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Priests in NA

From: Vijay Srinivasan (Vijay_Srinivasan_at_praxair.com)
Date: Tue Oct 29 1996 - 08:48:58 PST

Dear Prapatti Group Members:

Mohan Sagar recently pointed out as follows:

"However, from what I have seen from my brief visits to temples in Pittsburgh, 
Chicago, LA, etc. (Denver does not yet have a temple), the Priests, while 
readily serving the Hindu Community at large, do not seem to be taking an 
active role in the preservation of SriVaishnavism.  I was wondering whether 
others in the group could shed some light as to why this is so, or correct me 
if I am wrong. "

It is a very good concern expressed by Mohan but in my opinion the priests will 
not be able to do this job.  We have to realize that Sri-Vaishnavas are but a 
minority among the  South Indians (which itself is a minority group among the 
Indian community).  Therefore the priests who are here have to cater to the 
community interests, so much so, that they even neglect the Vaishnavite cause 
(?).  For example in the sankalpams they don't even say Narayana Preethyartham 
lest they should offend the sentiments of Non Sri Vaishnavites.  Other example 
is Vishvaksena Aradhanam is slowly giving way to Vinayakar-pooja even in a 
vaishnavite pooja.  Combination of factors are at work - (1) the need to yield 
to the popular mood and (2) fear of isolation.    Therefore, we cannot expect 
much from our priests in term of protecting Sri-Vaishnavism and we should feel 
happy that at least they wear the Urdhva-Pundra thilakam.

But reflecting more deeply, what is a true vaishnavite cause.  External symbols 
are one thing but if we go deeper - it is extending the hospitality of love to 
one and all.  Ramanujacharya (Dayaika Sindhu) championed this love to one and 
all without any barrier.  Vedanta Desika and Manavala Mamunigal further 
reinforced this  by their universal approach of extending the prapatti marga to 
every one.  This is the key.  We as individuals who care should use our own 
small sphere of influence in bringing the message of our Acharyas to the 
public.  Symbolism (which is also an essential aspect of religion) will 
automatically follow.

Vijayaraghavan