Monday, November 1, 2010

A writeup on Gurukulam students visit to Gopurapatti

God is Omnipresent. “Engum vulam kannan” reverberates azhvar as declared by PrahladAzhvan in the puranas. Then why do we need to go to a temple to worship the supreme Lord?

In our house we have many rooms. All rooms are constructed in a similar way with cement and concrete and floors are tiled, still each room is given a different name and we prefer to cook only in our kitchen and read only in our reading room. Will you feel comfortable to take a bath in your kitchen or chat with your friends in a bathroom? Similarly though the Supreme Lord resides in each and every object in this world still it gives a pleasant feeling to give him a specific form and name and worship him as namperumal or Devaperumal in a serene atmosphere inside a temple.

Anyone cannot construct a house, it needs a well trained civil engineer who has learnt the nuances of constructing and designing the houses to lay proper foundation and provide a safe place for us to live. Similarly building a temple is also an art and has to be learnt under proper guidance. The pancharatra and Vaikanasa Agamas elaborates in detail on the temple architecture. Agamas are part of sastras that gives details about the temple worship from building the temple, placing the deity inside and then performing various rituals to maintain the sanctity of the temple.

An engineer constructs a house but when does it become a home? Difference between house and home is that house is just a neatly designed/constructed place that provides a roof for living. But home is a place where people dwell with certain code of conduct, principles, peace and harmony. House is just a insentient object but a home has life in it. So just building a temple is not enough so the agamas continue to explain the way the deities are placed and given life and procedures of samprokshanam etc. Does the duty of the mother end with just giving birth to the child? No. She needs to take care of the child with utmost care, bath the child, feed the child and give the child all it needs and mainly her love for it.

So the agamas then proceed to teach how the Lord has to be awoken with suprabhatham (Thirupalliyezhuchi), followed by thiruvaradhanam (morning, afternoon and evening prayers) and thirumanjanam (divine bath) and bhogam (feeding the Lord). The appropriate ways and times of worship are detailed in the agamas. Not stopping with the daily affairs the agamas also give details of the monthly celebrations and yearly special occasions viz., Brahmotsava, vasanthotasava, pavithrotsava etc.

So any novice cannot just enter the sanctum santorium of the supreme Lord and become a aradhaka. Only well trained people in the agama who are eligible to learn the same as detailed by the sastras can perform thiruvaradhana to our Supreme master who with utmost love and care for all of us has descended down in the form of archa roopi in various divya kshetrams.

Thhe Agama sastra. Thereby Agama learning is a very important field in the vaidhika education. Unfortunately the greatness of this education has not been realised by many in the past decades and hence there has been a sharp decline in the number of archakas who are well proficient in tereby a sad state has resulted in remote villages where many temples remain without proper aradhakas and some archakas take care of more than one temple in view of improving their revenue. How sad that the emperumans so close to the heart of azhvars and acharyas are now without anyone to take care of.

Keeping all this in mind, Our Srimaan Trust started the Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam in Srirangam to train small kids in the various fields of Vaidhika and Lowkika education. The students of this gurukulam stay full time and learn Vedas, Agamas and divya prabhandham combined with their academic education. Part of the students who are getting training in pancharatra agama have now completed their initial course of study and hence have learnt to do suprabhatham, thiruvaradhanam and thirumanjanam to the Lord and have now entered into the next course- Lessons onBrahmotsavam.

Theoritical learning can only enhance our knowledge but practical sessions enable one to experience reality. By the divine grace of namperumal and periya pirattiyar these small budding future care takers of emperumans got a very rare but interesting opportunity to put their learning into practice not just to the Lord in their gurukulam but to the emperuman in a real temple premises. Wow! What a challenging practical experience to the small kids!

Gopurapatti is a divya kshetram near Srirangam, where the Lord reclines on His serpent bed very similar to Periya perumal in Srirangam. The temple after renovation, is dwelling after completion of samprokshanam very recently.( SEE THE PICTURE OF GOPURAPATTI EMBERUMAN ATTACHED HEREWITH) Our Gurukulam budding archakas visited the temple very early in the morning last Monday well prepared for worshipping the Lord as per the agamas. Prasadam was prepared and taken in hand. Starting with waking the Lord with Suprabhatham each step by step procedure was done by the gurukulam students (9 of them are specializing in Agama) under the able guidance of their teacher. The satisfaction and happiness in the face of the kids who returned back cannot be explained by mere words. Enthusiasm filled each one of them. They seemed to have got more clarity and have developed greater desire to learn more and more.

Hope by the divine grace of the divine couples these kids will be blessed to get more such opportunities to learn, perform and become well trained Agama experts to take care of the divine kshetra emperumans close to the hearts of our revered azhvars and acharyas and thereby become wonderful guides to all the devotees who come to worship the Supreme Lord. Let them become torch bearers to remove the darkness of ignorance from the minds of the visiting devotees.

Let us all give our heart felt mangalasasanams to these children and also try to help in what ever way we can.


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