Using DSB to talk with God
|Dear Lord's Dear Aatmans,|
First, I would like to offer my vandanams to the Supreme guru, Sri Dakshinaamurthy ,who is the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the acharyas, Bhagwad Adi Sankaracharya, Bhagawad Ramanujacharya and Bhagawad Maadhavachaarya and to the lotus feet of all other great Saints and Vaggeyakaras. Blessed indeed we are , the people of Bharatha Varsa, the land made great and fragrant by the presence of those magnificient god-like souls and their fragrant works.
In this Kaliyuga, An individuals consciousness has two options .
1. Be aware of the temporal nature of life on earth and seek permanent THE TRUTH.
2. Be ignorant and continue to be bounded by the temporaty nature of life.
Of the two, the wise is the one who eventually makes up his mind to head in the direction of the infinite ocean of knowledge and bliss, which ,of course isn't a smooth ride in a freeeway but rather a bumpy ride in a remote indian village that displaces (or somettimes even throws) the determinant off path. Even more wise is a person who acknowledges the fact that eventually the bumpy village road is going to merge into a smoother and a better highway and takes effort to maintain the vehicle under control. Alas, more problems on the bumpy road. The treacherous road seems to be inviting more traffic (his other peers ). Though wise , the determinant is young and lacks expereince.He acknowledges this fact and decides to seek help from some one. Who can be that someone? Definitely and obviously , that person should have already had a similar experience. Fortunately, the determinant is not alone. He has got a friend or two in his vehicle who have already had such an experience. He seeks the help from one of them and follows his way. Not long time afer, the determinant finds it even more challengin to cling to advice given by that friend. He decides to ask the second friend and finds the second way easier to follow. He might have been wiser by asking both of them about their means to tackle the problem at hand and could have decided to go for the one that seems to suit him. Nonetheless, it is never too late. Thus, he follows the second friends expert advice and eventually reaches the abode of smooth roads.
Thus a spiritual aspirant should always be in SatSangh (the friendly experts) and use their guidance appropriately to reach the abode of Lord , Vaikunta ( abode of smooth roads) .
Keerthanam and Sravanam of the names of Lord are considered to be the easiest means to overcome the effects of Kali. This is the means advocated by greatest of the Sages like Sukha (in Bhagawatha Purana) . Same is the path advocated by Adi Shankaraachaaryaa in Bhaja Govindam. Since the days of adi shankara, there have lived many such great people who have realized the greatness of bhagawan naama and have set examples and protocols for the future generations to follow.
The Birth of Dakshina Sampradaya Bhajana(DSB) and National Integrity
Many of you might be knowing Sri Tyagarajha Brahmam, Muthuswamy Dikshithar and Syama Sastrigal as the trinities of Carnatic Music. Similarly , Bhajana Sampradaya has its own trinites, three noble souls that spread the fragrance and ruchi of bhagawan naama sidhaantha . Let us take a bit of a virtual tour of their glorious past.
The credit of emphasizing the efficacy of Bhagawan naama goes to the 58th Achaarya of Kanchi Mutt, Sri Bhagawan Nama Bhodendra Saraswathi swaamigal who belongs to he 17th century. He was a great Rama Bhaktha. He left his office at Kanchi and went to a town called Govindapuram located in the banks of Veera Sozhan River, a tributary of Cauvery. He perfomed intense meditation on Sri Raama chandra there. He used say
"Raama naamamey Kalkandu, Athan Rasam Theriyaadhavan Kal Gundu" (Raama Naama is sweat candy and the guy who doesn't know its taste is a massive stone :) .
He attained Jeeva Samaadhi when he was covered with the sands of Veera Sozhan river by some of the boys ,who were playing on the river bed. The boys thought that he would come out again but not that time.
Naama Kowmudhi, Rama Karnaamrutham and Naamamrutha Rasaayanam are a few of his immortal works . It is believed that his devotees can hear sound of raama naama near his samaadhi.
Sridhara Venkatesa Aiyaavaal , a contemporary of Bhodendra Swamigal is a great Siva and Krishna Bhaktha. He propagated both Shiva and Krishna Naama Japam. If you are able to hear the beautiful songs like brUhi mukundeti , brUhi mukundeti and piba re rAma-rasam , the credit should go to Venkatesa Aiyaavaal not because he composed them but he was responsible for making another great Shiva Bhaktha, SadaSiva Brahmendra , (a class mate of Aiyyavaal) to sing out during his last days. It would be unfair of me if a don't mention a word or two about Sadasiva Brahmendra and his greatness. Sadasiva became a naked sanyasi and was once seen walking right through a muslim harem of a nawab. Since such a kind of sanyasi would see nothing but Brahman (aatman ) eveywhere, he was not at all affected in that trance state. The nizam got infuriated and had his men cut his hands . His hands fell off and he was walking as if nothing happened. Nawab got scared seeing him unmoved and ran to the sage in remorse. When the sage stopped, the hands became normal.
Next came Sri Maruthanallur Sadguru Swamigal. Sathguru Swamigals task was to go aroud India and collect kirtanas and other works rendered by the innumerous bhakthi poets starting from Jayadeva's Ashtapadis ,Tukaraam Abhangs, meera's songs, Purandaradasas and Kanakadasas vithala songs, Annamaayyas padams,Narayana Theerthars songs , bhadrachala ramadas kirtanas, tyagayyas krithis , Subrahmanya Bharathis songs etc. What an effort to bring out unity in diversity? He collected the songs and laid out the structure for rendering bhajans.
It has already been 300 years since Sathguru Bodhendra Swamigal attained Jeeva Samaashi. Maruthanaalur Swamigal was performing anga prathakshanam in the river bed . Suddenly he heard chantings of Bhagawan Naama. He immediately started digging up the place and lo! , he found the book ,Nama Kowmudhi. He then took the sacred book to his matam and worshipped the book by performing puja and bhajana. It would be interesting to note that Sri Tyagayya took his bhajan lessons from Maruthanallur Swamigal.
The current bhajana sampradya exists only because of the truly outstanding work done by the above mentioned trimurthies especially the maruthanallur swamigal.
The DSB paddhathi
What is this protocol or paddhathi that Maruthaanallur Swamigal drafted out ? or Why need such a structure? Well, take a dinner for example. Even when the food is served, there is an order that we normally follow. We don't mix everything together and eat. DSP perhaps can be thought about to have been formed for similar reasons. For reaching any objective , it is always better to follow an order. Accordingly, one first calls out the name of Lord and worships him ( Thodaya Mangalam). Would he come so easily?? Nope. So , we seek the help of a Guru who is much closer to him ( Guru Keerthanam) . Here kirtanas on the gurus ( inlcuding the trimurthies ) or krithis of the gurus are rendered . Next , the krithis of great dasas and bhakthas of god such as Purandaradasa, Jayadeva, Annamaya are rendered . (Daasarval Keerthanam) After this , we invite god again and perform worship and archana. Hence, a bhatha is steered towards God by following this kind of protocol. Since performing this kind of bhajan requires knowledge in multiple languages and skill in rendering the kirtana with raaga lakshana, rigorous training has to be taken under a guru. More than anything , the bhagwatha should always have and seek bhagawad sankalpam. He should rendered the songs right from his heart (aatmaarthama paadanum).
Shri Udayalur Kalyanaraman has been doing a great job in further propagating the dhivya naamas of God beyond asia follwing the footsteps of HH Haridoss Swamigal. He is normally accompanied by Babu Rajasekaran,the disciple of Vellore ramabhadran , Pichumani Bhagavathar, the discliple of HH Haridos Giri Swamigal (vocal support) and the 74 year old Balarama Iyer on the harmonium(also plays violin ,dilruba ,flute) . I was blessed to have gotten a chance attend one of their performances in Maryland not long time back. It was a truly amazing experience. Shri Udayalur himself is gifted with a great voice, and knowledge in raaga lakshanas and more than anything, bhagavan anushtaangam. When he starts out to sings , "daymaado ranga" of purandaradaasa, with "ninna naamva nennathu puneetha naadtheno " it would feel as if that Aranganaathan is already on his way to please his devotee.
One has to actually listen to get the scintiallating experience. So, without any further delay , let me direct you to this website where you can download Shri Udayalurs naama sankeerthanam. I am sure that you ears will enjoy the sounds of the Lords Name ,especially when rendered by a bhagavatha like Shri Udayalur.
I am sure that I have not done enough justice to some of the great people that I have mentioned in the blog post. I am also sure that even numerous words of praise won't do justice to their greatness. Yet, it is only due to time constraints , I had to keep the commentary short. The interested reader will know where to head next to know more. :)
Let me conclude this post with the verses from Raama Karnaamrutham , the work of Shri BodhendraaL
Parjanam Bhava Bheethaanaam
Aarjanam Kula Sampathaam
Dharjanam yama dhoothaanaam
Rama Ramethi Garjanam
(The roar of Rama"s name wards off samsaric ills, Chase away the servants of Yama, Lets one acquire untold wealth.)
RAMA RAMA NAMOHSTHUTHE
P.S Kindly check out "Mukundaanands" post on the two Great Geniuses in Smt M.S.S Amma's blog and feed in your thoughts.