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SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anubadravam anudhinamsamvardhaya/
SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anubadravam anudhinamsamvardhaya//
KAvEri VardhathAm kAlE, kAlE varshathu vAsava:/
SrI RanganAthO jayathu SrI Ranga SrIs cha VardhathAm// ======================================================================= SRI RANGA SRI VOL.2/15
dated 13th August 2001 ========================================================================
Dear Bhagavatas:
We are glad to inform you that the membership of ?Sri Ranga Sri? has
risen to 600 mark thanks to the numerous members who have encouraged
their friends to join and / or recommended to us to include them in our mailing list.
By Sri S.Govindarajan, B.Sc., B.L., Srirangam.
(Anbil Ramaswamy)
Based on -
(i)"Sukha Bodhini" by Sri Purisai Nadadur Krishnamachariar Swami, Editor & Publisher, "Nrisimhapriya",(ii) "Sri Bhashya Saaram" by Sri T.S. Rajagopalan Swami (and published by Azhwargal Amudha Nilayam),
(iii) "Brahma Vidya" by Sri S. Jagannarayanan Swami, Retd. Secretary
to Govt. of India, (iv) "Sri Bhashya Saaraswaathinee" by Vaikuntavasi Vidwan Tirupputkuzhi Narasimha Tatachariar Swami of Sri Hayagriva Vidya Peetam, Chennai, (v) "Adhyatmika Saara" by Sokkanvur V Narasimhacharya, Aasthaana Vidwan, Ahobila Matam published by G.K.Dixit, Dravida Desa Brahmana Samskrita Sarvakalasalai, Trichy and
(vi) "Sri Bhashyartha Deepika" in Tamil by the above author with
commentaries on "Bhashyartha Manipravala Deepika" of 40th Pattam
Azhagiyasinghar and "Srisootrartha Padyamaalika" of 44th Pattam
?Gitartha Sangraham? by Alavandar (in Sanskrit) and Swami Desikan (in Tamil) Summarized in English (Anbil Ramaswamy) from the "Gita Saaram" of Vaikuntavasi U. Ve. Vidwan Saarasaarjna Tirukkallam Narasimha Raghava Chariar Swami.
4. "LEARN OUR TRADITION THE EASY WAY"- Sampradaya lessons for kids for GRADE 2 LESSON 7: ?The Sacred Mark of protection? written in Tamil by Desika Bhakta Ratnam, U. Ve. Seva Srinivasa Raghavachariar Swami under his "Jayamangala Paada Thittam" (Translated in English by Sri M.K.Srinivasan Swami of Vedanta Desika Research Center)
IF you are satisfied with the form and content of the Journal, please spread the word among those interested and encourage them to join by sending an email to ?" SriRangaSri Subscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
Alternatively, You may suggest us the email addresses of friends who may be REALLY interested so that we can directly add them to our mailing list.
Anbil Ramaswamy,
Editor & Publisher "Sri Ranga Sri"
By Sri S.Govindarajan, B.Sc., B.L., Srirangam.
Even at the outset I must address a fatal misconception prevalent among Sri Vaishnavaites: Some calling themselves as ?Svayam Aacharyas?. In today?s context, there is very rare to find one with the perfect qualifications like Jnaana, Bhakti, Varaghya, Achaara, Anushtaana etc to claim oneself as ?Svayamacharya?.

Further, one can never be one?s own ?Acharya?. You can never teach yourself Vedanta, give yourself Mantropadesa or perform Prapathi for yourself as your own Acharya - by means of ?Acharya Nishta or Ukti Nishta?. Thus, the term ?Svayamacharya? itself is a misnomer, especially in today?s context.

In our lives we have many ?Gurus?: The first is the teacher who teaches us the ?alphabets?. Before him comes the father who performs the ?Aksharabyasa? as ordained by the Shastras. Then, we have the various teachers for various subjects at various levels of education-elementary, high school and college levels. We have Gurus who teach us Vedas and Prabandas.

Among all these and others who is the ?Pradana Acharyan??
Swamy Desikan succinctly answers this in his monumental work ?Sillarai Rahasyankal?

In Sillarai Rahasyankal Part III, ?Pradana Sathakam? Swamy Deskan deals with 100 important traditional matters (?Samprathaya vishayankal) In the 89th Sloka he says: ?Acharaya: Sreshto Gurunaam? enkaiyaale Guru vargathil ?Acharyan? ?Pradaanan?. Again in the 64th Sloka he says:
?Ib Bhaagavathar udaiya kainkaryankalil ?Guro: Gurutharam Naasthi? ithyaathikalil sonna Achaarya Kainkaryam Pradaanam?.

The further question arises as to who is the Pradaana Achaaryan?
This is also very clearly answered by Swamy Desikan: In Sillarai Rahasyankal Part I, Chapter1 ?Sampradaya Parisuddhi?, he declares: ?Adyaathma vishayathil pradana-apradanankalai oruvarku palaraka upadesikka vedantankalil pala idankalil kandom. ?pradan sruthathin udaiya? ?prathishtarthamaka palar upadesithaal ?Alpam vaa - bahu vaa - yasya sruthasyopakarothi ya: Ithamipaha gurum vidyaath sruthopakriyayaa thayaa? enkaiyaale avarkal pakkalilum acharya prathipathi panna praptham. ?

AVAYAHITHA MOKSHOPAAYA VYAVASAAYAM? pirappikkai Pradhana Acharya kruthyam. It will, therefore, be clear that Pradaana Acharyan is one who inculcates the means of attaining ?Mokshopaayam?- one who etches indelibly in our minds the ?Mokshopaaya saadanam-?Prapathi? or ?Saranagathi?. In other words, the ?Acharyan ?who imbibes and inculcates in our minds about ?Prapathi? and helps us attain salvation is ?THE PRADAANA ACHARYAN?.
One of the Vidyas lays down that ?AKSHARA BRAHMAM? is the one to be the object of Upasana. What is this ?Akshara Brahmam? It is the Brahmam that has all the auspicious qualities (kalyanagunas) and totally bereft of all evils who is denoted by this term. Narayana Anuvakam identifies this Brahmam as none other than Sriman Narayana, who it describes as subtle (sukshma), atomic (anu) and the inseparable divine couple i.e. ?Sriya: Pathi?

This ?Sriya: Pathi? is totally devoid of all evil and He is the very repository of all auspicious qualities. He is thirst less; hunger less, He is different from body (sareera), Mind (manas) and vital air (Praana). In ?SATHVIDYA?. Ushasthi and Kahomar asked some questions on these. The answer to all these is that this ?Sriya: Pathi? is other than the Jivaatma while being the Indweller thereof. And it is He who should be meditated upon.

A Vidya called ?DAHARA VIDYA? is mentioned in both Chandokhya Upanishad and ?Vaajasaneya Upanishad?. The former describes Paramaatma as indwelling in the subtle air within the heart ?Dahara Aakaasa?(the air within); The latter describes Him as one who rests in ?Aakaasa? (the air without). Since there is no difference between the air within and the air without, the ?Dahara Vidya? appearing in both the Upanishads is one and the same.

This deals with the practice of meditation called ?UDGEETHA? Upasana.
Though it is not compulsory to observe ?Udgeetha? as an integral part of ?YAGAS?, sine ?Pranavam? forms part of ?Udgeetham? like blemishlessness (Nirdoshatvam), Fulfillment of all desires (Satyakaamatvam) etc should be meditated upon. This is necessary for yagas to be performed without any impediment even though the mantras may vary in the various Upanishads.

The previous Adhikaranam dealt with Udgeetham?. This deals with ?dahara Vidya Upasanam?. In this the Lord?s nature (Svabhava) is required to be meditated upon as ?dahara Aakaasa? first and His qualities are enlisted subsequently, the qualities have to be considered separately IN ADDITION to His nature of ?Dahara Aaakaasam?. In other words, both His nature and His qualities have to be taken into account in ?Dahara Vidya Upasana?. This Adhikaranam avers that Narayana Anuvakam of Taittriyam establishes Lord Sriman Narayana as the ONLY ONE who is referred to in all Vidyas, though this has been specifically mentioned with reference to ?Dahara Vidya?.

It is this Sriman Narayana who is declared in all Vidyas as to be with all auspicious qualities and bereft of all evil ones and the one who is the ultimate recipient of Havis though names of other Devatas like Indra, Siva, Sambhu, Paramjoti, Parambramha and Paramaatma etc are invoked during the course of the Upasanas.

This Adhikaranam clarifies that ?manas?(mind), ?Vaak?(Speech) ?Praanan?((vital air), ?Chakshus (Sight), ?Srotram? (audition) etc. should be deemed to represent firegod (Agni). If this is done, Bhaktiyoga will be fulfilled without impediments. Therefore, Sutrakara?s view is that such meditation constitutes the limits (Kaashta) of Vidyas. This has also been confirmed in Agni Rahasyam Upanishad forming part of ?Vaajasaneeyam?.

This Adhikaranam stipulates that in the process of Upasana, the ?Pratyakaatma? (individual soul or Jeevaatma) should be meditated upon as the body (Sareera) of Paramaatma. Thus, it becomes a worthy object of Upasana. But, while being so, the ?Pratykaatma? should be deemed as what it would be in the ?Moksha dasa? (state of liberation). In other words, the Jivaatma should be considered on par with Paramaatma (Thulya) in the matter of ?Apahathapaapma? (sinless During the ?sadhana dasa? (state of meditation) itself the ?Pratyakaatma? should be considered as how it would shine in the ?Praapya Dasa? (in the attainment state)

If Jivaatma Upasana were to be done as stated above, wherever Paramaatma Upasana is prescribed, a doubt arises whether this is applicable to ?Udgeetha Upasana? mentioned earlier. Starker replies that as ?Udgeetha Vaakhyam? ?Om iti yetat aksharam Udgeetham Upaaseetha? which means ?Pranavam? occurs in all Upasanas, such a meditation is applicable to all contexts in which ?Udgeetha Uapasanam? is prescribed.

This deals with ?VAISWAANARA VIDYA? in which the Lord is meditated upon with His whole form from head to foot. Oupamanyava and four other Rishis approached Uddalaka to learn this Vidya. He was also not sure. So, he took them to the Court of Aswapathi and requested him to elucidate. The King clarified that the three worlds (Trailokya) from ?Dhyulokam? (Svarga or Heavens) down to ?Prithvi? (Earth) should be deemed as the body (Sareera) of Bhagavan and that such a meditation will lead to ?Brahmanubhavam? (Total bliss) because the Lord is in all the worlds, in all beings and indwelling in all. Thus, it is this ?Samudaaya Upasanam? (Collective meditation) that can bestow all benefits.

This Adhikaranam confirms that the various Vidyas like ?Sath Vidya?, ?Saandilya Vidya?, ?Aananda Vidya?, ?Upakosala Vidya?, ?Vaiswaanara Vidya? etc are all different because there are differences in names (Sabda),
Commandments (Vidhi), practices (abhyaasa), Quantity (Sankhya) qualities (guna) and contexts (prakaranam) they deal with.

This Adhikaranam recommends that since the fruits to be attained viz, ?Paripoorna Brahmaanubhavam? is the same for all Vidyas, it would be sufficient if anyone of them is adopted. In other words, it is not necessary to practice more than one Vidya.

Those who desire fruits other than this ?Brahmaanubhavam? may choose one or the other either alone or in combination and reap relevant benefits. But, it should be understood that that all fruits other than ?Brahmaanubhavam? are trifles (a-saaram) and evanescent (a-nityam)
ADHYAYAM 3: ?KARMA YOGAM?- ?Gitartha Sangraham? by Alavandar (in Sanskrit) and Swami Desikan (in Tamil)
Summarized in English (Anbil Ramaswamy) from the "Gita Saaram" of Vaikuntavasi U. Ve. Vidwan Saarasaarjna Tirukkallam Narasimha Raghava Chariar Swami.
Asakthya loka rakshaayai guneshu aaropya kartrutvam/
Sarvesware vaa nyaasyokthaa Thritheeye karma kaaryathah//
In this Chapter, the Lord makes it clear that even though He Himself is capable of Jnaana Yoga and Non-observance of Karma yoga will not affect Him adversely, yet He continues to perform Karmas lest less evolved souls not capable of Jnaana Yoga should follow His example and forsake Karma yoga. This is to protect people from abdicating their duties prescribed in the Sastras. In other words, ?karma Yoga Anushtaanam? (practicing Karma yoga)
Another important message of this Chapter is that while so doing karma, one should constantly remember that the ?doer-ship? (kartrutvam) is always in the exclusive domain of Bhagavan and does no belong to the practitioner.
Sankam thavirndu sakam sadirpetra Dhananjaya!
Pongum gunangal puNarappanaithum pugaviTTavatruL
Nankan Uraitha Kirisai ellaam enavum navinraar
Engum arivaargaLe enru Naathan iyambinane
?Oh! Dhananjaya! Those who discard attachments to fruits, put down the twin undesirable qualities of Rajo and Tamo gunas, seek to promote Sattva guna and consider all their actions as prescribed in the Sastras as belonging to Me and do them in total dedication to Me ? they are true ?Jnaana Yogis?(realized souls) even while performing ?Karma Yoga?
Thus spake the Lord (Naathan iyambinan)
4. "LEARN OUR TRADITION THE EASY WAY"- Sampradaya lessons for kids for GRADE 2 LESSON 7: ?The Sacred Mark of protection? written in Tamil by Desika Bhakta Ratnam, U. Ve. Seva Srinivasa Raghavachariar Swami under his "Jayamangala Paada Thittam" (Translated in English by Sri M.K.Srinivasan Swami of Vedanta Desika Research Center)
The Sacred white mark worn on the forehead of every Vaishnava is indeed a protection for him. The white clay found in certain sacred places is purified and either made into a solid (cubed or spherical) shapes and kept in houses for daily use. Such a mark is considered auspicious.

Our body needs purification at different spots. Our ancient preceptors have identified 12 locations to wear the sacred mark. This will be explained later in our lesson.

First, about the forehead which is the main place. Two straight lines are drawn linked together from the base of the nose where the forehead starts, and between the eyebrows, upwards with sufficient space (at least one inch apart) in the center of the two almost parallel lines is drawn another line with sacred yellow or red powder called Sri-choornam. The white lines represent Lord Narayana and the yellow/red line Goddess Lakshmi. Only when both the white and yellow/red lines are drawn is the sacred mark complete. White lines without the yellow / red marks are worn only on death in the family when the wearer is in pollution.

In Sanskrit these markings are called ?Urdvapundram? (upward facing). Since the Lord is the Indweller in our bodies, we have to worship Him through knowledge and devotion internally and the sacred mark externally.

The mark is bestowed on an individual by our preceptor during the performance of ?Samaasrayana?, after the thread ceremony. Without the sacred mark, no religious rites can and should be performed. The practice of wearing sacred marks dates back to Vedic times and has been mentioned in Dharma Sastras, Puranas, and Divya Prabandhams. They are not of recent origin as some would like us to believe.

A face without the sacred mark is compared to a cremation ground! But, recently for some decades there is a growing tendency where young and even of men from orthodox families have stopped wearing the sacred marks on the body as it is not modern, as they become laughuing stock of Society, as it distracts attention in the workspot, as drawing them takes time and lastly as they do not understand the significance of wearing the marks. This is wrong. Those who believe in the upliftment of their souls should not hesitate to wear the sacred marks. Such an action will not affect others at all. But, not wearing them will definitely affect us.

Sensing the reluctance of people in modern times, our ancients have insisted on the marks at least on the forehead and this should not be discarded at all. Let the modern youth wear at least the mark on the forehead and chant the names of Lord Vishnu while touching the remaining eleven places.

Some say the mark represents the Lord?s feet on our forehead. We prefer to say that the mark resembles the Lord?s foot. The saying is ?Hari Paada sama akritim? i.e like the Lord?s foot.

The names of the Lord associated with each part of the body are given below. Swami Desika has indicated them in his treatise ?Vaishnava Dinasari? or ?the daily chores of a Vaishnava?; the 12 names of Goddess Lakshmi are also indicated:

Part of the body        Name of the Lord Name of the Goddess
Forehead        Kesava  Sri
Middle of belly above navel     Narayana        Amrutodbhava
Mid chest       Madhava Kamala
Front of neck   Govinda Chandrasodari
Right side of belly     Vishnu  Vishnupatni
Right upper arm Madhusudhana    Vaishnavi
Right neck      Trivikrama      Varaaroha
Left side of belly      Vaamana Harivallabha
Left upper arm  Sreedhara       Saarngini
Left neck       Hrishikesa      Deva Devika
Lower back      Padmanaabha     Sura Sundari
Back of neck    Damodara        Mahaalakshmi
Upper part of the head  Vaasudeva       Sarvabheeshtaphlaprada

The most important names are Kesava and Damodara, who should be remembered while putting sacred marks on the forehead and back of neck, which are essential.
1. How many sacred marks are to be placed on the body?
2. In what shape should the mark be?
3. Which is or are the most important spots in the body that should bear the marks?
4. What are the names of the Goddess, which are associated with these marks?
5. Where should the thirteenth mark be?
6. Explain the significance of the sacred mark?

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