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soc.religion.vaishnava -- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


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Archive-Name: religions/vaishnava/faq
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
                            Frequently Asked Questions
                                      for
                        soc.religion.vaishnava (moderated)

                           Last update: January 24, 1997
 
                         (Previous update: April 26, 1996) 

Note: This FAQ is not an "official" document, and statements contained
herein are NOT to be assumed to be applicable, or acceptable, to all
who consider themselves Vaishnavas. Please read the disclaimer (Appendix D).

Useful information:

Moderation address:             srv@pobox.com
Administrative address:         srv-admin@pobox.com
Posting assistance              srv-help@pobox.com

Web version of this FAQ:        http://www.eskimo.com/~dvaita/srv/srv_faq.html
Web version of bot help file:   http://www.eskimo.com/~dvaita/srv/srv_help.html
Web address of SRV status page  http://www.hgsoft.com/srv/srvstat.htm
Web address of SRV info         http://www.hgsoft.com/srv/index.htm

SRV mailing list (submissions)  srv-list@hgsoft.com
SRV mailing list (subscription) listproc@hgsoft.com

Sections:

I.    General information and advice

       i) What UseNet is
      ii) Finding out about UseNet newsgroups
     iii) Finding soc.religion.vaishnava 
      iv) Finding this FAQ
       v) Auto-moderator help file 
      vi) Other sites where this document is available 
     vii) How to reach moderators (in case of repeated or special
          difficulty, etc.)
    viii) Other related FAQs 

II.    Recent changes
III.   Some questions about Vaishnavism
IV.    Keyword list
V.     Appendix A: Some words often used in Vaishnava discussions
VI.    Appendix B: A guide to pronunciation
VII.   Appendix C: Charter and moderation policy for SRV
VIII.  Appendix D: Disclaimer and restrictions


I.  General information and advice.
-----------------------------------

   i> What UseNet is
   -----------------

There exists a UseNet (also written 'Usenet') newsgroup by name of
soc.religion.vaishnava; if you are not sure what UseNet is, or how to
access a specific newsgroup on it, please contact your system
administrator or other (local) knowledgeable person for help; it is
unlikely that the persons responsible for creating or maintaining this
FAQ can offer assistance.

   ii> Finding out about UseNet newsgroups
   ---------------------------------------

If you have some inkling about newsgroups, but would like to know more
about UseNet, how to post to newsgroups, differences between moderated
and unmoderated newsgroups, posting etiquette, etc., then you may wish
to read the regular postings to the newsgroup news.announce.newusers,
for answers and information. These postings are also archived on the
World-Wide Web (WWW) at

http://www.smartpages.com/bngfaqs/news/announce/newusers/top.html

If you are new to UseNet, then the following regularly appearing
postings to news.announce.newusers (also available on the web, as
noted above) may be of particular interest to you:

Welcome to Usenet                                   by Mark Moraes
What is Usenet?                                     by Mark Moraes
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Usenet  by Mark Moraes
How to find the right place to post (FAQ)           by Aliza R. Panitz
Rules for posting to Usenet                         by Mark Moraes

Please make sure to read these and other news.announce.newusers
documents, and seek local assistance, if your doubt or problem relates
to UseNet as such rather than to the specific newsgroup you are
interested in.

Specifically, a newsgroup is _not_ the same as a mailing list; postings 
to the former do not appear in one's mailbox, unlike messages sent to a 
mailing list that one is subscribed to.

   iii> Finding soc.religion.vaishnava
   -----------------------------------

The newsgroup soc.religion.vaishnava should be available on most news
servers; if your site or service provider does not carry it, please
ask your system administrator to do the needful. You can also find the
newsgroup at

http://www.altavista.digital.com/

   iv> Finding this FAQ
   --------------------

This document is auto-posted to the newsgroups soc.religion.vaishnava,
soc.culture.indian, soc.culture.indian.info, soc.answers, and
news.answers every week, and notices of updates are posted to
soc.religion.vaishnava. You can always obtain the latest version of
this document by sending a message containing only the word 'faq' (no
quotes, subject irrelevant) to the auto-moderation bot, at
srv@pobox.com. As with other periodic postings approved
by the *.answers team, this FAQ can be had by anonymous ftp to
rtfm.mit.edu, in the directory

/pub/usenet/news.answers/religions/vaishnava/faq

(go to ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/religions/vaishnava/faq
if you're using a web browser).

If you do not have access to anonymous ftp, you can also obtain a copy by
sending mail to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu, with the command
 
send usenet/news.answers/religions/vaishnava/faq

in the body of the message. 

You can also look up this document on the World-Wide Web, at the
address http://www.eskimo.com/~dvaita/srv/srv_faq.html -- because
of the possibility of using hypertext links, quotes, etc., on the web
version, said version is probably better for you to refer to if you
have any choice.

   v> Auto-moderator help file
   ---------------------------

If you don't know how to use the bot, what kind of moderation
requirements it expects postings to fulfill, etc., then please send a
message containing just the one word 'help' (no quotes, again), to the
bot at the same address. The help document is also available on the
web at:

http://www.eskimo.com/~dvaita/srv/srv_help.html
   
   vi> Other sites for this FAQ
   ----------------------------

The posted version of this FAQ is also available at a number of other
sites around the world; some of them are:

  America Online's FTP server:  
ftp://mirrors.aol.com/pub/rtfm/usenet/news.answers/religions/vaishnava/

  SunSite, Imperial College (UK)'s web server: 
http://sunsite.doc.ic.ac.uk/usenet/news-faqs/soc.religion.vaishnava/ 

  Universiteit Utrecht (Netherlands)'s web server: 
http://www.cs.ruu.nl/wais/html/na-faq/religions-vaishnava-faq.html 

  Oxford University (UK)'s web server: 
http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/faq/archive/religions.vaishnava.faq.html

Note that these sites may feature older versions of the FAQ. 

   vii> Reaching soc.religion.vaishnava's moderators
   -------------------------------------------------

The moderators, reachable by e-mail at the _administrative_ address
srv-admin@pobox.com, are available to answer any
moderation-related questions that may be still left, but as a step of
courtesy, please take the time to read all of the help file, before
asking them. If your question relates to Vaishnavism as such, and not
to the bot or the moderation policy for the group, then it is
suggested that you make a posting to the newsgroup
soc.religion.vaishnava itself.

The default behavior of the auto-moderator is not to reject articles,
but to hold them for manual action.

For inquiries, send e-mail to

srv-admin@pobox.com

To find the list of keywords used with the bot, look at section
III. This information is also available by sending a one-word message
'keywords' (no quotes) to srv@pobox.com; the keywords
file is dynamically updated with every change, and the most recent
keywords file may be more current than this FAQ, which is only updated
once in a while, for significant changes, and in any event can be as
much as a week out of date.

   viii> Other related FAQs
   ------------------------

Section II of this document attempts to briefly answer many common
questions about Vaishnavism in general.  There are different schools
of Vaishnavism, however, and you can also request the bot to send a
specific FAQ, one at a time, by sending it a message containing one of
the lines from the following list:

faq advaita
faq dvaita
faq gaudiya

If you come from a school of Vaishnavism that is not represented
adequately by any of these four, and would like to contribute a FAQ,
then please send your proposed FAQ to the *request* address, which is
srv-admin@pobox.com, with a covering note. If you
would like to suggest changes or additions to one of the specific FAQs
mentioned above, then please contact the person(s) listed in the
concerned document itself, as FAQ-maintainer(s); do not send mail to
the general srv-request address. If you feel some broader aspect of
Vaishnavism has been incorrectly represented in this general FAQ, then
feel free to present your views on the newsgroup itself; except for
suggested corrections of obvious errors, do not send mail to
srv-request.

CAVEAT: The *request* address, to reach humans with comments, etc., is
srv-admin@pobox.com; the *bot* address, to send
postings and commands to, is srv@pobox.com -- don't
confuse the two!

II.   Recent changes.
---------------------

As those who have been following soc.religion.vaishnava for some time
may have noticed, the newsgroup is coming out of a long period of
inactivity.  The address used to host the auto-moderator bot has also
changed, and the software now resides on a Windows 95 system instead
of the old Unix platform.  It is expected that this version of the
software will perform better and be easier to maintain, than the one
used earlier.

A few other points of note are:

a> There now exists a status page showing the most recent postings to
   SRV in the order of most recent to progressively older ones, and
   the action taken on the posting.  This should help in case a posting
   goes missing for some reason, etc.  The address for this page is
   
   http://www.hgsoft.com/srv/srvstat.htm
   
b> There now exists a mailing list gatewayed to soc.religion.vaishnava;
   all postings to the newsgroup are sent to the list as well, and
   vice versa.  This interface should help people who prefer a mailing
   list format over a UseNet format.  Subscribe to the list by sending
   a message with only `subscribe srv-list Your Name' (no quotes) in
   the *body* of the message, to listproc@hgsoft.com, the administrative
   address for this list.

c> Postings sent to the old submission address will be, for the time being, 
   forwarded automatically and posted, but this may cease without warning.  
   Messages sent to the administrators at the old address are *NOT* being 
   forwarded at all.
   
d> Unlike previously, there is now only one keywords list, of keywords
   that may appear in the Keywords: header, in the Subject:, or in the
   body.
   

III.  Some questions about Vaishnavism.
---------------------------------------

   1>  What is a Vaishnava?

A Vaishnava is a devotee of Vishnu.

   2>  What/who is Vishnu?

Vishnu is the Deity worshipped in the Vedas and their scriptural
adjuncts; according to Vaishnavas, He is the Supreme Lord, and is the
only entity primarily praised in all true scriptures. Vishnu is the
Lord, is the Cause, the Protector, and the Destroyer of all Creation
known and unknown, and is responsible for all bondage and
liberation. He is beyond the scope of all that is destructible and
indestructible, and His worship is the purpose of one's existence; He
is free of all flaw, and has an infinite number of good attributes.

   3>  Why is Vaishnavism relevant in today's world?

An understanding of the higher purpose of one's life -- if any -- has
always been sought by many seekers through the ages; scientific
progress has not nullified or altered this basic fact. While advances
in technology have tended to encourage purely materialistic and
sensual pursuits, such have also helped many seekers share their
common interest and enthusiasm in new ways.

Thus, as with other seekers, the Vaishnavas of today seek to learn the
higher spiritual truths much the same way as did their forebears of
previous centuries, but have access to some of the tools provided by
modern society to aid their efforts.

   4>  How many Vaishnavas are there, worldwide?

As nearly as we can tell, no one has conducted an official or
demi-official census; however, the number of those who are Vaishnavas
by birth is likely to be very large, perhaps hundreds of millions,
most of whom happen to be in India. However, most such people are not
practicing Vaishnavas, and have no reason to be called so except by
dint of birth.

   5>  Who is the founder of Vaishnavism?

There is no single founder, and the worship of Vishnu cannot be
reliably shown to have begun at any fixed date in the past. However,
specific schools of Vaishnavism have been propounded by great teachers
or Aachaaryas -- even so, those schools are not said to have been
created by them, and in many cases pre-date them; i.e., these teachers
began traditions of belief in certain doctrines that persist upto the
present day, but they did not create the doctrines as such -- they
either revived them, or built upon an existing but not-widely-known
school to form a vigorous one.

   6>  Do Vaishnavas worship other gods? Why/why not?

Homage is sometimes paid to other deities, but these deities are never
considered the equals of Vishnu, nor are they worshipped in the same
spirit.  Vaishnavas can be said to be monotheists, since they believe
that there is only one Supreme Lord or Infinite Being -- Lord Vishnu.
Therefore, Vaishnavas always keep the worship of Vishnu and His
attendants at the forefront of their religious practice.

Some Advaitins consider all deities including Vishnu to be forms of
the SaguNa Brahman (the Brahman with attributes), but this belief is
not universal to all Advaitins, whether or not they be Vaishnavas.

The question of why Vaishnavas worship other deities is answered
differently by Vaishnavas of different schools, but generally
speaking, such other deities are worshipped as conduits to Vishnu, or
as His representatives. As noted above, certain forms of worship under
Advaita are an exception.

   7>  Do Vaishnavas worship images of Vishnu?

Yes, but the specific images worshipped, and the forms and rules of
worship, vary greatly by different traditions.

   8>  Do Vaishnavas believe in rebirth?

As a general rule, Vaishnavas do not "believe" things in the same way
as someone from a Semitic faith would, though some sampradaayas accept
certain matters on faith. Rebirth until liberation is one of the
fundamental tenets of Vaishnava doctrine.  Vaishnavas aim to break
free of the cycle of repeated births and deaths, through devotional
service to Vishnu.

   9>  Are all Vaishnavas vegetarian?

Most are, but depending on how (un)orthodox a Vaishnava is, (s)he may
digress from the prescribed standard of culinary morality to a greater
or lesser extent. Vaishnava norms require a standard somewhat beyond
what is commonly considered vegetarian.  While Vaishnavas are not
vegans, for the most part -- they consider milk and milk products
acceptable -- most reject eggs, and certain plant products grown under
the soil, like onions, garlic, etc.

Some Vaishnavas also do not consider certain vegetables like okra,
eggplant, broccoli, etc., as acceptable diet items, but relatively
fewer Vaishnavas observe the latter kind of restrictions. In general,
the Vaishnava approach to food is to ask if something can be offered
to Vishnu, as part of prescribed forms of worship; if yes, then that
something is thought acceptable, otherwise not. Thus, the system
excludes all but a certain number of food items considered
acceptable. While the exact details of what are acceptable and what
not vary between different schools of Vaishnavism, and even between
different institutions within the same school, most practicing
Vaishnavas reject such stimulants as coffee, cocoa, tea, tobacco,
alcohol, and any items including these, from their diets and habits.

   10>  Is it necessary to be vegetarian, to be Vaishnava?

All traditional Vaishnava cooking is totally vegetarian, and it is
possible that someone who insists on keeping non-vegetarian eating
habits will have difficulty assimilating within a Vaishnava
community.

   11>  Does one have to be born a Vaishnava?

No.  Many Westerners have wholeheartedly taken up Vaishnavism.
Historically, Vaishnavas have often run afoul of caste-conscious
brahmanas because anyone can be a Vaishnava, even those who are
considered outcaste.

   12>  Does Vaishnavism condemn critics and opponents to hell?

As Vaishnavism is not a completely unified doctrine, nor one deriving
from prophets, it has never had a history of Crusades, fatwas,
Inquisitions, et cetera. That said, however, many Vaishnava scriptures
do seem to indicate that purely mundane forms of existence, and the
worship of other deities or non-deities as the Supreme, lead to
ignorance and misery.

   13>  Do Vaishnavas practice dowry/bride-burning/untouchability/etc.?

While specific individuals or groups of individuals may practice such
and also claim to be Vaishnavas, such practices have no backing from
Vaishnava scriptures or Aachaaryas, and are frowned upon by the
sensible elements of society, including all *practicing* Vaishnavas.

   14>  How is a Vaishnava different from a Hindu?

Many Vaishnavas are also Hindus, but the two terms are not directly
related as such. A Vaishnava is a worshipper of Vishnu, while a Hindu
need not worship anyone at all, and merely comes from a specific
socio-cultural background. Not all Hindus are Vaishnava, and not all
Vaishnavas are Hindu.

   15>  Do Vaishnavas have gurus?

A definition of 'guru' is: "One who removes doubts in others, without
any doubt within himself." Many Vaishnavas consider one of the great
saints or Aachaaryas as their primary guru (muula-guru), and some also
have gurus among great scholars and saints of the present day.

   16>  Are Vaishnavas a cult or sect?

In a fair world, perhaps it would not be inappropriate to call them
so; however, in reality, most times words like 'cult' are used in a
totally derogatory sense, and when applied to Vaishnavas, are used due
to a misunderstanding or lack of understanding of Vaishnavism -- or
due to an incorrect generalization drawn from the mala-fide actions of
certain specific persons or small groups.

   17>  Are there different types of Vaishnava?

Yes, there are. Some of the more important traditions or sampradaayas
are:

i>   The Smaarta sampradaaya (Advaita).
ii>  The Sri-Vaishnava sampradaaya (VishishTaadvaita).
iii> The Maadhva sampradaaya (Tattvavaada, aka Dvaita).
iv>  The Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaaya (Bhedaabheda).
v>   The Vallabha sampradaaya (Shuddhaadvaita).
vi>  The Nimbaaraka sampradaaya (Dvaitaadvaita).

   18>  What are Vaishnava scriptures?

Vaishnavas consider the triad of the Vedas and Upanishads, the
Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma-Suutra, which are traditionally referred
to as the prasthaana-traya, as authoritative scripture. These
canonical scriptures have been commented upon by the leading
Aachaaryas of each Vaishnava school. Besides these texts, Vaishnavas
also consider the Mahaabhaarata (of which the Bhagavad Gita is a
part), the Bhaagavata-PuraaNa, etc., as scripture, but the relative
values placed upon them by the various sampradaayas are not exactly
the same.

   19>  Are there many Vaishnavas on the Internet?

Again, we don't know because no one has, to our knowledge, conducted a
census. However, from experience on the newsgroups, and with the
relevant web pages that are maintained by various individuals, it can
be safely estimated that there are at least several hundred
individuals who use the Internet in one way or another, in pursuance
of their Vaishnava interests, and all indications are that this number
is growing and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

   20>  What kind of discussions do Vaishnavas have on the Usenet?

The chief purpose of a Vaishnava group is obviously to discuss and
better understand Vishnu, in relation to ourselves, and in relation to
the material world; since this covers a lot more ground than what is
traditionally thought to be theology or spirituality, Vaishnava
discussions on the UseNet have a rather wide variety, and occasional
readers of a Vaishnava group may be surprised at the range of topics
that come up from time to time. However, in general, serious postings
resolve themselves into a few basic types, according to content: 
(i) anecdotes involving great Vaishnavas; (ii) specific devotional or
other quotes from texts, and their interpretations and significance;
(iii) discussions where a specific doctrine's stand on something is
sought to be questioned, countered, or explained; and (iv) miscellaneous 
items, like announcements, requests for information, etc.

   21>  Can I participate in discussions? Do I have to be known?

Your participation will be welcome, and as the general standard of
learning among Vaishnavas on the UseNet is not high, there is no cause
for you to feel uncomfortable if you think you are unfamiliar with
Vaishnava doctrine. It is not necessary that you be already known to
others, but it would help somewhat if you were to read the newsgroup
for a few days at least, in order to familiarize yourself with its
ambience. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for acceptable format
or structure (except those required by the moderator bot), it would be
as well to keep postings to-the-point, and to refrain from ad hominem
attacks on other individuals, or their sampradaayas or gurus. In fact,
any kind of personal remark about individuals who may be considered
great, accomplished, or sincere, by others, is likely to keep one from
making friends, and a Vaishnava newsgroup is no exception. Debates and
disagreements are welcome, and need not be constrained by a need to
maintain an artificially high level of politeness, but insults as such
are not appreciated by most.

   22>  What kinds of postings are appropriate to soc.religion.vaishnava?

The answers to the previous two questions should give a hint. To get a
feel for the group, please read it for a little while, as there is no
better way for you to understand its nature and ambience.

   23>  Where can I get more information?

If you're looking for information about a specific school of
Vaishnavism, then you should look under the FAQ for that school (if
there is one). If there is no such FAQ, or if whatever you're looking
for isn't covered in the FAQ, or if you want general information about
Vaishnavism not covered in _this_ document, then your best bet is to
make a posting to soc.religion.vaishnava, and ask. If you aren't
looking for something specific, but just want to get a general feel
for Vaishnavism, then perhaps you should lurk on the newsgroup for a
while. Other than that, there are a few web pages that are maintained
by various individuals and institutions, that may be of some interest:

 <i>     http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~vidya/advaita/advaita.html (Advaita)
 <ii>    http://www.hgsoft.com/srv  (Archive of SRV postings)
 <iii>   http://www.rit.edu/~mrreee/dvaita.html (Dvaita)
 <iv>    http://www.eskimo.com/~dvaita/list/ (Dvaita mailing list archive)
 <v>     http://www.webcom.com/~ara (Hare Krishna)
 <vi>    http://www.goloka.com (Black Peacock)
 <vii>   http://www.best.com/~mani/sv.html (Sri Vaishnava)
 <viii>  ftp://jaguar.cs.utah.edu/private/sanskrit/sanskrit.html (Sanskrit)
 ix>     http://www.rit.edu/~mrreee/stotra/ (Stotra)

There also exist a number of mailing lists devoted to several of these
doctrines, that you may be interested in.  

As noted previously, you can read soc.religion.vaishnava itself via
Alta Vista, at

http://www.altavista.digital.com

Type `newsgroups:soc.religion.vaishnava' (no quotes) in the query window,
and choose `Usenet' (instead of the default of `Web') among the choices,
and then click `submit'.

You may also be able to locate past postings to SRV by looking up the
DejaNews archive, at

http://www.dejanews.com


IV.  Keywords currently under use by the auto-moderator.
--------------------------------------------------------

A brief description:

The moderation bot looks for these keywords in every posting it
receives, and upon finding none, rejects the posting. There are two
kinds of acceptable keywords -- header and body. A keyword may be a
complete word, a set of two complete words, or may be a part of a
complete word; this latter option, since certain words are often
spelled differently by different people. Even one keyword of either
type is sufficient to allow the article to be posted. It is strongly
recommended that except for bona-fide acronyms (e.g., `ISKCON'),
keywords be used in all-lowercase, or in sentence-case (only first
letter capitalized), though the bot will accept them in any case
order, subject of course to the no-all-caps restriction.

Keywords must appear in the `Subject:', the `Keywords:', or the
`Summary:' headers, or also in the body.

Keywords:

`Balaram' `Balaraam' `Bhagava' `Daamodar' `Damodar' `Geeta' `Gita'
`Govinda' `Haribol' `Krishna' `Krsna' `Lakshmee' `Lakshmi'
`Laksmi' `Laxmee' `Laxmi' `Mahabha' `Mahaabha' `Naaraa' `Narayana'
`Prabhupa' `Radha' `Raadhaa' `Ramaya' `Raamaaya' `Ranga' `Sri Hari'
`Sruti' `Shruti' `Smriti' `Smrti' `Upanis' `Vaishnav' `Veda'
`Venkates' `Vishnu' `Visnu' `Vrindavan' `Vrindaban' `bhakti' `dvaita'
`gaudiya' `moksha' `mukti' `samprada'


V.  Appendix A: Some words often used in Vaishnava discussions.
---------------------------------------------------------------

apowrusheya (also spelled 'apaurusheya') \ adj.

    Non-personal. Used to refer to texts that are claimed to have no
    authors. Also see: powrusheya.
    Related words: Shruti, Veda, Upanishad.

avataara (also spelled 'avatara') \ n.

    Avatar, in the English-dictionary sense, except that it is used
    by Vaishnavas to refer mainly to Vishnu's incarnations, and
    sometimes to refer to His devotees' incarnations; not used to
    mean rebirths as such.

bhakti \ n.

    devotion; specifically, devotion to Vishnu and His servants.

gnyaana (also spelled 'gnaana' or 'gyaana') \ n.

    knowledge, as relevant to Vaishnava learning.

Itihaasa \ n.

    Generic term used to refer to the Mahaabhaarata. One of two kinds
    of Smrti. Word means "thus it happened," and conveys that the text
    referred to is a historical account. Also see: PuraaNa.
    Related words: Smrti.

lowkika (also spelled 'laukika') \ adj.

    "Worldly." Used to refer to non-spiritual objects, endeavors, etc.

moksha \ n.

    Liberation. Is defined differently by various Vaishnava schools.
    Also see: mukti.

mukti \ n., v.

    Synonymous with 'moksha'. Also see: moksha.

powrusheya (also spelled 'paurusheya') \ adj.

    Authored (work). Applies to Smrti, and all worldly texts.
    Also see: apowrusheya.

pratimaa \ n.

    Icon used in worship.

PuraaNa (also spelled 'Purana') \ n.

    Any one of eighteen specific Smrti texts. Also see: Itihaasa.
    Related words: Smrti.

sampradaaya \ n.

    Spiritual tradition that follows a specific doctrine.

shaastra \ n.

    That branch of learning which deals with the higher spiritual
    truths; broader than 'theology', but more specific than
    'philosophy'.

Shruti (also spelled 'Sruti') \ n.

    Generic term used to refer to any apowrusheya text. Meaning
    from "that which is heard" rather than composed. Also see: Smrti.
    Related words: apowrusheya, Veda, Upanishad.

Smrti \ n.

    Generic term used to refer to any powrusheya text. Meaning from
    "that which is remembered." Also see: Shruti.
    Related words: Itihaasa, PuraaNa.

Upanishad \ n.

    A certain kind of Shruti text accepted by all Vaishnava schools
    as conveying gnyaana; found embedded within the four Vedas, and
    also otherwise. Also see: Veda.
    Related words: apowrusheya, Shruti.

Veda \ n.

    One of four specific apowrusheya texts (Rg, Yajus, Saama,
    Atharva). Also see: Upanishad.
    Related words: apowrusheya, Shruti.


VI.  Appendix B: Pronunciation guide for Sanskrit words.
--------------------------------------------------------
Terms used here:

  macron = line over a letter; usually denotes a long vowel
  subdot = subscript dot (dot below the letter)
  superdot = superscript dot (dot above the letter)
  accent = acute accent (grave not used)
  diphthong = any combination of simple vowels, like ow

Vowels:

  a = short a, pronounced as "u" in "but"
  aa = macron a = long a as in "father" (not like in "raw";
  all vowels except dipthongs au and ai are simple liquid
  vowels, meaning your mouth does not move while pronouncing)
  i = short i as in "pin"
  ii = macron i = long i, pronounced as "ee" in "need"
  u = short u as some regional pronunciations of "push" (like
  a very short, soft "oo")
  uu = macron u = long u, as in "tube" (same caution as in
  aa; simple liquid vowel)
  R^i = subdot r = (ri is close enough, more later)
  R^ii = subdot macron r
  L^i = subdot l
  L^ii = subdot macron l
  e = liquid vowel, not quite as in "hay" (which is actually
      a diphthong; don't move your mouth while pronouncing)
  ai = diphthong; as in "aisle".  Sounds somewhat like e,
       but there's a transition between a and i.
  o = liquid vowel, not quite as in "go".  Keep mouth
      still while pronouncing.
  au = diphthong; as in "cow", but more like "go" with
       a transition between a and u.
  M = superdot m = nasal almost like "ng" in "sing"
  H = subdot h = "h" lightly echoing the preceding
      vowel or final component of preceding diphthong;
  yaH sounds like "yuh(huh)" taiH like "tie(hi)"

Before a hard consonant like k, usually comes out as a stoppage of
breath, almost like German ch ('ich', 'auch', 'Bach', etc.) but not
voiced.

Consonants:
  k = k without breath or aspiration
  kh = k with breath (most Americans aspirate everything)
  g = g as in go, without breath
  gh = gh as in ghost, with breath
  N^ or n = superdot n = nasal, almost always found before k or g
        For this reason I (Henry Groover) usually just use n.
  ch = as in chirp, without breath
  chh = same as ch with breath
  j = as in dge in edge
  jh = same as j with breath
  JN = tilde n = nasal found before ch or j.
       For this reason I usually just use n.
  GY = j + tilde n = combination j + JN.  Pretty much as it looks.

  T = subdot t = t without breath, cerebral (tip of tongue touching
      alveolar ridge behind upper front teeth)
  Th = subdot t + h = t with breath, cerebral
  D = subdot d = d without breath, cerebral
  Dh = subdot d = d with breath, cerebral
  N = subdot n = n pronounced with tongue against alveolar ridge

  t = t without breath, dental (tip of tongue against back of top
      front teeth)
  th = t with breath, dental
  d = d without breath, dental
  dh = d with breath, dental
  n = n, dental

  p = p as in pay, no breath
  ph = p with breath (not f)
  b = b as in boy, no breath
  bh = b with breath
  m = m as in mama

  y = y as in you
  r = r as in ray.  This is not guttural as is common with American
      English, but is more similar to a Spanish r.
  l = l as in love
  v = v as in vote.  In a consonant combination like tva, becomes w.
  Some speakers always pronounce as w.

  S = accent s = halfway between sh and s
  sh = subdot s = as in hush
  s = s as in save

  h = h as in house


VII.  Appendix C: Charter and moderation policy for SRV.
--------------------------------------------------------

CHARTER: soc.religion.vaishnava

The newsgroup soc.religion.vaishnava will be an auto-moderated forum
for discussion of all topics having a bearing on the study of, and
devotion to, Vishnu, the Supreme Lord. General topics will include,
but will not be restricted to, scripture and its interpretation
according to various Vaishnava schools, the lives, works, and
teachings of various prominent Aachaaryas, and issues relating to
devotion and the study of Vaishnava doctrine. The moderation of this
newsgroup is not to be done directly by humans, and will always be
only for the purpose of preventing inflow of irrelevant material;
there will be no restriction otherwise, and the newsgroup will provide
for the free exchange of diverse views.

Moderation Policy:

The moderation will be primarily for the purpose of eliminating all
cross-postings, and will be done by auto-moderation tools
(custom-built computer programs), with human intervention kept to the
minimum level required to keep said programs operating
satisfactorily. The tools will be utilized to auto-moderate posts to
the forum by:

a) rejecting cross-posts;
b) limiting the number of submissions from one individual per
   twenty-four hour period to four;
c) rejecting "shouting" articles
   (THOSE WITH THE SUBJECT AND/OR ARTICLE IN ALL CAPS), and those that
   use too many special characters in the subject -- as for example,
   Re: $$$ Make Big Bucks now!!!! $$$', 'You're insane!!!!!!!!', etc.;
d) rejecting postings which have twice or more as much quoted text as
   new text, as well as those with too many blank lines (four or more
   blank lines in succession, and/or a third or more of the posting
   length due to blank lines);
e) rejecting articles that do not feature certain keywords (which
   will be specified in the regularly-posted FAQ for the newsgroup,
   to ensure that people read said FAQ).

moderation will be done by a program

Henry Groover    -- hardware & software maintainer

END CHARTER.

Administrative contact address: srv-admin@pobox.com
Article submission address: srv@pobox.com

END MODERATOR INFO.


VII. Appendix D: Disclaimer and restrictions:
---------------------------------------------

Please note that this FAQ is NOT an official document representing the
views of any organization or institution; it is merely the result of
an attempt by a group of volunteers to aid those who may wish to use
the soc.religion.vaishnava newsgroup as a resource to understand, or
further their understanding of, Vaishnavism. There is absolutely no
guarantee of any kind made that specific answers, etc., in the FAQ
will not be disagreeable to some, although such are meant to be as
broadly correct as possible.

This FAQ may be freely used for non-commercial purposes. However, to
use it in for-profit endeavors requires specific permission to be
obtained by sending mail to srv-admin@pobox.com. This
document may *NOT* be reposted to any UseNet newsgroup other than the
one(s) to which it is sent by its maintainer. If you think it is
appropriate to another newsgroup and would like to post it there,
please request permission first. Any such re-posting of this FAQ must
be only for the whole document, including this section, only.


                              ** +++++++++++++ **

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM