We are all used to giving gifts (an offering) to friends and family. Sometimes the gifts are a necessity, and at times they are luxury. What makes a gift worth is how well the recipient utilises it for his betterment. In the process of giving a gift, the presenter also expands his self beyond his own body and thinks for the benefit of the recipient. All this works well two-way between friends and family.

How about with acharya? What can we offer as a gift to an acharya?

An acharya is someone who:

  • Practises the righteous path
  • Enables the seeker to practise the same
  • Converts the seeker’s weakness into his/her strength

An acharya gives the seeker a gift of wisdom and joy that lasts forever. Is there anything that you can offer to acharya to pay back?

Yes and No! Yes, because there is something you can and must offer to acharya. No, because that cannot equal the value of acharya’s gift to you.

That gift you can offer is: Yourself. What does it mean offer yourself?

Archana is defined as an act of offering in devotion. You can spend a few minutes with your acharya and offer a heartful conversation or sing a keerthana. You can offer some fruits and flowers to Him. Archana gives us an opportunity to offer our devotion through these external objects and services (fruits, flowers, conducting oneself in accordance to the will and wish of the recipient) and through sharing heartfelt feelings. End of the day, it is about offering ourselves fully in all means – through our thoughts, words, action.

Ramanujacharya is an acharya to everyone, including God Himself! That is why, He is considered as the form and definition of a COMPLETE acharya. Some acharyas may serve the purpose of educating a seeker, or a group of seekers. But, Ramanujacharya has uplifted everyone who approached him. He is worshipped as the acharya of Lord Venkateswara Swami in Thirumala (read Venkatachala ithihasa mala). He gave away the ashtakshari mantra bypassing the instructions of his acharya for the benefit of all of us, even if it meant ‘hell for him’. In the end, the empathy in his heart gained the confidence and respect of his acharya who originally opposed him.

Ramanujacharya institutionalised temples and made them centres of society. He ensured that everyone gets their opportunity to serve Lord based on their abilities. Because, it is at the temple that one (pauper or president) bows head and realises the equality and brotherhood. It is when one bows head at the feet of almighty that one can put ego, jealous and selfishness aside. It is at when one bows head at the feet of almighty that one can put collective effort and well-being for everyone as the prime objectives.

That is why, we can hear this divine chant in the temples every day:

Ramanujaarya  Divyagnya Vardhatham Abhivardhatam,
Dighanta Vyapini Bhuyat Sahi Loka Hithaishini

– From the address of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji
– NTR Stadium, Hyderabad
– 05th May 2019

Honouring the mark of 1003rd Birthday celebrations, the NTR stadium was filled with a huge gathering of people who offered the gift of themselves to their beloved acharya through padarchana ­– an offering of good words, great songs, and beautiful bhajans in that sequence! Lead by Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji and in presence of Sri Ahobila Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami, Sri Devanatha Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji, Sri Vratadhara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji, Sri Satakopa Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji. A beautiful address by Samudrala Rangaramanujacharya Swami and Sriman Krishnmacharya Swamiji enlightened the devotees. People were elated to have the darsan of Ramanujacharya’s deities from more than 60 temples across the twin cities on one stage!

Archana, an offering in Devotion
Archana, an offering in Devotion
Archana, an offering in Devotion

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