech on the AzhwAr 's aruLich cheyal on thiruvenkata mudaiyaan. The important thing to note here is that he and his wife who performed a musical rendition are physicians in buffalo and took enormous effort to prepare and attend the conference despite their pressing service needs of their profession. Sri Krishnan is also from thirup pathi and is closely associated with the festivities in thirumalai. His love for thiru venkata mudaiyaan is second to none. (***). Sri Murali delivered a strong speech on Sri Kulasekara AzhwAr pasurams. He first briefly went over the history of AzhwAr and then delivered on the essence of each of the patthus. Initially his speech seemed cautious but later on it was very casual as he delivered in a very friendly manner that was very interesting as well. He discussed the 4m patthu wherein the references to thiruvenkata mudaiyaan is dealt. His insights and cross references were thoroughly enjoyable. Sri Murali is a great thiru venkata bhakthaL himself and his insights also covered his favourite references to Sri Chakram and Sri Narasimhan and Sri Haygreevan and pranavA karam. His mother was visiting from India and indeed it was a proud moment for a mother to see her son shine so well in the podium alongwith the other learned speakers. Sri MG Prasad gave a brilliant lecture of purandaradaasa krithis on Lord thiru venkatan. There were singers who sang some of the songs as well. He also talked both about Kanaka DaasA in addition to Purandara DaasA. HIs AchArya Bhakthi , His clear and coherent way of presenting is always a pleasure to experience. Prof. Prasad has always delivered his speech in a pace that anyone can follow very easily. There is no speech that can be compared to his delivery and clarity. Sri Venkat Kannumaala spoke on mahAviswasam and charged us all with a vibrant speech. His speech had some humorous comparisons from practical walk of life (ie comparing swargam to a star hotel etc) and very very serious thoughts as well. He drew extensive references from Srimad bAgwatham from Sri VyAsar both in sanskrit and the telugu versions. His appeal for us to keep our visvasam on Lord was very passionate and touching and memorable. Later Sri Krishna VJRagavan read out the well prepared material on Swami Annamaccharya's life story and connected to the krithis sung By Smt Myhili Sri Krishnan. He is the son of Sri Vijaya Ragavan and is very young and it is important to note that he is following the foot steps of his father very very closely. That marked the end of all the speeches. Sri Narendra Reddy who is the education committee chairman of the temple was so helpful and I am surprised to see a person of his sAthvikam. Despite hectic conference schedule he performed a srArdham during the lunch break and attended all the events without fail. AdiyEn thank him for all his patient listening and gestures in going over some micro details of the arrangements in these 2 days. There were other attendants who were also to be noted are Sri Jagan and Sri Ramesh of Sri Ahobila muth were helping Sri Ahobila muth and Sri Ranaganatha temple raise funds. They did a wonderful bagwath kaimkaryam. Sri Murali kidambi and his brother Sri Kesava prasad Sri Srirram and Smt ManjulA were helpful in general to the speakers nad other attendants as well. Smt Manjula's zeal to do bAgwatha kaimkaryam is very much appreciated. Sri Kidambi Sriram, Sri Saranatha battar, Sri Lakshmanan of pp andavan ashramam, Sri Bindhu Madhavan and his brother Sri Bindhu Srinivasan, Sri MR Srinivasan, were also attending and we enjoyed their company as well. A professor from NY with his 15 HINDU religious students was taking notes on the first day afternoon speeches. There were host of westerners among a packed hall attending my friend and honorable Sri Madurai Sundar's delightful concert. There were close to 80 chairs approximately in the conference hall which covers approximately 100 square foot. All the chairs were full most of the time. And there were atleast 100 to 120 passing, standing people anytime. The attendance was peak during noon and immediately after noon on day 1 and day 2 raising to around 350 to 400. We would like to thank the President of the Temple , SrI Damodhar Prabhu and Srimathi SudhA Vatsan , another Board Member and many others who were helping us in running this event succesfully. The President Dr Sarpeskar and a host of other committee members mentioned to me that this conference is many times superior in content to all the previous conferences held earlier. The credit also goes to all speakers who delivered such contents and the chairman Sri Sadagopan who led and made it possible. The most important thing to note is that unlike the other conferences of the past this conference was arranged using remote control (****). i.e. Sri Sadagopan was not in Pittsburgh and nor adiyEn and the participants were there to arrange anything.The efforts Sri VS took to care about every thing is definitely Himalayan considering the "remote control" effect of this conference. Everyone simply flocked in, the day before and some came in only on the second day to just deliver their speech. But due to bagawAn's thiru aruL and the efforts of Dr Reddy and other helpers in pittsburgh temple and constant follow up through emails from Sri VS, all these were carried out in a wonderful manner as similar to Buffalo, NewYork and Denver conferences of last two years. Some of us who are also the board members of Sri Ahobila muth USA board, and members of SDDS met in the temple quarters under the leadership of Sri Jagan Vice President of Ahobila muth, USA and Sri Anbil SDDS President, and held deliberations as to how we can plan the next conference at Pomona NY during Sept 5, 6,and 7. As pointed out by Sri KKalale it is becoming increasingly efficient and each conference is excelling the previous one in succession. The speakers and attendants may only see a slot of 30, 45 or 60 minute speeches or drama or music performances. But it takes so much lead planning and efforts in advance for the chairman and his committee and the silent kaimkarya parALs to sweat so much to bring out the fruits so nicely. We would like to also thank the wives Mrs kalale, Mrs Jagan, Mrs Rengarajan, Mrs Kidambi Sriram, Mrs Ragavan of chicago, Mrs Kannan swamy, Mrs Kesava prasad, Mrs Murlai Rangaswamy, Mrs Sriram Kidambi, Mrs Bindhu Madhavan and Mrs Bindhu Srinivasan, Mrs Venkat Kannumalla, Mrs Lakshmanan, Mrs Saranatha battar, Mrs MR Srinivasan, and Mrs Nadthur madhavan, and all the children of the above mentioned patthinis. These are the silent heros who also made this conference a successful one simply by their patience and help they rendered to their partners and parents in working for and helping in whatever way they can for the conference. Why we write these is to remind you all that it is also your co-operation and participation that makes these sathsangams successful. We look forward to the same for organizing the Sept conference in Pomona with your co-operation and participation in full. After the conference, my family, Sri Anbil, Sri Varadhan and I left for cleveland. On the way, adiyEn narrowly escaped colliding with a herd of deer in the twilight due to bagwaN's grace. I was driving at high speed and spotted two deers first 100 meters away and I slowed down to 50's but then something made me look for somemore and there was one more rushing just 30 meters ahead and I pounded on my brakes to avoid collision and then cooled down and thanked Lord and reached home for a tiring Monday. adiyEn Sampath Rengarajan note: (*) I was going back and forth working on some *minor* details and loose ends as instructed by Sri VS, with the temple committee from then on. I was also kept busy by my son Chi Sravan who was keen on doing a story for Lord Narasimha. (He did so in the evening). However, my mind was focused on the talks and I am attempting to re-present the gist of it to the best of my knowledge and recollection. I seek forgiveness from speakers if I missed any important aspects of their speeches. (**) Being a pasuram lover, I loved this speech and its insights very well. At one stage he said he has been studying these for the last 1 and a half month as a preparation for this conference. I am also aware of some of the speakers for whom tamil is not their mother tounge but were chosen to speak on pasurams did also take that much time and extra care to prepare. The readers must know that there is so much effort that has gone in to make this speech so enjoyable and such speeches in all also make the whole conference successful. All the speakers did a wonderful job. (***) He was also the co-sponsor for the first ever conference that was conducted two years ago in Buffalo. Someone said that the conference culture is growing among srivaishnavas after the pioneering efforts made by this gentlemen and Sri VJ Ragavan with SDDS in 1996. i.e. in tamil if I must say, "AnRu Buffalovil ERRiya viLakku inRu engum OLi vittu eRikiRathu" . i.e. the lamp that was lit in 1996 at Buffalo and continued at Newyork in Sept 1997 and in Denver the same year, is now carried over and burning in many other places. Thanks to these gentlemen and bAgawathAs of Buffalo. adiyEn and few of us can never forget the successful Buffalo conference. It was bAgyam to serve Sri VJRagavan and Buffalo vAsis and SDDS in 1996 Dec conference and was a bAgyam to serve Sri Venkat and NY vaasis and SDDS during 1997 Sep conference and it is now a bAgyam to serve Sri Sadagopan and a host of participants during this conference at Pittsburgh in 1998. (****) adiyEn and Sri VJRagavan had the bAgyam of serving to arrange some very minor details through email in addition to the enormous attempts made by Sri VS. I alone stand as a testimony to all the 100s of emails Sri VS made in arranging, as he copied them to me alone on these things and requested adiyEn to assist in running the conference in whatever way I can. There were always moments of frustrations in both adiyEn's and Sri VS's mind in meeting the required arrangements during these exchanges. ie It is not between myself and Sri VS but between we two together and the others on the receiving side of the mails. But eventually everything resolved very well and in time. It is as similar to conducting a wedding ceremony. And as said by Sri AR, Sri VS did deserve all the credits for this splendid work and leadership. This is the best way we can serve our elders and like many others, I also chose to do my assigned tasks with enuthusiasm and went some extra mileage and had pleasure in doing so. That is all. As claimed by me in NY confernce adiyEn firmly believes that only by doing bAgwatha kaimkaryam the annyAnam is cleared for us and our children who are growing up in this confused atmosphere.