Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paramacharya as HR Consultant!!!

Today is “Anusham” (Anuradha) the birth star of our Paramacharya. Thought of sharing some incidences happened in his divine presence and also some of his teachings. Thanks to my friends V. Ramachandran and Major Narayanan for sending the articles.

One day morning a young man came to Kanchi Mutt and went straight to see our Paramacharya. When he saw our Mahaperiyava he started sobbing. When Periyava asked as to why is crying he replied that he had finished his studies and he could able to get a job for the last two years. Everyone in the house looking me as a stranger and especially my father always scolds me as ‘Thandam’. (‘Thandam’ in tamil means a waste i.e. which is not useful). I am very much pained that’s why I thought of coming here and get myself relieved of my sufferings.

Mahaperiyava quiety heard all of this and told him sit aside as he has to finish all the anushtanas meant for the Sanyasis. Later Mahaperiyava sat to give darshan for his devotees. At that time there was a Government Engineer who came there to have the darshan of Mahaperiyava.

Mahaperiyava then asked the Engineer what is the name of the Staff which he is holding. (The Sanyasis are given a Dhanda when they take initiation from a Guru. The Dhanda is made of thin bamboo stick tied with sacred thread with a flag which symbolizes purity). The Engineer who was confused told Periyava “It is called as ‘Thandam’ (meaning Staff in Tamil).

Periyava then asked the Engineer can you give a job for this? showing his Dhanda/Staff to him. The Engineer became even more confused and told periyava that he could not understand anything. Mahaperiyava then called the chap whom he asked to wait and showed him to the Engineer asking him can he arrange to give a job for him as in his house he is being referred as “Thandam” (meaning waste in tamil).

The Engineer was very much moved by the request of our Paramacharya and immediately told periyava that he will do it as per the command of the periyava. Mahaperiyava then told the gathering that the Dhanda or Staff which is being used a word for waste is the one which protects the Sanyasis and the Staff of the King is so powerful to make everyone abide by its rules. Hence in this world everything is useful and nothing is waste or thandam.

Saying so he told, “Oru Thandathukku Velli Kedachachu athanale innorru thandathukku velai mudinchiduthu” (i.e. The person who was referred as waste (thandam) has got the job and hence the job for the other thandam (staff) is over) and retired to his room.

The Cure for the Disease called Modern Civilisation
People are caught between two groups holding opposing views. On the one side they feel the pull of individuals like us who maintain that they must take to the path shown by the sastras; on the other they find themselves drawn in the opposite direction by the reformers who want these sastras to be changed. From a youthful age people nowadays are used to reading reports extolling the changes that go by the name of reforms. It is all due to the influence of modern education. All this notwithstanding, people have not altogether given up the old customs. A fraction of the dharmas laid down in the sastras and followed for ages is still to be seen in our domestic and social life. On the one hand, there is the habit formed by custom and, on the other, the habit now being learned through the new system of education.

It is universally recognised that contentment is lacking in the modern way of life. People don't dispute the fact that the peace that once existed in the previous generations no longer obtains today. They have more money now -or that at any rate is the belief. But are they yet free from poverty? The claim is made that everything is in abundance, that we grow more food than what is needed. Yet there is anxiety everywhere about the supply of essentials.

In the place of the old thatched hut or modest titled house now stands a multistory building. Then we had just four or five utensils to cook, a basket made of palm-fronds, containers made of gourd shells. Now the house is crammed with all sorts of articles and gadgets that are part of today's "civilized" life. People enjoy new comforts and make new acquisitions, yet they are not as happy and contented as were their forefathers.

Even now there are people who at heart long for a life of peace lived according to the old tradition. But they do not have the courage to give up either the trammels of modern life or the feeling of pride in the changes effected under the reformist movement. They are in an awkward predicament because they are not fully committed either to the traditional way of life or to the new. Let me tell you how people cannot decide for themselves-how they are neither here nor there. In most homes you will see Gandhiji's portrait and mine. Now Gandhiji advocated widow marriage-and I ask people to wear a sikha. Those who respect Gandhiji do not, however, have the courage to marry widows nor do they have the courage to wear a sikha. Poor people, they have no moorings and keep swinging between one set of beliefs and another. We must have the courage of our convictions and unflinching faith in the sastras.

If we start making small compromises in our adherence to the sastras, it will eventually mean following only such scriptural practices as we find convenient in our everyday life. Some people tell me with all good intentions: "The dharmasastras are the creation of rsis. You are like a rsi. You must make changes in the sastras in keeping with the times. “Their view is that just as we remove weeds from the fields we must change our customs and duties according to our times. If I take out some rites and observances from sastras now, thinking them to be "weeds", later another man will turn up and remove for the same reason. At this rate, a time will come when we will not be able to distinguish the weed from the crop and the entire field will become barren.
It is important to realise that if we are to remain true to the sastras it is not because they represent the views of the seers but because they contain the rules founded on the Vedas which are nothing but what Isvara has ordained. That is the reason why we must follow them. It is my duty to see that the sastras are preserved as they are. I have no authority to change them.

We must not give up the sastric way of life thinking it to be difficult to follow. If we are not carried away by the glitter of modern mundane life, if we reduce our wants and do not run after money, there will be no need to abandon the customs and rites laid down by our canonical texts. If we are not obsessed with making money there will be plenty of time to think of the Lord. And peace, contentment and happiness will reign.

Money is not essential to the performance of the rites enjoyed by the sastras, nor is pomp and circumstance essential to worship. Even dried tulasi and bilva leaves are enough to perform puja. The rice we cook for ourselves will do as the naivedya. "Marriage is also a sastric ceremony. We spend a lot of money on it. What about such expenses? “it is asked. All the lavish display we see at weddings today are unnecessary and do not have the sanction of the scriptures. Specifically, the dowry that forms such a substantial part of the marriage expenses has no scriptural sanction at all. If money were important to the performance of the rites enjoyed by our canonical texts it would mean that our religion is meant for rich people. In truth it is not so.

Of the four aims of life - dharma, material acquisitions, desire and liberation - we seek gratification of kama alone (in the form of pleasure, love, etc.). And to have our desires satisfied we keep struggling to acquire material things. Our efforts must be directed towards obtaining liberation through the practice of dharma. All that we need to do for this ideal is to resolve to live a simple life. There should then be no compulsion to run after money and other material goods and other. It would naturally become easier for us to practice dharma and reap the ultimate fruit, that is eternal bliss.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sri Bodendra Saraswathi Swamigal

Sri Bodendral (pronounced Bodendraal) was born in 1610 AD in Kanva Gotram and given the namam of Purushothaman by his parents, Sri Kesava Panduranga Yogi and Srimati Suguna Bai. Early on, Sri Purushothaman came under the grace of the then Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Acharyal, Sri Athma Bodendra Saraswathi (or Athma Bodendraal), to whom his parents were devoted. Eventually, he was anointed the 59th Acharyal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in 1638 AD. Sri Bodendral was on the forefront of establishing Nama Siddhantam. He was the first Guru in Bhajana Sampradhayam. Sri Bodendral was the contemporary of Sri Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval of Tiruvisanallur and Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral.

Sri Bodendral achieved Jeevan Mukthi on the banks of River Kaveri in 1692 AD. For a while, this place was lost and forgotten. In 1803, Sri Maruthanallur Sadguru Swamigal discovered the place after hearing Rama namam emanating from water here and had his Shishya, King Sarabhoji divert the river. Even now, there are reports of devotees hearing Rama namam in Sri Bodendral's Adhishtanam in Govindapuram, Tamil Nadu. Sri Bodendral is Sri Guru of Sri Sri Anna

Childhood to Sanyasam

Sri Kesava Panduranga Yogi and his wife Srimati Suguna Bai settled in Tamil Nadu, though originally they hailed from Maharashtra. They lived in Mandana Misra Agraharam in Kanchipuram, serving Sri Atma Bodendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the 58th Acharyal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. They named their son as Purushothaman, in accordance with the wishes of Sri Atma Bodendral. Purushothaman became a good friend of Jnanasagaran, born 18 months earlier, who came to Kanchi Matam as an orphan when he was an infant. Both Jnanasagaran and Purushothaman were the darlings of Sri Atma Bodendral. Jnanasagaran was destined to be a Jnani.

Sri Atma Bodendral sent Jnanasagaran and Purushothaman to Srimad Kirvanendra Saraswathi Swamigal to learn Advaitist works. Later, Purushothaman who became Sri Bhagavan Nama Bodendral, attributed his works to both Sri Kirvanendra Saraswathi Swamigal and Sri Atma Bodendral. When Sri Atma Bodendral departed for Kashi, he left Jnanasagaran and Purushothaman behind in Kanchi. Soon after, Purushothaman lost both his parents. Now Purushothaman left for Kashi to meet Sri Atma Bodendral, with his closest friend Jnanasagaran. Near Narmada river, Jnanasagaran fell ill and passed away. The distraught Purushothaman buried Jnanasagaran in Narmada and owed to die in Ganga on reaching Kashi.

On the banks of Ganga, Purushothaman received Taraka Mantra Dikshai from Sri Atma Bodendral and then attempted to drown in the river, but Purushothaman survived with Guru Krupa. Sri Atma Bodendral initiated Purushothaman into asceticism, which is considered a rebirth for the person, thereby letting Purushothaman keep his promise to Jnanasagaran on his death bed. Thus Sri Bodendral obtained asceticism in Kashi, a rare event in Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Purushothaman was christened Bhagavan Nama Boda by his Guru. As all Acharyal from Kanchi Peetam have Indra Saraswathi suffix, he came to be known as Bhagavan Nama Bodendra Saraswathi Swamigal. Sri Atma Bodendral commanded Sri Bodendral to spread Bhagavan Namam, following the footsteps of Kabirdas, Tulasidas, Mira Bai, Sri Krishna Chitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nama Deva, Sri Eknath and Sri Samartha Ramadas.

Nama Kaumudi

After instructing Sri Bodendral to proceed to Kanchi from Puri, Sri Atma Bodendral remained in Kashi. As his Guru commanded, Sri Bodendral proceeded to Puri Jagannath to obtain Nama Kaumudi, a masterly work written by Lakshmidhara Kavi, which propounded that Nama Japam and Bhajan were in accordance with Vedic scriptures. Kaumudi means Moon. Sri Atma Bodendral asked Sri Bodendral to use Nama Kaumudi to ward off resistance from conservatives, who would claim Nama Siddhantam was contrary to Vedic tradition. Later, Sri Bodendral would use Nama Kaumudi as foundation for many of his own works. Independently, Sri Ananda Deva had written a vyakyanam on Nama Kaumudi called Prakasham.

Sri Bodendral had Darshan of Lords Balarama, Subadra and Jagannath in Puri till the temple closed at night, chanting Govinda Namam. To avoid disturbing anyone late at night, he decided to spend the night outside a house unobtrusively.

Sri Bodendral woke up on hearing a Brahmin banging the door of the house at night, but decided to watch the event from darkness. The Brahmin was accompanied by a Muslim lady covered in veil. When the house-owner opened the door, the Brahmin started narrating his tale in tears: The lady in veil was his wife, although disguised in Islamic outfit. They left Tamil Nadu for Kashi, but were waylaid in Bamani Kingdom. The lady was dishonored and disfigured by Muslim extremists, but she managed to escape the terror and joined her husband months later. When they decided to take their lives, an elderly person advised them to approach Lakshmi Kanth, son of Lakshmidhara Kavi, for purification instead. Thus Sri Bodendral ended up at the right place to seek Nama Kaumudi, by Lord Jagannath's grace.

Per Lakshmi Kanth's advise, the Brahmin couple came to Chandan Talab lake the next day. While everyone was watching, the lady entered the lake and chanted Rama Rama Rama with devotion. When she emerged out of water, her disfiguration and Islamic outfit were gone and she came out as a traditional Brahmin lady exuding saintliness. This miracle established the effectiveness of Rama Namam in popular mind and later Sri Bodendral took the couple with him to Kanchi as living proof for Nama Siddhanta. When Sri Bodendral informed his intent to Lakshmi Kanth, he was given Nama Kaumudi. Its author Lakshmidhara Kavi had instructed his wife before his death to preserve Nama Kaumudi and pass it on to a saint from South India who would approach her years later.

Works of Sri Bodendral

Per his Guru's wishes, Sri Bodendral devoted his life to preach the importance of Nama Japam and Bhajan. Sri Bodendral elaborated Nama Kaumudi and composed 8 books: Namamrutha Rasodayam, Nama Rasayanam, Nama Suryodayam, Nama Tharangam, Namarnavam, Hari Hara Beda Thikaram, Hari Harardvaida Bhooshanam, Murtha Brahma Vivekam. These were dedicated to his Gurus Sri Kirvanendra Swamigal and Sri Atma Bodendral. These books conclusively established Nama Siddhanta. Sri Bodendral gave Rama Nama dikshai to individuals, while asking them to chant Govinda and Hara Namam as groups.

Sri Bodendral ascended Kanchi Peetam

Sri Atma Bodendral returned from Kashi to Kanchi. To complete Kashi Yatra in the traditional manner, he left for Rameswaram with Sri Bodendral. On the way, near Villupuram, in VadaVambalam village, Sri Atma Bodendral passed away, chanting SadaSivom SadaSivom. Thus in 1638, Sri Bodendral ascended Kanchi Peetam. Sri Bodendral continued with his journey to Rameswaram and Dhanushkoti in Tamil Nadu. As an interesting aside, Sri Atma Bodendral's Adhishtanam was unknown till it was dramatically discovered by Sri Kanchi Paramacharyal in 1927. Tanjore King Shahaji became a devotee of Sri Bodendral. In 1677, Tanasha, Nawab of Golconda, paid tributes to Sri Bodendral. Among the miracles attributed to Sri Bodendral, he made a dumb boy chant Bhagavan Namam and he cured a Brahma Rakshas by chanting Rama Namam.

Sri Bodendral met Sri Sridhara Ayyaval

Sri Bodendral had great respect and affection for Sri Ayyaval, who reciprocated the emotion. In his works Namamrutha Rasodayam and Nama Rasayanam, Sri Bodendral had quoted Sri Ayyaval's Bhagavan Nama Bhushanam as reference, even before they met. Sri Bodendral met Sri Ayyaval in Tanjavur province. Sri Bodendral even composed a song for his disciples to worship Sri Ayyaval, who was elder to him. This verse thus ended: "Obeisance to Sri Venkatasa Guru, who is Shiva Incarnate" or "Tam Vande Nara Roopam Andakaripum Sri Venkatesam Gurum". Sri Ayyaval worshipped Sri Bodendral thus: "Yasya Smarana Matrena Nama Bhakthi Prayajathe; Tam Namami Yathi Sreshtam Bodendram Jagatham Gurum".

Sri Bodendral retired to Govindapuram

Sri Bodendral nominated Sri Advaitatma Prakasendra Saraswati Swamigal to succeed him for Kanchi Peetam. In 1685, after leading Kanchi Peetam for 48 years, Sri Bodendral left it to his successor and departed for Govindapuram, a village named after Sri Govinda Dikshithar, a minister in Nayak dynasty. Sri Kanchi Paramacharyal speculated that Sri Bodendral started wearing Vaishnava symbol of Urdhva Pundram instead of the traditional Saivite symbol of Vibhooti during this phase. Per Sri Premika Vijayam, Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal had a darshan of Sri Bodendral wearing Urdhva Pundram. Sri Premika Vijayam also recounts a remarkable vision where Sri Bodendral took Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal to a pond where frogs were croaking 'Hara Hara Hara Hara' and assured that even the frogs were guaranteed Moksham. Such is the power of Nama Siddhantam.

As Sri Bodendral called his successor Govinda on occasions, Sri Advitatma Swamigal was also called Govinda Samyami. In 1692 AD Prajotpathi year Purattasi month full moon day, Sri Bodendral, treating himself as consort to Lord Rama, achieved Jeevan Mukthi, by burying himself in ground, just like Sita Devi had done ages back. Over 100 years later, when Sri Maruthanallur Sadguru Swamigal discovered the location where Sri Bodendral had attained Jeevan Mukthi, he also found Nama Kaumudi, that Sri Bodendral had carried with him all along.

Reference based on the book “Kamakoti Ramakoti” by Ra. Ganapathy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Importance of Vishnu Sahasranamam

The Vishnu Sahasranamam is found in the Mahabharatha. Literally translated this means thousand names of Vishnu. This is found in the Anushasanika Parvam (chapter relating to orders or rules to the kings) of Mahabharatha. Bheeshma Pitamaha was defeated and grievously wounded by Arjuna. But since he could choose the time of his death as per the boons received by him, he chose to die in Uttarayana and was waiting for the auspicious time. Meanwhile the war was over leading to death of all those male members in his family except the Pancha Pandavas and the unborn child of Abhimanyu. Yudishtra the eldest of the Pandavas became the King of Hasthinapura and went to Bheeshma the great for the advice and asked the following questions:

“Kimekam Daivatham Loke kim vapyegam parayanam Sthuvantha Kam Kamarchanda Prapnuyur Manava Shubham. Ko Dharma Sarva Dharmanam Paramo Matha Kim Japan Muchyathe Jandur Janma Samsara Bhandana”

  • Who is the One Supreme Deity?

  • What is the highest goal of life?

  • By praising which Deity's auspicious qualities will human beings attain prosperity in this world as well as bliss in the next?

  • By reciting which mantra will man be released from the bondage of the cycle of birth and death?

  • Of the three means referred to above (i.e., recitation, praise or archana, and meditation), which is the best means for attaining the grace of the Supreme Deity based on your vast experience and knowledge?

Bhishma's response to the above questions follows in the next ten stanzas. In his considered opinion, a person tides over all the sorrows in this world by reciting with undiluted devotion the Thousand Names of the Eternal Person, worshiping Him always with devotion, meditating upon Him, glorifying Him, saluting Him by prostrating before Him, and adoring Him (dhyayan, stuvan, namasyamsca, yajamanas tameva ca).

Bhishma adds that of all the dharmas, the dharma or practice involving service done to the Lotus-eyed Lord Krishna, without any desire for benefit, through worship (archana) and hymnal praise (stava), is the best dharma. Note that praising is easy, involving only speech, and does not involve any material sacrifice or bodily exertion. It is open to all, and does not need help from, or dependence on, others. Other kinds of worship might require money or other resources to perform the worship, or the need to impose on other people for their involvement (e.g., a priest to give instructions on the method of worship etc.).

For the purpose of chanting the name of God, there is also no constraint on the asrama (i.e., brahmacharya, grihasta, etc.) to which a person belongs, unlike, for example, the constraints that the vedas place in performing the ceremonial rites with sacrificial fire. There is also no requirement regarding time, place, status of purity, etc., for the chanting of the stotram. The key element of the act of chanting as a means to attain the Lord's grace is the sincerity and purity of mind, and there is no other constraint or consideration.

In summary, Yudhishthira asks Bhishma: "Given my despair and sorrowful state of mind, I want to expend the least effort and get the most benefit out of it, viz. relief from my despair. Please tell me the means for this." And Bhishma's response is "Chant the thousand names of Lord Krishna WITH DEVOTION. This does not require any effort other than the willingness to chant. This is the best way to get relief from all miseries, sorrows, and sins".

The Thousand Names

The word sahasra in the title of the Stotram means "one thousand". The main body of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram consists of 107 stanzas which contain the thousand names of Sri Maha Vishnu. Every one of the Thousand Names in Vishnu Sahasranamam is full of significance in that it refers to one particular quality, guna, characteristic or attribute of Paramatma. (yani namani gaunani, where the emphasis is that each name is indicative of a guna of Vishnu).

One could legitimately ask the question: Why were these 1000 names chosen? Does the Parama Purusha get absolutely defined by these thousand names? The obvious answer is that God is Infinite and Indescribable, and can only be experienced, but cannot be translated into words and communicated from one to another. The vedas conclude that God is neither accessible to words nor to mind (yato vacho nivartante aprapya manasa saha - Taittiriya Upanishad).

In Isavasya Upanishad, it is said that you cannot reach (understand) the Paramatma with the human mind (reasoning) alone even if you spend all your life. This holds true even though mind can travel (think) faster than anything known to us, including the speed of light (anejadekam manaso javiyo..). Given this Infinite nature of the Paramatma who is not governed or constrained by any of the physical laws as we know them, the choice of a thousand names of Vishnu by Bhishma should be recognized as a representation of some of the better-known qualities of Sriman Narayana that are repeatedly described in our great epics, vedas, puranas, etc., and sung by the devout sages repeatedly.

As was indicated earlier, the thousand names are strung together in a poetic form by Sri Vedavyasa. While identifying the thousand names of Narayana from this poetic composition describing the qualities of the Infinite Paramatma, the different revered acharyas have come up with slightly differing sets of thousand names. This is partly because of the ability of these great acharyas to be able to enjoy the indescribable Parama Purusha in their own ways, based on the unique philosophies which they have propounded.

Of the thousand names, some are repeated for example, in Sri Parasara Bhattar's choice of the thousand names, two names occur four times, 12 names occur three times, and 82 names occur twice. When a name occurs more than once, the revered commentators have interpreted the meaning of the name differently in each instance depending on the context in which the name occurs. They have also quoted extensive evidence from ancient scriptures in support of their interpretation. The commentators have emphasized that the recurrence is not the result of a dosha (deficiency of being repetitive) in the composition.

Importance of Chanting

Some might say that they do not understand the meaning of the Sanskrit words in the stotram and therefore do not feel comfortable chanting it. Sri Chandrasekhara andrasekhara Saraswathi Swami has given us his guidance on this issue in one of his discourses. He advises us that learning the chanting of prayers even without knowing the meaning is a worthwhile act, and can be compared to finding a box of treasure without the key. As long as we have the box, we can open it whenever we get the key of knowledge later, but the treasure will be already there.

The Benefits

As was pointed out earlier, traditionally our prayers end with a phala sruti - a section on the benefits of reciting the prayer. The Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram is no exception. The necessity of cleansing our body regularly to maintain our physical hygiene and good health is recognized by every one. But perhaps because we do not "see" our mind the same way as we see our body (i.e., as an externally visible entity), the necessity of keeping our minds clean is not as clearly recognized. However, those who do not "cleanse" their mind on a regular basis become "mentally" sick over a period of time, just as they become physically sick if they do not cleanse their body on a regular basis. Prayers are a means to mental cleansing when they are chanted with sincerity and devotion. This aspect of the usefulness of prayers in everyone's life is common to all prayers.

The importance of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram is that the deity being worshipped is none other than Vasudeva (Sri Maha vishnuh paramatma sriman narayano devata; saktir devaki nandanah; itidam kirtaniyasya kesavasya mahatmanah namnam sahasram divyanam aseshena prakirtitam; sahasram vasudevasya namnam etat prakirtayet, etc.). Sri Vyasa points out that it is by the power and command of Vasudeva that the sun, the moon, the stars, the world, and the oceans are controlled (sa chandrarka nakshatra kham diso bhur mahodadhih vasudevasya viryena vidhrtani mahatmanah). The whole universe of the Gods, Asuras, Gandharvas, etc., is under the sway of Lord Krishna (sasurasura gandharvam ....). In Bhishma's expert judgment, chanting Vasudeva's name with devotion and sincerity will ensure relief from sorrows and bondage. This in a nutshell is the phala sruti or the benefit of chanting Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Saptaaham on Mahaperiyava

I recently attended a Unique Saptaaham (meaning Seven day discourse). Generally the Saptaahams are conducted only for Puranas like Srimad Bhagavatham but this Saptaaham is about a person. Saptaaham for an individual who lived among us is very unique and rare. The Sapataaham is about none other than our Mahaperiyava, Paramacharya Pujyashri Sri Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal, who was referred as “Nadamadum Theivam” or Walking God who have uplifted our society from the clutches of the Maya. The entire credit for the Saptaaham goes to Sri Ganesha Sarma whose way of speech is very natural like an ordinary person but the content of his discourse is very rich. Please read on to know more about the Saptaaham.

How the idea of a Saptaaham was conceived

MahaPeriyava Divya Charitram took shape as Saptaham-a seven day discourse like the Bhagavata Saptaham-without any of those involved in it i.e. members of the SSSMM TRUST or the Upanyasaka himself being conscious of it, so to say! One afternoon, a Trustee was asking Sri Ganesa Sarma whether he could devote himself to writing an authentic, factual account of every fact that went into the birth of the SSSMM Trust and the subsequent events to that day that account for the slow but steady progress of the Satabdhi ManiMantapam in Orirukkai by His Grace so that it can be compiled as a Sthala Purana for record.

As one in the know of things and also a devotee of Pradosham Mama, he is eminently suited to do it - he also readily agreed to carry it out. Another Trustee who is devoting all his attention to plans for the preservation of our Vedic heritage joined Sri Ganesa Sarma enthusiastically to help him in the task but when both of them got to work together, most unexpectedly the idea of these Saptaham discourses came to them. In hindsight, the whole thing looks like entirely Divinely inspired and nothing less! The visible impact Sri Ganesa Sarma makes on his listeners is testimony enough to the Divine inspiration of these Saptaham Discourses.

TAFE Sri Ganesha Sarma

Sri Ganesha Sarma (45) B.A., M.B.A from Madras University has about 21 years of Service in the accounts department of Tractors and Farm Equipments of India Ltd (TAFE). A native of Kumbakonam, he was inducted into the activities of the Kanchi Mutt by his father. Since then he has been an ardent devotee of our MahaPeriyava. He is a Sri Vidya Upasaka who can also render many Sanskrit and Tamil hymns combining melody with meaning.

These Saptaham discourses have earned him the hearty blessings of both Their Holinesses Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal and Sri Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal who do not conceal their admiration for the manner in which he narrates the true story of Sri Kanchi MahaSwami. Sri Ganesha Sarma was fully trained by Sri Pradosam Mama. Late Venkatrama Iyer popularly known as PRADOSAM MAMA, himself soaked in Bakthi of Sri Mahaswami was instrumental in inducting many good souls in the path of Bakthi. His vision of constructing a Mani Mandapam for Sri Mahaswami and propogating Veda resulted in the formation of the SSSMM Trust.

A brief outline of the Saptaaham

The discourse lasts 7 days and contains 7 Kandams.

Avathara Kandam tells the story of MahaPeriyava's early years from the moment of Jayanti.
Vijaya Yatra Kandam is an engaging travelogue of the decades of His pilgrimage on foot across the Bharat Varsha
Arpudha Kandam is a narration of true stories which qualify themselves to be called miracles but which MahaPeriyava would never own as such.

Upadesa Kandam - Not a single day has gone without MahaPeriyava discoursing on some topic or other (as Ra.Ganapati's 7 volumes of Deivathin Kural reveal)-Upadesa Kandam dwells a little on it.

Anugraha Kandam - Countless are the devotees in India and abroad, who have been benefitted by His Grace to this day. Anugraha Kandam gives a glimpse of that marvel to us.
Sarvagna Kandam - Sarvagna Peetam was the name for the sacred Kamakoti Peetam when Adi Sankara Bhagavadpada ascended that Peetam in Kancheepuram as its very first Acharya. Omniscience is what is conveyed by it-how many have experienced it - Sarvagna Kandam gives a brief profile of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal as a Sarvagnya.
Smarana Kandam is meant to explain why we we should adore our MahaPeriyava day in and day out and, incidentally one of the ways to keep that sacred memory alive and glowing in our hearts is to participate in the making of the Manimantapam in Orirukkai. Sri Ganesha Sarma concludes the Saptaham memorably with this Smarana Kandam.

If you get a chance to attend please don’t miss it!