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When posting appeals...

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri Sep 17 1999 - 12:15:12 PDT

I have a few suggestions for people posting fund-raising appeals
on behalf of temples and other causes. I hope these make sense
to all.

(a) Please do not unnecessarily criticize other temples.
    If one does so, please make sure that it is at least
    an accurate / valid criticism.

    To explain: It was written yesterday that the Pomona Ranganatha
    temple is the "one and only authentic Sri Vaishnava temple ...
    [without] any presence of dEvathAntharam in it in this continent".

    Does this make Sri Govindaraja Sannidhi in Chidambaram a false
    Sri Vaishnava temple? After all, He is resting right next to
    Lord Nataraja and Natana Ganapati. What about the various other
    Divya Desams praised by Alvars, where there happen to be 
    another devatA inside?

    I also consider my local temple as an "authentic" Sri Vaishnava
    temple, even though it is called a "Siva-Vishnu" temple.  Each
    sannidhi has separate dhvaja-stambhas and bali-pIthams, with
    separate entrances, much like Chidambaram. The same can be said
    for the Malibu temple in Los Angeles, where the proposed Siva complex
    is completely removed from Sri Srinivasa Perumaal's sannidhi.

    Or take Chicago, where a more authentic Sri Vaishnava crowd, with
    regular Veda and Prabandha pArAyaNam happens, cannot be found.
    Do we have a right to summarily dismiss these various sannidhis
    as not being "authentic"?
 
    Such statements are very hurtful and counterproductive.

    Please understand, many things go into making a temple "authentic".
    One of the most important is adherence to kramas -- recitation of
    Vedas by all at the appropriate time with proper svara (not ad-hoc),
    recitation of Divya Prabandham at the appointed time, etc. Every
    place has its faults, and no blanket statement can made anywhere.

(b) While contributing to any cause in this country, even the Ranganatha
    temple, please contribute a matching amount to a cause in India.

    It is easier to contribute here, where we get immediate tax-deductibility,
    and see results right before our eyes. But let's not forget that most of 
    our temples in India are in shambles, with priests often barely having 
    enough money to eat, and certainly not enough to educate and take care 
    of their children. I hear that Sri Parakaala Matham in Mysore barely has 
    enough money to adorn Lord Hayagriva with flowers every day. Basically,
    Perumaal is reduced to being a beggar in many places in India.

    What I've noticed happening is that we often tend to donate to causes that 
    are already well off, or not doing that bad, but we pass over those
    that are in dire straits.

    Please, let's not let this happen. If we donate thousands of dollars 
    to some Sri Vaishnava cause here (which is a good thing), please, let's
    send the same amount to the source -- India itself.

I hope my words make sense. 

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani