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Re: Re: Posting on Thenkalai-Vadakalai differences

From: Badrinarayanan V S (
Date: Fri Nov 21 1997 - 20:02:07 PST

>To: V S Badrinarayanan <>
>From: Mohan Sagar <>
>Subject: Re: Re: Posting on Thenkalai-Vadakalai differences
>Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 05:00:37 +0000
>Dear Sri Badrinarayanan,
>This is in response to your question:
>>IS there a fundamental
>>difference in approach between the two sub sects and if Yes, what is that?
>Most books on the subject state that there are 18 fundamental differences
>between the two the branches of our religion.  However, for me, the most
>interesting of these is one that has been the topic of some discussion and
>debate in this forum: the nature of prapatti.
>There is an excellent book by the noted professor of religious studies, Dr.
>Patricia Mumme, called The SriVaishnava Thelogical Dispute which goes into
>great detail on the differences in interpretation of prapatti, and some
>possible reasons for this.  I would highly recommend this book if you want a
>more thorough understanding of the issue.  But in a nutshell, the whole
>thing seems to revolve around how formal this "act" of prapatti is.  
>The Vadakalai School regards prapatti to be a formal act in that it requires
>the devotee to wholeheartedly and formally surrender before the Lord, or
>submit him/herself to an Acharyan in order that he may perform this
>surrender on his behalf.  The ritual that expresses this act of surrender is
>known as bAranYAsam, and is considered by the followers of this tradition to
>be the pretext, the sAdhyopayam, that the Lord uses to bless the devotee
>with mOksham. Indeed, the Vadakalais believe, the very desire for mOksham,
>or uninterrupted servitude to the Lord, is one of the important
>qualifications that one should have in performing this ritual. Along with
>this, as with any act, several qualifications on the part of the aspirant
>are required, which once again, are covered in much detail in a number of
>books. (Please note that there may some incorrect assumptions made on this,
>based on my limited readings on the Vadakalai view of prapatti)
>The Tenkalais do not regard prapatti to be an act, or even a pretext, but a
>spiritual and emotional transformational experience in which the devotee
>consciously recognizes and affirms SrimanNarayana to be the sole upAyam and
>upEyam.  Such a transformation is not dependent upon any qualification and
>does not require the devotee to be seeking mOksham specifically.  It is, as
>one author describes, the rejection of the idea that one is without a
>Protector, or that one can survive without Him.  It most certainly requires
>the wise teachings of an Acharyan to understand completely, but since it is
>an individual experience, an Acharyan generally does not perform prapatti on
>behalf of an individual.
>It should be noted though that while prapatti is required in the sense that
>the Lord Himself prescribes it, it should not be regarded as the pretext for
>the Lord's Grace.  According to the TenAcharyans, the Lord's Grace is
>spontaneous and causeless, and it alone can bring about one's salvation.
>Consequently, because the Lord is so kind, He finds even the slightest of
>inclinations towards Him, even ones that are unknown to the devotee, to be
>enough of a pretext for Him to work to bring the devotee to Him.  So, the
>bhAgavatha's experience of prapatti is in reality the fruit of the Lord's
>own effort.
>Please note that the above is only just a sampling of the subtle levels of
>difference between how the two schools view prapatti.  It really requires
>much more intense study, perhaps even a lifetime's worth, to even come close
>to experiencing what our pUrvachAryan's had experienced as prapatti.
>I must make one other caveat on this matter.  The person who comes closest
>to being my Acharyan, Sri Tridandi SrimanNarayana Jeear, has recently
>written to me that while such subtle differences are very much a part of our
>religion and do define what it means to be Vadakalai or Tenkalai, they
>should not bias us towards being for one branch of Acharyans or bhAgavathas,
>and against the other.  For in actuality, we are all SriVaishnavas, humble
>sEshas to Perumal and ThayAr, and dAsans to Sri Ramanuja.  Consequently, we
>must examine all sides of the tradition in the mood of humble disciples,
>recognizing that every Acharyan or bhAgavatha, irrespective of kalai, is the
>representative and example of Ramanuja Darshanam.
>I have sent this to you by personal e-mail, as it is a summarized
>reiteration of a number of previous discussions in this forum. 
>Please feel free to write to me if you require any clarifications on the above.
V S Badrinarayanan			Email:
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