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An Eye Witness Account of the Celebrations of Swami Desikan Thirunakshathram at Sri ranganathA Temple at Pomona, NY : Part 1

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Mon Sep 20 1999 - 07:39:31 PDT

Dear BhaagavathAs :

What a wondeful two days of sathsangam it has been 
this past weekend ! Srirangam came alive here and
the majestic sound of AchArya Sookthis in general 
and those of Swami VedAntha Desikan in particular 
reverberated in the air and were echoed back by 
the ancient mountains of the Taconic and Palisade
ranges .BhakthAs from Many states ( New York, New Jersey ,
Connecticut , Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas ,
Vermont , Maryland , Virginia , Pennsylvania et al )
were assembled . Many subha Sakunams (auspicious signs)
were witnessed indicating the Sarvesvaran's sanklapam 
(that of the Supreme Lord  resting at Srirangam )
to see to that His Temple will come into being in time 
for the 21st century as a special gift to us for the new
millenium . AdiyEn is sure that the many BhakthAs who
participated in this MahOthsavam have individual experiences
to relate to about this Bhakthi-filled event of two days.
AdiyEn requests them to share their experiences and post
them for the benefit of other BhagavathAs , who could not be 
with us .

The Dozen highlights of the meeting are: 

(1) On this sacred PurattAsi Sanik Kizhamai 
    (PurattAsi Saturday dear to ThiruvenkatamudayAN),
    a magnificient and saampradhAyic (traditional)Thirumanjanam  
    for Swami Desikan( an avathAram of the GhantA of 
    Sri Venkatanaathan) , AchArya RaamAnujA , Sri RanganAthA , 
    Sri RaamachandrA , Sri VeNu GopAlan, Sri Sudarsana-Narasimhan 
    and Lord SrinivAsan was conducted to the acompaniment of
    Veda paarAyaNam and Divya prabhandham . The uthsava moorthys 
    glowed with a special effulgence after their sacred bath .Sriman
    Poondi Vijaya Raaghavan , the President of RaamaanujA Mission 
    blessed the ghOshti with a majestic voice leading the divya 
    Prabhandham recital. The Veda paarAyanam was led by 
    Sri Venkat Kanumalla , the Aaradhakar of the Sri RanganAthA Temple . 

(2) The release of the AchArya RaamAnujA CD ROM was released 
    in front of Swami Desikan by AdiyEn and the first copy of 
    the offically released CD ROM was presented to Sri Venakt
    Kanumallla for his untiring efforts to keep the Sri VaishNavA
    flame alive at Sri RanganAthA's Temple for all of the BhagavathAs
    representing many sampradhAyams .The development costs for 
    this pioneering CD ROM project on AchAryA RaamAnujA as 
    an educational project for the benefit of the GLOBAL 
    Sri VaishNavA Community has been fully funded by 
    Sri Ahobila Matam of North America . A vast amount of the life
    and works of Bhagaavth RaamAnujA and his SiddhAntham is covered 
    here . Planned release of second volume will cover additonal 
    material from His glorious life especially for the benefit of 
    young Sri VaishNavAs including Questions and answers for 
    the Younger generation . Approximately 200 BhakthAs have extended
    so far their valued support for this project thru financial support 
    and they will all receive their copies once the reproduction is
    completed soon .Other BhakthAs interested in acquiring their own
    copies are requested to contact me (914-762-6690) or tru e-mail
    at the above address .  
       
(3) The third agenda item was the ofifcial release of the Volumes 4-6
    of the Audio CD ROM of the SthOthrams of Swami Desikan by Sri
    Poondi Vijaya Raaghavan ,President of the RaamAnujA Mission 
    of Virginia . The disciples of Srimath Andavan of PeriyAsramam 
    have funded this project . The first three volumes were released 
    in April,99 during Sri RaamAnuja Jayanthi at the Sri Balaji Temple 
    at Bridgewater, NJ . Sriman Shyam Sunder Srinivasan and Sri
    VenakatanAthan SrinivAsan , two disciples of PeriyANDavan have 
    recorded these 28 sthOthrams of Swami Desikan with their  clear ,
    mellifluent voices with great attention to correct Sanskritic
    pronunciations and stops . The whole project has  been supervised
    brilliantly and executed effectively by Sriman Nadadur Madhavan 
    of Sri Ramanuja Mission . The cover graphics designed by him 
    are a treat to one's eyes ( Pictures of Divya desa EmperumAns 
    and Swami Desikan).Please contact Sri Madhavan (Nadadur@erols.com )
    or adiyen on details about acquisition of these invaluable CD ROMs 
    to learn and recite the most auspicous sthOthrams of Swami Desikan 
    starting from Sri HayagrIva SthOthram and concluding with
    Sri YathirAja sapthathi .The First copy of the Volumes 4-6 
    have been presented by Sri Poondi Vijaya Raghabvan to
    Sri Venkat Kanumalla in recognition of his many services
    to Sri vaishNavA Community .

(4) The crowning event of the morning was the Special 
    tele-upanyAsam by His Holiness, te 45th Jeeyar , 
    Sri VaNN SatakOPa Sri NaarAyaNa Yathindhra MahA Desikan 
    of Sri Ahobila Matam . H.H is staying now at
    ThiruvahIndhrapuram for his ChAthurmAsyam and 
    his auspicious voice came over as amrutha mazhai 
    (nourishing nectarine rain ) over the air waves
    few feet away from the ThirumALigai of Swami Desikan at 
    ThiruvahIdhrapuram , where the great NigamAntha Desikan ,
    the VedAnthAchAryan, the Sarva Tanthra Svathanthrar had 
    spent 40 years of His 100 year old life on and off . 
    Lord DevanAthan and Sri Hembjavalli of this divya desam 
    and Swami Desikan in his ArchA form created by him 
    and consecrated by his son , Sri Kumara VaradAchAr 
    were hearing this upanyAsam (tribute to Swami Desikan's 
    Vaibhavam ) as their own BhakthAs were hearing at Singapore 
    and all over USA assembled at Pomona , NY and from Massachusetts 
    to Hawaii. This special Tele-upanyAsam was heard on tnhe banks of
    both the Atlantic Oceaan and the Pacific Ocean .AdiyEn 
    welcomes some one , who heard this UpanyAsam to summarize
    it for the benefit of others , who missed it .

(5) After a lunch break, the afternoon sessions started with
    the welcome and introduction to the sessions by adiyEn 
    covering the 5 tainyans for Swami Desikan .At the end of 
    the recitaiton and explanation of the first Taniyan ,
    it was wonderful to note that the Temple KainkaryaparALs
    carried the ArchA vigraham of Swami Desikan to the conference
    site. Freshly garlanded and with noothana vasthram , Swami Desikan
    radiated His divya Tejas and took His position as SabhA Naayakar
    to listen to the tributes paid to Him .

(6) Sri MuraLi Kadambi of Lucent Corportaion was the first speaker 
    in the afternoon . He brought forth the fine points about
    NyAsa Dasakam . This grantham is very important for us in so far
    as we recite it in our daily aarAdhanam .Additional information
    on NyAsa dasakam and saraNAgathi related sthOthrams of Swami
    Desikan ( NyAsa Vimsathi , Adaikkala Patthu , NyAsa Tilakam,
    SaraNAgathi Deepikai ) are archived in the Bhakthi and SaraNAgathi
    archives of 96-98 .AdiyEn has also created a special domain 
    home page (http://desikan.homepage.com) for housing Swami Desikan's
    and other AchAryAs' works under one heading .That special domain
    will be populated on Swami Desikan's birthday that falls 
    on PurattAsi Sravanam day ( September 21, Tuesday ) , which
    also happens to be an EkAdasi day and Vaamana Jayanthi day.
    AdiyEn will include postings pertinent to Swami Desikan including
    the prolific writings of Swami Desika Bhaktha Rathnam ,
    Sri SrinivAsa RaghavAcchAr Swamy of Chennai .AdiyEn will 
    also construct with the help of data base experts an index
    of postings available on the net regarding Swami Desikan's
    Sri Sookthis on the Bhakthi and saraNAgathi Archives .It will
    be wonderful to have the real audio of Srimath Azhagiya Singhar's
    UpanyAsam on Swami Desikan there coutesy of Sri Ahobila Matam .

(7) Sriman Anbil Ramaswamy , the President of Swami Desika Darsana
    Sathsangham and the Publisher of SaraNAgathi Journal folowed next 
    and addressed the audience on "Swami Desikan's NaicchAnusandhAnam
    and Saathvika AhankAram .With elaborate quotations from the many
    Sri Sookthis of Swami Desikan , Anbil Swamy demonstrated the dayA
    of Swami in pleading with the Divya dampathis on our behalf. Both
    Sri Shyaam Srinivasan and Sri Venkatanathan Srinivasan recited the
    appropriate slOkams cited by Anbil Swamin , one of the well known
    disciples of PoudarIkapuram Andavan Aasramam .He had so much
    outstanding material that had to be compressed unfortunately due to
    pressure of time .

(8) Sri Sampath Rengarajan of Ford Motor Company , Michigan gave 
    next a scintillating presentation on Swami Desikan's Tamil
    Prabhandhams and focused on one KuraL VeNNpaa of Desika 
    Prabhandham from Rahasya padhavi/Amrutha Ranjani:

    moonRiloru moonRu mooviraNdu munnAnkum
    thOnRat tholayum Thuyar 

    The essence of this KuRaLLVeNNpAa is : When One understands
    the meanings of the three rahasyams ( AshtAksharam,Dhvayam
    and Charama SlOkam ) and perform prapatthi ,SamsAra dukkham
    will be banished without fail .
   
    Sri Rengarajan , the Co-Chair of this conference expounded 
    the subtle meanings of this powerful prabhandham .

(9) Sri MuraLi Rangaswamy , an expert in antenna theory and
    dedicated sishyar of PoundarIkapuram Andavan homed in on
    the many beautiful messages enshrined in Swami Desikan's
    master piece , "DayA Sathakam ". With a careful choice of 
    the many pertinent slOkams , Sri Rangaswamy celebrated 
    the Sri Sookthi extolling the DayA Devi of ThiruvEnakta-
    mudayAn on His PurattAsi Saturday .

(10)The final presentation for the day's sessions were by 
    a devout Desika Bhakthar from Massachusetts , who focused
    on the mastery of the SaamAnya and VisEsha saasthrams by
    Swami Desikan before the age of 20 and the many celebrated
    incidents in Swami's life during his stays at Srirangam ,
    Kaanchi and ThiruvahIndhrapuram . It was a fitting finale.

(11) The days events were concluded with a recitation of 
     the special sthOthram on Lord Achyutha DevanAthan
     of ThiruvahIndhrapuram by Swami Desikan in rare Prakruthis
     language. Not more than a handful in the world can 
     recite this sthOthram in its entirety in PrAkrutham .
     Srimans ShyAm Srinivasan and VenkatanAthan SrinivAsan
     are among the select few .In this lalitha sambhAshaNam ,
     Swami Sesikan takes on the role of Sri Venakata Naayaki
     and follows the path of ParAnkusa Naayaki and ParakAla Naayaki 
     to reveal Her longing for the union with Her Lord Achyuthan .
     That was a beautiful recitation in front of Swami Desikan's
     ArchA Vigraham .

(12) At the conclusion of the above sessions , many particpants 
     travelled to the Sri RanganAthA temple site under construction
     and under the golden rays of the clear summer evening had
     the darsana SoubhAgyam of the majestic Archa Vigraham 
     of Moolavar , periya perumAl reclining on His serpent bed
     on the Banks of Hudson River and in the middle of fertile
     forests and tall mountains . All of us climbed up the ladder
     next to have the darsanam of Para VaasudEvan and 
     the authentically constructed PraNAvAkAra VimAnam 
     by expert silpis from TamilnAdu headed by Sri Baapu .
     The glorious sight of Para VaasudEvan with PrayOga
     chakram and the most merciful glances is an image
     that will forever reside in one's mind .The PraNavAkAra 
     VimAnam is surrounded by the dasavathAram statues 
     exquisitely sculpted by Sri Bapu a la the dasAvathAram
     archais in the DasAvathAram temple constructed by
     Thirumangai AzhwAr at Srirangam .

     With Sri RanganAthan's grace ,adiyEn has no doubt 
     that the Temple for Sri RanganAthA to grow further 
     the spirtual aspirations of ALL SRI VAISHNAVAAS 
     in USA will be realized in the year 2000 .

I will cover the second day's events in a companion post .
Let us not extend the discussions on " the Billion Dollar 
Questions " any further and rededicate ourself to live in
harmony celebrating the Kuladhanams bequeathed to us by
our AzhwArs and AchAryAs .

AdiyEn will conclude this posting with two meaningful 
prayers reflecting the mood of Swami Desikan in this context :

naasthi pithrArjitham kimchith na mayA kimchithArjitham
asthi mE hasthisailAgrE Vasthu PaithAmaham Dhaanam 
--Sri VairAgya panchakam :slOkam 5

(meaning): My father did not leave behind any accumulated
wealth. Neither did adiyEn accumulate any wealth.But , adiyEn
has in my possession a great wealth accumulated and left behind 
by my grand sire, Lord BrahmA that stands on top of Hasthi Giri
known as Sri VaradarAjan .

maam madhIyam cha nikilam chethAchEthanAthmakam 
savkaimkaryOpakaraNam Varadha SvIkuru svayam 
--Sri NyAsa dasakam : SlOkam 7

(meaning): Oh Lord VaradhA!Please make adiyEn the instrument
of Your Kaimkaryams and have those Kaimkaryams performed by
adiyEn. Further , please use adiyEn's children , wife , other relatives
as well as my house , gardens and other property for Your Kaimkaryam
and accept them as instruments through Your own sankalpam .

That is the essence of the sessions of the First day .
Those who have taken the second mortages on their houses 
to support this temple constrcution and the Bhakthan ,
who travels every weekend 1000 miles round trip to 
perform the AarAdhanam and then supervise the Temple 
construction and the scores of BhagavathAs that contribute
to accelerate the progress of the Sri RanganAthA Temple 
construction are the most laudable sevants of the Lord.
AdiyEn prays for the dust from their feet to rest on 
my head !

Daasan , Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan
Convener , Swami Desikan Thirunakshathrma Celebrations , 1999 .