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Experiences at the Land Of Divya Desams - 7

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sun Jul 26 1998 - 17:45:53 PDT

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      

     Dear  bhaktAs of Sriman NArAyanA,
     Namo NArAyanA . kindly accept adiyen's pranAmams. 
  ----cont---
  
   We then took leave from Sri purusai swAmy (around 4.30 pm) & reached
our residence "Sri RangaPadmam" . Obviously everyone around were happy
about the prapatti being performed & we all chatted  about the same for a
while .

   adiyen's father requested a leading vidvAn & the scion of the
nAdAdUr ammAL's  lineage Sri U.Ve. KarunAkaran swAmi about the
possibility of adiyen getting the blessings of swAmi's father Sri Srinidhi
swAmi . Sri karunAkaran swAmy has taught adiyen many things regarding
sampradAyam & basically swAmi's kAlakshebams ( sankalpa sooryOdayam , GitA
bAshyam - adiyen was fortunate to attended both for only few months
though) , UpanyAsams ( Srimad RAmAyanam , ThiruppAvai etc) has shaped
adiyen to know properly about sampradAyam . Apart from this , swAmi has
patiently cleared many doubts of adiyen & explained them very well inspite
of swAmi's busy schedule .   
    
   adiyen along with adiyen's father went at first to the place where Sri
karunAkaran swAmy was at that time . Then we all went together to swAmi's
residence with swAmi clarifying many of adiyen's doubts / answering
adiyen's questions on the way . Sri Asukavi Srinidhi swAmy is undoubtly a
"Rishi" of today's  world . That swAmi holds the illustrious SribhAsya
SimhAsanam & is a famous kavi apart from being a great vidvAn .
swAmi's prabhAvam in terms of matured jn~Anam , strong vairAgyam & strict
anushtAnams with deep love for Sriman NArAyanA  is very widely known in
the vidvAn circles . The biography of this parama bhAgavathOtamA is highly
inspiring & we were fortunate to receive the blessings of such a great 
paramaikAnti . swAmi has seen over 85 thirunakshatrams (birthstar) &
thus the body was giving problems . swAmi is in rest only all the time -no
energy to even walk /speak etc continuously . Ofcourse swAmi's world is
different - communion with Sriman NArAyanA all the time .

     We prostrated to swAmi & swAmi blessed us with the akshadai . adiyen
felt very bad since swAmi was struggling to put the akshadai over our
heads (ie. swAmi was made to strain  because of adiyen) . swAmi was very
happy about the performance of SaranAgati & questioned adiyen : " Did you
perform either SaranAgati or CharanAgati? ".  adiyen remembered the
upadesam of Srimad AzhagiyaSingar & repeated it by giving the 3 different
meanings of Saranam & the correct meaning of SaranAgati ( not charanAgati)
that is performed . swAmi became happy & blessed adiyen through a
beautiful sanskrit slokam on that spot . Ofcourse swAmi was hardly able to
speak & Sri karunAkaran swAmy slowly got to know exactly what Sri Srinidhi
swAmi was blessing us with. adiyen wept inside the hearts since swAmy was
struggling to speak & became very tired because of this . Inspite of this
, swAmi was very enthusiastic to bless adiyen & adiyen is really very
fortunate . 

       adiyen along with adiyen's father then started for a grand trip
down south . The main purpose was to  get the blessings of peria perumAL
at Srirangam & other perumALs at various Diva Desams. 

     It was early morning when we got down at Thiruk kudanthai
(Kumbakonam ) .We went straight to thirunAgeswaram  ( Oppiliappan kovil
sannidhi street ) . Our dear Sriman Sadagopan hails from this very  sacred
place & ofcourse we went directly to his house there . In those days
adiyen's  paternal grandfather & Sriman Sadagopan's paternal grandfather
were thick friends . Former was a leading prabandha adhyApakA of his days
& latter of vedam . Both were ardent devotees delighting in performing
kainkaryams for His pleasure. Also , Sriman sadagopan has extended his
kindness in allowing us to stay there whenever we go (holds good for all
bhakti list bhaktAs too!) .

   We finished our morning anushtAnams & proceeded straight to offer
prostrations to Sri U.Ve. VankIpuram Navaneetham GopAlaDesikAchAryA
swAmi. swAmi was very happy to see adiyen married ( prapatti). It was
swAmi who an year back taught the essence of SwAmi Desikan's magnum opus
Srimad Rahasya Traya sAram in 14 days . The fruit of that knowledge is the
performance of prapatti & leading the life by sincerly  performing
kainkaryams  to Sriman NArAyanA & His adiyArs , all for His pleasure.

   SwAmi was very kind & asked us to take care of AntaryAmi (*) in his
thirumALigai (house) itself . But, swAmi's daughters & their children were
there for summer holidays & because of us  devI ( AchArya patni ) has to
prepare additional prasAdam again etc . SwAmi was ready for Ijjai &
adiyen's father didn't want to disturb their routines . 

   We had the darshan of "than oppAr illappan " ( Oppiliappan) to our
heart content . Thirumanjanam to both moolavar & Uttsava perumAL was being
performed & it was a real delight to join the goshti of veda - divya
prabandha pArAyanam. We were there for quite a long time than usual
because of thirumanjanam & we were certainly very very fortunate . 

    AnusandhAnam of NammAzhvAr's  ecstatic  pAsuram on all the perumAls
here is quite  appropriate  here ( ThiruvAimozhi 6.3.9 ): 
  
    "  yennappan yenakkAyiguLAi yennaip petravaLAi
       ponnappan maniappan muththappan yennappanumAi
       minnap pon madilsoozh thiruvinnagar cherntha appan
       than OppArilappan thanthananthanathALnizhale "

     " The Lord who has taken His abode at Thiruvinnagar is my father , my
foster mother & my own generating mother too . He is my dear Lord
covetable like gold (ponnappan) , effulgent like gems (maniappan) , cool
like a pearl (muththappan) , who enticed me to His slavery by showing all
these traits. What gold is , what gem is , what a pearl is to materialist  
of the world , this Lord is to me , so dear and so  endearing. The walls
of this  shrine are lustrous as if they are  made of gold. The Lord, who
has no equal (than oppArilappan ) , gave me the shelter of His feet - cool
& soothening to  the sweltering heat & even more to the tormenting world
life here . Who did this favour , out of His condescending grace ? The
Lord of Thiruvinnagar in His bounteous grace , assures me of all this . "      

   While doing pradakshanam , we can see "chittira thiruppAvai"  ie. an
appropriate painting for each pAsuram of thiruppAvai is there along with
the pAsuram . Adiyen enjoyed reciting thiruppAvai along with the
contemplation of each scene . Paintings of dasAvatArams & AzhvArs were
also splendid .     

    After the ArAdhanam , prasAdam was ready in the thiru madap paLLi
(Kitchen for PerumAL) . The kainkaryaparAs at thiru madap paLLi are well
known to adiyen, since an year ago , adiyen regularly had the prasAdam
both times a day , for 14 days . They were happy to see adiyen again &
kindly gave the prasAdam to us. We also bought some prasAdams like laddu
from stalls for our family members at chennai & they also served as dinner
for the night. By the by ,it is well known that Oppiliappan doesn't eat
salt . 

       sri bhoomi nAchchiyAr sametha Sri Oppiliappan thiruvadigaLe saranam     
 ----------------------------
  (*) " taking care of antaryAmi " :  This means "eating" . Actually , a
Sri vaishnavA  should  eat only prasAdam & food  items  that are not
offered to Sriman NArAyanA are like poison for them . If one is a prapannA
, then the bhAvA is  much more ( a wife of NArAyanA can take only food
remnants of His ) . Eventhough one eats prasAdam , there is a way in which
it has to be honoured . Eating is a "yaj~nA" & the offerings are made to
the antaryAmi present with the jIvAtmA . There are mantrAs specific to
this yaj~nA . Thats why while eating one shouldn't  do echchal , talk
about materialistic matters etc. One shouldn't eat or drink while
standing. According to Dharma sAstrAs , drinking water while standing is
equivalent to drinking liquor !! 

The bottomline is that eating is a yaj~nA done with love for Sriman
NArAyanA . Moreover , a brAhmanA can eat only twice a day . He should
strictly avoid any food item in between these two yaj~nAs . The yaj~nA of
eating prasAdam in the morning  should be after sandhyAvandanam, Bhagavad
ArAdhanam etc ( Ashrama specific karmAs/Aj~nA kainkaryams) . Strictly
speaking ,even a drop of water shouldn't be had before all these karmAs &
esp. before SandhyAvandanam . The yaj~nA of eating in the evening
should be after sAyam sandhyAvandanam .These things are not difficult to
observe also. If one observes ekAdasi fasting properly , this will be
easy. Once the taste for performing Bhagavad kainkaryam arises , all these
things will become easier .    

  But during Summer in US ie. at present , one may not be able to wait
till the sun sets ( 8.30 pm or so ) & then perform sAyam sandhyAvandanam ,
wait for sandhyA kAlam to go away & perform the yaj~nA  of eating. The
stomach may trouble from 5.30 pm / 6.00 pm itself because the food was
taken in the morning & nothing else has gone into stomach afterwards =>
sAyam sandhyAvandanam is performed much earlier & yaj~nA is also done
earlier . If not , it becomes too late for eating & becomes a problem for
getting up in the Brahma MuhurtA for the next day . This is atleast true
for adiyen . 
 -------
   --- to  be  cont ---    
 
   Namo NArAyanA
   Adiyen
   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  
                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu