Beginner’s guide – apachArams (offenses)

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parASara, vyAsa, vEdhavalli and aththuzhAy enter ANdAL pAtti’s house.

pAtti: Welcome children. Wash your hands and feet. I will give you fruits offered to perumAL. Do you know what is special this month?

parASara: I will tell pAtti. It is manavAla mAmunigaL’s birth month.  His birthday / thirunakshathram is on thamizh month “aippasi” & star “thirumUlam”.

vEdhavalli : Yes. This month is also the birth month of mudhal AzhwArgal, sEnai mudhaliAr and piLLai lOkAchAryar. Am I right pAtti ?

pAtti: Well said. We have seen about AzhwArs, AchAryAs, anushtAnams/best practices, kainkaryam/service so far. Next we will learn about apachArams.

vyAsa: pAtti, what is apachAram?

pAtti: apachAram is an offense committed towards emperumAn or his adiyArs (devotees). We should always be keen on pleasing emperumAn and his adiyArs. Any action which will displease emperumAn and bhAgavathAs is an apachAram. We can see what are the apachArams (offenses) that we should avoid.

aththuzhAy: pAtti, can you please explain in detail?

pAtti: Yes. For SrIvaishNavas, SAsthram is the base/foundation/guide. Our pUrvAchAryas were extremely respectful to SAsthram and followed their anushtAnams/best practices properly. They were very fearful to commit any offense to emperumAn and his devotees. So, we should also be cautious all the time to avoid apachArams. Now we can see one by one (types of apachAram) in detail. Firstly we will see about bhagavath apachAram.

vyAsa: committing apachArams to emperumAn is bhagavath apachAram, am I right pAtti?

pAtti: Yes, you are correct. The following are listed as bhagavath apachAram.

  • To consider emperumAn at par with other dhEvathAs including brahma, Siva, vAyu, varuNa, indhra is an offense.

  • After becoming a SrIvaishNava, worshipping other dhEvathAs is also a bhagavath apachAram. All are emperumAn’s creations.
  • Not performing nithya karmAnushtAnams comes under bhagavath apachAram. nithya karmAnushtAnams are emperumAn’s commands to us, so we must obey his words. If we do not act as per his orders, it means we are committing offense. Hope you all remember that we have discussed about this earlier.

parASAra: Yes pAtti. vyAsa and I are performing sandhyAvandhanam everyday without fail.

pAtti: Happy to hear that you are following nithya karmAnushtAnams.

  • Next important thing we should avoid is to consider avathArams such as rAma, krishNa as normal or even super power humans. emperumAn out of his love and mercy for his devotees took his avathArams, to help us all.

  • To consider us to be independent and take possession in this materialistic world. We should understand that all are subservient to emperumAn and act accordingly.
  • To steal things that belongs to emperumAn. This includes stealing emperumAn’s properties like his vasthram (clothes), thiruvAbaraNam (ornaments) and immovable properties like his land etc.

aththuzhAy: Very interesting to hear pAtti, can you explain us about bhAgavatha apachAram?

pAtti: Sure aththuzhAy. committing apachArams to emperumAn’s adiyArs comes under bhAgavatha apachArams. Among bhagavath apachAram and bhAgavatha apachAram, bhAgavatha apachAram is the most cruel one. emperumAn can’t tolerate the sufferings of his devotees. so we should be cautious to avoid bhAgavatha apachArams. The following are listed as bhAgavatha apachAram.

  • considering other SrIvaishNavas equal to us. we should always consider ourselves lower than other SrIvaishNavas .
  • we should not hurt anyone both physically and mentally.
  • disrespecting a SrIvaishNava based on his/her birth, knowledge, acts, wealth, place of living, colour etc must be avoided.

Our pUrvAchAryas have maintained strict standards while dealing with other SrIvaishNavas. They were very cautious all the time not to displease/upset other SrIvaishNavas. They treated everyone with dignity.

vEdhavalli: pAtti, We will surely avoid such apachArams and make emperumAn happy.

Remaining three kids (in chorus): yes pAtti.

pAtti: Very good dear children. So far I have taught you many things about our sampradhAyam. Next time when you visit here, will teach you more. Now it’s getting very dark outside. It is time for you all to leave.

Children : We have learnt so much pAtti. We will try to put these teachings in to practice as much as possible by the grace of emperumAn and AchAryas.

pAtti: Very happy to hear.

The children leave happily to their home thinking about the conversation they had with pAtti.

adiyen sAranAyaki rAmAnuja dAsi

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