Good, now that I have your attention, let me tell you. 

I got my ‘Bharanyasam’ done today by our aacharya Aandavan Swami, in Desika Sabha (Matunga, Mumbai). To quote Google “Bharanyasam is an act of submission of our soul performed by our acharya on our behalf to enable the saranagati or loving surrender of the soul to Sriman Narayana to whom it always belonged.

When I recently got my Samasrayanam done, the Swamis there recommened I also get Bharanyasam done as it was a great opportunity. Apparently, “The acharya, Srimad Andavan, awards initiation to followers through a five-fold ritual called samashrayanam, and conducts sacramental surrender or prapatti through a ritual known as bharanyasam.”

Now while all of this sounds like a thing one might not even in his dreams want to skip, I was very hesitant, especially to do the Bharanyasam. My husband was all in since the time he was told. I was difficult and I had my reasons that people don’t seem to get. I was told I am being adamant, I know nothing and that I should do it as advised, so I could change for the good (the good here is subjective. Anyway, let’s move on) 
So I was taken to the chief priest of the Andavan ashram, a very simple nice fellow and he was told “She’s too scared to do it” Far from truth, but anyway. The priest told me “There is nothing to worry about, my 2 year old has got it done it. It’s like booking an early ticket for a future travel. That easy.”

When I was much younger, I saw my Amma* and Appa* (when he was about 58) go to Srirangam one day along with Paati* to meet their aacharya and get Bharanyasam done. I remember Paati telling that Taata* couldn’t do it since they were not aware about it back then and till date she regrets. From my appa, I knew that through this, one ultimately surrenders to Lord Narayana and prays only to his divine forms. My father had once told me, “One day after you are married, go to whoever is your Aacharya (for the girl, the husband’s side aacharya is the one after marriage) and get your Bharanyasam done, you don’t want to be caught up in this life and death cycle”. I had bombarded him with too many questions at that time, but the only thing he kept repeating was, “Aacharya moolama moksham kaddikyum” (Meaning, you get liberated through your aacharyas request. I quoted him as it is because I remembered how it sounded when he said it and I miss hearing that. Anyway.)
The only other restriction he spoke of was not consuming onion and garlic. But in general, my father lived a very pious life. From doing Sandhyavandanam* in the morning and evening and spending hours and hours after retirement reading the Vedas and praying for everyone, to living life with a lot of austerity and surrender, he did all it required in the best of his abilities. As he grew older, I could see him evolve into a very pious man.

I see this event ‘The Bharanyasam’ as the event which changed him to how he eventually became. And here is me, a 30 year old, having no clue what it means to surrender. While I have read a lot about it, I couldn’t get myself so easily to do it. Plus, if you know Vaishnavites, you know there are no recommendations, they instruct and you have to follow – no questions asked. If you get away through counter interrogating, the standard reply you may get most times is, “This is how it is to be done as we know, rest is your choice”. But really, I had no choice. They asked me to wear a madisar*, shrichan* and come early in the morning. Something within was too adamant to not do it. I kept asking myself, if Om Swami had asked you to do it, would you have thought so much?  “NO!”  Then what’s making you so hesitant here? Well, if you could guess, I don’t respond well to orders, especially the ones that is not well explained. I like how Swamiji does it, you can give anything with all your heart. 
So there I was this morning, draped in madisar with Shrichan on my forehead. I saw the Perummal Thirumanjanam* and then our aacharya called us – me and my husband in, he asked us to prostate while he stood chanting some mantras and while he prostrated we had to stand. We kept doing this a few times. He asked us to repeat a few mantras daily, one of which is –
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyāmi mā śhuchaḥ

I surrender to Lord Narayana, I do, I do.
Yea I commit first, but my mind still is going –  “How can it be this easy? What about humming the  maha mrutyunjaya mantra which you like so much? And can you still chant Navarna mantra?” Well, they’d have beaten me if I had asked this to them so I shut up.

Lord Narayana will find a way 😉

PS – Do we have some fellow Vaishnavites? I’d love to hear  your thoughts, Vishnavite or not.

Amma – refers to mother in Tamil
Appa – refers to father in Tamil
Paati – refers to grandmother in Tamil
Taata – refers to grandfather in Tamil
madisar – a traditional 9 yards saree draped by South Indians, also know as Goddess Aandal’s attire
shrichan – a thin and long red tilak, worn on the forehead
Sandhyavandanam – Mantrācamanaṃ or Jalaprāśanaṃ is sipping of water by reciting relevant Vedic mantras for internal purification so that one becomes spiritually fit to perform ritualistic act
Perumal Thirumanjanam – A Tamil word for cleansing the Lord with aromatic ingredients.