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.

 

  • 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.

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