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Re: neo-Sadhus

From: Ram Anbil (
Date: Tue Jul 03 2001 - 12:38:17 PDT

Dear Sri Pradeep and friends:
As an addendum to the excellent guidelines of Sri Mnai, I reproduce below 
the concluding paragraph of my book "Oh! My God!" now being serialized in 
"sri Kanchi Perarulalan" religious monthly in India.

Also, reproduced are a few lines from my article on Srimad Andavan of 
Poundarikapuram Swami Ashramam on the occasion of his recently concluded 
Sathabishekam celebrations.

I hope these will help in your quest for a true and reliable Acharya.
Anbil Ramaswamy
>From "Oh! My God!"

" The acid test of real spiritual leaders is that they never project 
themselves as 'somebody', never show off their powers of Siddhis, never 
indulge in magic, never seek after disciples and never presume to 
indoctrinate others. They withdraw into seclusion, practice their Dharmic 
duties unostentatiously in humble dedication to God, shun publicity and are 
content to be inconspicuous, selective in choosing only deserving students 
who would follow their own code of conduct before imparting to them the 
eternal truths. They have to be 'searched for and sought after' than their 
'searching, scanning and scheming'. They do not hanker after name or fame, 
are prepared to pass into oblivion 'Unsung. Un-honoured, Unwept' by the mere 
mortals because their minds and vision are truly fixated on the 
transcendental reality".

>From the article mentioned above:
"Srimad Andavan of Poundarikapuram Swami Ashramam answers precisely to the 
above description:
* To this day, in the matter of discipline, he is absolutely and
uncompromisingly strict on himself and those who approach him.
* To this day, he has lived almost always in Srirangam.
* To this day, he had never sought after name or fame.
* To this day, he never went out soliciting Sishyas.
* To this day, he has never failed to impart true knowledge to genuine 
seekers who seek his advice.
* To this day, he has lived in seclusion SILENTLY meditating on
the Lord.
* He is blind to others' faults; deaf to scandals; mute in the sense
of avoiding vain talk.

Living in the 21st century, he still upholds the old-world values.
Strict on himself, he is practical enough to understand the
predicament of common folk like us. He offers sensible and really
"sage" advice on the appropriate "modus operandi" to reconcile the
great time-divide and space-divide to prove how even in the so
called present circumstances and the much touted modern day
compulsions, one can and should practice Srivaishnavam.

He is the one who can advise exactly where "relaxation ends and
where repugnance starts" in observing "anushTAnams" for us (who seek
to excuse ourselves on grounds of being away from our mainland and away from 
the values of yore).Thus, the words "Muni" and "Guru" just fit him well.

He is the Senior most of all Prakritam yathivaras of Bhagavad
RamAnuja-Swami Desika SathsampradAyam both in point of age and
assumption of the ascetic order (Ashrama sweekaraNam), which latter
is the criterion for determining the seniority among them. He is not
only a fitting successor to the glorious lineage of the
PounDarikapuram Ashramam but also a role model for all other
yathivaras, in the matter of his superb "AtmaguNas".

No wonder, he is hailed verily as  "VasishTa" among them and held
in very high esteem by all. The fact that all yathivaras of our
SathsampradAyam are congregating to celebrate his SathAbhishEkam
"speaks" volumes about this "silent" MunisrEshTa.

You will remember that a while ago, I had mentioned about the glory
of "Naitrava KAsyapa" GOtram and how the word "MADabhoosi", became a
variant form of "MAtrubhooshaNam" which the famed "Naitrava KAsyapa"
Rishi was. Every GOtram has its own unique glory.

I have heard in Kalakshepams that the uniqueness of `VAdoola GOtram"
is that those belonging to it are such `Viraktas" that they never ask
for any favors, much less any  pecuniary favors from anyone, however
dire their circumstances may be. Their palm when outstretched is
always "down-facing" (signifying giving) and never "up-facing"
(signifying receiving). This mahAn belongs to this "VAdoola GOtram".

He never asks for anything either for himself or even for any
kainkaryams he undertakes or even for running the Ashramam. If
Sishyas or AbhimAnis offer any genuine and voluntary help, he accepts
them only after making sure of the intention behind the offer and accepts it 
regarding it as "Bhagavad anugraham". His rectitude can be seen in how 
personally and scrupulously he monitors that assistance
received in this manner is spent precisely for the purpose for which
it is received from the donors".

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