Sunday, December 23, 2012

The ship & its course

Priya arangan adiyar,

 A quote on education runs thus, “The purpose of education is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate the deserts.”   Modern education is a challenge for humankind – an indispensable part of living yet inadequate and wont of supplements.

It is important for us to watch carefully the direction that modern education drifts to.  There was a time when education involved understanding the truths of the world and their relevance to our lives.  As the world takes the aid of materialistic consumerism as its mechanism for survival, its impact on education is already evident.  There is a tremendous urge to see people coming out of the education system well-equipped with the arts of the trade on whose tides the world rides.
While it seems an innocent, even justified expectation, the results can be disastrous if left unchecked.  The direction of flow is flawed.  The correct flow of thought must be based on fundamental morals and ethics that guide our minds in the right directions. The application of education must be based on genuine need. Once set on the right course for the right destination, the mind equips itself with the fuel needed for its exploration.
A ship however meticulously built and championed by the best of sailors is sure to run into trouble if it is not headed towards the right course or if it seeks to serve the wrong purpose.  For all our advancements and successes, we must not end up directing all our honed faculties to achieve the wrong result.
Education must serve to de-mystify and delight the mind; not confound it.  Taking a worldly view, it must elevate us to a more purposeful existence. 
The above observations on education are out of sheer concern.  What good are we to generate well equipped miscreants out of our system?
It is unambiguous from the state of current affairs that education with values and purpose must be promoted and pupils who are set on such a course sustained to serve as worthy examples of life as humans.
Srimaan Trust extended its helping hand under the umbrella of Vidya Sahayam – to help the cause of education – towards two financially-challenged girl students who count among the most dedicated devotees and kainkaryaparas. The Trust is making its humble efforts in lighting up the lives of many such deserving children. Lighting the life of a child will go on to educate a whole family and extend the benefits for generations to come.
Pictures are here :

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unfolding before you this Margazhi.

"Thondin aaradhanai"
( A drop of gratitude)

Priya arangan adiyar,

A girl child; Revered in the entire South India and many parts of North India. The child stands as the sole successor of “ Panchopa laksha mkudi” ( 5 lakh Gokulamfamilies). The child also stands as the sole successor of the clan of the ten members constituting the “ Anjukindrakudi” ( Azhwars). The child whose simple words stayed entrenched in the hearts of all the Acharyas and made entry into every discourse and writing of theirs.The child who has also secured a whole month exclusively for the celebration of her outpourings.

Andal, the child saint of the South has no parallel in the Indian tradition. Composed in simple Tamizh that can be mastered by children even before they learn to utter the names of their family members ,Thiruppavai, her most celebrated work has secured such a high place in the spiritual tradition that even the gigantic Vedic texts seem relegated to lower positions. This, Sri Godadevi achieved by the sheer strength of unparalleled love for Emperuman and clarity of thought and purpose. The entire society has lapped up Thiruppavai and has made efforts to imbibe the import of the text. Come the month of Margazhi, every person irrespective of their caste finds themselves in a spiritually exalted state. To quote an example, people of the fishermen community (both men and women)and people living in the slums, who are exempt from following the traditional practices of aacharam or doutham, get up in the brahma muhoortham , bathe ( including hair bath everyday) and head to the nearby Sannidhi of Perumal during DhanurMasam. Only after the Thiruppavaigoshti followed by theerthaprasada distribution do they gulp their everyday dose of coffee. Such has been the impact of Thiruppavai in every rung of the society irrespective of the spiritual development attained by them.

One of the important messages of Thiruppavai is to follow the footsteps of the spiritual masters, and conduct ourselves as they conducted themselves.  The Thiruppavai itself is replete with esoteric meanings that are brought out to the masses by learned scholars year after year.  A strong undercurrent in the teaching of Thiruppavai is the importance of associating with devotees or bhagavathas, and holding them on the highest pedestal of veneration. 

Srimaan Trust offers a unique experience to devotees – an opportunity to know and act as it has been known.  From this year, Srimaan Trust is organizing Thiruppavai discourse. The aim is to spread the greatness of thiruppavai across our country. Many temples in the North (looked after by Aasthikas of the North) have a sannidhi exclusively for Andal and many people have learnt Thiruppavai ( even without knowing Tamizh). Hence the resolve to establish a tradition where the whole of India sings the glory of Andal, atleast in the month of Margazhi.As a beginning, Thiruppavai is being organized at Chennai.Hand in hand with the discourse, our Trust intends to honour the venerable devotees of the Lord who have been serving Him selflessly for many years (by Manas, Vaak and Kaayam) one each on all the thirty days of the Margazhi Month.  This programme is called “Thondin Aradhanai” or “Worship of Service”. 

Upanyasa: Thiruppavai

Upanyasakar : Sri U.Ve. Elayavilli Sriram Swamy

Venue : Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Koil, Mettupalayam Road, West Mambalam ( close to Aadikeshava Perumal Koil on Kodambakkam High Road)

Date : 15/12/2012 to 14/01/2013

Time : 7p.m. to 8 : 30pm

Contact No : 09840128785, 9841582890

Each one of you, living in Chennai or visting Chennai in this Dhanur masam is requested to attend this event and carry the blessing of Goda devi and her devout adiyar being honoured. Your voluntary service at this divine event is welcome.

The list of 30 persons in various kainkaryams to be honoured this year has been attached here in the link :

The banner prepared for the event is here in this link :

Monday, December 10, 2012

Light in the Alley of Darkness

Priya arangan adiyar,

In Saranagathi Deepika, Svami Desikan extols the Lord thus : 
“dIpastamEva jagatAm dayitA rucistE  dIrgham tama: pratinivartyamidam yuvAbhyAm”
The Lord is the only “Light of the Worlds”.  His consort, Mahalakshmi is the radiance exuding from this Light.  Together, they dispel the prolonged darkness(of ignorance) in the world.  

The Vedas, Rishis, Azhvars and Acharyas generally refer to ignorance as darkness.  The samsara mandalam is called “iruL tharumA gnAlam” or the world that envelops its inhabitants with the darkness of ignorance.

The Lord incarnates severally to this world to dispel the darkness.  He teaches us, and shows us the right way through His words and actions.  In His commitment to save us, He comes to live in the midst of us in the form of ArchAvathAram.  He is the “Light” to which the souls must throng in the alley of darkness that is samsara.

In Srirangam, Lord Periya Perumal reclines on His serpent couch as the ornament of the worlds.  He waits for every single inhabitant of the samsara mandala to reach Him.  For the students of Srimaan Bhattar Kuzhaam, He is the Light in their midst.

For Thirukkarthigai celebrations, the students of SBK wore the dresses given by the Trust for Deepavali.   They lit lamps at Swami Parasara Bhattar Thirumaligai and a few other places.  A sight to behold as the Light of Srirangam stood decorating a constellation of smaller lights around Him.  

The illuminating photos can be viewed here :

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Register/Support for Nandhana year Margazhi Camp (Dec25 to Jan01) at Srirangam for age group 4-15

Priya Arangan Adiyar,

Margazhi (Margaseersha) is a special month for Sri Vaishnavas for it has been greatly celebrated by our Purvacharyas. It was during this month, the cowherd women (Ayargal) of Vrindavan performed vratham to attain Krishna which was later adopted by Sri Andal which gave birth to the excellent treatise called Thiruppavai. The essence of Thiruppavai can summarized as “gathering Adiyars and visiting Emperumaan to seek Kainkaryam from Him and ever be involved in it”. This was Andal’s request even as a young girl child which has surpassed the actions of all other Azhwars!

Indeed that is the age to inculcate Bhakthi and Kainkaryam. It is at that tender age, Dhruvan got the vision of Emperumaan whose abode was undisclosed even to Indra and Brahma. Emperumaan showed mercy for His young devotee Prahalada and manifested in the form of Nrusimha to save Prahalada and bestow His grace on him. These young icons are role models for all other children in this world.

Srimaan Trust, in keeping up with its rich tradition of moulding children into role models who will uphold and propagate Vedic values and culture in the future, is organizing a week-long Spiritual Winter Camp from December 25 to January 1 in Srirangam.

The camp will be similar to the spiritual summer camp organized earlier in the year where nearly 120 children between the ages of 4-15 participated and enjoyed divine bliss for 10 days. This winter camp is more special since it occurs in the month of Margazhi, which is the  purest of all months, as professed by Sri Krishna himself in the Geetha.

With the divine sounds of Andal’s Thiruppavai vibrating across Srirangam and other temple towns, it is no surprise that this year’s camp theme is Thiruppavai itself.

About 100 students are expected to participate in this camp. About 10-15 volunteer faculty and 10 more volunteers will run this camp. The students will be split into groups of 3-4 and each group will immerse themselves in one pasuram from Thiruppavai and at the end of the camp, they will have the most indepth knowledge of the pasurams based on the explanations given by our Purvacharyas. In addition, the students will be involved in various activities such as

●     Learning Thiruppavai and Goda Chatussloki by heart
●     Creating models on select Thiruppavai pasuram stories
●     Spiritual worksheets, drawing, coloring
●     Making flower garlands, kolams, learning recipes
●     Oratorical and dance presentations
●     Spiritual plays
●     Field trip and many more

Srimaan Trust provides this wonderful camp experience for free. In addition, the trust also provides free food and accommodation to outstation children, faculty and volunteers. No amount of monetary support can measure up to the values that the children will inculcate during this camp, values that will guide them to be model citizens of our society.

Well-wishers of the trust and those supporting the growth of our glorious Vedic heritage are requested to support this noble cause. The trust needs this support to continue mentoring our children with the right values.

Interested adiyars can register us through email and for further details contact our volunteers (Anirudh - 9047674222, Sriram - 8526127997, Raghavan - 9790212844).

Let the divine couple shower the divine blessings on you & all forever.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The gift of faculty

Priya arangan adiyar,
The ability of reasoning is a special gift bestowed to the humans which makes the birth as a human very valuable. All other beings on this world are just able to sustain themselves and indulging in activities required for the same. They gather food, store it for future, find a shelter to stay etc. But they do not seem to perform anything beyond these routine activities. As humans in today’s world, our lives begin with the childhood days where we are sent to school to learn various subjects. We even specialize ourselves in particular stream after our schooling. When we are sure of having acquired sufficient skills, we search for a good employment to sustain ourselves in this world. Indeed from that instance, our life proceeds in a manner very similar to other creatures on the world. Then where are we striking a difference between them? How do we justify that a human birth is valuable?

As mentioned earlier, the power of reasoning is a great attribute in humans. It is indeed a gift because we can analyze the purpose of our birth and understand our swaroopam of being subservient to Emperumaan and His devotees. This realization results in getting immersed in kainkaryam and thereby making our life purposeful. While there are lot of people who are striving hard to attain this realization, there are some are some who have already reached that state. Those are the people who are venerated by everyone as “Vidwan”. A Vidwan is indeed not someone who has knowledge (Jnana); it is rather someone who puts that knowledge to practice (Anushtana). One such a person has been recently honoured under Vidwathvandhanam.

Sri U.Ve Srinivasacharyulu Swamy, who is also the father of one of the students in Gurukulam paid a visit to Srirangam recently. He is rendering kainkaryam at the temple in Dwaraka Thirumalai, a place in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. He performs the parayanam of Sri Ramayanam regularly. He also gives spiritual lectures and discourses at that temple. Even during his visit, he recited the verses of Sri Ramayanam both at Srirangam temple and Gurukulam. We might know that Sri Ramayanam is just the incarnation of the Vedas. So it is very nice to perform Sri Ramayana parayanam everyday. When we perform such parayanam, we also motivate others around us to practice that anushtana. In that way, Srinivasacharyulu Swamy has motivated everyone in knowing more about Sri Ramayanam and performing parayanam regularly. It is indeed true that Sri Ramayanam will spread across all worlds as long as mountains and rivers exist on this earth.

The children of the Gurukulam are now learning every aspect of pious living from the Acharyas and Vidwans who visit the Gurukulam every time. It is indeed an opportunity bestowed upon them by the Divine Couple.

The excellent photos of the Vandanam is here in this link :