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The audio is also available for this talk. Please see contact email@example.com for the audio.
Thanks to everyone for making Sri Ramanavami Festival a grand occasion!
Special thanks to Smt. Radha Rangarajan for her indepth talk on Sri Rama, Smt. Shobha and Sri Prabakar for hosting this event and Sri Venkat Rangan for video.
This was presented on the day of the first upanyasam by Smt. Radha Rangarajan on Apr. 20, 2013. It shares a bit on how and why Sri Chintanam was started.
ṣrimathē ṛangapriya ṃaha ḍēsikaya ṇamah
Welcome to Sri Chintanam!
Long Ago, about twenty years ago, I was handed over a copy of a tape of a Tiruppavai discourse in English. It was a audio discourse of one of my one of my favorite saints— Andal. A very young very delightful Mami spoke so passionately of the 30 verses of Aandal that , merely by listening, one could almost see the twinkle in her eyes. Personally. I feel like l was gopika in Brindavanam with Aandal as Aandal imagined herself to be a cowherd girl with Lord Krishna.
With each verse, this Mami explained not just the surface meaning, but she delved deeply into the profoundly philosophical and poetic ways of Aandal.
Whether it was her emotion, her devotion, the clarity in which she presented Andal’s love for Lord Krishna— I am not sure, but I have listened to it more then 2-3 dozen times and I have never gotten bored of it.
Now, with an archaic tape recorder, I play this same tape it for my children.
This Mami, along with a few other key people, is largely responsible for initiating a deep love and interest in bhagavad vishayam. The inspiration to start an upanyasam forum is because I am in a longing for that time when I was surrounded by those devotion— bhakti instilling discussions.
Moreover, that beautiful feeling of joy, emotional bhakti, or love for the Divine that one gets after listening to an upanyasam, I want to bring that elevated feeling into the community.
That Mami is no one other than Smt. Radha Rangarajan, affectionately known as Radha Mami.
Like Radha mami, there are many extremely knowledgeable individuals in our community who have also greatly influenced me as well— namely, Sri Viji Triplicane, Sri Srinivasan Iyengar, and my brother, Sri Mani Varadarajan. These individuals are like volcanoes, overflowing with knowledge and waiting to share it. It is my hope that Sri Chintanam can provide that forum.
In essence, Sri Chintanam is an effort by a few bhaktas to evolve an active community engaged in bhagavad vishayam.
Smt. Bharathi Raghavan, Smt. Padmashree Koneti are two instrumental in making forum a reality— From the very conception of this idea , these two shared instant enthusiasm and unwavering support— Willing to go out to their way to make this happen— all in the name of bhagavad kainkaryam. These people are the key individuals, extremely dedicated, often working into the late night, or between a grand child’s feeding schedule and meeting me at softball matches, With these two working steadfastly in the background, I am merely a facilitator. I can only assume we come together through divine intervention.
Seeking the blessing of my Aacharya, Sri Sri Rangapriya Swami, all the respected elders and my steadfast parents, I’d like to welcome you all to Sri Chintanam.
Sri Sri Rangapriya Swami
His Holiness Sri Sri Rangapriya Maha Deshikan Swamy has written a book titled “bhAratEyara habba haridinagaLu” that is about Hindu festivals. The following on Sri Ramanavami is a greatly condensed summary from His book.
Who was Bhagavan Ramanuja?
Sri Ramanuja (1017-1137) is one the most important figures in Indian religious history. He is one of the three great classical philosophers of Vedanta and is worshipped by the Sri Vaishnava tradition as their foremost acharya. He was a mystic, a philosopher, a reformer, and a social organizer. He was a charismatic yet humble leader who swayed others to his point of view not merely through argument but also by the sheer force of his personality.
Through his actions and written works he rejuvenated ancient Vedic teachings that in his day had been shrouded in confusion. He taught that an auspicious, blissful, worshipful Being was the source, substratum, and sustenance of the Universe; that loving contemplation and service of this Being was the heart and goal of spiritual practice; that the world around us was real, and an extension of God; that daily life can and should be integrated into worship; and that all of this was clearly the way of the Veda. His reach was broad and through his life he sought to address every human being. We see his influence in every aspect of Hindu religious life today. Read more on Sri Ramanuja....
About the Speaker:
Mani Varadarajan is probably best known as the originator of the "bhakti-list" an Internet discussion group for the philosophy of Sri Ramanuja. This list functioned for 10 years and its archives of this list are a popular source of information about Ramanuja and the Sri Vaishnava tradition.
He has been fascinated by the life and works of Bhagavad Ramanuja ever since he read a brief biography of him in his family's Encyclopedia Britannica at the age of 15. He first explored the works of the saint as a student at UC Berkeley. He spent hours lost in the library shelves, reading all he could about Bhagavad Ramanuja, his contemporaries, predecessors, and successors. On subsequent visits to India he was fortunate to have sevā of many Perumāḻs of the great temples of the Sri Vaishnava tradition. There he also had chance to imagine life as it was in the day of the great saint.
Mani is a disciple of Sri Sri Rangapriya Swami, whose guidance has proven invaluable in helping him mature spiritually.
We are a group of bhakthas in the Bay Area who are aspiring to bring like-minded individuals together and evolve an active community engaged in bhagavad vishayam. To join our upanyasam forum subscribe to our newsletter.