Inspiring Personalities – Babu Mami Of Strigal Sthothrapata Goshti Srirangam : Part 4
Srirangam has many celebrities and Babu mami is one. She is an icon for Sri(Stri)sampradhayam. Yes she strives to bring out the best in women taking care that humility is kept as the base. Mami makes sure that free-time is put to proper use. Usually a normal housewife is free when her husband goes off to work and children to their schools or colleges. This time is used in watching some sentimental melodrama on the T.V. Mami uses this time to teach stotras to the ladies. Starting at about 11.00 a.m. strigal stotra classes begin. This verbal mode of teaching and repeating the same line/lines twice(for sanskrit slokas) and thrice for Tamil prabhandham is known as the sandhai mode. If started during prime-time (in early childhood) these can be easily memorised but what if we find free time and a proper guru only in later years? We can definitely learn to read and chant correctly. Though mami has taught and still teaches divya sukthis, Swami Desikan’s stotras, panchasthavams etc it is Swami Desikan’s “Padhuka Sahasram” which has scaled great heights and this padhukasahasram parayana goshti is seen during important temple events and acharya tirunakshatrams. Highly vibrant ladies of varying ages wearing traditional 9 yard sarees in green attract attention by their sonorous rendering of Swami Desikan’s masterpiece of devotion. Curious to learn more about this group Sriman Sundararajan swami and adiyal met Ranganayaki (Babu) mami who talked about her mission and dedicated “vaachika kainkaryam”
Certain qualities are necessary in a leader and we found these in mami – punctuality, clarity of purpose, acknowledging the help and co-operation of members and giving due credits and appropriate rewards. She shows kindness and firmness at the same time. That is why the team works in unison and many voices together produce a single harmonious note. Mami takes her students (only women) on trips to divyadesams, to old age homes and even picnic spots organising games like sampradhaya quiz and the like. For the musically inclined she has ‘nama samkeerthanam’ and every year a woman who has inspired others and has made a difference in society is reconised and awarded (one year as an exception Singham Iyengar swami of Thadeearadhanai fame was chosen). The goshti does collective prayers for a sick person and extends financial help to needy families. The funds are contributed by the team. Though the yearly offering of Rs.120/- (Rs.10 p.m.) seems paltry it turns to a considerable amount when the members are more than 120. Again when there is a special cause members contribute (yatha-shathi) liberally. Mami ensures that her team gets appropriate sambhavanai and recognition. We present you with an interview with mami as also the rendering of some parts of Padhuka sahasram.There is a video of four shishyas talking about how they became part of the goshti. In addition we have a rare offering- three srikaryams talk about Padhuka sahasram. We pray to the divyadampathis and our poorvacharyas to bestow good health on mami to continue this “mahath kainkaryam” without interruption.
Writeup & Video : Vyjayanthi & Sundararajan