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Re: iyer/iyengar

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri May 07 1999 - 11:08:29 PDT wrote:
> When we say svayam acharyas, they were not
> necessaryly from Sri Ramanujas diciples, it was even exsisting even
> before him, for example yamunacharya had 15 diciples, and manakal nambi
> had 5 diciples, and Nathamuni had 10 diciples, and if they had
> continued thier tradition and kept giving smasrayanam and bharanyasam
> through their family decendents, it was then carried out, like that,

Krishna, thanks for your comments. What you say may indeed
be the case; however, according to the "guru parampara prabhAvam",
Ramanuja appointed only 74 disciples to minister pancasamskAram
of the growing Sri Vaishnava community.  Included in these were
the descendants of the disciples of Yamunacharya, Manakkaal Nambi,
etc. For example, Sottai Nambi, Yamunacharya's son (purvASrama),
is the first simhAsanAdhipati listed among the 74.  This implies
that all the traditional acharyas came under Ramanuja's fold 
and were part of the 74. This also makes sense given Ramanuja's
proven capability for tremendous reorganization and reform.

There are still many traditional acharya-purushas who are
descended from these original 74. In fact, their numbers are 
far greater than the few sannyAsi swamis who are acharya-purushas 
today. However, the traditional acharya-purushas are not well-known 
and do not have the reach that the modern, big maThas have.

> a necessary qualification of a brahmin is to obtain brahmha gnyana, and
> thats through sandhya vandana, etc.. so one has to analyse these things
> too..

I hasten to correct this. Brahma-jnAna is certainly not attained
through sandhyA-vandana and other karmas.  sandhyA-vandana, etc.,
are merely Vedic forms of worship, which are to be performed 
exclusively as bhagavat-kainkaryam.  The only ways to attain 
brahma-jnAna are devotion and self-surrender.

> well you can say how many are following these rules, believe it
> or not, there are quiet a few, even in america who still goto work and
> do their jobs, yet at their regular life style they have all these
> proceess, going on... 

I think people in this country too easily think they are living a 
"brahminical" lifestyle.  Frankly, no one that I know of in this 
country has a right to be called a brahmin, and very few people in
India do either.  You write that people go to work and maintain
"all these processes". I presume you mean the traditional worship
and rituals ordained on a brahmin. It is lamentable that people
still believe they are leading a traditional, shastraic lifestyle
in this country, and therefore can be called brahmins. This stems 
mostly from a misunderstanding of how much is required of a brahmin. 

For example, how many brahmins do you know in this country who perform 
"aupAsana"? How many do the panca-mahA-yajna? How many actively do 
veda-adhyayana, with correct svara and pronounciation? Zero. Yet all
these are absolutely required of a brahmin and were practiced by
many brahmins as recently as a 100 years.  And the opinion of the
traditional acharyas was that people who did not perform these rituals 
were in no way fit to be called brahmins.

One need only look at the 'Ahnika' and 'dinacaryA' texts of
our pUrvAcAryas to see what a real brahmin lifestyle was like.

So it is foolhardy to think that people can live in this country,
go to work, and still maintan a lifestyle as befits a brahmin.