by Gopalan Suresh Raj
Butterflies are marvelous creatures.
New-born caterpillars that hatch from their eggs are like gluttonous Humans - eating voraciously all the time - akin to an adage in the Sanskrit language made in jest 'ब्राह्मणो भोजन प्रियः ॥'
At some point in their lifecycle, they undergo a mysterious transformation - they stop eating totally and withdraw into a chrysalis (cocoon) - very similar to Yogis in Meditation! During this process of remarkable transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly, they undergo changes physically, mentally, and spiritually!!! Their old body is shed and a new one with beautiful wings appear. Their eating habits also change. They now only drink the nectar found in flowers. The more remarkable phenomenon is the spiritual transformation. They stop destroying crops (by eating their leaves) and start helping all plants multiply their progeny through pollination.
In doing so, they seem to follow in letter and spirit Sage Veda Vyas's famous quote परोपकाराय पुण्याय पापाय परपीदनं ॥ meaning One attains merit by serving others and commits sin by hurting them.
Just like the butterfly, SriVaishnavas are twice born too - they may be born into this world either as திருக்குலதோர் (Thirukkulatthor)*, or Vysyas, or Brahmanas, or Kshatriyas but are reborn as SriVaishnavas after they undergo पञ्च संस्कारा (Pancha-Samskara) from a qualified SriVaishnava Acharya.
SriVaishnavas are thus द्विजा-dvija (twice-born). Every SriVaishnava should strive to emulate a Butterfly rather than be a mere Housefly!
* The term திருக்குலதோர் (Thirukkulatthor) meaning 'People of The Creed of Sri' was first coined by Srimad Bhagavad Ramanujacharya (श्रीमद् भगवद् रामानुजाचार्या) in the Tamil language over a millennium ago, which was later translated in recent times to the Hindi language as हरिजन (Harijan) meaning 'The people of Hari (Sriman Narayana)'.
அடியேன் ராமானுஜ தாசன் (Ramanuja's humble servant)
श्रीनिवास वरद शर्मा a.k.a. Suresh Raj Gopalan.
काश्यप आपत्सार नैद्र्व त्रयाक्षय प्रवरान्वितः नैद्र्व काश्यप गोथ्रः आपस्तम्भ सूत्रः यजुष शाकाध्यायि श्रीनिवास वरद शर्मा नाम अहं अस्मि भोः ॥
I am Srinivasa Varadha Sharma, of the Naidruva Kaashyapa gotra, a student of the Apastamba dharma sutras, from the Taittiriya shakha of the Krishna Yajur Veda, and of the three pravaras named Kaashyapa, Aapathsaara, and Naidruva.