Sree Rama Dasa Ashram
The Sree Rama Dasa Madom,situated at chenkottukonam(14 Kilometres north of Thiruvanathapuram,Kerala,India) was founded by Sree Neelakanta Gurupadar on July 4, 1962 .He spent 45 years of his life inside the Ashram compound doing Sadhana.He had no guru other than the Lord Sree Rama who was also his Upasanamoorthy(diety he worshipped) .He worshipped Sree Rama assuming the attitude of RAMA DASA.It was Jagadguru Swamy Sathyananda Saraswathy,the beloved disciple of Gurupadar and present Madadhipathi who subsequently founded Sree Rama Dasa Mission and formulated many schemes for the uplift of society.Ashram is spread over 14 cents(1 cent = 40 sq.m.) symbolising the 14 regions of spiritual existence explained in Hindu Puranas as 14 worlds:7 subtle and 7 gross worlds.The Madom,for many years reasons and in many ways,is different from the others.It welcomes people from all religion and religious denominations who suffer from various kinds of difficulties in life and physical disablities.The Madadhipati takes over the suffering of devoted visitors and blesses them by giving them Vibhuti(holy ashes).
TEMPLE IN THE ASHRAM COMPLEX
The Sanctum Sanctorium where the Sree Rama-Sita-Anjaneya idol is installed by Gurupadar,the samadhi of gurupadar and the Sakti Ganapathi shrine and esoteric concepts are the salient features of this group of shrines.
THE DAILY ROUTINE OF THE ASHRAM SHRINES
The day's pooja begins with Palliunarthal ie awakening of the deities with the blowing of Conch and the ringing of bells.This is performed by a Brahmachari during Brahmamuhurtham.From the time onwards till the doors of the shrine closed for the day the devotees and seekers who come there spend blissful moments.Deeparadhana waving of lights before the idols is performed twice daily.Bhajans,reading of the whole text of the whole epic the Ramayana,feeding the guests and the poor,Gurudarsanam are other daily features.On special days there will be Laksharchana,Sree Rama Patabhishekam,Homam,Akhadanama japam etc.
The Ashram has unique and luminous rituals that are unparalled.
Uninterrupted recital of Adhyatma Ramayana for nearly 8 decades.The whole text is covered during day time.On special days the recital continues late into the night and ends with Abhishekam at 3 a.m..There is no other place in the world where the whole text is recited daily.This holy ritual started by Gurupadar is still carried on as Yajna. Aradhana is performed daily in the morning and at night at the samadhi of Gurupadar,and the shrines of Sakti Ganapathi and Sree Rama-Seetha-Anjaneya.Union of the worshipper and the worshipped is the unique aspect of the worship.SANKALPA is given more importance than the ritualism.
Sree Rama Pattabhishekam
The esoteric significance of the Pattabhishekam is beyond explanation.It is performed at 3 o'clock in the morning.Swamiji sits cross-legged inside the shrine in front of the idol leaning on it.His holiness then performs Abhisheka on his chest in the Atmarama state,or oneness with the lord,closely following the practice of his Guru.Each movement made by Swamiji synchronises perfectly with the narration of events in the holy text.Those who listen to the lines attentively can easily understand the significance of rituals.
Ahoratra(round the clock)Mahasudarshana Homam is performed uninterrupted for months. Offerings are made in the sacred fire to Lord Vishnu to mitigate sufferings and shield oneself from the evil thoughts and deeds of others.The sacred ash thus obtained is used for curing ailments including luekemia.The recently concluded Homam lasted eight and a half months(July 30,1996 to April,1997).
Kodi Archana(10 million chants)in praise of Mother Goddess(Lalitha Shasra namam)is performedat the ashram over 41 days every 3 years.
FESTIVALS CONDUCTED IN THE ASHRAM
Among the festivals conducted in the ashram the Sree Rama Navami festival stands out as the most conspicuous and elaborate. It falls on the navami day of Chaithra Month(Saka era).On this day free distibution of food is done along with the recitation of Ramayana as well as the recitation of "Devi sthothram"(Thousand names of Mother Goddesss) a thousand times.At midnight swamiji conducts Abisheka in Chapprams(mobile sanctum sanctorum) in which coronation pictures of Sree Rama are installed.
The Sree Rama Navami festival is followed by the observance of Sree Hanuman Jayanthi which falls on the first full moon day after the navami.
The eight day of April is the Sree Sakthi Ganapathy Pratishta day.The Samadhi day gurupadar is observed on the 26th of May in obeisance. The Swami Sathyamnada Saraswathy birthday is celebrated on the Punartham star of kanni month(Malayalam era).The Mandalam period (41 days from vrichikom 1st) is observed with great devotion and screnity.The Mandalam obsevance ends in the madom only on "Thrikketta",the birth star of gurupadar which may in some years fall on a day subsequent to the consummation of mandalam in other religious centres.The sree rama dasa madam is thus unique in several ways.