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swAmi deSikan - founder of SrI parakAla maTham

From: Srinath Chakravarty (xsrinath_at_ti.com)
Date: Wed Jul 25 2001 - 12:07:37 PDT

SrI laXmIhayagrIva parabraHmaNe namaH
SrI braHmatantra swatantra guru paramparAyai namaH

Dear bhaktas:

On thursday, July 19 (Adi thiruvAdhirai) - the eve of
the 118th. thirunakshatram of the 33rd AchAryan Srimad
Abhinava RanganAtha brahmatantra parakAladeSikan, my
parents alongwith my wife and I spent several hours at
Sri Parakala matham in Mysore, Karnataka.

AdiyOngaL had the paramabhAgyam of witnessing ahnihkam
and sARRumurai for Sri laxmihayagriva archai within Sri
parakalamatham's uLsannidhi, where the swarna vigraham
that udayavar received from SAradAdevi, and which passed
down through AchAryaparamparai from swAmideSikan all the
way to prakritam parakalaswami - shone resplendent with
pushpa alankAram and invaluable AbharaNams....

Interspersed between sARRumurai and desikamangaLASAsanam
were sonorous chants of mummaNikkOvai and navamaNimAlai,
two of swAmideSikan's masterpieces in Tamil.  SrIkAryam
swAmi SrI vEnkatanAthan (who is the grandson of the 33rd
Srimad Abhinava RanganAtha parakAlaswami from pUrvASrama)
arrived during this time, and playfully punched one of
the senior adhyApakars in the ghoSTi...

Interestingly, adiyEn observed a young disciple of kAnchi
SrI vAdakEsari jeeyar among the ghoSTi; this bhAgavata
hails from mElkOte, and is dutifully performing kainkaryam
and undergoing sampradayic studies at the Mysore matham -
in keeping with his mother's wishes.  It is certainly a
tribute to the true spirit of SrIvaishNavam prevalent in
parakAlamatham, that a bhAgavata from thenn sampradAyam
leads the ghoSTi at times (such as during the recitation
of thiruvAymozhi translated into Sanskrit!!), and also
participates in deSikar sARRumurai + mangaLASAsanam. 

Srimad abhinava vAgIsha parakAladeSikan then personally
gave teertham, thulasi and pushpam to all present (it was
a small gathering).  ParakAlaswAmi very kindly enquired
of my father as to who adiyEn was... Upon being told that
adiyEn was on short vacation, AchAryan asked me to stay
the next day and join the 118th thirunakshatram celebration
for Srimad Abhinava RanganAtha brahmatantra swatantra
parakAladeSikan - a command which adiyEn was sadly, unable
to comply with due to lack of time (I was flying out of
Bangalore in the next 48 hours).

The highlight of our visit to the Mysore Sri parakAlamatham
was (next only to witnessing Anhikam to the laxmihayagreeva
archamoorthi), was an hour-long conversation with prakrtam
parakAlaswami in one of the antechambers of the palatial
complex (a gift to parakAlamatham by previous generations
of the Mysore Wodeyar rulers, also recently renovated with
the help of TVS Inc.)

SrI parakAlaswami sat atop a cane chair that had a "maan
thOl" on it, with legs crossed.  The rest of us, including
SrIkAryam swAmi SrI vEnkatanAthan, sat on the stone floor.
Overlooking all of us (a few feet away, inside a transparent
wooden cupboard) was a giant, full-color, framed portrait
of about 6 ft[W] x 12 ft[H] in dimension.  This canvas, Sri
parakAlaswami told us, is several generations old, and was
recovered by the 33rd. parakAlaswami during his 42-year long
reign and restored to that location within the Mysore matham.

So what about this portrait??  It represents the ORIGINS of
the parakAla matham guruparamparA.  swAmideSikan, kumAra
varadAchArya, and SrI brahmatantra swatantra jeeyar are all
prominently displayed in the centre, with bhagavAn SrI
laxmihayagrIva at the very top, followed by the trayamunis -
SrI ranganAthamuni, SrI yAmunamuni, and Sri bhAShyakArar.
At the bottom is an image of drAvidaveda bhAshyaka - SrI
perIya parakAlaswami (21st pattam).

adiyEn was able to get many questions answered, chief among
which had been the lingering doubt as to whether swAmideSikan
was indeed, the founder of SrI parakAlamatham.  Prakrtam
parakAlaswami answered in the affirmative.  It IS parakAla
maTha-guruparamparA, HH said - that officially places swAmi
deSikan as the founder of this institution.  Among all the
AchAryapeethams of SrI rAmanuja sampradAyam, it is only SrI
parakAlamatham, whose samAsrayaNa, kalakshepa AND sanyAsa
paramparA passes directly through swAmi deSikan.

But wait a minute.  swAmi deSikan was a gruhasta.  How could
he have performed sanyAsa-mantrOpadeSam to SrI brahmatantra
swatantrar?  The answer, prakrtam parakAlaswami explained,
is that the sanyAsamantrOpadeSam has multiple parts to it
(four, as I remember hearing) - so AchAryas may perform the
upadeSam of each part separately, i.e. the same AchAryan
does not give mantropadeSam of all the portions together -
if he did, then that AchAryan can no longer live as gruhasta
and must begin bhikshai immediately!  swAmideSikan would have
only performed *part* of the sanyAsamantropadeSam to SrI
brahmatantra swatantrar, prakrtam parakAlaswami said.

adiyEn was still not finished, though.  With all the impudence
one could gather, I said "aanaal niraiyapEr indha vishayatthai
namba maattaargaL... nejamaagavE swAmidEsikan thaanaa parakAla
mathatthai aarambicchadhu??"

To this, parakAlaswami replied - "This is the *authentic*
guruparamparA, as observed by our matham.  This guruparamparA
establishes swAmideSikan as founder of this institution, and
it is the same guruparamparA that all peethAdipatis of SrI
parakAlamatham have taught and learnt, starting with brahma-
-tantra swatantra, and which is part of our nityAnusandhAna
kramam.  If someone were to call this 'false', then they might
as well say that the whole of parakAlamatham is also false.
That is all we have to say in this matter.."

Will write about other discussions with parakAlaswami in a
later posting.

adiyEn SrIrangapriya mahAdeSikan thiruvadi,
-Srinath C.

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