As is the custom, a Sringeri acharya delivers a benedictory address to the devotees spread across the world. On the occasion of the Souramana-Ugadi celebrated in various parts of the country, the Uttaradhikari of the Sringeri Sharada Peetam, Sri Vidhushekara Bharati Swami, addressed the devotees through a YouTube video. The discourse was in the Tamil language. It has been translated by Vishnu Ramamurthy and edited by me below.
Sri Sannidhanam began the discourse by invoking Sringeri Sharadamba and the Guru lineage of Sringeri Peetham. Sri Sannidhanam quoted the following
“In this world, man has a speciality called ‘Dharma acharanam” (the practice of Dharma) in comparison to animals and other forms of life. This speciality empowers him to move forward across lifetimes, provided he adheres to the observance of Dharma as entailed in the Shastras. This is testified by Adi Shankaracharya in Vivekachoodamani.
Man primarily has 3 duties as per the Shastras, namely Bhagavata Aradhana (Worship of God) Guru Sewa (Serving Guru) and Paropakara (philanthropy)
1. Bhagavata Aradhana:
This needs to be done with a pure heart. There are many forms of worship as listed:
a. Worshipping murtis
b. Invoking devatas through homas as laid down by Shastras
c. Chanting of Beeja Mantra
d. Recitation of Bhagawan’s stories and scriptures
e. Stotra recitation
f. Nama japa
g. Meditating on Almighty’s form.
Shastras recommend that a believer can choose one of the above forms of worship based on one’s capability. By following this with utmost sincerity, the devotee can get the grace of Bhagavan.
2. Guru Sewa
Guru guides the disciple or devotee towards various forms of veneration. That is precisely why Guru Sewa is of paramount importance. He is the pratyaksha devata —God visible to the eyes. Right from a small concern to guiding through truth and reality, a Guru’s role is immeasurable
In this world we see lot of underprivileged men. Within our sphere of influence, we need to help the needy as per one’s capacity, offering free food, clothes, education, giving water to thirsty, even giving purificatory ceremony are different forms of helping. This is a quality very much needed to be practised by one and all.
These above 3 qualities are to be observed by all believers. This dharmacharanam will never go waste, and will give value addition to a man’s life. There are generally 3 forms of beings: Devatas, Manushyas, pranis.
Manushya: Happiness and sorrow is more or less evenly placed, similar to the spokes of a spinning wheel. Sukh-Dukkh are inherently present in him.
Difficulties in life are inevitable, but the response to the same is of paramount importance. One needs to be courageous and has to have the same frame of mind even during sukha or duhkha, then he can be termed as a Mahapurusha. One needs to develop fortitude for the same. The difficulties must be seen as a result of our karmaphalas and one needs to have unfailing devotion to Guru and belief in the grace of Almighty. There need not be any doubt on Almighty’s grace for resolving the country or an individual’s difficulties.
Jagadguru Adi Shankara bhagavadpada took avatara 1200 years back in Bharat, travelled across the country and has had a number of granthas generated, and was instrumental in reviving the Sanatana Dharma. He started 4 Amnaya Peethas for the 4 directions of north, east, west and south. The Dakshinamnaya Sharada peetham situated at Sringeri was the peetha for the south. The guru lineage has had illustrious pontiffs like Adi Shankara, Sureshwaracharya, Vidyaranya Swami, Satchidananda Swami, Nrisimha Bharati Swami, Chandrashekarendra Bharati Swami, Abhinava Vidyatirtha Swami. The primary role of these seers was propagating Dharma. The current peethadhipati Bharati Teerthaswami is the 36th Acharya in succession, who is continuing the tradition of dharma prachara. He performs daily chandramoulishwarar puja for the well being of all followers. Sringeri Sharada Peetham worshippers are spread across Bharat and also in various countries across the globe. On this occasion, the current Pontiff and I wish well being for one and all.
In this current scenario of lockdown distress, where going out is forbidden, the efforts of many in resolving the crisis situation is commendable and needs to continue. For the efforts to fully fructify, Almighty’s blessings is mandatory. Thus the disciples needs to do bhagavad aradhana as in one of the following ways, from wherever they are situated:
1. Vedaparayana: Those students competent in Vedic chanting, need to have a goal and chant the mantras. Those who know Sri Rudram can chant it regularly
2. Stotraparayana: Chanting known stotras for a specific number of timeS. Chanting Durgamba stotram is very relevant to this current scenario.
3. Bhagavadaradhana: Honoring Gods and Goddesses through eulogies
4. Bhagavdcharitaparayana: Recitation of our scriptures- Ramayana, Bhagwatam.
5. Mantra japam: Having a fixed count for mantra japa
In this way, each and every one of us need to traverse the path of that is suitable to ones way of worship and that is sanctioned by the shastras. One should utilize the time available fully for the worship .
Within the sphere of influence, the sishayas are called out for paropakara and bhagavad aradhana. There is no doubt about the divine intervention. There is no doubt that this current distress will fade away soon, and until that time one needs to maintain the lockdown rules. After this distress situation ceases, devotees can visit Sringeri to pay obeisance for both Guru and Sharadamba.
In addition, today is an auspicious day as it is Souramana Ugadi, wish you all prosperity from the Gurus of Sringeri. We call upon the followers to be courageous and have full faith in Sharadamba and the Guru lineage. The current distress situation will vanish soon. Thus the benedictory address ends here.”