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  1. SrI: SrImathE Gopaladesika mahadesikaya nama: Today is the Kainkarya Dhinam for asmadhacharyan His Holiness Srimad Paravakkottai Andavan Sri Gopaladesika Mahadesikan Swami. The vedic religion Sri VisishtAdvaita sampradaya and the Supremacy of Sriman Narayanan in accordance with Vedanta saasthrAs. It becomes clear by the study of great works of VisishtAdvaita, that this system is based in Sruthi, Smrithi, and AzhwArs’ Divya prabandhams that are true reflection of Vedantha. The experience and revelation of Sages, and Acharya purushas and the works of theirs substantiate and vouch the same. Sri Ramanuja did not invent this sampradaya; he only propounded and expounded. This was already in practice and is as time immemorial as Vedas and Vedantha. It becomes evident from the study of Vedas [Rg Veda] that the love of God is the means to attain Him and realize Him. The Upanishads also enjoined that the loving meditation upon Brahman is the summumbonum of life. The Ithihasas and Puraanaas expound this bhakti philosophy wonderfully. It is absolutely necessary to have Acharya sambandha or the grace of Acharya for all the aspirants of mOksha. It is only the kataaksham and the benign grace of Acharya that will enable the aspirant to proceed towards attainment of Moksha. Kshathrabandhu was the worst sinner but he gained mOksha on account of the grace of Acharya. Pundarika was a puNyavaan [virtuous person], but he gained mOksha only on account of the grace of the Acharya. paapishta khasthrabandhuscha puNdareekascha puNyakruth | aachaaryavatthayaa mukthow thasaadhAchAryavaan bhavEth || Dr Sri Ubhaya Vedantha NS Anantharangachar Swami is his book on Essence of Srimad Rahasyathrayasaram mentions that: The Upanishad says that one should himself to the Acharya alone for gaining the jnAnam of Brahman. Smrithis affirm that all aspirants of moksha or liberation [eternal service at SrivaikuNtam] should seek an Acharya. By one’s own puNya, one can not attain mOksha. It is well established that performance of meritorious deeds or study of Vedanta without Guru’s teaching or initiation, will not yield or be capable of mOksham granted to us. They are probably the ways by which the Lord would be pleased and pave the way to get the grace of Acharya in the nearest future. On account of one’s association and dedication to the Acharya one gains the essential spiritual knowledge helpful for adopting the means for mOksha, enhancement of knowledge for knowing the means for moksha. The Swethaswathara Upanishad ordains that one should have supreme devotion towards the Acharya as much one has towards the Lord Sriman Narayanan and only such a dedicated person would imbibe the spiritual truth. The Katha sruthi says: An individual who has the utmost devotion in God and who is the same way shows equal respect to his Guru, will be able to comprehend all philosophic knowledge- says Sri SMS Chari in his book on Vaishnavism. It is therefore absolutely necessary for a spiritual aspirant to show the utmost devotion to his Guru and speak about his glories. Failure to do so leads to the decay of his spiritual knowledge. Swamy Desikan describes the greatest qualities of AchArya in nyAsavimsati slOkA 1: 1. Sound philosophical jnAnam obtained (learnt) through the greatest lineage of his AchAryAs; 2. Having an undisputed clear knowledge on sAsthrAs; 3. Free from any sins and attachments; 4. Complete knowledge of Vedas, its subsidiaries and ithihAsAs; 5. Deep unshakable faith in Brahman (Almighty- unsurpassed unparalleled Sriya: Pathi Sriman Narayanan); 6. Possesses sAtvic guNA; 7. Always speaks truth; 8. Lives in accordance with the manner laid down in sAsthrAs; 9. Free from jealousy, show, etc.; 10. Having control over sense organs; 11. Friendly and affectionate towards all; 12. Compassionate towards all; 13. Helps the disciples who err, correct them and make them follow right track as laid down in sAsthrAs; 14. Wishes for everyone’s welfare at all times. A mumukshu [an aspirant for moksha] should thus approach such a SadAchArya for initiation and instruction in philosophic knowledge. It is not an easy task and it may even be impossible to find an acharya who possesses all the above virtues. Even in the matter of coming into contact with such a SadhAcharya, the grace of God is needed –says Swamy Desikan. Vedanta Desika says there are six factors responsible for being blessed with a suitable SadAchArya. [sri SMS Chari enlists them in his book on Vaishnavism]: a. Friendly disposition of God. b. The good deeds done by a person even accidentally or inadvertently. c. The grace of God showered on one at the time of birth. d. Development of faithful attitude towards God and sacred texts. e. Coming into contact even causally with pious and religious minded persons. f. Conversation with them. Acharyan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam Author: Sri Madhavakkannan
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