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Have you seen your Acharyas lately? - part 2

From: Krishna Kalale (kkalale_at_qualcomm.com)
Date: Mon Jan 20 1997 - 14:48:52 PST

First, I have to thank Dileepan who took interest immediately after my phone
call to write Azhagiasingar's arul mozhi on to the net. Thanks for many
others like Sadagopan, Murlidhar Rangaswamy and others who encouraged me to
write more about my meetings with Acharyas. As I indicated earlier, I did
have a good conversation with Azhagia singar, Andavan, Rangapriya swamy and
several other gurus of mine.

I went to Nangallur to meet Azhagia singar first. I did not even want to
stop at Hayagreeva sannadi first, before really seeing Azhagia singar.  I
thought where will this immobile Lakshmi Hayagreeva run? !! Let me first
meet my acharya who is mobile. I tried to talk to Azhagia singar so many
times but there were just too many devotees who wanted such meetings with
Azhagia singar. I waited in line patiently. H.H. Azhagia singar asked me "
what are you waiting for?".  I said " prashna kala prateekshaha" ( just as a
good student, I am waiting for the right time to ask questions)... H.H.
Azhagiasingar.. smiled...MMMM. You know that vedic etiquette!.. Then
finally, I seized that chance to start a few minutes of conversation,
initially. I asked him one question which probably bothers me more than
many others. I went ahead and asked him that question.

My question:  O Acharya, I feel terrible that I am living in a foreign land
for so long. I am not doing exactly what I should be doing as a srivaishnava
and first as a brahmin. I am not near people who can teach me vedadhyayana
and missing out on so many acharams and niyamams I should be doing. I feel
sort of responsible for even my kids who may not get exposed to the right
shastraic environment to which for some extent I was exposed. When will that
time come when I will live a virtuous life devoid of material pursuits or
hankering for money and sincerely follow a true post-prapatti life?  I dont
care what it takes to get me to that stage of life. Even if it takes a
second "sharanagati" for destroying the sins which are causing this
miserable state of life, please go ahead and bless me with a second
sharanagati for clearing my sins.  (please note: sharanagati for moksha
should be done ONLY ONCE. It cannot be done again. If it is done, both of
them will become null...details on this later).

H.H. Azhagiasingar:

Do not worry about where you live. You may not have full control on that
issue. (adhistanam thattha karta - karanam cha prithak vidham ... 18th
chapter: summary = there are 5 reasons for all successful activities, jeeva
is only one of them. the important one is God). Wherever you are living, to
the extent possible do your daily duties according to your capacity.  But,
you can do certainly better than what you may be doing. Think about the
positive aspects. You can probably do a lot more than many people here. You
can use the technology, organizational skills and set up a society of folks
who constantly care and help nurture religious folks in India who can attend
to shastraic duties like protection of our siddhantam, temples, scriptures
etc.  You will also get benefited by the output and directions given by
folks here. Use all the money and efforts in the right direction to protect
dharma.  But do not in the least have doubts that you are totally lost and
thrown into a moral and religious hell there in USA. 

Bhuvi va divi va mamastu vaasaha
narake va narkantaka prakamam
Avadheerita sharadarvindou
charanam te maranepi chintayami - Kulasekhara alwar

(Whether I am stationed in heaven, earth or in the worst of hells (naraka),
I will remember your Lotus feet (Oh Krishna) even while I am dying.)

This sloka shows that one should have the constant determination that one's
purpose is in developing and constantly practising bhakti towards Lord and
help other devotees in need protect our culture, vedas, shastras. Instead of
having any misgivings, take positive steps to contribute towards these
causes. Life is short for everyone. One should do the best in whatever
capacity one can contribute. Dont have this negative attitude. Not every one
in this world has everything. With whatever assets or capacities one has,
one should put them to full use constantly for the right purpose.

By the way such second or third sharanagatis can be done only for clearing
of sins.. But I would say, just say the thanians of your acharyas and ask
for forgiveness from them and Lord Lakshminrisimha, daily.  Stay away from
any kind of bhagavata apacharas. That is sufficient.

By the way, Krishna, I am feeling tired since I woke up very early. I will
have to write an article to Nrisimhapriya. Please see me later in the afternoon.

Adiyen (I):  Namaskarams;

I prostrated, took Akshatas and left to come back at 3PM in the afternoon.
Even then, number of devotees had swarmed Acharya's quarters.  I waited
patiently in front of acharya, so that he would notice me.  Even this time,
Acharya did not have time. He had to send me away for almost an hour.  

Then later, I sat beside acharya with a determination to wait and talk to
him. He saw me sitting quietly doing japams (instead of whiling away). 

H.H. Azhagia singar:  Krishna Prasad, what are you waiting for?.  

Adiyen (I): I was wondering if acharya can bless me with bhuta suddhi
kramas.  I do aradhanam almost everyday, but I do not know bhuta shuddi
krama and its meaning properly.

H.H. Azhagia singar:  I already finished eating food today. I am not
supposed to do mantra upadesam. can you come some other day? 

Adiyen ( I) : Yes, I can.

H.H. Azhagia singar:  Krishna Prasad, by the way, I have not been able to
talk to you for long. I feel very sorry that you have come all the way from
America and I have not given you much time. You have even ignored spending
time with your parents and grand father, so that you can come and talk to
me. Please forgive me Krishna Prasad...

Adiyen (I):  ( I was almost in tears.... I felt that I am worthless to be
given any importance. This Acharya is asking my forgiveness..!.) I could not
talk anymore.

H.H. Azhagia singar: Krishna prasad, have you had prasadam?  will you stay
for the Hayagreeva Temple book release ceremony?

Adiyen (I) : surely, it will be my pleasure.  

I stayed on.  I talked to many important folks at the ahobila mutt. I found
that they were very ill equipped in terms of computers or any other
communication / accounting devices. All I saw was a bunch of devotees just
interested to serve acharyas and keep up some of our culture which is
breaking down quite fast.  One person was an M.COM (ie. commerce masters
degree holder). He completely renounced secular professional life to serve
H.H. Azhagia singar.  Some of them started their careers in the ahobila mutt
for just about 100Rs a month,a couple of years ago, which is barely enough.
For example, just my autorickshaw bill up and down from mylapore to
nanganallur was 130Rs!!.
The paricharakas do very hard work. They work about 14 to 15 hours a day.
Some of them have been there for 48 years.  One of them who is 67 years old
said, in this old age working 12-15 hours a day is very difficult. What will
I do back in my village? so I am staying here at the ahobila mutt for all
these years serving God.  

I thought to myself.... Well, if I dont get good raises in one company, I
immediately plan to get another job and quit. there goes my devotion to my
company. Very much Unlike these paricharakas who are stead fast serving the
mutt. I did realize that some of the paricharakas really needed money to
survive or to support their families, since Ahobilamutt cannot pay them
enough. I first thought I came to Ahobilamutt to have a religious
experience, not to worry about anyone's financial problems!... Wait a
minute, why did I leave India in the first place? to get more money! these
folks are quite brilliant, but still they are here serving our mutts. They
are toiling all their lives for seeing that aradhanam of Lakshimi Nrisimha
goes on well and so many visiting devotees get fed properly and taken care
of; they are sacrificing their careers, wealth for the protection of our
system.  I felt, the roles have reversed. I am not really a brahmin. These
folks are really brahmins. I am probably a vaishya, sudra or 5th category by
vritti ( occupation) constantly after money and career advancement . It is
my duty to serve, support and contribute to these folks so that our
scriptures, temples etc. are protected.  

....I felt that something has to be done to protect our culture. Other
religions are organized. Everything works on payroll deduction. No asking
for money occurs explicitly or officially. But the priests, churches,
synagogues, religious education etc. all are taken care of and things go on
well. In fact, in jewish families, the first born son is given to the temple
and he is supposed to be dedicated to only religious studies and life.  No
wonder their religion is flourishing. In our cultures, probably we rejoice
after having the first born son, dreaming about designs of how this kid will
bring in good wealth and retirement benefits to us!  We havent been working
hard enough to protect our system of thought. In fact, we start applauding
other systems of thought such as christianity, buddhism etc. and even
probably convert ourselves to their thought, just being awestruck by some
good aspects of them and have a "dont care too much" attitude about our
srivaishnavism which has unlimited religious and philosophical treasure.

2nd day:

I met H.H. Azhagia singar again and asked a few questions. His Holiness
asked me to accompany him in his short trip to Hayagriva temple. I gladly did. 

Question:

Acharya, why dont you come to America for a visit?


H.H. Azhagia singar:

People like us (sanyasis) are trying to raise the standards of others like
you to become more god-ward and shastra-ward.  you are asking me to reverse
the situation and are requesting me to lower my religious standards so as to
meet yours!!

It is against the shastras for a sanyasi like me to leave this country.
Some sanyasis ignore this injunction and go to different countries. I feel
that injunction should not be transgressed.  what do you think? krishna
prasad.. should I come ... even ignoring those injunctions?  (thus he asked
me jokingly).

I related to him the not so good incident of a certain dvaita sanyasi who
came to USA and eventually had to give up sanyasa ashrama;  and, realizing
the detailed daily duties H.H. Azhagiasingar has to do, I suggested to him
that probably it is not a good idea for acharya to visit America or any
foreign land.  It will be very difficult for acharya to keep up his acharams
and vyavaharams etc.  

I told acharya: I will try to come here as many times as possible to visit
you and other religious institutions / learned folks.

H.H. Azhagia singar :  there you are! do that... do visit us often.  come
here for about 10 days at a stretch. I will personally give you upadesham on
number of topics.

Adiyen (I): As you wish... Namaskarams..


(rest in the next part.....)
Krishna Kalale
619-658-5612 (phone)
619-658-2115 (fax)