Discussions on other Vaishnava-sampradayas and Gaudiyas other than the Rupanuga-tradition should go here. This includes for example Madhva, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Gaura-nagari, Radha-vallabhi and the such.
Vedanta and separate streams of bhakti - Alvars, Jayadeva, Nimbarka, Chaitanya etc.
Keshava - Sun, 08 Aug 2004 07:36:26 +0530
|QUOTE (Jagat @ Aug 7 2004)|
|(The worship of prema bhakti itself in the form of Radha) is the separate stream that flows through the Alvars, Jayadeva, Nimbarka, Chaitanya and Rupa Goswami. [Posted in this thread].|
If this is as you say (Jagat) a separate stream ennunciated by personal experience of the great devotees with no parallel ideas in sastra then it is indeed interesting.
Please note that Ramanuja called his system Ubhaya Vedanta because it was founded not only on the Vedantic system of Visistadvaita but also on the mystical experiences of the Alvars.
Madhava - Sun, 08 Aug 2004 20:22:38 +0530
Keshava, could you elaborate a bit on the idea of Ubhaya Vedanta?
Keshava - Mon, 09 Aug 2004 11:19:40 +0530
In the Sri Vaisnava tradition there is a division between the Sanskrit sastric tradition represented by the Prastana Trayi (Upanisads, Vedanta Sutras, Gita and their commentaries), and other Sanskrit literatures like Puranas (primarily Visnu but also Bhagavata, etc), Itihasas (especially Ramayana which is considered Saranagati sastra par excellence but also Mahabharata) and the Pancaratra literature (Particularly the Ratna Trayi of Pauskara, Jayakya and Sattvata and their more recent counter parts Paramesvara, Padma and Isvara samhitas)
the Nalayira Divya Prabhanda (Nala = 4, Ayira = 1000), the 4,000 Tamil stanzas written by the 12 Saints called Alvars. This is revered as "the Tamil Veda".
So because the tradition is based upon both the Sanskrit and Tamil (vernacular) canon it is known as Ubhaya (Both) Vedanta.
There are numerous commentaries not only on Sanskrit but also the Tamil texts. As well as svatantra (independant) works in Sanskrit, Tamil and Manipravala.
The Alvars are credited by many scholars (and others) with being the historically earliest examples of propounders of Bhakti. They came from all stratas of society from Brahmins to Untouchables and even one of them (Andal/Goda) was a woman. She is specifically revered for her undying devotion to Krsna in her two hymns Tirupavai (in which she identifies herself as a Gopika of Vrndavan waking other Gopis early in Margali (Tamil for Margasirsa or Dhanur) month to perform Katyayani Vrata to get Krsna as their husband) and also for her other work Naciayar (Goddess) Tirumoli in which she envisions her marriage to Krsna. (All Sri Vaisnavas chant Tirupavai and perform other Vratas during that specific winter month)
In fact there are other examples of Alvars singing in Nayaki bhava (resorting to God in the guise of a female) and contrary to popular belief (especially in ISKCON) Krsna is the main object of adoration of the Alvars and is the most mentioned Avatara in their 4,000 songs. One explanation for this is that Krsna being the most recent avatara, historically devotees hearts feel the pangs of separation from Him more intensely.
So Gopibhava is understood and accepted as a bonafide avenue for Sri Vaisnavas to use in their approach to God (Krsna).
In the centuries following Ramanuja (traditional dates 1017-1137 c.e.) the Sampradaya split along philosophical lines with one major school being more identified with the Sanskrit tradition and the other with the Tamil (vernacular) tradition. However in reality both revere equally the two canons. It seems that the Acaryas that had to deal with preaching to outsiders of the tradition did so primarily by using the Sanskrit texts as these are accepted as pramanas by even Advaitins and the Acaryas who were ministering to the internal Sri Vaisnava community stressed the Tamil (vernacular) tradition. They spoke and wrote mainly in the language of the congregation. An interesting hybrid medieval language evolved called Mani Pravala (mani = pearls ie Sanskrit and pravala = coral ie Tamil) which is a Sanskritized Tamil (Sankrit vocabulary with Tamil syntax and grammar). Mani Pravala is beautiful like a necklace of pearls and coral (often worn by South Indian ladies).
The two sides Vadakalai (vada = northern kalai = culture) represent the more orthodox brahmanical traditions and Tenkalai (ten = southern kalai = culture) represent the more orthodox vaisnava traditions (hetrodox brahmanical assuming the smarta tradition to be orthodox).
They traditionally differ on 18 points. But in reality there are a multitude of points that are debated. Of specific interest here might be the following:
Sri (read Radha in Gaudiya context) is greatly revered by both groups (ie Sri Sampradaya) as the founder of the Sampradaya (adiguru) and supreme essential mediatrix in the souls attempt to commune with God.
Points of difference amongst the sects:
Whether Sri (read Radha in Gaudiya context) is isvara tattva or jiva tattva. (The argument centers on whether She is omnipresent by her svarupa (nature) or by her power.
Whether Sri (read Radha in Gaudiya context) is a Moksakara (able to give Moksa Herself without Narayana/Krsna)
The concept of God's grace as sahetuka krpa (produced grace) or nirhetuka krpa (causeless grace). This is exemplified by the example of mother and baby monkey (markata nyaya) and mother and baby cat (marjala nyaya). Basically it is a dispute over works and faith just as in the Catholic/Protestant traditions.
God's love: dosa adarsanatva (disregard of the devotees sins) and dosa bhogyatva (enjoyment of the devotees sins) (because they give Him the pleasure of saving His most fallen devotees.)
Both sides accept the paths of karma and jnana as being ancillory to bhakti. Yet both sides also reject bhakti (their definition of bhakti as a process only for male dvijas) as a system for all. Bhakti in the sense of following any one or all of the 32 Upanisadic Vidyas is rejected as a path which may not give liberation at the end of this present lifetime. Therefore both sides advocate the performance of Prapatti (or saranagati/surrender) for certain liberation at the end of this life. This path is open to all regardless of qualification and is said to beprescribed in the Gita 18.66 (carama sloka).
Regardless of this seeming abandonment of bhakti, karma and jnana both sides still perform all Vedic and Vaisnava acaras but in the spirit of Sattvika Tyaga (giving up the result of the specific activity). Although to a large extent the practitioners outwardly follow all the rules and regulations of varnasram (and what we would call vaidhi bhakti) internally (and even externally there are historical examples of) devotees acting in extremely spontaneous ways in their expressions of devotion.
Kishalaya - Mon, 09 Aug 2004 12:33:29 +0530
|QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 9 2004, 11:19 AM)|
|one of them (Andal/Goda) was a woman. She is specifically revered for her undying devotion to Krsna in her two hymns Tirupavai (in which she identifies herself as a Gopika of Vrndavan waking other Gopis early in Margali (Tamil for Margasirsa or Dhanur) month to perform Katyayani Vrata to get Krsna as their husband) and also for her other work Naciayar (Goddess) Tirumoli in which she envisions her marriage to Krsna. (All Sri Vaisnavas chant Tirupavai and perform other Vratas during that specific winter month)|
Kishalaya - Thu, 26 Aug 2004 17:05:34 +0530
Srimati Andal's Tiruppavai
May be this thread can go into the "Other Vaishnava Traditions" forum.
Satyabhama - Thu, 26 Aug 2004 17:43:10 +0530
also see Divya Prabandham (unfortunately all in Tamil with no translation) http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/prabandham/
Kishalaya - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 00:01:20 +0530
You can go here:http://www.srivaishnavam.com/prabandham.htm
There will be a few buttons on top of the page. The button on the extreme right is the "Meaning" button which will open into a page with links to the English meanings.
Satyabhama - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 00:03:07 +0530
Oh! THANK YOU!
Satyabhama - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 00:11:05 +0530
That's it! Now you know what? I am going to force myself to sit down and read the ENTIRE collected works of the Alwars. That's it. Now that I have the english translation, I'm going to just read it all in one go...
Thanks for that!
Kishalaya - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 00:55:11 +0530
|QUOTE (Keshava @ Aug 9 2004, 11:19 AM)|
| Krsna being the most recent avatara, historically devotees hearts feel the pangs of separation from Him more intensely. |
Quote from commentary to Sri ThoNdaradippodi alwar's Thirumaalai
"Our alwars and acharyas when they talk about Sri rAma piran, never utter
his name even by mistake. They either say perumAl or chakravarthi
thirumagan. But when it comes to krishnAvatAram they never even by mistake
say perumal they call him only as Krishnan, kannan, kutti kannan etc.
This is due to the sowlabhyam showed by Krishnan. Even when they say,
Sri nandagOpa kumaran the ‘Sri’ is only for nandan and not Krishnan."
Jagat - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 03:37:36 +0530
Someone PM'd me
|Dear Jagat, Haribol. |
I am just wondering if you have any stories of the lilas of the Alvars from the Ramanuja tradition? I once heard several stories of the lives of many of the alvars, but I have not been able to find a book or any information giving the biographical stories of them. I heard there is a book called Alvar Charita, but I've never seen it, nor been able to get a copy of it. Your recent post of the professor who just passed away brought this subject to mind. If you know anything it would be a great help. Thanks.
My answer: The real person to ask would be Keshava. The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan puts out a book called "Alvars of South India" by K.C. Varadachari (1966). It is likely still available. It has most of the stories and teachings in a very easily digestible format. Perhaps if I find the time I could scan some of these in.
Kishalaya - Fri, 27 Aug 2004 11:33:25 +0530