Sri . Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , Bangalore

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  • Srivaishnavism
  • Vedas :  Vedas present an approach to universe and also relationship of man vis a vis universe.Vedic approach is that our planet is  part of our universe and systems of universe have an influence on the life  in our planet. Meditation and other activities   emphasized in vedas is essentially to attract beneficial cosmic radiation's to our planet , which inturn help to form an environment conductive to healthy development of body and mind of human.
  • Vedic approach centres around  " God or Parabrahman" who is responsible for creation, progress  and   destruction   of    the universe.Further he regulates every action of the universe.With the advent of cosmic and space research, this vedic approach  is gaining recognition.Frank.J.Tipler, Prof. of Mathematical physics , in his book "The physics of immortality" discusses various theories of cosmology (omega point theory) and points out that the present observations are based on visible universe which is only a small fraction of the total universe.By defining the universe as the totality of all that exists (including the invisible portion of the universe), he points out the   existence  of  a   person /  force/  source   that  is omnipresent (unlimited power) omnicent (knowing everything)and omnipresent (present everywhere).In this way he supports the vedic concept of God.
  • Vedic approach that time is cyclic in character , also  finds scientific support.Vedic concept is  that one " Chaturyuga " - comprising of " Kaliyuga " , " Dwaparayuga " , "Tretayuga " and "Satyayuga " -is the basic cycle on which wheel of time moves.( This is approximately 4.32 million human years ) . 1008 cycles of chaturyuga constitutes "One day " at the ultimate source of creation.This is referred to as " Kalpa " .The creation begins at the beginning of a Kalpa ( called Laya ) and there will be complete destruction at the end of "Kalpa" ( called Pralaya ).Creation and destruction are continuous process , not only in our planet but also in the entire universe.
  • Vedas are starting point of all Indian philosophies . Ramanuja has also based " Srivaishnavism" on vedic principles. Srivaishnavism is as old as veda itself ." Alwars" , Supreme devotees of Lord Vishnu , are foremost amongst the Srivaishnava teachers .They are overwhelmed by the desire for incessant communion with the lord.They remain immersed in singing the divine glories of the Lord.The songs composed and sung by them are   known as "Divya Prabhandam " .There are in all 4000 songs all in Tamil. These songs bring out " Saranagathi " ( or surrender ) approach to god realization. These songs bring out the essence of Vedas and hence are also referred to as "Tamil Vedas".There are 12 Alwars who spread Vishnu Bhakti  Cult and surrender.Ramanuja gave a scientific explanation of Srivaishnavism and hence has become synonymous with Vishishtadvaita.
  • God is the absolute reality , endowed with all auspicious and excellent attributes which are unsurpassable. He is the inner ruler of matter ( a non-sensuous thing or Achit ) as well as Souls or Atman ( a sensuous thing or Chit ). In the state of cosmic dissolution (Pralaya) which occurs at the end of a kalpa (cycles of four yugas), the matter and soul exist in a subtle state in Him possessing none of the qualities which make them objects of experience or cognizing subjects.From this subtle state , creation evolves by the will of God. Subtle matter ( Achit) develop into gross form and will be of 24 types such as "Prakriti " , etc.Mixture of the various types of Achit is our world and body of living things.Souls (Chit) expand their consciousness ,entering into connection with bodies appropriate to their past Karmas (Actions) and continue the cycle of births and deaths , known as "Sansara". Out of compassion for the souls , God also teaches vedas - a treatise discussing  nature of souls, prakriti or nature, God or Paramatman,  causes of samsara and ways to get out of samsara etc- through Brahma and a lineage of sages Srivaishnavism explains saranagathi approach to cross samsara.
  • Three realities : 
  • Srivaishnavism recognizes three realities - namely Chit ( Sensuous objects) , Achit ( Non Sensuous objects ) and Eshwara ( God) .This is referred to as "Tatwa Thraya" . Achit is of 24 types , such as Prakriti , etc . Achit has no capacity to show itself .It is dependent on Chit for this purpose .Both Chit and Achit are subordinate to Eshwara. Saranagathi is the main process for "Moksha "- that is redeeming of Samsara. Thus , according to Srivaishnavism , every individual in this world is an inseparable combination of Soul (Chit) , Prakriti ( Achit) and Eshwara ( Antaryami ). Every soul gets a body ( evolved out of prakriti ) in accordance with his Karmas. the soul and body are inseparable and interdependent in an individual. Eshwara ( Antaryami) resides in the body but does not take part in the worldly activities of the body .However , His help is available for the soul to cross the Samsara.


 

  • Sandhyavandanam & its significance
  • Our planet not only goes around the sun but also rotates on it's own axis. Sun rise and Sun set are caused by the rotation of earth on it's own axis. At every instant of time , there will be Sunrise at one place and Sunset at another place. At Sunrise , rays of Sun will hit that part of the earth for the first time for that day , resulting in release of energies .Similarly at Sun set there will be withdrawal of energies.
  • Sun rise constitutes a change from 'darkness' to 'light' and hence constitutes a 'Sandhya' i.e junction. Similarly sun set is also a 'Sandhya' i.e. a junction.
  • Upanishads speak very highly of Sandhya times. It says that benefits are far more during Sandhya times than that at other times. Recent researches have also brought out abundant release of beneficial energy at sun rise and withdrawal of non-beneficial energy at sun set.
  • Though Upanishads refer to two Sandhya-names Sun rise and Sun set , the sages have added one more 'Sandhya' namely 'Madhyanika' or mid-day. Sun rises in east , moves upward , reaches zenith , and then descends to west. The point at zenith represents change from upwards to downwards.This sandhya is considered to be beneficial for worship of 'Pithru Devatas' - that is devatas who are instrumental for one to get son , grandson , etc and also one to be a son or grandson , etc.
  • Sandhyavandanam
  • Prayers at Sandhya time are called "Sandhyavandanam" .The main objective of Sandhyavandanam is to avail benefits of Sandhya for an individual.
  • Vedic References
  • References are there regarding 'Sandhyavandanam' in Thaithria , Ishavasya and Chandogya Upanishads. They all bring out the importance of offering 'Arghya' meditating on 'Adithya'. This form of worship will help an individual to acquire the qualities of 'Adithya'- namely lustrous and healthy body and mind , high intellect with grasping power , high intuition , memory etc. Chandogya Upanishads brings out also the importance of worshipping 'Adithya' through Gayathri Hyms.
  • Format
  • Keeping the observations in Upanishads , our sages have evolved a format for Sandhyavandanam covering:-
  • Purification
  • Offering Arghyam
  • Meditation through Gayathri
  • Purification : The purification measures in sandhyavandanam are essentially to strengthen this aspect and condition the body , to receive the beneficial cosmic radiation
  • The purification essentially tunes the body to receive cosmic radiation's available at Sandhya time.The purification measures are:-
  • Achamanam Pranayamam
  • Prasanam Prokshanam 
  • The present day studies of Naturopathy , like Pranic Healing , Reiki etc have brought out the role of Bio- electricity in humans in regard to health. The purification measures in 'Sandhyavandanam' are essentially to strengthen this aspect and condition the body to receive the beneficial cosmic radiations.
  • 'Achamanam' helps in the flow of bio-electricity within the body.
  • 'Pranayamam' helps to activate the chakras.
  • 'Prasanam' is swallowing energized water and
  • 'Prokshanam' is sprinkling of energized water.
  • 'Sandhyavandanam' starts with purification process so that the benifits of 'Arghyam' and 'Gayathri' are realised.
  • Though Sandhya time refers to sun rise and sun set , it's benefit spreads on either side of this point.Under Indian situations , approximately two hours on either side is beneficial.
  • Mantra
  • A 'Hymn' or 'Mantra' is a prayer ( With words and alphabets specifically chosen) addressed to God or Deity . It is supposed to have mystic and supernatural powers. The energy from the universe is present everywhere . By reciting a Mantra either orally or mentally , we tune ourselves to receive this energy .The hymns chosen for Sandhyavandanam are meant to realize the benefits of Sandhya.
  • Every Mantra has a Chandas - the Chandas explains the potential of the Mantra or the power it can create in our body by receiving it.
  • Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, Bangalore has brought out a book on 'Sandhyavandanam' (119 pages) explaining the above aspects in details. It covers general background , detailed notes explaining appreciation and correct procedure for various constituents such as Achamanam , Pranayamam , etc . The meaning for various Hymns has been given in English . Tamil , Kannada and Devanagiri script has been used for various hymns and the book covers the three veda sakas viz Yajur , Sama and Rig veda . It is modelled as a self instructor especially for people without any specialized knowledge . Interestingly , it also includes procedure for changing sacred thread and performing Special Gayathri Japam. This book has proved to be very popular especially for those who want to gift something to relatives staying abroad or during Upanaynam ceremony. 



  • Pranayamam & it's  significance 
  • Human activities cover a very wide range .It includes not only physical activities but also intellectual activities.For this wide range of activities of a human , only one raw material input is the food we take. The human body has to function as an individual complex , to convert this input into various requirements of the body to meet the needs of the different activities. In any Industrial plant , it is well known that for conversion of raw materials to end products , the plant has to be provided with energy .This is done through electricity in most plants.In the case of human body , how is this energy provided ??
  •  The Vedic references mention about 'Prana' , as the source of energy for the activities of the human body.This is available everywhere in the universe. According to vedic tenets ,'Prana' enters the body and divides itself into  five forms to cover different zones and also assumes  different names .'Prana' is the prime source of energy and enters the body through respiration. The life energy or 'Prana' distributing itself all over the body is known as 'Vyana' .The energy regulating excretory organs is known as 'Apana'.The life energy catering for the neck region is known as 'Udana' .The life energy covering nabhi region to support digestion etc is known as 'Samana'.These are known as 'Pancha Pranas' or five life energies . It is customary practice to make offerings to 'Pancha Pranas' before taking food .Thus respiratory system is a source of energy supply to the body .This apart Vedic references mention also ' Chakras' in our body as another source of supply .Of these , the respiratory source is considered very important and measures for respiratory control developed .The pranic energy referred to here is not of one particular type but a mixture of several types.They serve not only as source of energy but also provide faculties such as speech , hearing etc. They also influence personality. Vedic philosophies discuss this aspect . ( A discussion on this subject is available in the book 'Srivaishnavism' published by the sabha.)
  •  Realising the importance of pranic energy , efforts were also made for their intake as a part of our living .Sages such as Manu , Yagnavalkya , Parasara , Gautama  and others in their 'Smritis' have given the art of living ( Dharma Shastra ) based on their experience .Their one objective was to enhance the nobility and respectability of humans and establish an ideal human society . Out of a rock lying uncared for and tredded by one and all , if our artisan carves an idol of God , it becomes worthy of worship .In the same manner , a human birth alone cannot reach a level of respect .Some processing is necessary .This is called 'Samskaras', and were made integral part of living .These 'Samskaras' enabled the individual to acquire various qualities through absorption of appropriate pranic energy.
  • Our predecessors realised that respiration held the key to health and personality of humans .Thus ,respiratory control or 'Pranayamam' was evolved.
  • This view of the Indian sages was not acceptable to Scientists and the Western world. Hence , these remained as a mere ritual . Around 1960 , some studies of the brain and the Kirlian photography brought about a revolution .The approach of our sages received recognition .Since then lot of progress has been made.
  • The discussion in this book titled ' Vedic Pranayamam - An Elixir to Health & Prosperity ' is  limited to 'Vedic Pranayamam' , taught at the time of 'Upanaynam' and also forming part of 'Sandhyavandanam' or Sandhya Prayers. This is also used in all Vedic rituals . Our sages have given a format for 'Pranayamam' .This format is discussed in the light of research of human body through Kirlian photography , brain studies etc. . It will be seen from these discussions , that the format for 'Pranayamam' given by our sages is indeed unique and helps a great deal in preserving our physical health and also develop personality . 

 


  • Gayathri Japam


  • Gayathri is a veda mantra to be recited at sandhya period.
  •  Gayathri means "A mantra that protects those who recite it ". 
  •  'Tatsaviturvarenyam - Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi- Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat'   is  the  gayathri  mantra .
  •  
  • While chanting , it is prefixed by   'om'  ( pranava ) and 'bhur bhuvaswah'   ( vyahriti )
  •  
  •  The meaning of the mantra is  ' I meditate on sun with tejas or divine strength of the lord who activates our  intellect '. This means ' I meditate on the Supreme lord in the orbit of the sun who activates our intellect.'
  •  Gayathri mantra consists of   five sections as under
  •  
  •  Om                           
  •  Bhur  Bhuva  Suvah
  •  Tathsavithur Varenyam                    
  •  Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
  •  Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
  •  
  • Each section should be uttered in one breath. There must be gap between sections.
  •  Gayathri is considered to be   mother of all mantras and is said to be equivalent to vedas . It is addressed to " para brahman " residing in the sun. In other words we meditate on para brahman residing in sun through Gayatri . God ( Para Brahman ) is both male and female . The soft and kind qualities are praised as female .Through Gayatri , we invoke soft and kind qualities of Para Brahman . Gayatri mantra is universal . In other words it is chanted not only by humans but also by Devas. According to Chandayoga Upanishad , meditation through Gayatri at sunrise and sunset helps one to acquire benefits from "Aditya " - namely lustrous and health preserving of the body and mind , light body , high intellect with grasping power , high intuition , memory , improved blood circulation and many other qualities . Studies  by the  Sabha also point to the above .During chanting , blood pressure comes down .ECG studies indicate improved absorption of cosmic or pranic energy .In the language of pranic or Reiki healers , this means better resistance against ailments .This aspect has been discussed in the book " Sandhyavandanam " , published in 1995 by the sabha. The essential feature of Sandhyavandanam is meditation through Gayatri Mantra.
  •  
  •  Gayatri Japam or meditation through Gayatri Mantra has a unique place in vedic tradition.The benefits are immense .It helps one to acquire high personality , high mental quality , etc .
  •  
  • The  following episode may be of interest ;
  •  
  •   Akbar was ruling India . Birbal was  his   minister .Akbar and Birbal would often travel incognito to collect first hand information about the  various happenings within the country.On one occasion , they noticed a brahmin going begging from house to house .Akbar pointed this out to Birbal .Birbal noticed the beggar and kept quiet. after reaching home he sent word for the brahmin to meet him.
  •  When the brahmin called on Birbal , Birbal said , " Oh ! Brahmin - You collect your daily earnings through begging from me every day . In lieu of begging please chant Gayatri Japam during the three sandhya periods 108 times everyday." The brahmin agreed and after collecting the money from Birbal , started chanting Gayatri Mantra. after a few days , he thought , why not increase the chanting to 1008 times , since he had a lot of time. Very soon , people started giving him charity in the form of food and cash . In this way the brahmin stopped going to Birbal's house for begging . His daily meditation earnt him the power to acquire knowledge , acquire an attractive personality and soon he transformed into a good expounder of knowledge. More and more people started coming to him and he became a well known personality . Birbal also heard about him . One day Birbal visited the brahmin and asked him as to why he had stopped coming to his house . The brahmin  profusely thanked Birbal for for putting him on the right path by guiding him at the right time.
  •  One day Birbal mentioned to Akbar that a saintly person had come to town and Akbar promptly invited the person and honoured him.Birbal then asked Akbar whether he remembered this saintly person but akbar could not recollect. Birbal then reminded Akbar about the brahmin beggar episode . Akbar after  hearing this exclaimed " Oh ! what a change " . This episode appears in the Akbar Nama and brings out the virtue and greatness of the Gayatri Mantra.
  •  Gayatri Mantra is extolled by one and all . It is a simple and small mantra but with  huge  benefits .
  •  Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, Bangalore  has brought out a book on 'Sandhyavandanam' (115 pages) explaining the above aspects in details. It covers general background , detailed notes explaining appreciation and correct procedure for various constituents such as Achamanam  , Pranayamam , etc . The meaning for various Hymns has been given in English . Tamil , Kannada and Devanagiri script has been used for various hymns and the book covers the three veda sakas viz Yajur , Sama and Rig veda . It is modelled as a self instructor especially for  people without any specialized knowledge . Interestingly , it also includes procedure for changing sacred thread  and  performing  Special Gayathri Japam. This book has proved to be very popular especially for those who want to gift something to relatives staying abroad or during Upanaynam ceremony. Please contact Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha,  e-Mail  tsksabha@yahoo.com

 


 

  • Saranagathi
  • Saranagathi or surrender is the approach in Srivaishnavism for god. There are no restrictions. Any one irrespective of caste,creed,age or sex  can follow. One can perform Saranagathi  not only for himself but also for others  including animals, birds, plant etc.The individual surrenders to the Lord expressing his limitations of  yogic  path.The process is simple with huge benefits. Therefore , the god expects the individual to follow a few rules during the tenure of current life.
  •  Resolve to do only such acts as are favourable to supreme god.
  •  Resolve to avoid all actions nor favoured by the Lord.
  •  Have full faith in the Lord that he will protect  the individual.
  •  Confess to Lord   one's  inability to do anything except surrendering  at the Lord's feet.
  •  Express one's   total dependence on the Lord for protection.
  • The act  of  Saranagathi  or  surrender  is   done  through  Mantras only-  Chanted with pure devotion. 
  • There are three modes by which one can do Saranagathi.

 

 Swanishte : One who has full knowledge of Saranagathi and has realized God , can do saranagathi directly to Lord.

 Uktinishte : One who cannot do Swanishte , should approach an "Acharya "or teacher and request his guidance. Acharya recites sentences conveying full surrender , and the sentences uttered by Acharya are repeated by the individual.

 Acharyanishte : One who cannot do any of the above methods , will surrender to the Acharya himself.

 

  • For "Moksha" - God realization , Saranagathi is essential. All modes of Saranagathi are equal.
  •  PanchaSamskara and Srivaishnava mantras :

 

Panchasamskara are five purificatory ceremonies which one should go through to become a Srivaishnava . These are performed by one's Acharya. They are

 Embossing the impressions of conch ( Sankha ) and wheel ( Chakra ) on the left and right arms by an Acharya.

 Wearing twelve Srivaishnava marks on the body reciting appropriate names of the Lord as taught by Acharya.

 Adding " Dasa " to one's name.

 Learning from the Acharya the three Srivaishnava mantras with their invocatory slokas. The three Srivaishnava mantras are

                                  Astakshara          

                                  Dvaya

                                  Charama Sloka

This is an important Samskara and should be performed with full devotion .These mantras connote Saranagathi . Chanting these mantras with devotion everyday will enable to earn the grace of the Lord.

 Learning of  " Aradhana " or worship of the Lord.

 

  • Mantra  Snanam  and   it's  Relevance
  •  Smiritis  say ' Snanam  Saptavidam  Smrutam ' , meaning that all the  seven forms of Snanam (bath) are equal in merit . The bath we take everyday by pouring water is 'Varuna Snanam' .Smiriti's recognise that 'Varuna Snanam' is not possible at all times and at all places .Therefore , other forms of Snanams(bath) are also recognised.  It says 

 

Apohistadibi  Mantram  Mruda  lambasthu  Parthivam |  Agneyam  Bhasmana  Snanam Vayavyam   Goraja Smrutam ||  Yattu Saatapa  Varshena  Divyamtatsnanamuchyate(Yaattu Saatapa Varshena Divyam+tat+snanam+uchyate)|  Varunam chaavagahastu (Varunam+cha+Avagahastu) Manasam  Vishnu  Chintanam  ||  

meaning sprinkling water on head  and feet  chanting the hymn     'Apohistha'  is  'Mantra Snanam ', smearing pure earth to body and limbs is 'Partiva'(Mrithika) snanam smearing ash of fire is Agneya Snanam , smearing the dust from the feet of cow is 'Vayavyam' snanam , bathing in rain during sunshine is 'Divya'  snanam ( As if  holy Ganga is coming from heaven) , bathing by immersing one self in water is 'Varuna' snanam , meditating on Lord Vishnu is 'Manasika' snanam.

 

  •  'Mantra Snanam '  and  'Manasika Snanam' have relevance in present day living conditions , particularly  for Sandhyavandanam . Sandhyavandanam is a time oriented ritual - namely Sun rise and Sun set. As an alternative to 'Varuna Snanam' 'Mantra Snanam ' can be used to facilitate timely performance of Sandhyavandanam and take advantage of Sandhya .
  •  The procedure for Mantra Snanam is as follows :

 

  Wash hands and feet and change your clothes

  ' Achamanam '

 ' Pranayamam ' 

 ' Sankalpah' -  ' Sri  Bhagavadajnaya  Sriman  Narayana Prithyartham  Pratah  Sandhya Mantra  Snanam  Karishye'  

or 

' Mama  Upatta  Samastha  Dhurita  Kashya  Dwara  Parameshwara Prithyartham  Pratah  Sandhya  Mantra  Snanam  Karishye '

  ' Snanam' - (Take small quantity of water in your right hand palm and chant ) 

Om ! Apavitrah Pavithro Vaa Sarvavastahyam Gatopivaa |

Yaha   Smaret    Pundarikaksham  Sa Bahyabhyantarah Suchihi  (Sa  Bahyabi+Antarah+Suchihi)|| 

  (And then sprinkle water on your head )

 'Prokshanam' - Prokshanam as in Sandhyavandanam is to be done chanting the hymn - ' Om ! Aapohishtaa Mayobhuvah .......................... ......................................Om ! Bhu Bhurva Suvah.

  Mantra Snanam Ends here . After this the desired ritual  can be continued.


 


 

  • Upanayanam 
  • Frank J. Tipler, a Professor of Mathematical Physics, in his book The Physics of Immortality’ discusses the various theories of Cosmology (Omega Point Theory) and Points out that the Present Observations are based on visible Universe  which is only a small fraction of the total universe.  By  defining the universe as the  totality of all that exists (including invisible portion of the universe), he points out the existence of a person or force that is omnipotent (unlimited power), omniscient (knowing everything) omni present (present everywhere).  Extending his theory he brings out that concept of God in Theology, concept of rebirth, cyclic character of time, are meaningful.  Many other cosmic research scientists have also echoed similar views.  Present day cosmic research has narrowed down the gap between Science and Theology.
  •  Vedic concept is that Para Brahman, Creates (Shristi), Sustains (Stithi) and Destroys (Laya) universe and this process goes on cyclically.  Para Brahman is an infinite source of infinite forms of energy.  His influence (energy) spreads all over Universe. Our sages through meditation have found out the great influence the Cosmic Energy has on humans – Particularly health and personality. They have also found out that human body is equipped for intake of Cosmic Energy (just as a radio receiver can receive radio signals present in air) but this calls for some discipline.  This discipline is referred to as “samskaras’ and there are 16 Samskaras in all covering the full range of human life – from mothers womb to death.Sages Parasara, Manu, Yagnavalkya and Gautama in their Smrithis have brought out the relevance of Samskaras.  All of them had one main aim – namely to create a society of noble persons.  A boulder lying in the street is treaded by all.  If out of this rock, if an artisan carves an image of God, it becomes worthy of worship.  In the same way Samskaras help to give nobility to individuals and mould them to respect worthiness. "Aksharabhyasa”and “Upanayana” are two Samskaras devoted to education.  Upanayanam has a unique place amongst Samskaras.  It is to be performed between age 7 and 10 as per various sages.  (Some margin is given to Kshatriyas and Vysyas).
  •  Upanayana means ‘taken near’ meaning that the boy is taken near a teacher for education.  After upanayanam the boy becomes a Brahmachari and is eligible to learn Vedas and chant them.  In other words, his education in Gurukula starts after Upanayanam. The significance of Upanayanam is far beyond this meaning (applicable even today).  It is a Samskara to provide the boy with faculties to meet the change from childhood to boyhood. (many religions recognize and observe the evernt of change from childhood to boyhood).  The rituals such as mother feeding food for the boy, the  boytaking food with other boys, etc. signifies bidding farewell to childwood habits  (in those days all the children in the house sit around the mother and she gives each one of them a morsel of food by rotation.  After Upanayanam, the food is served exclusively to the boy and he should purify it before eating.
  •  Some of the important and significant rituals in Upanayanam are :
  •  Mekala or Maunji – Acharya ties a thread made out of grass (Dharba) around the waist of the boy, chanting hymns.  The significance is that this thread protects the boy against evil forces.  It also helps him to understand and absorb essence of Mantras.  Even scientific studies have shown that grass like Dharba are good energy collectors.
  •  Next is Yagnopavita Dharanam. Here the boy wears the Sacred thread chanting hymns. Yagnopavita is a thread goving round the body from left shoulder to navel and back to left shoulder via our back.  Thus, it symbolizes a thread going round our ‘Antaryami’ or  Vishnu seated in our heart.  Yagnopavita is a thread  with three strands, each strand containing three threads.  Thus,  there  are  nine  threads,  joined  together. Nine deities – namely Prithvi, Aap Tejas, Vayu, Akash (ether), Prana, Atman, Antaratman, Paramatman  - are installed corresponding to the nine threads.  At the joint ‘Grantithraya devatas’ namely Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are installed.  There is a prescribed procedure for the installation of deities and this is done only once.  Subsequently the Yagnopavita is charged by Gayathri Japam during Sandhyavandanam.  The installation of deities is done by Purohit or Vadyar before giving it to the boy.
  •  The Brahmachari is given later given a Danda or a Stick (of Palasa tree) this is also for protection against evil forces.  Trees such as Aswatha, Palasa and a few others are known to be good collectors of Pranic Energy or Cosmic Energy.
  •  Mantropadesa is the most important constituent of Upanayanam First, the Acharya purifies the Brahmachari through water, seeing Sun, etc.  This will be followed by a question – answer session between Brahmachari  and Acharya. Later Acharya accepts Brahmachari as a disciple  and teaches him Gayathri Mantra.  (For Gayathri Mantra, boy’s father himself will be Acharya. Prior to imparting Mantra to his son, the father should have chanted Gayathri Japam atleast 24,000 times. This is from Bio-energy considerations).
  •  After Mantropadesha the Brahmachari  performs Homam with Samit and prays to Agni to give him lustre, intellect, knowledge, etc.  The studies by Institute of Vedic Sciences on ‘Agnihotra’, have shown release of beneficial energies  and reduction of atmospheric pollution during homam with samit.
  •  The Biksha ritual symbolizes that  a Brahmachari should live on Biksha till he gets married.
  •  The post-upanayanam period is very important.  Apart from learning, his daily routines should include –  (a) Sandyavandanam  (b) Purification of food before eating.

 

 Sandyavandanam means prayers perform at Sandhya periods to avail energies released at Sandhya time and consists of three parts  -  i) purification  ii) worship through Arghyam iii) Meditation through Gayathri Mantram or Gayathri Japam. Arghyam  and Gayathri Japam are detailed in all books.  Gayathri Mantra is a very powerful mantra and benefits are immense.   This mantra protects those who recite it.  It should be chanted in Gayathri Chandas “Tatsaviturvarenyam – Bargo Devasya Dhimahi – dhiyo yo nah Prachodayat”is the Gayathri Mantra’ “OM” (Pranava)and “Bhur Bhuva Suvah” are prefixed for chanting.  Gayathri  is considered  as mother of all mantras and is said to be equivalent to Vedas.  It has power to improve Tejas, Physical and Mental strength and ward off all sins.  When chanted correctly with devotion at Sandhya times, the benefits are immense.  This is chanted 10 or 28 or 108 times during Sandhyavandanam  depending on time availability. In the purification aspect, Achamanam’ and ‘Pranayamam’ are very important. Achamanam balances Bioenergy  in our body and helps in efficient functioning of organs.  This should be  done to the specification though it may take some time. Pranayamam is a very powerful one.  It has influence on endocrine glands and also helps in energy supply to all organs.  According to Sage Hamsa Yogi, Pranayamam not only cures all  ailments but also eradicate them. An important aspect of Pranayamam  is that it helps to build immune system against infection and environment (pollution).  This should be done to specification though it may be difficult in the beginning.

 Thus, Sandyavandanam has not only great influence on the health of the individuals but also on his personality, intellectual ability, etc.   This should be performed at 6.00 a.m. + 2 hours and 6.00 p.m. + 2 hrs preferably as close to 6 am or 6 pm (or atleast first thing in the morning). It is a time oriented ritual.  Hence the procedure starts  with Mantra Snanam to cover all exigencies.  Even if one is not performing Sandyavandanam the past, it is no disqualification  and he can start.

The above points have been discussed in detail in the books ‘Sandyavandanam’,‘Srivaishnavism’ and ‘ Vedic Pranayamam’ by our Sabha .

 

  •  These days performance of Upanayanam involves a substantial expenditure.  Having spent the money, one should avail the benefits.  Hence, the post-Upanayanam period is very important.  It is said that perfornance of Sandyavandanam not only helps individual (performer) but also other members of his family, neighbour hood, village, etc.

 

 Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha's  book on 'Upanayanam - Significance and importance  is modelled as a handbook with lots of useful information . 


 

                                 

 

  •  Ahobilam 
  • Ahobilam  is a place in Kurnool district of Andhra pradesh.The place is hilly and full of forests.The hill ranges extend both to north and south.The hills extending to north is called  "srisailam" and the hills extending to south is called "seshachalam" Thirupathy.The hill ranges around Ahobilam is also known as " Garudachalam" . Garuda , son of Kashyapa did penance here to get his position as vehicle of lord Vishnu. Another peak in this area is called " Vedachalam " . Here vedas did  penance for protection against Asuras.
  •  Ahobilam is considered as a sacred place with benevolence of Lord Narasimha. One of the peaks of this place is considered to be the place where the lord assumed Narasimhaavatara. Referring to the sanctity of the place, Brahmanda purana says " one day stay at Ahobilam is worth more than years of stay at other sacred places Feeding and Charities at Ahobilam is very highly beneficial'
  •  During 1291 to 1322,a king named 'Pratapa Rudra Deva' was ruling Telengana. He was a great devotee of Lord Siva. He would cast an image of Lord Siva in gold and would give it away as a charity everyday before taking his food. On one occasion, he was passing through Ahobilam and camped there . To his surprise,the gold casting took the form of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha. From Scholars,he learnt that Ahobilam is ''Narasimha kshetra' and everything is Narasimha at this place.Later,he also worshipped Lord Narasimha and arranged for the installation of golden  idol at the temple there. Even today,this idol is being worshipped by the Jeers of Ahobila mutt.
  •  When Lord Rama was passing through forests in search of Sita , it is said that he passed through Ahobilam , and  worshipped  Lord Narasimha through five hyms known as " Sri Nrisimha Pourchamrita Sostram ". Devas who witnessed this worship said " Raghavena Kritam Sostram Punchamritam " ( Sostras composed by Lord Rama is Panchamritam ).
  •  This holy place devoted to Lord Narasimha , has a number of temples for Lord Narasimha . The important ones are 

 

                              Prahalada Narasimha

                              Bhargava Narasimha

                              Chakravata Narasimha

                              Yoga Narasimha

                              Karanja Narasimha

                              Ahobila Narasimha

                              Varaha Narasimha

                              Malola Narasimha

                              Jwala Narasimha

  • This holy place where one can seek the benevolence of Lord Narasimha , would not have been available to Mankind but for Sri.Adivan Satagopa Maha Desikan. 

 

 

 

 

  • Sri. Adivan  Satagopa Maha Desikan 
  • Melkote in Mandya district of Karnataka ,India is a great place of divinity .Sri.Cheluva Narayana Swamy is the main diety at the temple .It is believed that the Lord resides in Archa form at his own will as in Tirupathy or Srirangam, at this place.This place was very dear to Bhagawan Ramanuja , who expounded Sri Vishishtadvaitha philosophy or Srivaishnavism .Sri Ramanuja with a view to sustain and promote Vishishtadvaitha philosophy , created seventy four centres of excellence all over India , and Melkote was one such centre.He also appointed one of his disciples at each of these centres to perform Panchasamskara and also to organise study circles and lectures.Sri Krishna Pada was assigned Melkote .Subsequently , the decendents of Sri Krishna Pada continued these activities .Sri Keshavacharya, a great scholar and a decendent of Sri Krishna Pada was conducting this centre in the 14th century .In year 1378 , he got a son and he was named "Srinivasa".
  • Srinivasa showed great interest in vedic philosophy and started learning them from a very early age. His father himself performed " PanchaSamskara" for him and also gave him intensive training in Vedas , DivyaPrabhandam ,etc . Observing the great interest evinced by Srinivasa , Sri Keshavacharya sent him to Conjeevaram to study under Ghatika Satam Ammal , a famous scholar of those days .Under her tutelage Srinivasa developed himself as a profound scholar , acquiring a wide range of knowledge .Even at the age of eighteen , he became an unparalleled debator .A great scholar from Northern India came to Conjeevaram and challenged the scholars there for discussion .Srinivasa debated with him and finally won. This made the scholar to accept Srivaishnavism.
  • Srinivasa continued his studies at Conjeevaram. One day Lord Lakshmi Narasimha appeared to him in his dream and said " Oh ! Son ! Srinivasa ! come to Ahobilam. I will confer on you Sanyasa Ashrama , so that you can help people to understand and practice Srivaishnavism .The very next day , Srinivasa left for Ahobilam after taking his teacher's blessings
  • Srinivasa reached lower Ahobilam and after worshipping the Lord Prahlada Varada , proceeded to upper Ahobilam. Midway , he was suprised when the King of that Kingdom , Sri. Mukundadevaraya himself received him with full honours. The King and the temple priests later explained to Srinivasa that they had also had similar dreams and they were receiving him at the command of the Lord.
  • Srinivasa continued his stay at Ahobilam in the company of the King Mukundadevaraya , worshipping the Lord. One day an elderly sage suddenly appeared before him and asked him about his mission at Ahobilam .Srinivasa explained to the sage about his dream .Then the sage taught Srinivasa " Presha Mantra" and gave him "Tridandi" , symbols of Sanyasa Ashrama.The sage also named him " Satagopa" in token of his total surrender to the Lord ( Dhasya) and giving the emblem "Sudarshana" (Wheel) and " Panchajanya"( Conch) , the sage said - " These may be used you and your successors for performing Pancha Samskara . As they are blessed by the Lord , Sudarshana homam is not required." Then turning to the King Mukandadevaraya the sage said , " Help Satagopa in his mission to promote Srivaishnava philosophy and Saranagathi." Even as Satagopa and the King were prostrating before the sage , the sage had disappeared and both were left stunned. 
  • Satagopa commenced his programme of lectures and discussions at Ahobilam itself. People in the neighbourhood came to know about this and large number of people assembled at Ahobilam to listen to his discourses.The disciples also set up a mantapam for this purpose .This building can be seen even today. The number of disciples increased day by day and by year 1398 , it took the shape of an institution - namely Ahobila Mutt .
  • Satogopa subsequently travelled all over the country including North India . Apart from lectures , he set up units of Ahobilamutt , renovation of temples and large number of other activities .In the course of his travels , he performed several miracles , resulting in a number of kings becoming his devotees .The episode at Alwar Tirunagari is noteworthy. At this place , the Pandya king removed the idol of NamAlwar at Adinatha's temple and instead installed Rudra's idol . Satagopa through his divine vision , helped the king to avert dangers to his kingdom and gradually won over the king . Later the king himself installed the NamAlwar's idol at it's original place .The king also installed Vedanta Desika's idol at this temple. Both NamAlwar and Vedanta Desika were pleased with Satagopa , for the way he was promoting the cause of Srivaishnavism .they appeared before him and in appreciation gave him titles " Van " ( Able) and " Maha Desikan" .Thus , Satagopa became " Adivan Satagopa Maha Desikan ".
  • Thus Adivan Satagopa Maha Desikan , firmly established Ahobila Mutt to promote the traditions of Srivaishnava philosophy . Even after Adivan Satagopa Maha Desikan , devoted and learned scholars have adorned the seat of "Matadipathi " ( Chief of the Mutt ) until now and have followed the path shown by Sri. Adivan Satagopa MahaDesikan .

 

 

 

  • Ahobila Mutt has a seperate web page and interested readers are referred to www.ahobilamutt.org

 



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