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The completion of this book is a long-sought goal of mine. From the days when my son, Sekhar, was initiated to ‘brahmacharyam’ in 1983 and led to ‘guru’ shortly thereafter and taught Vedas starting with the chanting of Purusha Sooktham, other Sukthams, Sree Rudram and Chamakam etc., the krama form of chanting was taught to him during the years from 1984 to 1986 (during summer holidays when he spent the full three months learning Vedas, Sanskrit, Malayalam, Tamil etc.) by Kasi Vadhyar and Narayana Vadhyar of Tripunithura. During the 1986 to 1989 period, Sekhar and I used to chant the krama form of Sree Rudram and Chamakam at home and also a few times at the Malibu temple. Since the krama form is customarily chanted by two persons chanting alternately, this chanting was discontinued when Sekhar went to Berkeley for his undergraduate studies in 1989 (and I became busy in my start-up company activities). Since that time, it has been a project of mine to teach the ‘krama’ form to my friends in the Los Angeles area. These efforts, and the goal, got delayed until now for one reason or the other – the ‘goal’ was to be able to chant this form of chanting in our temples here and to preserve such forms in the Los Angeles area for a long time to come. It was not until the last few years, since early 2004, when I started teaching the Vedas and Upanishads to my friends who came regularly to my house every Sunday morning that I saw the possibility that my goal can indeed come to fruition soon. Even then, one additional hurdle remained to be crossed before my dream would become a reality. The two texts that I had in my possession for the ‘krama’ form of chanting were in the Malayalam language, and therefore I had to find a way to get them transliterated to the Sanskrit language. These two texts were: “Gomatyambaa sametha shree satyavageeshwaraswamy sannidhau samarpithoyam shreerudrachamaka kramapatah (saswaram)” by Dr. M. Sambasivan of Trivandrum, Kerala, India and “SreeRudra Krama Patah and the SreeChamaka Krama Patah” by Mr. N. V. Ramachandran of Nurani, Palghat, Kerala, India & University of Wisconsin, USA (second edition, 1999). In 2006, Mr. Suresh of Bangalore published the ‘krama’ text in the Sanskrit and Kannada languages. Shortly thereafter, Arun Sankaranarayanan, one of my Vedic students, also showed me a Sanskrit language version of the ‘krama’ chanting. However, both these Sanskrit language versions were printed with the alternate chants of ‘krama’ in successive rows, as opposed to on either half of the same page. Mr. Suresh’s book had the Sanskrit language version on one-half of the page and the equivalent Kannada language version on the other-half of the page. Since the ‘krama’ form is chanted by two persons chanting alternately, it would be very beneficial, in my opinion, to print the ‘krama’ texts with the two halves of the page being used to print the ‘krama’ chanting alternately. Thus, I had to get the transliteration done into the Sanskrit language in a manner of publishing (split-page formatting) that I believe would benefit the readers chant this efficiently. With the help of Ms. Indu Krishnan, executive secretary at CSM Software, Bangalore, India who identified Ms. Jyothirmayi Krishnakumar, Lecturer in Sanskrit in Mount Carmel College, Palace Road, Bangalore, who hails from Kerala and who, thus, knew the Malayalam language as well (in addition to her expertise and proficiency in Sanskrit language), my goal of getting the Malayalam language ‘krama’ patah texts transliterated to Sanskrit was accomplished in early 2007. From the drafts sent by Ms. Jyothirmayi, I was able to teach my Veda students the ‘krama’ chanting; we were thus able to chant the ‘krama’ form of Sree Rudram during the second-kala Rudra abhishekam at the Malibu temple on the mid-night of the Sivarathri day on 16th February 2007, thus fulfilling one of my long-sought wishes! I am therefore extremely pleased to bring out this edition of Sree Rudram & Chamakam in ‘Krama Patah’ in Sanskrit language so that those who may not know Malayalam language will also be able to learn this ‘krama patah’. I hope to use this book to teach as many persons as possible so that the krama chanting of Sree Rudram and Chamakam, that has been preserved and taught to us by our forefathers, will continue to be preserved and chanted in our Siva temples in the Los Angeles area.
Even though this work is present in your hands in the form of a traditional printed book, let me emphasize that it is only secondary to the actual digital form available as an e-text. Great efforts have been expended by the contributors to prepare such a volume by accessing all available tools. As far as I know, the current electronic text may be the first digital form of the proper Krama patah with all its euphonic and diacritical details. At a few places where the original Malayalam texts are unclear or ambiguious on the exact positioning of diacritics, the author has taken the liberty to adapt to his learnt version from his Guru and his own self-practice and research. Despite this care, there is still a possibility that errors may have crept in. We appeal to each and every one of you – vedic scholars, teachers, reviewers and other students – to kindly bring to our attention any errors that they may find in this text. This will help our efforts to continuously improve, refine and enhance this noble assignment in its future editions.
I express my appreciation to my son Sekhar (presently Dr. R. Sekhar Narayanaswami of Palo Alto), Kasi Vadhyar and Narayana Vadhyar of Tripunithura – who all contributed to my deeper foray into ‘krama chanting’ during the mid-1980s; to Ms. Indu Krishnan, executive secretary at CSM Software in Bangalore, India without whose help in identifying Ms. Jyothirmayi to do the transliteration (Jyothirmayi’s background of being a Samskrita Bharathi volunteer, Kerala lineage and Sanskrit scholarship – without these attributes of her, this project would not have gone very far); to Ms. Jyothirmayi Krishnakumar herself for her painstaking efforts in the transliteration and digital transcription; to Viswaprabha (Shri. Viswanathan Prabhakaran, Kuwait) for all the technical help during transliteration efforts and for the excellent layout of this book; to the first batch of my Veda students for their dedication in learning this ‘krama patah’; and lastly to the authors of the two Malayalam texts of the ‘krama patah’, Dr. M. Sambasivan and Prof. N. V. Ramachandran without whose books this work would not have been possible. Additional, and special, appreciation is expressed to Ms. Indu Krishnan for the cover-page design and for handling all aspects related to the printing of this book.
If this work, both the electronic version as well as the printed book help the vedic chanters of Rudram and Chamakam to learn, and offer, the ‘krama archana’ to Lord Siva, I would consider my efforts in publishing this book as amply rewarded