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Editor's Note - 65 (October 1, 2013)

Devotion Is Fine, But Adherence To Saasthras Is As Important

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

The wonderfully-divine ambience prevalent during the recently-concluded Pavithra Uthsavam at the Temple with the participation of hundreds of devotees each session offered a fine perspective. It was especially and expectedly intent on the day of Purnahuthi (25th September) when people from even far off places waited till midnight to have a glimpse of the grand spectacle.

Further treat awaits the devotee. The annual festival commemorating the Thirunakshathram of Swami Desikan is scheduled to begin on October 4. The highlights of the events are Garuda Sevai for Lord Srinivasa on the third day morning, Yaanai Vaahanam and Thiru-Ther for the Acharya on the eight day evening and ninth day morning respectively. Of course, the Uthsavam will culminate in a grand Saatrumurai on the final day, the 13th.

To realise that devotion is progressively on the ascent is really comforting. A big chunk of the credit for this welcome state should, no doubt, go to the multi-media programmes that feature discourses and pilgrimage serials. So much so, it has now become a cult to visit as many Divyadesams as possible. Neither the distance nor the cost is a deterrent as there is a craving to set foot in Salagramam situated in the neighbouring Nepal. It is the same with Ayodhya, Badrinath, Mathura, Dwaraka, etc.

There is an ever-increasing interest in religious activities, big crowds in temple festivals and live discourses and phenomenal upsurge in philanthropy. There is greater awareness and interest than ever amongst youngsters to undergo Pancha Samskaram and Bhara Samarpanam. There is tremendous enthusiasm in learning the great works of Azhwars and Acharyas. One can sense reinforced faith in God, Acharyas and our famed tradition. Parents' intent and sincerity in performing Upanayanam to their wards is truly remarkable.

All this is fine. But, on the flip side, do we give the due importance to observance of Karmas? The answer cannot be in the affirmative. For instance, what happens after the Upanayanam? Do the parents inculcate in the young mind the value of performing Sandhyavandanam thrice-a-day regularly? In how many households elders do it? Should they not lead by example? While there are no explicitly-stated benefits in observing Sandhyavandanam, it surely enhances the Thejas (personality). It is a well-established fact that Pranayamam, which is an integral part, is good for health. But failing to do Sandhyavandanam will incur the wrath of the Lord and invite punishment.

Similarly, one should give up the reluctance in going to school/college/work place wearing the Thiruman. One should consciously wear the proper attire as applicable to one's Asramam (Brahmachari, Gruhastha, etc.) at least while doing Karmas and visiting temples. Learning and performing Thiru Aradhanam at home is very imperative. As applicable, Naimiththika (obligatory) Karmas like Tharpanam, Sradhdham, etc. should be diligently performed.

Religious faith and practical observance of deeds prescribed based on that faith are quintessential elements of any Vedic philosophy. Both must go hand in hand to yield the best fruits. One without the other is incomplete. Saasthras and their observance are the Lord's ordains and hence must be respected and followed as much as the Lord. He has spoken through the Saasthras consisting of Sruthi (the Vedas) and Smruthi (regulations), spelling out his preferences and orders. He has announced it specifically in His Gita (ச்ருதி: ஸ்ம்ருதிர் மமைவாஜ்ஞா).

The first two of the five constituents in performing Prapaththi are 'Anukoolya Sankalpam' (doing things that will please the Lord) and 'Praathikoolya Varjanam' (avoiding things that will displease Him). One must always remember this and strive his best to follow the Saasthrams which only will please the Lord. It is impracticable to follow everything to the letter, but that should not impede serious intent and sincere effort. If there is any shortcoming in spite of that, an honest repentance will earn the Lord's pardon.

It will require a conscious and consistent effort. But we have no choice, do we? So, let us try and please Him as much as we can and leave the result to Him. Sure, He will not let us down!

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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