Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thiruvilakku Pichan and Periya Perumal

This painting below celebrates an interesting anectode that happened in Srirangam during Nampillai's period. Nampillai is the celebrated author of the EEDU vyakyanam (commentary) to Nammazhwar's Thiruvaimozhi.

There lived in Srirangam a simple devotee by name Thiruvilakku Pichan. Pichan's service to the Lord was to light the lamp in the sanctum (Garbhagraham) everyday and ensure it is lit during the time the temple is open to visitors.

Those days Nampillai was performing kalakshepam (verbal explanation) of the EEDU vyakhyanam to his disciples. The Lord had heard great reviews about Nampillai's vyakhyanam and was therefore very interested in attending the Kalashepa Goshti (group/gathering).

One day when the kalakshepam was going on, Thiruvulakku Pichan entered the sanctum to ensure the lamp was lit and was burning. He went in with a torch into the garbhagraham and did not find the Lord, Periya Perumal, as he is known in Srirangam, in his place!

Now he started to get worries and went in search of the Lord around the temple and found him near the kalakshepa ghoshti sitting and enjoying Nampillai's commentary. When Pichan saw this, he authoritatively commanded the Lord back to his seat in the garbhagraham stating that visitors are arriving to see him. The Lord was half-hearted, but heeded to Pichan's command and went back to his Sayana Thirukkolam (lying posture) in the garbhagraham.  In the picture you can see Thiruvilakku Pichan standing by the side of Periya Perumal with the torch in his hand.!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Story of Ganges

This photo of a painting from Sriperumpudur Temples summarizes the story of, and greatness of River Ganges.

She originated in Brahma's Satyaloka when Brahma washed the feet of Trivikraman when He was measuring the 7 higher lokas with one feet in response to Mahabali's grant of three feet of land, during Vamana Avatar. She remained in Satyaloka as a holy river for a long long time when one fine day Bhagiratha did penance towards Brahma to bring her to Earth in order to revive his brothers. When countered by Brahma that Bhoo-loka cannot withstand the ferociousness of her flow, Bhagiratha did penance towards Shiva urging him in help. Shiva decided to help by holding her in his locks and slowing down her ferociousness.

Her source of purity and ability to wash away our sins are owed to her origin of having washed Trivikraman's feet which in tamil we call "Trivikraman's Shree Paada Theertham" (Water that washed His holy feet).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pralaya Kaalam

Emperumaan during Pralaya Kaalam devouring Brahma-aadi devargal.The world (Leela vibhooti consisting of 2X7=14 Lokas from Bhoo: to Satya on the one side, and atala to paataala on the other side) is completely and safely preserved (not destroyed as most people think) in His Stomach. When he decides to create again (Srishti Dasai) he spits them all out which is depicted in the painting to the right side of this one.  The Painting is from Woraiyur Nachiar temple in Srirangam.

Assorted Q&A on Vishishtaadvaitam

I received some questions on Vishishtaadvaitam from a friend that I am posting here along with answers. 
My initial Post is in Blue.
The response from my friend is in Black.
My return response is in RED. 
Yes I understand that it is the sharira-aatma-bhavam & that the equation is sharira: atman :: atma:paramatma.

Yes, the realisation that I am the aatman comes to very few and that too not until the jivatma has suffered sufficiently assuming he is the body. It is very difficult to get rid of dehaatma abhimaanam.

They get angry or express other emotions when the body is harmed in any way by another person without realizing that the harm and subsequent unhappiness is really helping them reduce some of their past paap-karma. 
I agree with this but then every fraction of a second if one can realise he is the atman and forget his body, then this realisation comes and he ignores all the anger and hatred that others shower on him but is reaching this state that easy? We get angry and impatient even for petty reasons.
Refer to Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Aatma Samyama Yogam:
After gradually building the case for visualizing the whole entire world of people with sama-bhaavam because of shariira-aatma bhavam, Bhagavaan says in shloka 31: 
य़ोमाम् पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वन्च मयि पश्यति । तस्याहम् न प्रणश्यामि स च मॆन प्रणश्यति ॥
Immediately, Arjuna seized the opportunity to ask the same question that you are presently asking: (shlokas 33, and 34).  Here below is shloka 34:
चन्चलम् हि मन: क्रिष्ण प्रमाति बल्लवद्रुढम् । 
तस्याहम् निग्रहम् मन्ये वायॊरिव सुदुष्करम् ॥
Krishna responds in shloka 35:
असम्शयम् महाबाहॊ मनॊ दुर्निर्ग्रहम् चलम् । 
अभ्यासॆनतु कौन्तॆय वैराज्य़ॆण च ग्रुह्यतॆ ॥
i.e "Without doubt, mind is difficult to curb and restless, but it can be controlled by constant practice and vairaagyam".
This effort of constant practice the native has to undertake by exercising free-will and is not pre-destined!
Anyway it is great that everyone realises this since all our suffering is only due to sins committed in the past and present and if we have a way of burning those prarabdhas, it is best to ignore others provocations and this is best way to burn them very fast too.
That is right, - this realization comes to very few people especially since there are many that continue to live in deha-atma abhimaanam. Remember that as long as one lives in deha-aatma abhimaanam, one continues to do actions that attract papa or punya karma. One can only change one own-self instead of worrying about others and ignoring their provocations by realizing the truth that their provocations are rooted in deha-aatma abhimaanam (even though the other person may be talking profound philosophy!)
even after Moksha the Jeevatmas remain different from each other - Anantan is different from Sriman Narayanan who is different from Mahalakshmi who is different from Vishvaksenar etc. even in Moksha Saamraajyam.
This is interesting, I thought all become equal since the sharira sambandha is lost and atmas are all equal.
It is good to remember that the Jeevatma cannot exist without a shariiram. here on earth or in moksha. The mukta Jeevan when it loses the shariira here, takes on a sookshma shariira (invisible body) to travel to Sri Vaikuntham. There in the outskirts of that world is a River by name Virajaa. The Jeevatma in that sookshma shariira takes bath in Virajaa river - that is when it loses the karma-sambandha deham and acquires an apraakrita deham made of shuddha-sattva dravyam that exists only in that world. There is an elaborate welcome to that Jeevatma there which is then led to the thiru maa-mani mandapam where it goes to meet Sriman Narayana on whose right side would be Sridevi Mahaalakshmi thaayaar, and on his left side would be Bhoomi Piraatiyar and Neela Naachiyaar. Mahalakshmi thaayar is responsible to assign nithya kaingaryam that the Jeevatma would do to the Lord every day. That world being made of shudda-sattvam the mukta-aatmas are naturally endowed with knowledge and happiness. The Jeevatma acquires in that world "Saamyaapatti" (equanimity) with the Lord in the quality of Aanandam, and shad-gunangal, and in satya-sankalpatvam. It does not become HIM, but only attains saamyaapatti with him in that Aanandam. Being eternally his Servant (since we are all his shariiram) - here or there, is the purpose of the Jeevatma.

Artha Panchakam divides Jeevatmas to be of 5 types: Nitya, Mukta, Mumukshu, Baddha, and Kevala.
What about Nityasuris. They must be in the first, right? 
What happens to each of these groups after Mahapralayam?
Emperumaan is also called Ubhaya Vibhooti Nadan - the Lord of two worlds of existence - the temporary world he creates for his play (Leela-Vibhooti) and the permanent world for the enjoyment of muktaatmaas. (Nithya-Vibhooti). During Mahapralayam that happens at the end of Brahma's 100 years (about 311 trillion human years) entire leela vibhooti that includes Brahma, Shiva, and Devaas lokas and their residents, are theoretically destroyed. but that only means they go back to their original state. For example: clay becomes pot. you break the pot, it becomes clay again. The clay form is called pralaya dasai. the pot form is called shrishti dasai. In shrishti dasai there is naama-roopa vibhaagam for a purpose (vyaapaaram). (Naamaa roope vyaakaravaani as Chandogyam says). In Pralaya Dasai there is no naama-roopa-vibhaagam. In Shrishti dasai, the thee gunas that pervade prakriti are in unequal amounts. During pralaya dasai the three gunas are in equal state. Nitya Vibhooti does not have these two states - it simply remains as it is. That is why one who goes there never returns back to shrishti dasai. Pralayam simply means, the leela-vibhooti is swallowed by emperumaan, held in his stomach for a while and spit out when he decides to begin creation. There is an earlier photo I had posted on this forum depicting Sriman Naraayanan swallowing Brahma et al. That is a true depiction of Pralayam. The painting is in the Woraiyur Nachiar temple near Srirangam. There are also paintings showing him do the creation when the Brahma- et al are spit out.  
Most important to understand is: During pralayam the Jeevatma is not destroyed only the visible physical world of "Achit" tattvam reaches sookshma dasai (become invisible). Each Jeevatma's karma is not destroyed at that time - they come back into creation exactly with the same karma that they were left with at the time of pralayam.
Therefore during Pralayam, the only affected parties are Baddha and Kevala, (assuming the Mumukshu attains Moksham before the pralayam). The Baddha and Kevala return back along with prakriti into srishti dasai when the re-creation starts.

Sharanagati has to be done when one become cognizant of sharira-aatma bhaavam and Jeevatma's complete dependence on Paramatma i.e. paaraatantryam. 

It is ideal as above but even after saranagati I see atleast the people I know of, aspiring for money, fame etc. They do live a better life than they were before but still they do not reach the ideal state.

Please refer to Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 9, Shloka 30, 31, and 32. Please refrain from judging Sharanaagartgal and even bhaktiyoga nishtargal. The Lord will correct them as he pleases. They will reach the Lord definitely. We should only be bothered about whether we are doing what we should be doing! 

When you perform sharanagati through an acharyan, you will be taught the rahasyatrayam - or three secrets which become the most important (and only mantras) you need to recite in your life. Of course, they are secrets and you should get them only from an acharyan. At the time of Sharanagati, your entire sanchita and prarabdha karma is wiped out completely. You become eligible for moksha, but have to wait until He decides to recall you from here. One has to remember at this point, your moksha has now become the Lord's responsibility and is not your effort anymore! Your Protection in all aspects of your living also becomes His responsibility. 

I heard that the Acharyan takes away your sins and then it reaches higher and higher, from Acharyan to his acharyan and so on and finally reaches God where the prarabhda is burnt totally Is it so? 

What matters is getting there...please do not worry about the process. From what I know at the moment the Acharyan performs pancha-samskaaram the karma is destroyed right up to that point in time. That is because he has been pre-authorized by Emperumaan when he ascends to the position of Acharyan. The Kriyamaana karma we acquire afterwards we have live it out. While we live, we have to therefore be thankful to our Acharyan and then his Acharyan and so on right up to Emperumaan who is the Maha-Acharyan.  All that comes in the guru parampara shlokas that we recite everyday.

During that waiting period there is a definite possibility that everyone will commit sins. He knows that very well, but will wait to see how mature you are in dealing with those sins. Let us say for example you become angry with some one, and later after 10 minutes you realize you made a mistake in becoming angry - if you even mentally apologize for it He will remove that sin from the list. There are some unknown sins we commit - we live their consequences within this life. If you are cognizant of the mistake committed to an Bhagavada, you must apologize to him in person - because bhaagavada apacharam will not be cancelled by the Lord (like He made Durvasa go back to Ambariishan to apologize). 

Even without saranagati, most of us could feel that we should not have done so, or apologise for the mistakes done and cry to God, is it also pardoned ?

Part of it, may be

or is it that saranagati is to be done to show your total surrender to God and to say you are helpless.

We do Sharanaagati not because of helplessness - but because we understand the "structure" of existence - that through Shariira Aatma Bhaavam we are his Shariiram, and therefore by the nature of that "structure" that out primary purpose is to be engaged constantly in His Service. 

Despite such great ASSURANCES given by the Lord, only a minuscule percentage of readers will take interest in performing Sharanagati - and that is also His Will. Others will carry on their skepticism and cynicism and ridicule such writing, and carry on living in dehaatma abhimaanam. That is also His Will!

I agree to the above, it is possible that many of us do karmas which also include sins and we do this consiously, then there could be a fear that in this state, if we surrender and still do these sins, the punishment could be more. May be you could say that once we do this, God will take it as his duty to correct us, is it not He will show the way to come out of that state of continuing to committ such sins.

He will take care of the Sharanaagatan no matter what he does. Again, please refer to Bhagvad Gita Chapter 9, shlokas 30, 31, 32. He has his own ways of dealing with every single individual. 
Swami Koorattazhwaan's greatness cannot be written/perceived easily! His overflowing compassion for humankind in general cannot be easily written about.

Yes that is true. I did read some of that but can we not get a printable format? 
Sorry, I do not have it in printable PDF format. Please search the internet. This website may be useful : www.maransdog.com

Also can you tell me how many were elevated to the status of Alwars apart from the 12 Alwars who wrote the Divyaprabandham.

Like Kurattalwar, Garudalwar --

The Azhwar pattam for Koorathazhwar was given by Swami Raamaanujar. For nithyasoorigal, since they are constantly immersed in emperumaan kaingaryam, it has become a social practice to add azhwar to their names.  Azhwaars otherwise refers only to the 12.