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rangapriyam mamagurum SaraNam prapadye-III

From: Srinath Chakravarty (xsrinath_at_ti.com)
Date: Wed Aug 08 2001 - 08:49:56 PDT

SrI ranganAyakyai namaH
SrI ranganAtha parabrahmaNe namaH
SrI ranganAtha divyamaNi pAdukAbhyAm namaH

SrI SrInivAsa varadArya krupAtta cinham
SrI SrInivAsa yativarya niviShta bhAram  |
SrI rangayogi varalabdha parAtma yogam
rangapriyam mamagurum SaraNam prapadye   ||

Dear bhaktas:

adiyEn wishes to thank those of you who are taking
the time to read my ramblings about asmadAchAryan
SrIrangapriya mahAdeSikan swami, and to some that
even responded via email with suggestions etc.  It
is a paradox of the times that we live in, that
those who have the inclination to write about their
gurus aren't often the ones qualified to do so.  Yet
adiyEn desires to write about SrIrangapriya swami in
this lifetime itself, having no desire to undergo the
numerous additional births that will be required for
me to attain those qualifications!

A small request to other shishyas/abhimaanis of SrI
rangapriya swami is that they kindly post the details
of HH's different guruparamparais, i.e. samasrayana,
kalakshepa and bharaNyasa.  SrIrangapriya swami has
gained knowledge of esoterics such as yogashastram
from SrIvaishnava preceptors whose antecedents are
not clear from the AchArya thaniyans alone.  This
information will enable us all to indulge in (at least)
rememberance of the AchAryaparamparai which has brought
a yatheeswarar like SrIrangapriya swAmi in our midst.

Before describing adiyOngaL's experience of having
samASrayaNam and bharaNyAsam through the auspices of
SrIrangapriya swami, I would like to briefly mention
some important details from HH's poorvASrama; details
which are well-known to most Astikas associated with
this AchAryan.  First and foremost is the astonishing
fact, that rangapriyaswami - today a yathi of great
pravachanaSakti and erudition, was completely mute as
an infant!!  Not having uttered a single word until the
age of 5, rangapriyaswami in poorvASrama was taken to
a kalakshepam by SrISrInivAsa Mahadesikan Swami, the
founding Acharya of Srimad Poundarikapuram Ashramam.
After upanyAsam, having learnt about the child's plight
from its parents, the Acharya uttered, in succession -
the thaniyan of vedAntadeSikar, and the first verse of
nigamAntaguru's hayagrIvastotram into the child's ear.
Lo and behold!! The child reproduced these flawlessly.

SrISrInivASa mahAdesikan swAmi - having miraculously
dispelled a speech impediment that had afflicted this
child, then gave blessings and foretold that it would
go on to become a paramagnyAni and mahAyogi. Today, the
very child who received the anugraham of the founding
AchArya of Srimad Poundarikapuram Ashramam is now SrI
rangapriya swAmi, a yathi of SrIrAmAnuja sampradAyam,
who heads the AshTAngayoga vignyAnamandira in Bangalore. 
In keeping with SrIpoundareekapuram prathamAchAryan's
divine benediction, SrIrangapriya mahAdeSikan is a an
extremely learned scholar, philosopher, and a recognized
expert in yogAbhyasam.  In poorvASrama, HH was the chair
of Sanskrit Department at National College, Basavanagudi,
and has written a masterpiece on SrIviShNu sahasranAmam.
More recently, Sri Ahobila Matham reprinted a book on
sandhyAvandanam - where SrIrangapriya swAmi's foreword
beautifully explains the significance of the 3 arghyams.

Today, there are numerous shishyas/abhimaanis of SrI
rangapriyaswami who continue to seek knowledge, solace
and wisdom from HH on all matters mundane and esoteric.
Many of these learned bhaktas are Sanskrit students of
swami from poorvASrama; some of them are even members
of online discussion groups as this one.  SrIrangapriya
swami's patience and kindness with everyone regardless
of gender, age and social standing - is immense.  It is
these sAttvikaguNams possessed by HH that make AStAnga
yogavignyAnamandira such an accessible, peaceful place.
SrIrangapriya swAmi's unique explanations and approach
to resolving problems (best observed during HH's many
upanyAsams) are the ultimate answers to many of our
worries and tensions; adiyEn has personally experienced
this while in Bangalore recently - and will write more
on this particular aspect in another post.

SrIrangapriya swAmi's vAtsalyam was immediately evident
upon adiyOngaL's first sEvippu to AchAryan, the day
after reaching Bangalore (July 03, 2001).  After I had
received answers to my questions about guruparamparai
and svayamAchAryas etc., adiyEn prayed to swami for
blessing us with panchasamskAram.  SrIrangapriya swami
only mentioned that we would be "summoned" on a certain
date, sometime before my return to USA.  Having thanked
AchAryan in anticipation of this memorable event, I
requested some words of wisdom from HH to my wife, who
was grieving over the loss of her grandmother.  It was
rather late in the morning (after Anhikam, SArrumurai)
when swAmi would normally seek bhikSai and perform
sankalpam accordingly.  Inspite of this, adiyongaL were
blessed with almost a half-hour discourse on the spot!

Upon hearing adiyEn's words.. "adiyEnoda pathni pavitra
-ukku than paatti iRandhupOnadhanaal avaL manasile romba
vEdhanai... AchAryan samAdAnam sollamudiyuma, viNNappam",
SrIrangapriya swAmi with eyes closed, immediately went
into silence and meditation.  Almost 5 minutes later, HH
uttered "nArAyaNa, nArAyaNa...", and continued to speak
with eyes shut.  It was an extremely moving upanyAsam,
one that I wish I had recorded or even written down in
excerpts.  From what little adiyEn recollects now, swAmi
stated - "Do not grieve for those that led virtuous lives,
spare your grief for those who squandered their existence
on fleeting pleasures and lived in paapam..." - "The true
nature of SarIra is grief, and the true nature of AthmA
is joy (Anandamaya).  In realizing this AthmA alone, do
we ultimately free ourselves from the travails of SarIra"
- "Everything in samsAra, cit and acit alike is filled
with imperfection and sadness.  In this quagmire, would
we not be fortunate to find something that embodies the
perfect and the good?  That entity is ISwara.  Meditate
upon his arcas, his ponmEni, and his vaibhavam.  Thus
will your knowledge of SarIra and AthmA be fulfilled"

- "Arjuna's son through UttarA; abhimanyu, was ruthlessly
and treacherously killed in war.  And how did bhagavAn
geethAchAryan console the grieved parents?  By imparting
knowledge of the AthmA to them; by educating them about
the origins of abhimanyu (borrowed as a deva-putra for a
specified 16 years only), and thus bringing them to fully
understand the parama-purushArtham." - "Therefore, grieve
not for those departed ones that did you good, did their
community good, and led a virtuous life.  Rather, respect
them by lighting a thiruviLakku in their honor, remember
their thirunakshatram and commemorate it by putting a
garland on their picture, etc. and MOST importantly, by
living your life as an example of what they represented.
SarIrams come and go, but it is our elders' legacy that
we must honor by conducting ourselves accordingly"...This
and much more was said by SrIrangapriya swami, expressing
AchAryan thiruvuLLam in response to adiyEn's request for
words of samAdAnam.  I never found my wife grieving over
her grandmother from then on - and for sure if she were
to "relapse", there is only one place I will take her to:
the AshTAngayoga vignyAnamandira!!

Since we weren't "summoned" at all to go and have our
samASrayaNam by swami (HH had asked us to leave my
parents' phone number with one of the shishyas, so that
we may be contacted accordingly) - adiyEn once again
approached SrIrangapriya mahAdeSikan swAmi a few days
later alongwith my father.  All along, adiyEn had not
thought of becoming a prapannan through bharaNyAsam,
being under the (mistaken) impression that it needed
attainment of very lofty standards and vairagyam.  It
was at a cousin's wedding, that a relative (who is a
disciple of both Dr. N.S. AnantharangAchArya and SrI
rangapriyaswAmi) convinced me NOT to delay this all-
important act of prapatti.  Thus when adiyEn was at
the mandira before SrIrangapriya swAmi two days later,
I requested swAmigaL "adiyOngaL AchArya nishtaiyaala
prapatti mArgatthai adaiyanum enRa prArthikkaROm.."

SrIrangapriya swAmi began meditating, and immediately
uttered "nArAyaNa.." with joy.  For the first time in
adiyEn's miserable life, I saw the reaction of a great
yathi and paramagnyAni when approached by an ordinary
human being with request for bharaNyAsam.  Perhaps it
was swAmi's feeling that I should have prayed also to
become a prapannan, when requesting samASrayaNam the
first time.  Or perhaps it was the relief, that one
baddhajeevan had expressed such inclination.  Maybe
even (in adiyEn's case) - sheer delight on the part
of AchAryan to see a small spark of gnyaanam in an
otherwise useless existence such as mine... I will
never know the answer.  Suffice it to say, that the
very experience of witnessing an AchAryan respond to
one's sincere prayer in an atmosphere of tranquility,
is extremely awe-inspiring - and leaves a permanent
feeling of fulfillment in one's mind.

Thus I was told, that adiyongaL would have samaSrayaNam
and bharaNyAsam on July 13, 2001.  Accordingly, adiyEn
approached SrIrangapriya swAmi a couple of days earlier,
to ask about how to "prepare" for this occasion, what
padArthams/dravyams to bring for homam, etc.  We were 
informed about these (such as rice, ghee, vellam etc.)
and the pertinent dress code (panchakaccham, madisaar),
alongwith the time (8:00 am of that morning).  At that
time, at least half dozen people were scheduled for
panchasamskAram on that day.  The assisting brhaspathi
for the homam was none other than SrI Anantha Rangan,
who performed many of the sacred rites during the recent
thirunakshatram celebrations of prakrtham parakAlaswAmi
in Mysore.  AdiyEn began to eagerly look forward to
the next 48 hours, somewhat of a "countdown" towards
initiation into SrIvaishnavam through the auspices of
SrIrangpriya mahAdeSikan swAmi.

To be continued...

SrIvAsa samyami vareNya niviShta bhAram
SrI rangayogi varadivya krupAtta yogam   |
SrI laXmaNAkhya yativarya krupAtta cinham
rangapriyam mamagurum SaraNam prapadye   ||

adiyEn SrIrangapriya mahAdeSikan thiruvadi,
-Srinath C.

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