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Re: Non-Brahmin origin of some Iyengars?
Date: Tue Nov 13 2001 - 16:16:10 PST

Sri Kandaswami,

It is not true that Sri Ramanuja went about changing non Brahmins to
Brahmins or vice versa.
He was a strict vedantin, yet had a clear vision of social justice. He
simply followed the footsteps of Vedas, Satvika  puranas , Bhagvat Gita
there are number of illustrations to prove that Supreme Lord is attainable
irrespective one's caste or sex.

Till Sri ramanajuar's times,  Caste and Sex were considered important
requirements for one to attain  deliverance, the myth Sri Ramanuja

However, I feel this popular beleif of ' Conversions??' came to being due
to following reasons.

1. Some biographers who wanted  to eulogize Sri Ramanuja of his greater
social vision, gave this exaggerated account .
2. During the height of Kalai disputes some 50-60 years back, it was
normal for one kalai to tell the other kalai that they are so and so...
(What these followers of Ramanuja failed to understand is that one has to
be proud of being a Vaishnavite rather than a mere Brahmin which does not
guarantee any deliverance)

For instance the followers of Tennacharya sampradayam (This name has come
because  majority of them  were  from South, i.e. Srirangam as opposed to
Kanchi or Mandya, which is North) cited that the other kalai has very few
acharyas  in the guru parampara lineage to boast and hence they are
outsiders and they have identity crisis.

The  Vadakalai followers pointed out non performance of certain Naimitya
karmas by other  group and said  other one is so and so...

3. The Third category of people are, Smartas, who could not  substantiate
Advaitam by any logical reasoning(Thanks to works like Sri Bashyam and
Sata Dhusini.) , ended up with these sort of name calling out of
desperation.  For Smartas, it is more important to be a Brahmin than any
body else. However for a Sri Vaishnava, (for both kalais), it is important
to be more devoted to Lord and his Kalyana gunas first then anything else.
The degree and extent may vary from one kalai to other depending on
interpretation of Rahasya grantas by respective acharyas.

These  sort of name calling is promiment only among the less educated
,less matured people of both kalais and smartas and cannot be seen from
learned people.

To end my post,  I am fully convinced that  one has to be proud of BEING a
Vasihnava and not for being born in a Brahmin family .


KM Narayanan

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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