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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sri Varadharajar Garuda Vahanam and Doddachaaryar Sevai at Thirukachi

Dear (s) 

For a  Srivaishnavaite, Perumal Koil refers to “Sri Varadharaja Swamy temple’ at Kanchipuram.  Legend has it that Brahma performed Asvamedha yaga at mokshapuri i.e., Kanchi and Lord Vishnu emerged out of the fire with Sanku Chakram. It is believed that the annual Uthsavam was initiated by Brahma himself. Indira’s white elephant Iravatham took the form of a hill called Hastigiri on which shrine of Varadharajar is located. This Swami is known by various names, prominent among them being : Devarajar, Devathirajar, Thepperumal, Varadhar, PerArulalar …

The annual brahmothsavam is now on and today is the famous Garuda Sevai – when Lord is taken in procession on vahanam of Garuda also known as Periya Thiruvadi. Garuda was born to Kaashyapar and Vinathai (Vinathai siruvan siragu ena pasuram]

My Acharya is Cholasimhapuram Doddayachaaryar (presently Sri U. Ve. Kovil Kanthadai Chandamarutham Singarachaar Swamy) . Garuda Seva has special significance for Kanchi, Sholinghur because of Swami Doddayachaaryar connection. 

Forefather of the present day Acharyar,  who lived during  16th century, was an ardent devotee of Lord Varahdaraja and did many kainkaryams to Him. He was a regular in the annual Vaikasi Garuda Sevai of Devathirajar. Legend has it that on a particular year, he was not well and could not attend the Garudothsavam at Kachi.  He was feeling desperate about his misfortune of not being able to have darshan of PerArulalar at Kachi on Garuda vahanam. He lamented standing near the Thakkan kulam at Cholasimhapuram (Sholinghur]. He composed hymns on Varadharaja, known as  Sri DevarAja Panchakam. He yearned for the Lord's sevai and these outpourings were a direct result.

Emperuman will never let his ardent bhaktha down. He came down to Sholinghur and gave darshan to Dhoddacharyar - seated on Garuda vahanam. Such is the mercy and leela vinotham of PerArulalar.   Even today, on VaikAsi GarudOthsavam day, there is a tradition known as Doddayachaaryar  Sevai, when the archakas hide Lord Varadhar at the western gate for a short time with two umbrellas just before He leaves the temple. It is believed that Lord goes to Sholinghur for giving darshan to Dhoddacharyar. The mangala aarathi takes place thereafter. 

In the Devaraja Panchakam, Acharyan [Doddachaaryar]  sings that .**Lord VaradarAjan is radiant on the back of Garudan --the son of Vinathai-- and is flanked on both sides by the twin sets of white umbrellas and Kavari maan  vaal [deer tail] chamarams (fans). His sacred, lotus-soft right hand is held in abhaya mudhra pose assuring all that  He will free them from all their fears. His beautiful lotus-like eyes rain anugraham on all the beholders. Adiyen salutes always that Sarva Mangala Moorthy emerging out of His aasthaanam through the western gopuram on the third day of  His Vaikasi Brahmothsavam**.

Here are some photos taken this morning during the purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni. 

Regards : S. Sampathkumar [Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan]

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