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vadakali and thenkalai differences

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nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
To certain extent, I agree with the above statement. But it is mainly only with
staunch practitioners. Of late, my friends' children have interchanged within the
above too and their parents did not raise much objection from both sides, stating
that they are within the brahmin fold.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 

Nara

Well-known member
vadakali and thenkalai differences still persist in thses days of computer rechnology. They affewct the relationships and matrimonial alliances.
Dear sundararajan sir, please permit me to submit to you, in these days of not just computer technology but advancements in many other fields such as science, technology, anthropology, sociology, political science, etc., it is indeed regretful that people of all castes take their caste differences seriously, not just Vadakalai and Thenkalai.

In this context I think we must realize that even though many serious ideological differences between Vadakalai and Thenkalai have existed for more than 700 years, marriage alliances between the two kalais was not uncommon. It is true that a vast majority of the alliances were and probably still are within the same kalai. This is true not only among those who would be considered as staunch Sri Vaishnavas (SV), but even among nominal ones, those who have no clue about what Sri Vaishnavam really is. I say this based on what I have seen among my relatives and SV friends.

Cheers!
 

Govinda

New member
Dear sundararajan sir, please permit me to submit to you, in these days of not just computer technology but advancements in many other fields such as science, technology, anthropology, sociology, political science, etc., it is indeed regretful that people of all castes take their caste differences seriously, not just Vadakalai and Thenkalai.

This is true as most people working in those fields equally gave up the spirituality. So, for them, the adherence to any philosophy/practices dont really make much difference. We didnt have problem either while seeking, but we finally ended up with vadakalais ;)

But for those, whose daily routine/thinking/living (other than office) are based on the Philosophical understanding of Vishishtadvaita [esp. that of Sri Ramanuja/Swamy Desikan], such differences would make a difference. So, Vadakalais would choose thenkalais as brides only, as the latter are adamant and are more like advaitins, regarding certain understanding/practices. Now, they are more acceptable of Swamy Desikan's works, but still wouldn't take samskArAs like Bhara-nyasam (Surrender) from Acharyas.
 
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Nara

Well-known member
We didnt have problem either while seeking, but we finally ended up with vadakalais ;)
Govinda, your smile not withstanding, I don't understand what your trying to say or joke about.


But for those, whose daily routine/thinking/living (other than office) are based on the Philosophical understanding of Vishishtadvaita [esp. that of Sri Ramanuja/Swamy Desikan], such differences would make a difference.
Alright, would you care to elucidate what these might be? In what way do you think Swami Sri Desikan is the true courier of what Bagavat Ramanuja advocated, which Ramanuja never called Visihtadvaita, more than the acharyas of the present day Thenkalai SVs?

So, Vadakalais would choose thenkalais as brides only, as the latter are adamant and are more like advaitins, regarding certain understanding/practices. Now, they are more acceptable of Swamy Desikan's works, but still wouldn't take samskArAs like Bhara-nyasam (Surrender) from Acharyas.
What are you trying to say, the male Thenkalais are adamant but the male Vadakalis are not? What do you think is the difference between Thenkalais and Vadakalais with respect to saranagathi, aka Bara Nyasam? Do you know that Thenkalais believe in saranagathi just as much as the vadakalais, if not more? Thenkalais believe in what is called marjara nyaya, one which asserts that once you perform saranagathi, you must act like a juvenile cat totally dependent on the grace of the parent cat, i.e. Sriman Narayana?

Govinda, please, the important ideological differences between Vadakalis and Thenkalais are quite arcane to make any difference to a male or female of either kalai to be important in making decisions on alliances. The only reason kalai is important in such decisions is ignorance and caste supremacy, just like what makes any icm intolerable to any castist, B or NB.

Cheers!
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
I do not have much knowledge about Thenkalai and Vadakalai differences in detail.
I only know there are two. Because, my friends are mostly Thenkalais and I had
no chance to discuss with them in depth.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 
Namaste Naraji,

"...the important ideological differences between Vadakalis and Thenkalais are quite arcane..."

You have tremendous knowledge in SV philosophies/philosophers so can you please elaborate the differences between Vadakalis and Thenkalais for our benefit ? please...

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam
Sankeertana NARAyana shabdha matram vimukta dukha sukhino bhavantu
 
...i would rather be corrected by a theist than by an agnostic/atheist... :)

Namaste Sangomji,

I am kidding...thanks for correcting me Sir.

I should have copied this slokam from Sri Venkateshwara Swamy calendar (mentioned in English) but I thought no one would notice/correct so I used my own Sankrit/English pandithyam !!!

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam
 

Nara

Well-known member
....You have tremendous knowledge in SV philosophies/philosophers so can you please elaborate the differences between Vadakalis and Thenkalais for our benefit ? please...
jaisiyaraam, I do know a thing or two about SV, but certainly not "tremendous".

Many months ago, probably late 2009, I did write in detail about the differences, but I am unable to find it now. Unfortunately, the search feature of this site is quite limited.

Anyway, let me give a quick and partial list of the 18 or so differences between the two kalais. Let me also add that the two kalais lived happily together despite their doctrinal differences up until about 300 or so years.

A partial list of major differences on matters of doctrine and theology:

No.
ConceptVadakalaiThenkalai
1.Who is supreme Ishwara?Sriman Narayana and MahalakshmiOnly Sriman Narayana, Mahalakshmi is a jeevatma
2.Who can grant mohsham?Sriman Narayana and/or Mahalakshmi can grant mokshamOnly Sriman Narayana can grant moksham
3.What is the role of Mahalakshmi?She acts as recommending agency (purushakaratvam) as well as moksham granting agency. She also joins Sriman Narayana as enjoyer of muktas service (bhokta)She only acts as recommending agency (purushakaratvam) and be bhokta along with Sriman Narayana.
4.What is the means (upaya) for moksham?Bhakti Yoga or Prapatti (total and unconditional surrender)Only Prapatti
5.What is prapatti?A separate ritual to be performed with the necessary prerequisitesJust declaring oneself to be a Vaishnava via Panca Samskaram is prapatti.
6.Nitya KarmaMust be performed by all, including sanyaseesNeed not be performed by prapannas, but must do anyway to set an example for others.
7.What about the papa karma of prapannas (ones who have performed prapatti)?Due to his unlimited compassion Sriman Narayana will erase the papa of prapannas?
The lord actually loves to remove the sins of prapannas like a cow licks the impurities off of her calf, and like a lover enjoys the impurities in the body of the loved
8.Acharya paramparaiSame as Thenkalai up until Ramanuja. The preeminent acharya after that is Swami Sri DesikanSame as Vadakalai up until Ramanuja. The preeminent acharya after that is Swami Manavala Mamunigal



Partial list of cultural differences:
No.
Concept
Vadakalai
Thenkalai
1.NamamU shaped with turmeric srichoornam in yellow colorY shaped with turmeric srichoornam in red color
2.ProstrationFour timesStrictly one time
3.MadisarDifferent from smartaSimilar to smarta
4.Serving foodRice and ghee first, everything else after thatEverything first, then rice and ghee


I am sure I am missing a few, but I think I got most of them.

Cheers!
 
Thanks a lot Naraji !!!

Why did the acharya paramparai change/differ? I am sorry if I am asking questions that you have already answered in your SV thread.

Thanks a lot Naraji for your informative/enlightening posts (irrespective of your stand-Atheism) !!!

Also, are there any groups/followers of Lord Siva similar to SVs?

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam
 

Nara

Well-known member
...Why did the acharya paramparai change/differ?
Dear jaisiyaraam, During Bhagavat Ramanuja's time the SV population grew by leaps and bounds. To meet the needs of SVs and to attract as many more people to the SV fold, Ramanuja established 74 simhasanapathis who were charged with the propagation of the SV brand of theism. This is the primary reason for acharya parampara branching out after Ramanuja.

However, it must be noted here that there were no rivalries among the different simhasanapathees as they all swear total allegiance to Ramanuja. Differences of kalais set in much later. The Acharya Parampara of the most dominant Vadakalai sect, namely Sri Ahobila Matam, shares several acharyas after Ramanuja in common with Thenkalais SVs. So, anybody who swears by kalai difference today are actually ignorant of their own history.


Also, are there any groups/followers of Lord Siva similar to SVs?
Yes! This is the most interesting aspect of the theistic doctrine of SV, it is so very similar to the Veera Saiva of Basavanna aka Lingayat. However, the most important difference is, SVs are orthodox followers of Brahminism, i.e. they accept the supremacy of Vedas and Dharmashasthras. In contrast, Basavanna rejected both the Vedas and the Dharmashasthras. But they both advocate total and unconditional surrender to their supreme lord, Sriman Narayana for SV, and Shiva for Lingayat.

Cheers!
 
Thanks Naraji for taking time to answer my questions.

Chinna Jeeyara Swamy of AP (I guess he belongs to Ahobilam matt) opened several veda schools that allows children from all castes so I am surprised at staunch SVs because that advocate against teaching vedas to other castes. This kind of "modern" initiative is not done by TTD and even by Advaitic Shankara matts.

Again, I have one more question...any philosophy(s) centered around Lord Srimannarayan similar to Shankara's Advaitam ?

Thanks a lot Naraji !!!

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam
 

nannilam_balasubramanian

Well-known member
Could anyone mention the reasons between Srirangam Acharyas and Kanchi Acharyas clearly
so that we have an idea to know exactly the actual difference between Iyengaars. But I have
read in some books Kanchi Acharyaas are kept in the higher because of their supremacy in
sanskrit Knowledge according to my neighbour.

Balasubramanian
Ambattur
 
S

samarapungavan

Guest
Shri Nara,

There are many vadakalai families(including ours) who sport the red SrichUrnam, but I haven't seen/heard of any Thenkalaiyars who sport "Manjal SriChUrnam". Also I know of many thenkalaiyars who wear the madisAr exactly like Vadakalais, and some like smarthAs also.

As regards to ANushtAnam, while the Vadakalaiyars perform sAtvika ThyAgam before and after every karma, Thenkalaiyars do not practice this.

Regards
 

Nara

Well-known member
Hello all,

Here are my clarifications to the questions raised.

[1] Chinna Jeeyara Swamy of AP (Thenkalai) does not belong to Shri Ahobila matt (ultra orthodox Vadakalai)

[2] All Vedantic doctrines are centered around Sriman Narayana in one form or another, A, VA, D, and Gaudiya.

[3] There is a general impression that Vadakali Acharyas are from Kanchi and Sanskrit oriented and Thenkalai Acharyas are from Sri Rangam and are Tamil oriented. This is partially true, but both sects consider both Sanskrit Vedas and Tamil Prabhandham in equal veneration. There are staunch Thenkalai acharyas who have hailed from Kanchi and staunch Vadakalai acharyas from Sri Rangam. So such clear cut separation as Kanchi Acharyas and Sri Rangam acharyas is not true.

[4] Supremacy of Vadakalai Acharyas because of their Sanskrit knowledge is another myth, Thenkalai Acharyas are also quite knowledgeable in Sanskrit texts.

Feeling superior is also quite interesting because one of the cardinal principles of SV is to be a servant of others SVs. So, if one sect feels they are superior to the other, they are breaking this cardinal principle.

[5] Turmeric Sri Choornam, Madisar are cultural aspects. These may not be followed strictly by everyone in a given sect. What I have stated is true for the observant SVs.

There are many weekend type Vadakalai Iyengars who wear red Sri Choornam, but you will never find an observant one with red, it will always be yellow only.

Thenkalais always use red color Sri Choornam, but it is made out of turmeric.

Hope these clarifications are helpful.

Cheers!
 

sangom

Well-known member

[2] All Vedantic doctrines are centered around Sriman Narayana in one form or another, A, VA, D, and Gaudiya.​


Shri Nara,

Though Sankara starts some of his bhashyas with an invocation to Narayana (and not to Vinayaka - may be noted) I do not think Advaita relates itself to Narayana or Siva. Is my notion right?
 

Nara

Well-known member
Shri Nara,

Though Sankara starts some of his bhashyas with an invocation to Narayana (and not to Vinayaka - may be noted) I do not think Advaita relates itself to Narayana or Siva. Is my notion right?
Dear sir, please correct me if I am wrong, but what I am led to believe is their Saguna Brahman is Narayana. Of course, in the case of Advaitam this question is kind of moot because all these are mitya, and even in this so called relative reality everything is just a reflection of Param. So Shiva, Narayana, Vinayaka, etc., etc., are all one and the same.

Having said that, what I was alluding to was what you have stated also, i.e., for Sankaracharaiyars, Narayana is the supreme saguna brhman and contemplating on him will elevate one to jeevan mukta state. This is what I have heard in Kalakshepams I have attended given by SV acharyas.

Cheers!
 

Govinda

New member
What do you think is the difference between Thenkalais and Vadakalais with respect to saranagathi, aka Bara Nyasam? Do you know that Thenkalais believe in saranagathi just as much as the vadakalais, if not more?

The key difference of opinion between the vaDakalais and the tenkalais lies in their understanding of the modality of bhakti-yOga and prapatti (bhara-nyAsam) as means to mukti.

The tenkalais believe that God's Unconditional Grace is enough for mukti and the jIva should NOT do anything
to stop the flow of God's Grace.

While the vaDakalais agree that it's only God's Grace that does the actual deliverance, they say God, being impartial that He is, and for fairness to all Jivas, does require some initiative from the aspirant, in the form of bhakti-yOga or prapatti.

God will use that Jiva's gesture as a pretext to grant mukti.

vaDakalais say that a mere passive knowledge of God's Supremacy/Grace is not enough. Jivas should also actively *perform* prapatti as a formal act, in full knowledge, as prescribed in the scriptures.

The act should be done like any other prescribed act, with an attitude of non-attachment to the result (bhagavad Gita, especially, chapters 17 and 18)

vaDagalais do this in the true spirit of Sri RAmAnujAchArya's original tradition that knowledge *and* action are both required, as secondary means, while the God's Grace is
the primary means.

Sri Ramanujacharya himself taught the pUrva-kAnda and the uttara-kAnDa constitute a single body of vedic scripture and criticised the advaitins strongly that mere knowlede of the Brahman cannot be the means to mukti.

Thus the vaDakalais view is more consistent with Sri Ramanujacharya's teachings .
 
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Govinda

New member
Thenkalais believe in what is called marjara nyaya, one which asserts that once you perform saranagathi, you must act like a juvenile cat totally dependent on the grace of the parent cat, i.e. Sriman Narayana?

Where is it said so??

Prapatti Yogam is described in the Ahirbhunhya Samhita of the Pancharatra Agama (Sandilya is the author). Vaishnavas attach great importance to this Agama. There are 5 angas in Prapatti and the sixth is called the angi. Nyasa vidya (one of the 32 vidyas) is also described in the Brahma Sutras of Badarayana. Prapatti Yogam is described in the Ahirbhunhya Samhita of the Pancharatra Agama (Sandilya is the author).

(1) Anukulyasya Sankalpa (To act according to what pleases the Lord).

(2) Praatikulyasya varjanam ( (1) stated in a negative way. i,e. to avoid any action that would displease the Lord)

(3) Maha Vishwasam (Understanding the realation between Jiva and Brahman, Unflinching faith in the Lord - Sriman
Narayana, and determined to obtain His grace)

(4) Goptrutva varanam (Inviting the Lord as the Upaya)

(5) Karpanya (Humility, as there is no other means/refuge - unable to perform karma, janan, bhakti yOgAs)
- Gita Sloka 18:66 -'Sarva DharmAn parityajya maam ekam saranam vraja ....' and

(6) Atma Nikshepa ( surrendering your will to the divine will)

This is elaborated by Swami Vedanta Desika in His karika called Nyasa Dasakam and also in "Adaikalapatthu." In prapatti yogam, Sriman Narayana is the tattvam(principle), upayam(hitam/means) and also upeyam (purushartham/goal).

A similar Verse from Swami Desikan's Adaikala Paththu:

ugakkum avai uganNthu (1) ugavaa vanaitthum ozhinNthu (2) uRavu guNa
miga thuNivu peRa uNarnNthu (3) viyan kaavalena varitthu (4)
jagatthil oru pugal illaath thavam aRiyEn (5) mathiL kacchi
nagar karuNai naathanai nal adaikkalamaay adainNthEnE (condiitons/pre-requisites/follow-up)

Courtesy: Sri Vaishnava articles.

Govinda, please, the important ideological differences between Vadakalis and Thenkalais are quite arcane to make any difference to a male or female of either kalai to be important in making decisions on alliances. The only reason kalai is important in such decisions is ignorance and caste supremacy, just like what makes any icm intolerable to any castist, B or NB.

Our own tradition/philosophy, determines lot of our daily living and even perception about life/spirituality/conduct etc. As with any marriage , even inter-faith or with NB, compatibility is important. If the male wants to pursue the spiritual life, the female would just adhere to his husband's wishes. Whereas, the opposite is not possible. Which is why vadakalais may choose TK brides. I know of many VK females pursue bhara-nyasam, while their in-laws weren't co-operative and were critical. I also know of VK females of (2 generations ago), their husbands don't favor bhara-nyAsam and some are agnostic, but the females brought their kids the VK way.

But recently, I observe TKs are more religious practitioners/bhakti-mArgis, whereas VKs are free birds and may even seek sai-babas, nAdis etc. IMO, In such cases, we may choose TKs than VKs ;)

As with you, for an atheist or non-practicing VK, kalais or even religion don't make much sense, except for general compatibility. Whereas, as per the understanding of our Vedic scriptures, marriage is a relationship to support the spiritual activities, enhancing wisdom/Self, and promote the progeny towards spirituality. So, we cannot take your authoritative opinions!
 
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Govinda

New member
Shri Nara,

Regd post#10, can you give me the details of making a tabular form and how to copy it in the forum? So, I can quote the relevant sutras/verses by Sri Ramanuja, Swami Desika and the Vedas/Upanishads.

thanks in advance.
Govinda
 

sangom

Well-known member
Dear sir, please correct me if I am wrong, but what I am led to believe is their Saguna Brahman is Narayana. Of course, in the case of Advaitam this question is kind of moot because all these are mitya, and even in this so called relative reality everything is just a reflection of Param. So Shiva, Narayana, Vinayaka, etc., etc., are all one and the same.

Having said that, what I was alluding to was what you have stated also, i.e., for Sankaracharaiyars, Narayana is the supreme saguna brhman and contemplating on him will elevate one to jeevan mukta state. This is what I have heard in Kalakshepams I have attended given by SV acharyas.

Cheers!

Dear Shri Nara,

Nirguna Brahman is that; no qualities and so it cannot be Narayana, Siva, Devi or any such thing. But to explain (away) the "maayaa" conundrum, the idea of "iswara" has been incorporated into advaita; iswara is saguna brahman. Since the nirguna brahman can be seen as having gunas only because of maayaa, saguna brahman is also a product of the maayaa of each jiva. I do not know whether Sankara has zeroed in on Narayana as the mf (most favoured) iswara.
 

Nara

Well-known member
... I do not know whether Sankara has zeroed in on Narayana as the mf (most favoured) iswara.
Dear Sangom sir, as I said earlier, this is what I heard from SV acharyas, they claimed Adi Sankara starts out with salutations to Narayana, and even the present day Sankaracharyas use "Narayana smriti" as their insignia when writing Sri Mukham etc. As you say, these may not amount to identifying their Ishwara (saguna brhman) with Narayana, I agree.

Cheers!
 

Nara

Well-known member
Govinda, here is how you can create tables.

1. Click Reply or Reply with Quote
2. Click Go Advanced
3. Look for Excel like buttons in the third row of edit buttons
4. Hover mouse pointer over the buttons to see what each button would do

That is it. Here is a jpg of the button bars with the table buttons highlighted.

Creating Tables - Tamil Brahmins Photo Gallery

best ....
 
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