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Acharyas of Ahobilam - Editorial

Jay.Bharadwaj_at_nrecatao.nreca.org
Date: Thu Nov 16 1995 - 22:09:47 PST

Continuing the second in the series of articles,  I am posting the
editorial by the Publishers of the Telegu/English edition of Nrsimha
Priya.

There is rarely an instance in the history of religions and religious
denominations when God Himself summoned a devotee to His side and mandated
him to go from village to village and propogate His glory and promote the
spiritual well being of the people.  But, Srivaishnavism, in particular,
Sri Ahobila Muth, its protector, preserver and propagator, has had His
privilege.

Lord Narasimha of Ahobilam appeared in the dream of Srinivasacharya,
ayoung Srivaishnavite scholar and Brahmachari of Melkote, 20 years old and
summoned him to Ahobilam.  With the permission of his guru, young
Srinivasacharya went all the way to Ahobilam more than 300 miles away, on
foot and reached the hill-top, bathed in Bhavanashini and prayed to the
Lord.  Lord Narasimha appeared before him in the form of a Sannyasi, gave
the saffron robes together with the Presha Mantra to Srinivasacharya,
initiated him as an ascetic and also named him as 'Adivan Sathakopa'.  The
Lord then ordained him thus: 'Go from door to door taking me with you and
minister to the well being of the disciples'.  The Lord also gave him the
Malola Icon, one of the nine manifestations of Narasimha at Ahobilam, for
his worship.  This young Sannyasin thus became the founder Acharya of
Ahobila Muth, an unbroken line of successive Acharyas for 600 years.  This
was no ordinary incident in the annals of the history of this great Guru
Parampara and Srivaishnavites of the country are legitimately proud of
this special grace and benediction of the Lord on the community.  We bow
in all humility to this order of illustrious Azhagiya Singers and feel
privileged that we have been able topresent this brief outline of the
history and achievements of this great Muth.

The Guru or Acharya occupies a unique position in India's spiritual
tradition and more so in Srivaishnavism, to the extent of giving the
preceptor a higher status than even God who is accessible to the humans
onlyu through the grace of the Acharya.  The Acharya accepts the burden of
his disciples and presents them to God for His kindness and accompanying
Moksha.  It is, therefore, necessary that devout people know the story of
the accomplishments of their spiritual gurus.

An authentic record of the glorious history of this great Muth serving our
Sampradaya for 600 long years is not found in great detail except in the
Sannidhi Guru Parampara in Tamil, even where the historical authenticity
is not clear.  Sr S.N. Venkatesha Iyer, an advocate of Coimbatore,
attempted an outline of "The History of the Ahobila Muth" which was
published by the All India City Guide Publishers of Coimbatore around
forties.  In the Preface to the publication he promised to deal with
'general sketch of the social, political and economic conditions of the
long period from 1398 together with the expectations of the founder of the
Muth and the extent to which they were realised.  The promised publication
has not come to our notice.  Dr. Madabhooshini Narasimhacharia of Warangal
gives a brief account of the Muth in his book on "The cult of Narasimha in
Andhra Pradesh".  To our knowledge, there is no recorded history of the
Muth in Telegu.  This Special Issue in two editions _English and Telegu_
is the a humble attempt in that direction, in response to the wishes of
our readers and within the limitations of the material we have been able
to lay our hands on.  We place this publication as a 'Kanikkai' (tribute)
at the feet of Lord Ahobilesha with the blessings of our two revered
Azhagiya Singars.

We offer our Sashtanga Pranamas to our Azhagiya Singars for their gracious
messages.  We are thankful to our writers who have contributed their
learned aritcles to this publication.  Many an individual and institution
has helped us in its publication, financially, by insertion of
advertisements and in other ways.  We are grateful to them. - Special
mentions deleted.

We hope our readers will benefit by this Special Issue.  Their suggestions
for improvement are very welcome.  May Lord Malola and the Azhagiya
Singars shower their blessings on all of us.

                       Emd of Editorial.