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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Swami Manavala Mamunigal Sarrumurai 2018 ~ procession of Umbrellas

Swami Manavala Mamunigal Sarrumurai 2018 : part 2
அழகு திகழ்ந்திடும் ஐப்பசியில் திருமூலம் ***

Chennai as usual is expecting water crisis – drinking water is becoming scarcer ! – people were lured to this warning by Met Dept.  which read that Coastal areas of north Tamil Nadu would experience moderate rainfall and heavy rainfall in isolated places from the night of November 14.  It reads that the  deep depression over the Bay of Bengal intensified into Cyclone ‘Gaja’ on 11.11.18.  North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are likely to get good rain on November 14 and 15, India Meteorological Department officials said.  Named ‘Gaja’, the cyclone lay 840 km east of Chennai and 880 km east of Nagapattinam. It is likely to intensify into a severe storm in the next 24 hours, a bulletin issued at 4 p.m. said. It is expected to move west-northwestwards during the next 36 hours and then west-southwestwards towards the north Tamil Nadu–south Andhra Pradesh coasts in the subsequent 48 hours. While moving west-southwest, it is likely to weaken gradually and cross the north Tamil Nadu–south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Cuddalore and Sriharikota during the forenoon of November 15. Rainfall in most places, with heavy spells at isolated places, is likely to start over north coastal Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra Pradesh from the evening of November 14.

In our culture – we welcome rains [rain, rain go away is not our tradition] –

விண் இன்று பொய்ப்பின் விரி நீர் வியன் உலகத்து*
உள் நின்று உடற்றும் பசி.
இம் மண்ணுலகம் கடல் நீரால் சூழ்ந்தது ஆயினும் -   மழை இல்லையெனின்  பசியின் கொடுமை உலகை வாட்டக்கூடும் - என்பது திருவள்ளுவர் வாக்கு.  

‘aippasi – adai mazhai’ is an old adage. Rains are needed ~ they are but common in the Tamil month of Aippasi perhaps there are days when we would not want rain to play spoilsport (nothing to do with sports) – last year during this period it rained so heavily, inundating places.   Looking back some 4 decades ago,  normal life may not be affected greatly in rains – life was different – most houses in Triplicane would see rain water percolating from roof – and the area for night sleep would get more constrained as there would be water inside rooms too .. ..  a single big black coloured umbrella was a luxury and people would walk on roads with folded umbrella – not much of raincoats or other accessories  - thought difficult, people would pedal through rain drenched streets gleefully.

History of umbrellas is long and eventful. From the earliest appearances of simple palm leaf umbrella, long age of being synonym to wealth, to the modern time when is regarded as general item, umbrellas managed to intersect with our history in many interesting ways. Advancements in technology, changing tastes, and use in religion all enabled umbrellas to grow and prosper, becoming one of the principal ways we protect ourselves from rain. Protection from sun with umbrellas and parasols slowly faded out from fashion, which can be contributed to the rise in popularity of hats.

When the Mandarins ruled China in the 11th century B.C., ''The rank of any holder of office could be judged according to whether a double or triple-decked umbrella was carried over him; a fourfold sunshade was the privilege of the heaven-born emperor alone,'' wrote Max von Boehn in ''Ornaments: Modes and Manners'' (Benjamin Blom, 1970). In imperial Japan the Mikado never appeared in public unaccompanied by his parasol-bearer. Even today a parasol-bearer stands near the Emperor as he gardens.  .. … .. they are too significantly associated with our Hindu culture – one could see them on ‘raths of Mahabarath’ .. and specifically with our Temples. 

This year, there has been no significant rainfall in Chennai ~   and those  who ventured to Triplicane this morning (Sunday 11th Nov 2018 ) would have wondered what was happening – it was a procession of umbrellas, nay not the black one that humans use when it rains– but spotless white parasols – the divine kodais    ~ 10 sets of them – the divine kudais  20 in no.  - some huge – ranging from 14 to 18 jon kudais - and alongwith that hundreds of Thennacharya Srivaishnavaites, most of them sporting the traditional ‘Urthva Pundram – the Pannirandu Thiruman”.

The morning of this Sunday dawned so gracefully – for those of us would never forget the greatest darshan one would dream -  the divine blessing of  ‘Kaithala Sevai’ ~ [Lord Parthasarathi and consorts being carried in the hands of the battars] – then the umbrellas were getting opened up – spotless white parasols – the divine kodais  ‘Thirumoolam in Aippasi’  the day commemorating the birth of divine Acharyar Swami Manavala Mamunigal.  Mamunigal is fondly known as ‘Yatheendra Pravanar’ arising out of his irresistible attachment to the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujar [Yatheendrar]. 

~ and at Thiruvallikkeni, to the long list of kainkaryams, today more pronounced were those carrying white parasols for the Acaryar, goshti, Perumal and .. ….in grandiose.   Mamunigal is the reincarnation of Adi Sesha.   Of those who render service to MahaVishnu, Ananthan – the Adi Sesha serves Him in the best possible manner that one could visualize. 

சென்றால் குடையாம் இருந்தால் சிங்காசனமாம்,
நின்றால் மரவடியாம் நீள்கடலுள், - என்றும்
புணையாம் மணிவிளக்காம் பூம்பட்டாம் புல்கும்
அணையாம்திருமாற்கு அரவு.

                                                          – Muthal Thiruvanthathi, Poigai Azhwaar. 

                          When Thirumal is moving, Thiruvananthazhwaan hoods him like a parasol,  when God sits, Seshan is  settee – the seat of comfort;  when Lord stands,  the snake serves Him as footwear ; in the Thiruparkadal where Lord reclines to take rest, he becomes the silken bed – he gleams with light and provides handrest too.   The serpentine Ananthazhwaan is ever at the service of the Lord in every possible manner.  .. .. and today, we reminisced our Acaryar with a grand purappadu and .. 10 sets of divine umbrellas.

In the few years that he lived on this earth, Sri Varavara Muni physically ensured renovation of numerous temples, reorganised rituals and set up ways of worship and ensured continuance of traditions  through  his eight famous disciples known as Ashtadiggajas (elephants of the eight directions).  Sri Vanamamalai Mutt at Nanguneri was established by Mamunigal through his first disciple Sri Ponnadikkal Jeeyar in 1410. 

At Thiruvallikkeni Divyaesam around 07.45  am – Manavala Mamunigal came out with Sri Parthasarathi for a grand purappadu – the 20 pairs of parasols were the added attraction – to the glorious Acharyar Swami Manavala Maamunigal and Emperuman Sri Parthasarathi glittering with thiruvabaranams.   His work - Upadesa Rathinamalai goshti was recited in the goshti.  The purappadu ended around 10.00 am.

Miles away, in  Surakarta, Central Java, annual Indonesian Umbrella Festival [FPI] charms visitors with beautiful, brightly colored umbrellas.  Throughout the three-day festival, hundreds of visitors come to  Balekambang Park to enjoy the exotic umbrellas displayed across the park that was built by Surakarta king KGPAA Mangkunegara VII in 1921. 

Here are some photos of the grand purappadu in the morning.
~ adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.
11th Nov 2018.

PS : since most time was spent on taking aerial photos – no portraits of those who carried the umbrellas.                               

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Swami Manavala Mamunigal thiruther purappadu 2018

For a Srivaishnavaite, Kainkaryam is essential; Selfless and unconditional ‘kainkaryam’ cleanses the soul of the performer.  One must adore and be attached to their Acharyan and only the direction of Acaryar will lift us from all earthly evils.   ~ and everyday we must think of our Greatest Acaryar – Periya Jeeyar - Saint Vara Vara Muni, the last of the ‘Poorvacharyars’ in the grand galaxy of preceptors, known as Alagiya Manavala Nayanar, before he was ordained the holy order of  Sanyasa.  It is none other than our most adored Acharyar  “Swami Manavala Mamunigal” - the reincarnation of Sri Ramanuja who was himself an incarnation of Adisesha.

ஸ்ரீ வைஷ்ணவம் எனும்  ஆலமரம் தழைக்க இராமானுஜரின் மறு அவதாரமாக தோன்றினவர்  நம் ஆச்சார்யன் ஸ்வாமி  மணவாள மாமுனிகள் அவரது திருவவதாரத்தால் இந்த ஐப்பசி மாசம் சிறப்புற்றது.

The eternal place of bliss – the abode of Lord Ranganatha – Thiruvarangam is ‘Periya Kovil’ for devout Srivaishnavaites.   For us everything associated with the reclining Lord Ranganatha is ‘Periya’ (the Big  ~ nonpareil)  ~ the Lord here is Periya Perumal; his consort is Periya Pirattiyar;  the holy bathing [Thirumanjanam] in the month of Aani is ‘Periya Thirumanjanam’ ……….. the Acharyar known as ‘Periya Jeeyar’ is our Swami Manavala Mamunigal who spent a major portion of his life at Thiruvarangam serving the Lord. 

It is said that Manavala mamuni's devotion to Nammalvar, Ramanuja and to his own Acharya grew as he studied the Alvar's hymns and rahasyas at Alvar tirunagari.  Sri  Manavala mamunigal’s first work  is “Yatiraja Vimsati”  twenty sanskrit stanzas in praise of  Sri Ramanuja.  Upon reading this, Tiruvaimozhip pillai gave him the title Yateendra Pravanar.   Sri Manavala Mamunigal’s uthsavam is to conclude – tomorrow is ‘Sarrumurai day’.  On the penultimate day, today (10th Nov 2018) – there is purappadu for Swami Mamunigal both in the morning and evening.

Morning it was  ‘Siriya Thiruther’ – here are some photos taken  during the purappadu this morning.
இப்புவியில் அரங்கேசர்க்கு ஈடு அளித்தான் வாழியே !
எழில் திருவாய்மொழிப்பிள்ளை இணையடியோன் வாழியே !!

~ adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

Divyadesa kainkaryam ~ thirukudai .. ..body art !!

Swami Manavala Mamunigal thiruvavathara uthsavam is drawing to a close ~ tomorrow is ‘Thirumoolam in Aippaisi’ ~ marking the birth centenary of our Acaryar. There will be grand purappadu in the morning with 20 kudais ~ white kudais (parasols) are of significance and there will be no purappadu in divyadesams for Emperuman without kudai (for us Adisesha is the divine kudai for Emperuman).. .. here are a couple of photos taken during Mamunigal purappadu at Kairavini kulakkarai before He ascended thiruther.

Following the second One-Day International between England and India in January 2013, when his last 11 deliveries cost 33 runs, he gained the dubious honour of establishing himself as the bowler with the worst career economy rate (given a minimum of 1000 balls bowled….not all that bad a bowler…….he was in news ! ….  the South African born English cricketer - Jade Winston Dernbach who played for Surrey County Cricket Club and England. He was called up to the senior team as a replacement for Ajmal Shahzad for the knock out stages of the 2011 Cricket World Cup and made his Twenty20 and ODI debuts later that year against Sri Lanka.

A tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. Tattooing has been in vogue in many cultures ~ though the reasons might differ from Western and other Nations.  By some accounts, the island of Great Britain takes its name from tattooing; Britons translates as "people of the designs", and Picts, the peoples who originally inhabited the northern part of Britain, literally means "the painted people.

In politics, its makes good to wear one’s loyalty on your sleeve.  In a land where people keep falling at the feet of political leaders, supreme display of loyalty is often expected.  Years back, MG Ramachandran [MGR] ordained that his party followers tattoo the flag of the party on their hands.  Many immediately had the party flag and the face of MGR tattooed on their arms and on chest.  Tattooing is known as ‘pachai in Tamil’ – pachai literally means green, and often the words / image looks green.  It is described as a painful process of pricking the epidermis with fine needles. That tattooing was thought of to prevent people from jumping out  but still many jumped out of the bandwagon to join rivals at different periods is documented history anyway.  That is political alignment – no permanent friends or foes in politics – as they say.

Keeping away ~ this morning purappadu was so pleasant with the divine grace of Acaryar Swami Manavala Mamunigal – there are various kinds of kainkaryam – and so many devoted souls move around in Thiruvallikkeni.  What you may not have observed, is this young boy – a bearer of the divine kudai – has the symbol tattoed on his body – exhibiting his passion for what he does – carrying the divine umbrella, as protection for Perumal in His purappadu.  Incidentally, his mentor – Kudai Raja also sports this tattoo   (could recall that Raja’s father Sampath was also an expert in kudai kainkaryam)

Salute all those great souls who are deeply involved in doing kainkaryam .. ..

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan
10th Nov. 2018.