Small Things To Follow But Plenty Of Value
For any ideology to thrive, code of conduct and adherence to the same by its followers is a pre-requisite. It is evident that predecessors of our Srivaishnava tradition were prompt in realising that, as they have chalked up numerous disciplinary principles for our benefit. These, while helping us to keep in close sync with our Sampradaya, act as tools of self regulation. We have seen that the more earnest we are in following them, the more rewarding and auspicious it turns out to be.
A compilation of some of the important but simple guidelines is provided below. An unmistakable sense of satisfaction and (modest) pride, feel-good effect and personality enrichment will result in practising them. Here are they:
- When waking up, one should chant the name ‘Hari’ seven times daily.
- Should meditate on our Acharyas and elders with gratitude.
- While going to toilet, men should circle the sacred thread around the right ear.
- One should, without fail, gargle with water, wash legs and do Achamanam (men) after urinating, etc. and then wear the sacred thread properly.
- Wearing Thiruman and performing Sandhya Vandhanam in all the three sessions is a must for men.
- Women also should wear the Thiruman ideally, or draw a Thilakam at least.
- One should always be clad in traditional attire during the occasions of Vedic/Sampradayaic rituals — for men it is Pancha Kachcham and for women it is Madisaar. Doing the daily chores, Thiruvaaraadhanam, visiting temples and domestic functions are some examples.
- The Lord’s Altar (Sannidhi) should be neatly maintained at all times and Kolam should be drawn freshly before the daily Thiruraaraadhanam.
- Lamp(s) should be lit therein both in the morning and evening.
- Women should prepare food with devotion to the Lord, and if possible, reciting or singing hymns, Divya Prabandham, etc.
- One should make it a point to prostrate before the Lord daily.
- The daily divine chores must be performed with utmost devotion and involvement.
- Any food/eatable should be consumed only after offering to the Lord.
- Men should eat only after duly performing Pariseshanam and taking in Perumal Theertham.
- Then, Praanaahuthi and chanting of the name ‘Govinda’ must be done before starting to eat.
- Upavaasam (fasting) on Ekadasi day is most ideal. When it is not practicable, one should avoid food made of full rice; Sojji or tiffin (made of broken rice) is an acceptable substitute.
- Paaranai (ending of fasting) on Dvaadasi is as important as the Ekadasi regulation. It must be done within the time prescribed. Generally, it is before the lapse of six Naazhigais (6x24 = 144 minutes) from sunrise, subject to the presence of Dvadasi Tithi.
- One should eat anything while sitting only, and not while standing or walking.
- When going out, the name ‘Kesava’ should be chanted.
- Parents and elders at home are to be revered. It is a good practice to prostrate before them and seek their blessings daily, ideally, after doing the evening Sandhya Vandhanam.
- Abhivaadhanam should be done for men only, apart from one’s mother. It should not be done in respect of Ghoshti or Sannyasis.
- The name ‘Madhava’ should be chanted daily at the time of going to bed.
It will be a good idea to have a reality check as to how we are placed in observing the above. One should always look to raise the bar constantly when striving to enhance the values in life, be it personal or professional. Indeed, evolution is a means; cannot be an end.
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