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April - June 2023

Anugraha Bhashanam of Paramapujya Jagadguru Shri Shankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamiji

At Webinar ‘Dharmam Chara’ organized by KKSF USA.

12 December 2021

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः। गुरुस्साक्षात्परंब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः॥

श्रुति स्मृति पुराणानाम् आलयम् करुणालयम् । नमामि भगवत्पाद शङ्करम् लोक शङ्करम् ॥

अपारकरुणासिन्धुं ज्ञानदं शान्त रूपिणम् । श्री चन्द्रशेखरगुरुं प्रणमामि मुदान्वहम् ।।

सदाशिवसमारंभाम् शङ्कराचार्यमध्यमाम्। अस्मदाचार्यपर्यन्तां वन्देगुरुपरम्पराम्॥

Through Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation USA (KKSF USA) many dhaarmic activities are being conducted. KKSF USA’s activities serve as a good cultural bridge between  the people in India and people of Indian origin living outside India. KKSF USA organizes and supports a variety of programs that preserve our culture and tradition, with a focus on education (‘vidya’), healthcare (‘vaidyam’) and Vedam. The elementary part of the curriculum and syllabus of our vedic culture and traditions are being imparted among boys and girls through part-time and full-time classes, and activities in a manner that is suitable for their respective situations and specific locations.

Basic knowledge of our culture can be acquired by learning Samskritam, their respective mother tongue, Carnatic music (‘shastriya sangeetham’), Valmiki Ramayanam, astrology, yoga and other art forms.

As you may know, in India there is a lot of ongoing general development work such as building roads and bridges, hospitals and border security. At the same time, there is a great need to impart education about our culture. There is a need to communicate the importance of our culture, and next the details of our culture. Later people must come together and form teams (‘satsangam’)..

Teams that get together to support Vedic schools (‘pathasalas’), support the running of sanctuaries for cows (‘gosalas’), conduct consecration ceremony (of temples) (‘kumbhabhishekam’), perform rituals such as ‘Athirudram’, ‘Maharudram’ and ‘Chandi homam’, and for the exchanging of horoscopes.

At present, even in the USA people like Hari Ramasubbu have started programs to facilitate the exchanging of horoscopes. Thus, whatever (support) is needed to enable the next generation to practise Dharma (is being provided). Many courses such as ‘Adhyapika’ were conducted. ‘Sampradaya’ course is ongoing. ‘Shaankari’ classes are ongoing. These various efforts are ongoing to provide the means (‘upaayam’) for us to know our Dharma and escape from danger (‘apaayam’).

This effort must be executed on both sides. It should be conducted in India. It should be conducted in places outside India, such as America, that have people of Indian origin.. because both sets of people come from the same lineages of the great sages of ancient India (‘rishi parampara’), share the same traditions (‘paaramparyam’), same (daily rituals such as) ‘sandhyavandanam’ and Tulasi Puja.

Our Dharma has been passed to us through generations as traditions (‘paaramparyam’).. through multiple paths ….Rigveda, Yajurveda, Saamaveda.. these must be practised, through good methods, by our next generation also. Next generations should recite (‘parayanam’), practise (‘anusarippadhu’), and (‘prachaaram’) propagate (our traditions) through logic (‘tarkam’) and laid down rules (‘shastram’).

(We) must understand the needs to be suitable to the current times (‘yathartham’) to the appropriate extent, and must adopt current practices only to the appropriate extent. Out of consideration of being suitable to present conditions (‘yathartham’) we must not deviate too far away from our ‘shastram’. That is one side. At the same time, we must understand the current times (‘samayam’) and occasion (‘sandarbham’), and hence start from the correct place.

It is good to start with (full time) Veda pathasala. However, how many people who need to join will join is unknown. Hence, part time Vedic education systems have been started. These are not alternatives to Veda pathasala, because alternative means equivalent in status. Instead, part time Vedic education is a support system to Veda pathasalas. The latter is different.

There are dedicated education systems for ‘Vedam, Shastram, Bhashyam, Shroutam’. Their curriculum and syllabus are constantly revised and annual examinations are being conducted and a lot of encouragement is provided. At a later date, through KKSF, (we) can organize a program titled ‘Veda Shastra Samrakshanam’ to share the details, changes, growth,  activities, and status (of the Veda pathasalas). These are Vedic education, Vedic practices and Vedic environmental studies.

The South Indian community must regain and become a strong community by imparting Vedic practices and Vedic environment. Through good paths such as education, ethics, economics, and environment the south Indian community must become a strong community, brave community, and a community that generously contributes to support good activities, and grows dharmic thoughts. This community should be strengthened through courage (‘dhairyam’), charity, and dharmic thoughts. Should not skip on even small efforts. ‘svalpa mapyasya dharmasya traayathe mahatho bhayaath’

As mentioned, we must undertake various grand efforts, but at the same time smaller efforts must not be skipped. Like they say in social studies.. keeping in mind our history of eighty to hundred years.. (and) with the suggestions, opinions, and support of the prior three to four generations.. through innovative ways.. we must bring our older ‘shastram’ into (daily) practice. These shastrams must not remain as references in books. Even today, we need ‘agnihotris’, ‘ghanapathis’, good ‘upasakas’, people well versed in ‘shastram’, and we need joint families.

At present we are in Tirupathi. Today, here at Tirupati, three brothers shared that they are staying together in a joint family.. when they submitted their invitation. Like this, family values and family co-existence (is required).

First the South Indian community needs to exist, without exiting. This is a primary need at present. Through this and that visa, green card, residency and citizenship – in worldly matters (‘loukikam’) – the ascension (‘swargarohanam’) is taking place. (People feel) that they must reside in foreign countries because they offer comforts (‘saukaryam’), freedom (‘swatantram’), and community (‘sumukham’). It is convenient for education. Further, individual’s personal opinions and desires are being allowed (‘anumathi’), approved (‘aamodanam’), and recognized (‘angeekaram’) in these countries. For these and other reasons, (Indian) people have started to reside in these countries.

At the same time, the citizenship is mentioned in ‘Vivekachoodamani’ (an Advaitia treatise) as:

‘durlabham trayameva ethath, deiva anugraha hethukam;

manushyatvam, mumukshutvam, mahapurusha samshrayaha’

(Meaning) .. these three are needed to get the blessings of ‘Ishwara’.

‘Manushyatvam’: For a human to live as human (‘manava’), the person (‘manava’) should be a student (‘manava’) of ‘shastram’.

‘Mumukshutvam’ – Should have desires for good things..(Desires such as) should participate in consecrating (‘kumbhabhishekam’) of ten temples. Should support the conducting of daily puja (worship) in 10 temples. Support the lighting of ‘nitya deepam’ (eternal lamp) in 10 temples. Support the students of Veda pathasala studying Samskritam, and the students of Sampradaya pathasala.

Every family living abroad should support the education of one boy or one girl in these schools.. or if they can support two that is also matter for satisfaction (‘santhosham’). Everyone should participate in this endeavour.

In olden days.. you would have seen in villages the Tirupati Hundi (a bowl covered with a yellow cloth to collect donations). People in the village would deposit small amounts throughout the year and on specific occasions they will deposit the accumulated amount in Tirupati Temple. If their travel date to Tirupati gets delayed, they will get it deposited through friends or relatives who are going to Tirupati.

It means people of Indian origin living anywhere in the world – even if they have taken citizenship elsewhere – should provide the required support to the students in India who are studying Veda as either full time or part-time.

This community (‘samudayam’) of Vedic students should grow strong. This is the source (spring), and this spring should not go dry. This is the resource and source for our life. We should first, through robust means, safeguard this.

Fundamentals are like the foundation of a large building. Just like foundation is important for a tall building, these are the fundamental identity, greatness or wealth of the South Indian community. ‘Dharma sangam’ (charity association) should be formed to support the fundamentals. In that perspective – community first, unity must.

A volunteer who spoke earlier had reminded (all) that ‘Community first, Unity must’. Like that, with such a vision, everyone should get together. There are lots of such endeavours waiting to be taken up. Should pay attention to our food (‘aahaaram’), habits and daily routines (‘aachaaram’), and dressing norms (‘alankaaram’). Should focus our attention on dharmic reading (‘adhyayanam’), practices (‘anushtanam’), and character of our soul (‘atmagunam’). Should focus our attention on being courageous and bold (‘dhairyam’), doing charity, and having (moral) values (‘dhaarmikam’). We should understand trade, tradition, and technology.

Like this, the significance of this dharma should be imparted to our next generation – wherever the community of people who originated from South India may be living. The details can be imparted in increments. First trust and respect should be imparted. Along with that in packages the significance of our dharma and our civilization should be imparted.

We have significant content, but it has not reached the intended destination. We should deliver it to the people who will put it to use. People from the west are studying and understanding them. Some are pro, some criticize, and some are non-participating audience. This is different.

But for the families of people of Indian origin.. south, north and all of India.. learning our ‘dharmam’ will bestow goodness for their families. Such cultural function will support in bringing forward India’s pride that is required for India’s unity and brotherhood. Even though at present we may be focusing on South India.. like Jayaramakrishnan mentioned earlier.. As far as India is concerned this is Vedic nationalism.. (from) Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

From here (Kanchi) efforts are being made to build a temple at Parasurama Kund in Arunachal Pradesh (a state in Northeast India). Already a temple and eye hospital (called Sri Sankaradeva Netralaya) has been built and is functioning in the city of Guwahati (located in the state of Assam in Northeast India). At present a volunteer from here in South India has left his employment, and has gone over there to serve. A Veda pathasala is being planned over there. Sikkim is a border state (located in the eastern Himalayan region) of India. It was earlier ruled as a monarchy. Later in the 1970s it was integrated into the Indian republic as a state. (Over there) in the city of Gangtok a temple and Veda pathasala are being run.

Similarly, a Veda pathasala named Triveni Veda pathasala is being run in the city of Siliguri that is located in the state of West Bengal. Siliguri is an important location for India’s border security, often described as the chicken-neck location. It is a critical connection point (or gateway) to northeast India and Bengal region. Siliguri is located in and near 3-4 states (Sikkim, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal) and in the vicinity of 2-3 countries (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh). Siliguri’s location is of significance to our country for trade and security. People from Nepal are studying at the Triveni Veda pathasala in Siliguri.

We are planning to set up a service in the city of Darjeeling (in the state of West Bengal). Sankara Integration Hall has been set up at Port Blair in Andaman (a Union territory of India).. efforts are ongoing. A temple is already being run in Goa.

At present focused efforts are ongoing in Punjab to find locations to build a Vinayaka temple, nine Navagraha temples, and a temple for mother Padmavathi and Balaji. With Saraswati civilization as the basis, this effort is ongoing to ensure greater unity between people belonging to two major beliefs that are located in that region. (All) these (efforts) strengthen national integration, vedic nationalism.

As far as south India is concerned, the need is to prepare many who can perform duties related to temples.(such as) experts in ‘vedam, agamam, paancharathram, vaikhanasam, madappalli (temple kitchen), vaadyam (instrumental music)’. Many temples have already been built. These temples need to be run properly – run as prescribed by the ‘shastram’.

Temples should not be considered as income producing ventures or as tools for propagating personal messages. Should grow temples as places for propagating dharma. Many are working on securing the legal support system that is needed (for this). People who built the temples had also provided thousands of acres of land that (provide income) to (adequately) support running these temples in full grandeur. We should not conclude that our ancestors (who built the temples) have given us temples that are expensive to run. They (ancestors) have provided their ornaments, lands, and buildings to support running these temples. We should run these temples in a good way.

By directing efforts to provide free education related to conducting activities of ‘dharma’, we can realize India’s grand perspective. Similarly, medical facilities (are important). In Kanchipuram, a multi-speciality Sankara hospital has been started. In the future, a nursing college will commence. Similarly, health centers have been started in villages, like the one in Thandalam that was mentioned earlier. We must give importance and champion the required causes that cannot be done by the government, such as to satisfy the needs for advancement in both spiritual (‘dharmikam’) and physical (‘bhouthikam’) areas.

This is because if we champion what the government is already doing or is supposed to do then.. we don’t want the government’s enthusiasm to reduce. We should champion what we are required to do. We should join and support the government with activities the government champions such as general education and health. If the government likes to join and support our dharmic propagation, it is even special. That would be upto the government’s decision.

Like this, in our country India, dharma and culture (‘kalachaaram’) should flourish. At the same time, people like you who are residing outside India, should make efforts to practise our daily rituals (‘anushtanam’), and should organize satsangams that encourage and help your children to adopt our food, our daily rituals, our habits, our language, and our thought process.. felt like suggesting the setting up of an Indian village type environment over there.

In India, children studying +2 (i.e., 11th and 12th grade) are already learning about the locations of Los Angeles, Virginia, California, West coast, North…. We are already busy with the activities at Mayavaram, Kumbakonam, Tirunelveli, Velur. It should not be misunderstood that Periyava is telling the names of (USA) cities and so Perivya likes going outside India.

General knowledge in India is growing well in worldly wisdom (‘loukeekam’). At the same time, children living outside India should know the locations of Kashi, Mathura, Haridwar, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, and Madurai. We should teach children our prayers (‘slokam’), our (traditional medicine) Ayurvedam, our astrology, and our Sangeetham. As far as America is concerned, our classical music (‘sangeetham’) and our dance (‘naatyam’) are actively taught. We must put extra effort to bring into active usage these other areas that have been forgotten.

Students in Chennai routinely learn English, and some even take TOEFL.. Likewise, we should put effort into teaching our children living in America how to speak in Tamil, speak in Sanskrit. An exchange.. like MOU (memorandum of understanding) or some effort is required.. (to impart our) great culture.

‘Kaalaha sakruth-abhyeti’ meaning, time only comes once. Should not miss the time (opportunity). In a timely way, in an honest and good way, should make significant effort to know our precious culture.

Acharyaal (Adi Shankaracharya) in Vivekachoodamani refers to citizenship as: ‘Jantunaam narajanma dhurlabham, atah pumstvam, thatho vipratha, thasmaath vaidika dharma maarga paratha’  We should acquire that citizenship. We should not stop with worldly citizenship. We have taken this precious birth as humans. Human life (‘janma’) is a precious life. We should use this precious lifetime by helping others, and know our culture, our devotion to Guru (‘guru bhakthi”) and our Guru traditions (‘guru paaramparyam’).

Already KKSF has elders as members. Wedding invitations state ‘tripourusham’, meaning three generations of family elders. Similarly, KKSF USA’s effort is to bring together three generations in the family – elders, youngsters, and children.

Recently 1019 people participated in the Kumara bhojanam program held at Chennai on Skanda Shashti (day). Last week 1200 people participated in the Subbaraya Shashti program held in Andhra. Program was held on Skanda Shasti (day) in Tamil Nadu and Subbaraya Shasti (day) in Andhra. Apart from this, there were two other efforts. 5 to 15 days’ Sanatana Dharma Gurukulam was held by Kanchi Kamakoti Triveni Academy at Nagapattinam. Guidance  was provided on basic South Indian practices such as introduction to scriptures, Ramayanam, Bhagavatham, Veda, astrology, significance of the temple locations (‘sthala puranam’). A center is being planned.

People are studying in different institutions. Educational programs at Kanchipuram were shared earlier. Similarly those  conducted by Sri Pratyaksha Charitable Trust (SPCT) at many locations were shared. Along with this, people studying our ‘dharma’ and ‘shastram’ in other institutions are also supported.

‘thasmaath shastram pramanamthe kaaryakaaryau vyavasthithou, jnatva shastra vidhaanoktham karma karthu miharhasi’. For us to know this ‘shastram’, an effort is ongoing in Andhra Pradesh: Sanatana Dharma Seva Gramam at Podili near Ongole. This is like the efforts for Gandhigram. At Podili, over 30 acres of land, the following are planned.. an English medium school, students hostel, sanctuary for cows (‘goshala’), old age home (‘vrudhashrama’), a center for development of skills, a facility to perform ‘homam’ (‘yaagasala’), and an art gallery museum.

First, history needs to be shared. Global history is well known. (However) to learn the history of Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, North Arcot – needs a referral to history written by others. We should share the history written by our people. We should know our traditions and rituals starting with ‘Sumangali Prarthanai’. We must learn our ‘dharmam’ in a good way through our traditions and rituals.

These are not to be learned through general libraries. These need to be learned through the family. So the family must be saved. Membership, worship and scholarship are three important ‘ships’ that save the family. Only then the family ‘ship’ will not run aground. That is why – to prevent it from shifting – we all have to pool our efforts together to find out in a good way about our traditions (‘kalachaaram’).

That is why, in India we are talking about ‘Vedic nationalism’, ‘dharmic samabhav’, and ‘swadeshi liberalization’. MNC (multinational company or corporation) liberalization exists in India. We should change it to ‘Swadeshi liberalization’.

There is a lot of good work that is required and is yet to be done. Talent, enthusiasm, and resources are required, and these should be developed in a good way. This group is formed for that awareness (‘chintana’). It is good that all have gotten together and are being trained, next generation and youngsters are being familiarized (with our ‘dharmam’).

‘Dharma’ is inherited through the family (‘parampara’), and ‘dharmam’ saves the family (‘parampara’). That is why we should save both family (‘parampara’) and traditions (‘paaramparyam’). Physically we should save our family (‘parampara’), and spiritually through feelings we should save our traditions (‘paaramparyam’). Family (‘parampara’) is related to the physical body. Traditions (‘paaramparyam’) should reside as a mindset (‘chintana’) within the physical body.

To see these two together we have come to Tirupathi now.  For the past three days we have been in Tirupathi. This evening’s darshan of Tiruchanoor Ambaal went very well. Prior to that the children from Sampradaya (school) chanted many slokas from the program Sahasradala Padmaradhanam 2. Last year many people over there – in the USA – had learned and chanted the slokas very well from Sahasradala Padmaradhanam (1).

(Maha) Periyava Aaradhana is coming up on December 30th – ‘Vishakha nakshatram’ – ‘Dvadasi’. ‘Anusha nakshatram’ is on the following day – December 31st. Activities such as conference of Vedic scholars (‘shastra sadas’), chanting of Veda (‘Veda parayanam’), (Carnatic) concerts (‘kacheri’) are planned at Kanchipuram along with the ‘dhanurmasam’ (activities). Alongside these, planning is ongoing in three ‘shastram’ related programs: ‘yoga shastram’, ‘Bhatti kavyam’, and ‘prashastha paada bhashyam’ – a commentary on ‘tarka shastram’ (the science of reasoning and analysis). ‘Mimamsa bhashyam’ was recited (‘parayanam’) while camping at Manimandapam in Orikkai. Prior to that at Kanchipuram, ‘mahabhashyam’ – sanskrit grammar was recited (‘paarayanam’). Like this, we will have another session specific to ‘Veda Shastra Pracharangal’ with Aravind, Ramasubbu, Guruvayurappan and others.

Today, you all got together with a deep aspiration to collaborate (‘sankalpam’). In the future, with increased membership you do more good work through this (organization). Like you say ‘kayena vaacha manasa indriyairva budhya atmanava prakruthe svabhavaath..’ Like this, in different ways make efforts that are conforming to and in harmony with ‘dharma’. ‘Dharmo rakshathi rakshitaha’

With Periyava’s kindness and mercy (‘anugraham’), with this guru bhakthi, with unity (‘aikamathyam’), you all further advance these activities. Like it is stated in Rigvedam: ‘sangacchadhvam, samvadadhvam, samvo manamsi jaanataam’

‘Soujanyam, Soukaryam, Soumukhyam’…Like that everyone should come together nicely. Like we had said ‘community first, unity must’ likewise ‘Soujanyam, Soukaryam, Soumukhyam’ – everyone should come together and stay.

Compared to olden days, these days education has increased, comforts have increased and technology has brought all closer to each other. Everyone can see each other. At the same time, one should watch out and not impose congestion on ‘dharma’. This closeness should be used to eliminate that congestion. A lot of congestion has developed in the community (‘samudayam’). These don’t need elaboration. Starting with the ratio there are many congestions. Closeness – like this one related to ‘dharmam’ – is needed for everyone to resolve the congestion.

Hence this is ‘Anahootaha adhvaram gachcheth’…..It is one thing to go and join a good program after receiving an invitation. If we know the ongoing activity is good, even if we are not invited – we should seek permission and go join. Like that everyone should come forward and take a proactive role in good activities. They may call it marketing. This is not related to marketing. This is aggressively preserving the culture and doing that in a good way.

With the blessings (‘anugraham’) of Guru and Ishwara may you all be in comfort (‘soukaryam’), and through your continued efforts may others achieve comfort (‘soukaryam’).

It is very good that many people have come together. In the Indian population and elsewhere everyone’s focus is now on the youth. To tell more, here the youth and children have also joined. It was very good to watch.

On the whole, in our generation, this is a good group to respect our dharma in good ways and through this process we also receive the benefits. A good group has been formed here to preserve our dharma. It should grow nicely.

KKSF foundation has been doing good dharmic activities directly (‘pratyaksham’) and through Pratyaksha (Sri Pratyaksha Charitable Trust). For this dharma to grow further everyone should come together and contribute their time also. Funds are one thing. Everyone should also contribute their time to grow this further.

‘Hara Hara Shankara Jaya Jaya Shankara’