You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1999

Re: Ashtaaksharam on Thirukkoviloor Gopuram

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Wed Jan 27 1999 - 07:04:04 PST

Dear Sri MadhavakaNNa,

Thanks for you reply. I undertook a nOnbu not to participate in
any public debate untill the mArgazhi thiruppAvai kaimkaryam
is completed. That is the main reason i didnot reply to many
who wrote to me follow ups on thirup pAvai postings. I
apologise to many of the readers as well for not having replied thus.
I want to reply you briefly on the subject of AshtAksharam
and its public utterances. Please view the following as something
related to the issue (whether to chant Sri AshtAksharam in public
or not) and not against you or anyone.
On Jan 27,  3:52am, Madhavakkannan V wrote:

> I fully understand that the book that talks about
> Rahasyathrayasaaram or SillaRai rahasyangaL has to print ahstaaksharam
> and that does not at all make the esoteric manthras less sacred, of
> course.

On the same token, the ad in "Sri Nrusimha priya", the book that prints
achAryAs aruL mozhigal and dissiminate AchAryAs vyAkyAmams including
Srimad Rahasy trya sAram for several years doesnot make the mantra
less scared. In fact it (sri nrusimha priyA) is a forum for those
who are initiated from AchAryAs and it cannot be simply referred when
we are talking about narration of public chanting of a sacred mantram
by a vendor.

> Your comment on that vendor- Whatever he may be- Whatever may be his
> intention, or lifestyle- or sins- or sufferings- he DID stun me with his
> spontaneous prostration on the muddy street, where even dog's shit was
> there.

May be he did stun you for prostration on a muddy road.
He will never stun adiyEn if he has to chant Sri ashtAkshara
mantram on the road loudly, which anyway was the reference
stated in your first mail. It is the view of resepcted seers
that, respect to adiyArs is most required
as per Srivaishnava sidhdAntham and that such
is the first step. But I am taught by elderly bAgwathAs that
if an adiyAr has to cross the limits set
by our AchAryA we are not to take him as an ideal example
whatever humility such adiyAr may express in a public place.
We donot hate them but we identify them as "vEndAr" ie follow
paNNa vENdAthavar because if we ought to follow his example
we ought to stray from  our AchAryAs path. adiyEn would
rather not stray from the AchAryAs path to the best of my ability.

Our 45th jeer expressed in a recent tele upanyAsam that if one will
not have the AChArya and perumAL bhakti and donot follow the teachings
of AchAryAs (including believing that one should not chant
Sri AshtAksharam mantra in public place) they may not be able
to get to the truth of the Lord that easily.
He compared as to how Sri Sanjayan and DihirdarAshtran had the
same AChAryAs ie Sri VyAsar but one had the bAgyam of receiving
the nyAna drishti and the other didnot. This is the same reason
that the vendor who donot follow the teahcings of my
AchAryA (whether he knows my Acharya or not) is not an
ideal example for me.

If i have to pick an exmaple for an adiyAr, I will pick from any of
those kaimkarya pArAL who serve the AchArya day in day out
as the adiyArs and toil in all weather conditions simply to serve
the AchAryA. I Will pick the one who carried the umbrella to
Sri PP Andavan on that scorching sunny day in the month of May
when he has to bear the umbrella and walk barefooted from
Sri DasAvathAra sannithi to his ashram. I watched this
and he stunned me. I thought may be I should volunteer to
do it next time.

In my view whether the vendor received the mantram
from an AchAryA or not he still didnot fit in the norms
of what our AchAryA wanted us to follow as a protocol for
those who are initiated with the holy
mantram. Sillarai rashyam of Sri Poundriha puram Ashram
has abundant examples to relate to these
two contradicting behaviours of one.

Having sought to receive a secret mantram under an AchAryA
one must follow the teachings of the AchArya to the best of one's
ability. I was talking to a bAgwathA recently about following
AchARyAs teachings. According to him, parrotting what we heard from
AchAryAs is nothing wrong and should not be viewed as one is
trying to imitate an AchAryA himself. While those who may
adress something contradictory to their AchAryA may be
the other way. Mixing with emotions (watching one prostrating
in a muddy street) and protocols (looking at the same adiyAr
violating the code prescribed by our AchAryAs that one should
not do this loud chanting of sacred mantrA) may not
do justice to our AchAryAs teachings whatever Ashram or mutt
we may be.

It may be a goivinda nAmam for some, but If we were to refer to
incidents such as this in a debate on Sri AhstAkshara mantram
one can hardly justify chanting AshtAkshram in public places.
Such chanting is vioaltion of the norms as per our poorvAchAryas.

thanks for your patiece.

Best Regards
Sampath Rengarajan