You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : December 1997

AchArya Vandanam

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 13:47:00 PST

Dear Members of the Bhakthi Group : 

Sriman Dileepan posted a moving article on 
prakrutham Azhagiya Singar , who is celebrating
his 72 nd birth day in service to Sri Lakshmi Nrusimhan 
today at Bombay .

I would like to add my tribute to Srimadh VEdamArgEdhyAthi 
JnAna VairAgyAnushtAna ParipUrNa paramahamsa 
parivrAjakAchArya Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha PaadhukhA 
sevaka Sri AdhiVaNN SatakOpa Sri NaarAyaNa Yatheendhra 
MahA Desikan . 

Swami Desikan has pointed out that it is impossible 
to pay back in any manner to The AchAryA , who lights
the lamp of knowledge in our minds and banishes 
the nescience and vipareetha JnAnam that occupied 
our mind before . The only service that we can do is 
to praise His kalyANa guNAs and reflect on them 
and to spread the message of the great help that he
gave us ( AchAryam prakAsayEth )  :

yERRi manatthu yezhil jnAna viLakkai iruL anaitthum
mARRinavarkku oru kaimmAru Maayanum kANahillAn 
pORRi uhapathum punthiyil koLvathum pongu puhazh
sARRI vaLarpathum saRRallavO munnam peRRathaRkE 

Swami Desikan states authoritatively that even the Lord 
can not find a proper way to return the gratitude for the AchAryan
who lit the JnAna deepam in our minds and chased away 
the darkness of ajnAnam . To demonstrate this principle of 
the most exalted status of the AchAryan , The Lord Himself has 
taken the role of a disciple at Thirukkurungudi as VaishNava Nambi
and learnt rahasyArthams from Acharya RaamAnujA ; Lord RanganathA
listened to the eedu pravachanam from MaNavALa maamuni 
at Srirangam and blessed that AcharyA with the " Sri SailEsa
dayApathram " taniyan . Sri Sampath Rengarajan discusses in
a forthcoming article in saraNAgathi Journal other instances
where the Lord has taken the role of SishyA to celebrate the 
AchAryA and to point ot us the greatnes of AchArya mahAthmyam . 

Sathyaki Tantram gives us the same message , when it says :
" GurO: Gurutaram naasthi " ( There is nothing  more sacred than 
one's AchAryA ) . Upanishad asserts : " AchArya dEvO Bahva " .
Our reverence for the AchArya paramparai and particularly 
to the present AchAryA , who rendered yeoman service by 
the opening our spiritual eye is worthy of the most 
serious celebration every day in general and particularly 
on his avathAra day . Today is such a day for the sishyALs 
of Ahobila Mutt (Sri Matam ) paramparai . 

Swami Desiakn has started appropriately Sri NyAsa Tilakam
with the salutations to his AchAryAs and the prAchAryAs :

Gurubhyastadhgurubhyuasccha namOvAkamadheemahE I
vruNeemahE cha tathrAdhyou Dampathi JagathAm pathee II

( Meaning ) : We salute our AchAryA many times for  instructing
us on the true meanings of sAsthrAs and for nourishing us with 
the milk of true JnAnam . Afterwards , we salute their AchAryAs 
and the AchArya paramparai ending with the Divya Dampathis .
We salute  the Divya Dampathis as our prathamAchAryAs and
elect them as our means and fruits for our prapatthi . 

In the second slOkam of Sri NyAsa Vimsathi , Sri NigamAntha
Mahaa Desikan gives us the reasons for worshipping the AchAryan
as equivalent to SarvEsvaran . He also states emphatically in
the spirit of Saathyaki Tanthram that no one can ever pay back
the debt of gratitude to one's AchAryA for their mahOpakAram . 
It is for this reason that , Swami Desikan says that we have to
worship our AchAryAs as the Lord Himself ( AchArya : sadhbhi: 
aprathyupakaraNa dhiyA dEvavath upasya: syAth ) . 

In this slOkam of Sri NyAsa Vimsathi , Swami enlists the reasons
for worshipping one's AchArya as SaraNyan Himself . Swami adduces
the reasons for the saamyathvam (equivalence ) between the Lord
and the AchAryA in terms of the help they provide to us :

(1) The Lord destroys the ajnAnam of the chEthanAs ;
The Achaaryan through appropriate and precious instructions
removes the darkness of nescience residing in the minds of 
the sishyAs (AjnAna dhvAntharodhAdh )

(2) The Lord banishes the sins of chEthanAs ; AchAryan also
removes the sins of even MahA Paapis through upadEsams 
and frees them from the accumulated sins (Agha HaraNAdh ) 

(3) The Lord through the upAyam of Prapatthi leads the chEthanAs
to His abode and gives them the opportunity to enjoy the bliss
there in a manner equal to Himself ; AchAryA also makes his 
disciples equal to him through initiation in to AnushtAnam 
and instructions on JnAnam and GuNam (AthmasAmyAvahathvAth)

(4) The Lord blesses prapannAs with Moksham and 
makes them muktha jeevans and thus gives them new life; 
the AchAryan blesses the sishyAs with Tatthva JnAnam 
and changes their birth from that of a human and gives them 
JnAnap piRavi , which destroys the cycles of births and deaths 
( Janma pradhvamsi janma pradha garimatayA ) 

(5) The Lord with His divine and benovolent glances 
enhances the satthva guNam of the chEthanAs and makes 
them ardent pursuers of MOksahm ; The AchAryan out
of his depth of compassion overlooks the dhurguNams of 
any magnitude in those , who approach him and through 
his good instructions lifts them up to reach the supreme
goal in life ( Divya dhrushti prabhAvaath ) 

(6) The Lord's dayA flows without interruption 
independent of the lowliness of the aparAdhi ;
Similarly , the AchAryA's compassion flows in a
limitless manner towards his sishyAs ( Nish-
prathyUha aanrusamsyAth ) independent of their
pUrva samskArams .

(7) The Lord stays as Insatiable nectar always
( aparyApthAmrutha AarAvamudhan ) ; The AchAryan
also stays as the nectar in this piRavi , in Sri VaikuNtam
and in any place and any  time ( niyatha rasathayA )

(8) The Lord stays in a state of relationship with 
the chEthanAs in an indissoluble manner ( uRavu
Ozhikka OzhiyAthu ) ; AchArya also has a similar 
realtionship with his sishyAs because of his supreme
role in opening the spiritual eye of the sishyA (nithya 
sEshithva yOgaath ) .

Thus ,  Swami Desikan gives 8 reasons for us to 
worship our AchAryA as the Lord Himself . Swami 
is known for compling the logical statements
in the hundreds as ThArkika Simham ( satha 
dhUshaNi , PradhAna Sathakam ) .

In prAdhana sathakam , he gives hundred examples 
for our upliftment . Here Swami Desikan focuses on
the items that one , who is desirous of achieving Moksham 
should know without doubt . These subcategories adding
upto hundred upadEsams are :(1)  The PramANams that 
relate to the Lord (2)  the special meanings of the Three 
rahasyAs (3) the svarUpam of saraNAgathi (4) the code of
conduct for PrapannAs -- the things to do and the things to
avoid (5) the ways to prevent apachArams from creeping in 
(6) the ways to compensate for apachArams , if they happen
(7) The methods to engage in Bhagavadh-Bhaagavatha-
AchArya Kaimkaryams (8) Moksha Sukham . Here again , 
the 100 upadEsams are grouped in an octad fashion . 

A clear understanding of the essence of PradhAna 
sathakam will give all of us , what we need to carry 
our heads high , while steeped in Kaimkarya Sree 
and to qualify for the AchAryA's ( the Lord"s ) paramAnugraham .

In pradhAna Sathakam , Swami Desikan adopts the technique
of listing three items and then helps us to pick the supermacy 
among the three he lists asthe most essential to know or perform .

In the section devoted to Bhagavadh-Bhagavatha - AchArya
Kaimkaryams ( items 64-69 ) , Swami Desikan celebrates
the importance of AchAryAs . I will summarize these five items 
related to the uttama sthAnam of one's AchAryA and other items
associated  with the significance of one's AchAryA below :

Item 64 : One should perform kaimkaryam to BhagavathAs .
The PramANams aver that there is no one superior to 
one's AchAryA . Therefore , the kaimkaryam performed
for one's AchAryA in the role of a BhagavathA is far superior
to the kaimkaryams done to mere  BhagavathAs . 

Item 65: Kaimkaryam is of three kinds : The first is Bhagavdh
Kaimkaryam ,  the middle one is the Bhagavatha Kaimkaryam
and the last is AchArya Kaimkaryam . Among the three 
kaimkaryams , AchArya kaimkaryam is the most superior .
If AchArya kaimkaryam mingles with Bhagavatha kaimkaryam , 
then it goes to the front . 

Item 66: If the first ( Bhagavath ) , the middle ( Bhagavatha)
kaimkaryam joins with the last (AchArya ) kaimkaryam, it 
rises to  the top of all Kaimkaryams . 

Item 67: The types of kaimkaryams prescribed for 
BhagavAn , His BhagavathAs and one"s AchArya are 
innumerable . It is not possible to do all the three kinds 
of Kaimkaryam . Therefore , one has to follow the sAsthrEic
injunctions and select those kaimkaryams that are within
one's limits . The most important aspect of performing
kaimkaryam is to engage in kaimkaryams that suit 
the intersts of the receiver of that kaimkaryam . 

Item 68: When one performs these kaimkaryams ,
the performer has to have a pure heart free from ego .
The kaimkaryam has to be done with deep affection 
and conviction and not in a superficial manner 
or for impressing others .

Item 69 : The worldly wisdom is that the kaimkaryams
exceuted by a chEthanA is for gaining  a result (palan ) .
When one performs kaimkaryam with this awareness ,
one gains mental satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment .
In reality , this joy born out of performing kaimkaryam 
is embedded in the joy of the Lord . The vivEki , who 
understands the significance of this truth will be very 
dear to the Lord . 

Item 83 : Among the apachArams to the Lord , 
His BhagavathAs and one's AchAryA , the worst 
is the apachAram to the AchAryA . One can seek 
remedies for the apachArams to the Lord and 
His BhagavathAs , but the Lord does not forgive those , 
who committ  AchAryApachAram . 

Item 84: One of the worst apachArams to one's 
AchAryaa is to forget the mahOpakAram that he did 
to open one's spirtual eye and thus  become ungrateful .

Item 87 : One accumulates sins through following 
acts not prescribed by sAshtrAs . One has to perform
prAyascchittham to ward those sins . Failure to do so
would land us in the worst state. One's AcharyA out
of his infinite mercy intervenes and saves us from 
running such a serious risk and puts us back on the 
royal road to moksham .

Item 89 :  One's parents , teachers belong to 
the class of Gurus. Among them , the one , who
revealed the VedAntha saasthrAs to us is the 
supreme Guru .

Item 90 : There may be many AchAryAs , who 
taught us VedAntha SaasthrArthams . But , the one,
who instructed us in the thre rahasyAs for Moksham or
initiated Prapatthi is the supreme among this class of 
VedAnthAchAryAs . He is VedAnthAchArya Varya: 

Item 92: The kaimkaryam started with the permission 
and blessing of the AchAryan in Bhagavadh SannidhAnam
is the supreme most kaimkaryam . It heads the list .

Item 97 : Among the approaches to develop superior
JnAnam is to offer our salutations to those , who have 
enduring spiritual maturity and understanding of the 
true knowledge taught by AchAryAs . 

It is with these ennobling thoughts of Swami Desikan , 
I conclude my salutations to my AchAryan , AdivaNN
SatakOpa , Sri LakshmI Nrusimha PaadhukhA sevaka
Sri NaarAyaNa yatheendhra MahA Desikan on his 
day of avathAram .

DasOham ,
Oppiliappan Koil VaradaachAri Sadagopan