You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1995

Re: Aacharya
Date: Tue Oct 03 1995 - 16:05:20 PDT

SriRanganatha Shathakopa Yateendra Drishtam Lakshmi Nrsimha Shathajit
Karunaika Patram.  Shri Rangavir Raghurat Shathakopa Hrdyam Vedanta
Deshika Yateendra Aham Prapadye.  Shrimate Shrivan Shathakopa Shri Vedanta
Deshika Yateendra Mahadeshikaya Namah:.

This refers to comments posted by Badri, Mani Varadarajan and Dileepan on
the subject of Aacharyas.  At no point did I equate any Aacharya with God
Ramanujacharya or anybody else.  All that I said that was that God can and
does act through Aacharyas.  Badri said "This man is not fit to be my
Acharya."  He made a decision at that point.- which is alright.  But he
goes on to say - This man is not fit to carry the mantle of Shri Ramanuja.
 At this point he has started to make decisions for Sriman Narayana.
Srimad Azhagiya Singar (the 44th Jeer) held the pontiff of Shri Ahobila
Mutt from 1957 to 1992.  This is not a chance occurence because a group of
people in Naimasharanya convinced the then Asthan Pandit to take up the
mantle of Shri Ahobila Mutt as the 43rd Jeer terminated His earthly leelas
without appointing a successor.  He was the 44th Jeer because Sriman
Narayana wanted Him to be the pontiff for that period.  I was introduced
to Ahobila Mutt by one of the 44th Jeer's disciples at an Iskcon temple
near Washington D C.  This disciple preached about the Jeer's greatness
and eventually gave me His photograph and Dhanian.  From that time I could
see Him take full charge of my life.  He appeared in my dreams regularly
and guided me on till I eventually took Prapatti and Samashrayam from Him
on July 1st 1991.

When I arrived in Srirangam (my first visit to the holy town) He was out
of station.  Later on He had come back but was taking rest.  I eventually
got to see Him in the evening.  I prostrated (though I was ignorant of
Srivaishnava ways I knew enough not to touch Him).  He gave me Akshata and
his shishyas requested Prapatti on my behalf.  He said He had no objection
if I came with a shikai.  I went back later that evening to request Him to
allow me to take a picture of Him.  Even though He was relaxing in an easy
chair and was 97 years old at that time, He got up put on His various
beads, took up His Tridanda and posed for me on His bed.

So much for calmness.

I do not need to will not be in a position to extoll His devotion.
Suffice it is to say that He immediately acted upon Sriman Narayana's
instructions to build the Raja Gopuram when he was 84 years old.  When
people tried to dissuade Him saying this project was not feasable for
various reasons, He replied "That Old Man has instructed This Old Man to
build the Gopuram.  Therefore it has got to be done."  Some of the funds
collected was used to bribe officials to get permits cement etc to build
the Gopuram I am told.  He is reported to have told tax officials that
without such bribes the corrupt govt officials would not have given the
necessary permits.  The only consideration for Him at that point was to
build the Gopuram because that was Bhagavan's instructions.  I do not
vouch for the correctness of construction and bribery story.  But I
do vouch for His statement about Narayana telling Him to build the
Gopuram.  His single minded purpose in serving God is seen here.

Even though I had been warned about His temper nothing absolutely nothing
could have prepared me for the experience I was to have the next day at my
Samashrayam.  It appeared to me that I was chosen for more rebuke (term
used mildly) than anyone else.  I was so much overawed by His personality
and power behind His voice that I could not do what He wanted me to do.
He said "Kaiyi Kattinda Nille."  Instead I folded my hands in prayer.  He
got even more angry at this.  During my prapatti, He asked us to do an
Ashtakshara Pranayama.  Not knowing what a Pranayama was at that time I
held my fingers to my nose as everybody else did and mentally chanted
Ashtakshara 28 times.  He asked me "How could you finish so quickly?
Young children these days no absolutely nothing."  I am not able to
express His tone or How it made me quiver.  But I had already experienced
how he had protected me from every difficult situation in my life in the
previous two years and some rebuke was not going to change my mind about
who my Acharya was to be.  Later on during Prapatti He instructed us to be
looking at Perumal while he chanted the mantras.  I ignored this
instructions and chose instead to stare at His Divya Padas.  Later on when
I looked up our eyes met momentarily and I only saw in them the kindest
pair of eyes looking at me with so much of love and affection.  I try to
meditate on those eyes when I chant His mantra.

I used to find fault with everything I read about scriptures and religion.
 That no longer happens after my prapatti.  For me it was only through His
divine Grace that Sriman Narayana, all the Azhwars and Ramanujacharya and
Vedanta Deshikar's blessings were manifest.  I share this experience with
over 30,000 other disciples.

I am reminded of Krishna's instructions in the Geeta to get to the stage
of being immune to pairs of opposites like heat and cold and flattery and
insults.  To me tolerating the Rebuke was my price for opening my
spiritual eyes.  If I am headed toward Moksha today it is because I
cherished that rebuke and took it as Prasadam.  Sri Krishna also
instructs in the Geeta that "Even if His devotee performs the most
abominable act, He should still be considered saintly as Krishna will
personally take care of correcting the situation."  If this applies to
ordinary devotees then what to speak of Avatara Purushas?
If Ramanujacharya is above rebuke then how do you explain that He sent His
wife home telling her that her father had sent for her when her father had
done no such thing?  Can we imagine what it would be like to go and tell
bride that had just been looted by Tirumangai Azhwar that He is an Azhwar
and one of Narayana's greatest devotees]

Vedanta Deshikar writes that the difference between a Mukta and a Baddha
Jivatma is as great as between a Nitya and a baddha.  So it is beyond the
scope of a baddha to judge an Acharya by rational means.  The only way is
to pray to Narayana or Ramanuja to send us the right Acharya.  When He
comes we will know that He is the Acharya for us.

I conclude this with a quote from Kulasekhara Azhwar who says that just a
child that has been rebuked by his mother for doing something wrong still
goes to her for comfort, in the same way I will still go to the feet of
Narayana for comfort when he chastises me.  In my case Narayana chastised
me through my Guru and thus removed much Karma that I would otherwise have
had to suffer through before obtaining my current level of realization.