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RE: Priests-NA

Tatachar_at_aol.com
Date: Tue Oct 29 1996 - 19:40:33 PST

Sri 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. "<<<

THIS CERTAINLY IS A VALID CONCERN, BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCH A WONDERFUL SYSTEM BY
ANY STANDARDS, WHY NOT PRESERVE IT AS WELL AS SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.

SRI Vijayaraghavan Rationalized as follows:

>>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.<<<

SRI VIJAYARAGHAVAN HAS ADDRESSED NICELY WHY SRIVAISHNAVA CUSTOMS ARE SIDE
LINED. I THINK 
ALL HIS POINTS ARE WELL TAKEN.

My observations with the Cincinnati Temple are as follows:
We have a Srivaishnava priest from Bangalore, Sri Srinivasa Bhattar.
During Sankalpams he says:  Sriman Narayana Preetyrartam as well as Sri
Parameswara Preetyrtam. Sarvebhyo Srivaishnavebhyo Namah, as well as
Mahajanebhyo namah. Vishvaksenam Aavahayaami etc for Vishvaksena Puja. He
also does Ganapathi Puja.

 Sudarshana Puja and other Srivaishnava specific pujas.
Sri Shatari.
Perumal Theertham (authentic Srivaishnava flavor)
He uses Thiruppavai verses (last two) and/or last two verses of Amalanaadi
Piraan plus Thiru Pallandu verses for Shattumorai. 
Mantrapushpam:  
Rigvedam: AgnihimeLe purohitam ......
Yajurvedam: Ishetvorjetva.......
Samavedam:Agnaayahivvetaye....
Atharvanavedam:Shannodevi......
Upanishad: Om iti Agre vyahareth........
Apasthamba sutram: Athakarmanyachara...
Ramayanam, Bhagavatham, Vishnu puranam, Gita verses
Alavandar Stotrratnam: Kadapunah.....
SriBhashyam: Akhila Bhuvana....

At times also uses Yoapam pushpam veda from Aruna Prasna.

He als does Rudram and Chamakam, abhishekam to Shiva Lingam, Durga Puja etc,
which are strictly non Srivaishnavite.

He performs Dhanurmasam Puja with one verse of Thiruppavai each day. 
Many Srivaishnava specific festivals were also conducted: Deshikar
thirunakshatram, Narasimha Jayanthi, Andal thiruvadipuram
Vaikunta Ekadasi(The Vaikunta dwaram opens to three abodes Vaikuntam, Brahma
Lokam and Kailasam).

 This year our temple news letter(magazine) Aradhana has carried articles on:
Andal, Perialwar, Ramanujacharya, Madhurakavi Alwar, and Thiruppanalvar(due
for November).

All this with approximately 12 Srivaishnava families (of whom most  are
indifferent to Temple activities at best)  plus 2 or 3 very dedicated
students. I think the record of Srivaishnavism in Cincinnati is pretty good.

SO I CONCLUDE THAT IT IS CERTAINLY  POSSIBLE TO RETAIN, CELEBRATE AND SHARE
SRIVAISHNAVA CUSTOMS, ATLEAST IN PLACES SUCH AS CINCINNATI WHERE THERE IS
MORE NORTH INDIAN PARTICIPATION, AS IN THE CINCINNATI SITUATION. But I do
recognize that the scenario presented by Sri Vijayaraghavan is more the rule.
I am afraid, Cincinnati scenarion may be more an exception. But, the
exception as it may be, it also shows that it is certainly possible.  The
secret is a dedicated and well trained Srivaishnava priest plus one or two
families (afterall it is difficult to clap with one hand). 

MY APPEAL TO SRIVAISHNAVAS OUT THERE IN VARIOUS COMMUNITIES IS TO TAKE MORE
ACTIVE ROLE IN THE LOCAL TEMPLE (WHATEVER TYPE TEMPLE) AND DO THE BEST YOU
CAN. YOU HAVE BETTER CHANCE OF SUCCESS IF YOU ARE SINCERE.

Sincerely,

Tatachar (K. Sreekrishna)