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A few points about tiru ArAdhanam

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Thu Dec 17 1998 - 11:12:25 PST

Dear Bhaktas,

As I mentioned in a prior post, I am presently learning
how to do the daily worship of the Divya Dampatis. This
daily worship is known in our sampradAya as tiru ArAdhanam.

During my preparation for this month's Dhanur mAsa ArAdhanam,
which, as discussed before, is to be performed in the hour or
two before sunrise (ushA-kAla), several thoughts came to mind
about some of the details of the ArAdhana in general.  

The following is gathered from my acharya, Sri Rangapriya Swami, 
who went through the procedure in kind detail with me, and verified 
by elders in India, and from a few books on ArAdhana krama:

1) ArAdhanam, both external (bAhya) and internal (mAnasika),
   can be done by everyone, irrespective of birth or sex.  
   However, the mantras/prayers used may vary, depending on 
   whether one has Vedic initiation or not. 

2) ArAdhanam can be performed to any form of the Lord -- 
   sAlagrAma, pictorial image, sculpted image, etc. I asked  
   Sri Rangapriya Swami this specific question, because it
   came up on this list earlier. When asked if ArAdhanam 
   could be performed using only pictorial representions, 
   he replied, "Yes; there is no fault in doing that 
   (paNNalaam; oru doSamum illai)."

3) The most important part of the worship, however, is the
   internal (mAnasika), which precedes the external.  In
   the mAnasika ArAdhanam, one takes the Lord in one's mind
   through all the stages of the worship:

      (1) mantrAsana -- prayers, as the Lord awakens from yoga nidra
      (2) snAnAsana  -- bathing the Deity
      (3) alankArAsana -- adorning with flowers, and offering
                           sandal paste, incense, and lamps;
                           doing archana
      (4) bhOjyAsana -- offering of food and the Lord's partaking
                        of it
      (5) punar mantrAsana -- prayers, and possibly music and dance,
                              for the Divine Couple, like post-meal
                              entertainment
      (6) paryankAsana -- requesting the Lord to go back to his
                          yogic sleep (yoga nidra)

   Naturally, time permitting, after mentally performing this
   worship, the devotee elaborately worships the Lord and His Consort 
   externally in this manner.

   Sri Rangapriya Swami's advice is to spend at least five minutes 
   on the internal worship alone, repeatedly saying that this
   is the most important part! 

                        
By the way, the very same procedure is followed in a very detailed
manner in every Sri Vaishnava temple.  For those who do not know
(and I did not until a few months ago), the tIrtha (sacred water)
the temple priest gives you at the temple is simply the water 
used during the worship for the upacAra-s and bathing. 
Similarly, the flowers and tulasi given to worshippers is 
offered during alankArAsanam, and the prasAdam given is offered 
during bhOjyAsanam.

One of the things I discovered is that performing the ArAdhanam 
in its basic form is actually a simple procedure.  I used
to be mystified by all the transferring of water between the
silver cups and the occasional ringing of the bell. But it is
all very simple (I can explain if anyone would like).

I also learnt that there are not that many mantras/slokas used
in the basic ArAdhana.  It doesn't take that long to learn them,
and it is not obligatory to use Vedic mantras. There are many
paasurams from the Prabandham that can be used, and one has
a lot of freedom to use what slokas/paasurams one likes. I can
provide a list of paasurams suggested by Sri Manavaala Maamunigal
if requested.

In short, I urge everyone to learn the ArAdhana in its basic
form.  It can take as little as 10 minutes or as much as an hour
or two.  And it is extremely satisfying!

thirukkacci nambi dhaasan
Mani