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1997 Thanksgiving day thoughts

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Nov 27 1997 - 06:46:32 PST

Dear Sri VaishnavAs of the Bhakthi forum :

There is much to give thanks to Srman NaarAyaNA for
bringing all of us together thru the magnificient and 
tireless efforts of Sri Mani Varadarajan .

There is much to give thanks for the moving postings
of many of our members coming from different 
AchArya Paramparais . We are all learning every day and 
are having the fruits of Sathsangam in a group , whose
age spectrum spans from teen years to the seventies . 
Sober and shrill voices have been heard in this forum
and most of the time it is sober . 

There is much to give thanks to the insightful  assessment 
of Srimathi Nagu Satyan , who has tirelessly striven to
serve the needs of the youngsters brought up in this 
country and help them share the rich traditions of 
our sampradhAyam . Her posting on " AzhwArs and 
AchAryAs " is a gem . In that posting , she asks the most
pertinent questions . That posting is like a " breath of
fresh air " after the past few days of discouraging debate
about a subject dealing with AzhwArd and AchAryAs .
Another breath of fresh air is Sri Madhav KaNNan 's
postings on Thiruvaimozhi . 

I have stayed away from the temptation to join in the current 
 debate . There is so much "negative energy " invested . Let us give
our deep thanks to Sriman NarAyaNA for giving us the rare
birth as humans and to create in us the thoughts about 
Him and His bhagavathAs  and their anubhavams . That will
sustain us during our stay on His earth eulogizing Him and 
deserving His many blessings and performing kaimkaryams
within the limits of our capabilities that He has blessed us with .
Writing about our treasures is one such kaimkaryam and 
the Bhakthi forum provides the opportunity to share our thoughts .
One should  strive not to poison this well . Secondary smoke 
inhalation seems to be as bad as the primary smoke . 

The best tribute that we can pay to our AchAryAs is not to denigrate 
other AchAryAs and learned scholars , especially when we do not
have the blessings of being familiar with their scholarship and
kaimkaryams. It will not be possible to know them all and
that does not give the license to put them down . These great 
souls are not affected by the slings and arrows aimed at them . 
This much I am sure ! 

Our Vedams ( both Sanskritic and tamil ) have not been afraid to
ask the most difficult questions . They are not afraid of controversies 
and they raise the questions and  answer them . 

Let me give some examples :

" I ask as a fool , who knows not his own spirit :
Where are the hidden traces left by Gods ? "
 ---- Rg Vedam 1 . 164.5

" The seers in the beginning , desiring 
the excellent and searching the 
heavens , embarked upon forever
and concentration "
--- Atharva Veda XIX .41.1

" an ocean , verily , is the Word "
-- Panchavimsa BrAmhaNA VII.7.9

" wherefrom words turns back , along with the mind,
without reaching the bliss of Brahman "
-- Taittiriya Upanishad 

" This is Fullness; That is Fullness;
>From Fullness , Fullness arises.
When Fullness is removed from Fullness ,
Fullness still remains ." 
BrahadAraNyaka Upanishad V.1.10

We can add more from Divya Prabhandham ,
where the AzhwArd in their times of distress 
in not having their prayers answered and in their 
times of elation , when their Lord responds to them 
pour their hearts out . 

We can also take some comfort from one of 
the statements of a great thinker from the West , 
Wittgenstein , " What can n't be known , can n't be
known--- where a gap exists (in knowledge ) 
there quarrels and disputes exist " . It is better to
reflect on " sarvam kalvidham BrahmA " 
( All names are Thy Names  and All Forms 
are Thy Forms " . 

In conclusion , let us deemphasize the much
debated exegetical and or doctrinal differences 
associated with kalais and focus on Bhagavadh
RaamAnuja Sidhdantham , which is the " mother load "
of Sri VaishNavism . That should be the central
focus of our exchanges in this specail forum .

Once again my profound thanks to the Lord for bringing us 
all together under the roof of Bhakthi group and keeping us
together as a group .