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Friday, November 21, 2014

Geethacharyan Magazine Nov. 2014 and my article on Dr MA Venkatakrishnan

You are looking at the Nov. 2014 issue of Geethacharyan that has Emperuman of Sri Vaikuntha Vinnagaram (Thiru Naangoor Divyadesangal) – Sri Vaikunda Natha Perumal.  Geethacharyan is a prominent sampradhaya magazine [Sri Vaishnava Sampradhaya book] started in the year 1978 and continuing in its own way for more than 36 years now.  

Dr M.A. Venkatakrishnan Swami (Popularly MAV) is its editor. At Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, sashtiapthapoorthi celebrations of   Methavimani, Gambhira Vakvarshi, Dr Mandayam Ananthanpillai Venkatakrishnan Swami was celebrated grandly –  On 24th Oct 2014, at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, the manivizha malar was released by : His Holiness Sri Paramahamsedhyathi Sriuperumpudur Appan Parakala Ramanuja Embar Jeeyar Swami and first copy received by Sri Mandayam Parthasarathi.  There was graceful  dance on ‘Siriya Thirumadal’  by Smt. Vyjayanthimala Bali.

I am elated to say that my article paying tributes to Dr MAV Swami – reminiscing our Santhai days when we learnt Naalayira Divyaprabandham from him – is published in the Nov. 2014 issue of Geethacharyan.

Pranams to my Guru who initiated us in to divine way.  Here is the article reproduced and a photo taken with Dr MAV on his Sashtiapthapoorthi day.

With great regards to him – S. Sampathkumar.

Thiruvallikkeni is grandly celebrating ‘Sashtiapthapoorthi’  of   Methavimani, Gambhira Vakvarshi, Dr Mandayam Ananthanpillai Venkatakrishnan Swami.  The continued kainkaryams rendered by Swami, his academic qualifications, his renditions to Srivaishnava sampradhayam, his publications of many granthams – we hail and fall in his feet.  The Sri Vaishna Sect now  holds him in very high esteem.
This coming from an ardent follower is slightly different  - this is more about the change he ushered in a generation, about his role in changing the attitude of a group of youngsters, making them feel confident, providing them in right earnest the rise to respectability.  The Triplicane of mid 1970s was different – MAV was a bubbly youngster, studying in college –  completing to become a lecturer in the same college (remember seeing him wearing spotless white shirt and white pant with stylish flowing cropped hair). We fondly watched him drive two wheelers fast – simply adored whatever he did.  At a time, when youngsters had all time for all material pleasure, MAV had different idea.  His days started early, his house was used to the fullest extent as he devoted time and energy for large group of school going kids. There were times when more than 100 such students assembled daily at his house around 05.45 am; people changed, the numbers did not dwindle. I was happy to be one among them alongside PS Lakshmi Narasimhan (Sekar), Murali, PR Ravi Sundar, S. Sundararajan, TA Bakthisaran, TA Govindachari, TA Sampathkumar, KS Venkatakrishnan (Govar), KS Gopalakrishnan (Rajathi), Veeraraghavan, Raman, Lakshmanan, Ramesh Govindan, Kesavan, Sadagopan, Pattabhi, Srivathsan .... to name a few.

Our school days started so piously attending ‘Divyaprabandha santhai’ at MAV house.  He was so considerate to all of us – a smile there and small gesture another day would provide us raptures.  He was a hero, a real role model. His teaching style was so affable (there used to be holidays not only for Brahmothsavams but also during the annual exams) – for he insisted that none of us should neglect studies.  He wanted us to excel in academics first and learn divyaprabandham also. He encouraged all of us – there were special prizes in the monthly tests, there were cash awards, uthariyams were getting distributed regularly. He took us to a few divyadesams too – taking care of us, as a mother would take care, taking care of food and stay and providing us opportunities to visit divyadesams, worship Emperuman and do goshti kainkaryam.  He groomed us teaching the works of Great Azhwargal, in between explaining the meaning of pasurams, thereby making us relish the pasurams.

The fact that all of us who learnt santhai from him are now in good positions in life is fully attributable to his methodology of ensuring that we studied well.  Managing such a large group of unruly students is tough – one may think, but a slight hard look from him was enough, for such was the respect that he commanded from all of us.  Most of us still would not dare to sit before or argue with him – as respect flows from our heart.  The summer would be at its height, and then it would torrentially pour – the place was good to accommodate and the person more than willing to share his resources and his time for our improvement.

He encouraged us to attend ‘Thiruveethi purappadu’ without fail and in Thiruvallikkeni, when one learns Sri Peyalwar’s Moondram Thiruvanthathi, one can attend so many goshtis.  We were first habituated to coming to Temple and partaking in goshtis; we did that as ordained by the master and the pride gained here, made us feel confident.  Our attitude in life changed and reflected the newly found respectability, rather forced on us by the untiring efforts of MAV.  If today, we can recite Divyaprabandham and know something about our Sampradhayam, of our Azhwargal and Acharyar, it is fully due to MAV’s resolve.  We saw our role model graduate from a student to a lecturer, starting a sampradhaya magazine (Geethacharyan), heading the Dept. of Vaishnavism in Madras University, delivering sampradhaya kalakshepams in the media.  We relished his style, understanding and clarity,  when he  spoke on various subjects including current affairs, politics and cricket besides his opulent knowledge gotten from voracious reading and effort.  Generally people find it difficult to adapt to changing times, MAV is abreast with modern technology, making use of electronic gadgets, making web presentations which makes us wonder all the time. 

Years have passed by, Dr MAV is 60 now – and we have also become older – whatever wisdom and knowledge we picked up in the process, we all owe to his guidance, and we would ever remain grateful to him for all the good things in our life.

With great reverence to our Master – We, the students of MAV Swami
(PS Lakshmi Narasimhan, PR Ravi Sundar, S. Sundara Rajan and S. Sampathkumar)

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