Teṉkalai


Teṉkalai

▪ Hindu sect
      one of two Hindu subsects of the Śrīvaiṣṇava, the other being the Vaḍakalai. Though the two sects use both Sanskrit and Tamil scriptures and centre their worship on Vishnu, the Teṉkalai places greater reliance on the Tamil language and the Nālāyira Prabandham, a collection of hymns by the Āḻvārs, a group of South Indian mystics. The Teṉkalai grew apart from the Vaḍakalai in the 14th century.

      The main doctrinal difference between the two sects centres on the question of Vishnu's grace. The Teṉkalai believes that the process of final deliverance begins with Vishnu and that the devotee need not make any effort beyond surrendering himself to Vishnu's will. It uses as an illustration the helplessness and complete dependence of a kitten being carried by its mother; hence its doctrine is known as mārjāra-nyāya (the analogy of the cat). The two schools also differ in their views concerning Vishnu's consort, Śrī (Lakṣmī). The Teṉkalai holds that she is finite, though divine, and can act only as a mediator between the devotee and Lord Vishnu.

      Piḷḷai Lokācārya is commonly regarded as the founder of the Teṉkalai sect, and Manavala, or Varavara Muni (1370–1443), as its most important leader. The sect's main centre is at Nanganur, near Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu state), and the Teṉkalai are referred to as the southern school of the Śrīvaiṣṇava. Compare Vaḍakalai.

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Universalium. 2010.

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