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Re: What is a billion dollars anyway?

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Thu Sep 23 1999 - 18:57:16 PDT

Sri Ramaswamy wrote:
> Sri Mani's is lucky in having a different experience. I have seen with my own 
> eyes how during Panguni Uthram day ...

This is a very sad occurrence, and we will need to work
very patiently and prayerfully to overcome such hostility
between the kalais in India.

> But, the case of Sri Ranganatha Temple is totally different. It is not 
> because of any hostility towards other sampradayams that the Vadakalai 
> Tanians and Sattumurai are followed. It is because of the command of the 44th 
> Azhagiyasinghar who was responsible for the construction of the temple and 
> who had specified that the temple should follow the Sri Sannidhi Sampradayam. 
> As true Sishyas of Azhagiyasinghar, nothing is more sacred to them than the 
> command of the Acharya to obeyed in letter and spirit. 

This is very laudable, and it is understandable that those in charge
of the Sri Pomona Ranganatha Temple wish to carefully follow their
acharyas' wishes, especially as Sri Mukkur Swami (44th jeeyar) was
the impetus behind the temple in the first place. However, since the
traditions in this country are nascent, and there is a willingness
among bhAgavatas to be open-minded, I do feel that we should ask 
the present Azhagiya Singar if he would bless the recitation of both 
saaRRumuRais one after another in the Ranganatha Temple. This way, we 
can see if the acharya would approve this. It is best if we precede 
the request by an explanation to Srimad Azhagiya Singar that the 
Sri Vaishnava community here is small, and to prevent future hurt 
feelings and misunderstandings, we would like to be very inclusive, 
so as to avoid the sort of trouble that is prevalent in India.

Would someone kindly volunteer to ask Srimad Azhagiya Singar this
next time they speak to him? This way we can have the best of both
worlds -- acharya permission as well as full unity.

If the acharya decides otherwise, there is no problem either.

To summarize my thoughts, and to clear up any misunderstanding:

(a) We should of course support Sri Ranganatha Temple, and I have
    never said otherwise. It is a matter of great joy and pride to 
    me that we will soon have a Ranganatha temple in this country.

(b) As we build this and any temple, let us leave all our old 
    identifications (paNdai kulam tavirndhu, to quote Periyaazhvaar)
    as being primarily followers of Ahobila Matham, Munitrayam, Andavan, 
    Vaanamaamalai, Thengalai, Vadagalai, etc., and focus more on 
    being Sri Vaishnavas following the Vaidika dharma in the tradition 
    of Nammalvar and Sri Ramanuja.  As so many people have said, if we 
    banish this narrow-minded consciousness, we will enjoy the entire 
    temple-going experience more. Otherwise, even our sEvai of Perumaal
    will be dominated by questions of "What thirumaN does the arcakar
    have? What thirumaN is Perumaal having? Isn't it an injustice how
    this temple used to be Vadagalai/Thengalai but now our opponents
    took it over?", rather than of the divya-soundarya of the thirumEni.

(c) Let us help build the Ranganatha Temple, but let us also continue
    to actively and equally support the many worthy causes in India which 
    are thirsting for support.  It is said:

      devAlayAnAm nirmANAt puNyakoTi phalam bhavet |
      jIrNAlayAnAm uddhAram tataH puNyatamam viduH ||

    Constructing a new temple is an immensely great act; but renovating
    dilapidated ones is an even greater one. I do not buy the argument
    that the U.S. is our territory, and India someone else's. As devotees
    of the Alvars, it is as much our responsibility as anyone else's to 
    help every single Divya Kshetram remain a place where daily worship 
    is offered, and where the paricArakas can to some extent eke out an 
    existence.  I almost feel it is selfish of us to build a temple here
    and ignore our heritage in India.
 
    Finally, let us also support our local Srinivasa Perumaals in each and
    every corner of the U.S., who are standing there patiently waiting
    for bhAgavatas to partake of their glory.

(d) Let us forget this talk of boycotting Divya Desams if one or the other
    acharya is not honored during saaRRumuRai.  How can we boycott Perumaal?
    As Sri K.M. Narayanan wrote, these temples have developed a tradition
    (even if by court order!). It is not appropriate for us to shut off
    Perumaal because of such feelings. I am certainly not saying anyone
    should boycott our Pomona Ranganathan either, irrespective of saaRRumuRai
    practice.  However, my feeling is that since the traditions at this temple 
    are only now developing, we could start off in a way such that all
    members of Sri Ramanuja sampradAya feel fully represented.

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani