Ongi Ulagalandha Uttaman

There are three types of people :

1. Adhama : is one who does not care  for the world. He is selfish and prioritizes his requirements over others, does not care to help others.

2. Madhyama : is one who of course prioritizes himself over others, but once they are done, he may care to help others.

3. Utthama : is one who is selfless and does not mind sacrificing his needs and ambitions to serve others. 

The reason i took this topic, was considering thiruppavai pasuram 3. Andal thayar begins the pasuram invoking the blessings of Trivikrama Perumal as ” Ongi Ulagalandha Uttaman” (= The Uttaman who scaled the skies as Trivikrama). Why does Andal call Vaman or Trivikrama as Uttama? The introspection led to this blog. 

This entire cosmos, is created, sustained and dissolved by the Lord. He assigns various offices to manage operations of the cosmos. For instance, Indra for rainfall, Brahma for creator and Rudra for dissolution. When Bali intruded the heavens, and invited Indra for war, Indra rushed to the Lord and sought for help. What did the Lord do in return?

1. The Supreme person chose to become a dwarf, not caring about his status.

2. That Lord who is only used to giving, went to seeking alms, like a pauper.

3. One who is used to giving surrender, went bout to seek surrender from someone.

Clearly Trivikrama perumal deserves to be called “Uttaman”, as Andal puts it.Image

 

Andal Thiruvadigale Sharanam

Azhwar Thiruvadigale Sharanam

Emperumanar Thiruvadigale Sharanam

Thayaar Thiruvadigale Sharanam

Emperuman Thiruvadigale Sharanam

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Krishna’s role : an interesting observation

Who is the hero of the Srimanmahabharatham? Some say it’s Bheeshma, the King maker. While some say Arjuna, the archer or Karna, the man for charity. You’ll find many ornate and interesting characters in this punyakatha, not to forget the Mahathma Vidura, or Dharmaputra and the innocent Bheema.

There are some who feel there is no Mahabharatha without Duyryodhana and Shakuni. Well, true enough, Mahancha Bharancha is what the Mahabharatha is. It is a feat in literature with pristine philosophy strung into simple stories, hence great (Mahan) and not to forget the expanse to which it stretches, to over 1 Lakh shlokas, and hence is a heavy work (bharam).

With so many vibrant characters, and mortal heroes to chose, it is but obvious we overlook Krishna. What is the Mahabharatham without Krishna : a cloud without water, and a night without stars.

He is indeed the cause for creation, sustenance and dissolution of all, which is justified much later  in the Srimadbhagavatham. So within the Bharatham, there were very few who knew of Krishna’s supremacy.  Ironically even Arjuna thought of Krishna  as Great and not GOD, despite having seen the Universal form of the Lord!

But there was one person who knew the future.

It so happened that Krishna was to act the messanger of the Pandavas ( We all know of Pandava Doothar sannidhi near Kanchi). He consulted the Pandavas  as to what He ought to talk and how. Yuhishtra, Bheema, Arjuna and  Nakula were of the opinion that Krishna knew what to speak to prevent the war of succession.

It was  Sahadeva who had a difference of opinion. He came up with the most befitting one : ” Neither the Kauravas nor we (Pandavas)  intend to wage the war. If it needs to be prevent, put Krishna behind the bars!” To which Krishna asks, ” So why don’t you jail me?”. Yet another beautiful reply from Sahadeva, ” It is not in anyone’s potential to bind You. You make it possible for me to bind you, and yes I will certainly bind you, like mother Yashoda had.”

There are two aspects we’d have to appreciate here, one is Sahadeva’s understanding Krishna’s absolute prowess, that He is the controller of all.

The second is the hint he gives to Prapatti, “You make it possible for me to bind you, and yes I will certainly bind you, like mother Yashoda had.”  Does this not mean that it is not jeevathma’s potential to bind the Lord with Bhakthi, but reach to Him by His very grace. The markata marjala nyaya and the greatness of Prapatti. Not to forget the coherence that Sahaeva’s words share with Madhura Kavi Azhwar’s (Kanninun Sirutthambinaal KAttuna Panniya Perumaayan…).

Great minds indeed think alike 🙂 I pray that by Acharyar’s grace, we reach to such intellectual heights.

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– Treasured Listenings from discourse on Karma Yoga, by Sri.U.Ve.Velukkudi Krishnan Swami

Adiyen Ramaanujadaasan

Kalau Venkatanayakaha

. aanaatha selvathu  aram-paiyar_kaL thaRkuzha

vaanaaLum selvamum maNNakamum yaan vENdEn

thEn-aar_pooN-chOlai  thiruvEngada sunaiyil

meenaay  piRakkum vithi yudaiyE naavEnE

Perumal Tirumozhi – 4.3

This is a pasuram of Kulashekhar Azhwar in his monumental work, Perumal Thirumozhi. Here he pleads with Srinivasar to grant him the privilege of a boon, a boon not of the soaring wealths and kingdom of skies, but to be a born a fish in the pushkarni of Tirumalai and be involved forever in the service of bhagawan and bhakthas.

I was deeply humbled by Azhwar’s humility and infinite love to Ezhumalai-appan,The Rig-Veda says ” Sirim Peetthasya Girim Gachcha” in context to imply “If you are in fear of samsara, make haste to the Hills of Sri Peetha”. The Lord is also called Sridhara, but here the Shruthi proclaims Him as the very institution of Sri Devi Nachiyar, hence Sri Peetha.

Tirumalai finds mention in various puranas like Varaha Purana, not to forget epics like Srimad Ramayanam as well. It is known by various names viz Sheshadri,Garudadri,Anjandri,Venkatadri, Tiruvenkatam ….

Speaking of Tiruvenkata Mahatmyam, Thoindaiman a paramabhagavatha of the Lord had to face a war with an asura and he prayed of the Lord for aid. Emperuman has this habit of sharing everything with His Bhakthas, and heartfully gave away His Shankham and Chakram and refused to accept it on return and said He would accept it from one another bhagawatha. In the meanwhile our brothers and sisters from different cults fitted the Lord’s vacant lotus hands with different weaopons, thus making Him Ganesha, Skanda, Devi and so on. It was Jagadguru SrimadRamanujar who through a transparent challenge re-established the sankha-chakram in the Lords lotus hands, as willed by Him and thus revived this divya desam.

To this day, people are left with many claims that this not Srinivasa, but some other deity and put forth some of the following arguments : Eyes and slender waist of the Lords indicate it is a female deity, Jata of the Lord, Kadabu distribution on ganesha chaturthi, Brahmotsavam during gauri and ganesha festival, Sri chakram established by Shankaracharyar responsible for the prosperity, Navakshari mula mantram and many more. I need to limit my blog to not bore the reader.

The Lord’s eyes and slender waist : The sunderkandam in the Srimad Ramayanam, shows an episode of Hanuman’s eulogy of Sri Rama to Sita peratti, where he mentions both the eyes and slender waist.

Jata: He is keshava so i don’t find this valid, since even in Brindavanam(Tiruvaryapadi) the Lord has long hair. In fact He where even nose rings and toe rings in kshetras linke Kumbhakonam and Puri.

I have been to Tirumalai and Tirupati during ganesha festival and there has been no report of kadabu distribution.  Even if so, Ganesha is grand festival for people in Andhra Pradesh, so does that  intervene and make Emperuman; Ganesha?

Divya desams following pacharatra agamam, follow tamizh or solar calender and Tiruvenkatam Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the month of Perattasi, which occurs during   bhadrapada masam.  How evere it corresponds to Shravana masam of the lunar calender, shravan or perattashi is considered distinguishdly auspicious to Emperuman.

Navakshari Mula mantram says Om Namo Venkatehaya clearly indicating a male declination in sanskrit. “esa” in sanskrit means Lord and Emperuman is the Lord of Venkatam. Srinivasa is a name commonly found in major works including the Sriman-Mahabharatham and as already mentiong the Rig-Veda itself. Not one of the bhakthas making opposing claims have been able to comment on the SriVatsa, the golden streak on the Lord’s chest and the abode of  Sridevi Nachiyaar. Doesn’t that indicate a bigger sense in itself.

I kept this point for the last :

“Adi SankaraBhagwathpada established a Sri-chakram which is responsible for the wealth and this is a shakthi-peetham”

Swami is a Lokacharya. There is no second thought about it or Bhagawthpada’s immense infinite and undiluted bhakthi for emperuman. But there is no mention in the authentic records of some such happening. If it were one of the 51 shakthi peethas, Bhagawathpada would certainly have composed shlokas or mention it somewhere in the ocean of His works. Even His followers, with no objection bow to Srinivasa Perumal, in ideal gurubhakthi and bhagawadbhakthi. Why should we adulterate the avatara charitram of such a paramabhagavtha with our illegetimate claims? Indeed this is bhagawath apacharam, and Emperuman will never approve of this.

Also, the humongous offerings in the form of money to the Lord; everything belongs to Him and He has this innate quality(guna) of attracting everyone towards Him and follow to His lotus feet in surrender. Even Srinath ji in Nathdwara, has huge offerings. Does that mean there is a Sri-chakra there also? or in Vatican City? Why should be so monitory, why should assess the sampat of sakshath samptkumar Himself !!!

For all the bhagawathas who disagree with adiyen,  i extend adiyens’ hearty namaskarams. Adiyen Ramanujadaasan.

If the bhagawathas who opine me right feel helpless, when faced with such claims, you may always structure your opinion or even better close your eyes and thinks of the Cute little Srinivasa, with his Lotus eyes, innocent and sweet smile, The Panchajanya Shankham, repository of Veda, the Sudarshan Chakram, repository of Time(Kala chakram), Mahalakshmi thaayar adorning His chest and our guru-paramaparai and bow to the person opposite, as Sri Vaishnava Dharmam prescribes.

This post is a samarpan to Sri Manavala Mamunigal on the occassion of Swami’s Triunakshatram.

Adiyen Ramanuja Daasan

Manaval Mamunigal Tiruvadigale Sharanam

Desikar Tiruvadigale Sharanam

Emperumanar Tiruvadigale sharanam

Azhwargal Thriuvadigale Sharanam

Thaayar Tiruvadigale Sharanam

Emperuman Tiruvadigale Sharanam

Dispassion is not Dispossession

“Vairaagya is such a big word that at times we feel it is not worth practicing it all. This is an effect of misunderstanding of the word dispassion(Vairaagya). Dispassion is not Dispossession. It is not the prospect of not having anything, but having whatever is with you, and not being attached to it. Take the case of Kuchela, he had nothing, but never craved for anything. There is nothing that Krishna does not have possess. It might seem that Kuchelar is a varaagi, and Krishna is not. But both are, for the simple reason, Kannan is never attached to anything He has. He was the same even when He was in Ayarpadi. He was the same even when proclaimed King. Sudhama was the same when he was not wealthy, and after attainment of wealth. Sanyasa is not robing and saffron or disrobing. It is disrobing to samsara and following the path of Karma Yoga and being disinterested in the fruit. Discharging duites, for the simple reason that they have to be discharged as a kainkaryam, not karma. Keep aside the thought of punishment on commitment of sin, do not sin because it is wrong, not because you will be punished.
The Ayarchirumiyar, the Gopikas of Vraja, are the most dispassionate souls!! They had everything nice with them, but their nidhi(wealth) was Srinidhi(kannan). For a women, fiedelty and vanity are everything. But these Gopikas dressed to immaculation only for Kannan’s sake. They are ideal Karma yogis, who did everything for the sake of Emperuman, intent on His content, none else. This is obviously tougher than moving into hermitages and forests. It is anytime a challenge to stay well inside samsara, and still not be attached to anything in this journey. Andal Nachiyaar, in Her well celebrated 27.Thiruppavai, ‘Koodarai vellum sheer Govinda’, ‘chakarapongal paatu’ as it is belovedly called by bhagawathas, mentions that the Lord has to give us, Akkaravadisel with ghee dripping down the collector’s hands(‘Moodanai Peydu Muzhangai Vazhi Vaara”). Here She in actuality, implies that the jeevatman, once born in samsara has to wait until getting moksham, and its Ezhunderudai to Thirunad SriVaikuntham. Yet in this duration of its stay in samsara, which is the boiling pot, it must not bond to anything so we use the ghee which in fact is Vairaagya. Chakkar Pongal is delicious if ghee is added in good quantity, if vairaagya is practised in the right fashion, the jeevtma also gets a chakar pongal and that is Sri Vaikuntham. This again the anugraham of the Acharya, thayar and Emperuman.
The high mindedness of the Gopikas is testimonised by none other than Shukha Brahma Maharshi towards the end of the Bhagawatham where in Swami proclaims to be glad to be able to celebrate the paad dhooli(remains of foot imprints) of these Gopikas.

So let us not fear at the word Vairagya, be happy to be under the guidance of Jagadhacharyar SrimadRamanujar and the Azhwars, who will make sure we attain the enternal abode of Paramapadha.”
Treasured listenings from Sri Rangachar.
Emperumana Thiruvadigale Sharanam.
Azhwar Thiruvadigale Sharanam.
Thayar Thiruvadigale Sharanam.
Emperuman Thiruvadigale Sharanam.

Krishna: The Kapata

The blog title reads exactly right…Krishna the Kapata 🙂 🙂 . Among all the incarnations of the Primordial Person, Krishna seems to be till date the most popular and loved. In a previous post of mine, adiyen had made an effort to experience the navarasas in Krishna leela, and we got to see why He is so far the most loved one. He has often broken the laws of Dharmashastras, in order to protect them. More so in the Dwapara yuga, as discussed by Vidura himself, it is essential to be good to the good and bad to the bad. We see how Krishna had been so meek and kind to the mild hearted like the Gopikas of Vraja, Yashoda, the cattle, Kubja, the Pandavas, their queen and mother and so many. He was ruthless to the evild doers like Jayadhrita, Jarasandha, Karna and Drona. Karna and Drona had slain Abhimanyu by crook and so they were killed by crook too.

Hereis an anecdote where Krishna wit fully manages a strand on the butter situation :

It was before the Mahaharata war was waged, Duryodhana goes to Sahadeva; who was well versed in the art of Jyothishyashastra, astrology to fix them ost suited day to begin the war so that he may win it. Sahadeva calculated and prophecied that starting the war on Amavasya, new moon would bring victory to Duryodhana. Krishna later spoke to Sahadeva and suggested that the date be changed to Chaturdashi, the day before new moon. Sahadeva flatly refused saying that it was against his principles. Krishna was tired of explaining to Sahadeva and to convince Duryodhana was also no feasible. The best thing, change  the Amavasya itself!!

On the eve of Amavasya, Krishna went to the banks of Yamuna and started the Tarpanam, which is a ritual practiced on Amavasya. The celestials of the upper spheres were perplexed.  Brahma and Indra went to Surya and Chandra, that is the Sun and the Moon respectively. Now Surya and Chandra with no answers  went together to Krishna and asked of Him for an explaination, to which He question Surya for the definition of Amavasya. Now in sanskrit amavasya means Ama saha vasati : the moon unites with the sun. Having heard Surya’s reply, Krishna said,” You two are here together so it Amavasya today and so the Tarpanam.” Duryodhana thus started the war, and lost.

Rama said i shall abide by what Dharma has laid down, Krishna says what i shall do, Dharma shall lay down.

Thus we conclude constantly contemplating on His innumerably colourful ploys.

Kannan Thiruvadigale Sharanam

The Ramayana and Bhakthi Marga

Srimad Ramayanam is one the priceless treasures our forefathers have left for us. It is something for each of us to relish, recapitulate and remember through out our life. It lays down the ideals of appropriate and appreciable lifestyle. It is not just a story or just another epic, it is the Adikavya : The very first poetic work in the world. Ramayana gana is said to shower wealth and health, but apart from these, we the people of todayare more concerned about stress.  Ramayana is said to be very relaxing to the mind. We have adopted so many methods of management thinking from this very Punyagrantha.; just to name a few like convergent thinking and resource analysis.

But is that the end of the ocean of contents in it? What is in the Ramayana that even a perfect Krishna devotee like Meera says Payoji Maine Rama Ratan Dhan Payo? The answer is simple, what is not there in the Ramayana?

Through this blog, a humble attempt is made to enjoy thhe Navavidha Bhakthi, through the Ramayana. We have come across the shloka

||Shravanam Keerthanam Vishnoho Smaranam Padasevanam |

|Archanam Vandanam Dasyam Sakshyamaatmanivedhanam||

as mention in the Srimd Bhagavatha Mahapurana by Prahlada when preaching to his father, the ogre Hiranya.  In this shloka, Prahlada gives a tabloid form of Bhakthi and Bhakthi marga (individual Love for the Supreme). The tabloid form of presentation is one of the major inventions that the sage sons of India have developed, which today is a very important aspect in various fields.

Coming to Bhakthi there are a hue of epitomes of these nine forms of  Bhakthi, through out our puranas. Well within the Ramayan also we do find our role models for Bhakthi marga.

Shravanam

It is the first type of Bhakthi, where in we are involved in perpetual listening the eulogies of the Lord, his Leela’s and tales. It is more of absorption and not plain adsorbtion that is it  involves careful appreciation of intricacies and a willful participation with enthusiasm. The first poet the world has seen Sage Adikavi Valmiki, has penned the Srimad Ramayanam and Lava Kusa are here to sing it out and Rama listens to it earnestly since it is the work of a Mahatma, and not out of pride that it depicts His life, His principles and His unmatched valour, prowess and chivalry.

Keerthanam

We have just seen that Lava Kusha come to Sing the entire Ramayanam So Lava and Kusha are ideal epitomes for Keerthana Bhakthi, which revolves around Singing his praise. We may not know how to sing, but He is so compassionate that He accepts our apawaras(rendered with firm faith) as well. Singing if not feasible, at-least speaking about Him, is suffice. Dasar says i know not of any of these Purandara Vitthala, but I am at piece with your divine Name, and He is kind enough to accept us for our having chanted His sweet name.

Smaranam

We may not be able to chant His name all the time. We may be old, reach a state of oblivion where the tongue stops working, or chanting His name maybe prohibited in our place of work(though helping the arrack shop make it’s financial growth go exponential need be enouraged), or we may simply be lazy to chant His name and strain our tongue(which does not think at least once before loose talk). In which case, Mother Bhakthi takes Her third form of perpetual contemplation of the Lord and His ploys, Smaranam. Through out the Ramayana Sita does not get to stay with Her Lord in piece for a good weight of time. Soon after marriage, They are exiled. In the forest; She parts with Him for fourteen long years. When back again, she had to part with Rama. We assume Sita to be very timid. But unlike, She was one of the boldest of characters depicted in the grantha, for empuruman was fixed still in Her mind. Throughout the span and fourteen years and so many years later during her second banish, Sita had kept Her mind constantly on the thought of Sri Rama.

{People often question why Rama and Sita are themselves examples here for Bhakthi margadarshis? Why does the Supreme person Himself have to follow Bhakthi? What is the need? We must remember that apart from an identity as the Supreme, they have an identity as Jagathpitha and Jagathjanani, the parents of the entire creation. So who better explain anything to their wards but the parent!! }

Padasevanam

Vedanta Desikar before the completion of His avatara kala had asked His disciple to tell the Yamabhattas who would come to take His soul that He was a Padukasevaka, a slave of the Lords Paduka. Such is the prowess of the Lord’s paduka, it must be incredible to think about the prowess of His pada. That is the reason we have the habit of saying Epuruman Thiruvadigale Sharanam: Refute only His feet. We don’t say Empuruman Sharanam : refute in Him alone. It is a norm to rever His feet. Serving His feet is the fourth aspect of Mothe Bhakthi. Lakshmanar was known to serving Him all through His avatara kalam.

Archanam

A very familiar form of Bhakthi, is by doing Pooja, actual worship of the Lord. Again this need not be the Thiruvaradhanam that we do. It is to satiate ourselves that we do things elaborately. But Empuruman is as happy with anything giving with a resolute and humble mind frame. Shabari who had no kula, gothra(cast creed) attained sidhi by worshipping Him utmost sincerity.

Vandanam

Prostrating to Him time and then, is the next form of Bhakthi. Sumantra had been a minister from the time of Aja, Rama’s grand father. He had been working for Rama and His family for three generations. His loyalty to Rama, the very thought of Rama being his master sought him a place in the heart of Sri Rama, the very essence of Vandana Bhakthi.

Dasyam

This form of Bhakthi probably fascinated Ramanujar the most and he introduced it into the cult of Sri Vaishnavism, where in it is said that a Bhaktha has to do His task, not with a thought of obligation, responsibility or divine deeds, but with a service motive.He is no need to accept any service from us, but He is generous enough to grant us this privilege. Such was the attitude of Hanuman while doing Rama the errand of being a messenger to Sitamma. Hanuman so impresses Rama, the He to the end of the Sundarakandam acknowledges that “Hanuman the world knows you to be my Dasa, but the truth is you are my master and I your slave ” and embraces Hanuman; to which humble Hanuman beautifully replies “The world may have thousands of masters like me, but a master like You oh Lord is what we need”

Sakhyam

A totally new dimesnion to Bhakthi is the form of befriending Him. We need not be twice born, men to be His friends. In fact we need not be humans to be His friends. This Rama demonstrates by befriending a monkey, who had nothing with him, no land, no courage, no money, absolutely broke; Sugreeva. The only thing that Sugreeva was always concerned about was not losing His camaraderie. Sugreeva goes to the extent of telling Rama not to accept Vibhishana for he fears snapping up realtions with Rama. Such was the bonding between the two and that was the amount of freedom Rama had given Sugreeva.

Atmanivedhanam

The supreme and ultimate form of Bhakthi, the gist of schools of Vedanta, the very essence of Srimad Ramayanam is Sharanagathi also called Atmanivedhanam, surrendering oneself to Him.Tyagarajar in one of his songs comments about Sharanagathi saying that it is the saying a good bye to all your worries and thoughts and throw your load of responsibilites on Him. Any  grace to you is His look out, any disgrace is His look out, your family is His look out, loss and gain, property, success, failure and what not and whatever not : all upto Him to worry, not us. Vibhishana does walks on this path. That Lanka which Vibhishana seldom looked back before going to Rama, was lucky to have him King. We might wonder, Vibhishana was good, so Rama approves of his Sharanagathi; why would Rama accept us? ! As if to clarify our doubt in particular, Rama instructs Sugreeva when he goes to call Vibhishana into the chamber saying so : If by chance Sugreeva, behind Vibhishana Ravanasura has himself  come in want of Abhaya, you from My side may grant him thus. Such is His greatness.

Let us enjoy His ploy, by listing to them, singing His name, contemplate on Him continuously, serve His feet, worship Him, prostrate to Him, serve him, befriend Him and take all refute in Him and thus merge with Him and attain Siddhi.

||Veda Vedanta Vedyaya Meghashamala murthaye|

|Pumsam mohana roopaya puyashlokaya mangalam||

The breathtaking OSA!

He can make you hymn, he can make you clap, he can make you tap, he can make you sing, he can make you dance! And he is the one and the only Sir O S Arun, an exponent of the bhajana sampradayam cult of carnatic music.

The Rama Seva Mandali had organised sir’s concert on 19th April as a  part of 73rd Ramothsavam festival season, and was the concert simply scintillating. “Simply” because even the most challenging compositions were rendered with utmost ease.

The concert opened with Tyagaraja swami’s Sri Ganapathine, Saurashtram followed by Bhadrachala Ramadasar’s composition RamaBhadra Ra ra. It was a feast to the audience to get to listen to Tyagaraja’s renowned piece Brova Bharama, bahudari with the most unimaginable improvisations through kalpanaswaras. A concert is complete only by co-ordination. On a rainy day, with a very feeble audience stength, the percussionists Ghatam Karthik Sir and Mridangam J.Vaidyanathan sir(who had just returned from USA that morning) were so generous that they did not play tani avartanam, so that the artist could sing more songs. Meera’s famous Rama Ratan Dhan Payo, Dasar’s Tamburi Meetidava were rendered. Many songs of Bhadrachala Ramadasar were rendered. Radhashtakam and Namasankeertani were the highlights. It was music divine, it was music delicable, over all it was breathtaking. In Carnatic music, the main piece has tani avartanam. With  no tani, each song was a main piece. The very few people who were blessed enough to attend the concert( all thanks to the untimely rain) were so drowned in the ocean of Raga and Anuraga ; music and devotion that it was so disappointing to hear Pavamana Suthudu! We look forward to more shows from this promising artist .