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Re: Jnana and bhakti

From: Martin Gansten (
Date: Tue Nov 05 1996 - 02:56:26 PST

Many thanks to Krishna Kalale and Mohan Sagar for their replies to my
questions. (Any further elucidation is of course more than welcome.) If I
have understood these replies correctly, Srivaishnavas consider *prapatti*
to be a process separate from and easier than (and hence, superior to?)
*bhaktiyoga*, and in this process of prapatti there is no need for gnosis
(aatmavidyaa or aatmaanubhuuti) in order to attain salvation; the Lord will
personally deliver a surrendered soul at death even if he has not realized
the aatman. Please do point out any mistakes I may have made in this short

I have previously encountered the terms Vadakalai and Thenkalai. Are these
synonymous with the Kanchi and Srirangam schools alluded to by Mr. Sagar,
and if so, which is which? What are the main differences between the two
schools -- or, if that is too far-reaching a question, where can I learn
more about them?

To answer Mr. Kalale, although religious studies and indology are my fields
of occupation, I am not writing anything on Srivaishnavism at present, but
ask rather from a sadhaka's point of view. (The academical 'chalk flavour'
which I fear may adhere to the phrasing of my questions is unintentional and
results from habit.) In this context, I would also be interested to know the
Srivaishnava view(s) on  converts: are non-Hindus (by birth) accepted at
all, and if so, fully or only to some degree? Has the massive spread of
Bengal Vaishnavism outside India during the past decades changed anything
here? What about non-Vaishnava Hindus who may be attracted to Srivaishnavism
-- how does one go about converting? By initiation? Is any initiation (apart
from the standard upanaayanam) required of those born in Srivaishnava families?

Whew... I have many more questions, but these will have to do for now. Thank
you all for tolerating my ignorance, and for educating me. Any more light
shed on my original question on "jnana and bhakti" would still be appreciated.

Martin Gansten