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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Adhyayana Uthsavam at Thiruneermalai divyadesam 2018

Generally, people get excited about Vaikunda Ekadasi and ‘Paramapada  Vasal’ ~ commonly called ‘Sorga vassal thirappu’.. .. this year Vaikunda Ekadasi falls on Tuesday 18th Dec 2018 (3rd day of Margazhi) ~ Pagal pathu uthsavam commenced on 8.12.18 and today is day 2  ~ from 18.12. till 27.12.18 will be Irapathu .. and on 29th is Iyarpa Sarrumurai  (interested in some detail !)

……… they are part of the Adhyayana Uthsavam beginning with Pagal Pathu, Irapathu – concluding with Thiruvadi Thozhuthal and Iyarpa Sarrumurai.  Legend has it that this Uthsavam hailing the significance of ‘Thiruvaimozhi’ of Nammazhwar, known as ‘Thiruvaimozhi Thirunaal’ was being celebrated right from the times of Thirumangai Mannan to Nathamunigal.  The Pagal pathu uthsavam is now on at Sri Vaishnava Divyadesams.

In life there are moments, when you feel extremely elated ~ one explicable moment is when you are at Thiruvarangam soil and  have darshan of Nam Perumal … as one travels with the purpose of worshipping at Booloka Vaikuntham [the heavenly abode of Lord Maha Vishnu on this earth] –the great place described by Thondaradipodigal as
கங்கையில் புனித மாய காவிரி நடுவு பாட்டு *  பொங்குநீர் பரந்து பாயும் பூம்பொழிலரங்கந்தன்னுள்*

At the Bhooloka Vaikundam of Srirangam Divyadesam, it begins from Suklapaksha Ekadasi and celebrated for 23 days whence Namperumal listens to the vedas and Nammazhvar's Thiruvaimozhi as rendered by the Araiyars. The festival is divided into two parts, ten days before Vaikunda Ekadasi known as Pagalpathu  and  10 days from Vaikunda Ekadasi  known as Raapathu. 

The adhyayana Uthsavam (the opportunity of chanting 4000 divyaprabandham) infront of Presiding deity and ensemble of Azhwars and Acaryas occurs in all divyadesams and all important Sri Vaishnavaite temples.

Thiruneermalai  has a beautiful pushkarini and is in two parts – one at the ground level and the other atop a small hill.   The sannathi of Neervannar is at the base along with his consort Animamalar Thayar and sannathies of Kalyana Ramar and Andal. As one  ascends 300 odd steps, one can have great darshan of Lord Ranganathar (in reclining posture);  Thiruvikramar; Lord Narasimha (in sitting posture)  - “நின்றானிருந்தான் கிடந்தான் நடந்தாற்கிடம் மாமலையாவது நீர்மலையே” – in the words of Thirumangai Azhwar. 

The Lord in Krishna Avathar married Nappinnai coming from the cowherd clan and the lotus dame Mahalakshmi;  He remained ever merciless against the Asuras ~ that great Lord who is worshipped standing  at  divyadesam surrounded by groves of the well watered Thirunaraiyur, in a sitting posture at Thiruvali, reclining at Thirukudanthai and measuring the earth at Thirukkovalur – is to be seen and worshipped at the great hill abode at Thiruneermalai. 

The Uthsava idol of Sri Ranganathar is in the Temple on the foothills ~ and today (9/12/18 – day 2 of Pagal pathu) had the opportunity of partaking in Periyazhvar Thirumozhi sarrumurai at the divyadesam in front of Sri Ranganathar.   Here are some photos of the grand uthsavam.

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

Friday, December 7, 2018

the holy Badrinath & Kedarnath ~ and the stupid movie named 'Kedarnath'

Hari Om.. Hari Om... Hari Om... Hari Om.. Hari Om... Hari Om...

Omkareswari Sri hari nagari idhigo ra badari
Vaikunteswari siri ki nagari Adhigo mahima giri..
Ee kondapai Maa kandaga ~ aa vishu paadame Velasindhi
Vedaalane virachinchina sri vyasa peetamai nilichidhi
Alaka nanda jala sangeetam Sri hari naamam
Vushna kunda jala daaralalo hari bhakthula snanam
Gnanam, Moksham mosage vaikuntam

.. .. .. song from Allu Arjun starrer ‘Badrinath’ sung by Shankar Mahadevan, MM Keeravani – music by Maragathamani Keeravani.  In recent times, I have heard this song at least 100 times ~ so impressed by the Song, music, picturisation and most importantly .. .. ‘Jai Bolo Badrinath’ – the holy place for Sri Vaishnavaites.

Badri & Kedar are associated .. ..  .. .. Kēdārnāth Mandir is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to November (Kartik Purnima - the autumn full moon). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the 'Lord of Kedar Khand', the historical name of the region. Our Prime Minister worshipped here when the Temple was opened after the floods and visits almost every year on special occasions – this year he visited on Deepavali day and celebrated the festival with our army jawans in the region.

The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 18 kilometres (11 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund.  Pony and manchan service is available to reach the structure. The  temple was initially built by Pandavas, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva  It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Tevaram. Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath . The temple is one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas.

In 2013, massive flash floods swept through Uttarakhand. The deluge claimed 197 lives.  Kedarnath was the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods in North India. The temple complex, surrounding areas and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple structure did not suffer any "major" damage, apart from a few cracks on one side of the four walls which was caused by the flowing debris from the higher mountains.  

When I heard the name of the movie as ‘Kedarnath’ – I feared that it could be yet another stupid, so called ‘love-story’.  One review states that it takes 10 quick minutes to figure out the story of Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath. Even if you haven’t seen the trailer. Even if you don’t know anything about the film. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput and debutant Sara Ali Khan, Kedarnath begins by paying tribute to the victims of the “Uttarakhand floods in June 2013”.  The film opens in May 2013. The hero, Mansoor (Rajput), is poor, a porter; he’s also a Muslim. The heroine, Mukku (Khan), is wealthy and a Hindu; her father is a pandit. Her fiancé, Kullu (Nitesh Dahiya), is a greedy businessman who wants to suffocate the town with tourists (and lodges). He’s also condescending towards Mansoor. Kullu likes Mukku; Mukku likes Mansoor. 

You know how this will end, which is fine. An old, predictable story can be a good story, too. .. but why again and again a hindu girl falling for a muslim youth and why bring in Pandit of the holy Temple !! – take it elsewhere in any valley, any city, any town .. put any hero, any heroine … why – why Kedarnath ?  ~ another stupid love story of rich girl believing that only poor is good at heart and falling for him !! (how many fathers will like this happening in real life – we all know the reaction of one director cum hero who preaches love in movies – but when his daughter fell in love, he resorted to rowdyism !!)

Take any masala movies – who bothers ! – let the hero at the top of voice speak about building hospitals in place to temples (otherwise silent); exhibit his ignorance of economy, taxes, welfare economy – just shout of populism, sprinkle with care for couple of old and animal, speak against Hindu traditions and festivals – movie is complete.  Kedarnath movie’s mediocrity is unique: it doesn’t entertain; has no logic, only offends.  It just exists without joy or reason. Love may well be a pilgrimage, but Kedarnath takes you on an arduous trek to a shrine which Hindus believe most .. and you can ridicule it so easily.

Before posting comes the news that the Uttarakhand government on Friday banned the screening of ‘Kedarnath’ across the state, citing probable disruption of law and order if the film was screened.  Predictably, now you will hear sounds against Trivendra Singh Rawat  the eighth and current Chief Minister of Uttarakhand as being a Hindu fanatic.  Following objections from several g groups, including leaders of his own party, Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat had formed a committee, headed by tourism minister Satpal Maharaj, to decide whether or not the film could be screened in theatres across the state. Maharaj said, “We watched the film yesterday (on Thursday) and by 8:30 pm, we had decided that although there should not be any ban on any work of art, the law and order situation also must be taken into consideration.” Based on the committee’s feedback, CM Rawat ordered all 13 district magistrates to review the law and order situation in the respective districts and then take a call accordingly.  Maharaj  added - “My personal objection is also over the name Kedarnath. People visit the shrine to attain moksha (liberation), so the film should not have been named after a place of such purity. Aap ‘Qayamat aur Pyar’ iska naam rakhte toh aur acha hota (It would have been better if the film was named ‘Qayamat aur Pyar’),” he added.

Moving away, in 2011, there was a Telegu film by name ‘Badrinath’  directed by V. V. Vinayak, produced by Allu Aravind.  The first para was about the song ‘Omkareswari’ from that film starring Allu Arjun in leading role along with Tamannaah and Prakash Raj. The film revolves around Badri, a skilled warrior trained by a religious Guru Bheeshma Narayan. After being made the protector of Badrinath temple, he finds his loyalties divided when he tries to revive the faith of Alakananda, an atheist, in God and gets caught in violent battles with her cruel uncle Sarkar, while his Guru suspects him to be in love with Alakananda, something against the rules for becoming his successor.

In the movie, Bheeshma Narayan  is a religious guru who prepares an army for the protection of all the ancient Hindu temples from terrorists. Of all the valiant and talented warriors in this elite army, Badrinath (Allu Arjun) is one who is groomed by Bheeshma Narayan and wishes to make Badri his successor.  Badri fights to save the temple and its devotees .. .. ..

Telegu tinseldom is devout and often portrays Hinduism in good spirit – NT Ramarao was a classic example, and he was not the pioneer.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Dec 2018.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Geethacharyan issue no. 482 features my article !! Happy !!!

482 ~ the number is magical to me !!

Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973  :  reads  :   Saving of inherent powers of High Court. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

To me this magical no. 482 ‘denoting the no. of issues’ of divine magazine Geethacharyan is all significant – making me feel very happy.

You are looking at  cover page of  Nov 2018    issue of Geethacharyan that has Sri Thiruppanazhwar at Uraiyur avatharasthalam.   Geethacharyan is a prominent sampradhaya magazine [Sri Vaishnava Sampradhaya book] started in the year 1978 and continuing in its own way for more than four decades now. It is one of the oldest magazines of its genre; this issue is issue no. 482   Dr M.A. Venkatakrishnan Swami (Popularly MAV) is its editor.  

Geethacharyan has flourished over 4 decades ~ it is actually for people like us to have a resolve to buy sampradha magazines and support those who put enormous efforts in publishing them.  .    It enters its 41st year now !!

MAV is a tremendous personality - in the lineage of   Mandayam Ananthanpillai family,  a descendant of Anandalwan,     a disciple of Sri Ramanuja.  Having happily retired as Professor and Head of Department of Vaishnavism, University of Madras, having shaped many students inculcating the finer aspects of bakthi and Srivaishnavism, this 64 year old youth  has printed several unpublished palm-leaf manuscripts for the first time.   Pranams to my Guru who initiated us in to divine way.  Wishing Geethacharyan magazine Golden jubilee and centenary .. ..

~ am feeling doubly elated as my article on Geethacharyan entering its 41st year finds a place in the exalted magazine.

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan (Mamandur Srinivasan Sampathkumar)

1st Dec 2018.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

the mystic land of Sita Mata - Janakpur beckoning !!

The  Kingdom of the Videhas (also known as Mithila) was an ancient kingdom in Vedic India which rose to prominence under King Janaka.  The ancient kingdom's territory is presently located in Mithila region of Northern and eastern Bihar of India and the eastern Terai of Nepal.  The present day Mithila is a geographical and cultural region located in the Indian state of Bihar. This region is bounded by the Mahananda River in the east, the Ganges in the south, the Gandaki River in the west and by the foothills of the Himalayas in the north. The native language in Mithila is Maithili, and its speakers are referred to as Maithils.

राजाऽभूत् त्रिषु लोकेषु **  विश्रुत स्स्वेन कर्मणा ।
निमिः परमधर्मात्मा  ** सर्वसत्त्ववतां वरः ॥
There was a king by name Nimi,  who was a supreme Dharmātma,  strongest among the strong,  and who became popular in all the three worlds  by his own deeds and efforts.   It is to this Nimi King, Janaka's lineage is traced back. His son was Mithi, who built the city of Mithilā.  He was known to be the first among Janakas.  From Janaka was born Udāvasu;  Nandivardhana; Sukētu: Dēvarāta; Bhadratha .. .. .. and as generations passed by came : Svararōma, Hrasvarōma  & Janaka

The name Mithila is commonly used to refer to the Videha Kingdom, as well as to the modern-day territories that fall within the ancient boundaries of Videha. During the epic Sri Ramayanam,  it was in this  Janakpur that Lord Rama and Sitadevi were married to each other.   The region and culture of Videha has got a pride of place.   The  kingdom is also mentioned in the Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.  Janakpurdham is the headquarters of Dhanusa District in Nepal. Once it was connected to India by train as  Nepal Railways used to operate between Janakpur and India.  Janakpur is approximately 390 km and 10-hour drive from Kathmandu.

At Janakpur exists a magnificent Temple, dedicated to the daughter of the soil – Seetha Pirattiyar.   It is an example of Hindu-Koiri Nepali architecture. Fully built in bright white and constructed in an area of 4,860 sq. feet, the temple is 50 meters high.  It is a three-storied structure made entirely of stone and marble. All its 60 rooms are decorated with the flag of Nepal, colored glass, engravings and paintings, with beautiful lattice windows and turrets.

It is a puranic temple, so beautifully constructed and maintained – it looks much part of an older palace befitting Sri Rama and Sita devi.  People here are simple and fully imbued in their affection to the land and to the religious sanctity.  The temple stands majestically.  Here are some photos taken during darshan at this place on 3rd May 2018.

சாளக்ராம யாத்திரையின் இனிமையை கூட்டியது 'ஜனக்பூர் சீதா தேவீ” திருக்கோவில் தரிசனம்.  நமது இதிஹாச நாயகி - சீதாதேவி வளர்ந்த, திருக்கல்யாணம் நடைபெற்ற நகரிலே, இன்று ஒரு அதி அற்புதமான திருக்கோவில் கண்ணைக்கவர்கிறது.  இவ்வூர் நேபாள தலைநகர் காத்மாண்டுவில் இருந்து தூரம் - இந்திய எல்லை பீராட்குஞ் எனும் இடத்திற்கு சற்று அருகில் உள்ளது. 

மிதிலை நகரின் இளவரசி சீதா மாதா ~ ஒரு காவிய நாயகி.  பொன்னின் சோதி. பூவின் நறுமணம்,  தேனின் தீஞ்சுவை,  செஞ்சொல்.    கவியின்பம்   ஆகியவை   ஒருசேர   வடிவம் எடுத்தாற்போலச்    சீதை    விளங்கியதாக கவி சக்கரவர்த்தி கம்பன் வாக்கு.   பிறரால்    அணியப்பட்டு    அழகு    செய்வதால் அணிகலன்களுக்கு  ‘அணி’  என்று பெயர். அத்தகைய அணிகள் பிற பெண்களின்  உடம்பில் அணியப் பெற்று அவர்களுக்கு அழகு தரும்; அவர்களால்  தாம்  அழகைப்  பெறுவதில்லை.  ஆனால்.  சீதையின் உடம்பில்  இவை  அணியப்  பெற்றமையால் தாம் அழகைப் பெற்றன என்பது கம்ப நாட்டாழ்வானின்  கருத்து. அணிகளுக்கும் அழகு கொடுக்கக் கூடியது. சீதையின்  பேரழகு. ‘ஆபரணங்களுக்கு அழகு கொடுக்கும் பெருமாள்’ என்று நம்பெருமாளை  சிறப்பித்துக்  கூறுவதுண்டு.

குலசேகரர் பெருமாள் திருமொழியில் - :  "தாமரை மேலயனவனைப் படைத்தவனே தசரதன்றன்  மாமதலாய் மைதிலிதன் மணவாளா!" என ஸ்ரீராமச்சந்திர மூர்த்தியை விளிக்கிறார்.  எம்பெருமான் ஸ்ரீமன் நாராயணன், (திருநாபிக்) கமலத்திலே பிரமனை உண்டாக்கியவன், தசரத மன்னனுடைய மூத்த குமாரன், சிறந்த வீரன், வில்லாளி, நற் குணங்கள் மட்டுமே உடையவன். மைதிலி தன் மணவாளன் ~ சீதை பிராட்டியின் வல்லபன்.  

சனக மன்னனின்  நாடு விதேக  நாடு. அதன்  தலைநகரான மிதிலை  இராம  இலக்குவரும் விசுவாமித்திரனும் சென்றடைந்தனர்.  கம்ப நாட்டார் அந்த அற்புத நிகழ்ச்சியை: 

சொற்கலை முனிவன் உண்ட *    சுடர் மணிக் கடலும். துன்னி
அல் கலந்து இலங்கு பல் மீன் *    அரும்பிய வானும் போல.
வில் கலை நுதலினாரும்.*    மைந்தரும். வெறுத்து நீத்த
பொன்கலன் கிடந்த மாட *    நெடுந் தெரு அதனில் போனார்.

-  தமிழிலே  இலக்கணநூலைச் செய்த அகத்திய முனிவனால்,  பருகப்பட்ட   (நீர்  வற்றிய)   ஒளி  பொருந்திய இரத்தினங்கள் கிடக்கும் கடலும்;   இரவுக்  காலத்தில்   நட்சத்திரங்கள்  பல தோன்றி  வானும்  போல   ஒளியுள்ள பிறை போன்ற  நெற்றியுடைய  மகளிர் கழற்றியெறிந்த பொன்கலன்கள் தெருவெங்கும் விழுந்து கிடக்கின்ற மாட  நெடுந்தெருவதனில்  - அம்மூவரும் சென்றார்கள் என்கிறார்.   அந்நகரத்தில் கடைவீதிகளில்  அளவில்லாத இரத்தினங்களையும்,   பொன்னையும்  முத்துக்களையும்;   கவரிமானின்   வாலையும்;  காடுகளில்   கிடைக்கின்ற    அகில்    கட்டைகளையும்; யானைத் தந்தங்களையும்   இன்ன பிற செல்வங்களும் குவித்து வைக்கப்பட்டு இருப்பதைக்கண்டு அந்நகரத்தின் செல்வா செழிப்பை விவரிக்கிறார்.

அங்கே பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கான மன்னவர்களால் முடியாத சிவ தனுஷை முறித்து, இராமன் சீதையை வெல்கிறான். ஜனக மன்னன்  முரசு அறிவித்து நகருக்கு திருமணச் செய்தி அறிவிக்கிறான். நகர மக்கள் சீதா கல்யாணம் காண, தங்களை மணமக்களாய் எண்ணி, அலங்கரித்துக் கொண்டு வருகிறார்கள்.  இவ்வளவு சிறப்பு வாய்ந்த சீதா கல்யாணம் நடந்தேறியது 'மிதிலாபுரியில் ஜனக்பூர்' எனும் நகரம்.  நேபாள நகரத்தில் அமைந்துள்ள இவ்விடத்தில் 'மாதா ஸ்ரீ சீதாதேவியின்' ஆலயத்தில் வழிபடும் வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தது.

PS :  1)  Though so stated, this is not the place where Sitadevi was born.   The place of birth is perhaps Sitamarhi.  The district of Sitamarhi was carved out of Muzaffarpur district in Dec  1972. It is situated in the northern part of Bihar.  It is here that Sitadevi  sprang to life out of an earthern pot, when Raja Janakar  was ploughing the field.  In course of time, the land lapsed into a jungle until about 500 years ago, when Birbal Das came to know the site by divine inspiration where Sita was born. He came down from Ayodhya and cleared the jungle. He found the images set up by Raja Janak, built temple over there and commenced the worship of Janaki or Sita.

2)  the place where Sri Rama handled the dhanush of Siva is situate near Janakpur – we could not go to that place

3)  Raxaul is a sub-divisional town in the East Champaran district on the India-Nepal border opposite Birgunj (Nepal). Raxaul is a major railway terminus. The Indian border town of Raxaul is a busy place as 56% of the total products of Birgunj are exported to India through this place.

4)  this is part 1 ~ will post some more photos and perhaps a couple of more articles. 

~ adiyen Srinivasadhasan
25th Nov. 2018.