Salakshana Vidwan Sri U.Ve Devanathachariar Swami Talks on Sama Vedam : Part 1
On 31st January 2015 Sri V.S. Sundararajan and adiyen went to listen to Sri Dasavatharan sannidhi at about 11.30 a.m. as Ubha. Ve Devanathachariar swami had agreed to enlighten us about Sama Vedam. Swami who is in his late eighties is a role model to emulate. He wakes up before sunrise everyday and bathes in the Kaveri. He observes achara- anushtanam and spends his time usefully. Everyday he offers sandal-paste prepared freshly for SriLaksminrisimha swami of Dasavatharan sannidhi. In his free time he can be seen doing parayanam of Srimadh Ramayanam or making yagnopaveethams. He attends all utsavams and is an active participant. He volunteers to be a sripadhathangi during purappadu and within the limitations of age does the kainkaryam for a short –while. He and his family always acknowledge their gratefulness to Srimadh Mukkur azhagiasingar for having given them a home in Dasavathara sannidhi. Swami’s voice may be a little incoherent because of his age but if listened with attention one can benefit from his valuable message.
For the benefit of non Tamil speaking Srivaishnavas here is an attempt to translate his message.Acharo Prathamo dharma goes the adage. For spiritual progress the basic need is aacharam. Aacharam refers to behaviour patterns followed by our forefathers who lived a healthy life. Anushtanam refers to the practises to be followed or the bare minimum dharma of a brahmana. After bathing if possible in a holy river before sunrise and wearing pavithra-vastram (madi vastram) and wearing urdhvapundrams Sandhya vandanam should be done. pranayamam should be done. Pranayamam helps to bring Perumal inside us. Achyuthan is the deity invoked and Achyutha means One who will not let you down. A brahmana should protect Vedas by learning and teaching them. By doing so he protects the whole universe. Sandhya vandanam is mandatory. Manthrams should be learnt properly and recited correctly. Though women should not chant mantras , without their co-operation no dharmic ritual is complete. The wife is therefore called dharma-patni, Lakshmi because she has to be anukoolam (co-operative ) . Rk is called as mother and sama as father. Both mother and father wish good for their children but the approach is different . The father is strict, the mother is kind. A brahmana should constantly do vedadhyayanam , he should teach his sons and shishyas without differianting between them. Likewise when shikshai( punishment) has to be done it has to be done to both in a fair manner. There are sapta(seven) svaras, sapta lokams,sapta kannikas and sapta nadis. Each swara has a name and a presiding devatha(deity). Vedas begin with pranavam and end with nama: During sandhya vandanam namaskaram is done to all directions-north,south, east and west. The ardhyadevata is Lakshmi –Narayana residing as antharatma of Surya devatha(sun-god) Sandhya vandanam is a Must-Do anushtanam.
Coming to sama vedam during Avani-Avittam we find mention of 13 shakas but only 3 are prevalent now.The number 13 reminded swami about the 13 kalasams on Srirangarajagopuram which was built by Mukkur Srimadh Azhagiasingar. He took avatharam in Avani Hastham and Hastham is the 13th star in the group of 27 nakshatrams.The three shakas in practice are Kouthama shaka, Jaimini shaka and Ranayani shaka. Vedas known as shruthis are learnt in the sandhai (oral) tradition. The teacher chants and the shishya repeats, if there is mistake in pronunciation the guru corrects. About one hour of shiksha is done in the early morning hours,the student puts in about 3 hours of practice. Sa refers to Rk and aamam means song. Some of the Rk manthrams are set to music. This is sama vedam.Listen to the chanting of Gayatri as samam and note the swaras. In general music notes go from low to high whereas in Sama Vedam notes start at a high pitch and go low. Paavamana suktham is chanted on ekadashis and confer immense benefits. 45th Srimadh Azhaghiasingar started the tradition of Veda parayanam on ekadashis and dwadashis and the present jeer 46th Srimath Azhagiasingar a reknowned Rk Veda Pandit in poorvashrama continues the tradition. Kanchi Muths tireless efforts on Veda samrakshanam and patasalas run by Andavan Ashram, Ahobila Muth and various veda patasalas are doing their best to foster vedic studies. If the Vedas can be compared to a huge tree with many branches giving shade to everyone the perfume emanating from the flowers filling the trees can be said to be Sama –Vedam.When Sama vedam is chanted with no swara-lopam following the rules there is bound to be Peace . There will be no Famine or hunger and unerstading will prevail.
Writeup & Video : Vyjayanthi & Sundararajan