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Monday, January 30, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Ratha Sapthami - Surya Prabai Purappadu 30-01-2012

Today – 30th Jan 2012 (16th day of Thai masam in Tamil calendar)  is a very auspicious day – Ratha Sapthami.  Ratha means chariot. Sapthami is a thithi in a lunar month falling on the 7th  day of both sukla and Krishna paksha.   Ratha Sapthami also Surya Jayanthi is celebrated on 7th day -  Shukla paksha (waxing phase of moon)  dedicated to God Surya.   popular belief is that earth’s inclination towards the sun is the steepest on the day. Special bathing rituals are observed in some regions today.  Surya (Sun) worship is deep rooted in the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures.  Today  celebrated as the birth of Surya to Sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi and celebrated as Surya Jayanthi in many parts. Legend has it that the greatest warrior Bhishma breathed last the day after the Ratha Sapthami day.  The Pithamaha is one the greatest characters in the Epic Mahabaratha and the asthami is revered as “Bhishmaashtami”.

The charioteer of Surya is Aruna, who is also personified as the redness that accompanies the sunlight in dawn and dusk. The sun god is driven by a seven-horsed Chariot depicting the seven days of the week.   Going by Upanishad, their names are : Gayatri, Brhati, Usnik, Jagati, Tristup, Anustup and Pankti. 

Uttarayana is the six month period between Makara sankranti (Jan 14) and July 14 when Sun travels towards North in the celestial sphere. Ratha saptami marks the seventh day following the Sun’s northerly movement of vernal equinox starting from Capricorn (Makara). A journey from makara rekai to kadaka rekai – Capricorn to Cancer. Today symbolically represents the Sun God Surya turning his Ratha (chariot) drawn by seven horses towards northern hemisphere in a north-easterly direction.

Traditionally in villages, Rangoli kolam is drawn with coloured rice powder depicting Chariot drawn by horses. From today, the days would get warmer, especially in South India. This is an important annual festival at Vaishnavaite temples.  Today, it was celebrated grandly in Thiruvallikkeni also. Early morning, Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman  had  purappadu on Surya prabhai with 7 horses drawing it. . 

In Greek mythology, Helios is the personification of Sun, imagined to be handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun.

Here are some photos of today morning purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi Perumal in Thiruvallikkeni. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dancing Nataraja at Rijks Museum - is full bronze.......

Sure you would not have heard of : Vereniging van vrienden der aziatische kunst – honestly I was not – but it has some connection with our heritage !

There is hot news about the result of X ray of a rare statue at Amsterdam Museum which has surprised everybody.  The website of the Museum has the following entry : -

Research recently revealed that the Rijksmuseum’s monumental bronze statue of Shiva was cast in solid bronze. The thousand year-old temple statue was X-rayed, along with the lorry transporting it, in the most powerful X-ray tunnel for containers of the Rotterdam customs authority. It is the first research of its kind on a museological masterpiece.

At 153 cm x 114.5 cm, the Rijksmuseum’s Shiva is the largest known bronze statue from the Chola Dynasty (9th to 12th century) kept in a museological collection outside of India. Given its weight (300 kg), the statue has always been suspected of not being hollow, as has been common practice in Europe since the Greek Antiquity. As part of an earlier investigation, an X-ray was taken of the statue in a Rijksmuseum gallery in 1999 while visitors were evacuated as a precaution against radiation. Unfortunately, the equipment used at the time (280 KeV) was not powerful enough to determine anything definitively. The Rotterdam X-ray tunnel of the Rotterdam customs authority offered a solution.

Complete surprise  :  The Rijksmuseum renovation project has provided conservators and curators the opportunity to carry out in-depth research on special pieces from the Rijksmuseum collection, including this masterpiece from the Asian Art Collection. The statue was created ca. 1100 in South India. Each temple had its own set of bronze statues which were carried through the city during major temple festivals. This gives the statues their name: Utsavamurti, which is Sanskrit for ‘festival images’. Chola bronzes were considered masterpieces of Indian bronze casting.
Anna Ślączka, curator of South Asian Art, comments, ‘We had expected that the statue itself would prove to be solid, but it was a complete surprise to discover that the aureole and the demon under Shiva’s feet are also solid.’

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Ageand a substantial collection of Asian art. It also displays the stern of the HMS Royal Charles which was captured in the Raid on the Medway, and the Hartog plate.  The museum was founded in 1800 in The Hague to exhibit the collections of the Dutch stadtholders.  The Museumplein  is a square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The square is called "Museum Square" because four museums are located around the square: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Diamond Museum.

The 12th-century Shiva Nataraja is on loan from the Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst(Association of Friends of Asian Art).  This association was founded in 1918 with the aim of increasing awareness of Asian Art, the interest in it and to promote the science in this field.  The collection has approximately 1730 objects and is internationally known. Through purchases and donations and bequests expands the collection still further. The collection of the Society consists of "scattered highlights, good representatives of the major art forms in Asia.

That is factual News :  is there anything to celebrate on this… in fact one should be worrying !    This statue of dancing Nataraja is not unique – there have been reports of idols stolen from Temples.  In some cases, the idols of some temple are kept elsewhere without appropriate Pooja & rituals as there is no protection.  What is the action taken by the administrating HR & CE in protecting these temples ?  Have they ever taken any action in protecting or any action in trying to recover the idols ?  There is a dedicated Idol wing of Tamilnadu Police Force ?  Does the Department closely liaise with this and other authorities for protecting and recovering lost idols ?

Our Nation was rich – still possesses rich heritage.  Over the years by systematic exploitation and plundering,  Hindu artefacts have been smuggled out of the Country to famous  museums in  Europe, America and elsewhere.  Many prestigious museums  display Statues, Hindu religious sculptures  and artefacts as  owned  / acquired by them.  Hindu sculptures and other artefacts and many were planning to acquire.  To any devout person these are not mere sculptures or statues – they are GOD in themselves… what should have been in a Temple whether famous or not so famous and be the subject of reverence and daily Pujas, had been looted / burgled and smuggled out by unscrupulous thieves and are now attracting Tourists elsewhere.

All temples attract huge crowds and devotees are contributing lakhs of Rupees to Temples…….. but does the money go to God or to the Temple or for any activity connected with religious purpose ?   In Tamil Nadu,  we have had Temples administered by atheists and non-believers who have looted money and property of the temple systematically.  The management and control of the temples and the administration of their endowments is one of the primary responsibilities of the State .  Way back in 1925 an entity called Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments was created purportedly for efficient control and supervision of the administration of the Temples.   The Department is headed by IAS Officer and has Commissioners of various ranks.  Depending upon the earnings (!) from the temples, the rank of the Administrator and  the no. and salaries of staff would vary.  The collection from the Temples become the property of the State Govt and are utilized for various schemes of the Govt which includes non-religious and sometimes activities against the very purpose of such offering to temples.  Many a temples are not properly maintained; people have encroached temple lands and those who have acquired lands on lease do not pay rent properly, even where such amounts are measly.  Thus any repair / renovation work at a temple does not occur immediately and not much spent on the Lord – but the cash flows elsewhere. 

Is it not a great irony  that a secular Government should deeply embroil itself in the administration and running of Hindu temples and institutions in the guise of supervising the secular aspects of temple administration. There are thousands of temples, mutts and others controlled by bureaucracy whereas the place of worship of other religions are managed on their own. 

Some of the most important temples are under complete control, many century old traditions and religious practices have been stopped or altered by Administrators who have knowledge or concern for the worship and conduct of rituals.  Our anguish is not directed at any particular Executive Officer or any other high official, but there have been unscrupulous some who have interfered with the time-honoured rituals and some corrupt bureaucrats which is always detrimental to the bakthas and the Temple.  The EO or other Official have no powers to introduce innovations concerning the time, place or mode of worship in the temple or stop or discontinue any religious practice followed in the temple.

Another matter of great concern is ‘the increased charges for darshan’ – why should a devotee pay to worship or come near the God and how can there by a system which discriminates and distinguishes devotee on the paying capacity.  It only enriches the coffers or some.  There can only be voluntary offering of bakthas and that should be spent only for improving / maintaining / preserving and renovating temple and temple related activities.   Temples  in Tamil Nadu own  thousands of  acres of agricultural and commercial lands donated by believers to the Temple.  There should be enactment that such lands should never be allowed to be sold to any individuals and individuals subletting / sub-leasing the property, paying a small amount to the Temple and gaining huge should be declared illegal and strong action initiated against such persons.   Jewellery and other property of the temple should be properly recorded and kept under public audit to ensure that there is misappropriation. 

In a Secular State, where the Govt has no religion, the Govt. should not be managing the affairs of the Temples, more so when the same Govt exerts no control from other places of worship.   The Shiva idol being solid bronze at best can make one-time reading but a sacred idol lying in a foreign country without any rituals or offerings should make one’s heart bleed

With concern – S. Sampathkumar.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Iraapathu Uthsavam 10 - 14th Jan 2012


The concluding day  ‘Sarrumurai Purappadu” i.e., 10th  day of the Iraapathu Uthsavam [14th  Jan 2012],  coincided with “Bhogi” Festival.  There was grand Thiruveedhi Purappadu of  Sri Parthasarathi Perumal.

Today is the day when Swami Nammalwar reached heavenly abode and was given back to the Earthly World for the benefit of humanity.

Here are some photos during the thiruveedhi purappadu.

Adiyen - Srinivasan Sampathkumar

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Iraapathu Uthsavam 9 - Govardhana Giri


On the  9th  day of the Iraapathu Uthsavam [13th  Jan 2012], there was Thiruveedhi Purappadu of  Sri Parthasarathi Perumal.

The Govardhana Giri Thirukolam – the posture  of Emperuman holding the mountain with his small finger symbolizing the act of saving  the cowherds from the stony rain caused by Indira was the greatest treat to eyes of all Bakthas. 

Here are some photos taken on that occasion

Adiyen - Srinivasan Sampathkumar

Andal Neeratta Uthsavam - 9th day - Thiruther

Today   [14th  Jan 2012] – the day of Bhogi  is the ninth  day of Andal Neeratta Uthsavam grandly celebrated at the Thiruvallikkeni Divyadesam.

Today was the Thiruther and here are and some photos  of Andal purappadu to Thiruther and on the Thiruther taken this morning.

Adiyen – Srinivasa dhasan

 Thiruppavai Goshti and
Thiru Ther below.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Iraapathu Uthsavam 8


On the  8th  day of the Iraapathu Uthsavam [12th  Jan 2012], there was Thiruveedhi Purappadu of  Sri Parthasarathi Perumal beautifully decorated as “Raja Mannar” – the King of Cowherds.   The cow and small calf at the lotus feet of  Lord Parthasarathi added to his glory, displaying his compassion.

Here are some photos taken on the occasion

Adiyen - Srinivasan Sampathkumar

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Iraapathu Uthsavam 7


On the  7th  day of the Iraapathu Uthsavam [11th  Jan 2012], there was Thiruveedhi Purappadu of  Sri Parthasarathi Perumal  adorning and adding beauty to Muthangi [dress made of pearls]. Swami Nammalwar was in ‘Nachiyar Thirukolam’ – Parankusa Nayaki bhavam.

It rained briefly interruption to the Purappadu. Perumal had another porvai and came through Peyalwar Kovil Street [chinna maada veedhi]

Here are some photos taken on that occasion

Adiyen - Srinivasan Sampathkumar

 Swami Nammalwar - Parankusa Nayaki bhavam
Nachiyaar thirukolam

பெருமாள் மழைக்காக போர்வை  சாற்றிய பிறகு 

Koodarai Vellum Seer Govindha - Today's significance

Dear (s)

Today 11th Jan 2012 is a very significant day, 27th day of the tamil month of Margazhi. Colloquially known as “Kudarai Valli” – this is a day, when the sweet pongal [made of jaggery with ghee flowing] is offered to God and then shared with all near and dear.. This day assumes significance from the pasuram of Chudi Kudutha Nachiyar – Andal. In the month of Margazhi starting from day one, one verse of Thiruppavai is ascribed to a day and today is the 27th verse “Koodarai vellum Seer Govinda”

கூடாரை வெல்லும்சீர்க் கோவிந்தா உன்றன்னைப்
பாடிப் பறைகொண்டு யாம்பெறு சம்மானம்
நாடு புகழும் பரிசினால் நன்றாகச்
சூடகமே தோள்வளையே தோடே செவிப்பூவே
பாடகமே என்றனைய பல்கலனும் யாமணிவோம்
ஆடை உடுப்போ மதன்பின்னே பாற்சோறு
மூடநெய் பெய்து முழங்கை வழிவாரக்
கூடி யிருந்து குளிர்ந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

The true quality of Sri Vaishnavaite is to renounce everything, fall at the Lotus feet of Sriman Narayana and feel happy of the fact of being his disciple. The best of wealth that one can get is the chance to do kainkaryam (service) to the God Himself and to Bhagavathas (His followers)

In this pasuram, Kothai Piratti expresses her great joy over the acquirement of the boons that she and her friends entreated Lord Krishna to grant them. Now She is in the eternal state of bless having been fully blessed by the Lord and is in a celebratory mood. This pasuram ascribes the benign supremacy of Lord conquering all His opponents with His anantha kalyana gunams like Souryam, souseelyam, soundharyam. To celebrate, She calls beating the drum, wearing new clothes describing all the ornate ornaments that are to be worn and eating sweet rice prepared in milk with ghee overflowing. In the early pasurams of Thiruppavai, it is the Paavai Nonbu – now it is nearing completeion and is the time for sanmanam from the Lord for those who observed the vratham.

The Pasuram starts with “Koodarai Vellum Seer” – which speaks of His greatest Quality of winning the hearts of even those who want to fight against Him. In Sri Ramayana, an angry Parasurama bent upon killing all Kshatriyas (Kings set to rule) was prevailed upon; then the asura Ravana, who fought distraughtly, was given a second chance when he was bared of all weaponry.

It is not only of getting that much sought benevolence of God but more of sharing them with all bhakthas ‘koodi irunthu kulirnthu’. Thiruppavai is also about Govindha Naama Sankeerthanam which reaches its peak in the concluding verses where She ponders ‘kurai ondrum illatha Govinda’. The myriad meanings of Thiruppavai are detailed in many many discourses of Sri Vaishnavaite Periyavars, especially during this month.

Let us all get the great éclat and glory of all the Worlds by adorning ourselves eating rice food prepared using milk with sumptuous ghee and who eats this ksheerannam will stand ever united and remain cool in heart and joyous by the blessings of the Lord.

I offer my obeisance again and again to Goddess Godhadevi – to her alone – who awakened Lord Krishna and binded him with flower wreaths that were already worn by her.

Sri Andal thiruvadigale saranam.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Iraapathu Uthsavam 6


On the  6th  day of the Iraapathu Uthsavam [10th  Jan 2012] at Thiruvallikkeni Divyadesam, there was Thiruveedhi Purappadu of  Sri Parthasarathi Perumal  beautifully decorated as “Thiruvenkadam Udaiyan” – lookalike Thirupathi Srinivasa Perumal..

Here are some photos taken on that occasion

Adiyen - Srinivasan Sampathkumar

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Iraapathu Uthsavam 4

Dear (s)

On the  4th  day of the Iraapathu Uthsavam [8th Jan 2012], there was Thiruveedhi Purappadu of  Sri Parthasarathi Perumal with Sri Nammalwaar and Sri Aanjaneyar, as today was celebrated as ‘Hanumath Jayanthi’ in the temple.

Here are some photos taken on that occasion

Adiyen - Srinivasan Sampathkumar

 Sri Parthasarathi.
  Sri Aanjaneyar (above)  and
Sri Sadagopar (below)

 Sri Parthasarathi.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thiruvallikkeni Andal Neeratta Uthsavam 3

Today [8th  Jan 2012] is the third day of Andal Neeratta Uthsavam and some photos taken this morning are posted here

Adiyen – Srinivasa dhasan