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HH Tridandi Sriman Narayana Jeeyar Swamiji answers Qs posed by a bhakta

From: raghu M (rmudumbai_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Sat Aug 12 2000 - 11:19:53 PDT

Hello,

Interesting Qs that were asked and were answered by
HH Tridandi Srimannrayana Ramanuja ChinnaJeeyar Swamiji


--- In jetusa@egroups.com,
"Chinna Jeeyar Swamy" <acharya27@yahoo.com> wrote:

Q1. ThirumaN & SrEEChurnam:
===================================================================
I would like to know the Spiritual & physical (if any)
reasons for applying Dwadasa Pundras (12 Thirumans).
How long ago did the practice Start. (The coloring of SreeChurnam
to make it Red in color could not have been aNadi (forever in
the past)) Why are there various forms of applying the Thiruman?
Are there references in our Puranas on how, where and when to
apply Dwadasha pundras?

Answer)
The practice of wearing Thiruman started long ago. It is so
evident in Pa:dma Samhitha of Sri Pa:nchara:tra A:gama,
which clearly describes Narayana, who is to be meditated upon
in A:ra:dhana, having U:rdhwapundram along with all other
jewellary and weapons.

Here we quote
" Sri:bhu:mi sahitham de:vam lala:tay swe:tha mrutsnaya|
krutho:rdhwapundra thilakaihi manditham chenrabhanubhihi||
niyuthai rayuthais chendraih vidyut ka:la:gni ko:tibhihi|
samave:thai rivaikatra te:jah punjair visarpibhihi||
bhrajama:nam dura;lo:ham de:hamandala nirgathaih|
bha:sayantham jagath sarvam dhya:ye:th prakshi:na kalmashaha||"

Here in the above slo:kas Lord has been described having somany
u:rdwa pundra:s along with Sri:de:vi & Bhu:de:vi. And that pundra thilakas' 
shining is so illuminating the whole universe with their moon-light like 
prabha.

Other than Pa:dma Samhitha, we can see the mentioning of u:rdhwa
pundrams in other samhithas also. A:gamas are considered as more authentic 
scriptures even by The Ve:das. Cha:ndo:gyo:panishad
mentions about it  in Na:rada & Sanathkuma:ra discussion.

Regarding color of the pundram, in the above slo:kas it is
mentioned to have in 'white'(swe:tha mruth) and the middle one
should be in 'light red' (may be a little dark pink) here again
Pa:dma Samhitha says 'lala:ta thilakam sowmyam di;pavath
swe:tha mrutsnaya'  and it goes like that. The process to make
the middle red one is followed by using termaric powder.

Termaric powder is not supposed to be used directly. It has to
be purified. The way to do that is to add it with lemon juice
and another substance called 'veliga:ram' (what the english term
for it? may be crystal) This veliga:ram has to be purified again
on fire. Then it becomes powder like. All these three things will
be mixed up and dried in shade, not under sun.

That is what people call as 'sri:chu:rnam'. With that the middle
one like flame on the fire, to be applied.

The places to apply the pundras are 12 in number.  One on the fore
head, four all around the neck, two  on shoulders, one on chest,
three at the stomach and one at the end of the spinal card.
There are the key part of the body. They need to be sanctified
by applying pundram and chanting His name (there are 12 ke:sava
etc names used to all these 12 pundras).

Whenever we take a shower in the morning, we decorate with 12
pundras. It is enough to decorate once a day, not after the food
is taken (like in the evening times).

When we talk about the significance, we go through the sa:stras
and that is all. We can say a few reasons, of course, but
confining to scriptures is really beautiful.

For our satisfaction few things are told they are:

1. If one has pundras, he cannot do unwanted things. If he
tries to do, the society around will not allow him to do so.

2. It is a mark of respect to say that we belong to Lord
Lakshmi Na:ra:yana.

3. Those parts of the body may be activated in  satwic way
by which we can think and do better activities.

4. If we wear those pundras we become Srivaishnavas and it seems,
the god of death 'Yamaraj' will never look at us, according to
Maha Bharat.

We are sure that these are enough points we discussed about.

    =====================================================
    =====================================================
-------

Q2. Why do we chant Vedas and Prabhandas? Significance?
    =====================================================
Vedas: How does our chanting provide (Loka KShemam and Shathi)?
Does God want to hear Vedas? Does the Chanting induce bhakti &
or any other feelings in us? We are repeating the Prabhandas
chanted by Alwars, they sang them after being in the Bhakti
trance for a long time. Would we feel what they felt
***   ****   ****   ****

A.   God never asks us to chant Ve:das. Nor He is in need of
listening to them from us. He has somany Mukthas & Nityasu:ri:es
with Him always, who are always keep chanting Ve:das without
any flaws, just for His sake only, without any expectation.
Chanting of Ve:das definetely provides welfare to the world at
large. It helps the one who is chanting and the one who is
listening to that.  To the one who chants- it increases the
memory power and powerful throat. It also adds monitory benifites
to him. If he really believes in it, it gives him peace of mind
and divine feelings also. It strenthens the 'will power' who
really believes in it and does Just Parayana.

To the listener, it elevates innter traits and makes one, feel
divine. If it is chanted with belief, it even sanctions mundane
benifits too, which ultimately help to choose divine path.
Even if it is heard by the Nature, like plants and trees, their
yeild much be quite better than earlier.

Chanting prabandha:s also considered as equal to chanting the
Vedas. In some places, chanting Prabandhas, is respected higher
than the Vedas itself and while the diety of temples is in
procession, in front of the diety, prabandha is chanted and in
the back side of the diety Vedas are chanted. We can observe
the practice. It is because, the devotees who chanted them
were dived deep into the ocean of divine qualities of Lord
Narayana, couldnot contend themselves and  the whole experience
overwhelmed and outpoured through their mouths. Their later
devotees recoreded them for us. But the important thing we should
remember is, the places, wherefrom the sounds produced in our body
to say anything, are quite common for anyone on this earth.
So also, to those devotees whom we call as Alwars. If we also chant
the pasurams they have chanted in the same way prescribed, if not
immediately, but some day we will definitely be blessed with such a
devotion. Even otherwise, God will look at us wherever we chant them,
for , they are His lovely songs ever listened. What we need to understand 
is, chant the divine songs of any Bhaktha of any
language, in that particular language only, when you call it
chanting. But try to understand the meaning of those songs in
your own language. Some people say that translating them to our
own language will help in fastening the process of getting bhakthi.

But it helps us in learning the meaning to practice and feel.
But to show some impact on our heart, we must accept them as it
is, in the same language it first appeared, like Ramayana,
Bhagavatham like scriptures in Sanskrit only. Divya Prabandhass
in Tamil only. Veda and Upanishad like things in their original
form only. Translations, no doubt, will help us to understand
in a better way.

    =====================================================
    =====================================================

Q3. Ekadashi Fasting.
     =================
We see many pios people observing Ekadashi Fasting and
Dwadashi Paranam. Could you please explain the logic and
reasoning behind this fasting.

A.  We observe E:kadasi fasting and Dwa:dasi pa:ranam (ending
up fasting by eating prasa:dam early in the morning, after
praying to The Sun) because the ''smruthi scriptures'' say so.
And we believe in them also. E:kadasi is also named after
"hari va:sara" means "a day takes us nearer to Lord Vishnu".

According to Cha:ndo:gyo:panishad, the food we eat makes our body
and mind. It says, the food we eat will be devided into 3 parts.
Gross part form excreta and will be released out. Middle part
forms as flush. But the suttle part helps the manas,
(and it may not be the mind). So manas and body are the products
of the food we eat. If we want body a satwic one and the manas
also should function sa:twic, then one must eat sa:twic food.

Man is supposed to eat vegitarian food only that is produced
from plants and trees. They are called O:shadhi:s. Thaithari:yo:panishad 
says
"O:shadhi:bhyo:nnam, anna:th purushaha, sa va: e:sha purusho:
anna rasamayaha".
It means the food man eats should be made out of vegitables, so
man is called "anna rasamaya". All the O:shadhi:s are grown and
receive their energies from the moon. Hence, moon is called 
"O:shadhi:pathi".

Again here, as moon grows and decreses(waxing & waning moon)
his impact on the o:shadhies, as well as on our body, also will
be changing.  The moon has 16 phases. There are 16 elements in our bodies 
too. Our manas and buddhi are falling in 11th and 12th
number. To decreas the impact of the thamo:guna one needs to
stop eating food on that day. But to activate the Manas with
sa:twic guna, one needs to chant divine name with love and
should keep himself amidst sa:twic people. Though, it is
always recommended to be practised, particularly on that day
it helps a lot.  When one is spending his time with great people
and chanting God's name, the love in God, will automatically keep
the food  and sleep away from him. That is called 'upava:sa' and
'ja:garana'. This must come automatically, not by force.
On the dw:dasi day, moon's impact will be there on buddhi. So to
keep it active with satwaguna always, we offer food to God, make
it Prasa:da and have darsan of the Sun, and then take that
prasa:dam by breaking fasting, which is called 'pa:rana'.
Thus we practice e:kadasi & dwa;dasi.

    =====================================================
    =====================================================

Q4. Ultimate Reality : Shape, form and presence.
    ============================================
Quoting from another list:
"Some scholars say Ultimate Reality is devoid of a form (amUrta),
but it assumes a limited form (mUrtatA) for the sake of
devotees and this limited form is incomparable (anupama) ".
End Quote

The divine body taken by SrIman nArAyaNa at Sri Vaikuntha is the
form we believe has been there for ever.
Whom should we meditate on, nArAyaNa at Sri Vainkuntam and any
other form he has taken for us or the FormLess Untilmate reality
(how to medidate on a formless God.)
Where do the Real and Eternal mUlarUpa & avatArarUpa fit in the
above Quote. Could you explain on this?

A. Yes, Ultimate reality is formless and has form also. What we
need to understand here is the word ''formless'' means ' not
having a form as the worldly forms are'.  But when we say that
'there is a form'  it means ''it's form is par-excellence and
no comparison at all'. In Sri vaikunttham, according to a:gama:s,
there is a form inexplicable in it's beauty etc.,qualities.
It is not mu:rtham(disposable). It is amu:rtham only(eternal.
We call  that form as Sr:mannarayana, as revealed by A:gama:s.

All the avata:ra:s of Lord Vishnu also are amu:rta:s only.
Though the bodies appeared as human bodies, they are not
made of Pancha Bhu:thas but Pancha Upanishads.  This is what
precisely He explained in the 4th Chapter of Bhagavadgi:tha,
as "prakruthim swa:m adhishtta:ya..." The mu:lavar(concecrated
diety in the sanctum of the tempel) though appears and made of
worldly elements, yet,  the power of the Lord inside the temple
is something beyond anybodies perception. if it is done according
to a:gamas.



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