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Upakarma

RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Fri Aug 15 1997 - 11:15:49 PDT

Dear Friends,

Bhagavan NarayaNa Abimathanuroopa Swaroopa roopa GuNa Vibhavaishwarya 
Sheeladyana 
madhikatishaya Asankheya KalyaNa GuNa GaNAm Padma VanAlayAm BhagavatIm 
Shriyam DevIm NityAnupAyineem NiravadyAm Deva Deva Divya Mahisheem Akhila 
Jagan Mataram Asman Mataram AsharaNya SharaNyAm Ananya SharaNa: SharaNamaham 
PrapadyE.

On this day of Varalakshmi Vratham commonly celebrated in Karnataka and 
Andhra Pradesh, I offer prayers to Mahalakshmi Thayar through the opening 
salutation of Sri Ramanujacharya's SharaNagati Gadyam to bless all the 
members of our group with lasting health, wealth, prosperity and Sakala Vidha 
Siddhi. Today marks the 151st Tirunakshatram of Sri ViNNaRRangarai Srinivasa 
Mahadesikan, the founding father of Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam. A grand 
celebration of this occassion was meticulously planned with great attention 
to details by H.H. Sri Gopala Mahadesikan Swamigal, the present Pontiff of 
the Ashramam. On behalf of the Ashramam, I take this opportunity to thank all 
the members of our group, who contributed to this project.

I would also like to thank Srimans Sadagopan and Vijay Srinivasan for their 
informative summaries covering various aspects of Upakarama. Sri Sadagopan 
correctly pointed out that Gayathri Japam for those belonging to Sama Shaka 
is not on the day following Upakarma. Instead Gayathri Japam is done by Sama 
Vedis on the Prathamai following Sravana PowrNami of Bhadrapada Masam. As an 
interesting aside, it is quite rare to find Sri VaishNavas belonging to Sama 
Shaka. Most of the Sama Veda Sri Vaishnavas I have come across belong to 
Bharadwaja Gotram. Among the Azhwars, Madhura Kavi Azhwar was a Brahmin 
belonging to the Sama Shaka. As a result, it is no surprise that 
Nammazhwar's outpourings, 
which came about as a result of Madhurakavi Azhwar's probing questions, 
contain the essence of the Sama Vedam. There are 1000 Shakas pertaining to the 
Sama Vedam. Not all of them are currently available. Koutima style of 
Sama Ganam rendition is the most popular among those trained in Sama Vedam. 
Sama Ganam establishes the role of the seven swaras of music in Vedam. 
Raivata Saman glorifies Lord Ranganatha, whose TN is Panguni Revati. 
Sama Veda Upakarma falls on Hasta Nakshatram of Bhadrapada Masam, which 
happens to be Sept.5 this year. Interestingly, this is also the TN of H.H. 
the 44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Matham. Kozhakattai is part of the Sama Veda 
Upakarma menu in addition to Idly and Appam.

Namo Narayana,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy