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VaishNava Dinasari: The daily observances for Sri VaishNavAs, The 19th of the Desika Prabhandhams : Part 1

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Jul 25 1999 - 17:59:17 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

One of the dear members of the Bhakthi list asked me
to write a summary of Swami Desikan's VaishNava Dinasari,
which deals with the rites to be observed by a Sri VaishNavan
every day in his life . The Sri VaishNavite ladies have their own 
observances for the day , which ties in with the ones 
dscribed by Swami Desikan .Here I will stay with the Desika- 
Prabhandham of ten verses set in Tamil in a short metre 
called kali Viruttham .

This prbhandham is dedicated to Swami Desikan's nithya 
AarAdhana mUrthy , Sri Varadaraajan . At home or during his travels ,
Swami always performed AarAdhanam to Sri VaradarAjan and Sri HayagrIvan 
after his daily unchivruthti .Those AarAdhana mUrthys travelled on 
his head in his Madisanji ( the bag made of special cloth for carrying 
Vasthrams , ThirumaNN petti and SaaLagramams and
Aaradhana mUrthys without theetu by VaidhikAs).   

Like AchArya RaamAnujA , who left for us a Sanskrit
Sri Sookthi (auspicious literary work) named nithyam 
to instruct us on the daily observances , Swami Desikan
out of his infinite mercy for us created this work 
called Sri VaishNava Dinasari and placed it at the lotus 
feet of Kanchi Sri VaradarAjan .

Structure of this Prabhandham

A day in Sri VaishNavA's life is split into five parts.
Each of these five divisions in time from waking up in
the morning to resting at night is allocated one observance.
Thus there are five different observances for the five divisions
of the time , when a Sri VaishNavan is awake . These are ordianed
by SaasthrAs .The other observances known as snAnam ( bath) ,
Vasthra DhAraNam , Wearing of the PuNdrams ( ThirumaNN Kaappu),
Sri ChoorNa DhyAanam , SandhyA vandhanam forming part of 
the Ushath Kaala dharmams ( rites at Dawn) are not included 
in the Sri VaishNava Dinasari for the sake of brevity by
Swami Desikan . The manthrAs for all of these and other 
procedures associated with them form the heart of Ahnikam .
The  Ahnikam(daily observances ) is learned as formal
KaalakshEpam at our AchAryan's sacred feet  prior to 
Grantha Chathutaya KaalakshEpam (Learning of Sri BhAshyam , 
GithA BhAshyam , The AaRAyira PaDi of PiLLAn and Srimath 
Rahasya Thraya Saaram by Swami Desikan ).

The ancient five observances described for our daily use are :    

(1) Abhigamanam :The Sanskrit route , " Abhigam " means
    going  near or to approach . This is the approaching of 
    the Lord for permission (anuj~nai) to start the day 
    in the right frame of mind to celebrate Him . The Sri-
    VaishNavan     prays to the Lord to remove all obstacles 
    that might interfere with the daily observances ordained 
    by the Lord and seeks His blessings to ward them off .

(2) UpAdhAnam : This sanskrit word means acquisiton or obtaining.
    It has two subdivisions :(a) The collection or acquisition of
    TuLasi, Flowers and other items needed for Bhagavath AarAdhanam .
    (b)Since one's purity of mind is very important for Bhagavath-
    AarAdhanam , one recites the Sri Sookthis of AzhwArs and AchAryAs
    for the purification of one's mind as one goes about collecting
    the SaamagriyAs (required materials) for the daily AarAdhanam .

(3) Ijyai: This Sanskrit word arises from the root Yajj .Ijyai
    means worship. It has also other meanings such as the Supreme
    being and Union .For our purposes , we can translate Ijyai as
    AarAdhanam for the Supreme Being in the Saasthraic manner 
    ordained by Paancha Raathra or VaikAnasa Aagamams .

(4) SvAdhyAyam : This celebrated Vedic word ( Taittiriya Upanishad:
    SikshA Valli: Section 9; " Rutham cha svAdhyAya PravachanE cha--)
    means the study and preaching of VedAs and Upanishads ( Sanskritic
    and Tamil VedAs).

(5) Yogam: The meditation on the Lotus feet of the Lord and 
    the prayer for the lord to accept our head at His sacred
    feet during our time of sleep as well .

Swami Desikan has two Tamil Verses for each of these five
divisions of the time of the day . Thus there are 10 (5X2) 
verses in this Prabhandham dedicated to Athtigiri AruLALan 
of Kaanchipuram presiding at Hasthigiri under 
PuNyakOti VimAnam along with PerumdEvi ThAyAr.

In the next and concluding part , I will cover the meanings 
of the ten verses of Sri VaishNava Dinasari by Swami Desikan
without quoting the original Tamil verses and provide breif 
clarificatory points as needed .

Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Daasan ,Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan