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Yathi Sevaasangham

The Yathi Sevaasangham is an organisation formed recently with a view to propagate the Advaitha philosophy of Aadi Sankaraachaarya and to work for the progress and welfare of the Swaamiyaars and their Madhoms.

It is well known that more than thousand two hundred years ago, a boy born in Kaippally Mana in Kalady later became the world famous Sreemad Sree Sankara Bhagavadpaadar. It is perhaps equally known that his four main disciples, Padmapaadaachaaryar, Sureswaraachaaryar, Hasthaamalakaachaaryar and Thotakaachaaryar established respectively the Thekke (south) Madhom, Naduvil (middle) Madhom, Idayil (in-between) Madhom and the Vadakke (north) Madhom, and made them the focal points for Vedantha phylosophical thoughts. What is less known is that the famous Vilwamangalam Swaamiyaar belonged to the Naduvil Madhom and equally knowledgeable Swaamiyaars to such Madhoms. Even now, these madhoms function under strict Aasramam discipline.

It is said that once Perumpadappu Vaidikan (advisor on religious ceremonies) invited the then Vadakke Madhom Swaamiyaar to his Illam for offering Bhiksha (alms), but it was a Sraadham (death anniversary) day and he was served along with the performers of the Sraadham (this was taboo), which prompted mutual curse (Saapam). It resulted on the one hand, in Perumpadappu to go through Dathu (adoption), and on the other, the succession in the Madhom was stopped. That Madhom had to move away to the Kasargod area with a new name, Idaneer Madhom ( Click here for Brahmaswam Madhom and Swaamiyaar Madhoms). The Munchira Madhom in Koozhithura (Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu) was established in deference to the desire of a Maharaja of Thiruvithamkoor, and through a junior Swaamiyaar of Thrikkaikkattu Madhom.

True to the meaning of the word "Samnyaasam", the Swaamiyaars relinguish all their wordly belongings, perform even their own "Pindam" (last rites) and start ascetic life in Aasramams. They encapsulate the entire Vedam into the Gaayathri and in turn into the Pranavam and continue their Upaasana only through the Pranavam. Thereafter, they do not chant the Vedam in the traditional style. They become "Bhikshaamdehis" accepting a frugal once-a-day Bhiksha meal of just three handfuls and sleeping wherever accepted. During inclement weather, when travel is difficult, they stay in one place, observing "Chaathurmaasyam Vratham". They are elevated to such a spiritual level where they do not prostrate to any one but their mothers, and the fathers prostrate to them - ascetics who have renounced everything. Such were the Swaamiyaars disciples of Sree Sankaraachaarya.

Quite recently, when times changed, the new socio-political evnvironment adversely affected the Swaamiyaar Madhoms as well as the disciplined life-style of the Swaamiyaars too. Realising this, a few concerned people started an organisation and registered the same (No. 146) in 1990 and called it the "Yathi Sevaasangham".

The members of the Sangham are the Swaamiyaars of the southern Sringeri Madhom and the four that function under the Thrissur Madhom, as well as the Namboothiris who promote and support them. Any Malayala Braahmanan eligible to perform the Shodasakriyaas ( Click here ) can become a member.

The goals of the Sangham are the prosperity of the Madhoms and the propagation of Advaitha philosophy. Giving publicity to the truly ascetic life-style of the Swaamiyaars, and revival of its greatness are also important aims. The objectives include correcting the situation and initiating changes with the times. It is of utmost importance to serve and assist the Swaamiyaars.

Units of the Sangham have been formed at Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Thrissur, Tanur and Thrichambaram, which are slowly progressing in activities; the first two have been more active.

The Thiruvananthapuram unit is the advisory committee for Vilwamangalam temple of Naduvil Madhom. It conducts Pooja classes, Sapthaahams, etc. There is an increasing awareness among the people about the importance of this temple, attracting more devotees. Plans are afoot for further development of the temple.

The Kottayam unit has been the initiative and started a "Vaidika Vidyaapeeddham" in Thirunakkara Thrikkaikkattu Madhom. Training classes are offered to post-Upanayanam boys in Homaachaaram (ceremonies for various Homams), Poojaavidhhis (rituals for worship), daily and special rites, etc. The 16th Karkitakam (Malayalam Month) is being observed as "Marunnu Sevaadinam" (consuming special Aayurvedic medicines).

Members of the Sangham take active part in the "Aachaarya Smruthi Yaathraas" (tours for spreading the message and memory of the Aachaarya) which are regularly being undertaken under the leadership of the head Swaamiyaar of Thrissur Thekke Madhom. They help to organise local travel, hospitality and other arrangements. They are ever ready to volunteer for any work as wished by the Swaamiyaar.

The Yathi Sevaasangham has put in considerable effort and more or less succeeded in eliminating possible circumstances leading to the kind of problems which Munchira Madhom had to face and the succession problems. As a result, succession in the Madhoms as well as Pushpaanjali (offering flowers to the deity, chanting Manthrams) and related rites could be re-established in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.

Daily Pushpaanjali is now being performed also in Sreekrishnaswaamy temple at Thruvaarpu. The Sangham is now trying to re-establish such Pushpaanjalis by inviting the Swaamiyaar to the temples where it used to be performed. These days, Pushpaanjali is performed wherever the Swaamiyaar is hosted during his travels; and many Illams do extend invitations to him. In some places, "Yathi Bhikshas" are organised as a part of rituals performed to overcome problems.

| Article No:5.1 | Last update of this article:25th December 2000 |
Article prepared by: E N Krishnan Namboodiri [President, Yathi Sevaasangham, Thrissivaperoor], Elangalloor Mana, P.O.: Nattakam, Kottayam - 686 013, Phone : 0481-560705

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