Beginner’s guide – Introduction to AchAryas

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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AcharyasAchArya rathna hAram – the necklace of AchAryas

parAsara and vyAsa come and see ANdAL pAtti after a while. They had gone to thiruvallikkENi to be with their grand parents during vacation.

ANdAL pAtti: parAsara! vyAsa! Welcome back. I hope you had a great time at thiruvallikkENi.

parAsara: Yes pAtti! It was wonderful there. We went to pArthasArathy perumAL temple everyday. Not only that, we also visited many near-by dhivya dhEsams such kAnchIpuram, etc. We also went to srIperumbUthUr and worshiped emperumAnAr.

ANdAL pAtti: Very nice to hear. srIperumbUthUr is the birth place of rAmAnujar. He is one of the most important AchAryas. I will tell more about him soon. I told you last time that I will tell you about AchAryas. I will give a brief introduction now. Do you know the meaning of the word “AchArya”?

vyAsa: pAtti! Is AchArya the same as guru?

ANdAL pAtti: Yes. AchArya and guru are similar terms. AchArya means one who is learned in true knowledge, practices it himself and teaches/inspires others to follow the same. guru means one who removes our ignorance.

parAsara: What is “true knowledge” pAtti?

ANdAL pAtti: Very intelligent question parAsara. True knowledge is knowing who we are and what are responsibilities are. For example, I am your grandmother and my responsibility is to educate you with good values, etc. If I have a good understanding about this – that is true knowledge. Similarly, all of us are sub-servient to bhagavAn and He is our master. As a master, he deserves to be served by us and as a dependent, it is our duty to serve him. This is the common “true knowledge” for every one to understand. Those who know this and teach to others through practical ways are called AchAryas. This “true knowledge” is available in vEdham, vEdhAntham, dhivya prabandham, etc.

vyAsa: Oh! So, who is the first AchArya? Some one should know about this “true knowledge” first to have taught to others.

ANdAL pAtti: Brilliant question vyAsa. Our periya perumAL is the first AchArya. We have already seen about AzhwArs. perumAL gave them the true knowledge. AzhwArs showed great attachment towards perumAL as we have already seen in their lives and also revealed the true knowledge through their dhivya prabandhams.

parAsara: pAtti! after AzhwArs’ time, what happened?

ANdAL pAtti: AzhwArs stayed in this world for some time and they left to paramapadham to be with perumAL eternally there. There was a dark period when the knowledge slowly deteriorated and even the dhivya prabandhams were almost lost. But it was by the divine grace of nammAzhwAr, we got the dhivya prabandhams back and was propagated by many AchAryas subsequently. We will see about those AchAryas subsequently.

parAsara and vyAsa: We are looking forward to it pAtti.

ANdAL pAtti: Well, your parents are calling you now. I will tell more about the AchAryas when we meet next time.

Author: sArathy rAmanuja dAsan

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