Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The answer is : Holistic - II

Priya arangan adiyar,


Our Acharyas have shown the path to an excellent physical-mental development and balance in life. The yogic aasanas were embedded in the nithya anushtanam of SriRamanujacharya. Counseling has been held by every acharya for his sishyas. Every thought found outlet. Feelings and thoughts weren’t kept to self thus allaying the burden of the heart. Harmony existed when our acharyas traversed the streets. Is it the same now? It is for us to introspect.

The children of Acharyah are fed the thoughts of acharyas. They are introduced to the thoughts of the doctors too. They learn how the normal sciences have developed while delving deep into the science beyond. They get first hand experience of the material as well as the spiritual world.

Coming back to the original topic of tooth, the children of Acharya were visited by a Dentist named Divya. As part of the plan to have guest lectures from the professionals themselves, she was invited to enlighten the first grade students on everything about the tooth, especially dental hygiene. The doctor possessed extreme enthusiasm. Models on the upper and lower jaw,tooth, milk tooth and a few others were brought by her. The session was extremely informative, equally to adults as to children.

‘How to brush your teeth?’ was the first popular question poised? A few seemed to know the answer offhand. a few looked bewildered. And then a few children started enacting enthusiastically as though rehearsing for a play. Pat came an innocent reply from one…  ’with a toothbrush’. The doctor was extremely effective in showing how to brush the teeth, the time involved, the speed, the areas to brush. Once this was taught, all the children re-enacted the brushing ritual, this time correctly with better co-ordination.

(....to be continued)

The answer is : Holistic - I

Priya arangan adiyar,

Just as we need a clean, strong and resistant mind to tackle the ups and downs of everyday life and keep ourselves afloat in this whirlpool of anxiety and stress, we do need a set of shining and strong teeth to chew and digest the variety of eatables that we encounter in life. Yes, do understand the word ‘encounter’ in its dramatic sense. Not every food item is so easy to tackle. Our Namperumal does not stop with testing the level of mental strength that we have acquired through Sampradaya learning. He does test the valour of a tooth or two of ours also, especially with His Kedayam (a tooth-breaking, yet divine tasting prasadam).

The humour apart, our Sampradayam is such that it stresses the holistic well- being a human being. And many of its ways are so subtle and at times ‘out-of-the box’ that we never tend to understand them. But follow them for the benefits.

When a doctor, clad in a white coat, with a stethoscope curling round his neck and in a serious tone advices us to take a handful of tablets everyday, we do it willingly. Never have we tried to know what those medicines are. Never have we tried to know what the doctor has studied. But we follow his words implicitly. Why so? It is because we have unquestioning faith in him. And what is wrong in that? Can we study medicine for 4 years to accredit the doctor and acknowledge his stature before gulping those medicines? Can we study law before acknowledging the prowess of the lawyer we plan to engage? Or can we study architecture to test the skill of our house’s architect? It is a strong and optimistic belief that the above mentioned people know things and will do us good. We don’t research their work. But when it comes to metaphysics, we tend to doubt the meta physicist in the form of our Acharyas and Rishis. The point here is the meta physicists are to be still more believed since they venture into terrains not accessed by science.

.....( to be continued)

Friday, July 27, 2012

The road ahead.

Priya arangan adiyar,
 In a famous poem, the poet used the expression, "The child is father of the man." This expression means that all our positive and negative traits are established when we are young. Indeed, if you watch children at play, you will notice them demonstrate certain characteristics which remain with them forever. It is necessary to groom children to adopt healthy attitudes and positive traits so that they grow up to be balanced individuals. What vital role does the parent play? As an eminent thinker put “ In the final analysis ,it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
Acharyah has been constantly aiding children maneuver the twin roads of material success and spiritual development, both with vigour and effectiveness. The day the children learn to perceive the roads as one and learn to tactfully manage material success without compromising their spiritual makeup, the efforts of Acharyah would be considered fruitful.
The parent teachers meeting of Acharyah School held on 22nd July was one step in this direction. Nivedha, a girl of II std. soulfully rendered the invocation prayer song.Mrs. Gomathy Venkat gave the welcome address and introduced the new principal Mrs. Geetha Krishnamoorthi to the parents.

The principal gave a small introduction about Montessori system of education.  According to this system, every child is unique.  Apart from intellectual skills the system also focuses on development of social and economic skills.“A man making education” – a real man – not in physical growth – but a complete man for which morality and spirituality is a must, she said.

The syllabus for various subjects for our school is prepared by pioneers of their fields.  They are Post Doctorates and Doctorates with immense experience in the field of child education.

'Even the Notebooks, Pencils are carefully picked to suit the nature of the children, she said.  She was so impressed with the part this is the only school where children crave for Home Work. She expressed happy astonishment as to how a first standard student questioned about the earth and solar system.She also added that people who come out of this school would be a complete person – a Global Citizen.

After her thought-provoking address, the progress cards and craft work done by the students were distributed.  Then various doubts of the parents were cleared.

Following this, the founder Acharya Swami addressed the gathering with his powerful words regarding the future campus for the children.  He said that whether the campus was big or small, the standard of education would be the best. He praised the parents for their cooperation and that they were the true asset of Acharyah.

Continuing His address, Swamy asserted that the students of Acharyah would be world Leaders.  A typical Acharyah child would be able to sacrifice and have the convictions to work for others. He would put himself into the shoes of others and act accordingly, a most important leadership quality. He declared that the school will have classes up Higher Secondary ( +2).

Swamy expressed awe at the incident of how a student of Pre k.g got admitted to Acharyah after his father, an auto driver, found the difference between our children and the children of other schools.

He promised everybody that we would soon achieve our goal, with the grace of the Divine Couple of Srirangam.

Then Nivedha’s mother (Representing the parents) told that she was very much satisfied with the school and had full faith in the management.  She eloquently added that she would send her children to Acharyah, even if it is run under a tree.

The parent- teachers meeting came to a conclusion with the rendering of Acharya Paramparai by the Acharyah students.

Please click the link below for the pictures:



Priya Arangan Adiyars,

Acharyah children were taken to Sri Kattazhigiya Singaperumal temple.  After worshiping Lord Narasimha, our children recited Chathushloki and went around the temple.

Then they plucked some flowers while the younger children identified petals and sepals.  They counted their number and found the odd one out; the elder ones dissected the flower and examined anthers and pollens. Acharyah children were given an opportunity to learn Botany through natural exploration.

There was also a planned conversation on the scenic picture of Nama Mahathmiyam (Seetha being protected by Rama Nama).

Children played Jeevathma, Paramathma game, a game in which the children identify Jeevathma and Paramathma in the Sampradhaya Posters.

After having intellectual and spiritual treat, they had their delicious treat of lunch in the natural environment and returned to Acharyah with simmering bliss.

The natural scenario enhanced their energy and enthusiasm. The happy and healthy day became a memorable one.

Please click the link below for the pictures :

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The unquenchable thirst called kainkaryam

Priya arangan adiyar,

A few months back, the students from Srimaan Bhattar Kuzham had an opportunity to visit Tirunarayanapuram and be guest to the hospitable inmates of Melkottai. The children who were greatly inspired by their hospitality, had been longing for such a kainkaryam at their place. Their wish was indeed granted by Selvapillai Himself with the kainkaryam of serving his devotees who had come to Srirangam for a grand occasion.

It was a charming weekend and people from Bangalore and Thirunarayanapuram had arrived at Srirangam to listen to the Satrumarai of Thirumaalai kalakshepam of Elayavalli Sri.U.Ve. Sriraman Swamy. It was held at Sri Koorathazhwan sannidhi at Srirangam. Thirumaalai, as we may know, is a prabandham by Sri Thondaradipodi Azhwar. The term Thondaradipodi (Bhakthangrirenu in Sanskrit) indeed refers to the dust which decorates the divine feet of devotees. Azhwar, having realized the greatness of bhagavathas (devotees), called himself by this name. The students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam also got a similar opportunity to serve the bhagavathas who had arrived to attend Thirumaalai Kalakshepam.

According to Andal’s words “Thooyomai Vandhu naam”, we require to be pure both physically and mentally. Keeping this in mind, all the students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam initially cleaned the venue of the Kalakshepam (Sri Koorathazhwan sannidhi) very meticulously. This service of them rendered the bhagavathas to stay and listen to the Kalakshepam very comfortably.

When it comes to serving bhagavathas, performing Thadheeyaradhanam is considered the best. This has been practiced even by Azhwars like Thirumangai Azhwar and Acharyas like SriKoorathazhwan. The Gurukulam students, taking cue from this, sincerely involved themselves in this Kainkaryam right from preparing the food up to serving it to all the devotees. It is really inspiring to see such young children eager to perform kainkaryam excellently. The bhagavathas from Bangalore were extremely pleased by the kainkaryams performed by the Gurukulam students.

It is our wish to make the Trust a platform which aids in the congregation of Srivaishnavas from across the globe in spiritual pursuits. Srirangam is considered the root of Srivaishnava sampradayam and we want the water ( Srivaishnavas) to come here, perform kainkaryams and strengthen the root.  We are grateful to those bhagavathas who had offered a wonderful chance to the Gurukulam students to nurture the vigor in them to perform kainkaryam. It is a pleasure to serve the bhagavathas and be a Thondarthondan. We pray Namperumal and Ranganachiyar for more such opportunities.

The photos of the kainkaryam are here for your viewing :


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Giving, in style - II (End)

Priya arangan adiyar,


The mongoose talked of a time when there was a great famine which had caused devastating hunger everywhere. There was hardly anything to eat and survival for life had become extremely difficult. The mongoose while in search of food had landed in a poor brahman's house where it noticed that the brahman's wife was cooking rotis and waited to partake the remnants of the flour from the kitchen. It had so happened that the brahman and his family had not eaten anything for several days. His attempts in obtaining some grains in alms had failed completely in the last few days and as a result the family was starving. Fortunately, on this day, the brahman had managed to obtain a small quantity of aata (wheat flour) and had returned home very happily thinking that finally he and his family members which comprised his wife, a son and a daughter-in-law will be able to eat some food.

The brahman had finished his evening puja and the family had just sat for the dinner which was a mere four rotis one each for the four members. As they were about to begin eating, a very hungry mendicant appeared on his door. He was famished and begged to be fed. This was an ultimate test for the brahman. On one hand, the family members, themselves were starving and here was the call of dharma which stated that a guest is like God (Athithi Devo Bhava) and he cannot be turned away without being attended. The starved brahman asked his wife to offer his share of the rotis to the mendicant. The beggar ate the roti and asked for more saying that after eating the first roti he had become hungrier. The brahman's wife then decided to give away her share. She thought that being an ardhangini, it is her moral duty to bear an equal responsibility with her husband. The mendicant was still not satisfied. And the son decided to give his share too despite his father's protest. His reasoning being the same: the principles of dharma, the reputation of his family and emulating the moral grounds which his parents stood by. The mendicant was still not satiated and he wanted one more roti. And so the daughter-in-law too joined her other family members in this ultimate test of their lives. Finally the mendicant went away but by then the family could hardly bear their hunger and slowly they died one by one.

The stunned mongoose witnessed the entire episode. Itself about to die, it ran to the kitchen area to grab a bit of the flour which had spilled near the hearth. In the process a part of its body came in touch with the flour and to its great surprise that part of its body turned golden. Since then, the mongoose had been looking for another such miracle to happen. It used to go to many yagnas hoping to fulfil its desire to turn its whole body into a golden hue. However, it had remained unsuccessful. Today it had thought that its long wait was over. After all, there was no one like Yudhistir in the whole world and his yagna would surely have the power to do this magic. But, this was not the case. Despite its many attempts in rolling in the foodstuff left over, its body did not acquire the golden colour which it required so desperately. Undoubtedly, the mongoose was severely disappointed.

By now, the message was clear to Yudhistira. He realised that the brahman's act of charity was far superior. Yudhhistira had a huge fortune from which he had donated only a part whereas the starving brahman's family had only those four rotis which were needed to save their lives but their commitment to dharma and faith in God was so strong that they did not hesitate in giving away everything and deciding to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Bhagavathas ( Srivaishnavas without upanayana samskaaram are lovingly called so) of Aarani are such kind of divine beings. A Bhagavatha names Pillailocaharya and an athma bandhu of his visited Srirangam with 60 children. These Bhagavathas are financially living a hand to mouth existence. Fulfilling their basic needs itself is a Herculean task. Despite such practical impediments in showing generosity, these Bhagavatha Srivaishnavas, spent money in bringing these 60 children from Aarani to seek the divine feet of Namperumal and Srirenganachiar and further seek the benediction of Sri Parasara Bhattar Thirumaligai, their Acharya. They had taken upon themselves to look after the children and cater to their needs all by self.

Displaying utmost humility and Bhakthi, it was a wonderful sight to watch them teach the importance of Sampradayam to the children, who were very much impressed by the happening at Thiruvarangam. Our Founder Acharya gave a small but very effective pep talk to embolden the children in learning and following Sampradayam, especially following the lives of the Bhagavatha Srivaishnavas who had guided and accompanied them.     

Let us all seek inspiration from such divine Srivaishnavas who stand testimony to the saying What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

Please click the link below for the pictures :

Giving, in style - I

Priya arangan adiyar,

Giving is definitely a virtue. But when you give with no thought of the self, it is a sign of divinity. Such persons with divinity writ across their hearts abound our Bharatha punya bhoomi from times immemorial.

At the end of the Mahabharat war, Dharmaputrar (Yudhisthira), the eldest of the Pandava brothers was crowned the king of India, known as Bharat Varsha. After an unchallenged victory in an Ashwamedha yagna and a successful beginning of his virtuous reign, he, along with his brothers would often organize feasts for the poor and hungry. Though, an epitome of goodness, the charitable acts, feeding of the brahmnas and the poor gave Yudhisthira a sense of pride. He wondered if there was another ruler in the whole world as kind to their subject as he was.

During one such function in which he had invited a large number of brahmnas and the poor whom he fed and looked after with great care, a strange incident took place. At the conclusion of the Yagna, he along with Lord Krishna was overseeing the departure of the assembled guests. Yudhisthira was sitting in the balcony of his palace and looking at the empty pandal and thinking what a great event it had all been feeding the poor and honouring the brahmnas. Lord Krishna being the God, the omniscient antaryami, seated in every living being's heart, obviously knew what was running in Yudhistira's mind. In his avatar form as Krishna, Emperuman was present on earth and in fact seated next to Yudhisthira at that moment. A great devotee like Yudhistira could not have been allowed to fall prey to an evil as harmful as pride. The Lord immediately acted and set up a leela (an act). The guests had left and the pandal had little remnants of foodstuff scattered in the areas where the guests had dined. Lord Krishna, Yudhdhistira and others sitting in the balcony saw a mongoose appear and run to the spots where there were the remnants of the foodstuff. The mongoose appeared to be very special; half of its body was of golden colour. The mongoose kept running here and there and appeared very restless. Seeing this Yudhdhistira called the mongoose and asked why it was so restless and what was troubling it.

 The mongoose could talk. It narrated its story.

( to be continued...)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vidwath Vandhanam

Priya Arangan Adiyars,

Sri Vaishnava Sampradayam is a rich tradition gifted to us through our Poorvacharyas by the Emperumaan Himself. There have been lot of Acharyas who have preached and even lived a life to understand the ideals of our Sampradayam. One such an incident occurs in the life of Swami Anathazhwan. Once a Sri Vaishnava student approached Sri Parasara Bhattar to know the qualities of a Sri Vaishnava. Bhattar directs him to Ananthazhwan (Swami Ramanuja’s disciple performing kainkaryam in Tirumalai). This person goes to Sri Anathazhwan’s Tirumaligai at Tirumalai. Since he was busy in Thadeeyaradanam, he couldn’t interact with the student. However, he offered him to sit in the front row during Thadeeyaradanam. Few days passed and the student was pushed to the last row during Thadeeyaradanam. On that day Ananthazhwan asked him the purpose his visit. Having known his quest, Swami answered that a Sri Vaishnava should

     strive to attain the Holy Feet of Emperumaan like a stork which waits in the water till it gets a big fish
     absorbs only the noble virtues from this samsara like how a hen picks only grains from a heap of sand and dirt
     involve in kainkaryam without realising his own presence like how salt provides taste to the food without revealing its presence
     be humble and patient in front of an Acharyan like how the student from Srirangam was was waiting at Sri Anathahwan Thirumaligai to get his answer

There have been a number of Sri Vaishnavas who have lived up to these statements. One such a personality is Sri U.Ve Padur Rangarajan Swamy. He was a college lecturer for Sanskrit language. Swamy has been giving commentaries and discourses through television, especially in SVBC channel. In accordance with the saying ‘Vidya dadathi vinayam’ (Knowlege makes us humble), Swamy is a simple and easily approachable person. It is indeed a privelege that Srimaan Trust got a chance to honour a person of such great virtues as a part of Vidwath vandhanam through which the children of SBK paid their respect to the Swamy.

Swamy later spoke to the children about the importance of spiritual knowledge and performing Kainkaryam. We are sure that the blessed children were motivated by the words of Swamy and would be eager to involve themselves in various Kainkaryams in future.

kindly see the photos & Video link below: