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Azhwars

From: Satyan, Nagu (nagu.satyan_at_lmco.com)
Date: Wed Nov 26 1997 - 15:16:24 PST

The recent postings on Azhwars expressing views, opinions and facts have
been enlightening for a novitiate Sri Vaishnava like me.  I cannot even
come close to quote book references or Acharyas upanyaasams like many of
you are fortunate to be able to do so.  What I am expressing is from my
heart (overriding the mind), which may get me into trouble. 

Prior to  the recent postings I considered Azhwars as above mortals like
us.  I have considered them (and will continue to) as amsams of Sriman
Narayana's weapons.  I did not worry whether they are Nitya Suris or
baddha jeevaathmaas.  In our PerumaaL Sannidhi, we keep the pictures of
Acharyas and Azhwars.  We offer our respects to them. We  do not have
all the Azhwars or Acharys pictures.  When we do, we will  place it
besides the PerumaaL pictures and continue with what we have been doing.
Although, I have a doubt how AndaaL is considered, or is this
discussion/debate relevant only to Mudal Azhwars?  

Does it make a difference to me how  Azhwars are considered in vadagalai
or thengalai saampradaayam?  Not really.  Should we impose the kalai
differences on the youth growing up here? Definitely not.  Is it
beneficial to know  the differences from a purely academic point of
view? Probably to certainly.  Is it worth the negative energy to
challenge or question someone's opinion? Not in my complex world.  Is
there a right or wrong answer to these type of debates? My opinion is
that most of the time they end up inconclusive, with potential wounding
of beliefs of individuals. Do I get into arguments with individuals wrt
my beliefs? Of Course.

Where are we going with this debate?  If it is to share the
perspectives, references and interpretations, then it may be beneficial
to learn the diverse analytical basis.  This hopefully facilitates us to
look objectively at different perspectives, without getting defensive or
emotional.  If you ask youth born and raised in USA, most of them do not
know what "kalai" means, and are not emotional about the subject. The
emotional debate is often among members whose formidable years were in
India, influenced by local situations.   Do we have opportunities to
emphazise (and be successful) about  our common binding theme of
Ramanuja Siddhantham?  Yes, if handled appropriately, within the
framework of the logical learning process.

Sri Sadagopan mentioned re Sri Madhav Kannan's valuable contribution
through his postings on Azhwars',  to help the young.  Incidentally, I
have used the material from that series of postings to have children
present the Lives of Azhwars at NAMA functions. This is the type of
service we need to be doing to start at the grass roots level.  

Like someone asked a question recently, I too am struggling with "what
is Apachaaram?"    I  tend to be impulsive and direct.  Even I have been
hesitant to convey my feelings to avoid "labeling."  By the by, nobody
has approached me or advised me on this subject.  Purely my self-imposed
constraints.  We may defeat the purpose of  this group to share our
knowledge on Sri Vaishnava Philosophy by emphasizing  potential
Apachaaram.

I share the concern with Sri Vijayaraghavan that we may discourage youth
(and adults) from participating in this type of internet or personal
discussions.  (I recognize that there is no set answer to this problem.)

Re Sri Bhuvanachaarya, I have heard he is very knowledgable person.  In
fact, since the announcement of the December Conference, I have been
asked by a few NAMA members whether I would be able to organize a visit
by him to meet with Sri Vaishnavas.  The fact he is not as well known
does not surprise me.  Most knowledgable and learned scholars tend to be
humble and modest.  Their goal is to share knowledge without worrying
about the fact that they are not that well known.  I believe Sri
Bhuvanacharya  fits into that category.  Historically, in most
religions, it is the over-enthusiastic followers of any leader/Acharyas
that tend to start friction and divisiveness.    

Finally, it is extremely important that each and every one of us try our
best to practice what we preach, other wise we will continue to erode
our community.

I want to reiterate that I do not intend to attack any person or
personalities.  I would just like to address the issues the way I
comprehend.

Nagu Satyan
satyan@worldnet.att.net
303-973-4847