An astika is someone who believes in the existence of God and a nastika is one who does not. This is the common man’s understanding about the terms astika and nastika. If this basis were to be applied to the दर्शन- darshanas (systems of philosophy) some of the astika darshanas like Sankhya would not qualify as astika darshana as they do not conceive of a principle called Isvara or God. They are able to account for the existence of the manifested world comprising of Sentient and non Sentient beings with merely two principles – प्रकृति and पुरुष (Prakrti and Purusha). So from the view point of philosophy the mere acceptance of existence of a permanent atma and non refutation of the Vedas can said to be basis for the classification of astika and nastika darshanas. This article, which was presented in a seminar at Madurantakam Patashala sometime in 2014, briefly discusses how each astika school (Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta) defines the Isvara tattva.
In the year 2005, I presented a research paper on Lord Vamana in a 2 day National Seminar on “LORD VAAMANA in Art, Literature, & Religion” held at Mysore during 23-24 March 2015. The paper was titled “Lord Vamana in the Bhagavata Purana”. This paper brings out the meaning of the word Vamana – it does not mean a dwarf – and also details how the Bhagavata Purana glorifies the avatara as such. The link to the paper is as below:
As an attempt to make kids understand the importance of prapatti or surrender to Emberuman easily, while teaching the न्यासदशकम् – Nyasa dashakam of Swami Desika, this story was shared with them in an interactive manner.
Adiyen (Dr Sreeram Jaganathan) has been teaching (santhai ) the stotras of Swami Desika at home for more than a year now. With the blessings of Lord Hayagreeva and Swami Desika and my Gurus Dr.S.Padmanabhachariar, Srikaryam Swami, Sri Ahobila mutt, and Sri E.S.Mukundachariar of Secunderabad, Sree-Ramanuja-Vidyalaya was inaugurated at our gruham on the 26th of January 2018. The focus of the Vidyalaya is two fold – one is to teach Sanskrit, Stotras, Prabandham and Sampradaya (by adiyen), and Carnatic music (vocal and violin by Smt Anusha Sreeram, adiyen’s dharmapatni).
Though we have been teaching for sometime without any banner or name, the idea of starting Sree-Ramanuja-Vidyalaya occurred sometime last year. It was formally inaugurated by Adiyen’s Guru Dr.S.Padmanabhachariar with his address to the kids. The Kids recited Sri Goda Stuti as a ghoshti and obtained his blessings. The kids who won the competition on Sri Goda Stuti, which was conducted by adiyen earlier, received their prizes from the Srikaryam Swami.
The Indian systems of philosophy are called as darshana – दर्शनम् in Sanskrit. The usual explanation given to the term darshana is दृश्यते अनेन इति दर्शनम् – The tattvas or principles of truth are seen or known through them, hence they are called darshanas. The eye and mirror are also called as darshanam in an ordinary sense as we see or know things through them. In this very short lecture, given to my students, a very high level overview of the astika (orthodox) and nastika (heterodox) darshanas is given with a special emphasis on Visistadvaita. The link to the lecture is – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5TNRFElGMV1VGp2ZXZOblFsRGc
This lecture on the importance of Upanayanam and Sandhyavandanam in English was delivered sometime in June 2017 at the house of Sri. S.Ranganathan in Mandaveli, arranged especially for his grandson whose upanayanam was scheduled a week later. The brilliant young boy not only listened keenly but also participated in the lecture with his questions and answers to my questions which was very rewarding! The link to the lecture is –
Glad to share the recitation audio of Sri Vegasetustotram by Srivallabhan V of class LKG, adiyen’s youngest stotra student. He is the grandson of one of the daughters of Abhinava Desikan Sri Uttamur Swami. Blessed is Adiyen that he learns Desika stotras from Adiyen. His brilliance is very much evident even now as being quite young he misses many of the classes. It is so much joyful to hear the mazhalai-filled recitation of the stotra.
Instantly adiyen’s dharmapatni prompted me to give a gift to him which he is proudly displaying (crayons)! 🙂
This story is about the attitude of people in general to simply follow what others do without questioning the reason. Because of this attitude of people a beggar loses his copper vessel full of coins on the banks of Ganges. The hyperlinked audio describes his plight in a humorous manner. There is a verse in Sanskrit which summarises the crux of the story – गतानुगतिको लोकः न लोकः पारमार्थिकः । गङ्गासैकतलिङ्गेन नष्टं मे ताम्रभाजनम् ।।