Dienstag, September 30, 2008

Panca Samskara

It so happen that we could watch the ceremony of initation in Sri Vaishnavism, by Sri Annan Kovil Swamy in his Temple shrine/Srirangam. Those initation (Samshrayanam) differs from the Pancaratra Diksha in different ways, but is given freely to everyone who desires it. Where the Pancaratra Diksha only is given to the next priest generations. But samskaras and the meaning are the same (except that the priest is made eligible to do temple seva/worship for the community)! Getting the path way back to Godhead, Paramapadam (Sri Vaikuntham)is the only meaning of Initation by the Guru. The five samskaras in the initation ceremony are: "Nama" a Name what connects the sishya (disciple) with the identity of a servant of God, "Pundra" Tilak marks (12 special marks applied to recognize the body as a place of residence of the Lord) made from holy clay from rivers like Ganges or holy watertanks, "Tapa" hot brandings of the symbol of Lord Vishnu (firewheel and Conch) on the shoulders, "Mantra" a holy syllable to recite daily - like a prayer - (Tirumantra 8 sylable of Lord Narayana) and "Yaga" worship or offering everything (thought, mind, desires, bodily activities etc.). The ceremony to watch was very trilling, as one could feel the stress of the sishyas meeting with all the 5 samskaras. A small homa was made, the branding were made hot, and the air filled with smoke. After the screaming of the branded* (actually it is not so painful!), they where left alone in front of the Lord, did their 10 minutes (!) namaskarams straight, and those time was really good. Everyone was silent, and could feel how Lord Narayana was watching his newly residents of Vaikuntam.

Salagramas of the Annan Kovil Temple in Sri Rangam

Here you see Annan Koil Swamy holding the beautiful Saligramas on a silver plate. They are very unique, ancient and one can see how they are polished by the worship done by devotees over the last few hundred's centuries. One of this Silas, is a carved like dancing Krishna. See for your self!

The Acharya Annan Koil swamy is the nowadays Acarya and is doing the worship of all those deities very strict! On the pictures he is holding the wonderful Lakshmi Narasimha Vigraha! This Lakshmi Narasimha Deity is from the personal possession of Manavali Mahamuni, a very great devotee of Lord Ranganatha, and a expansion of Sri Ramanujacarya from the 15. century.

Vaishnavism in Sri Rangam

after meeting with our friends we went over to the ancient Home temple of Annan Koil (a grand son of Muraliannan, the very close disciple of Ramanujacarya). This place is in the 4th street around Ranganatha Temple, where one can go even with Car, bike or normal walking, on the south east corner, just opposite the Sri Vaishnava Sri Book publisher. From outside you see two elefants guarding the entrance. Inside is a beautiful Temple shrine housing very ancient and wonderful Vigrahas of different Incarnations of the Lord. It is said that this temple place had once in his possession the huge Dasavatara Temple just opposite of the north gate of Lord Ranganatha, near the Kaveri, but it was given to the Ahobilam Matham to establish the worship of Malola Narasimha in Sri Rangam. Out of their respect the Ahobilam Matham presented a very beautiful Lakshmi Narasimha Deity to Annan Koil Family, and his is nowadays worshipped as the main Deity in their house. Beside of Him, there are other smaller Narasimhas. One of them i liked the most. Puccha Narasimha (with a tail and only two hand form). See for your self the beauty of all of them.

Montag, September 22, 2008

Muktinatha Temple in Nepal in care of sri Vaishnava tradition from south india

Recently He and his son have travelled far north to Muktinatha (Nepal), one of the famous 108 Divya Desa Ksetra, to install 6 Deities of the holy saints "Alwars" made from heavy granite. They did the task of ordering them in south india by a stapathy (chiseler in forms of God) and transporting them up to Nepal. Finally the installation took place on this holy spot, on a altitude of 3800 Meter. Those Alwars a called the great devotees of Lord Vishnu from the 3. century BC, who have travelled all over Bharat Varsa in those days. Their Tamil prayers are still chanted today in all south indian Vishnu Temples, where Sri Ramanuja has set up the worship according to Pancaratra Agamas. Here you see the deities of Namalwar, Periyaralwar, Andal devi (female saint!),Tirumangai Alwar, Sri Ramanujacarya and Manavali Mahamuni. I will talk later on those great personalities. The picture i have made last year outside the Muktinatha Temple, next to the Alwar Pillar (a pillar showing all the prayers of the Alwars in favour of Lord Muktinatha) were i have found few very special Saligramas lying around. Next to it is the spot were the 6 Alwar Deities will be installed.

Parasara Bhattar family in Srirangam

We visited few houses of some of the famous Acharyas of Sri Ramanuja. The first place we were invited, was the House of the familyline of Parasara Bhattar (son of Kuresha, the most famous and most dedicated disciple of Ramanuja). The present Acarya is Narasimha Bhattar and his son Srivatsa, who are also take care very much about the different services inside the Temple Complex of Lord Ranganatha.
Early morning in their house, the full section of the 4000 Divya Prabhandam slokas are recited, and then the home shrine is open for pujas. A very old Lord Ranganatha Deity is worshipped by the Father with a very traditional outlook of pancapatras, lamps and dhoopstands. In their possession are also very old Salagrama Silas from ancient grand fathers. The Father is carrying the tradition of Guru/discipleship in the Name of Sri Ramanuja (he is also one of the 74 shimasanapathi* - direct guruline back to Ramanuja), and is travelling around south india to give discourses on Sri Ramanujas Philosophy "Vishistadvaita".