You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : August 1998

Re: Questions

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sat Aug 15 1998 - 18:44:50 PDT

Dear Sri Srinivasan of Lexmark and Srimathi
ShobhA Srinivasan of Corning :

At 10:30 AM 8/11/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Shobha Srinivasan writes:
>
>> 1. In RAmAyAnA, RAma could not do the last rites of his father,
>Dasharatha.

>>  Hence circumstances forced Him to do last rites to non human such as
>> JatAyu, KabandA etc.
>>
>
>In reference to Mrs. Shoba Srinivasan's questions, I have a couple of mine.
>Personally, I am happy that this question has come up for discussion. About
>a year back, at the Satyan's residence (Denver), following the NAMA
>function, Ms.Nagu Satyan, Ms.Malathi Dileepan and self had a discussion on
>the practices of Acharyas, and other Saints. My question is similar to that
>of Shobha's. When a person renounces the world, or when he dedicates his
>life to serving the Lord (maybe beyond Saranagathi or Prapathi), does
>he/she still carry out the required duties? To make the question more
>clear, if for example, an Acharya's parent attains the Lotus feet of the
>lord, does the Acharya have to perform the last rites? Or, is he not
>expected to, since, he has dedicated his entire life to serving the Lord,
>and guiding his disciples, and is theoretically unattached to the material
>world. In most of the texts that are available today, this aspect is not
>discussed, and hence, I thought I will ask .....

Regarding our AchAryAs , when they enter SanyAsAsramam ,
they perform a very important ceremony called Jeeva SrArdham .
This disconnects them to the dear ones of PurvAsramam 
very clearly and unambigously . In the case of Ahobila Mutt
AchAryAs , they get married to Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan 
in an indissoluble marriage . As a result of performing 
Jeeva Sraardham in public , they assert that they have
no more Bandhus except the most merciful Lord . 
Hence , they do not relate to the passing away of 
their dear ones from the previous asramam 
as GrahasthA or BrahmachAri (H.H. The First Jeeyar). 

In the case of the current PeetAdhipathi of Ahobila Mutt ,
H.H. the Jeeyar , he had a wonderful family resulting from
46 years of happy married life and loving sons . When he
accepted the invitation to enter the SanyAsramam , his 
dear wife said : " I have hardened my heart . Please 
harden your heart as well .May I hear from always 
auspicious news of your service to Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan ".

The husband left his loving home with these words rnging in his
ears and did not even turn back for a parting glance at 
his noble wife . Our AchArya PathnI suffered internally
and in one and half year's time , she entered Parama Padham 
to serve Sri Vaikunta Nathan in the spirit of NammAzhwAr's 
words: "ozhivil kalamellAm udanAi manni vahuvilA adimai " .
When she passed away , It is reasonable toexpect that
our AchAryA felt a twinge of sorrow , but , he went on 
with the service to his Lord ,Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan . 
When AchArya pathni passes away , the sishyAs of the mutt 
however have to take a snAnam as in the case of some one 
in our own family passed away .  

I recall a similar occasion with H.H. The DevanArvilAgam 
Jeeyar ( 43rd Jeeyar ). His mother , brother and wife
were totally opposed to Sri Lakshmi NarasimhAcchAr 
swamy  ( purvAsrama Name of the Jeeyar ) accepting the sanyAsa
aasramam at the behest of H.H. the InjimEttu Jeeyar (42nd Jeeyar).
They would not hear of it , but were helpless 
in stopping him . My father was caught in between 
the then Sri Kaaryam of Ahbila Mutt , who later became the
celebrated  44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt and the family
requesting him to persuade Sri Lakshmi NarasimhAcchAr 
swamy from leaving home . Latter heard the call of 
MaalOlan very clearly and left to answer the call .

Few years later , my father received BaranyAsam 
from the 44th Jeeyar , who commanded my father 
to observe SuddhOpavAsam for two days before he
could bless my father with BahanyAsam . They were 
however very good friends . The 44th Jeeyar and MaalOlan
have blessed our house in Ooppiliappan Koil 
twice . H.H. the Jeeyar preferred to stay at our
home and insisted on it . I have been fortunate to
have been blessed by the 43rd Jeeyar with SamAsrayaNam 
at DevanArviLagam during his sanchAram .

There have been many instances , both at Ahobila Mutt 
and PoundarIkapuram aasramam , where the acceptance of
aasramam ( Aasrama sveekAram ) was delayed by few years
out of respect to a parent's wish to have last rites done for 
them by their son . Once Jeeva Sraarsham is done in the course
of Aasrama SveekaraNam , there will be no way for the parents
or the wife to benefit from last rites and SrArdham .      

>
>With respect to Rama not performing the last rites for Dasaratha, since,
>Rama was not a true biological son, and was  of a divine birth, is it
>actually required of him (for Perumal) to carry out the last rites? I do
>understand that in the absence of a son, the nearest kin has the
>responsibility to carry out the last rites. Are there other instances,
>where a divine birth such as that of Sri.Desikan, had to carry out these
>rituals? Is there a similar instance, during the Krishna avataram?

Sri Ramachandra asked all the citizens of His land 
to recognize Him as a MaanushA ( mere human being ) 
born as the son of DasarathA . Therefore , he acted like 
one . In DasarathA's case BharathA and SatrugnA , who were 
left behind performed the last rites .

In the case of KrishNavathAram , our Lord , who 
is the mUlam for the vedAs sat under the feet of 
an AchAryA and learnt the VedAs as required of
his VarNAsramam .He did not perform any rites
to His parents although Lord KrishNA was a GruhasthA ,
since he ascended to His parama padham before 
the city of DwarakA was taken over by the Ocean 
and taking His "parents" with its gigantic tides .
The parents  entered Jala SamAdhi soon after His
ascent to Sri Vaikuntam at the end of His avatharam .

Hope this helps ,
V.Sadagopan