Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Join us in Illuminating the young eyes...

Srimate Ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,

Deepavali is an occasion when our mind is filled with serene feelings and our mouths with savories. Beyond all this, it is the warmth and love of the family that lightens our heart. The love of the parents and spouse and the glitter in the eyes of our children is our true Deepavali. The moments with them are what we cherish and always yearn for. When it comes to Namperumal and Srirenganachiar, it is the happiness of their adiyars that kindles their happiness and gives them satisfaction. And more than the grown adiyars like us, their pleasure is manifold increased if children are happy and exuberant during the festivities.

At Srimaan Trust, as Servants in the execution of the Divine Couples’ wishes, we celebrate Deepavali lighting up the faces of the children by preparing savories and distributing it to them. In addition, we also plan to honour the Acharya Purushas and the service-providers (Kainkaryaparas) of Srirangam temple by distributing the savories to them. To us the sparkle of happiness in the faces and hearts of the children and the bhagavathas is far more joyous than lighting up the sky with crackers.

This year, the Trust has planned to prepare savories at SriKooratazhwan sannidhi, Srirangam temple, and distribute to the following :

Number   (approx.)
Acharya Purushas
Archakas of Srirangam temple
Sripaadam thangigal of Srirangam temple
Every staff of Srirangam temple
Our Gurukulam (SBG) children
Srimaan Bhattar Kuzham children
Acharyah school children
South Ranga School children
Aranganayaki school

The following would be the prasadams that will be prepared, offered to Lord Narasimha and Sri Kooratazhwan and distributed to the above adiyars :

190 kg of mixture
750 Mysore paahu
750 baadushas
250 Dhood pedas

For the above, our actual cost is as follows :


It is only on such occasions that we can feel the happiness that pervades the heart of children and Bhagavathas. On such occasions, we are also reminded that “Mothering can be shared by several people”. It would be a pleasure to watch the mere scene of children tearing open the pack of sweets and thrusting them into their mouths. If this happens due to our humble contribution, the pleasure will double just as a mother watching her children devour her hand made delicacies.

And our Divine Parents would be very happy with the way we have celebrate the most celebrated festival of our Nation. Hence, we put before you to make your contributions to this Divine and of course, very sweet cause. As per the following words of a famous philosopher “it is not enough to be compassionate; you must act”, let us put to action the compassion within us.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A reserved ticket....

Srimate ramanujaya nama:
 Priya arangan adiyar,
 Whenever we travel somewhere, we have the habit of reserving tickets for that journey well in advance. But a prerequisite for booking the tickets is to be aware of the destination. Conversely, if the journey is certain and destination is uncertain, then one cannot reserve the tickets. If one considers our life as reserving a ticket, then our status afterlife is the destination. And destiny has it that the journey of afterlife is going to take place some day. So if we are not clear about the destination after this life, our journey would as miserable as travelling without a reserved ticket.

There was a Pandya king named Vallabhadevan who gave a thought about this journey, inspired by the words of a scholar as a result of which he conducted a debate to know who is the Supreme person. It was in the same debate wherein Periyazhwar established the supremacy of SrimanNarayana as mentioned in the Vedas. There was yet another king who pondered this question much earlier. That king once got cursed that he would face his end within the next seven days. Being disturbed by such a curse, that king approached Suka Maharishi, the son of Maharishi Veda Vyasa. That king was none other than Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna. Parakshit narrates the incident, also explains the question he was having in his mind and conveys his concern over the short duration available with him to plan for his “journey”.

Then Suka Maharishi comforts him by telling the story of another king who lived even before. Khatvangan, a ruler of the Ikshvaku clan, was a valorous king who fought a war on the side of Devas and won that war. Pleased by his courage, he was offered a boon and the king said he wanted to know when he would face the end to his life. The Devas said that he had only one muhurtham to spare. He spent the remaining time in meditating about Emperuman and attain the exalted position of Sri Vaikuntam. Having comforting king Parikshit in this way, Suka Maharishi narrated the entire Srimad Bhagavatha Puranam and relieved the doubts of King Parikshit thus making him reserve tickets for his “journey” to Sri Vaikuntam.

Recently, a series of upanyasam on SriBhagavatham was conducted at Acharyah campus for a duration of seven days. SriBhagavatham is the epic narrating the pastimes of Lord Krishna. It is a text that enumerates the countless virtues possessed by Lord Krishna.  In this upanyasam of SriBhagavatham, each day, certain major accounts from the Puranam were elaborated.

 On the first day, the avatharikai (Prelude consisting of a sequence of events which led to the narration of the Puranam) was given with great elaboration. The charithrams of Dhruva, Jadabharatha, Ajamila, Ambarisha were explained in detail in the following days. On the next day, the account of Govinda pattabishekam (Govardhana uddharanam) was also narrated and the upayasam concluded with Rukmini kalyanam on the last day. The devotees were in ecstasy being engulfed by the sweet nectar of SriBhagavatham. This divine experience is indeed the ticket reservation for their “journey”.
The Divine pictures can be seen here :

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Pills....

Srimate ramanujaya nama:
Priya arangan adiyar,
The heart is rather a delicate organ. It is often vulnerable to many ailments. Its susceptibility to diseases is very high. Don’t misread us. We are not discussing heart attack or other distresses of the heart here.
We are addressing the disease of the mind that ails the heart. Once born in earth, each of us is bound to face challenges. As children, our egos were not well developed to “feel” pain. We were casual and took everything impersonally. But with growing awareness of the world outside and the ritual of constant comparison with friends, relatives and even unknown people, we have accumulated negatives and our self-image stands precarious placed. And we have started living a life based on this perception of our negative image. The result is naturally, negative. What the mirror faces, it reflects, is it not? So, it is time to detoxify ourselves and get rid of the negativity we have nurtured all along. If we can break that ice of negativity from our life and live in the realms of reality, we shall have no reasons to complain.
TO ERR IS HUMAN; NO, EVEN GODLY…..Sri Hanuman, with great effort, found Seeth Piratti in Ashoka Vanam. A lengthy conversation ensued. Hanuman was furious hearing the wild treatment meted out to the Mother of the Universe. He wanted to teach the servants of Ravana a lesson and decided to break their bones before leaving for India. Seetha Devi stopped him. She asked “ Who does not err? everyone errs in life. Even Lord Rama erred by listening to my greed of a deer. And look at me. I too am erring by reporting to a stranger the misgivings of my husband! It is pure love and forgiveness that can redeem and solve all conflicts.”
We seldom realize our mistakes. Our conceit portrays our mistakes as acceptable actions. Yet, when we see others err, our blood boils. Domestic and office temperatures soar in the heat of our anger. Let us learn to keep anger at bay. Let us listen to the words of our beloved Mother Seetha who wishes only good for us. Empathising with others is essential as a human, more so as a matured Srivaishnavite.
FEELING HURT…… Yes, all of us feel hurt by someone in life. Often, a bitter word by a beloved person stings us. SriRamanuja left kanchi and came to Srirangam with the sole aim of cleansing the system of corruption and streamlining the temple services. The temple was under wrong hands. SriRamanuja wanted to extricate it from those hands. But Lord Ranganatha came in his dream and ordered “ The persons you want to remove from service are dear to me! Do not remove them. I wish to have them with me”. SriRamanuja was bitterly hurt. He could not understand the Lord. He had left everything to institute order in Srirangam and the Lord says he wants to live in an untidy environment! Humans don’t understand others since they do not know what runs in the mind of the others. But the Lord is the permanent resident of the soul and follows every thought of ours. Yet He did not understand. SriRamanuja decided to abandon his reformist enthusiasm and return back to Kanchi. It took a completely balanced mind of SriKuresha, foremost sishya of SriRamanuja, to gauge the intention of the Lord. He said to SriRamanuja “ My Revered Lord! It isn’t what you think. Lord Ranga wants you to bring them too under your fold and give them unto His service.” SriRamanuja at once realized the Lord’s intentions and admired the absolute balance of mind in SriKuresa’s possession. What followed was a golden period in the books of Srivaishnava history.
When hurt, when unable to comprehend others, keep a balance of mind. Let not emotions rule. Let us be grounded and face hurt with the dagger of reason.  
WHEN CONFIDENCE SAGS….. It is usual for our confidence to sag. Man is gregarious. His likes and dislikes take shape from his influences. His standards are set not based on his own likes, but the likes of the society. So when we are not able to meet those standards, our self-esteem and confidence takes a nasty beating. What will we do if we are the sole being pacing the planet?    
Inspiration should come from all our Poorvacharyas, especially the mighty Ramanujacharya. Stranded in hopeless situations, he rose, again and again, fighting the tides, braving the heat, weathering the storm and ultimately deeply sowing the sampradaya that would last for eternity. Unalloyed bhakthi, an unshakable faith in the Supreme persona and the resulting supreme self-confidence propelled him to achieve his vision.
As Sri Embar  rejoices in his sathvik pride “ Yeppozhudhum ethirasan vadivazhagu yen idhayathuladaal, illai yenakku ethir illa yenakku ethir illa yenakku ethirae !” ( Since the Divine beauty of the King of Ascetics, SriRamanuja lingers in my heart forever, none can stand before me! None can stand before me! None can stand before me!)
Let our minds meditate on the Holy image of SriRamanuja.
“To be loved and cared for” is a need for every being, a man or woman. Often, we find ourselves bereft of these. Let us not worry.
A King was informed of the inestimable scholarship of SriParasara Bhattar, son of SriKuresha. Once when he came to worship the Lord of Srirangam, he made a visit to SriBhattar. Kings are known for their pride and erroneous estimation of scholars. He asked SriBhattar to visit his court and collect golden coins. Bhattar refused. He was under the love and care of none other than Lord Ranganatha and Srirenganachiar. He answered the King “Even if the hand of Lord Ranga posed in a protective gesture ( Abhaya) turns the other way indicating abandonment of His bhakthas, I will never come to your court.”
The love showered on SriBhattar is available for all of us. We must have faith and trust and deeply love the lord to be recipients of his pure and vast reserve of love and care. We shall never worry then.
By gulping these little yet significant pills, we shall, on this Vijayadasami day, ever be in the path of victory! The Founder acharya, volunteers, children of Gurukulam, children of Acharyah school and children of Srimaan Bhattar Kuzham pray the Lord of Srirangam for success in all your endeavours! 

Photo of Namperumal on this vijayadasami day is here :

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Compelling reason....


Srimate ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,

If there is a good reason to do something, then one better do it.  If there are two reasons, then so much better.  If there are multiple reasons, it becomes so obvious to be done that one only has to justify why it has not yet been done.  
Do we have reasons to be favourably disposed to an arbitrary person?

Let us look at the case where one is in trouble and in need of help - physical or monetary or emotional.  A good person comes along and renders the required help.  What is needed to be grateful to this benefactor?  The fact that he helped when in need is sufficient to be favourably disposed to him.

Troubles come and pass.  But in comparison to these mundane distractions lies the grand disaster of pralaya.  When it strikes, there are no survivors.  No existence seems to withstand its force.  Yet the soul must survive it, not only as an entity, but also as a useful one which can be returned to the world when it is available.  As there are no survivors, there are no saviours.  One cannot appeal to another under such circumstances.  Worse, the soul may not even be inside a body to be endowed with speech that can call out for help.  Who saves the soul during pralaya?  Who returns the souls to the world when it is revived? Who protects the soul even without the soul petitioning to do so?  

We realize that all our cares and needs are valid only as long as our individuality as souls remains meaningful.  The great deluge poses a threat to our relevance as individuals who have the scope for opportunities in the future.  For this soul, there is none to call for help.  It may not even be in a state to petition for support.  Yet the soul is saved by the Lord and returned to the world when it is revived.  It is redeemed through His efforts.  The gain to be attained by this process of the Lord is unlimited.  Despite our not knowing it, and our failure to be grateful, He works behind the scenes facilitating the progress of the soul.  The person, who knows this, becomes grateful to the Lord and lives without fear.  He needs no further reason to be favourably disposed to Him.

Distractions are not easy to surmount.  We live in a world of uncertainties.  Troubles, however temporal, rear their ugly head and threaten the well being of the individual.  Learning about the great help received in the past, some souls turn to the Lord for help.  

kecit sarveśvara viṣṇum-aśeaduritāpaha | kāmakāāprapadyante na te dāsya para vidu ||

They surrender to Vishnu to protect them from the troubles of the world.  They worship Him to have their desires fulfilled.  Thus protected by His grace, they wade through the uncertain world.

Over a period of time, due to the favourable graces of the Lord, the soul is gradually emancipated from being associated with the traps and lures of the world.  By realizing that the Lord had been saving them from times immemorial, in manifold ways one cannot even fathom, one realizes a bond between the Lord and oneself.  By realizing the ephemeral character of all that is worldly and the blemishes it brings along, one comes to the conclusion that there is no point in furthering this madness.  

bahujanmaktai puyai ātmana kīakalmaa | harisanta prapadyante daddāsyaika-phalārthina ||

The soul attains the firm conviction that there is nothing more to ask than the opportunity to reciprocate at least an infinitesimal fraction of the love of the Lord by serving Him for eternity, removed from this conceit and turmoil.  The reasons for doing so are overwhelming and compelling at this stage of realization, that one is left with no excuse for anything else.

They are indeed fortunate who attain this state by the grace of the Lord.  They are fortunate still who obtain this reward of service not in some unthinkable and incredible world beyond the universes, but right here right now!

The worship of the Lord is one of the forms of serving Him.  He manifests in various forms conducive to be worshipped and served by all.  He grants the ultimate reward in this very place.  He knows that there is no use in promising water tomorrow for one who is thirsty today.

The students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam are fortunate to be blessed with this reward.  In one of His charming states, the Lord is manifest as Srinivasa in Aravakottai.  The students of Gurukulam paid a two day visit to this place.  On the first day, the students performed Thiruvaradhanam of Lord Srinivasa, Krishna, Andal and Azhvar who are manifest in the shrine.  

On the second day, the students, keeping with Agama injunctions, performed duly the Kumbha Sthapanam and Ahvana procedures before proceeding to perform Chakraththazhvar Thirumanjanam.  This was followed by Sudarsana Homam followed by procession of Lord Sudarsana.

Lord Sudarsana, beyond His immense prowess and grace, is the very mark of the protective function of the Lord.  He is the first to the rescue of His devotees and is a reminder of the tireless efforts of the Lord in protecting the soul.  It is therefore fitting that the students worshipped Lord Sudarsana through the prescribed rites and services.  

May the boundless radiance of Lord Sudarsana’s grace provide us the enlightenment that drives us to engage ceaselessly in His service.

The Grace of Sudarshanar can be sought here :

ever-in-divine service,
kainkarya sree,
Srimaan Trust
231, South Uttara Street, Srirangam
Trichy 620 006, Tamil Nadu
Ph 09150403470, 09150403471

Monday, October 7, 2013

The scent of freedom...

Srimate ramanujaya nama:
Priya arangan adiyar,

Variety is an essential ingredient of the Supreme Being’s creation. There are so many landforms, water bodies, plant life, animal life, each one of them possessing some distinct traits. Even the snowflakes falling on the ground produce some patterns and one pattern is absolutely distinct from the other! Such is the creative genius that Emperuman is. It is from Him that all our creative instincts germinate.
India is a land of mind boggling diversity. The northern stretches of the country are frozen with ice due to the skyscraping Himalayan ranges studded with lakes and glaciers in the midst of which Nara Narayana upadesam of the Tirumantram took place. On the other hand, the plains of rivers like Ganga, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri are all probably the most fertile lands on earth. The mainland is divided by the Vindhyas and its dense forests where SriRamanuja met Perundevi Thayar and Devaraja of Kanchi and was rescued by them.
The regions lying to the south of Vindhyas is surrounded by sea on three sides, the western coast consists is bounded by the Western ghats along which Sri Ramar and Ilayaperumal walked in search of Sita Pirattiyar. The north-west frontier is a dry patch of desert which was the homeland of the devotee Meerabai. The diversity within this country is so much that it is called as “The Indian subcontinent”. Due to this vast biodiversity, India has been the home for a variety of cultures, lifestyle, arts and languages.
The children at Acharyah put up a show of this national integration on the day of India’s Independence celebrated every year on the 15th of August.
 The program started with invocation, followed by welcome address. The chief guest Mr. Subramanian, Chairman of PL.A group presided over the function. The uniqueness of this program was that introducing the chief guest was alone done by a faculty member while all other activities from invocation to vote of thanks were done by the children. There was a speech in Sanskrit on the topic of unity in diversity “bhinnatha kinthu ekatha”. The children also recited “aduvome pallu paduvome” song and danced for the song “oli padaitha kanninai”. Each child played a unique role in the program. Some of them took part in the Sanskrit speech, some of them danced, one of them rendered the vote of thanks. 
This program itself indeed showcased a unity in the diversified talents of the children. Let us pray to Namperumal to bestow this unity upon all our countrymen in order that our nation has a great future. The photos of this splash of colours can be seen here :  

Refreshing the memory…. ACHARYAH-SCHOOL FOR LEADERS was established in the year 2009 by Srimaan Trust. Our nation does not have a dearth of leaders. Every pocket of the country boasts of so called leaders. Yet, the progress of the nation is such that there is only regress. Where do we lack? We lack in proper leaders. Leaders who are brilliant in administration yet unselfish in thoughts and deeds. Moral leaders. Leaders who lead and never budge to corruption.“Acharyah” is an effort of the Trust to create selfless leaders. By blending Montessori system of education with the knowledge of our cultural past and intelligence of our wisdom filled leaders of the yore, Acharyah aims to design leaders who set their aim at the good of the society.
The school was inaugurated by His Holiness Sri Trid
 Chinna Jeeyar swamy. The photos of the inauguration can be seen here :


An excellent speech of the Jeeyar swamy on the day of inauguration can be heard here :

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The mind's limitation...

Srimate ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,
One can go on talking about the greatness of the Lord and the richness of His auspicious attributes.   When one stops talking about the Lord, it is not because the Lord’s auspicious attributes have been exhausted by the talk.  It is because of the limitations of one’s mind.

“mathi kshayAn nivartantE, na gOvinda guNa kshayAt”

It is indeed our greatest fortune when we find devotees of the Lord who share the same nature as the Lord, whose contributions surpass our ability to talk about them.  Srimaan Trust recognizes the contributions of such noble persons by honouring them under the banner of “Vidvad-Vandanam”.

This month, we were blessed with the fortune of honouring Sri U.Ve. Deiyvanayagan Svami.  The Svami has been engaged in Adhyapaka kainkaryam over a period spanning several decades.   Svami’s life is one of dedication to ceaseless kainkaryam to the tradition.

A master of Ubhaya Vedanta recitation, Svami has devoted a large amount of his time in teaching the hymnal renditions to the devotees in traditional Santhai format.  Several people have benefited from this effort.  Svami’s students include people of all ages.  It is impressive how the Svami packs in his santhai classes in between other kainkaryams. 

For the sake of all Srivaishnavas who would like to learn the holy hymns of Azhvars Acharyas and the Vedic chants, Svami has released CDs teaching the hymns – a pioneering effort in our sampradayam.  It is needless to say that there are numerous beneficiaries who have learned Santhai through this medium.

A sight to behold is Svami’s punctual presence in the goshtis of Thiruvallikkeni for every utsavam.  That this trait has little diminished with his growing old is an inspiration for those who participate in the kainkaryam of the Lord. 

Svami, along with Sri Periya Tiruvadi established the Kaarimaaran Kalai Kappagam Trust in the year 1986. The Trust is engaged in performing Pavitrotsavams in around twenty Divyadesams including Azhvar Thirunagari, Srimooshnam, Srivaikuntam, Thirukkolur and Thirukkannangudi.

In Azhvar Thirunagari, Svami leads the effort in conducting the three Brahmotsavams during the months of Chithirai, Masi and Panguni, as well as the Navarathri Utsavam, under the auspices of Kaarimaaran Kalai Kappagam.  Kaarimaaran Kalai Kappagam is also involved in supporting other groups or persons engaged in kainkaryam.
The multi-dimensional role of Svami in kainkaryam towards the Lord, His devotees and the scriptures is a beacon light for other devotees and motivates us to engage in kainkaryam activities as and when an opportunity presents.  It also shows us our immense, yet seldom realized capability of engaging in concerted efforts of kainkaryam.  To know more about the kainkaryam activities of Kaarimaaran Kalai Kappagam, please visit www.kaarimaaran.com .

There is more to the Svami than this piece of writing and we are left to resign saying “mathi kshayAn nivartante”

The photos taken while honouring Svami can be viewed here :​