Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nurturing the Srivaishnava Way

Sri:
Srimate ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,

The attitude of a person is largely shaped by the experience he undergoes.  Those positive people in our midst survive on a diet of good stories and pleasant narratives.  It is not surprising that as the physical body is nourished in proportion to the diet it receives, the mind grows likewise.  Attitude determines the way in which a person responds to objects and situations.  It defines the emotional and rational nature of the individual. 

Many times, we come across scholars talking about Srivaishnava Lakshanam.  Srivaishnava Lakshanam is a systematic definition of what attributes, tendencies, actions and sentiments identify a Srivaishnava.  They are a reflection of the person’s adoption of a “Srivaishnava attitude”, a way of responding to and regarding our world of experiences.

Not all situations arrive at our doorstep announcing their arrival in advance or with a manual of solutions.  In a fast paced world, we are forced to encounter diverse situations.  In these cases, the response that one can provide after due consideration may be right.  However, the immediate response comes under intense pressure.  How does one immediately react to a new situation?

It is known that the immediate response is largely dictated by the general attitude inherent in the person.  The mind posited with a given attitude responds in a specific way to various immediate necessities.  If the attitude is well structured and the internal mental processes favorably organized, the response would be meaningful and without regret.  A mind that is disillusioned and sees things the wrong way, jumps to the wrong conclusions and results in chaos.

Since our behavior is dependent on our general attitude – the way we see things and the way we respond to things, and since that attitude is shaped for the large part through experiences, our behavior is a direct consequence of what experiences we choose to have, how we inform ourselves, and in what matters we spend our time.

To adopt a Srivaishnava attitude and to nurture Srivaishnava lakshanams, one must experience Srivaishnavism on a regular basis to keep one’s disposition grounded in reality. 

The life histories of our acharyas are treasure troves of experiences that bring out various salient aspects of Srivaishnava Lakshanam.  Their monthly and annual thirunakshatra utsavams create for us opportunities when we can recollect and relive the moments of the acharyas.  Such experiences would certainly contribute to the development of Srivaishnava attitude and progressive fulfilment of Srivaishnava Lakshanam.  After all, the attitude we adopt has a telling effect not only on us but also on those around us.  It has a cascading effect on our environment and therefore has great significance.

The month of margazhi witnessed the thirunakshatram of Svami Periya Nambi, the preceptor of Svami Ramanuja.  The students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam enacted a play drawing from the life of Svami Periya Nambi, as  discussed in the works of Purvacharyas, to bring out on display the salient aspects of the Svami’s life and thought.   One of the students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam also discoursed on the greatness of Svami Periya Nambi drawing from the Vazhi Thirunamam of the Svami.

On the one hand, these events provide the entertainment for spending any available time.  On the other hand, the message of the play goes a long way in provoking our thoughts and molding our outlook of the world.  The participation of young students in enacting the play provides them an opportunity to actually live those moments from the times of the acharyas preparing them to face the world in a better way.  The event is fruitful at several levels to all people in different ways. 


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