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Re: What is a billion dollars anyway?

From: Sridhar Srinivasan (
Date: Fri Sep 17 1999 - 10:40:46 PDT

Dear Bhagavathas:

I cannot agree more with the statements Sri Mani makes regarding the 
need for jettisoning divisive practices and honoring both Swamy 
Desikan and Sri ManavALa mAmunigaL.  In fact, in the current day 
tradition, I have seen only a few isolated instances where the 
divisiveness has been brought to the fore.  Most prominent current 
day Acharyas/scholars from both kalais have made a concerted effort 
to accord due recognition and respect to the contributions of both 
swami maNavALa mAmunigaL and dEsikan to our rich heritage, whose 
significance (of contributions) cannot be overstated.

Sri Mani wrote:
> > But one must consider, no temple in
> > India recites both saaRRumuRais.  All Vadakalai temples
> > (handful though they may be) recite only vadakalai
> > saaRRumuRai and all the thenkalai temples recite only
> > thenkalai saaRRumuRai.
> a) During my last trip to Melkote, I was told by a knowledgable
>    Melkote local that both saaRRumuRais are recited there.
>    I don't know if this is the case all the time, but there is 
>    precedent for such a practice.
> b) Is it good to continue propagating divisive practices,
>    even if they are practiced in India? In other words, is
>    there anything fundamentally wrong in honoring both 
>    Swami Sri Desika and Sri Maanmunigal during saaRRumuRai?

Sri Dileepan wrote:

> Just imagine, you will be leaving behind Sri Rangam for
> our children and their children.  How many of them will
> visit India and visit Sri Rangam, let alone the other
> temples that are in bad shape.  No doubt many of these
> temples need funding even for nithya ArAdhanai.  But,
> is it not those who are from these villages and the
> locals who must take the primary responsibility for
> this?  Similarly, Sri Rangam of USA is our village.
> It is our responsibility to see that funding is
> available at this crucial stage.  A completed Sri
> Rangam of USA will probably be the only authentic
> Sri Vaishnava temple our grand children may ever visit.

Another important point to recognize is that while we are willing to 
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a SrI ranganAtha 
temple in New York, which is an admirable notion by itself, we tend 
to be far less willing to give even smaller amounts (say a few 
thousand dollars) to support divya dEsams in India.  In this context, 
it is necessary to recognize that while a temple in New York or 
Houston or San Jose is a valuable resource to the local populace, 
equating such temples to a SrI rangam or kAnchipuram or thiruvEngadam 
is both incorrect and inaccurate.  For such comparisons ignore the 
historical facts that support archAvatharam and the inherent divinity 
built into each of 106 divya dEsams.  Nothing will even come close to 
replicating the experience of being in the presence of namberumAL 
or  thiruvEngaDamuDeyAn.  

Such comparisons ignore the need for anushTanic and spiritual purity 
(almost impossible to replicate livng in the USA) that form the 
substratum to provide a permanent basis for perumAL's archAvathAram 
in the divyadEsams.  The inherent materialism and the accompanying 
compromises that are integrated into our lives in the west 
invariably tend to detract from the purity of our notions and the 
sanctity of our actions built on such a framework.  

Ultimately, if we truly want to help serve the cause of Sri 
VaishNavam, I believe that we should open our hearts and purse 
strings to supporting the existing divyadEsams (in India) as much as 
we may want to do for local (and self accretive) efforts.  And my 
experience in this regard has been disappointing, in that, support 
for divya dEsam causes in India often produce rather lukewarm 
responses while that for local efforts, which are many orders of 
magnitude more expensive, seem to find relatively better financial 
backing.  This is not to say we should not build temples locally.  To 
the contrary, if we build temples and make a commitment to make these 
temples conduits for funding development/maintenance of divya desam 
temples, we may have found a just calling for our efforts.

Azhwaar EmberumAnAr Jeeyar thiruvaDigaLE sharaNam