[Advaita-l] Religion that I am born into

M. S. Ravisankar ravi at ambaa.org
Wed Mar 17 12:40:46 CST 2004

1. The same sentiment is echoed in one of the talks by kAnchi paramAcharya
also. In essence, he says that if iishwara made you take birth to certain
parents, there is a purpose behind it.

2. But the ground reality  (historically) shows a different scene. All
through the tamil history, there were huge struggles to convert people back
from buddhism/jainism to shaivism; and the vice versa. If you study the life
of shaivite nAyanmaar-s such as thirunaavukkarasar, thirujnAnasambhandar
etc, you will see this. It was through the monumental efforts of these great
saints, vedic religion in south (specially TN) was revivified.  Often this
credit is misplaced on Sankara, who really did not do much in this
direction. The five ancient great epics in Tamil had a definite slant
towards jainism and buddhism. But for these great efforts of these
nAyanmArs, Tamil Nadu will be a country practising jainism and buddhism
today. If someone says it does not matter, I can only say they are clueless.

3. This conversion, also happened between shaiva and vaishNava. What better
can you have for a religion than to have a king of a country convert to your
religion. One of the major goals those days was to were to get the King
back. To give an example, consider mahendravarma pallava or
thirujnAnasambhandar converting paaNdya king. Because, yathaa raajaa tathaa
prajaa. This has not changed even today.

4. If I am not mistaken, there are formal and informal mechanisms in both
shaiva and vaishhNava religions to undergo conversion. Only the smArta-s do
not have anything. In the series on Sankara sampradaya, we see that so many
smArta-s embraced ramanuja's philosphy and embraced vaishhNava religion.

We can not take this matter lightly at all.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: latha vidya [mailto:lathavidya at yahoo.co.in]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2004 1:16 AM
> To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Religion that I am born into
> Sringeri Acharya Sri Sri Chandrashekhara Bharathi Swamiji had
> once guided a Christian seeker who had come to Him seeking to
> embrace Hinduism that there was no true objective (Purushartha)
> attained by embracing a religion outside of one’s birth. Instead
> of converting one self into another religion, why not seek to
> study one’s own scripture  indepth with the help of a Teacher and
> follow its tenets with all Bhakthi and Shradhdha and reach the
> goal? Parama Purushartha or the main objective of this human
> birth can be realized by striving towards perfection in one’s own
> religion. There is more purpose and meaning achieved by becoming
> a better Hindu or a better Christian or a better Sikh than
> getting converted to another religion and get left in the lurch –
> neither here nor there.
> Namaste,
> Latha Vidyaranya

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