I'm glad you're including me in the third group, but just letting you know I'm not Iyengar..don't understand why Iyengars are reacting like Muslims to defend their exclusive faith which excludes diversity (they believe in one god, and all other deities are poisonous), but actively seeks converts from other faiths...
This is the faulty understanding of most sects/hindu faiths regd. Sri Vaishanavism. All the vaishnava precedents-alwars/philosophers have even considered Rudra/Shiva as Sarvagnyan - omniscient (of his lOkAs). Mahabharata considers Shiva as a Vaishnava, "Vaishnavaanaam yatha shumbuh (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.16)".
The message of Vedas
is that Brahman is Only one, all others (selves/jivas) are His body. The jivas themselves are classified as many , according to their powers/qualities/wisdom. Thus, we have powerful jIvas called dEvatAs/gods, who rule their own universe(s)/lOkAs, obtained thru severe penances. Some of the gods, are the ruler of the lOkAs and gods and are very powerful. Thus, these gods are also Lords of many other gods/jivas/creation, like the CEOs, CIO,s etc. Thus dis-respecting/de-meaning anyone of them, is offensive to them as well as the Brahman (nArAyanA). But, the followers of those gods were criticized for showing dvEsham/offense to Perumal/nArAyanA and mocking their gods as the Supreme Person is contrary to even Maha-nArAyana Upanishad (Taittriya ShiskshAvalli/Vedic Learning), where every God is to be prayed to from the Agni (lowest) to other gods (Rudra/Ganapati/Durga/Garuda etc.) and Vishnua s the highest, to attain that Brahman/NArayanA (as their Supreme Self) . Each god has own powers to bestow for the welfare and bliss of the jivas, so the followers can progress to the next level.
'tat purushAya vidhmahE , mahAdEvAya
dhEmahi | thanO rudra:
prachOdhayAth||' - We meditate upon Purusha (nArAyanA), for that purpose, we meditate on MahadEvA, May Rudra prompt us for that meditation.
The above verse can be replaced with these for prayer on the other gods: (which became the 'gayathri's)
vakrathuNdAya, dhanthi: ; suvarna-pakshAya (garuda), garuda: ; durga, durghi: ,
so does varuna, agni, bhumi, vayu shower bliss on me, who am desirous of gaining ParamAtman.
In the same Upanishad and Rg.veda 9-96, Brahma devanAm pathavi (position) and hence the vibhUti/creation of the Lord. May that omniscient Rudra, who casts glances on Hiranyagarbha, the frist born, as "may this become the greatest of all" unite us with an auspicious mind, for that highest goal.