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Re: Posting on Thenkalai-Vadakalai differences

From: Badrinarayanan V S (
Date: Wed Nov 19 1997 - 22:32:04 PST

Dear Sri Mani,

Thank you for your prompt response and for taking time to locate an earlier
posting.  I was told that the Pramanam for Vadagalais is the Vedas and for
the Tengalais is the Divya Prabandhams (Dravida vedam) but i find such a
simplistic division unacceptable because Azhwars were above such
distinctions and would have never agreed to, leave alone allow, anybody to
take their works exclusively for themselves.

Another reason i heard is that while  vadagalai sampradayam requires an
intermediary in the form of acharya,  tengalai advocate a direct approach
with Sriman Narayana. Which again is doubtful considering the postings of
the bhakti group that Acharyas are required irrespective of the subsects.

Another popular (but apocryphal) theme that floats around is that most of
the tengalais were converts from other non-brahmin sects and got initiated
by Sri Ramanuja.  I have seen some vadagalai iyengars treating alliances
with Tengalais with disdain and would rather have an alliance with Vadamal
iyers!  i shudder to imagine very learned and erudite scholars taking such
labels as Tengalai/Vadagalai and even going to courts (for the style of the

The crux of all these above issues is this:  IS there a fundamental
difference in approach between the two sub sects and if Yes, what is that?
I request the enlightened members of the group to post their opinions (or
send me a copy of earlier postings if they do not want to repeat themselves
in the forum).


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