Srimad Azhagiyar Thiruvadi (close up view)
Thaniyan and Meaning
Prakritam (current) Srimad Azhagiyasingar
An Acharya, Friend,
Philosopher and Guide
by Sri Anbil Ramaswamy
Our Swami was born in
the Tirumalai Nallan Chakravarti Vamsam which follows in letter and
spirit the chores of Oupasanam, Annaroopa Vaiswadevam and are "Brahmavidaam
Varishtas" as defined by Bashyakarar.
Sri Narasimha Tatachar and Smt.
Ranganayaki Ammal were the blessed parents. Sri Narayanachar, (Swami's
elder brother) was born to them as the 2nd son on 15th August 1916 and
our Swami was born as the 6th so n to them on 12th December
1926 in azhzveri Taluk, Villivalam village in North Arcot District in
the year Akshaya month, Kartigai and in the Uttrattadi Nakshatram.
He graduated as
"Nyaya Siromani" from the Madras University.
Securing a first class
While at a junior level, he
answered queries set by Tirukoshtiyur Swami for senior level on
"Yathartha Gnaanam" as per Deepikai and Prakaasikai.
During an inspection,
Devanarvilagam Swami was surprised at the precocious
way he answered questions on "Chaturdasa Lakshana" in Nyaya Grantham.
He earned the appreciation
of Uttaradi Mutt Swami when he explained a difficult
topic on "Pancha Lakshanee".
He studied "Saamaanya
Nivritti" under Tirukkallam Krishnamachar Swami and
He studied also under
Injimettu Swami, Navalpakkam Ayya Devanatha Swami,
Mukkur Srinivasachar, and his own elder brother
Devanarvilagam Swami hailed
his essay of just 10 pages on Sribashyam as a
- In the "Malola
Vidwat Sadas" at Tiruvallur, he explained Jignanasa Adhikaranana
He was Adhyapaka at
Madurantakam College for about 6 months Mukkur Azhagiyasinghar appointed
him as Aasthaana Vidwan
Taught at Padur Patasala for sometime.
D.T.Tatachar Swami conferred on him the title of "Vidwan Mani" at Sri
Desika Sudha Swaadini Sabha at Tirupati.
Uttamur Swami recorded his appreciation of his work as a model for
Tirukkudanthai Andavan Swami after hearing his exposition at "Paduka
Vidwat Sadas" advised that he would make an ideal Sannyasi.
Andavan Swami blessed him at “Mannargudi Vidawat Sadas” where our Swami
expatiated on Vibhishana Saranagathi.
Succeeded Tirukkallam Swami as Associate Editor of
Has attended numerous Vidwat Sadas at Poundarikapuram Andavan Asramam
and secured the blessings of successive Pontiffs there like Mannargudi
Vennatrankarai Andavan and Prakritam Paravakkottai Andavan.
Wrote "Sri Vaishnava Sadachara Nirnayam"- his magnum opus - a reference
manual with a commentary on Aasoucha Sathakam by Melpakkam Swami.
Epoch making events
Upanayanam : Sri
Narayanachar Swami performed his Upanayanam at
Samasrayanam: He had his Samasrayanam at the hands of Injimettu
Azhagiyasinghar in 1940
Marriage: He married at age 18 (1944) the daughter of Vidwan
Srinivasacharya and had a happy married life of 46 years. Has three
Bharanyasam: He had his Bharanyasam at the hands of Devanarvilagam
Azhagiyasinghar on a Dwadasi day of Panguni month in the year Pingala.
Presha mantra upadesam: Once, Mukkur Azhagiyasinghar called him for
Aradhana while at Ahobilam. When the Swami arrived, he asked our Swami
take Sannyasa and administered "Presha Mantraas along with his brother
Narayanacharya.. Thus, he had his Presha mantra at Ahobilam where Aadhi
Satakopar had his Presha Mantropadesam.
12th october 1991: Mukkur Swami took
ill suddenly when our Swami was at
Tirupati for a discourse. He immediately returned to Srirangam.
21st October 1991:
Sannyasa Sweekaranam at Srirangam at the hands of Mukkur
Azhagiyasinghar and in the immediate presence and blessings of
Andavan16th August 1992: Mukkur Azhagiyasinghar attained Paramapadam.
24th August 1992: Pattabhishekam of
our Swami as 45th Jeeyar duly blessed
with Prokshanam and recitation of Sri Rama Pattbisheka Mantram by his
and Yathisreshtar, Paravakkottai Andavan, Sri Gopala Desika Maha Desikan
Poundarika Puram Asramam.
His Dedication to Archamurthis and
witnesses the eye filling atmosphere in which
our Swami performs Aradhana and the loving dedication of Upacharas to
the Upasana murthis, one cannot fail to feel
palpably being transported to the very Aprakritaloka,
while being in this Prakrita loka itself.
One will be astonished to see how our
Swami untiringly observes his Anushtanams, Bhagavad Kainkaryam, and
Bhaagavata Kainkaryam in addition to offering impromptu Kalskshepam
discourses and writing out deeply researched articles for Narasimhapriya
Journal. He spends nearly 20 out of 24 hours with practically no rest
and no rest on strict starvation diet.
Looking at all these,
we wonder if we have returned to Kritayugam itself transcending the
Kaliyugam we are supposed to be in. In fact, it used to be said that
within every Yuga an Avaantaram corresponding to 1250 years repeats
itself. .By this calculation, we have now crossed the first 5000 years
consisting of Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kaliyuga Avantaras. Thus, we
have set foot on the new Kritayuga Avantara as
evidenced by the presence of such great and hoary Acharya Parampara, the
diadem of which is our Azhagiyasinghar. We should really be proud that
we now coeval with this great Mahan.
His Respect for Acharyas
None could exemplify
the ideal Sishya as per Nyasa Vimsati and Sishyakritya Adhikara of Swami
Desikan than our Swami. Whenever he talks about his Poorva Acharyas, you
can notice a glint in his eyes blending his Bhakti, Gratitude and joy of
nostalgia. I have seen how he used to stand a very personification of
utmost humility when he stood before 44th Jeeyar before, during and
after becoming the Chinna Jeeyar. While doing Antharanga Kaashaaya
Kainkaryam to Injimettu Azhagiya Singhar, he learned all sookshma
Anushtanams from him. Indeed, he represented a Triveni Sangamam imbibing
in himself all the qualities of head and heart of the three Yathivaras
whom he had the privilege to serve Viz. 42nd 43rd and 44th Azhagiya
His Respect for Acharyas of other
Kalakshepam classes on Divya Prabhandam, he would teach us with the
volumes published by Puttur Swami and refer to his works with great
respect.He would unfailingly express his admiration of the way in which
Velukkudi Swami attained Paramapadam after performing Ghanta Seva at the
Sannidhi of Periya Perumal.
His Devotion to Sri Narayanachar Swami
Like Sri Rama's
yuvaraja Pattabhishekam could not go on as planned, Sri Narayanachar's
nomination to succeed 44th Jeeyar could not be fulfilled; But, Sri
Narayanachar lives through his fame - true to the saying "Yasah Kaayena
Jeevathi" because his brother assumed his name on acquiring Sannyasa
Ashramam. Right from Arulappaadu, all honors are literally addressed to
the name of Narayana Yateendra !. Only the problems
of administration have fallen to the lot of our Swami.
Like Bharata who
ruled in the name of Sri Rama, our Swami thinks and acts as if he were a
regent of his brother. Bharata and Lakshmana were proud to call
themselves as brothers of Sri Rama, not as princes in their own right.
Similarly, our Swami feels proud of being the
brother of Sri Narayanachar and has never failed to mention this
publicly whenever an occasion arose.
During the days when
he grew up with his brother, he used to place all Sambhavanas he got at
the feet of his brother.
wrote his commentary on Para Matha Bhangam of Swami Desika called "Desikaasaya
Prakaasam". It is a rare case of Vairaghyam when he refused to ask
anyone for any financial assistance for publishing it. Sri Purisai Swami
and others financed the project of releasing the first Part of the book.
But, the Swami could not live to see the release of the Second Part. Our
Swami, despite several odds, took great pains to get it printed,
including proof reading of galley proof to the final one all by himself.
Once an Advaitin (who
chanced to peruse the proof that had been proofread by our Swami)
challenged him on the use of the word "Prachanna Bouddhas" with
reference to Advaitins. Our Swami had to convince him how and why the
term was used.
I have with me as a valuable treasure, a copy of this book
presented to me by our Swami ]
What an Acharya !
If one needs to know
how an ideal Acharya would be , one needs to look at our Acharya. He is
a living example of the ideal Acharya as defined in Nyasa Vimsati and
Acharyakritya Adhikaram of Swami Desikan.
In a sense our Swami
is greater than Bhagavan himself. Do you know why?. Bhagavan knows both
Anugraham (Reward)and Nigraham (Punishment). But, our Acharya (like
Thaayaar) is "Agnaatha Nigraha" Like Koorathalwan who recommended
Moksham for Naaloor Aachan though the latter
was responsible for the loss of his eyesight, our Swami
knows only Anugraham.
differentiate an Acharya from the rest? They are Gnaanam+ Aachaaram+
Anushtanam+ Bhakti + Vairaghyam. Our Swami is a personification of all
these and more.
Our Swami is special
in another sense viz., He takes the 8-lettered Ashtakshara name of
Narayana as the 8th Acharya out of the 45 pontiffs adorning the Peetam
of Azhagiyasinghars so far. He is Lord Narayana Himself.
I have a photo of
Azhagiyasinghar's Mangalasasanam of Sri Andal taken
at Srivilliputtur. Believe it or not, you can see the image of Lord
Lakshminrisimha where his shadow is expected to fall on the wall at the
Garbagraham. He is indeed Lord Lakshminrisimhar Himself.
His Concern for his Sishyas
The very first
question that our Acahrya poses whenever one enters his presence is
"Have you taken meals ?"; the first advice he would give is to direct
one to go and take food before visiting him again !
Even though he has
1000s of Sishyas, devotees and admirers, he remembers every one of them
by name and every detail of their family backgrounds, their occupations,
their connections etc with unerring accuracy. It is
astonishing how he updates his database so well that even if one were to
meet him once in a blue moon, he can recall to the minutest detail
almost instantaneously ! HE IS INDEED A HI-TECH ELECTRONIC ORGANIZER !
His Sishya Vaatsalyam
is evident from the way he presents the subjects to them in terms of
what Swami Desikan characterizes as "Anreendha Kanrukkirangi Surakkum
Dhenuvaip pol" (meaning) like the mother cow that lovingly gives milk to
the just born calf.
The way he teaches
would confirm his aim to make everyone a Vidwan like himself.
He is honest in his
approbation and lavish in his praise for his Sishyas-not that we deserve
the same. Imperceptibly, by such praise, he would encourage us to live
up to his expectations !
He would cherish
every Sishya as if he were a close friend whose friendship he
cannot afford to lose ! Did not Swami Desika describe the Lord as "Saranaagatha
Pranaya Bhanga Bheetho Bhavaan"meaning that the Lord appeared as if he
was afraid of losing the goodwill of the Saranagatha (one who had
surrendered to Him) " ?.
Being an expert in
Vyakarana Satra as in every other branch of study, whether in speaking
or in writing, there will be no grammatical error in any of his
presentations. Indeed, he is like what Kamban described Anjaneya
as "Sollin Selvan".
Like each of the
wives of Sage Soubhari who claimed that the Sage liked her only to the
exclusion of all his other wives, every Sishya is made to feel that the
Swami is dear to him / her only exclusively.
Also, like each of
the Gopis felt the love of Kannan as her own exclusive privilege, every
Sishya would feel exclusively close to the Swami. In this connection, it
is interesting to note, that though his official name in his
Poorvaasramam was Krishnamachari, his pet name at home was "Kannan". No
wonder, we feel like Gopis drawn to Kannan ! Such is the feeling of
intimacy he instills in anyone who comes into contact with him. What
Magic, What Formula, What Charishma he has to so
entice everyone thus is really beyond our comprehension.
I have had several
occasions when I asked him doubts both during
Kalakshepams and in private at his home. He has been ever ready and with
convincing answers at all times whether orally or in writing. Since, he
is on Sancharam nowadays, he has advised me to send
my letters to a camp where he was likely to stay for longer periods,
lest my letters should fail to reach him.
In a sense, we are
more blessed than our Acharya. Do you know why? He worships
Laksminarasimhan only; But, we are doubly fortunate since we worship not
only Lakshmi Narasimhan, the 'Aradhya' but also our
Swami who is the 'Aradhaka' of Lakshmi Nrasimhan !
How Did I Come to Know Him?
It was almost a
decade and a half ago, when in one of my visits to the Acahrya of my
family, Prakritam pontiff of Poundarikapuram Andavan Swami Ashramam, he
advised me to go to one Villivalam Krishnamachar Swami who was
delivering Kalakshepams in Adyar area itself and learn the Granta
Chatushtayam. Immediately I made a beeline to his home and conveyed the
direction of PP Andavan. Our Swami was so pleased that he literally drew
up a timetable showing where, at what timings and on what subjects he
was giving Kalakshepams.
From that moment
onwards I followed him to all the homes- in Adyar, Besant nagar, Nehru
nagar, Vannan thurai, Mylapore, Triplicane and so many other locations
and at all times whenever and wherever he was handling classes. In
short, like a shadow and like Mary's little lamb of the nursery rhyme
fame- "Everywhere that Swami went, I was sure to
In each one of the
locations, there would be say 20 to 25 Vidyarthis attending. Our Swami
and my humble self were the common factors, he - as the ' Vaktha' and
myself - as ' Srotha'. Our Swami, therefore, used to depute me to convey
any messages he desired to be conveyed to all his students everywhere.
At one place, he
would be teaching Chapter # 1, in another Chapter # 11 and in yet
another Chapter # 21 of say RTS, Bhagavad Gita and Tiruvoimozhi.
That is how, I could cover all the above within say 5 or 6 years,
what would have taken about 15 + years to cover. ( I
had the opportunity of learning Sribashyam at the feet of Purisai Swami
and Anushtanams at the feet of Srivatankachariar Swami. This is besides
the courses of Paravakkottai Andavan of Poundarikapuram Asramam which I
had the privilege to attend.)
Besides the formal
Kalakshepam classes, I had the privilege of visiting his house at West
Mambalam frequently to clear my doubts in private.
There was not a
single occasion when he was not willing to entertain me, in spite of his
busy schedule. And, never was there an occasion when Mami failed to
offer me the welcome cup of hot coffee the moment I entered their house.
Such was the
affection showered on this worthless soul by my Acharya and his
It was because of
this overwhelming sense of gratitude that I felt an inner urge to
compose and dedicate a "Tanian" long, long before a
formal Tanian was composed at the time of his Sannyasa Sweekaranam.
It reads as follows:
Vignaatham Aathmaanam Vidyaa Vinaya Vibhooshitham
Viveka Vairaaghya Anushtaana Soulabhya Suseelam |
Asmath Darsana Sthaapaka Vyaapakaanaam Varishtam
Vande Gurum Villivalam Sri Krishnama Aachaarya Siromanim ||
(i) He used to say
frequently that "One should know One's self ". Here is one who had known
his self. Hence,'
(ii) Vidya (Learning)
and Vinaya (Humility) rarely go together. Here is one who blends both
and blends them so perfectly. Hence, '
Vibhooshitham'- Not merely '
Bhooshitham' but ' Vibhooshitham'.
(iii) There may be so
many today that seek to establish our Darsana. Here is
one who is outstanding among them all. Hence,
(iv) He is a Guru in
the sense he dispels the darkness of ignorance. He is Acharya because he
throws light on the correct path. Hence, the use of the words ' Guru'
and 'Acharya'- Not only that. He is the diadem among Gurus and Acharyas.
This Tanian was
submitted at the Sadas held at Prof. V. Ramabadran's house. (Prof.
Ramabadran is related to our Ramesh Sarangapani). When it was read out
and presented, our Swami was so moved and asked me how it came to be
I just quoted the
stanza from Godha Sthuti where Swami Desikan says- '"
(meaning) It was his qualities that made even a mute fellow like me to
venture to compose. I also quoted Poet Bharatiyar's
Migunthavar Porkuvai Thaareer ,
Kuraindavar Kaasugal Thaareer,
Adhuvum Arravar Vai Choll Arulveer"
meaning "Those who
are wealthy may give their treasures, those who are not so opulent may
give smaller denominations and those who do not have anything may at
least give some words of praise"- and I was just doing the last
He replied that one
cannot win over another by force but he felt bound by love and affection
evidenced through this piece. He arranged to have this framed and kept
it in his house as a momento.
In his "Acceptance
Speech" of the Tanian, the Swami exclaimed publicly "Ennaik
Kattip Pottu Vitteere!" by
way of acknowledging my submission. Can anyone bind him? Out of his
Soulabyam the Swami made it appear as if I bound him. I was reminded of
Madhurakavi Alwar's "Kanni
nunn Siru Thaambinaal
kattunnap panniya peru maayan".
I felt like swooning overwhelmed by his Soulabyam like
Uralinodu Inaindhu Irundhu Yengiya Yelivae"
(Tiruvoimozhi 1.3.1). What Compassion? What humility? And, to whom? Like
Onrum Illaatha Govindan"
stooping down to bless "Arivu
Achara and Acharya
The great Maharishis
of yore while defining Acharya Lakshanam lay great emphasis on Achara.
Aachinothi Hi Saastraan Aachaare Sthapayatyapi |
Swayam Aacharate Yasmaath Tasmaath Aachaarya Uchyate ||
Like the bees that
collect the quintessence of honey from various flowers, he (Acharya)
gains knowledge learning from their Acharyas and other elders, follow
the Sastraic disciplines (Achara), stirctly as learned and encourages
his disciples to follow him more be practice than by precepts. Only such
a one can be an Acharya. This makes it clear that mere Knowledge is not
enough. Achara (Conduct) should back it up as the hallmarks of a true
Acharya. Our Swami is a perfect example of these twin qualifications.
Srotriya Par Excellence
differentiates the various qualities that go to make a Srotriya thus :
Braahmano Jneyah Samskaaraih Dvija Uchyatae |
Vidyayaa Yaathi Vipratvam Tribhirethaih Srotriya Uchyatae ||
One may be a Brahmin
by birth; with Upanayana Samskaara, one becomes a Dvija (twice born);
and by acquiring true knowledge he matures into a Vipra. But, it is the
one who has all these is a Srotriya. And, our Swami is a Srotriya par
His Natural Disposition
There are four
qualities that have to be inborn and manifest as natural tendencies.
They cannot be acquired by mere effort. They are Daatrutvam
(Munificence), Priyavaktrutvam (Pleasant talk), Dheeratvam (Courage) and
Uchitajnaanataa (doing what is appropriate)
Daatrutvam PriyaVaktrutvam Dheeratvam Uchitajnathaa |
Abhyaasena Na Labhyante Chatvaaras Sahajaa Gunaah ||
(i) Datrutvam: In Tamil (Eeagai)The
way he welcomed whenever anyone visited his Tirumaaligai during his
Poorvasramam was remarkable. Even today, one can feel the warmth of
welcome he extends to anyone visiting him, wherever he is.
(ii) Priyavaktrutvam: The
smiling face and the comforting words make everyone feel ' at home away
from home'- an object lesson on 'Athithi Satkaaram'.
(iii) Dheeratvam: The
courage with which he renounced his Grihasta Aasrama of nearly 40 years
in which he had a closely knit family consisting of a loving wife and
three obedient sons can be appreciated only by those who had moved with
this unique family.
The acumen with which
he discharges the onerous responsibilities of the great empire he
presides over, lifting its finance from a deep minus
to an incredibly plus figure is possible only to one who knows ' to do
what is proper at the proper time'.
Valmiki enquired Sage Narada two questions: "Vidwaan Kah?" and "Kah
Samarthah?" Cannot a Vidwan naturally be capable also? Not necessarily.
One who is an expert in Vaidika Sastra Gnaana need not necessarily be an
able lowkika administrator.
In reply, Narada
pointed out Sri Rama as the person who is at once a "Vidwan" and a "Samartha'.
This combination is amply evident in our Swami. His knowledge is well
matched by his acumen as stated at (iii) above.
Nara and Narayana
It is well known that
in the beginning Bhagavan appeared at Badrikasramam as both "Nara" and "Narayana".
"Narayana" is understandable. But, why as "Nara"? To show to the world
how a Sishya should conduct himself towards his Acharya.
Jayakhya Samhita brings this out -
Saakshaath Naaraayano Devah Kritvaa Martyamayeem Thanum |
Magnaan Udhvarathe Lokaan Karunayaa Saastra Paaninaa |
Tasmaath Bhaktih Gurou Kaaryam Samsaara Bhaya Bheerunaa ||
Out of extreme
compassion, the Lord concealing his Paratvam appeared in human form as
Acharya and Sishya wielding Saastra Upadesa as the weapon to lift
spiritually the Jeevas enmeshed in the deep mire of Samsara.
Our Swami exemplified
the role of a Sishya when he served his three predecessors and today
shines in his role as an Acharya for all of us. It, therefore, behoves
us to be devoted to our Acharya as our 'Seshi', 'Saranya' and 'Praapya'.
Why should we do this?
Upanishad answers this question: -
Deve Paraa Bhaktih Yathaa Deve Tathaa Gurou |
Tasyaite Kathithaa Hiyarthah Prakaasanthe Mahaatmanah ||
The mystic truths
reveal themselves to only one who ha supreme devotion towards God and
who has intense devotion towards his Guru in the same way.
There is also a
Mantre Yathaa Vaidye Yathaa Deve Yathaa Gurou |
Yaadrisee Bhaavanaa Yasya Siddhir Bhavati Taadrisee ||
The extent of benefit
one derives depends on the extent of faith one has - whether it is
Mantra or Doctor or God or Acharya. Therefore, when approaching the
Acharya, one should do so with utmost faith and devotion.
Lord Krishna makes it
clear that those who do not develop this faith are fools since even in
his own case, they mistake him to be ordinary human seeing his physical
appearance being very much like their own.
Maam Moodaah Maanusheem Tanum Aasritham"
Also, Sastras declare
Vishnuor Prathimaakaare Loha Bhaavam Karothi Cha |
Yo Gurou Maanusham Bhaavam Ubhou Naraka Paathinah ||
One who considers the
Archa Murthi of Lord Vishnu with reference to the material it is made of
and the one who considers the Acharya as a mere human being like
himself- Both of them are sure to fall into the worst hells.
Observe Decorum !
When our Swami
visited my humble hut for Dolai, he noticed a Sumangali lady wearing a 6
yards saree. He called her up and advised that at least when attending
religious functions like this, Grihasta gents should wear the
traditional Panchakatcham and Angavastram and the Sumangalis should wear
9 yards saree in the traditional way.
Assuming that you are
a Cadet in the military and also personal friend of the President, you
cannot insist that because of your closeness with the President you
would wear say a Panchakatcham while partaking in the military parade.
You have to respect the dress code prescribed for the occasion.
The same holds good
also for those wishing to participate in the Saatrumurai Seva along with
the Jeeyar early in the morning at Tirumalai, when they check not only
the dress code but also if you do not sport the proscribed sideburns
before allowing you to enter the temple.
Don't Play With Fire!
Those desiring to
derive warmth in the cold winter light a campfire. One has to be near
enough to feel the warmth; One who is far away cannot enjoy the benefit.
One cannot go too near the fire, lest it should burn and scald.
Similarly, when approaching the Acharya, one has to maintain the right
distance. Going too near, one might commit Apacharams; Remaining too
far, one may not derive the benefit of his Upadesam.
A wedding celebrated
My first son,
Parthasarathi's wedding was celebrated. So, what is
the big deal about it for mentioning it here?
[May be this is too
pesonal. But, it provides a peep into the compassion, Achara and
Anushtana etc.of our Swami, which I had the opportunity to observe first
hand and at close quarters. I hope you will enjoy his Kalyanagunas as
revealed in these events]
Let me explain:
Our Swami who was
known never to miss his schedule of Kalakshepams stopped it for 2 days
everywhere in order to make himself free to come to Tirupati to perform
Adhyaksham (i.e. preside over) the
wedding function , which was held at Seetharama Kalyana Mandapam
at Tirumalai in July 1991. The Purohits in charge of the ritual were in
mortal fear, lest they should make any mistake in the presence of our
revered Swami !
Is this not a big
Not only that. It was
the Tamil month of Aadi. My would be Sambandis
were so scared to have the wedding as they were told that it was
not an auspicious month for wedding. Our Swami personally went through
the various Pramanams and Anushtanams and gave the green signal that the
wedding could be performed in Aadi.
Is this not a big
As I was a Vitura
(widower), I was not sure if I could do the rituals of Jatakaranam,
Namakaranam etc as a prelude to the actual function. Swami volunteered
to do these on my behalf.
Is this not a big deal ?
consulting several authorities, he suggested that only in the case of a
bride, all these had to be done by one who is not a Vitura and in the
case of the bridegroom since all these Samskaras are already over at the
time of Upanayanam itself, there
was no bar in my doing them. Is this not a big deal?
Our Swami was
accompanied by his wife. As he would not take (Paraannam) food
elsewhere, Mami prepared food for him at Parakala
Mutt premises at Tirumalai where we had arranged for their stay. In
fact, we took the delicious Prasadam which Mami offered out of what she
Is this not a big
Saptadi Mahotsavam of Poundarikapuram
March 22, 1991, was a
memorable day. That was the Saptadi day of Sri Gopala Desika Maha
Desikan, Prakritam Parvakkottai Andavan of Poundarikapuram Swami Asramam.
I had booked two
berths by the Rockfort Express for Our Swami and myself for attending
the celebrations at Srirangam. Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan, who is an Officer
in the State Bank of India, Alwarpet Branch, Madras and the first son of
our Swami in his Poorvasramam (whom we call by his pet name Raghu)
brought our Swami to Egmore station where I was waiting to receive him
as previously arranged.
When during one of
his visits to my house (in the interval between two Kalakshepam
classes), I expressed my desire to take up some advertisement space in
the Saptadi Mahotsava Malar of PP Andavan as a token of dedication to my
Acharya. Our Swami suggested the
passage occurring as the
Prathama Prasnah in Sikshavalli - Saamhineer Devata Upanishad -
Santhi Paatam of Taittriya Upanishad, which prays for the
protection of both the Acharya and Sishya "
Sanno Mitras Sam Varunah…Tanmaa Avatu, Tad
Avatu, Avatu Maam, Avatu Vaktaaram…"
as the appropriate wordings to appear. Accordingly, this has appeared in
the Saptadi Mahotsava Malar immediately after the conclusion of the
article by Sri Ranga Priya Yathi "Sriranga Srees Cha Vardhathaam." That
PP Andavan Swami was very pleased to see this needs no mention.
As we arrived at
Srirangam, we took an Autorikshaw to the Asramam. Since the Veda
Paaraayanam was going on there, Swami told me- "Take Prasadam of
Abigamanam at Ahobila Mutt itself; It will be too late for your lunch at
the Asramam" How thoughtful and how concerned he was that I should be
fed on time!
The Yathi and the
Yathi - to - be were closeted for a while discussing some personal
matters. I was standing at a respectable distance, lest I should feel an
intruder in their conversations. I was thrilled and pleasantly shocked
when both of them beckoned me to come near and join them. I still wonder
how both the Acharyas deemed me worthy of being invited to the privy of
their meeting! And, I still wonder how I deserved this bhagyam! One
thing I could understand was that our Swami was seeking guidance on some
sensitive issues from, his mentor, the PP Andavan. As the discussions
were too private, I am leaving them out here.
Nexus of Ahobila
Mutt with Poundarikapuram Andavan Asramam The nexus
that exists between Ahobila Mutt and Poundarikapuram Andavan Asramam is
indeed very long standing. The heads of the two institutions have always
held each other in very high esteem despite overzealous Sishyas and
vested interests outside trying to engineer disaffection between them.
The 42nd Jeeyar of Ahobila
Mutt, Srivann Satakopa Sri Sriranga Satakopa Yathindra Maha Desikan,
otherwise known as Sri Injimettu Azhagiyasinghar whom we celebrate today
for founding the Malola Vidwat Sadas, Madurantakam College,
Nrisimhapriya monthly journal etc. was initiated into Sannyaasa Asramam
by Vennatrankarai Srimad Andavan Srinivasa Maha Desikan of
Poundarikapuram Swami Asramam in April 1929 as per the Niyamanam of 41st
Jeeyar Sivann Satakopa Lakshmi Narasimha Satakopa Yatindra Maha Desikan
of Ahobila Mutt.
Paravakkottai Swami had just then assumed charge as the Pontiff of the
PP Asramam when he had not even known personally the Sishyas belonging
to the Asramam. Yet, the 44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt, Srivann Satakopa
Sri Vedanta Desika Yathindra Maha Desikan wanted him to bear the cost of
the 12th tier of the Rajagopuram, which was being built by him at
Srirangam. Undaunted, Paravakkottai Swami raised almost instantly the
funds needed for this and submitted it at the feet of Azhagiyasinghar.
Thus, the 12th tier of the Rajagopuram was the Kainkaryam of Prakritam
Andavan of Poundarikapuram Asramam.
When someone went to court
to debar Poundarikapuram Andavan from using the honorific " Andavan",
the 44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt, Srivann Satakopa Sri Vedanta Desika
Yathindra Maha Desikan called the litigants and challenged them to dare
initiating proceedings first against those outside the pale of
Srivaishnavism using the term "Andavan" (like Nagoor Andavan, Meyvazhi
Chalai Andavan etc) before seeking PP Asramam Swami to drop the
hereditary title successively adorning the Acharyas of Poundarikapuram
Asramam It was only when the head of the opposite party was called to
take the stand in the Court that they withdrew the case !
During the Sannayasa
Sweekaranam and subsequent Pattabhishekam and Peeta Aarohanam of our
Prakritam Azhagiyasinghar, 45th Jeeyar of Ahobila mutt, they were
performed under the Adhyaksham and immediate presence of Prakritam
Andavan of PP Asramam, Paravakkottai Sri Gopala Desika Maha Desikan who
sprinkled holy waters uttering the holy Rama Pattabhisheka Slokam"Abhishinchya
When I went to offer
my obeisance to PP Andavan soon after the Sannyasa Sweekaranam, he
remarked (albeit jocularly) " Ungalavar Peeta Adhipathi Aagi
Vittaar. Ungaluku Enna Kuraichal?"Meaning "You have nothing to
worry. Your friend has become the Pontiff of Ahobila Matam" I
replied " Swami! Neengal Anuppithaane Antha Swamyidam Kalakshepam Ketkap
Ponen". Meaning " Only as per your directions, I went to that Swami to
listen to Kalakshepams"
He smiled and agreed.
If my Acharya were to say thus, it only shows how much Azhagiyasinghar
should have spoken to him affectionately about me. Can there be a
greater bhagyam than this?
Kalakshepa Vaikhari (His Inimitable Talent in Explaining) Supposing a
mother has a number of children. Do you know which child would be
dearest to her? On which child would she bestow her utmost concern and
best attention? The answer is simple. Naturally, it is on the most
handicapped of them all. You will remember my telling that I was a
common Srotha in all his Kalakshepam classes. If you wish to award a
prize for not the dumb and the dumber but the dumbest, stupidest student
in all the classes put together, sure as anything, I would win the first
prize. May be, this is the reason why he would not proceed to the next
line unless he made sure that I had understood what was being explained
(sometimes to the point of annoyance of other brilliant students and
everyone else was in this category).
Any explanation of
the esoteric involved in the Granthas conveyed in high flying Paribashai
would put off lay folks; And, Pundits would feel out of tune with any
simple, straightforward language. Our Swami would present his
talks in a happy blend of both so that every segment would find it
agreeable to their predilections all at the same time ! This inimitable
style comes to him effortlessly like fish taking to water. A rare
quality, which others could only envy but would find hard to emulate!
Even as he is talking
he would grasp our doubts by merely looking at us and within seconds he
would be addressing the precise doubts. Even though he is a ' Param
gathah' (one who has mastered), he would tune his presentation to suit
even dullest heads and according to the Paripakkuvam of the audience -
who would remain still like "Ezhudu Chithiram" (a painted picture) and
like calves listening to the flute of Kannan. Indeed, like Sri Rama, he
is "Vaagmi Srimaan"(Richly endowed with the gift of expression). What a
blend of incompatibles! It is indeed, "Seraatha Serkai", (the
reconciliation of incompatible requirements) as Tamil Pundits would put
This would be like
'spoon-feeding'; like a mother feeding her baby showing the moon and
telling a story that grips the imagination of the baby. The way he can
sway your emotions, now hilarious, now sober, now saddening, now
consoling can only be imagined. And that way, he will make you
appreciate the mood of the context, the Tiru Ullam of the Alwar or
Acharya in any given situation most effectively.
quotations from nooks and corners of the scriptures
would flow like flood so effortlessly that we would
be tempted to feel with the students of the Schoolmaster in Oliver
Goldsmith's Deserted Village- " the more we listened, the more our
wonder grew how his small head could contain all that he knew"
He is anxious to give
away all that he has learned to those who desire. Did not Saandilya say
Paatrastham Aathmajnaanam Kritvaa Pindam Sam Utsrujet |
Naanthardhaaya swayam yaayaath jagad Bheejam Abheejakrit ||
"An Acharya should
unreservedly teach all that he has learned to his devoted Sishyas. If he keeps
close fisted, the seed of Knowledge will wither away"
Kalakshepam, in order to make us understand better, he would give the exact English
equivalents. Not that he does not know English, but to make us feel important, he
would pose as if he is not sure of the correct usage and consult us whether
his rendering is correct. How clever in making us feel at home!
His time -keeping,
shall I say instinct, is really marvelous. He would start on the dot and finish
on the 90th minute, if the lecture were to be for 90 minutes. Even
Professors in College need to be reminded by the ringing of the bell. When he starts
and when he stops, you can adjust your watch. This razor sharp precision has
to be seen to be believed.
Swami's Sense of Humour
Not a day would pass
without our Swami narrating some anecdote or other that would help to
illustrate, illuminate and sustain interest. Most of them would be garnished with
subtle and appropriate humor to drive home the point indelibly. We would
therefore, flock looking forward to have a new treat everyday. One remarkable thing is that any such anecdote once told would never be repeated ! You
will be surprised at the perennial source of wit and humor punctuating his
talks. Let me share with you a few of these.
An astrologer was
approached on behalf of two patients who were terminally ill with a prognosis of
certain death. The astrologer gave two pieces of stone chipped out of a rock
and asked them to be tied to the wrist of each patient.
When one of them
recovered, the astrologer claimed his prediction that he would recover and
stand ' like a rock' had come true; When the other patient died he explained how
his prediction that the other patient would die as if 'stoned to death' had
also come true.
This is a classic
example of quibbles indulged in by these cheats.
There lived in a
village an old couple. The wife was a devout Hindu. She used to go to the temple
and attend a religious discourse there every night but the man was not so devout
and he used to remain at home. One day the lady fell ill and wanted to take
rest. She asked her husband to go and listen and report back the gist of that
night's lecture. She went to sleep.
But, at dead of
night, she suddenly woke up and was startled to find her husband repeatedly
jumping over her from one side to the other. She asked him what he was doing.
Replied the man "I am sorry that I did not attend the lecture earlier.
Tonight, the lecturer said that one can get 'Moksha', if one jumped over 'samsara'".
'Samsara' also means 'Wife' besides its natural meaning of cycle
of births and deaths. He
mistook the word 'samsara' to mean his wife and was therefore doing the
This is definitely
not the way to achieve Moksha. Moksha can be reached only when a person is
Karmafree (i.e.) when there is no backlog of causes playing into his present
state. In principle, that he has learned to attune himself absolutely to the
cosmic pattern as it is at that moment so that there is no kind of stress or
conflict between what is taking place within his individual monadic field and
what is happening in the Universe.
About a foolish
Once some thief broke
into the house of a villager. The Villager complained to the King. The King
ordered an enquiry and wanted to hang the person found guilty.
The thief was caught
and brought before the King. But, he pleaded that he did not break into the
house. Because the mud with which the house was built had not yet dried up, it
fell apart on its own.
The King then called
the mason who built the house. He pleaded that because the potter had made
the pot bigger than the standard size, it contained more water than was
necessary to water the bricks laden with mud. Then, the King called
the Potter. He pleaded that as he was making the pot a lady was going hither
and thither distracting his attention and therefore he could not make sure
of the correct size.
The lady pleaded that
the washerman to whom she had given her clothes for washing did not
return it on time and she had to walk up and down to see him.
The washerman pleaded
that when he went to the river, a mendicant was sitting on the stone used for
beating clothes and that repeated requests to move away were not heeded by
the mendicant. Hence, the delay.
The mendicant was
deaf-mute and therefore could not defend himself.
So. the king ordered
hanging the mendicant!
About monkey and medicine
To illustrate how the
more you try consciously to control your mind the more erratic it behaves,
the Swami narrated the following:
Once a doctor gave
his patient some medicine for some ailment and cautioned him that there was
only one restriction. The patient should not think of monkey while taking
the medicine Every time the patient took a dose, the thought of monkey
automatically came to his mind!
About a fake
sannyasi: There was a King very
devoted to Saints and was prepared to do what it took to please them. A few
thieves wanted to cheat the king. They caught hold of an innocent fellow and
dressed him up like a Sannyasi and asked him to act like one. instructing him
that if the King asked him what he wanted, he should demand half of the
kingdom but on one condition - that he should turn over to them half of whatever
he got from the King. The poor fellow agreed.
When he was presented
before the King as a great Saint from the Himalayas, the King offered him a
royal reception and asked him what he desired. The fellow was so overwhelmed by
the Upacharam that he thought 'If even for acting
like a Sannyasi, he were
to command so much respect, what is it he cannot get if he turned really so'. He
replied that he did not desire anything at all and narrated how the
thieves were misusing him. The King naturally gave due punishments to them.
About force of
A person was sitting
on a pile of stones heaped on the banks of a river. He had heard that in the
heap there was a precious gem and he wanted to take hold of the gem. But, he
was not sure how to locate the real one from out of the heap. So, he started
picking up the stones one by one to examine and when found it was not the
right one he threw it away into the waters. When actually the correct gem came
into his hands and before he could make a determination he threw that also
away involuntarily by force of habit!
When I mentioned that
I was going to America, he visualized two persons one standing In India and
the other standing in America. Since the world is round, when the feet of the
one in India were down, the feet of the one in America (which is at the
other side of the globe) would have to be up. That is probably why, he
said, those in America were "Uttanapadas" with reference to those in India and
To emphasize how one
should concentrate on the Sevai of Perumal while standing at the Garbhagraham
and nothing else, he narrated the following.
A person was wearing
a new pair of very expensive footwear. As he entered the temple, he had to
leave it outside and there was no arrangement for its safekeeping there.
While inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, his entire thought was riveted on his
footwear. When the Archaka was placing Satari forgot to offer him, he called "Swami! Seruppu Saadhiyum!" instead of saying 'Satari Saadhiyum"!
appropriateness of westerners' calendar:
He once remarked "Englishkaaran
Romba Gettik Kaaran. Avan Varushathai Devargalin Ushat
Kaalamaana Margazhi Maasam Aarambikkiraan" meaning
" Englishmen are
really intelligent. See, how they start their year in January which is Margazhi
masam deemed to be the dawn for Devas"
NOTE: There are far
too numerous instances to relate all of them in this short write up. I will
allude to them in future postings as suit the contexts.
Swami's Quiz Sessions
Now and then, our
Swami would pose some questions in the course of his Kalakshepams. Maybe
to ensure how alert the listeners is; Maybe to ensure a more active
listeners' participation; Maybe to illustrate some esoteric underlying the
context. Of course, he would finally provide the answers in his own unique style.
Like a born teacher, he would use this technique with telling effect.
I will mention a few
by way of example. I will also give the answers as stated by our Swami in a
subsequent posting. Meanwhile, you may try to figure out the answers. Let me
assure you that it is not too difficult to find the answers, though.
Quiz # 1: You
are proceeding alone in a dense forest area. It is so dark and there is not a single
soul anywhere around who could guide. You do not know the way to your
destination. Suddenly you bump on a crossing of four roads. You notice a pole
indicating the directions lying on the ground at a distance. How would you determine how to proceed to your destination?
Quiz # 2: A
similar one. In the above circumstances, it is time for you to do your Sandya
Vandanam. Even stars are not seen on the sky. You do not have any instrument like
mariner's compass. You do not see any water anywhere nearby. How will you
determine which is east and which is west and what will you do to perform the
Nityanushtana, when there is no water?
Quiz # 3:
Which is greater of the two? Lord's hands or his feet and why?
Quiz # 4: You
have read in Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam that Lakshmana promised "Aham Sarvam
Karishyaami". But, did he really act as promised?
You have also read
that when Sri Sita accused Ilayalwar of inappropriate behavior on hearing
Maricha's wail aloud in the voice of Rama "Hey! Lakshmana! Hey Sita! He left
Sita alone against the orders of Rama to guard her.
Now, the question is
what do you think Nammalwar would have done in similar circumstances instead
of Ilayalwar, to ensure obedience to the orders of both Rama and Sita?
NOTE 1. There are
indeed many more such queries but for want of space, I am leaving them out
The letter that
About 20 years ago,
on the Panguni Dwadasi day in the year Pingala, our Swami had just then
returned home after a visit to Melpakkam Swami for consulting him on some doubts on
the Ahnika Grantam which he was printing. A telegram followed by a
telephone call was received requiring him to come immediately for doing Tiruvaradanai. When our Swami went to pay his respects to the Azhagiyza Singhar, he
was asked to give a discourse on Easwara Saadhaka Anumaanam in Sastra
Yonitvaadi Adhikaranam of Sribashyam. When after finishing the discourse, our
Swami took leave, the Jeeyar asked Natteri Santhanam "Did we call him only to
send him off? Bring that letter and give it to him". The letter was from a
Tennacharya Swami who had great regard for Sri Sannidhi. He had suggested therein
that while he was in good health itself, the Azhagiya Singhar should make
arrangements for installing his successor at once,
On the following
Amavasya day, due to sudden illness, the Jeeyar summoned and asked our Swami to do Abigamana Aradanai after which he addressed our Swami that he should
henceforth take over the Abigamana Aradanai to Malolan. (Which means he should take
over the mantle of the Peetam). When our Swami submitted "Adiyen Asakthan",
the Jeeyar ordered in the presence of all and Malolan
"Na Utharam Vaktum Arhasi"
(Accept without any pleas to the contrary !).
Send off by sishyas:
It was a sight for
Gods to see when thousands of his Kalakshepa Sishyas thronged at his house
at # 5, Srinivasa Iyer Street Extension, West Mambalam to give a historical
send off to our Swami from Grihastaasrama to Sannyasaasrama. Our
Swami 'appeared' to take it easy in spite of the fact that he had lived an
enviably happy married life with a loving wife and three obedient sons and
members of the family.
Send off by his
More than the send
off by the Sishyas, it is the one given by Swami's wife who had lived with him
devotedly for over 46 years that deserves special mention. Addressing our Swami
she said "En Manathaik Kallaakki Konden; Neengalum Ungal Manathaik Kallaakkik
Kollungal" meaning "I have made up mind; You make up yours". Listening to
these words, our Swami did not look back and left his home finally. The
conflict of emotions surging in their hearts and the exemplary way in
which both controlled their minds at that momentous moment beggar description.
Indeed, Mami was an epitome of composure. But, the Mami who said she had
hardened her mind could not bear the separation for long. She attained Paramapadam
within a year and a half after our Swami took Sannyasam.
A prelude to the
Before the mega
event, our Swami, wanted to visit Desikan Sannidhi
at Thoopul and several other
Divyadesams like Kanchipuram, Tirupati, Sriperumpudur, Tiruvaheendrapuram
etc. Adiyen had arranged for a van to take the Kalakshepa Goshti members to
accompany our Swami in his itenirary - an
unforgettable experience indeed.
"I surrender at your feet"
On the day he arrived
after the visits to various shrines, Srirangam wore a festive look. All the
roads from the Rajagopuram to the Ahobila Matam premises were filled with a
milling crowd, surging forward to receive our Swami. On reaching the Matam,
our Swami paid obeisance to Azhagiya Singhar and told him "Tyaktvaa Putraamscha
Dhaaraams Cha Bhavantham Saranam Gatah" - "Leaving wife, family and everything
I surrender at your feet"
It was a Dwadasi day.
The great day had arrived for performing Jeeva Sraddham. Under the
patronage and immediate presence of Paravaakkottai Sri Goplala Desika Maha
Desikan of Poundarikapuram Asramam, Ganapadi Vaduvur Desikachariar Swami,
Sri Melpaakkam Swami and other Vidwat Sreshtas commenced the preparations from
8 a.m. onwards.
Around 3.p.m, Our
Swami declared raising his hands over his head that from that moment, he had
given up everything he deemed his own - wife, children, relatives, wealth
(not much of it, though). When he was saying this, one could palpably see the limp
in his throat choking his voice but at the same time one could also notice a
firm determination to surrender everything at the feet of Malolan. Not a drop
of tear from his eyes though tears rolled down from the eyes of the onlookers
who were visibly moved.!
As required, the
Swami had to fast and keep awake the whole night. Our Swami kept himself awake
listening to the Kalakshepams of other Swamis and chatting with some of us.
There were some media people who were asking him several questions like what
he proposed to do in his new role. He replied that it would be sufficient
if he could preserve the rich heritage bequeathed to him and he did not
propose to do anything novel or revolutionary. When another reporter asked what
he thought of the Kainkaryams the then Chief Minister was doing for the temples
in Tamilnadu, he replied that it was too early to comment.
Thus, was the night spent without rest for him (and for us too)
Gopala Desika Maha Desikan being the Seniormost of the Yathis (next only to
44th Jeeyar) both in point of age as well as date of assuming Sannyasa
Asramam is hailed as "Vasishta" by all other Yathis of our Satsampradayam. As
such, he had the honor of presiding over the whole function. He blessed
our Swami with Vasishta Maharishi's Sri Rama Pattabhisheka Slokam
" Abishinchya Nara Vyaagram" and sprinkled holy waters brought from many
Punya Theerthams especially for the function.
Tridandam and kaashaaya dhaaranam
The most important
appurtenance for a Sannyasi in our Sampradayam is the holding of Tridandam
and donning the ochre robe. Around 12 noon, the Tridandam made of bamboo
brought specially from Ahobilam (where Aadhi Vann Satakopar received Tridandam
from Lord Nrisimha himself) and Azhagiya Singhar presented the robes to our
Swami. Our Swami then proceeded to Kaveri (Kollidam) for Avabruta Snaanam.
Assuming as chinna
On return from the
river, straight our Swami proceeded to where Azhagiya Singhar was lodged
and fell at his feet three times. The Azhagiya Singhar took him to the Malolan
Sannidhi and called him "Chinna Jeeyar" and presented him to Malolan, like a
mother would present her baby to her husband! Thus, knighted as it were
the two came to be recognized as "Periya Jeeyar"and ""Chinna Jeeyar".
Periya Jeeyar also presented him the Prasadams received from Tiruvallur, Ahobilam
and other Divya Desams and told our Swami " From today onwards, you take
over the responsibilities of Tiruvaradana Kramams". Thus, from day 1, our Swami
assumed full charge of these Kainkaryams. Even Injimettu Azhagiya Singhar had
to wait for 12 years from 1929 to 1941 before he could assume the
With Veda gosham
reverberating, with Vaadhyams being played loud and clear, our Swami was taken
in procession atop the elephant belonging to the Asramam to the special place
allotted for him in the same premises. Thus, started the grand regime of
Chinna Azhagiya Singhar with a bang.
Our Swami confided in
a private conversation that he did not mind giving up all else. But, his
only regret was that he would be missing the devoted Srothas who were
attending his Kalakshepams with such keen interest. He openly expressed " Where
will I get such Srothas like you? Even if there are a few, my preoccupations
with the affairs of the Matam will not let me take Kalakshepam classes a
I have been doing ". But. Today, millions of Sishyas across the world are
listening to his Pravachanams through Tele conferences What was our private privilege so far has now become public property and rightly so.
It was the 65th
Tirunakshatram of our Swami on 14th December 1991, the first
Tirunakshatram to be
celebrated after assuming Sanyaasam. It was celebrated in a grand fashion
befitting a Rajarishi he had become. When he heard that I was coming, he wrote a
personal letter asking me to come via Madurantakam to bring Melpakkam Swami for
Veena recital by sri srirangam
That night, Sri
Srirangam Rangarajan who used to render a Veena recital every night to Lord
Ranganatha at the temple at the time of Aravanai, gave a special concert in honor of
our Swami. During the course of the recital, the Vainika played a song from
Vibishana Saranagathi, a kriti by Nerur Srinivasachariar (a disciple of the
famous Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar). My father and this Nerur Swami were co-tenants
when I was a school boy and therefore, I could identify the Kriti as that of
Nerur Swami and asked our Swami about it. Immediately, he pointed to a lady who
was sitting nearby and told me that she was the daughter of Nerur Swami,
Sriranganayaki by name. We used to call her "Seerangi", whom I had not met for over
several decades. She was in her seventies then, but we quickly recognized
each other. As I was the General Secretary of "Senior Citizens' Council,
Madras", Swami asked me if I could organize a Veena concert of Sri Rangarajan
under the auspices of our Council.
" I want someone like you"
Swami said to me " I
want someone like you during my Sancharams to look after the accounts and help
me in other matters also. But, I told him that since all my children were
settled in USA and being a widower, they would not like me to be alone in India and
they insisted on my coming to America, he reluctantly consented. " You may
go to America, if that is convenient for you. But, when you go there you
should proagate our Siddhantam. I know you will say nothing that is repugnant to
doctrines of our Siddhantam". He was so kind as to draft an Introduction to
the Astikas here to help me "as a noble service to Ahobila Mutt". This is the Introduction, which has been published in Malolan Net, Bhakti archives and
Saranagathi Journal, as all of you know.
Foreword for "Hinduism Rediscovered"
When I wrote my book
" Hinduism Rediscovered ", I submitted the manuscripts to our Swami. He had it
reviewed by a panel of experts in our Siddhantam and gave a foreword and
directed Sri R. Devanathan (in charge of Hyderabad unit of Ahobila Matam and
publisher of Telugu edition of Narasimhapriya, and father of our SDDS member, Sri
Sriram Devanathan of Iowa) to arrange for its publication in the main
Narasimhapriya journal.But, as some serials were being featured and there was acute
space constraint, and as some rare works of Poorvacharyas were pending to be
reprinted, I was told that it would take quite sometime before this could be taken up and I was asked to wait. I hope someday, the Matam would be able
to publish the book. Meanwhile, I had serialized the chapters in the SDDS
journal Vols.1 and 2 for the information of our members and for correcting
any errors and omissions so that an error free edition could be published
when the time comes. I am happy to receive great encouragement from
one and all. I am grateful for the valuable suggestions offered by our
As Chinna Jeeyar:
(1) We saw that as
Chinna Jeeyar, our Swami had the bhagyam of doing Aradhana to Malolan from Day
One. He started doing Samasrayanam and Bharanyasam also from Day One.
(2) Periya Azhagiya
Singhar gave him a box and authorized him to keep all Sambhavanais he
received as Chinna Jeeyar. Within a short while, our Swami collected 12 lakhs of
Rupees and wiped of the entire outstanding debts of the Matam.
(3) One of the most
important things he did was to do Achitra Aswamedha Parayanam on the
Ekadasi day followed by Kaataka Parayanam on the Dwadasi day. Poundarikapuram
Andavan Swami once remarked that the Parayanam has the effect of doing a Aswamedha
yagam itself as indicated by the sloka-
Japyeneiva Tu Samsidhyeth Braahmanena Atra Na Samsayah |
Kuryaadanyany Vaa Kuryaad Maitro Braahmana Uchyate ||
"Whether a Brahmin
does or does not perform the relevant Yagnam, the very Parayanam of the
Mantras have the effect of giving the fruits of performing the Yagnam". We see
how successful our Swami has been and perhaps this Parayanam has ad its
effect, apart from his own other qualifications.
It is usual for all Sannyasis to start their regime with
Kalakshepam on Aahnika Grantham.
Having already authored a monumental work on the subject, naturally our Swami
also started with Pravachanams on Ahnikam.
(5) He is the first
Chinna Jeeyar to start a Sancharam alone. The maiden Sancharam of our
Swami as Chinna Jeeyar was to Tirucherai Samprokshanam to which Periya Azhagiya
Singhar deputed him to perform. Periya Azhagiya
Singhar's Ascent to Vaikuntam:
On 16th August 1992,
the Periya Azhagiya Singhar attained Paramapadam. The whole Srivaishnava
Samooham was steeped in grief. Our Swami arranged for the final rites of the
Mahan befitting the personality, which towered as high as the Rajagopuram built
by him and dedicated to Sri Ranganatha. Our Swami performed the Maha
Aradhanam, Parvana Sraddham, Dwadasa Aradhanam etc. in a fitting manner on the
9,10 and 11 of Angirasa Avani for the 44th Pattam Jeeyar.
The Pattabhishekam of
our Prakritam Jeeyar 45th Azhagiya Singhar took place on Avani 8th (Monday).
After Paanaga Aradhanai at night, at the request of the Sishyas, our Swami
ascended the ivory palanquin belonging to the Matam and came round the
Chitrai Veedhis and performed "Pattina Pravesam". It was long since a similar Pattina Pravesam had taken place and the people who had thronged the streets
felt very much blessed.
It was on the 12th
Avani (28th August 1992) Azhagiya Singhar arranged on a grand scale
Saatrumurai with Periya Perumal Periya Goshti. The Iyal Satrumurai Goshti went round the
streets of Srirangam and Ijya Aradhanam, Tadheeya Aradhanam and
As they hail in
England,"The King is dead. Long live the King" a glorious chapter came to a
close and another glorious chapter began in the history of Ahobila Matam.
Once when our Swami
came to know that I had the Bhagyam of completing 105 out of the 106 Divya
Desams one could visit with this physical body, the solitary one left out
at that time was Dwaraka, he remarked " When am I going to visit all the
Divyadesams?" Today, he is more than fulfilling his desire.
Tirumangai Alwar did
Mangala Aasaasanam to only 86 out of the 108 Divyadesams. But, our Swami would
seem to excel all Alwars. The restless Sancharam he has undertaken during
these 7 years is really incredible. It would not be an exaggeration to say
that (not only those consecrated by Alwars), but so many Perumals are upgrading the status of their stations to Divyadesams thanks to the Mangala
Aasaasanam of our Swami. In fact, a mere listing of the places our Swami visited would
become a huge compendium. Therefore, I propose to refer only to a few of
these in which I had occasion to pay my obeisance to our Swami mentioning a
few incidents that happened and gems that he had uttered on those occasions.
No wonder, the 44th
Pattam Azhagiya Singhar felt that more than the building of the Rajagopuram,
his greatest achievement was nominating our Swami to succeed him. This has
been chronicled on page 8 of Narasimhapriya, November 1991 issue (Prajotpatti
Ahobilam March 4th
to 9th, 1993:
I had returned from
U.S.A. to Madras in March 93. I joined the Vanload of members of Kalakshepa
Goshti arranged by Sri Ravindra Kannan (Retd. Judge of Madras High Court and
a classmate in the Kalakshepam classes of our Swami) to go to Ahobilam where
Our Swami was holding the Serthi Sevai of Malolan Moolavar and Utsavar
for the 2nd time. A funny thing happened. I met one of my cousin sisters
with whom I had lost contact for over 50 years. It was a thrilling family
Our Swami was doing
Abigamana Aradanam. He least expected my presence
there. Normally, he would
not talk to anyone during this event. To the astonishment of everyone around,
he asked when I came back from USA and enquired about my family.
Later, when Abigamana
Prasadam was served, I was sitting near our Swami. When he noticed the
Paricharakar distributing just a little Prasadam in my hands, to my bewilderment,
our Swami openly pulled him up saying, " Do you know who he is? He has come
all the way from America." and ordered him to offer me more. The Paricharakar gave a big ball of food (like what is given to an elephant!)
At Bangalore ON 5th
Our Swami was camping
at the home of Sri S.M.S.Chari. Our Swami introduced me to Sri R.K.Swami who
had come there and spared me quite a time discussing very many things.
on 20th February 1994:
During the reception
accorded to him at the Marina Beach, he said he felt as if he had come back
to his "Pirandha Agam" - 'home sweet home'. This was the first time he had
returned to Madras after a long Kshetradanam.
At Besantnagar on
8th and 9th April 1994:
It was an unscheduled
visit when he was accorded a reception at the Besantnagar Community
hall, on the first day. Not all the members of Kalakshepa Goshti
could attend due to short notice. Our Swami Jocularly remarked "Satari
Vaithu Enakku Kai Valikkap Pogirathe Enruthaan Rombe per varavillai polirukku"
-' Perhaps out of concern that my hand should not get ache by placing
Satari, not many have turned up". The next day, the hall was overflowing with his
dear Sishyas who had come to know of his arrival.
At my residence for
dolai on 9th April 1994:
Our home was blessed
with his "Ponnadi Saathuthal" when he performed Dolai. My 2nd son and his wife
had married just a few days earlier. Drawing a parallel from a domestic
scene, he advised how for pleasing the husband, a wife was respectful to his
parents, the Lord would be more pleased only when respect is accorded to those
close to Him (i.e.) Bhagavatas.
At Tirumalai on 15th
He was camping there
for the Annamcharya Vardhanti Celebrations. Again, he recognized me and
enquired about our activities in America.
At Tirukkallam on
2nd May 1997:
(father of our Anand) took my sister and me for her Bharanyasam. He gave
a talk in which he said the normally people celebrate their birthdays with
great eclat, not realizing that one more year had been snatched away from
them. But, in his case, he felt as if he should celebrate birthdays more
frequently because of the Samarpanai that flows into the coffers for the
Kainkaryam of Emperumaan. He also said that though some rates had been fixed for
other services like Dolai, no fee was fixed for Bharanyasam because it is the
duty of the Acharya NOT to expect a return for this. And, whatever was offered
was accepted without question.
At Tiruvallur on
the same evening:
The Swami asked us to
follow him to Tiruvallur where he was going to release the Audio Cassette of
Sri Veeraraghava Suprabatham". I was pleasantly surprised when he
asked someone to fetch me to receive the first copy of the Cassette along with
At Bombay on 8th
When I went to India
for completing the visit to Nava Dwaraka, the first thing I did was to fly to
Bomabay to attend the Tirunakshatram of our Swami at Chembur. Here he
presented me a Souvenir titled "AzhagiyaSinghar'sVijaya Yatra" brought out by
Sri K.S. Tirumalai, Secretary, Azhagiya Singhar Reception Committee,
New Delhi. (This Tirumalai's wife is also my cousin siter, and sister of
the one whom I met during my Ahobilam trip mentioned above and whom I was
meeting after about 50 years). I also met at Bombay the mother of our Sri
Besides these, I had
the Bhagyam of offering my "Dandam Samarpithal" on various other
occasions and in various places. For want of space, I am omitting these.
Intra city travels:
In a sense, the
Sancharams of our Swami had started long before he became Chinna Jeeyar. On a
single day, he was delivering Kalakshepams in different places separated far
and wide from one end of the city to another or even a suburb, leaving
hardly any time to commute. Despite this, he would move with bewildering rapidity and keep up the times scheduled in each place. This, without upsetting his
Anushtanams!. I have myself traveled with him on several occasions by
Autorikshaws and sometimes by cars provided by one or the other of his numerous Sishyas.
Now, the role is
reversed. When I went to Bombay for his Tirunakshatram in December 1997, he had
sent the Matam van to pick us up from the Airport to the Matam at Chembur.
Inter city travels:
The rapidity with
which he hops in his Sancharams nowadays from one city to another is only too
well known. Like Trivikrama who measured the three worlds, he seems to measure
and fill every nook and corner of Bhartavarsha to
bless us all.
May be, one day, let
us hope, that he commutes between different countries because America would
certainly have come within the compass of the Lord's measurement. Indeed,
he belongs to the entire World and we also desire to enjoy his proximity!
Sri Rama and Swami
Sri Rama was sorry to
find the Maharishis walking up to him (Padbhyaam Abhigamaaschaiva) and
preferred himself to reach them. Our Swami seems to have this inner urge and
Vaatsalyam to reach us all out as evidenced by the excitement he and we
experienced during his recent Anugraha Baashanam.
who brought rains wherever he went, when our Swami went once for delivering a
discourse on Virata Parvam, torrential rains lashed the drought affected
Swami's Administrative Acumen
The manner in which
he manages the affairs of the empire he presides over needs no
introduction. In the olden days, accounting of Sambavanais was left in the hands of
subordinates. After Swami took over, this is done under his strict personal
supervision. Perhaps, Control of finances goes hand in hand with Control of
Indriyas in the case of our Swami ! Raising the financial position of the Matam
from a deep minus to an incredible plus within such a short period bears
ample testimony to this miracle.
In the olden days,
subordinates used to handle the fruits and other offerings in kind offered by
the Sishyas. Our Swami so vigilantly ensures that whether it is Panchamritam or
any other Prasadam, it reaches the very last individual standing at the
farthest end of the milling crowd. Such is his concern for the lowliest and the last
of his devotees. Srama Dakshinai to
Kainkaryaparas: His raising the Srama
Dakshinai (Salary) of Kainkaryaparas when the financial position of the Matam
was in doldrums proves not only his concern for them but also his courage and
confidence in raising the funds needed.
Can a Yathi be
interested in money / wealth?
No. Why Yathi alone?
None should be. Of course, more so in the case of a Sannyasi.
It is not the acquisition itself but the way it is earned and
more importantly how it is
expended that makes or mars the exercise. Sastras permit both acquisition and
expending, if they are done on dharmic lines. This is especially so in the case of a Rajarishi who has to administer an empire.
glorifies Dileepan as a just and fair ruler because like the Sun, which absorbs
water from the ocean and showers on parched earth, he levied taxes from
'each according to his capacity' and distributed the wealth to 'each according to
his needs'. Similarly, our Swami raises funds from those who can afford and
spends on Narasimha Aradhana, Maintenance of Parijanas, Tadheeya Aradhanas,
Development of Veda Patasalas, Celebration of the Tirunakshatrams of
Alwars and Acharyas, Conduct of Utsavams, Renovation of Temples and Matam
premises for the benefit of Sevaarthis and helping those in dire distress who
come to him for help - both spiritual and material
and in general welfare of
Kavachams for prahlada varadan
One of the many
Kainkaryams our Swami did is the Samarpanam of golden Kavachams for the
Abhaya Hastam, Sanku, Chakram, Gadhai and Tiruvadigal for Prahlada Varadan at
Ahobilam. Sri Setlur Srivatsankachar comments that Sri Narasimhan should be
feeling regret why he displayed only 4 hands. "If as Kaliyan sang "Alli
Maathar Pulga Ninra Aayiram Tholudaiyaan", I had displayed 1000 hands and 1000
feet (Sahasrapaad), our Swami would have adorned all of them with golden
achievements within a short span of 7 years are too numerous and too well known to be
recounted here. To mention a few:
Removal of illegal
occupation of Mutt properties by anti social elements
Repurchase of valuable properties sold out earlier almost for a song.
SAVE TRUST: (Sahasrabahu Adhyaapaka and Vedic Endowment Trust.
SMART TRUST (Sri Malola Academy and Redux Trust)
SAMRAT TRUST(Sri Ahobila Mutt's Renovation and Tirunakshatra Foundation
SVRC (Sri Visishtadvaita Research Center's Publications).
ANNA DHAANA TRUST
Sri Nrisimha Priya Trust
Malola Vidwat Sadas
Kalyana Abhivardhini Sabha at Madurantakam
Ahobila Ther ( Chariot)
Desilting of Pushkarani at Ahobilam and many many more.
Thanks to Ahobila Muth Inc. U.S.A
Kindly permit me to
place on record my heartfelt thanks to Ahobila Muth Inc. USA for giving me
this opportunity to speak on my Acharya, friend, philosopher and guide, our dear
Idaaneem Azhagiya Singhar, on this memorable occasion of the 6ooth Anniversary
Celebrations of the founding of Ahobila Matam by Aadhi Vann Satakopa.
What is so special about 600th
The Hindu Calendar is
designed to cover 60 years in a cycle. Aadhi Vann Satakopar completed 60
Chaturmasyams during his lifetime. Today, we are celebrating the completion of 10
times in respect to the Hindu cycle of Calendar and 10 times in respect to the 60
Chaturmasyams of the founder of this great institution. A rare privilege
which none of the other
centenaries is endowed with. And, we are blessed to participate in this
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
What is so special about ahobilam?
relating to the time factor associated with this Kshetram (to which our Matam
is connected so intimately) is this: Narsimha Avatara is
known to have taken place in the first of all the yugas- Krita Yuga. Swami
Desikan points out in his own unique style how the pillar in the Asura's palace,
gave birth to Sriman Narayana in his form as Narasimha and thus became the
grandmother of the four faced Brahma himself (who is the son of Perumal, as you
all know) "Yaa Kaachit Sahasaa
Mahaasura Griha Sthoonaa Pithaamahee Abooth" The hoary past of
this Kshetram can be understood from this. And, our association with our Azhagiyasinghar links us up to this time immemorial.
Kurai onrum illaatha govindanum
It is really
foolhardy on my part (Seelam Illa Siriyanand Arivu Onrum Illaatha Aayan) to attempt to
talk about one (Kurai Onrum Illaatha Govindan) whose Kalyana Gunas are
legion (Asankhyeya). I know that it is an impossible task like the Vedas that
attempted to praise the Lord but could not do so and returned crestfallen
Nivartante Apraapya Manasaa Saha".
I admit my incapacity
and seek forgiveness from the Acharya for my temerity.
But, why then should I attempt at all?
Like Ilayalwar who
pleaded with Lord Rama "Gunair Daasyam Upagathah", I have become a slave to
these very Kalyanagunas that I could not resist attempting, though it is like
showing "Kalpoora Harathi" to the blazing Sun and like trying to measure the
waters of the ocean with just a teaspoon!
My gratitude to my acharya
Sastras say that one
cannot repay the debt of gratitude to one's Acharya. Except for
remembering and basking in the memories of his immeasurable Upakaarams in
constantly showering his Anugraham on me, without regard to my qualification to
deserve it (like for example, spontaneously offering
prayers to Laksminarasimhan
and rushing Mantra Akshadai immediately on hearing of my ailment in January
Your comments, please!
I thank one and all
of you, Dear Bhagavatas, for investing your valuable time in reading these
posts. I will be grateful if you could favor me with your feedback so that I
may know whether I have been able to convey my message effectively.