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Re: acharyas and their hagiologies (aitihyam)
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 15:53:34 PST

Dear Mukundan,

I am really astonished that you have taken this so emotionally.
Your acharya-bhakti runs deep, and I am sorry if what I have
written has triggered some bad feelings. I think in this case
I may have not properly explained myself.  It is
not that I deny Swami Manavala Maamunigal's greatness. He is 
rightly celebrated and honored in nearly all temples for
his contributions. At the same time, his contribution should not
be overshadowed by improperly explained stories, i.e., stories
which are not given proper context. To cite an example, you

--- In bhakti-list@y..., Dan Pattangi <danp@u...> wrote: 
> It is our limitation in understanding that makes us ask:
> - : Why THe Mass of Knowledge Himself wants to learn from Mamunigal.
> If we approach periyavas (Not JUST in age, but also in TRUE 
> we might get to learn:
> Periyavas say: Its the Anubhavam of enjoying Thiruvaimozhi, so much 
> tears are pouring out for hours together while giving and enjoying
> Mamunigal's discourses on Thiruvaimizhi.

It is beyond doubt that Manavaala Maamunigal's anubhavam of
Tiruvaymozhi was unsurpassed, and that his lucid explanations
brought the meaning of the divine hymns home to everyone. 
The propagation of Tiruvaymozhi is perhaps Swami Maamunigal's 
greatest contribution to the world.

However, what you are saying is that the Lord *literally*
lacked some anubhavas and had to go seek them from someone 
else.  In other words, there was a shortcoming in His own
jnAna and Ananda forcing Him to go elsewhere.  Now, does this
really make sense in the context of innumerable statements
from Sruti, Prabandham, and Smrti that He is 'kurai onRum illAda
gOvindA', 'satykAma, satyasankalpa', 'vijnAna-ghana', 'satyam,
jnAnam, anantam'? 

It is these exaggerations that pose problems to the objective
listener. Now I may be missing something in my understanding --
so please correct me if I am -- but the Lord's presence in
Maamunigal's goshTi was perhaps more because he wished to show
how *everyone* should enjoy Tiruvaymozhi, particularly as so
lucidly explained by Maamunigal, and that everyone
should sit among bhAgavatas and participate in 
bhagavad-guNAnubhavam together (kUDi irundu kuLirndu). We need
not posit shortcomings in the Lord's anubhava to praise another.

> Lord wanted to experience this divine Anubhava.
> Lord also wanted to show to the world true nature of acharya.

> For those not wanting to take on Mamunigal or accept him in small 
> Its ok. Mamunigal is not the looser, Ramanuja is not the looser, 
> sampradaya is not the looser. 

I am afraid you have totally misunderstood the point and 
have taken an emotional tangent. I apologize if I was unclear.
I accept Maamunigal wholesale as one of the greatest acharyas
ever. I view his writings as displaying divine inspiration.
His profound wisdom combined with utter humility are a constant
source of pride in me as one who belongs to his tradition.

I suppose there may be a few petty people who cannot see past
the thirumaN and view Maamunigal with disdain. It is up to the
rest of us to educate those people not by doggedly insisting
on Maamunigal's divinity (which they will hardly accept), or
claiming that bad things happened to them because they criticized
Maamunigal (which sounds like nothing but witchcraft), but to 
patiently demonstrate the historical reasons *why*
Maamunigal was held in as high an esteem as Sri Ramanuja.
It is so obvious if one simply reads a few pages of Maamunigal's
works, or thinks about what role Maamunigal played in historical
context. Why is it we don't hear these things? Why is it we
only hear of some dogmatic doctrines of divinity?

I often wonder whether the people who insist repeatedly only on
the divinity of Maamunigal or Desika have bothered to learn 
anything else about these great mahAtmas.  Is there nothing
else to say other than 'person A was the avatAra of divinity B'?

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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