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rangapriyam mamagurum SaraNam prapadye-IV

From: Srinath Chakravarty (xsrinath_at_ti.com)
Date: Thu Aug 16 2001 - 19:06:50 PDT

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

Dear bhaktas:

Srirangapriya swAmi's vaatsalyam is immense.
Inappropriate as it is for shishyas to ask questions
about the poorvASrama of a yathivarar, adiyEn with
extreme alpabuddhi chose to send such questions in
writing to asmadAchAryan - but swAmi never did rebuke
or turn down the request.  In the manner of a parent
whose interest is not in disappointing the child, but
in teaching it discipline while fulfilling its desires
- swAmi patiently answered all questions in writing,
and had my parents transmit those to me via email.
Thus a small amount of alpabuddhi within me has been
dispelled - having learnt the impropriety of seeking
information about a yathi's poorvaSrama, and putting
one's (reluctant) parents in a situation of receiving
answers to such questions on one's behalf.

Thus is our samsaara, the realm of "accidental" truths
and occasional stumbles into the path of satsampradayam.
For, adiyEn is rendered wealthier in knowledge not by
the answers to those questions, but in the process of
learning about them.  It is now adiyEn's firm belief,
that SrIrangapriya swAmi as an AchAryan of SriRamanuja
sampradayam, represents many swayamAchArya, maTha, and
ASrama paramparais therein - all of which have showered
asheervaadams on this mahAn.  Shishyas and abhimaanis
of SrIrangapriya swAmi should take great pride therefore,
in their association with such satsampradayams through
this AchAryan.  Where adiyOngaL are concerned, we were
extremely fortunate to have samASrayaNam and prapatti at
the feet of SriRangapriya swAmi... especially me, about
whom the less that is said the better!!

Our day began early on July 13, 2001 (aaNi revathi) -
since we had to be present at the AStAngayoga vignyAna
mandira at 8:00 am; early - mindful of the fact that
I had only recently become a little proficient with the
panchakaccham, and because my wife - being over 5 ft
10 inches tall, *had* to wear the whole ombOdhugajam.
This was a small crisis in itself; my mother being
short enough to manage madisaar with a 6 yard saree -
was out of practice on *real* ombOdhugajam procedure.
One Mrs. Ramaswami was contacted in the neighborhood;
maami helped Pavitra with ombOdhugajam and we managed
to reach the mandira on time.  We were accompanied by
my father.  There were supposedly a total of 6 people
having samASrayaNam from rangapriyaswAmi on that day,
but the other four were unable to make it for various
reasons.  Since it was just the two of us, the whole
experience became unique and made for a much deeper
involvement in this great tradition.

It is not clear to adiyEn, whether SriRangapriya swAmi
had already completed Anhikam, or whether it was done
after our samASrayaNam that morning (since yaagaH is
one of the panchasamskaras performed by AchAryan on our
behalf); nevertheless we were given panchagavyam and
promptly seated in a small room adjoining the corridor.
Four other shishyas and kainkaryaparars joined us, and
swAmi spoke about the meaning of panchasamskAra, about
Srivaishnava traditions, about guruparamparais, etc.
The meanings of taapaH, puNdram, daasanaama, mantraH,
and yaagaH were explained in detail, and adiyOngaL were
asked to repeat the sequence of words exactly as in the
original samskrit.  It was a great learning experience
- coupled with the anticipation of becoming (in the next
few minutes) initiated into SriVaishnavam.  Sri Anantha
Rangan, who performed many of the important rites during
the recent prakrtham parakAlaswAmi thirunakshatram, then
arrived and took swAmi's permission to commence homam.

It was adiyOngaL's great bhAgyam to have Sri Anantarangan
as the brhaspathi for these panchasamskAra rituals.  At
this time, SrIrangapriya swAmi left the hall and entered
the uLsannidhi of perumAL SrikOdhanda raamar.  One shishya
asked us to follow, stating that AchAryan would perform
our bharaNyAsam.  In the uLsannidhi of perumAL, swAmi
had the doors closed, and we began our SaraNaagati.  First
it was AchAryan who uttered a prayer and repeatedly did
sEvippu to perumAL; adiyOngaL followed accordingly.  We
were then asked to repeat in chaste Tamil (cannot recall
the exact words and I suspect they shouldn't be either!!)
- that we have mahAvishvaasam in perumAL, that we have no
recourse/ability towards other means of moksham, that we
resolve to please perumAL and have single-minded devotion.
So we promised the anukoolya sankalpam and pratikoolya
varjanam as directed by AchAryan.  Having thus resolved
to tread prapatti-maargam, we were told to be still and
meditate for a few moments on the nArAyaNa Sabdam itself.
So it was prapatti, even before samASrayaNam!

adiyOngaL then prostrated before perumAL and AchAryan, and
expressed deep gratitude for having had bharaNyAsam through
AchAryaniSTai, at the feet of SriRangapriya swAmi.  Outside
the uLsannidhi was a large yagnyakundam, where Sri Anantha
rangan had begun heating the Sankha-chakra mudrais within
its flames.  First, we both sat down at the yaagashaala and
did sankalpam; then did sEvippu to AchAryan.  We were then
summoned to sit closely in front of swAmi, while the taapa
mudrais steamed on!  Sri Anantha Rangan told us how we were
to extend our arms, etc. so that the mudrais would be well
placed.  We then faced SriRangapriya swAmi, who instructed
us to continuously chant the name(s) of perumAL during this
important taapasamskaaram.  Then swAmi administered the
taapamudrais, first chakram and then Sanku.  For once, my
wife was extremely happy to be second in line!!  During
these precious few moments adiyEn thought only of swAmi's
words from the upanyAsam earlier, where the significance 
of taapasamskaaram was explained in such great detail, that
this taapam ensured samASrayaNam for the body, while it is
bharaNyAsam - which is the samASrayaNam for the aathmA.
And all along, adiyEn uttered the thirunaamam of perumAL
while these sacred seals were embossed on our arms.

Sri Anantharangan then asked us to stand up; instructed
me on the sequence of dwaadaSa oordhvapuNdram and applied
the thirumaN/srichoornam accordingly.  We were then told
to speak out our names as "Sreenaatha daasan", "Pavitraa
daasi", and Sri Anantha Rangan made us recite the sannidhi
and samASrayaNa paramparai thaniyans for rangapriya swami.
After this, AchAryan gave us upadESam of the aStAkSara,
dvaya and charamaSloka mantrams.  A small book (in Kannada
script) containing all the sannidhi/samASrayana/bharaNyAsa
thaniyans, and dhyAnaslokas + aStAkSara/dvaya/charamasloka
mantrams was given to us.  Since then, adiyEn has begun
learning to read Kannada with reasonable success (to the
extent of being able to recite these thaniyans/mantrams).
SriRangapriya swAmi then reiterated the fact (as explained
in upanyAsam also) that the final samskAra - "yaagaH", is
none other than thiruvAradhanai to perumAL, where a bhakta
actually performs a yagnyam symbolised by the various
rituals of ArAdhanam.  This being fairly elaborate (for
initiates such as adiyEn) - would as a first, be performed
by AchAryan on our behalf on this day - swAmi explained.

By this time my mother had arrived at AshTAngayoga vignyAna
mandira; pleased to see her second son and daughterinlaw
have samASrayaNam and bharaNyAsam through the auspices of
SrIrangapriya mahAdeSikan, just as my brother and sister-
inlaw did two years ago.  We offered our sambhAvanai to
AchAryan and to Sri Anantharangan, and did sEvippu.  Some
prasAdam was offered to all devotees present (by this time
the attendance at the mandira had grown, since it was about
10:00 am in the morning).  AchAryan reminded me, that I was
supposed to return there whenever possible, during the
remainder of my stay in Bangalore.  adiyEn promised, and
said that I would also ensure that I sought Sri Rangapriya
swAmi's blessings just before leaving India.  Having thus
crossed an important milestone in our bhooloka existence,
we returned home with HH's permission.

To be CONCLUDED...

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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