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From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 20:03:46 PST

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
mahadesikaya Nama:

Adiyen had intended to conclude the articles on
Kainkaryam, (based on the Mukunda Mala sloka) with the
fifth instalment. However, a few more thoughts were
inspired by the beautiful postings of Sri
Oppiliappankoil Satakopan Swami of USA, in connection
with the tiruppaNi undertaken at the holiest of
holies, Tooppul, near Kancheepuram. The untiring
efforts of Sri Satakopan Swami and other kindred
spirits to create a corpus fund for the nitya
ArAdhanam of Sri ViLakkoLi Perumal and Sri Desikan at
the latter’s avatAra stthalam appeared to adiyen to be
the best practical exposition of true kainkaryam. 

Kainkaryam to the Lord in His archhA form (as He
appears to us in various temples) has been held to be
service of very high order. There are any number of
examples among Azhwars and Poorvacharyas, who have
made it their life’s mission to perform service in
some form or the other to the Emperuman at a
divyadesam. Sri Periazhwar’s pushpa kainkaryam to Sri
VatapatrasAyee is only too well known, and so is that
of Sri Tondaradippodi. Sri Tiruppanazhwar specialised
in singing the praise of the Lord at Srirangam with
musical instruments. Perhaps the Azhwar responsible
for the maximum service to the arcchAvatAra Emperuman
is Sri Tirumangai Mannan, who even robbed and
plundered ill-gotten wealth for building temple towers
and fortresses for the Lord and to feed His devotees.
Sri Ramanuja’s teerttha kainkaryam for Sri PeraruLALan
is well known, as are his efforts at reforming and
systematising worship and administration at various
divya desams, apart from the construction of a vast
lake at Tondanur. Sri Bhattar was Sri Ranganatha’s own
priest, (Sri RangEsa purOhita:) and performed
innumerable other services at Srirangam. Sri VAtsya
Varadacharya used to perform such intimate kainkaryam
(like serving the Lord milk at just the right
temprature) laced with motherly love towards Sri
Varada, that he earned the sobriquet NadAdUr “ammAL”.
 Sri Nigamanta Desikan’s own kainkaryams are too
numerous to bear recitation. Sri Pillai Lokacharya
gave up his life in the protection of Sri Namperumal,
when Muslims besieged Sri Rangam. Sri AdivanSatakopa
Swami, the founder of Sri Ahobila Mutt, is credited
with several tiruppaNis- the steps from Tirupati to
Tirumala, temple towers at Ahobilam,
Tirunarayanapuram, etc. In the recent past, we have
all been witnesses to the rise of the mammoth
Rajagopuram at SriRangam, which stands a majestic
testimony to the kainkarya ruchi of the great Acharya,
Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra Mahadesikan, 44th Jeer of
Sri Ahobila Mutt. The prakrutam Azhagiasingar too, in
His ten years at the helm of the Mutt, has been
responsible for numerous works at various divyadesams
that have made the institution stand tall. Needless to
add, Acharyas of other lineages have also been major
contributors to various kainkaryas at divyadesams. 
Kings of yore too have deemed it their privilege to
build massive temples to the Almighty with soaring
towers, and to donate entire villages and the income
there from for the maintenance and worship of places
of God. Thus it was deemed as important to build a
temple, as it was to provide for its maintenance and
uninterrupted worship.
 Today, we are faced with a Governmental attitude
towards temples that can at best be termed
indifferent, and at worst, inimical. Examples in this
regard are too numerous to cite, and it has been left
pretty much to the Sri Vaishnavite community to fend
for its temples. Fortunately, the Lord, possibly in
His own self-interest, has provided His devotees with
the wherewithal to fund His worship and maintain His
abodes in good repair.
Why should the Poorvacharyas and Azhwars place so much
emphasis on kainkaryam to the arcchA? 
Says the PAdmOttara Purana-
“ArAdhanAnAm sarvEshAm VishnO: ArAdhanam param”
Of all types of worship, that addressed to the Lord of
the Lords, Sri MahaVishnu, is the best.  Scriptures
lay down that of all types of service, the one deemed
dear to His heart is uninterrupted TiruvArAdhanam at
His abodes.
Hence the daily prArtthanA at every Sri Vaishnavite
home for the uninterrupted flourishing of the bounties
of Sri Ranganatha-
“Sriman, Sri Ranga Sriyam anupadravAm anudinam
Those who have Srimad Ramayana parayanam as a nitya
karma would be familiar with the prayer
“KAvEri vardhatAm kAlE, kAlE varshatu VAsava:
Sri Ranganatha: jayatu, Sri Ranga Sreescha vardhatAm”
(We pray for the Rain God to ensure timely and
adequate showers, for Kaveri to be in full beneficial
flow, and for the fortunes of Sri Rangam to be on the
ascendant, so that Sri RangarAjA could always reign in

What has been said of Sri Rangam applies equally well
to other divyadesams.   Thus it becomes our bounden
duty as Sri Vaishnavites to ensure that His residences
are kept in good repair, that Tiruvaradhanam is
carried on without interruption, and that paucity of
funds never affects kainkaryams of such paramount
importance. We are witness almost daily to the paradox
of ever new and magnificent temples for the Lord
coming up at various places, while His ancient abodes,
hallowed by the mangalasasanam of Azhwars and
Acharyas, lie neglected and in disrepair, with the
Archaka hardly able to feed the Emperuman with a
morsel. It would surely pain us to know that when we
regularly feast on a variety of delicacies, the staple
offering to the Lord in many of the divyadesams is
just “veLLai sAdam”, or plain cooked rice without any
seasoning or side dishes. Should we let the Great
Provider, who has blessed us with all He has (“ tanadu
anaitthum avar tamakku vazhangi”), languish in hunger
and reside in dilapidated, ramshackle structures? It
is not that He needs anything or is particular about
the food being offered to Him. He is satisfied with
even a dried leaf or plain water as an offering
(“patram, pushpam, phalam, tOyam…..tadaham asnAmi”).
But does it behove us, as beneficiaries of His
munificence, to offer Him a dried leaf while we gorge
The Chandilya Smriti is quite categorical about how
the Lord is to be treated- He is to be loved and
waited upon as a chaste wife would upon her beloved
husband, to be cared for as a doting mother looks
after her precious child, to be shown reverence and
respect due by a disciple to his venerated Acharya,
and showered with the affection and regard one
reserves for a close friend. He is to be handled with
as much care as would be bestowed on a sensitive and
temperamental elephant. He is to be treated as a
welcome guest at whose sight we are immensely pleased,
and offered hospitality due to a Crown Prince. Here
are the relative slokas from Chandilya Smriti-
“SatIva priya bhartAram, jananIva stanandhayam
 Acharyam sishyavat mitram mitravat lAlayEt Harim.
YathA yuvAnam RAjAnam yathA cha mada hastinam
 YathA priya atitim yOgyam Bhagavantam tatArchayEt”.

It is indeed shameful that the Lord, who deserves a
royal treatment in every way, lies uncared for in
several divyadesams, with soiled robes, tirumEni that
has seen better times and with a diet (when available)
totally devoid of taste and variety and almost
exclusively consisting of plain cooked rice.

 Such a dismal state of affairs has pained several
right-thinking bhagavatas, who have made it their
life’s mission to ensure that the Provider is Himself
provided for. There has been a silent but sure
renaissance in the Sri Vaishnavite community, and
several mahatmas with kainkarya ruchi have been and
are putting in tireless efforts for the above cause.
We are seeing the Nava Tirupatis,( sung by Sri
Nammazhwar) for long in disrepair, now wearing a new
and rejuvenated look; the Nava Nrisimhas of  Sri
Ahobilam( described  by Sri Tirumangai Mannan as
inaccessible-“chendru kAndarku ariya kOil”) would soon
be boasting of refurbished residences.
 And numerous other kainkaryams are also under way,
one of which is the Tiruppani at the ViLakkoLi Perumal
Sannidhi at Kancheepuram. This deserves the support of
all philanthropic Sri Vaishnavites, more so because
this kshEtram is holier than any other divyadesam,
having given to posterity an Acharya of the calibre of
Swami Desikan, the likes of whom the world has never
seen and never would too.
The importance of Bhagavat Aradhanam is eclipsed by
that of BhAgavata aradhanam, as evidenced by the
second half of the couplet quoted at the outset-
“ArAdhanAnAm sarvEshAm VishnO: ArAdhanam param
  tasmAt parataram prOktam tadIya ArAdhanam param”
Says the PAdmOttara PuranA-Worship of Sri Mahavishnu
is indeed the greatest of all possible worship:
however greater even than that is the worship of His
devotees. The Lord Himself lays down that His devotees
are to be venerated as He Himself is-“tasmAt mad
bhakta bhaktAscha poojaneeyA visEshata:" 

Thus at Thooppul we have the best of both the worlds-
since Sri DeepaprakAsa and Swami Desikan share a
common abode, by ensuring much-needed repairs and
uninterrupted tiruvaradhanam at this divyadesam, we
would reap the benefits of Bhagavat kainkaryam as well
as BhAgavata kainkaryam simultaneously. If only the
Sri Vaishnavites of the world make up their minds, all
divyadesams and all Emperumans would regain their
original splendour and pave the way to a return to the
world of peace and prosperity that once was.
  Adiyen would like to end with an appeal in the words
of Mahakavi Bharati-
 “nidhi migundavar porkuvai tAreer
   nidhi kuraindavar kAsugaL tAreer
   adhuvum atravar vAi chol nalgeer”.

Srimate Sri LakshmiNrisimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya 

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