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Re: Digest Number 157 - Thirumangai Alvar

From: Jai Simman s/o R. Rangasamy (rjsimman_at_magix.com.sg)
Date: Fri Oct 06 2000 - 23:17:54 PDT

Hare Krishna.

Please accept my humble obeisances.

These are my replies to Mani Prabhu's recentmost response to my posting in
this regard.

> Message: 8
>    Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 11:40:33 -0700 (PDT)
>    From: Mani Varadarajan <mani@alum.calberkeley.org>
> Subject: Re: Digest Number 157 - Thirumangai Alvar

>Mani Prabhu wrote " I am hesitant to label these as "selfish reasons", when
there are good
>reasons to believe that Jains and Buddhists were persecuted.  There is
> no doubt that there was a great deal of animosity between the Vaishnavas
>and Saivas on the one hand and Buddhists and Jains on the other during
> this period. This is obvious from the poetry of Jnana Sambandhar among
> the Nayanmars and Tondar-adi-podi among the Alvars.  Whether these saints
> were *directly* responsible for the deaths of "countless" Jains and
> Buddhists is doubtful, but it is plausible that many people were
persecuted
> in the process. What probably happened is that kings took advantage of the
> religious transition and executed or severely persecuted the leaders of
the
> declining religious movements.

RJS : It is not the compassion felt for the victims of such alleged
persecutions that I labelled as
selfish reasons. On the contrary, I am referring to the presently held
strands of atheistic thought processes
parading within the politics and life of today's Tamil Nadu . These
processes utilising their accompanying
political leverage have sought to present highly tilted and concocted
versions of history and literature in an attempt
to fulfil their own "selfish" agendas totally unrelated to the cultivation
of Bhagavad-bhakti. To this end they take
examples out of their intended context and garb them in an ethnocentric
manner. Thus doing, they debunk all spiritual experiences, indicating that
these are superstituous and injurious to the concept of human rights and
manithaneyam due to their
creation of sectarian cleavages, in which one thrives and another is
crushed - all this in the name of God Almighty.

Such a discourse as the one I originally posted to this list could have been
influenced by such tendencies.

It is certainly agreed, as you rightly pointed out, that politicians are
expert in utilising anything and everything to gain leverage.
Religion is no exception.

> The Periya Puranam which documents the lives of the Nayanmars attests
> to the great animosity against the Jains, even if it may exaggerate the
> happenings and the numbers.

RJS : Regarding these accounts, is there anything substantial on the fate of
the jains defeated by Jnana-sambhandar ?
what happened to them ? what did the king do to the jains who attempted to
persecute Appar ? or for that matter the Buddhists defeated by
Manikkavasagar ? If at all the kings attempted capital punishment, did the
saints speak against these ? any signs of discouragement ?

In the case of our Alvars, I have yet to find any such massive persecutions
being mentioned. What of Sripad Ramanujacarya's conversion of the Hoysala
King ? Were the jains persecuted by him upon his conversion to Sri
Vaishnavism ?

> Note that the traditional biographies of the Alvars do not mention any
> persecution of members of rival faiths at the hands of the saints. The
> story of Tirumangai Alvar which started this discussion mentioned the
> killing of fellow bandits, not Buddhists or Jains.

RJS : Point noted and agreed upon.

> aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
> Mani


Vaishnava dasanu dasan,
R. Jai Simman
Singapore





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