Monday, October 11, 2021

Natteri Srihari Prabhandham Acharya 35 years Felicitation

Vayam Namaamaha Dravida Veda Vaibhavam - Celebrate together the glory of Divya Prabhandham
To mark 35years of his Prabhandham Acharya service including 25years at the Vedantha Desikar Srinivasa Perumal temple, Sishyas are planning a grand four day celebration later this month
He will be felicitated by the Jeer of Ahobila Mutt and it is likely he will be honoured with a Title for his over three decades service and creating the next generation of Prabhandham members
Around 100 Students have been initiated into Prabhandham during this period
1970s and 80s marked a low key period in the devotional movement. There was a mass exodus of original inhabitants from historic temple towns to cities in search of greener pastures. Most moved into corporate jobs away from the previous traditional endeavours connected with temple and related activity. Recital of Nalayira Divya Prabhandham is one such that has now been lost in most of the remote temples in Tamil Nadu as the Prabhandham Scholars of yesteryears have moved into cities and the next gen too has.

It is in light of this background that the contribution of Prabhandham Acharya Natteri Srihari Parthasarathy assumes significance. 

His own Prabhandham initiation in the 1970s
Hailing from an orthodox family in the Ahobila Mutt tradition, Srihari,  son of renowned Bruhaspathi and Vedic scholar Natteri Parthasarathy, learned Nalayira Divya Prabandham from Vaikuntavaasi Sevilimedu Srinivasacharya and later from his maternal uncle Esayanur Sridhara Satakopacharya (presently Aradhakar, Ahobila Mutt) and completed the course at the age of 17. Srihari had the fortune of undergoing Aahnikam and Grantha Chathushtaya Kalakshepam from Maha Vidwans Vaikuntavaasi Purisai Nadadhur Sri Bhashya Simhasanam Krishnamacharya Swami and Azhisoor Srinivasacharya Swami.

The first batch of students in the mid 1980s
He had joined the kainkaryam at the Vedantha Desikar Srinivasa Perumal temple in Mylapore (https://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2021/01/vedantha-desikar-srinivasa-perumal.html) in the early 1970s. By the mid 1980s, a large proportion of devotees had moved into the corporate world. The traditional service personnel in temples were dwindling. Having learnt from such stalwarts in the 1970s, Srihari was keen to share his learning with the next generation of students and began his Divya Prabhandham tutoring in the mid 1980s initiating the sacred verses of the Azhvaars to a small group of students. 

1996 - Formal Full Fledged Prabhandham Course at the Desikar Temple
A decade later, in 1996, he formally began the full time Prabhandham class at the temple arriving at the temple at 6am every morning (though initially for a period the classes had been in the evening) after his late night work at the Sports Desk at The Hindu, from where he often returned home well past 1am.

The first batch of students, who are still an integral part of the Prabhandham Ghosti at the temple utsavams, graduated in 2007. With these students he adopted different techniques to get them to imbibe not just aspects relating to the recital but also to understand the essence of the verses through a secret process. 

Felicitation in 2017
Over the next decade, he initiated around 40 students into Divya Prabhandham. In May 2017, the Prabhandham Students had felicitated him for his two decades of service at the Vedantha Desikar temple. 
Now well into his 50s, Srihari has begun, in the last few years, the third batch comprising of another 35 students. The new batch of students has been already initiated into Namazhvaar’s Tiruvoimozhi and is currently learning the Iyarpa verses.

End of 2006, when the temple was planning to launch a website, Srihari was entrusted with the task of creating a strong content to propagate the time-tested values of the rich tradition of Sanathana Dharma and important tenets of the Visishtaadvaita philosophy. As the Founder Editor of the website, Srihari has been conducting online quizzes and contests on varied topics relating to this philosophy. As part of this engagement, he has also been writing commentaries, online, on Vaishnavite Philosophy.

When a book was brought out in 2006 as part of the 80th Birthday Celebrations of 45th Jeer of Ahobila Mutt, Srihari wrote a ten page commentary with his own interpretation of each of the decads of the 10th Canto of Nam Azhvaar’s Tiruvoimozhi including praising Lord’s Kalyana Gunas, describing the way in which Azhvaar has shown us the noble path and about how Prapatti’s five Angams have been showcased in this last canto.

Four Day Celebrations - Oct 25 -28
Marking the completion of 35 years of Prabhandham Acharya service, the Sishyas of Srihari, are planning a grand four day celebration - 'Vayam Namaamaha Dravida Veda Vaibhavam - Celebrate together the glory of Divya Prabhandham' - later this month at the Vedantha Desikar Srinivasa Perumal temple in Mylapore. The celebration will start with Veda Parayanam on Monday October 25. This will be followed by an Upanyasam on Divya Prabhandham by Esayanur Sridhara Satakopacharyar on Tuesday (Oct 26) evening. 

Felicitation by Ahobila Mutt Jeer
Prabhandham Acharya Srihari will be felicitated on Wednesday October 27 evening by Azhagiyasingar, the Head of the Ahobila Mutt. The felicitation function will be preceded on Wednesday morning by a Vidwat Sadas on Divya Prabhandham & Desika Prabhandham. It is likely that he will also be conferred a title for his 'Prabhandham Kainkaryam' that day. The four day event will conclude on Thursday Oct 28 with a Music Concert exclusively on Divya Prabandham by Smt. Jayanthi Sridharan. A Thematic Souvenir is expected to be released soon after the celebratory event.

Creating the Next Gen Prabhandham Members
Srihari has made a Significant Contribution in taking forward the Prabhandham recital into this new Century. He has gone about creating the next generation of Divya Prabhandham Experts in a quiet and unassuming way. While the idea has been for youngsters to learn and become proficient, he has also encouraged older people to take up to learning the Divya Prabhandham. One of the important lessons he has imbibed in his students throughout these three and a half decades has been to present these verses at temples and not to use it to further their financial interests.  His outstanding efforts to initiate four different set of students over the last 35years has been a great act of selfless service that he has rendered to our society in the process helping keep the Prabhandham tradition for the foreseeable future.

8 comments:

Rangaswamy iyengar said...

Bagyam swamin

Anonymous said...

He has been doing a great service to our community and fully deserves the celebration. May his tribe increase.

sundaram said...

Great service to Vaishnava sampradayam by the revered swamin. I pray Divya Dampathi for bestowing poorna ayush for continuing this kainkaryam.

Ramanan said...

Though not a student of his, have been fortunate to be a close friend and colleague for the last three decades... fantastic individual..Wishing him more success...

Unknown said...

Yomen service to our Sampradayam by the revered Swamin. I was fortunate enough to be one of his students for a little period. Wishing him more success..

A.V Aayush said...

We are blessed to have such guru who is absolutely dedicated to keep our sampradayam . I am really privileged to learn from such a mahaan 🙏🙏🙏

M P Rangarajan said...

Swamis dedication, devotion and apt guidance to the next generation on teaching the Aazhwar sookthis has helped many. His soft spoken and gentle nature helps his pupil to approach him for learning the prabhandhams easily. May MALOLAN and SRINIVASAN shower all good health too continue with the great services to our Sampradhyaa.

Unknown said...

He is doing yeoman service to our Sambradayam. I am very fortunate to work with him in The Hindu when I was in service.