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Formal note to the Bhakti list

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri Oct 06 1995 - 14:25:43 PDT

Dear Members of the Bhakti mailing list,

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the past
two weeks as to what is appropriate and what is
inappropriate discussion on this mailing list.
Several people have indicated via email or phone
calls that they are concerned about the direction
of this group. I wish to address these issues
in this mail.

I started this mailing list about a year ago 
so there could be a forum for informal discussion
of "bhakti", with particular reference to Azhvaars, 
Upanishads, and Ramanuja.  

I explicitly did not want to make it a Sri Vaishnava 
"club", social group, or any such thing.  The mailing 
list was designed for people to ask and answer questions 
related to bhakti, post shlokas and paasurams, ask 
philosophical or practical questions about faith, practice
of bhakti in day-to-day life, devotionalism of our
spiritual forebears, scholarly questions about Sri
Vaishnava practice and history, etc.

There is good evidence that the Sri Vaishnava tradition was 
once one of the most socially liberal and open-minded of Indian 
religious traditions.  With this background, it should be
obvious that I do not want this mailing list limited to brahmins, 
non-brahmins, Sri Vaishnavas, Indians, or any particular
subgroup.  It is for anyone who is interested in discussing 
the above topics, and for people who are sincerely interested
in finding out more. If done in a true spirit of inquiry, no
question is inappropriate, no matter how simple or inane.

Anyone who considers themself a devotee of the Lord,
or is inclined in that direction, or has scholarly interest
in Sri Vaishnavism, is welcome.

I would prefer no one else start dictating what is an appropriate
comment and what is not.  This tends to stifle discussion;
while some recent comments may have offended some, I would
rather have critical and open discussion than have rules
that would discourage people from airing their views.

Let us stop these meta-discussions about what is appropriate
and move onto real discussions of bhakti. If there are any
comments on what I have written, please reply to me instead
of the whole list.