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SamAshrayanam - part 5

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Fri Jan 16 1998 - 14:55:49 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. 

  Let us discuss about nAma samskAram & Mantra samskAram in this posting.  

  3. NAma SamskAram  : 
  --------------------
 
         The AchAryA adds the name 'DAsA' at the end of the disciples name
, to indicate that he is forever the servant of Lord Sriman NArAyanA and 
Bhagavad RAmAnujA. He becomes a 'RAmAnuja dAsan'.This is highly important.   

        Eventhough Sri Vaishnavam is eternal , it was Bhagavad RAmAnujA
who propagated it with intensity and fervour ,out of his great compassion
for all the living entities. He was a supreme devotee of Sriman NArAyanA
and an intellectual genius. He gave the true imports of Brahma SUtrAs and
established the eternal truth vouchsafed in the Upanishads . He made
everyone understand that NArAyanA , the consort of 'Sri' is the Supreme
Lord , who has all the sentient beings and insentient things as His body
(ie. NArAyanA is supporter & controller of everything and everything
exists  for His pleasure ).  

      He gave the secret doctrine of 'prapatti' ( self -surrender ) to the
whole world. PRAPATTI IS THE ONLY WAY IN THIS KALI YUGA BY WHICH  ONE CAN
REACH SRI VAIKUNTAM (MOKSHAM). Thus ,it was Bhagavad RAmAnujA who opened
the gates of Sri Vaikuntam for anyone , irrespective of caste , creed or
sex. The greatness of Bhagavad RAmAnujA cannot be expressed in mere
words.


      Since he was the one who redeemed the whole suffering humanity by
propagating the eternal truth and the ultimate good to everyone , Lord
RanganAthA residing at SriRangam  became so moved that , the Supreme Lord
placed at the disposal of RAmAnujAchAryA  , all His possessions -
LIlAvibhUti ( Material World ) and Nitya-VibhUti (Spiritual World ie. Sri
Vaikuntam ) - including Himself.In commemoration of that act , Lord
RanganAthA conferred upon  Bhagavad RAmAnujA the name of 'Udayavar'(
Possesor or Master ) ,to signify that he was thenceforth the Master of
All. Thus , to enter the Spiritual Abode of Sriman NArAyanA , the link
with ' Udayavar '( Sri RAmAnujA ) becomes a vital and important criterion. 

  
      The sishyA should always identify himself through this 'dAsa ' nAmA
. Whenever he speaks to other bhAgavathAs he should have the servitude
attitude which in one way can be cultivated by remembering his 'dAsa '
nAmA. 



 4. Mantra SamskAram : 
 ---------------------

             Eventhough all the five samskArams are highly important ,
Mantra SamskAram is the most important amongst them. The Rahasya traya ( 3
secrets) mantrAs are initiated to the sishyA .They are the AshtAksharam ,
Dvayam and the Charama slokam . These are the TOPMOST ESSENCE OF ALL THE
KNOWLEDGE .They are highly potent and have deep  philosophical meanings.
These are secrets and are highly precious . These are to be learnt from
the AchAryA only. The sishyAs at any cost CANNOT tell these mantrAs
(AshtAksharam and dvayam)  to others , who haven't had samAshrayanam. Only
the AchAryA who is eligible to perform samAshrayanam to  others is
entitled to initiate the sishyAs with these  mantrAs. 

     One should be VERY VERY FORTUNATE to receive these mantrAs. The
glories of these mantrAs have no bounds.


The potency of the mantrAs work only when it is obtained from the AchAryA
( paramparA). This is because , without getting the link to the paramparA
, which is started by Sriman NArAyanA ,one cannot obtain the benifits  of
the mantrA ; rather it may lead to negative results also.PAdma purAnA says
that " sampradAya - vihInA ye mantrAs te niShphalA matAhA" ie. "Unless
mantrAs are initiated (by the AchAryA) through the sampradAyA , it has no
effect ". Anyone who wants to become the devotee of NArAyanA must get linked
with the ParamparA . Sriman NArAyanA Himself has clearly laid out that the
paramparA is the way through which one should approach Him .

    AshtAksharam (also known as Moola Mantra , Thiru Mantra) is extolled
by great people like AzhwArs and Rishis . This mantra originated from Lord
BadriNArAyanA of BadrinAth , chanted in Gayathri Chandas and is addressed
to Sriman NArAyanA . Since this mantra is initiated by the Lord
NArAyanA Himself , this is highly sacred.Infact NArAyanA initiated this
AshtAksharam to Thirumangai AzhwAr also.This same AshtAksharam was
initiated to pundarIkA and PrahlAdA by sage NAradA.Yogis practising Bhakti
YogA , who were ever immersed in seeing the wonderful form of Sriman
NArAyanA,used this secret AshtAkshara mantram as the key to their success
of God-Realisation (ie. realising NArAyanA). 

    AshtAkshara japam MUST be performed daily.  AshtAkshara japam gives
ALL BENIFITS that one can derive from different mantrAs. More importantly
, it facilitates the bondage between the person performing the japam and
Sriman NArAyanA for SaranAgati (Prapatti). 


   This highly sacred mantra has pranavam(combination of A,U and M)  in
the beginning.Vedic Scriptures strictly restrict the usage of pranavam.
Only BrAhmana purushAs (men) are allowed to recite it . This pranavam
cannot be used according to ones whims and fancy. Whenever it is referred
in general public, it has to be addressed as pranavam only.One doesn't
have the right to say  this pranavam as a combination of A,U and M ,in
public ( unless it is a part of the recitation of VedAs for a particular
ceremony etc). But, the same effect of AshtAksharam can be obtained by
others by reciting 'um' instead of pranavam. 

   
Everyone can infact  chant 'Namo NArAyanA' aloud in public ( without even  
undergoing Pancha SamskAram ) .Its a humble request to all the bhAgavathAs
,  that the chanting of 'Namo NArAyanA' be propagated allover the world .
This is the real medicine  for the suffering of all the living entities
swirling in the whirlpool of SamsArA .Since this has no restriction ,
anyone can be made to chant this and the soul can be saved. Propagation of
the Holy Names of NArAyanA ( esp."Namo NArAyanA" ) is the best service for
the whole society , irrespective of caste , creed , sex etc. The Holy Name
will then make all the necessary  arrangements for the spiritual 
upliftment of others. 

     
  Dvaya Mantram consists of two lines.It is eulogised as the 'Mantra
RatnA' ( Gem/Jewel amongst all the MantrAs). This helps one to perform
SaranAgati unto Sriman NArAyanA. Once this mantrA is initiated by
the AchAryA, it should be recited constantly within ourselves . 
It can be recited by the sishyA without bothering about time ,  
place etc. Infact Dvayam should be dancing in the lips of all the
SriVaishnavAs all the time. It is infact an INSTRUCTION from
BhagavAn RAMANUJA that Dvayam should be chanted for maximum time possible.

 Charama slokam is the famous 'Sarva DharmAn ....." sloka of Srimad
Bhagavad GitA. It is  a  secret because of its invaluable hidden truth.
Sriman NArAyanA during His Krishna AvatArA did the Gita UpadesA to all
the people through ArjunA. Since Bhakti YogA was highly difficult even for
ArjunA , KrishnA out of His Mercy asked him ( all the people) to perform
'Prapatti' , as a means of God-Realisation .

      
  Bhakti YogA is the CONSTANT meditation (without any break; as constant
as the flow of an unbroken stream of oil from the hole in the bottom 
of a vessel filled with oil ) with unsurpassed love , on the essential
nature (svarUpA) , qualities (kalyAna gunAs) and form (divya mangala
vigrahA) of Sriman nArAyanA , by the aid of any one of the 32 vidyAs
prescribed in the Upanishads.Such constant meditation is obviously
difficult for the kali - yugA people. That is why nArAyanA in His Krishna
avatArA pointed out the presence of another means of attaining salvation
(prapatti) in the  Upanishads.



 Bhakti is very much different from Bhakti YogA. A SriVaishnavA should
certainly have Bhakti in the sense of reciting VedAs,Divya Prabandhams,
Nama Sankeertanams, StotrAs etc. And all these things are to be carried
out as a kainkaryam (service) to the Divya Dampati with the understanding
that it is the ocean of dayA of Sriman NArAyanA that was responsible for
him to be selected as an instrument in performing the kainkaryam ie.
Sriman NArAyanA is the actual doer .These services should be done for
Lords pleasure and the fruits of these services are to be submitted to
nArAyanA .Also one should  do the duties (like SandhyA Vandanam , Bhagavad
ArAdhanam etc) according to his varnA and AshramA , in the same spirit of
kainkaryam to the Divya Dampati (Divine Couple) as mentioned above.
 
      
    Regular recital of these mantrAs are highly essential and a Sri
VaishnavA  should be immersed in these mantras and its meanings .


   Namo NArAyanA

   Adiyen

   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  


                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu