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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kaisika Dwadasi Mahatmiyam - the story of Nam Paduvaan

Today [25th Nov 2012]   is an all important day for Srivaishnavaites– ‘shukla paksha’ dwadasi of the month of Karthigai.  [shukla paksham is the waxing phase of Moon and dwadasi is the 12th day – the day following Ekadasi].  Today is “Kaisika Dwadasi”.  In Divyadesams, most importantly at Thirukurungudi, Thiruvarangam and in Thiruvallikkeni – ‘Kaisika puranam’ is read before the Lord.  Today, evening there will be veedhi purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi at Triplicane.

The World exists on promises and fulfillment of them and the story of Nam Paduvaan only describes the greatest virtues of those devoted and commited to Lord.  The ardent devotees of Sriman Narayana will never err or sin in life.   There cannot be a better example than that of ‘Nampaduvaan’.  The story of Num Paduvaan can be best summarised as “the fight between ‘Padi Ilaithavan and Pasiyale Ilaithavan’ [one who leaned by fasting in the vratha of Singing paeans and one who was starved off food].  Legend has it  that on every Kaisika Ekadasi day, Nampaduvaan, an ardent devotee of the Lord Maha Vishnu  used to do Namasankeerthanam for Emperuman at Thirukurungudi.  This Nampaduvan Charithram was narrated by Sri Varaha Perumal to Bhoomi Pirarttiyar in Varaha puranam.

The gist of the story as heard from Sampradhaya Periyarvargal is given here :

Nampaduvaan, a great bhagavatha at Thirukurungudi used to observe ‘jakratha vratham’ without sleeping full night singing the glory of the Lord and thinking only about Him. ‘Ninainthu nainthu ul karainthu urugi’ ena he keeps singing the glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.  This went on for many more years…..

One year while on the way to the temple of  Thirukurungudi, perhaps Malai Nambi sannathi, which is situate on the hills in dense forestry; where even today ordinary mortals find it somewhat difficult to access, Nampaduvan was confronted by a Brahma Rakshas. This Rakshas who has been starved off food, tells Nampaaduvaan that he would devour him. Nampaduvan humbly requests that he has the duty of nama sankeerthanam. Nampaduvan pleads with the rakshas that he would return back after his vratham and darshan of Kurungudi Nambi. The rakshas naturally was not prepared to believe  and states that none in this material would  come back as food ‘when death is certain’  and asks : is there any possibility that a deer could escape after it was caught up by a lion ? 

Nampaduvan has nothing else in life but his sincere devotion to Lord Nambi. He  promises that he would indeed return; he mentions of the various sins that he would get, if he were not to return.  He tells the Rakshas that the World revolves on Sathya, the truth and if he were to act against his dharma, he would be getting the results of worst sins; some of which are stated to be : ‘taking food without taking bath on important days such as Sashti, Amasvayai, Chathurthasi’;  ‘reclaiming the land donated’; ‘to differentiate between self and the visitor when eating food’; ‘chasing away the herd of group when they are thirsty’ ~~.. and the like

When he says that he has been rendering this for 10 years, the brahmarakshas says that it had been without food for 10 days and is so hungry that it immediately wants to devour the flesh and blood of the devotee.  Nampaduvaan finally convinces the rakshas to release him for a while.  With intent will, he goes straight  to Thirukurungudi temple renders pasurams on Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi; Kaisikam is a kind of music composition (called pan in tamil); the last pasuram rendered was Kaisika pan.

Completing his determined wish, he returns as stated back to Brahmarakshas.   While returning Nampaduvan is interrupted by Thiruk Kurungudi Nambi Himself in the disguise of an old man advising him to take alternate route escaping the rakshas.  Nampaduvan firmly tells that he will keep his promise, would stand by his dharma and would go back to the rakshas.  He even says that if the rakshas is not found in the appointed place, he would further go in search of the rakshas.  Such is his commitment that he indeed fulfills his vow and presents himself  before the Brahma rakshas.

The Brahma rakshas is startled by the return of Nampaduvaan and offers to free him, if he were to transfer the fruits of his dharma;  Nampaduvaan retaliates saying that he had agreed to offer himself and is for the taking.  Awe struck the rakshas asked for the palan(fruit) of the pasurams Nampaduvan had rendered; then least the fruits of song rendered during one yamam [a measure of time]  and in the series of discussions that went on rakshas wanted atleast the palan of the last kaisika pan.

It gets  revealed that the Brahmarakshas was a vidwan by name Soma Sharma who was cursed by Devas arising out of his ahankaram.  He also incurs soola dosham as he dies without completing a yagna. Despite all this, the palan of pan (the song) relieves him of the curse. 

This occurred thousands of years ago and few hundred years ago,  on Kaisika Dwadasi day, Sri Parasara Bhattar chanted kaisika puranam before Lord Ranganatha; even today the descendants of Bhattar chant the puranam on kaisika dwadasi day at Srirangam.

This morning it was read out in characteristic manner by Sri U.Ve M. A. Venkadakrishnan Swami at Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple.   It is stated that the story of Nampaduvaan is in the 48th chapter of Sri Varaha Puranam,;  explains and emphasizes the importance of singing the glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.     Sri Varaha Purana is considered one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas. 

As an extra information, would like to add that  Thirukurungudi divyadesam is in Tirunelveli District, nearer Nanguneri – the greatest place for Thennacharya Sri Vaishanavas, better known as Vanamaamalai.    Apart from the big temple looking like a Fort,   there is another temple atop the hill known as ‘Malai Nambi Kovil’.

It is believed that those who go to temple on this holy Kaisika Dwadasi day and read ‘kaisika purana’ will be showered with  munificence of Lord ; those who hear ‘kaisika purana’ will also get His choicest blessings and perhaps all of us who read and think of Nampaduvaan and Lord would also be getting the bountiful blessings of Lord Sriman Narayana

Azhwar Emperumanaar Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Saranam.  Here are some photos of Lord Parthasarathi taken on Kaisika Ekadasi Purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni, yesterday i.e., 24th Nov. 2012.

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Deepavali purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni - Sri Parthasarathi Swami

Deepavali ‘the festival of lights’ is always enchanting – an occasion to wear new clothes, eat sweets, burst crackers, be with friends and relatives – a festivity which brings enjoyment…. – the festival was grandly celebrated all over the country.   One might hear that ‘enthusiasm towards fireworks is going down; spiralling prices have forced people to buy less of firecrackers;  the pollution awareness is swaying public away from crackers and the like……….’ some cynics might even try to suggest that interest is waning away.  In today’s context, at some places, people get glued to the cinemas and other special programmes the multitudes of TV channels present….

Thiruvallikkeni, the abode of Lord Venkada Krishnar is different – it boasts of the Temple sung by 3 Azhwars ~ innumerable days of festivals; crowds thronging to have darshan of Lord Parthasarathi inside the Temple, and more gathering to have His darshan during the ‘thiruveethi purappadus’.

Every year, Deepavali would coincide with the 10day uthsavam of Swami Manavalamamunigal, the Great ACharyar of Srivaishnavism, the Acharyar propogated Thennacharya Sampradhayam.  This year Sri Manavala Mamunigal Uthsavam concluded earlier – on Deepavali, being Amasyai there was the Periya mada veethi purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi Swami beaming His resplendent splendor.  If you enjoy Sri Parthasarathi with simple decoration having a single garland – you relish Him fully – again, when you see Him ornate with most beautiful choicest jewels, He outshines all the jewels that adorn him.

For Deepavali, He was adorned with so many jewels which shone beautifully in the lighting provided by fireworks.  The purappadu in the mada veethis took almost  4 hours from 6 pm to 10 pm – ‘hundreds of 10000 walahs and beautiful fire works lit the air’ as people celebrated Deepavali and bustled with one another to have a glimpse of His darshan.   It was indeed very Grand, sound, wonderfully lit Deepavali, for the Lord by his bakthas.

Here are some photos taken during the purappadu

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan

Sunday, November 11, 2012

kudais for Tirupathi Tiruchanoor Sri Padmavathi Thayar Brahmothsavam

For Brahmothsavam at Tirumala Tirupathi, the kudais would be taken around in procession at many places before being submitted for the Lord Srinivasar – that is a time honoured tradition.

This morning, there was the procession of kudais [parasol for Lord] to be submitted to Lord Alarmel Mangai Thayar at Thiruchanoor during Her Brahmothsavam.

Here are some photos taken this morning

with regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Nov. 2102.

Thiruvallikkeni Aippasi Ekadasi Purappadu

10th Nov 2012 was Ekadasi and here are photos of Sri Parthasarathi Swami during Ekadasi Periya mada veethi purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni

 -   Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kalinga Narthanam at Kaliyan Poigai - childhood exploit of Lord Krishna at Vrindavan

For us Vedas, and Ithihasapuranams are the most reverred scriptures – ‘the most original’  amongst all our texts to which all spiritual reference is to be drawn.   Sri Ramayana and Mahabaratham are not mere texts but ‘the real story of Lord Maha Vishnu’ during the two most important avatars.   Of the two, Mahabaratham is replete with rich moral stories and life instances.  It extols  the living of Lord Krishna at every stage of his life – right from his birth in prison cell, to moving across river Yamuna during the heavy downpour; to his growth of every stage at Gokulam, his plays at Vrindavan to the Great battle at Gurukshetra and more……….

Kulasekhara Azhwar in his Perumal Thirumozhi lists out some of the deeds of Bala Krishna, described as Devaki missing out His deeds -
குன்றினால் குடை கவித்ததும் கோலக்குரவை கோத்ததும் குட மாட்டும்
கன்றினால் விளவெறிந்ததும் காலால்  காளியன் தலை மிதித்தது முதலா**

Some of them are : “the lifting and holding the Govardhana Giri to protect the stony rain;  His bathing exploits with Gopikas; throwing away the Asura who came in the form of a calf and with that making wood apples fall; dancing on the hood of the deadly Kalinga and more”…….. !!

Periyazhwar in his ‘Periyazhwar Thirumozhi’ sings:

காளியன் பொய்கை கலங்கப் பாய்ந்திட்டு * அவன்
நீள்முடியைந்திலும் நின்று நடம்செய்து*
மீள அவனுக்கு அருள் செய்த வித்தகன்
தோள்வலி வீரமே பாடிப்பற  தூமணி வண்ணனைப் பாடிப்பற.

This is the story of most dreaded Kaliya and the exploit of Lord Krishna who jumped into the pond, danced on the hood of deadly snake, thereby turning the lake turbid  - and when Kaliya surrendered, He benevolently favoured him too…. 

Kaliya  also known as Kalingan was a poisonous Naga living in the Yamuna River, in Vrindavan.  Over the years, the water had turned totally poisonous, thereby causing trouble to  fish, cattle, birds and all living things.  Legend had it that Kaliya had chosen that place as Garuda was prevented from entering there. 

Lord Krishna was playing with cowherd colleagues, when the ball fell into the water source.  Krishna playfully jumped into it.  Kāliya with his anger,  rose up emitting  poison and wrapped himself around Krishna's body.  The folk around and all others were mortally afraid and started praying.  Lord  Krishna subdued him,  sprang into Kāliya's head and danced on its head.  The serpent king’s wives came and prayed to Lord Krishna with folded hands.  Kāliya, too,  recognizing the greatness of Krishna, surrendered, promising he would not harass anybody.  Lord Krishna pardoned him and showed him the divine path, once he vowed to eschew violence and fell at His Lotus Feets.  The chastising of the Naga King is described in great detail.  Lord Krishna whose birth was to subdue envious demons, climbed atop a Kadamba tree and finally changed the very nature of Kalinga.

By the accounts we hear in Tamil, somehow always had an impression that ‘Kaliyan poigai’ was a pond where the serpent Kaliya lived. In North, the belief is little different – at Vrindavan [Brindavan] – a few kilo meters away from Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna, people firmly believe that  it was at a particular spot at Yamuna river, that Kaliya lived and Kalinga Narthanam ~ the dance atop the hood of Kalinga took place at Yamuna river.  One can easily reach this place preferably hiring a cycle rickshaw from Ranganji Mandir [about which I will make another post shortly] winding through narrow gullies, which probably retain the same charm as of the days of Lord Krishna and Balarama, when they played around. 

As of date, the Yamuna at this place is not clean, made worser by bridge construction activities going on.  At this very place, is a small temple where it is written as the place of ‘Naga Kaliya’ and the idol of Lord Krishna on Kalinga Narthana posture is being worshipped.  Here are some photos taken at Vrindavan at the very spot of Kalinga Narthanam.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Sri Pachaivannar – Kalinga narthana thirukolam

 Sri Parthasarathi Kalinga Narthana thirukolam on Thaipoosam