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Re: prapathi and adhikaris

skaushik_at_mit.edu
Date: Thu Oct 10 1996 - 22:59:00 PDT

The issue seems to me is not merely with thirumantram,
but rather, the easy  availability of religious material,
especially  on the internet. Consider the following.

Suppose I print out the bhakti-digest, including
all the discussions on the thirmantrams, and I
read it with all earnestness.  Upon finishing
reading the documents, having no further use of
it, I dispose it in the trash can. Am I committing 
a sin? After all, I can't imagine throwing away
my stotram books in the trash can. (How many
households do you know in India who keep calendars
from time immemorial because they have pictures
of various deities and thus, cannot be disposed
easily?)

Suppose I give a copy of the Sri Bhasya, or even
the bhakti-digest, to a Western friend interested in
Indian philosophy. He reads the book in the bathroom
(as I have seen many Christian friends keep a copy of Holy
Bible in the bathroom, and as I have inquired in
the past with informed Christian friends, there is
nothing religously wrong with this practice). If the
bathroom analogy is too far-fetched, consider another
scenario in which my friend eats chicken with his hand,
wipes it with paper towel, and then proceeds to read
the book, wearing his shoes. Is my friend committing sin?
Or does the sin fall on  me, for giving the book to this
fellow without properly educating him of its usage?

One can apply similar arguments to the easy availability
of Sri Vaishnava literature on the internet.  One need
not be malicious to "misuse" the literature. 

Of course, many of you might feel that the word "sin"
is inappropriate to describe the above offences. I use it
only for the lack of better word. However, I think we would
all agree, that those brought up in traditional South Indian
Sri Vaishanava households, especially our Acharayas, be it
Vadagalai or Tengalai, would not be very happy to see religious
inquiry in any and every shape, even if it was done in humility
and in an earnest desire to understand the Ultimate.

sk