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SamAshrayanam - Part 2

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (
Date: Tue Jan 13 1998 - 12:23:59 PST

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      
                  Srimate NigamAntha MahAdesikAya Namaha 
                  Srimate  Bhagavad   RAmAnujAya  Namaha      
                    Sriyai Namaha ; SridharAya  Namaha

     Dear  Bhakti Group Members ,
     Namo NArAyanA . kindly accept adiyens pranAmams. 



  Neccessity Of  Spiritual Knowledge :
        Any intelligent person will have queries like "Who am I?" ; "Who
is  God?" ; "What is my duty ?" ; "Why am I suffering through the process
of birth , old age , disease and death ?" ; "What is death ?";"What is the
relationship between myself and God ?";  etc. These are highly important
queries which leads one to know the actual realities.  

    The fact is that ,everyone  is individually a spiritual entity called
jIvAtmA , who is eternally subservient to the Supreme Lord Sriman NArAyanA
. Due to the karmA (good and bad activities) associated with the jIvAtmA ,
it takes varieties of bodies like  that of a bacteria , plant , bird
,animal , human being etc.It is very very rare to get a human body. 

    Once a jivAtmA gets the highly precious human  body , he ('he' refers  
to jIvAtmA eventhough there is no gender associated) has to start knowing
about the actual purpose of life . There may be so many varieties of
knowledge floating around . But he has to pick up the 'sAram'(essence). He
should choose that type of knowledge which will answer all such important
queries as raised above. These fundamental queries are answered by the
spiritual knowledge. 

    Materialistic knowledge (as explained by modern science etc)  finally
doesn't help the jIvAtmA.For instance , a glorified Nobel Laureate  may
take the body of donkey in the next birth.  What is then  the  Credit of
being a Nobel Laureate in his human birth ? The purpose of human birth is
to have the realisation of God ( Sriman NArAyanA). If this human body is
used for other purposes ,then the activities of that person boils down to
eating , sleeping and mating. Ofcourse , this is the way an animal also
spends its life.

   As long as one identifies himself as a body made of flesh and not as
a jIvAtmA , he leads a life of an animal and thereby wastes the most
precious human body. The greatness of Spiritual Knowledge is that it makes
one understand the truth that he is a jIvAtmA, subservient to Sriman
NArAyanA  and not the body housing him . It also gives the processes (
Bhakti YogA and Prapatti ) by which one can terminate the repeated cycles
of birth and death in this material world , and  reach the spiritual
kingdom of Sriman NArAyanA known as "Vaikuntam", thereby attaining
complete bliss.
    One has to start knowing about himself first ,rather than speculating
about matter. Without knowing the answer for the question "Who Am I ?" ,
what is use of studying so many other things ?  Without knowning the
purpose of human life , what is the use of engaging in varieties of 
activities ? So an intelligent seeker of knowledge gets hold of the
spiritual knowledge which is complete in itself and thus understands the
Ultimate knowledge one needs to know.

  Approaching the AchAryA of Sri Vaishnava ParamparA :
   Spiritual Knowledge is something which is far beyond the materialistic
knowledge gained through a study of modern science . It is far beyond the
reach of one's senses. One can't understand these things on his own. Even
for learning materialistic things which are highly evident to our eyes
(senses in general ) ,one has to go to school for years together.This
process of learning from experienced persons goes on and on. Now , What
to speak of Spiritual Knowledge , which deals with the relationship
existing between the three realities namely 
      1. IshwarA (Supreme Lord)  : Sriman NArAyanA (NArAyanA who is
                                                 ever united with Sri )
      2. ChetanAs ( entities with knowledge)     : jivAtmAs       

      3. achetanAs( entities without knowledge)  : Matter , Time, Suddha-  
     Obviously , one has to approach a person who has this type of
knowledge. But so many pose themselves to know this. How to find a
bonafide AchAryA ?

      The answer to this is really simple . The Supremely merciful Lord
Sriman NArAyanA reveals the spiritual knowledge to His most ardent 
devotees.They in turn instruct these things to others. This is called  as
a "ParamparA" .Thus, NArAyanA Himself becomes the first AchAryA and the
knowledge revealed in the paramparA is nothing but what NArAyanA Himself
has revealed. This chain of tradition beginning from Sriman NArAyanA is 
also known as the "SatSampradAyam" .

      The Sri Vaishnava SampradAyam has Lord NArAyanA as the first
AchAryA , followed by His belowed consort 'Sri' ( MahALakshmi ), Sri
Vishvaksenar ( Commander in chief of Sri Vaikuntam ) , Saint
ShatagopA (NammAzhvAr) , Sri NAthamuni , Sri PundarIkAkshA ( UyyakkondAr )
, Sri RAmamishrA ( ManakkAl Nambi ) , Sri YAmunAchAryA , Sri Ghoshti PUrnA
( Peria Nambi ) , Sri Bhagavad RAmAnujA, and so on down to  our present

     The current AchAryA of the illustrious Ahobila Mutt  is Sri Lakshmi  
Nrusimha Divya pAduka Sevaka Srivan Shatagopa Sri NArAyana Yateendra
MahAdesikan.  Ahobila Mutt was founded by the Supreme Lord Lakshmi
Nrusimhan Himself , by initiating a twenty year old genius and supremely
devout brahmachAri named kidAmbi SrinivAsAchAryA of Melkotte .He is well
known as Sri Adivan Shatagopa Yateendra MahAdesikan .

The knowledge coming through the SriVaishnava SampradAyam (SatSampradAyam)
is thus faultless. So, ONLY the AchAryA belonging to the SatSampradAyam is
bonafide. Such an AchAryA is called as a "sadAchAryA" ( Ideal Preceptor). 
He will be well versed in the spiritual knowledge delineated by Sanskrit
VedAs (including Upanishads ), Tamil VedAs (Divya Prabandham by AzhvArs) ,
Rahasya TrayA ,Brahma SutrAs , Smrithis , IthihAsAs ( RAmAyanam and
MahAbhAratham), SAthvIka PurAnAs (like Vishnu purAnam , Srimad BhAgavatham
), PAncharAtrA & VaikhAnasa AgamAs.  

    The supreme Lord Sriman NArAyanA , in His wonderful avatAram as Sri
KrishnA , instructs everyone to approach the sadAchAryA. In His GIta
Upadesam , Sri KrishnA says "Learn the spiritual knowledge by prostrating
, by questioning and by service to Wise men (sadAchAryAs) , who sees the
truth .They (sadAchAryAs) will teach it to you " (4.34). 

   Thus the person desirous of becoming linked to the Sri Vaishnava
SampradAyam, approaches the SadAchAryA with  great humility.One
cannot attain a sadAchAryA easily . The reasons behind the acquisition of
a sadAchAryA are :
  i.  Sriman NArAyanA's benevolence .
 ii.  Merit acquired accidentally.
iii.  Grace of Sriman NArAyanA .
 iv.  No aversion towards Sriman NArAyanA.
  v.  Listened to the anectodes of NArAyanA ( Stories about avatArams of
      NArAyanA like NrusimhA,RAmA and KrishnA etc) and eagerness to learn.
 vi.  Conversed with devotees of NArAyanA.


  So, one should be highly fortunate  to attain a sadAchAryA .AchAryA (
Henceforth used to refer sadAchAryA ) has every right to test that  
person ,even for many years, before he can be initiated by him. Thus,
SamAshrayanam is a  result of great mercy from the part of our
AchAryAs.Only the highly fortunate souls gets this rarest oppurtunity
of getting initiated ( SamAshrayanam )  and thereby become a "Sri
VaishnavA" . 

   Namo NArAyanA


   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  

                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu