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Thread: Indispensability of Tamil?

  1. #1

    Indispensability of Tamil?

    This may rank as one of the silliest questions posed on this forum but I am curious to know whether not knowing tamil precludes an aspiring sadhaka from participation in the devotional activities of the Sri Vaishnava tradition. The more that I read about the Sri Vaishnava tradition, the more that I am growing to love it. I have been associated with the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition for the past 5 or 6 years now but my heart is really pulling me to Sri Ramanuja's lotus feet! Unfortunately, notwithstanding how much I read on the subject I still feel somewhat alienated from the tradition owing to my unfamiliarity with Tamil. From my basic readings thus far I know that the pasuraams of the Alwars are recited during bhagavat-aradhana and so this clearly prevents me from really participating completely in the life of a Sri Vaishnava. So as to compensate, I substitute the tamil prayers with sanskrit prayers that are otherwise also employed in Sri Vaishnava aradhana.

    I pray that the Lord grants me birth in my next life in the home of a tamil-speaking family so that I can grow up to learn and recite the Divya-Prabhandam of the Alwar saints.
    Last edited by Venudhara; 24 July 2013 at 10:21 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    Pranams,

    Tamilians really love their Tamil. :-)

    I have exactly the same problem. I suspect that more translations into English will gradually become available, but the writings of the Alvars will probably never feel quite right when read in English. In the mean time, there are still plenty of works translated into English, and while some of the free E-books online will require that you learn a few Tamil words, this can be done without too much effort and will be worth it.

    I do know that the Sri Vaishnava temple I attend is mostly attended by Telugus, and I doubt many of them know Tamil. It doesn't stop them from participating.

    shrImate rAmAnujAya namaH
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    I am not reciting the divya prabandham of the Alwars, but a great scholar and devotee of name Sri Periyavaachaan Pillai has composed Ramayana sloka, entirely by taking 1 verse from each of the 4000 divya prabandha which I recite everyday. It is in Tamil language and a spiritual nectar that enables me to envision everything in Ramayana as it happened. If not for Divya Prabandha, you or anyone can try reciting this Tamil sloka from English versions. It gives the same benefit of both reciting 4000 divya prabandha each day along with reading the entire Ramayana.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    To those interested, the 'Divya Prabandha Pasura Ramayanam' by Sri Periyavachan Pillai can be found in this link: http://www.prapatti.com/slokas/author/tam-ppillai.html http://www.prapatti.com/slokas/author/e-ppillai.html
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    Namaste Venudhara,

    I am very happy to know your growing attachment to the Lotus Feet of Bhagavad Ramanuja. The great tradition has been spread from Kerala to Nepal and so language cannot be a barrier.

    PravachanAs/Upanyasams/discourses have been rendered by great SriVaishnava vidwans in many languages like tamil, telugu, english etc. You should try searching for these in your language as a first step. In the end repeatedly remembering the guNAs and auspicious acts of Sriman Narayana, of Alwars and Acharyas alone matter, no matter in whichever language.

    Also Divya Prabhandham texts are available in different languages and I have seen even preists reciting in various languages. Its a great source of joy as is and when we begin to understand the meaning and recognize tamil words bit by bit, the joy only increases. After all, Hindus recite so many sanskrit slokhas without completely understanding the grammer or meaning.

    However, I see that you are only 22 and people keep learning different languages and so learning tamil will not be difficult at all. After all, the Divya Prabhandham is not just devotional hymns but Dravida Vedam and is thoroughly authorized in Bhagavatam. Ofcourse it is not necessary but a SriViashnavan spends the rest of his life experiencing these verses that is 100 times sweeter than all the itihAsa PuraNAs and so it is worth the effort.

    My telugu SriVaishnava friends however tell me that they have so many pending telugu pravachanas and works that they don't have time for tamil

  6. #6

    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    I would be very cool with learning Tamil if the teacher taught it to me using Thiruppavai. :-)

    On that note, does anyone now of a good translation of Divya Prabandham and, in particular, Thiruppavai, into English for the linguistically challenged such as myself? I wouldn't mind having it transliterated in Sanskrit script, but I would really prefer to get an English translation.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    I would be very cool with learning Tamil if the teacher taught it to me using Thiruppavai. :-)
    Yes that would be very good indeed . Now that you raised the topic, I would like to add in this thread that there is a vast difference b/w Divya Prabandam Tamil and spoken tamil. The latter is more or less crass and what is spoken in cinemas these days. Even though I grew up speaking tamil, I had to learn a whole new tamil for DP.

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    On that note, does anyone now of a good translation of Divya Prabandham and, in particular, Thiruppavai, into English for the linguistically challenged such as myself? I wouldn't mind having it transliterated in Sanskrit script, but I would really prefer to get an English translation.
    Are you looking for English text or meaning?

  8. #8

    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    Quote Originally Posted by jignyAsu View Post
    Yes that would be very good indeed . Now that you raised the topic, I would like to add in this thread that there is a vast difference b/w Divya Prabandam Tamil and spoken tamil. The latter is more or less crass and what is spoken in cinemas these days. Even though I grew up speaking tamil, I had to learn a whole new tamil for DP.



    Are you looking for English text or meaning?
    Ideally, having the original text transliterated into either Sanskrit or English, followed by meaning in English. If not both, then at least meaning in English.

    And just to clarify, it's the poetic Tamil of our ancient literary treasure I would like to learn, not the modern-day version. Tamil has undergone the same degradation as Telugu, so I know exactly what you mean.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  9. #9

    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    Quote Originally Posted by jignyAsu View Post
    I would like to add in this thread that there is a vast difference b/w Divya Prabandam Tamil and spoken tamil.
    Namaste - JignyAsu,

    I heard there is a huge difference between Brahmin Tamil (that of Shri Iyengars, Iyers, etc.) and Tamil (the Tamil dialect of non-Tamil-Brahmin groups)....is this correct? I also heard that the government in Tamil Nadu has secretly made it sure that Brahmin-Tamil dialect is frowned upon....is this true?

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    Re: Indispensability of Tamil?

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    I would be very cool with learning Tamil if the teacher taught it to me using Thiruppavai. :-)

    On that note, does anyone now of a good translation of Divya Prabandham and, in particular, Thiruppavai, into English for the linguistically challenged such as myself? I wouldn't mind having it transliterated in Sanskrit script, but I would really prefer to get an English translation.
    Contact Sri Srirama Bharati, Director, Sri Sadagopan Tirunarayana Swami Prabandha Pathasala, Medavakkam Post, Chennai 601 302. Tel 044-246 0527
    You can buy a full translation there.

    Also see these- http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/s...-bahrain).html
    http://archive.org/details/Thiruvaim...lish_commentry
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