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Re: dhyAna

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Thu Aug 27 1998 - 11:19:29 PDT

Sri Chandrasekaran wrote:
: This by-rote-feeling and hence action result since we think that
:the japa we are practising is for ourselves. But if we realise that
:it is for the paramESwara only and for His prIthi, then I feel we
:will get serious about this daily vandhanam. Is it for this that 
:during sandhyAvandhanam, we say in sankhalpam as,
:        ".....SrI paramESwara prIthyartham" ?
:
:Pls. forgive me if I am wrong in extrapolating this to this context;
:I never really knew the meaning of the sankhalpam. But I could only
:make out the purport. I request learned members to shed light on the
:meaning of the `sankhalpa' chant.

Thank you for a very informative message. Sankalpa means
"resolve" and is a sentence uttered before the performance
of any Vedic religious rite.  The sankalpa, to a large extent,
expresses the attitude we take as we perform this religious
rite.  The sankalpa uttered by SrI vaishNavas is as follows:

	SrI bhagavad AjnayA, SrIman nArAyaNa prItyartham

                            OR

	SrI bhagavad AjnayA, SrI bhagavat kainkarya rUpam

or some combination of the two.  They all essentially mean
the same thing: the religious rite is performed because it is the
Lord's command, and solely for the service of the Lord, for
His delight.

This means that the act is in no way performed for our own
sake.  Right after doing the sankalpa, the attitude of service
is reinforced by performing what is known as "sAttvika tyAga". [*]
SAttvika tyAga is performed by simply stating that this act
is being performed by Bhagavan Himself, through His "sesha-
bhUta" (servant), for His own purposes, for His delight.
We, the nominal actor, are merely an instrument in His hands.

  [*] It is a matter of some concern for me that many SrI vaishNavas
      are unaware of sAttvika tyAga and of its importance, and 
      consequently do not say or think it during their sandhyAvandanam
      or other rites.  SAttvika tyAga is enjoined by Sri Ramanuja
      himself; it is extremely important and yet is very easy and 
      quick to say.

The sAttvika tyAga and the statement "SrI bhagavad AjnayA"
is what distinguishes the SrI vaishNava sankalpa from that
performed by smArtas (ayyars).  The smArta sankalpa begins
with a request to have one's sins removed by this act,
and concludes that this act is also performed for the delight
of SrI parameSvara, the Highest Lord.  There is then, this
small but significant difference, that in the smArta sankalpa
the individual seeks to remove sins by his act.  To me, this
makes it not entirely God-centered in the same way as the
former sankalpa. 
 
However, I think you have hit upon the central point. 
No matter how it is said in the end, our acts, religious
or otherwise, should be performed as delightful service
of the Lord.

But, though we may think this during the sankalpa, once again,
how many of us really perform the whole act with this attitude?
I am sure this will result after much practice, but I have
confess yet again my inability to maintain this pure attitude
of service through the whole religious rite.

Mani