Friday, December 27, 2013

Truth at dagger tip

Sri:
Srimate ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,

What is Punyam and what is paapam? It is usually explained in saamanya dharma (general ethical law) that punyam is doing good and paapam is doing wrong. But in life we land up in so many complex situations that the mere simple definition is very hard to decipher and apply. What do we do in such circumstances? In such situations, our sole reference is the life of the Lord Himself and the lives of the Azhwars and Acharyas. The latter are better than Sarveshwaran since they lived a life similar to what we live today. And most of them were of our own ilk.

Look at the life of Thirumangai azhwar. If the general rules are applied to his life, he would have been repeatedly convicted for most of his doings. Robbing for feeding others, stealing, forgery and what not? SriParasara Bhattar beautifully says

जितबाह्यजिनादिमणिप्रतिमा: अपि वैदिकयन्निव रङगपुरे
मणिमण्डपवप्रगणान् विदधे परकालकविः प्रणमेमहितान्

The wonderful mandapas and fortresses were built out of the gold idols of non-vedic pagan religions. Thus Parakala Kavi converted unholy avaidhika stuff into holy vaidhika products. May I pay my obeisance to them all!

The life of Thirumangai azhwar is a clear case of what Punyam and Paapam is. The deeds of Azhwar were directed towards Bhagavat and Bhaagavata kainkaryam. In the true sense, punyam is what pleases the Paramatma and paapam is what causes displeasure to Him. The Lord Himself says “I consider the paapam done to pacify me as punyam; any punyam that does not involve me is paapam”.

These words of the Lord and the life of Azhwar should be the compass for us to seek direction in the bundled track of punyam and paapam.

In continuation of the scheme of Sannidhi vandhanam, Thirumangai azhwar sannidhi was recently venerated. The archakar swamy is a very devout bhaktha. He has been in kainkaryam for several years. Provisions and a token sambhavanai were humbly submitted by the children of Srimaan Bhattar Kuzham. Such activities create a great impact on the children. They learn the greatness of the sannidhi, the archakar and the need to support them in life.

Click here for the photos of the event :
 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thondin aradhanai 2013-14


Sri:
Srimathe Ramanujaya Nama:

Priya arangan adiyars,

When Emperuman incarnated as Varaha taking the form of a giant boar and reclaimed earth from the ocean of deluge, Bhoomi Pirattiyar requested Emperuman to suggest a simple path for the mortal beings in this samsara, which could be followed by them to reach the Supreme abode (Sri Vaikuntam). Varaha Emperuman revealed the upayam of surrendering to Him and performing kainkaryam (performing activities for His pleasure) and nama sankirtanam (singing His holy names) as the means to reach Him. Bhoomi Pirattiyar revealed this message through the Thiruppavai prabandham when she incarnated as Sri Godha Devi. Sri Andal imagines Herself to be an inmate of Vrindavan and performs a vratham during Margazhi month. Thus margazhi (Margaseersha) is a celebrated month. Moreover, the term Margaseersha also means “The esteemed path”. It is during this month, we get to realize the esteemed path to attain Emperuman shown to us by Sri Andal Nachiyar.

As Andal shows in the 5th pasuram of Thiruppavai, our sins get burnt like a bag of cotton dropped into fire, if we are going to engage all our senses for the service of Emperuman and perform all actions (physical, verbal, mental) as kainkayam to Him. Srimaan trust has organized the programme “Thondin Aradhanai” in which Thiruppavai upanyasams are held at various places Chennai, Srirangam, Srivilliputtur, Karur and Hyderabad). Since kainkaryam is the essence of Andal’s Thiruppavai, kainkaryaparars from different Divya desams are being honoured at the end of the upanyasam at the place of their convenience.
The following link contains a glimpse of the celebration of last year’s Thondin Aradhanai. www.srimaantrust.com/Thondin.php
Also find below the link about details of upanyasam venue and some information about Thondin Aradhanai.

Friday, December 20, 2013

6 Thiruppavai upanyasams...


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Sri:
Srimate ramanujaya nama:
Priya arangan adiyar,

When we wish to attain a certain end, it is for us to put a foot forward, make that crucial leap, tread that tedious path and bear all the hardships. The germination of a wish in our mind is only the beginning. This is how the normal world functions. But in the world where we realize and regard the presence of Srimannarayana, laws change. The wishes of Bhakthas are taken up by the Lord for execution.

The “THIRUPPAVAI UPANYASAM” and THONDIN AARADHANAI turned out to be a memorable event last year. 35 persons from different walks of kainkaryam were honoured on each day of Maargazhi month. Each of them was requested to share the joy of the kainkaryam they were performing. It was a true inspiration to hear 80 year old women describe the way they are serving the Lord; 80 year old Vedic scholar teaching Vedas despite blindness of the eyes; a person rescuing the deity of Lord Rama from Rameshwaram and building a temple for Him in Chennai. The list went on….


At the end of last year’s Thiruppavai and Thondin aaradhanai, we made a wishful thinking that the following year should have atleast 4 thiruppavai upanyasams. The wish was taken up by the Supreme Being and this year it has materialized into 6 Thiruppavai upanyasams. The upanyasakars are a mix of young and elderly scholars.

Chennai – Thiruvallikkeni - Sri U.Ve.Dr.M.A.Venkatakrishnan swamy :Inline image 1

This Swamy needs no introduction. He is a pillar of the present day sampradayam. His kainkaryam included adhyapaka kainkaryam at SriParthasarthy swamy temple, running Geethacharyan Magazine, writing books, bringing rare books to print, uninterrupted Kalakshepams and upanyasams, training the young generation in the Kalakshepa-parampara. It is indeed an honour to have his upanyasam organized by the Trust. It is to be noted that Swamy is doing a Kalakshepam of Thiruppavai this year ( i.e word by word explanation over the vyakyanam). You can hear the online upanyasam ( as well as recorded archive) by clicking here. Timings : 7.30am-9am. Indian Standard Time


 Srirangam – Sri U.Ve.Bharathan swamy :Inline image 3

The locals of Srirangam are very familiar with this swamy. Young and wisdom filled, he completed education at Chennai. While pursuing the final stage of a professional course, a spark occurred in him and he chose the path of spirituality. Completing his Shoromani at Chennai, he settled in Srirangam to undergo kalakshepams at the feet of revered scholars. His daily life is filled with teaching and kalakshepams.


Chennai – Tambaram- Sri U.Ve.SriVallaban swamy : Inline image 4

SriVallaban swamy is the son of Sri U.Ve.K.B.Devarajan swamy. Having secured his Masters in Social Work, he joined TVS as HR for employment. He has given over 1000 speeches during his Under and Post Graduation period and has received award from the Union Finance Minister under the ‘Kamban Kazhagam’ banner. During his college days, he adopted a village filled with drunkards. Due to these men, their children suffered and no school had 100% pass percentage. SriVallaban swamy went with a battalion of students and in a year made all the children complete their 10th and 12th standards. SriVallaban swamy has undergone kalakshepams under his revered father/scholar. The Tiruppavai upanyasam of Sri Srivallaban swamy is organized by Srimaan Trust and Azhagiya Manavalamamunigal kainkarya sabha.
 
Srivilliputtur - Sri U.Ve.Vinjimoor Venkatachariar swamy :Inline image 5

Sri Venkatachariar swamy, better known as Vinjimoor swamy is an acharya purusha of Srivilliputtur. His initial years of education were at Singam Iyangar paatashala of Srirangam. He joined the Mylapore Sanskrit college and obtained a shiromani in Vyakarana. He further secured an M.A in Sankrit at Vivekananda college,Mylapore,Chennai. The entire period of education was interspersed with Kalakshepams under his father/acharyan. He later learnt all the granthas under his Father. And from 2008, he began teaching the works of Azhwars and Acharyas online. His teaching begins at 7:30 a.m to 1p.m and resumes at 3p.m and goes on till 10p.m. The beneficiaries of his classes live across the globe. It is indeed a great inspiration for all to see a young swamy perform such dedicated selfless kainkaryam.

The Thiruppavai of Swamy can be heard through Skype. The procedure to access is hereunder :
  • Bhaagavathas at the U.S.A can access thro Skype no. 5308811300. On requisition of password, 141302# is to be entered.
  • Other Bhaagavathas need to add freeconferencing.5308811300.On requisition of password, 141302# is to be entered.
  • Upanyasa timings : 9am to 10am Indian Standard Time


Karur - Sri U.Ve.Raghavan swamy : Inline image 6

Sri Raghavan swamy is an elderly person living at Srirangam. He began listening to kalakshepams at an advanced age. He underwent rigorous training under the guidance of Sri.U.Ve.Narasimhachariar swamy, SriU.Ve.Tirumalacharia swamy, SriThiruppullani Sundararajan swamy and other vidwans. At this age of 68, he assented to our request and has begun Tiruppavai at Karur.

Hyderabad - Sri U.Ve. E.B.Sriram swamy : Inline image 7

The first Tiruppavai was organized by Srimaan Trust with this swamy. He is the son of Vidwan Sri U.Ve.Elayavilli Bhuvarahachariar swamy. Having undergone tutelage under his father, Sriram swamy took to Kalakshepams and Upanyasam. His son Sri Elayavilli Satajith too has plunged into the discourse arena.

THONDIN AARADHANAI was held at one place last year. But owing to different places of Thiruppavai this year, kainkaryaparas from different divya desams have been invited to the nearest place of upanyasam for their honour.

We request all of you to participate in the upanyasams and thondin aaradhanai nearest to your place of residence or work. Let us all make this a grand spiritual event!

The invitation is attached :


--
231, South Uttara Street, Srirangam
Trichy 620 006, Tamil Nadu
INDIA
Ph 09150403470, 09150403471

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thiruvarangam Winter Camp - Dec25 to Jan1

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Sri:
Srimathe Ramanujaya Nama:
Priya arangan adiyar,

Margazhi is a special month for all since it has been profoundly celebrated by our ancestors.

In this month, the gopikas of Vrindavan performed a vratham to attain the Lotus feet of Lord SriKrishna. In Kali Yuga, Sri Andal adopted this vratham in her birth place of SriVilliputhur, and this gave birth to the most wonderful treatise called Thiruppavai. The essence of Thiruppavai is to surrender to the divine Lotus feet of Lord SriKrishna and be immersed in devotional service forever, which pleases the Lord and His ardent devotees.

Srimaan Trust, in keeping with its rich tradition of infusing Bhakthi in the young minds, 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, Trichy.

This camp is organized in the auspicious month of Margazhi, which was professed as the chief among months by Lord SriKrishna Himself in Sri Bhagavad Gita.

"Annavayil pudhuvai Andal Arangarukku pannu Thiruppavai", is the quote from the Taniyan of Thiruppavai, which states that Andal rendered Thiruppavai for Arangan (Namperumal).

With the divine sounds of Andal's Thiruppavai reverberating everywhere in this auspicious month, it is no surprise that the theme for the camp is "Thiruvarangan", the Lord to whom Andal surrendered unconditionally. One has to spend their entire life to realize the greatness, mercy and valour of Sri Namperumal (Rangarajan), who is the King of all Kings.

Srimaan Trust has taken the immense job of inspiring the children to know, understand, enjoy and be immersed in the divine qualities of Namperumal and also to recognize the history and reasons behind all the Sampradayams being followed in the holy city of Thiruvarangam – Bhooloka Vaikuntham.

The Topics that will be covered in this camp are as follows:

1.         How did Thiruvarangan choose Srirangam as his abode?
2.         Why Bhooloka Vaikuntham is called Srirangam?
3.         History of the Pranavaakaara Vimaanam
4.         Formation of the 7 prakaaras
5.         The greatness of Periya Garudan Sannidhi
6.         Cauvery - the river more sacred than Ganga
7.         1000 pillar mandapam - why 1000?
8.         History and reasons behind celebration of Uthsavams
9.         Why is the White Gopuram without any colors?
10.       The kinds of devotion to please the Ultimate Supreme Lord Thiruvarangan.
11.       And many more....
We kindly request all the parents to encourage their kids to join the camp and use this excellent opportunity to raise the kids with the right values from a very young age and thus receive the blessings of SriRangaNachiyar and Namperumal.

Just to add more honey to the already wonderful camp, it is provided free of cost. Accommodation and food is also provided free of cost to outstation children.

Camp Details:
Eligibility                       - Students from 1st to 12th Std Dates/Times               - 25.12.2013 to 01.01.2014 (10 am to 3.30 pm)
For registration: Email                          - srimaantrust@gmail.com Website                     - www.srimaantrust.com Contact                       - 9047674222 / 8925320839 Address                     - Srimaan Trust, 231 S. Uttara St, Srirangam, Trichy – 6. Registration Deadline - 20.12.2013 Registration timings    - 10.30 am to 12.30 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm


Monday, December 9, 2013

Annual Day and Prize Distribution Function (SBK,SBG,ST) - I




Even though nature is inherently ever-enchanting, its beauty becomes evident only during the spring season. That is the time when nature presents itself to us in an enchanting form. Similarly, the activities and functioning of our trust (Srimaan Trust – ST) is a continuous process, fuelled by the grace of Emperuman and Acharyas, taken forward by the efforts of numerous kainkayaparars. Even the activities of the trust are showcased to everyone during the annual day programme and other landmark events like how spring season brings out the beauty of nature. The annual day for the current year was celebrated on November 10, 2013.

The programme began with an invocation and welcome address. The various institutions of the trust and their activities were presented to the audience through a powerpoint presentation. At the end of this presentation, Kasthurirangan Emperuman (Thiruvaradhana Perumal of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam -SBG) arrived on the stage with his band of budding archakars. The Gurukulam students performed mangalasasanams from Vedam and Divya Prabandham and it was followed by other cultural activities.

Being an early bird...

The question of whether devotion (bhakthi) needs to be cultivated at young age or is it something which is reserved for the elders has been a never ending discussion among many of us. The toddlers at SBK attempted to put an end to this discussion. They performed a debate (pattimandram) on this topic and came up with the conclusion that bhakthi is essential at a tender age.

The cosmic dance of Krishna...

During the evenings of autumn season, the clear sky studded with stars is illuminated by the moon. The breeze blows over the cool waters of river Yamuna and that’s when Krishna would perform rasaleela with the Gopikas. On a similar evening, the children of SBK enacted this vaibhavam through a Kolattam dance performance.

The ambrosial music...

When we listen to Tamil, it feels like nectar flowing to our ears. It is even sweet when we listen about the glories of Emperuman in that language. It is sweeter to listen to the glories of Emperumanar (Yathirajar) in that language. What to say if these words are set to melodious music notes? The next program was a music rendering by SBK students wherein an excerpt from Aichiyar kuravai (a section in Silappadhikaram) was sung and it was followed by Emperumanar Vadivazhagu song.

Find below the excellent photos for your eyes.


( to be continued)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Time well spent


Sri:
Srimathe Ramanujaya Nama:


Priya arangan adiyar


Time is a valuable resource made available to us for a specific duration of time.  Its value is well recognized by several intellectuals.  There are several prescriptions for judicious use of this limited resource.  Yet, the best laid plans fall apart in the face of the swiftness and uncertainty of the world.

However we engage the time available to us, the results of the engagement are far from satisfactory or provide us momentary pleasure.  The latter puts bare the irony of our existence when we seek to escape reality by temporary distractions.  Yet, we are accustomed by habit to fall prey to the same forms of engagement over and over again.

A little wisdom sees through the unworthy nature of these engagements and seeks a more meaningful use of whatever time is available.  In the answer to this lies one of the important ideas taught by our elders -  that time ought to be spent in experiencing the auspicious attributes of the Lord.   

It is not necessary to impose what comes naturally and is desirable.  Even if every reason for engaging in this activity is removed, it still remains that the thought of the auspicious attributes of the Lord is extremely pleasing and enjoyable, and hence desirable.  

Srimad Bhagavatam says that the wise immerse themselves in the nectarine pass-times of the Lord and stay removed from the afflictions of samsara.

Having known that this engagement is both desirable and useful, the immediate next question is on how to go about this piece of advice.

We are fortunate to have several great saints before our times who have experienced the glories of the Lord through His grace and sung from the depths of the experience, that there is little to invent for our simple selves.  Most of their experiences are condensed in the form of delectable stotras.  

The stotras have formed an extremely useful medium of reaching the esoteric essence of Vedanta to all people.  Once learned, they allow us to reflect on these meanings and experience the Lord through them.  That the stotras are the distilled essence of the wisdom of our acharyas endears them to all of us.  

Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan Svami of Secunderabad is a noble soul who appreciates the importance of stotrams.  He is a disciple of incumbent pontiff of Srimad Andavan Asramam.  He devotes his time to teaching stotrams to young children.  Svami Vedanta Desika has been prolific in gracing us stotrams and they are the main focus of our svami.   During the months close to Margazhi, the focus shifts base to Thiruppavai.  For the children who attend these classes, their learning of the children is tested by conducting competitions.

When this author spoke to the svami, he insisted that this was only made possible by the kindness of Srimathi Padma Venkatesan who had allowed the use of her premises for conducting these classes for any period of time, and the guidance of Sri U Ve ES Mukundan Svami of Desika Stotra Pata Ghoshti in Secundarabad.  

Srimaan Trust, as part of its monthly Kainkarya Vandanam, honoured this noble soul for his significant contribution towards making the ageless hymns of our elders popular among young children.  This would enable people to engage their spare time in more meaningful ways.  We hope that Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan Svami’s kainkaryam sows the seeds of devotion in many more hearts and attains even broader reach.  

The photos of Kainkarya Vandanam can be viewed at :



Monday, November 25, 2013

Discourse @ Mumbai - 29th Nov to 1st Dec.


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Sri:
Srimate ramanujaya nama:
Priya arangan adiyar,
SriBhagavat Ramanuja Siddantha Prachar Sabha, Mumbai, has been propagating SriVaishnava Sampradayam in Maharashtra.
This Sabha has invited our Founder Acharya, SriParasara Badrinarayana Bhattar Swamy to deliver a series of discourse at various places in Mumbai beginning the 29th (Friday) of this month till December 1st (Sunday). The invitation detailing the places and topics can be viewed in the link.
All Bhaagavathas in Mumbai are requested to avail this opportunity of being part of the Sathsangam. 


--
231, South Uttara Street, Srirangam
Trichy 620 006, Tamil Nadu
INDIA
Ph 09150403470, 09150403471

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Permanent healing....


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Sri:
Srimate ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,

When a person suffers from illness, it is not sufficient to remove the symptoms of the problem. The core of the ailment must be identified and removed forever. Succeeding in this role marks the victory of a physician.
Such ailments can affect not only our physical well being but also our mental wellness. In many cases, it is the absence of mental health that affects physical health adversely. Some forms of physical illness cannot be cured until the mental health is restored.

The threats to the mind cannot be treated as any different from those to the body. The grieving mind needs to be healed, healed from the root cause of the ailment in the same way as it is done for the body. However hidden it may lie, the source of ailment can be discovered to rest in ignorance and its release depends on availing medicine of knowledge.

Knowledge obtained by individuals must strike at the root of the problem and deliver the person from such inflictions. The Lord Himself performed this role to perfection. When Arjuna was struck with grief born out of misplaced compassion, He did not deliver a superficial address to merely reverse Arjuna's decision for the moment, but went deep into the root of the problem, the base from which the fountain of sorrow had sprung, and cured it through an exhaustive treatment of truth.

When the root cause of the problem is not addressed, and people are only taught "skills" to survive in the world, several other problems surface. It is no mistake of the individual that he is ill equipped to handle such situations. It is the collective failure of human-kind to prioritize the needs of the individual.  As a new born baby is rushed to be vaccinated even before it grows, the first form of education that must be imparted is the the knowledge of the self. Only such individuals can be truly nurtured by other forms of education.  That is when education becomes liberating instead of burdening.

 It is difficult to find physicians who can effect such cures. Those who intellect stands far from deceit and incorrect methods are Acharyas, and are regarded as scholars. The association with such men destroys the ignorance of others; (conversely associating with ignorant men only breeds further ignorance.) These intelligent men are verily the lamps whose lustre of knowledge is capable of removing the darkness of ignorance. Hence, when one sees such men, one must seek the person with interest and be enlightened by his teaching.
The students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam were visited by such an opportunity.  The erudite scholar and preceptor, Sri. U.Ve. K.B. Devarajan Swami graced the Gurukulam students.  The Swami owes his wisdom to several yester-year stalwarts and has himself nurtured many scholars in our tradition carefully following the methods laid down by our elders.  The association of this Swami is a blessing to anyone, more so our students who are always excited to learn. Swamy’s spiritual knowledge was initially watered by none other than Mahvidwan Sri U.Ve.Prathivadi Bhayankaram Annangarachariar swamy. He not only learnt the Srivaishnava philosophy from him but was directly educated on the conduct of a SriVaishnavite from him. The initial days under the bright beam of PBA Swamy paved way for his further accomplishments and benedictions.

In his early days of employment in Chennai, Sri Devarajan Swamy lived in bachelor quarters. Owning to little flow of money, he never had the luxury of using private vehicles and used only public transport. Long journeys took him to the place of discourses and he listened with rapt attention to the words of the maters. Many a days, his long trips denied him his dinner. He used to come back, drink a couple of glasses of water and go to sleep. Those days, (which were far more than we can imagine) the accumulation of knowledge settled his hunger pangs and gave him sound sleep. Even to this date, he travels enormously. The constant cultivation of athma shakthi has enabled him face great adversities. And when someone goes to him to laud his speech, he smiles gently and replies “Acharya krupa”.

Staying close to the students, the master enriched the intellectual content of his pupils through his experience and wisdom.  It was appropriate that the Swami also delivered a discourse (click for Photos) on the greatness of Swami Nammazhvar in Swami Koorathazhvan sannidhi. 

Srimaan Trust bows to this physician for the soul, marking our monthly vidvad-vandanam.

The photos shot during the honour are here :