Important Teachings of
Pujya Sri Panchapagesa Brahmendra Saraswathi Swamigal
(Pujya Sri Melakkaveri Swamigal)
Pujya Sri Melakkaveri Swamigal used to say in his discourses: "My aim is to disseminate among Astikas the dharmas taught in Vedas and Smritis and demonstrated in practice by earlier Acharyas like Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada, Sri Vidyaranya et al, and the teachings of Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham."
Take great care of the food you consume. Chandogya Upanishad says:
"आहारशुद्धौ सत्वशुद्धिः"- "Purity of food leads to purity of thoughts." Further Narayana Upanishad says: "अन्नेनप्राणाःप्राणैर्बलंबलेनतपःतपसाश्रद्धाश्रद्धयामेधा, मेधयामनीषामनीषयामनोमनसाशान्तिःशान्त्याचित्तंचित्तेनस्मृतिः, स्मृत्यास्मारंस्मारेणविज्ञानंविज्ञानेनआत्मानंवेदयति॥"- "Food leads to vital breath; vital
breath to strength; strength to discipline; discipline to faith; faith to wisdom; wisdom to conception; conception to mind (thoughts); mind to peace; peace to reflection; reflection to memory; memory to object of memory; object of memory to spiritual experience; spiritual experience to experience of Atma."
Food undergoes many changes and leads to purity of mind and finally bestows Atmagnana. Thus food is the means of Atmagnana in stages. As taught in Sastras, if we follow rules regarding taking of food at other places, Vaisvadevam (daily offering of food as Bali to creatures through Havan), offering of food to Bhagavan etc., the food will certainly do us good.
2. Sandhyavandanam- Meaning
The meaning of mantras of Sandhyavandanam should be taught to students in Veda Pathasalas while they are studying, and to other brahmacharis after Upanayanam. In fact, as soon as Upanayanam is fixed, the meaning of Sandhyavandanam should be taught with the help of good Pandits. Performing Sandhyavandanam with knowledge of meaning will generate greater faith (Sraddha).
For example, Marjana mantra says:"आपोहिष्ठामयोभुवः।तानऊर्जेदधातन।महेरणायचक्षसे।". Chanting this mantra, one should sprinkle water on the head with fingers. By sprinkling thus, all the three instruments- body, speech, mind- get purified. The meaning of this mantra is: हेआपः O Devatas of Water! मयोभुवःस्थ Be providers of comfort to us; ताःनःऊर्जेदधातन Generate plenty of food for us; महेरणायचक्षसे is explained as महतेरमणीयायचक्षुषे Food, not just for taking care of the body, but for gaining the exalted and blissful Atmagnana. Thus, the mantra is a prayer for food in plenty, leading to all comforts and Atmagnana.
The earlier Acharyas have pledged that if one performs Sandhyavandanam as per rules all the three times in a day with knowledge of meaning, that itself will take him to Brahmaloka.
न गायत्र्याः परो मन्त्रः। "There is no mantra greater than Gayatri". These days, Sandhyavandanam including Gayatri japa will itself bestow many good things. There will be greater Sraddha (faith) in performing Vedic karmas. To think lightly of this is an offence. The import of Mahavakyas is contained in these mantras.
One should have the determination to do japa of Gayatri mantra a thousand times on every Sunday. If many people get together in one place and chant Gayatri for a lakh, or even a crore, of times, it will lead to wellbeing and security of not just the participants, but of their families, the nation and the environment.
All Karmas have Karmayoga, Bhaktiyoga and Gnanayoga ingrained in them. If performed with understanding of meaning, it will bestow Brahmananda.
As per our Advaita Philosophy, Karmakanda, Upasanakanda and Gnanakanda are all authoritative. But they are the authority only with reference to one's eligibility. As per the principle "अधिकारिणःप्रमितिजनकोवेदः", all parts of Veda are the authority depending on the qualification of the aspirant. In schools and colleges these days there are many classes. Based on the system of Vedic study alone, the present system in these educational institutions was adopted. As per our Bharatiya tradition, it takes 5-6 years to complete Samhita study; further 5-6 years for advanced Padam/ Kramam etc.; another 5-6 years for study of Sastras, Bhashyas etc. This means a requirement of a total of 15-20 years after Upanayanam for completing the study of one Vedic Sakha. This alone has been used in modern school education for division into Plus 2, UG, PG etc.
Bhagavan says:"श्रुतिस्मृतीममैवाज्ञे"- "Sruti (Veda) and Smriti (Sastra) are my command".
The essence of Srimad Bhagavad Gita is:
Man attains Bhagavan by worshipping him through performance of Karma prescribed for him.
Women, Vaisyas, Sudras all attain to high state. Everyone has the right to practise Svadharma; they will certainly attain the fruit. In order to show this, Bhagavan has employed the general term - human being. He has no distinction of high and low castes. That is why we find many castes among Nayanmars and Alwars. Great souls appear in all castes.
Whichever caste one may belong to, he is great if he performs Karmas prescribed for him. People thinking themselves as belonging to high caste cannot be great if they have abandoned Svakarma. If one performs the Karmas prescribed for him, whosoever he might be, he attains all fruits right upto Moksha. In the eyes of Bhagavan, all of us are his dear children. His teachings are meant for our wellbeing only. He blesses us through great souls now and then.
Important for Brahmanas in particular are - Prata snanam (bath before dawn), Sandhyavandanam and Gayatri Japam. Srimad Appayya Dikshitar says in his book 'Siva Tatva Viveka':
"Gayatri is the mantra specified as the highest for chanting by brahmanas. Parameswara! It is well-known that you are the Devata of that mantra. Hence if brahmana performs other good karmas without worshipping you through Sandhyavandanam and Gayatri Japam, it is but futile effort on his part; he is no greater than an animal. It is like decorating oneself with ornaments, but with no clothes on."
Let us attain all good things by performing these karmas. The world will also reap the benefit. Brahmanas' karmas and rituals are meant only for universal welfare.
4. Nama Japa
One should make sure to chant Bhagavan's name at least 1008 times every day. It can be any of Bhagavan's names- Siva, Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Guruvayurappa, Aiyappa, Muruga etc. as per one's choice.
Sri Kanchi Mahaswamigal used to call our Sanatana Dharma as 'one person track'. It is the Vedic path, the path of 'Sreyas'- betterment. It is called 'Rajamarga' by Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpada in his Bhashyas.
"What benefit will elude one who has the company of the wise?"
Some articles of mine, which have appeared in the recent issue of DILIP are attached.
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