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SamAshrayanam - part 6

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sun Jan 18 1998 - 12:12:06 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. 

   please pardon adiyen for an error in the "part 5" posting. It was
mentioned as though only the BrAhmana purushAs are allowed to chant
pranavam. It is actually eligible for the men of the first three varnAs.

    In this posting , let us discuss about the last SamskAram . 



   5. Yaj~na (YAgA) SamskAram : 
   ---------------------------

               In this SamskAram , the AchAryA teaches about Bhagavad
ArAdhanA ( Ijyai ). ArAdhanA is the way of worshipping Sriman NArAyanA.
There are basically two forms of ArAdhanA : bahyA  (External)  and
mAnasIkA (Internal). 

      This samskAram is initiated by the AchAryA through Sanskrit verses
whose translation in English is as follows :

   " After Achamanam , wearing OOrdhvapundram , prostrating to the Lord
(Sriman NArAyanA) , sit in a seat. After prAnAyAmam , perform japam with
DhyAna slokAs ( AshtAksharam , etc). Later , worship the Lord Sriman
NArAyanA residing in ones heart ( mAnasIka ArAdhanA). Then with water from
the vessel placed left (of Sriman nArAyanA) , sprinkle water on flowers
and other materials for worship and also vessels for arghyam, pAdyam
etc.From water in arghyA Vessel , sprinkle water on flowers etc (for
worship) and also self "

  " After welcoming the Lord , offer arghyam , pAdyam ,Achamaniam,give
ritualistic bath. Then offer cloth, Yagno Pavitha (sacred thread), Sandal
paste , flower , incense , light , in order. After Achamanam , honey and
Achamanam. Later offer food comprising of pudding, rice , vegetables,
water,  pan-betel etc.After Prostration ,restoring status quo is the
procedure of worship of Vishnu" 

 
    Thus , the sishyA gets the eligibility to perform Bhagavad ArAdhanam (
Ijyai) to Sriman NArAyanA's archA avatAram as 'SALagrAmA'. Since the food
we take should only be the remnants of food offered to Sriman NArAyanA ,
SALagrAma ArAdhanA is very important for a Sri VaishnavA..

 Lord Sri KrishnA in His GIta Upadesam , says that
   " Good people eating the remains of yaj~nAs are released from all
sins.Those sinners who cook food for their own sake eat only sin " (3.13)

     Food is the major source of input to the body. It drastically affects
the proportions of sAtvikkA,rAjasA and tAmasA gunAs in the body.By eating
the food which are devoid of sAtvikA nature , the person drifts away from
spiritualism and his indulgence in materialistic affairs increases.
Further , if the food is not offered to NArAyanA through Bhagavad ArAdhanA
,the person incurs lot of sins . Therefore ,One should perform the
Bhagavad ArAdhana kainkaryam daily without fail .
          

   By performing SALagrAma ArAdhanam , one gets cleansed from many
impurities (seated in mind).The sacred water obtained after the
ablution of SALagrAmA is highly potent. We have to remember that , the
sacred water has had the direct contact with the thirumeni (divine body) 
of Sriman nArAyanA .Thus it makes one charged with sAtvika gunA and thus
cultivates bhagavad bhakti very easily.
   
            
     Ofcourse there are many side - benifits like improvement in health,
intelligence, memory , etc due to the intake of sacred water ( 'PerumAL
theertham'). All these benifits are for aiding the cultivation of bhakti
and shouldn't be seen in a materialistic perspective. The spiritual
benifit obtained is enormous , and can only be felt by the devotee. 


      A true devotee of Sriman NArAyanA however doesn't bother about the
so called scientific explainations for the side-benifits incurred during
any devotional kainkaryA . These explainations are only for those who
doesn't believe in NArAyanA and sAstrAs .For instance , Sri AnnamAchAryA
( disciple of Sri Adivan Sadagopa Yateendra MahAdesikan) and Sri
ThyAgarAjA have sung many songs because of their intense bhakti to the
lotus feet of the most wonderful Lord Sriman NArAyanA. RAgA , tAlA etc are
not planned . These things pour out spontaneously out of their great
devotion. But , to attract some persons, we can tell the greatness of the
rAgA , tAlA , way of composition etc.But, the important aspect is bhakti
towards NArAyanA . If this is  left out , then there is no point in
discussing other things. Eventhough the rAgA,the composition structure etc
are amazing, they simply aid one to create the mood of bhakti involved in
that song.Similarly , we can talk about some petty, so called scientific
explainations behind some devotional  activities .But , the spiritual
reason behind it and spiritual benifit one obtains is beyond the
comprehension of our senses.  

   The archA form of NArAyanA is due to His Soulabhyam ( easy accesibility
to one and all )  & Sowseelyam ( Friendship shown by an exalted one
towards a lowly person without expecting anything in return ). His dayA  
(mercy) for all of us has no bounds.

  Garuda PurAnam says 
        "SAlagrAma shilA yatra devo dwAravathIbhavaha
         vubhyoho sangamo yatra tatra mukthirna samshayaha "

  ie .  Mukthi is assured without doubt in those places where SALagrAma
silai and DwArakA silai coexist (ie.sALagrAma ArAdhanam leads a person to
perform prapatti and makes him lead a life of true prapannan ). The
greatness of sALagrAmA is that Sriman NArAyanA has Himself chosen (
svayam vyaktA) to incarnate in that form ie. it is not consecrated or
installed by others.SAlagrAmA can thus be straightaway worshipped without
any special consecration. 
   

  Eventhough the sALagrAma ArAdhanA is performed by the male members of
the three varnAs , ladies too have important role in that kainkaryam. They
can make nice arrangements in terms of preparing food, gathering & making
fragrant flower garlands , etc.Thus they too derive the same benifits out
of the ArAdhanam. The entire family should assemble together for the
'SAtrumurai', the concluding session of ArAdhanam .

The important aspect in any kainkaryam is that it is purely for the 
pleasure of Sriman NArAyanA . SAstrAs also clearly specify the type of
kainkaryam one has to perform , according to ones varnA & AshramA. So ,
one has to just take up the kainkaryam assigned to him/her & perform with
devotion. This is the spirit behind the kainkaryam & thus one shouldn't
entertain questions like "Why can't I do this ?" , "Why should they only
do that ? " etc. 


      mAnasIkA ArAdhanA has to be performed by all. This is similar to
the bahyA ArAdhanA , but the whole ArAdhanA is done mentally .Pictures of
Sriman NArAyanA in various Divya Desams , plays an important role here .
Irrespective of the caste, place , time or sex , one can perform this
mAnasIka ArAdhanA .

       Sri Sukabrahma maharishi in his nectarian Srimad BhAgavatham says
about the way in which great devotees worship NArAyanA residing within
their hearts ( mAnasIka ArAdhanA ) :

      "These devotees meditate on NArAyanA with His four handsholding the
Conch , ChakrA , GadhA (club) and Lotus. They fix His figure firmly in
their mind. Having fixed His figure firmly , they worship Him with the
courtesies ( as in Bahya ArAdhanA or pUjA ) including serving of food ,
mentally. They conclude the worship with MangalAsAsanam ( MangalArathi)". 
   
   
      If one doesn't remember about the upadesam of the AchAryA as 
regarding the Ijyai and unfortunately couldn't meet the AchAryA , he can
approach another Sri VaishnavA who is spiritually advanced and learn the
practical way of doing the sALagrAma ArAdhanA. 

     This samskAram is very important in many angles. thApa samskAram
makes the sishyA eligible to start performing various kainkaryams to
Sriman NArAyanA . The pundra samskAram makes a person eligible to wear the
dvAdasa OOrdhvapundram ,which is a must while performing kainkaryams like
Bhagavad ArAdhanam. NAma samskAram makes the sishyA get the intimate
relationship with Sriman NArAyanA & Bhagavad RAmAnujA, which is again
important while performing kainkaryams. The mantrAs initiated during the
mantra samskAram are used to please Sriman NArAyanA while performing
kainkaryams like Bhagavad ArAdhanam. So , all the samskArams are
ultimately aimed to make the sishyA perform the kainkaryams like Bhagavad
ArAdhanam properly.


    While doing Bhagavad ArAdhanam to Sriman NArAyanA , one is also 
reminded about the Lord in various Divya Desams , the nectarian anubhavA
of AzhvArs , mercy of our AchAryAs etc.All types of spiritual emotions can
be nicely poured out during the Bhagavad ArAdhanam ,thereby bringing
immense divine ecstacy.This makes one get rid of the sins that propel a
person  to engage in materialistic pleasures and makes him deeply attached
to the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord Sriman NArAyanA. 



   Namo NArAyanA

   Adiyen

   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  


                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu