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Re:our idols, Ramanuja-Gandhi

Tatachar_at_aol.com
Date: Sat Oct 21 1995 - 21:51:30 PDT

Krish said:
>>Kara-gray Vasathe Lakshmi! Kara-madhye Saraswathi !
Kara-moo-lay sthi-the Gowri ! Prabhath-ay Kar-dharsanam.
The three goddesses ar the consorts to the tri-moorthys.<<

We used to say a similar sloka, but Kara moo-lay  tu Govindah instead of
Gowri. 

>>>I do hope Mani posts the main lectures of Ramanuja. Till now we 
have learnt his rebellion against castes, but that was known
by all Vaishanvites, who mostly ignored it. So did the historians
who felt Ghandhi was the first to point it out.<<<
I agree. Ramanuja's (and Purvacharyas) caste equality theme is more or less
ignored by all including Iyengars.  It is Gandhi who comes to mind readily to
everyone. Perhaps the reason for this is the aspect of equality
emphasized.emphasis. 
Ramanuja emphasized equality of Moksha (Nivritti Margha). Gandhi emphasized
social, political and economic equalities.

I elaborate this here:

I think  Ramanujacharya was not against the basic caste system or
chaturvarnya. After all, that is a natural phenomenon. Mother Nature likes
variety. All are not created equal. For normal functioning of the world we
need all the castes. Even among the siblings we can see caste system
operating. 

What Ramanuja tried to eliminate was the  preference or denial of Mokasha
based on caste. He believed rightly that a prapanna is a prapanna
irrespective of the caste. Only prerequisite here is true devotional
surrender to God, which Krishna has clearly stated in the Gita. This is a
remarkable achievement of Ramanuja considering  the conditions that prevailed
in India during Ramanuja's time.  

If Ramanuja did not get the same milage on this as Gandhi or Ambedkar is
because they fought  mostly in the political arena and not so much in the
spiritual arena. 

perhaps a good anology for this is of Blacks, American Indians and other
people who were converted to Christianity by Europeans. As per Christian
doctrine, these people were equal in their god's eyes and were all saved as
good as the White Christian who converted them. So there was no difference
there.  However they were enslaved, subjugated and betrayed by White men. In
other words saved by their (White Christian's) God and betrayed by the White
people. 

Converting all people irrespective of race or previous religion to
Christianity is anologous to What Ramanujacharya preached and practised.  

Finally, the White man, (due to pressure  from within and from out side his
race) was forced to bring about equality among all races at the human realm
as well. Here we are talking about social and political equality (economic
equality  is yet to come). This is where the deeds of Gandhi and Ambedkar
come.

Whom does the world remember here? Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther
King and sort.  Certainly not the Padris who converted all folks to
Christianity!  Likewise, in the Indian road, Gandhi, Ambedkar, and that sort
of people are more popular than Ramanuja, and his sort of mahatmas.

In short Ramanuja was more concerned about religious (spiritual) equality,
whereas Gandhi  and Ambedkar were more concerned about political, social and
economical equality. That's the real difference between Ramanuja and Gandhi.

K. Sreekrishna