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Date: Wed Nov 10 1999 - 11:24:04 PST
Sri Raamajayam Srimathe Gopaala Desika Mahaadesikaya Namaha Dear Swamin, Sri.Sampath Kumar's mail was very nice and the question was very nicely addressed. Same with Sri.Venkatesh Elayavalli's reply on conversions. Whenever somebody talks on this topic, I ask myself the fundamental questions, 1.What is a religion? --Assuming we have no athiest in this line of debate. Religion is a path to God. Having said this the first question somebody asks is, who is this God, which path should I have to take and why did he create me. Well the description of God is not possible with this immature state of mind of ours and the best attempt to classify God is someone who has only Sattvika Gunaas(which we describe as his Kalyaana Gunaas like Vatsalyam, Abaara Karuna, Analochitha Visesha loka Saranya, Pranathaarthihara, Asritha Vathsala Mahoethathae etc....). Which path should I take? Depending on ones Praaptham or fate(may be a person is born in Russia, may be a person is handicapped etc) one is born in a particular religion. Based on a free mind one conquers Ajnaanam(ignorance), Vyakshapam(wavering mind) and Malam(impurities) to realize this path. To attain this, one seeks the path of knowledge, path of Bhakthi or path of Prapatthi or a mixture of these. Ultimately they all should culminate in Bhakthi and complete Surrender. As a person born in a Sri Vaishnavite family, yet I have opened up to read the word for word translation of Koran and the Bible. I normally do this to take what I consider positive to improve my Self and leave out the negative aspects without comparison to our faith(like the Koran proclaims, you could eat flesh, since God has created everything as fruits for us to enjoy). For a learned person, only a Sathas(Debate) serves as the basis for conversion. From my reading, Christianity and Islam, says there is no rich or poor since wi! ! ! th charity everybody becomes equal. However even my best Muslim/Christian friends cannot answer the question"Why are some born with diseases, born to prostitutes, born handicapped, born poor and wait with a begging bowl?" In fact a Chinese born Jehovah got reconverted to Buddhism after nagging me to convert to his faith, after 6 months of patient visits to our place in Singapore, in an attempt to find an answer to the above question. So can we convert? Yes, to become a better Sri Vaishnava. My Moksham is assured by my Acharya, having granted Adiyen with Prapatthi. Well I can now focus on seeing Perumaal on Earth(in person in Srirangam) or in Sri.Vaikuntham in better shape(focusing on learning and practicing our Anushtaanas, Saastras etc). Are we afraid of conversion? Well any conversion with a free intellectual debate is a welcome thing. Even if unethical means are adopted(many have tried and failed on that count before), I am sure Perumaal will resurrect Sanaathana Dharmam. So we should not be afraid of conversion(we have more to fear in not practicing our tradition, which creates an dumb next generation which proclaim themselves as Vaishnavites, running behind other demi-gods and their black magic). Adiyen Sri.Raamanuja Daasan, Sudarsana Daasosmi Sri Desikar Says, Tvayi Rakshathi Rakshakaihi, Kim Anyaihi? Tvayicharakshathi Rakshakaihi, Kim Anyaihi? Ithi Nischitha Dehi Srayami Nityam, Nruharaehae Vegavathi Tathaa Srayam Tvaam Azhvaar says, Matrumore Deiva Mundo Mathiyila Manidargaal...