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asmadhAchArya paryanthAm vandhE GuruparamparAm- 15-(GRAND FINALE).

From: Madhavakkannan V (srivaishnavan_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 06:31:45 PST

SrI:
SrImathe Gopaladesika Mahadesikaya namah:

Dearest Srivaishnavas,

Let us complete this series with our enjoyment on the greatness of 
asmadhAcharyan His Holiness Srimad ParavaakkOttai Andavan Sri Gopaladesika 
Mahadesikan Swamy.

First is the article written by Dr. Sri U Ve NS Anantharangachar, Bangalore.

THE ROLE OF GURU IN SPIRITUAL SADHANA"

" It is no exaggeration to say that there is nothing on earth by paying 
which, we could free ourselves from our indebtedness to a Guru. The 
benefaction bestowed by the Guru is so great that we have to be ever 
grateful to him. A number of teachers have taught us different things and 
have given a shape to our life. We have to grateful to all of them.

An Aachaarya is celebrated personage who is a SROTRIYA and a BRAHMANISHTA. 
Without initiation by an Aachaarya, it is not possible for one to gain the 
knowledge of the ultimate reality.

Sri Vedanta Desika declares that there is no God greater than the Aachaarya 
himself- 'Aachaaryaita Devatam Samadhikam Anyam Na Manyaamahe'

The Guru shows the path of knowledge, fills one with faith by his own 
example, initiates the procedure, plans for his progress, gives him the 
necessary technique, corrects him whenever he goes wrong and leads him to 
the ultimate goal surely and safely.

The Mundaka Upanishad says that one who has developed dispassion on seeing 
the hollowness of the earthly gains should go to such a Guru alone who is a 
Srotriya and Brahmanishta for gaining knowledge of the Supreme reality.

The Guru to be sought should be endowed with the following qualities.

i)  he must have gained realization;
ii) he must be of a firm understanding,
iii) sinless,
iv) well versed in the scriptures,
v)  established in Brahman,
vi) Satvic in nature,
vii) truthful,
viii) endowed with virtuous behavior,
ix) free from jealousy, vanity and other vices,
x) endowed conquest over his sense organs,
xi) forgiving,
xii) compassionate,
xiii) corrective whenever there is a lapse and
xiv) mindful of his and other' welfare.


The Prakritam Aachaarya ,Sri Paravaakkottai Aandavan Swami fulfills everyone 
of these parameters admirably well and is truly a Srotriya and Brahmanishta 
fit to be worshipped as God himself as ordained by Taittriya Upanishad-' 
Aachaarya Devo Bhava' and as voiced by Apasthamaba-'Devamiva Aachaaryam 
Upaaseetha"

===========================

Life of Srimad Andavan- Sri Gopaladesika Mahadesikan:
(by Sri Anbil Ramaswamy mama)

Born  in  the  year Roudri on the 2nd day of Panguni under the star of
Rohini,  corresponding to 17th March 1921 in the Mazhaiyur village as the 
son of Sri  Venkatachar  Swami  and Janaki Ammaal, the daughter  of Puraanam 
Vidwan Sri Kuppuswami  Iyengar  Swami.  (*The village was gifted to the 
forefathers of this family  about  6  generations  earlier.  From  that  
time  onwards  the  further generations of the family had been living 
there*)

Srimad  Andavan  was  named  Rajagopalan after the presiding deity of 
Mannargudi temple  which  at  the  time  of  his  birth was celebrating the 
Tiru Ther (car) festival.  Paravakkottai  Sri Venkatachariar Swami was a 
pious scholar belonging to  Vadhula Gotram Kandaadaiyar family who fashioned 
his life strictly according to  the  prescribed  rules  for  a Sri 
Vaishnava. He had received instruction in Rahasya  Traya  Sara  at  the feet 
of Poundarika Puram Srimad Andavan. His elder brother,  (*Sri  Chakravarthi  
Aachariar*), also had been performing Biksha services to Srimad Andavan.

When  child  Rajagopalan  was  2 years old, his mother died and two aunts 
from Thillaiambur  came  to  look  after the child. After the Upanayana 
Samskara, Sri Rajagopalan  was  placed  under Mannargudi Sri Srinivasa 
Gopalachariar for Vedic instruction

Later,  he  joined  K.R.M. Estate Paatasaala and studied Sanskrit poetry 
under a distinguished  Vidwan Peruga Vaazhndaan Sri Krishnamachariar Swami. 
Owing to the hard  discipline  of  the  teacher, the pupil was able to 
acquire proficiency in Sanskrit.

Later,  the  boy was admitted into the Sanskrit college at Sholinga Puram by 
Sri A.R.Krishnamachariar Swami who also instructed him in Champu literature. 
Because of  the  boy's proficiency in Sanskrit,(* in 1936*), he was admitted 
into the 3rd  Year class in the Sanskrit College, Tirupathi, in which he 
studied hard for 6  years.  When  he returned to Thillaiambur, during the 
summer holidays, he did not  waste  a single moment; he used the occasion to 
study Granthas under Vidwan
Sri Venkatachariar Swami.

During  his stay at the Sanskrit college, he had as class mates or College 
mates some  of  the  distinguished  scholars  of  the  present  time,  such 
as PURISAI KRISHNAMA  CHARIAR  Swami,  the Editor of Nrisimhapriya, 
VILLIVALAM SRI NARAYANA CHARIAR SWAMI a great scholar and brother of the 
present 45th Pontiff of Ahobila Mutt  and  Mylapore  Sri  Srinivasachariar  
who  later set up a Publishing house _*Sarasa  Kala  Nilayam_*)  solely for 
the purpose of printing and publishing
the  works  of  our  great  Acharyas  like (*Melpakkam Narasimhachariar, 
Marudur A.R.Krish nama chariar*). Sri Rajagopalan moved with these persons 
intimately, true to the saying _ Birds of the same feather flock together.

(*When he was just 12 years old, he had his Samasrayanam and Bharanyasam 
done by the Great Poundarikapuram Andavan himself*).

Having  lost  the  mother  at a tender age, child Rajagopalan had to perform 
the mother's  annual  Sraddha.  He  lived such a pure and disciplined life 
in strict conformity  with  Sri  Vaishnava  tradition  as to win the awe and 
regard of the learned Srivaishnavas of Thillaiambur. They regarded him as 
another VASISHTA and
would not do or say anything unorthodox during the Sraddha.

(*.He would never take Paraannam(food outside) even from his childhood*)

Two days before Rajagopalan_s father attained the lotus feet of the Lord, he 
had advised  his  son  to  do  Vedaanta  Kalakshepam under the feet of the 
Jeeyar of Parakaala  Mutt. An obedient son that he was, Sri Rajagopalan went 
to Mysore and studied  under  Srimad  Abhinava  Ranganatha  Parakaala  Swami 
  such branches of knowledge as Grantha Chatushtayam.

Later,  he  learnt  under  Deekshachar  Swami, Nyaya Siddhanjanam, Tattva 
Muktaa Kalaapam and Nyaaya Parisuddhi and returned to Thillaiambur in 1947.

The  Swami  Participated  in  six  examinations in Vedantha Sastras 
conducted by _Vedaanta  Desika Vichaara Sadas_ under the direction of the 
Jeeyar of Parakaala Mutt.  He  also  passed  the  Purva  and  Uttara  parts  
of  our  Vedanta in the examination conducted by _Mysore Maharaja Vidwat 
Pariksha_.

Later, he entered Grihastaasramam marrying Lakshmi, the eldest daughter of 
TirukKudanthai  Aarupaathi  Setlur  Sri  Srinivasachariar  Swami,  who  was  
a strict follower  of  Vaishnava  Aachaaram and had done Vedantha 
Kalakshepam. The couple was blessed with five sons and a daughter.

After  getting  employed  as  a Sanskrit Pandit at Musiri, Sri 
Rajagopalachariar Swami  used  to  visit  Srirangam in connection with the 
affairs of the Asramam, which  was always uppermost in his mind.. On such 
occasions he would call on Sri Madurantakam Vira Ragahavachariar Swami and 
cultivate his acquaintance. (* Whenever he prostrated at the feet of 
Madurantakam Swami, the latter would do _  Prathivandanam_.  Our Swami felt 
embarrassed and hit up on a plan to stop the
_Prathivandanam_.  So,  he  submitted  that  that he had not been initiated 
into Vaisvadevam  and  requested  Madurantakam  Swami to initiate him. This 
done, the Madurantakam  Swami had become his Acharyan also and there was no 
way for him to do _Prathivandanam_ anymore !)
>From the distinguished scholar and Vidwan, he received Vaisva deva Upadesam, 
for which  he fell prostrate at the feet of the Madurantakam scholar. The 
latter did not relish such respect offered to him and felt extremely 
uncomfortable.

At  the  age 59, Sri Rajagopalachariar Swami accompanied by his family 
proceeded to   Kshetraadanam  bathing  in  the  Narmada,  Ganga,  Triveni  
Confluence  and afterwards  offered  worship at Gaya, Haridwar and 
Bhadarikasramam. Then he went to  Ahobilam  where  he participated in the 10 
days Utsavam of Lord Nrisimha and returned to Musiri.

TAKING HOLY ORDER

Srimad  Vennatrankarai  Andavan  was keen and anxious to nominate a 
successor so that  the  Muni Traya Munirupa tradition could be continued 
without break in the Acharya  line.  He used to sound the Srikaryam Sri 
Rajagopala Iyengar about this and  persuaded  him  to  assume the Sannyasa 
Asrama. One day, on the spur of the moment, he called the Srikaryam and 
administered Presha Mantram, Prapatti Yogam, Sannyasa  Anushtaana  Kramam  
and  Ashrama  Sweekaara-Kramam.  The day before he
merged  with  Jyoti,  he  called  Sri  Rajagopala  Swami  and gave him the 
ochre robes,(*  Avakundanam,  Jala  Pavitram,  Sikhyam, Kavacha Vastrams 
etc.*) and staff as well as the keys of the Asramam and commanded that he 
should assume the role  of  the Acharya in a year or two. And, for more than 
a year and a half the Ashramam remained without an Acharya.

Owing  to  the  appeal  and  entreaties of many eminent persons such as the 
late lamented  44th  Jeeyar  of Ahobila Mutt, Ubhaya Vedaanta NAVANEETHAM 
RAMA DESIKA CHARIAR  SWAMI,  MADURANTAKAM  SRI  VEERA RAGHAVACHARIAR 
SWAMI,(*Mannargudi M.S. Rangachariar  Swami,  Vennatrankarai Velaamur 
Sowriraja Iyengar *) and a host of others, the Srikaryam Sri Rajagopala 
Swami occupied the Peetam of the Acharya
in a picturesque   ceremony  held  at  Vennar  Bank,  Thanjavur.  The  place 
appropriately  chosen for this solemn purpose is twice-blessed. Three of the 
108 Divya  Desas  lie  here close to each other; it is the native place of 
VennatranKarai  Srimad  Andavan and the resting place of Veliyanallur  
Srimad Andavan; it is  further  sanctified  by its association with three of 
our Purvaacharyas- Sri Nainar  Acharya,  Brahma  Tantra Swatantra Swami and 
Saakshaat Swami. The Asrama
Sweekaranam  took place on 20th February 1982,  Dwadasi day of Masi month in 
the cyclic year Dunmathi, when he assumed the new name _ SRIMAD GOPALA 
DESIKA MAHA DESIKAN_.

(*On  the  previous  day  , on Ekaadasi day, he performed JEEVA SRAADDHA as 
ANNA SRAADDHA.  As  many  as  16  scholars  participated  in the Nimantrana 
like U.V. Madurantakam  Vidwan Veeraraghavachariar Swami, Vidwan Villupuram 
Madhavachariar Swami,  AHOBILA MATAM SRIKARYAM SWAMI, PERIYAASRAMAM U.V 
PADUKAA SWAMI, Vaduvoor Salakshana   Ganapaadigal  who  acted  as  
Brihaspathi,  Bangalore  Veda  Vidwan
Swachannam Anantachariar who acted as Brahma*) (*Throughout  the night, he 
kept awake along with others when Madurantakam Swami delivered discourses on 
Satkatha and Vedantas. NEVER BEFORE IN THE ANNALS OF ANY
MATAM OR ASRAMAM WAS SUCH A JEEVASRAADDHAM HAD BEEN PERFORMED.*)
(*The  Parakaala  Mutt  Swami  presented  as  Hayagriva Prasadam a Kamandalu 
and Kaashaayam*)

SRIMAD ANDAVAN_S MANY-SIDED SERVICES TO RELIGION

Shortly  after  taking  charge of the Asramam, Srimad Andavan who had spent 
long and  laborious  years in _collecting_ Vedantic knowledge, was now 
called upon by the  44th  Jeeyer  of  Ahobila  Mutt,  to  collect  big sum 
of money to meet the expenses for the construction of the 12th tier  of the 
Raja gopuram of Srirangam temple. Undaunted, Srimad Andavan through the 
active help and cooperation of his disciples(*  like  Tirumalaikattam 
Villankuppam P.A.Ranganatha Tatachariar Swami
of  Shenoynagar Amuda Mukunda Kalyana Mandapam*SMM) was able to collect a 
sum of Rs.3,43,000/- which was presented to Srimad Azhagiya Singhar.

Srimad  Andavan's  devotion to his and our Purvaacharyas is too apparent to 
need any special mention. He renovated the Brindavanam of Velianallur Sriman 
Narayana Maha  Desikan  at Vennar Bank, erecting of four pillared Mantapam 
and installing the  idol of the Acharya. (*He also raised a compound wall 
and an iron fence all around the Mandapam*)

(*In 1989, the Swami visited Vennatrankarai, where the local host, Sri 
Sowriraja Iyengar  honored  him  with  Poornakumbham  and  a  heavy  garland 
  that adorned Neelameghap Perumal. It was a sight for Gods to see !)

Under  Srimad  Andavan's direction, Swami Desikar_s shrine in East Uttara 
Street was  completely  renovated.  The  Utsava  idol  of  Lord  Hayagriva,  
previously worshipped by one Amma Sathram Seshachariar Swami was handed over 
to the Asramam by  his  grandsons on June 13,1990. This idol as well as 
idols of Ashtabujan and Vaikuntanathan  were  installed in the shrine. (*The 
Asramam building as well as the Pushkarani were renovated at a cost of Rs. 
1.5 lakhs.*)

Under  the  patronage  and  Presidentship  of the Acharya, the _ Sat 
Sampradaaya Samrakshana Sabha_-   registered as a Society was founded in 
1986 to foster FREE Sanskrit education and offer FREE instruction in the 
Vedas, Prabhandas and other Grantha Chatushtayams..

The  Nitya  Aradhana  plan  to provide uninterrupted Aradhana in the Asramam 
was created  with  a  deposit  of  Rs.1,000 collected from each disciple. 
The amount donated  under the head has been deposited in the Bank and the 
accruing interest is being utilized for the administration of the Asramam.

A  revised  edition  of  Rahasya  Traya  Sara  was  published in 1990. 
Chillarai Rahasyangals  of  Swami  Desika have also been published by the 
Swami - in three parts. Srimad   Andavan  has  been  imparting  instruction  
to  the  disciples  through Kalakshepams and tele upansyasams.  On  such 
occasions, the disciples have highly benefited by Srimad Andavan's  
approach,  his mastery of the subject, the clarity of thought and the ease  
with  which  he  reduces any complicated concept in philosophy or theology 
into simple and clear terms._

His Tanian reads as follows:-

Srivaasa Ranga Parakaala Munitrayaapta Lakshmaatma
Rakshana Yathitva Yugaagamaantham /
Achaarya Bhakthi Pari pootham Anargha Seelam
Gopaala Desika Munim Gurum Aasrayaamaha //

(meaning)

We seek refuge at the sacred feet of our revered AchAryan, Sri Gopala MahA 
Desikan, who received the sacred rites of SamAsrayaNam , Bhara SamarpaNam 
from the great AchAryA, Sri Srinivasa MahA Desikan (Srimad Poundarikapuram 
Andavan); ThurIyAsramam from Sri Srinivasa MahA Desikan (Srimad 
VeNNaaRRankarai Andavan) and the wealth of Ubhaya VedAntham from Srimad 
Abhinava Ranganatha Brahmatantra Swantantra Parakaala Yatindra Maha 
Deshikan. He shines with illustrious sadAchAram and is resplendent with his 
limitless AchArya Bhakthi.

AchAryan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Regards
Narayana Narayana
adiyEn Acharyan Thiruvadi Narayana dAsan madhavakkannan
_________________________________________________________________________
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