Friday, April 24, 2015


The OmkAra upAsana is intended mainly for sanyAsis. There are a lot of restrictions in the Vedic Scriptures regarding the usage of PraNava.
Considering the modern times, if the term is retained as Yoga (which is mainly Asana and PrAnAyAma for many) and the world acknowledges that it belongs to BhArata as part of its sanAtana dharma, it is enough to start with. Later when some people develop intense faith in the Yoga system, they can look into the eight limbs of Yoga in a holistic manner comprising of yama, niyama, Asana, PrANAyAma, PratyAhAra, DhyAna, DhAraNa, and samAdhi. This could be  construed to be one non-controversial strategy to make the world aware of the potentials of Yoga and realize immense benefits from Yoga practices.
जयजय श्रीराधे 


The Dhvajastambha, as we call it, is installed based on the Agama pertaining to that specific temple. The details of the size, height, quality of the wood to be used and so on are specified in the Agama concerned. PAncarAtra and VaikhAnasa are the two main Agamas followed by the Vaishnavite temples. There are many branches of PancharAtra Agama. The North Indian Temples are not based on PAncarAtra and VaikhAnasa Agamas. Hence depending upon the Agama / Scripture followed by the Temple, there are variations.
जयजय श्रीराधे  

Thursday, April 23, 2015


The Vedas wish all prosperity for the farmers who feed all human beings.

Let our Ploughs cleave the ground with Prosperity.
Let  the Ploughers go round the yokes with Prosperity.
Let Parjanya give Prosperity with honey and milk.
Let SunA and SirA bestow us Prosperity.

शु॒नं नः॒ फाला॒ वि तु॑दन्तु॒ भूमि शु॒नं की॒नाशा॑ अ॒भि य॑न्तु वा॒हान्
शु॒नम्प॒र्जन्यो॒ मधु॑ना॒ पयो॑भिः॒ शुना॑सीरा शु॒नम॒स्मासु॑ धत्तम् ।
--- TaittirIya SamhitA IV-2-5 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


SrI RAmAnujAcArya, the greatest AcArya of SrIvaishNavism has clearly upheld the sanctity of varNASrama dharma in his SrI BhAshya, the exalted commentary on Brahma sUtra. All the 74 AcAryas established by him uphold the  Vedic tradition  and are conforming to sAstras even today.

SrI RAmAnujAcArya at the same time strongly believed that we have to respect the great Saints and devotees belonging to other castes as well, as many AzhvArs are non-BrAhmaNas. While it is the duty of one person to follow his own varNASrama dharma, it does not make him automatically superior to others. In the considered view of SrI RAmAnujAcArya all VaishNavaites (tirumAl adiyArs) are one and the same in the eyes of the Supreme BhagavAn. Hence one has to be always polite and humble in spite of his caste.
The jIyars of SrI RAmAnujAcArya tradition wear yajnopavitam and perform nitya karma. SrI RAmAnujAcAyra fully knows what is varNASrama dharma and what is devotion (bhakti yoga) and Surrender (Prapatti).
Those vaishnavites who are not brAhmaNas do not wear yajnopavitam but are engaged in the service of BhagavAn are called as "sAttANi" . They render "pushpa kainkaryam" in a selfless manner. SrI RAmAnujAcAyra welcomed all for doing unconditional and selfless service to the Supreme irrespective of caste.
Vaishnavites never claim that they are superior based on birth. For them, it is the loving  devotion to the Supreme which is important. All devotees are verily equals. At the same time, Vaishnavites fully adhere to varNaSrama dharma.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya never advocated the supremacy of BrAhmaNas over others. One of his respected AcAryas was Swami Tirukkacchi Nambigal, who was a non-BrAhmaNa. Therefore, if only SrI RAmAnujAcAyra had considered BrAhmaNas as superior, there is some meaning in alleging that he could have converted non-BrAhmaNas into BrAhmaNas. For him, all SrI Vaishnavaites are indeed  equals. At the same time  he also emphasized that the SAstras have to be duly complied with based on one's VarNASrama dharma as determined by one's birth.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya brought many people into the fold of Sri VaishNavism without any change in their status of varNa. As they were disillusioned with the non-Vedic philsophies, mAyA vAdam etc, they voluntarily came into the fold of Sri VaishNavism.
All the sAtthAda mudalis of heritage temples like SrIrangam, still remain to date as sAtthAda mudalis only. Nobody was ever converted into the BrAhmaNa fold. Pillai UrangAvalli Dasar became a very close disciple of SrI RAmAnujAcArya at SrIrangam and he remained as a non-BrAhmaNa only.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya firmly believed in the supremacy of Vedic Scriptures. According to the SAstras, there are no rituals for converting the caste of the person into BrAhmaNa VarNa. Hence as a strong upholder of SAstras, SrI RAmAnujAcArya would not have even dreamt of changing the VarNas just like that.
SrI RAmAnujAcArya is far beyond the mAyA of caste supremacy and there is no need for him to convert non-BrAhmaNas into BrAhmaNa VarNa. He only openly welcomed all people with love and affection  irrespective of their castes into the fold of SrI VaishNavism  to cross the ocean of samsAra and  reach the abode of the Supreme.
श्रीमते रामानुजाय नमः।
जयजय श्रीराधे  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The very fact that we are asking Veda PramANa overlooking the smrtis of the great Rishis shows our lack of respect for their sagacious wisdom and trying to use our very limited knowledge to understand and interpret the Vedas. According to Manu, one who disrespects the smrtis is a nAstika.

Both Sruti and smrutis constitute valid pramANas. We have to keep in view that smrutis have only Sruti as the base. Though there were many SAkhAs (recensions) of the Vedas in the days of  yonder, only a few are available now due to various reasons.
anantA vai vedAh !
---- TaittirIya KAthaka

The Vedas are infinite. Thus while a particular aspect (for example, mandatory performance of trikAla sandhyA including  mAdhyAnikam) specifically covered in the smrutis could have been  based on a Vedic statement which was existing  in a particular Vedic recension at that point of time but not now, it may not be correct for us to conclude that the particular aspect is not backed by Vedas. Hence it would be very difficult to overlook what is stated in the smrutis as being something which is not mentioned in the Vedas and hence need not be followed.

One cannot properly understand the intended and intrinsic meaning of Vedas. As Vedas are complex and innumerable, the Rishis through their great tapas composed the Smrutis which define what is dharma for a particular Yuga.

In order to understand the Sruti in the proper perspective, one requires the guidance of smruti. Interpreting the original Vedic Mantras on our own accord is dangerous in the modern environment.

For each Mantra, there is a Rishi, a Chandas and the devatA. One cannot overlook the Rishi and chant any Mantra including GAyatrI MahA Mantra. As Rishis are the Seers of Vedic Mantras and the authors of smrutis, we hold them in high esteem. Rishi TarpaNam is offered to them. KAnda Rishi TarpaNam is also there. All the Srauta, grihya and smArta PrayogAs are done even today based on the statements of great Rishis like Apastamba, BodhAyana, ASvalAya, Jaimini, LAtyAyana, KAtyAyana and so on. In addition, we have sanakAdi Rishis, Sapta Rishis , NArada, BharadvAja, Veda VyAsa and so many others.
Each BrAhmaNa (however materially he may be rich) is born only as a debtor with triple debts. He is indebted to the Rishis, DevAs and Pitrus. The Rishi debt is discharged through brahmacarya, Deva debt through performance of yajnas and Pitru debt through progeny.
JAyamAno ha vai brAhmaNah tribhir rNavA jAyate !
brahmacaryena rishibhyah !
yajnena devebhyah!
prajayA pitrubhyah!
The Rishis including Rishi Patnis are to be respectfully worshipped. Without them, the Vedas would have disappeared. The smrutis, which are Rishi Proktam are therefore equally valid like Sruti.

Whatever one feels like doing according to his mental make-up does not constitute dharma. That is why in Bhagavad GItA , BhagavAn advises all to follow dharma as ordained in the Scriptures :
tasmacchAstram pramAnam te karYAkArya vyavasthitau!
jnAtvA SAstra vidhinoktam karma kartum ihArhasi !!
-----Bhagavad gItA ! 16.24
One who does not follow SAstras gains not Sukham or Siddhi or parama gati.
yah Sastra vidhim utsrijya vartate KAma kAratah !
na sa siddhim avApnoti na sukham na parAm gatim !!
---Bhagavad gItA 16.23
Learned sees through the eye of SAstras
" ----kavibhih SAstra cakshushA ---"
---- SrImad BhAgavatam x-84-36
Sruti smruti mamaivAjnA yad tad ullanghya vartate !
AjnAcchedhe mama drOhi mat bhaktOpi na vaishNava !!
--- VishNu
vedamUlAh smrutayah !
---- Sankha
durbodhA vaidikASSabdAh prakIrNatvacca ye khilAh !
tatraita eva drushtArthAh smruti tantrai pratishthitAh !!
---- MarIci
Srutim paSyanti munayah smaranti ca tathA smrutim !
tasmAt pramANamubhayam pramANaih pramitam bhuvi !!
---- Manu
According to Angiras, those who are learned in pramANas should duly take care of them. Otherwise, authentic pramANas would get destroyed by baseless pramANas.
pramANAni pramANajnaih paripAlyAni yatnatah !
sIdanti pramANAni pramANairavyavasthitaih !!

Coming to the subject, there are two modes of samskAram in terms of Pitru medham and Brahma medham. For both, there are Veda Mantras available as per grhya prayoga and are currently in use. This varies based on the sUtra to which one belongs to. Now for each and every karmanushthAna if somebody asks for specific pramANa in the Vedas (of which only a portion is available now), it is not in line with the path of the wise. We need to understand that the Veda Mantras used in the context as recommended by the Rishis constitute the PramANas. It is to be noted that in the entire two volumes of SrAddha kAnda of VaidyanAtha dIkshitIyam, only pramAnas from dharma SAstras are given. In the Vedas we have ample references about Pitru Yajna, svadha , Pitru, PitAmaha, PrapitAmaha and so on. But for each karma and the detailed procedure, if some body demands specific Veda pramAna, it is too much and tantamounts to overlooking the sagacious wisdom of the  Rishis.
According to MarIcI, one is born as a candAla in crores of birth if one gives up performance of Abdika SrAddha.
PanditA jnAnino mUrkhAh striyo'tha brahmacAriNah !
mrtAham samatikramya candAlah kotijanmasu !!
--- MarIcI
According to LokAkshi, one shall do anna SrAddham only and not HiraNyam or Ama SrAddham.
Pushapvatsvapi dAreshu videSastho 'pyanagnikah !
annenaivAbdikam kuryaddhemnA va'mena na kvacit !!
--- LokAkshi
According to Jamadagni, Sumantu and USanas, one without wife is not entitled to perform pArvaNa SrAddham and he has to do Ama SrAddham.
 na bhavatyasya sAmagrI dArA vA gruhameva ca !
AmaSrAddham prakurvIta vrddho bAlaSca yo bhavet !!
- Jamadagni
One who thinks that there are no Pitrus and gives up performance of SrAddha earns the curse of his own Pitrus.
na santi pitaraSceti krtvA manasi yo narah !
SrAddham na kurute tatra tasya raktam pibanti te !!
--- Aditya PurANa
Where SrAddha is not done, there no Putras are born, no relief from dieseses, no long life and no goodness.
na tatra vIrA jAyante nArogA na SatAyushah !
na ca Sreyodhigacchati yatra SrAddham vivarjitam !!
--- HArIta

It is to be noted that even in the dharma SAstras different ways have been suggested for a particular situation by different Rishis. It is difficult to comprehend and interpret the proper course of action many a times. Our own interpretations of the Vedas in the context of performance of various Karmas would be grossly misleading. We have  to necessarily go by what the great Rishis have said and follow it as far as possible in one’s own prevailing circumstances.Hence if any one  who raises such questions  genuinely believes in Vedic Scriptures, he can personally approach a Srotriya well-versed in dharma SAstra, get his doubts clarified and act accordingly.
नमः परमऋषिभ्यो  नमः परमऋषिभ्यः।
जय जय श्रीराधे।