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Re: Question regarding shrArDham

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Thu May 18 2000 - 08:44:20 PDT

Dear Srikanth,

I live in the Bay Area and I'll tell you what my family
does.  To perform a SRAddham ceremony with any degree of 
correctness, you either have to be trained in the prayOga-s
yourself or you need to have a properly trained purOhita.
Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to find
someone in this country who is trained to be a purOhita,
particularly in the Sri Vaishnava fashion. Most people here 
make the erroneous assumption that the local temple arcaka 
is knowledgable enough to perform all the vaidika samskAras. 
In fact, most are equipped so poorly that they can barely 
correctly recite the panca-sUkta, let alone recite and apply 
other, less popular vaidika mantras properly.  This is not 
really their fault. They are trained differently, with different 
expectations in India. In India, the Veda/Prabandha adhyApaka, 
the purOhita, the religious scholar, and the arcaka each
perform different and distinct roles. The problem is that it 
is virtually impossible to find anyone in this country other 
than an adhyApaka or an arcaka.

My feeling is that one should recognize that one's performance
of a SRAddham in this country will fall very short of the mark.
Since I am of the opinion that it is better to do one thing
well rather than many things poorly, I would suggest you keep
it simple. Just keep your house and kitchen very clean on that
day (as one would do in India), do all your nitya-karmAnushThAnam-s,
and prepare food strictly as one would do on a SRAddham.  
Invite three bhAgavatas for lunch, say whatever stotrams you
know, and keep the memory of your departed ancestor at the forefront.
Then feed the bhAgavatas.  This has been the practice of many 
people here.

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
Mani

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