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Re. Recent Discussions

From: Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan (vijayaraghavan_s_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Sep 20 1999 - 10:40:24 PDT

Dear Bhaghavata UttamAs:

The recent debate on Kalais and Sri Vaishnava’s authentic practices is very 
dear to my heart.  My personal opinion with the concept of anya devata 
worship or friendship with anya devata worshippers seems to be a point of 
minor importance in the overall scheme of spiritual development.  
Willingness to serve, developing atma gunam along the lines of (Ahimsa 
pratamam pushpam….) have a much higher priority for a Sri Vaishnava if he 
has to earn Emperuman’s divya kataksham.   We seem to waste too much energy 
emphasizing this point again and again.  For many, it is a matter of 
personal choice that we must respect in others.  Some external behavior may 
not represent what is truly in one’s heart.  Eventually, EmperumAn will lead 
us to understand the spirit behind what our great achAryAs had to say on 
this matter.  The general trend among Sri VaishnavAs has gone so much 
wayward on this point that even prominent Sri VaishnavAs in India seem to 
de-emphasize this point.

Coming to kalai differences, I agree with Mani as well as Shri Sadagopan 
that we must strive for unity.  Dileepan’s note also speaks of unity.  
Personally, I do not mind wearing the tenkalai nAmam (once in a while) 
eventhough I am a vadakalai.  For me the contributions of Manavala Mamunigal 
are as valuable as that of Swami Vedanta Desika.  From whatever little I 
gather Mamunigal had a great respect for Vedanta Desika and equally Vedanta 
Desika would have loved to have a sishya like Manavala Mamunigal (who 
constantly did saranagati or bharanyasam through continuous dvaya mantra 
japam).

Even from a practical standpoint unity among kalais is very important.  Like 
Rajaji once implied, we will only benefit smArtAs if we fight among each 
other.  This point may not be relevant in the USA but still may be true in 
India.

I find this somewhat paradoxical that - sometimes the call for unity does 
bring out the differences into much more focus. Suddenly, one’s attention is 
drawn into things that one would not care to focus. Till now whenever I 
visited a temple I never cared to know whether it was a vadakalai or 
tenkalai temple.  Like me, most of us just went to have a darshan of the 
Lord.  If somebody asked me a contribution at the Srirangam temple in India 
the thought didn’t even pass my mind that tenkalai sampradayam is followed 
in the temple or tenkalai sattrumurai is recited.  But now my perspective 
has changed.  These divyadesams in India has come to only perpetuate the 
kalai differences.  Blaring display of Namams, adherence to sattrumurai etc. 
as a means to attest one’s control over the temple etc., seem to be the 
dominant factor in the religious administration of the temple.  I was also 
somewhat appalled to see that none of Swami Desika’s work (like Daya 
Satakam) is recited in the Tirupati (neutral) temple or Desikan Sattrumurai. 
  It somewhat pained me.  These aspects caught me only recently though.  
Therefore, this is what I want to ask those who live in India and quote 
Melkote temple as a model for US temples.  Well why can’t they advocate the 
Melkote model to all the divya desams in India first.  And this is the 
challenge I pose to them as well as to us.

If you are sincere to eliminate the Kalai differences in the temples, are 
you willing to match your words with action by adopting the following 
resolution:

(1) We will not visit those Divya Desams (all 106 of them included) and 
monetarily support them, if they don’t adopt both kalais, including the 
nAmam and Sattrumurai.

I think anything less is a mere word and we are only trying to approximate 
the reality to find hotchpotch solutions.


Vijayaraghava Dasan
Buffalo, NY

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