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Monday, January 28, 2013

Thiruvallikkeni Thai Pusam purappadu - Kathir Aruvadai [harvesting]

26th  Jan 2013 was special day for us, as it was combination of Thai Pusam and Embar Satrumurai.    On ‘Thai Pusam’ -  Sri Parthasarathi had periya maada veedhi purappadu in ‘Kaalinga Narthana thirukolam’ accompanied by Sri Embar and Senai Mudalvar. For Saivaites – thai poosam on pournami day is significant as it commemorates the birth day of Murugan and the occasion when Parvati gave Subramanyar a spear for vanishing the demon Soorapadman.

At Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, traditionally on Thaipusam day, Sri Parthasarathi visits Big Street – the long winding Veeraghava Mudali Street – which now a days is more of a lane than a Big street….  This is the Uthsavam where Perumal probably collects the harvest from His field. (kadhir aruthal).

Perhaps decades ago or a Century ago, the junction of Big Street, Pycrofts road, might have represented the end of the locality and perhaps the area thereafter could have been rice fields………… now it is maze of buildings in small lanes and by-lanes where people jostle for space.  There was a small pandal put up at the Junction where Perumal halted for a brief-while and a reap of paddy was placed before the Lord, then at His feet.  The rice grains so placed were distributed to the devotees too……..

26th Jan 2013, being ‘Thai Punarvasu’ was the sarrumurai of Swami Embar and Embar also accompanied Perumal Sri Parthasarathi.   A separate post has been made detailing Swami Embar. 

Here are some photos taken during the purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni.
Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

Sri Parthar Kalinga Narthanam

Divyaprabandha goshti

Senai Muthalvar

Submission of freshly harvested crop

See the paddy crop at the feet of Lord Parthasarathi. 

Swami Embar Sarrumurai purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni

26th  Jan 2013 was special day for us, as it was combination of Thai Pusam and Embar Satrumurai.  ஸ்வாமி  எம்பார்  திருநக்ஷத்ர திருநாள்: தை புனர்பூசம், 26.01.2013

On ‘Thai Pusam’ -  Sri Parthasarathi had periya maada veedhi purappadu in ‘Kaalinga Narthana thirukolam’ accompanied by Sri Embar and Senai Mudalvar. For Saivaites – thai poosam on pournami day is significant as it commemorates the birth day of Murugan and the occasion when Parvati gave Subramanyar a spear for vanishing the demon Soorapadman. At Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, traditionally on Thaipusam day, Sri Parthasarathi visits Big Street – the long winding Veeraghava Mudali Street – more about this later in a separate post.  

For Srivaishnavaites – Thai Punarvasu is of great importance being the Thirunakshathram (birthday) of Swami Embar. He was a cousin of Ramanujar. Swami EmBaar was born as Sri Govindar in Madhuramangalam (then known as Mazhalai mangalam) proximate to Sriperumpudur, closer to Sunkuvar chathiram. He was born in Krothana Samvatsaram (1026 AD). Embaar born to PeriyaPiraati and Kamala nayana Bhattar . Swami Ramanujar is known as the incarnation of ThiruAnanthazhvan and Swami Embaar as the incarnation of Periya Thiruvadi . arising out of his connection to Periyathiruvadi, the Theertham of this temple is known as Garuda Pushkarini and it is believed that at this place any snake or poisonous insects will not harm anyone. The Avathara Mandapam of Swami Embaar is located around ½ km from the temple.

Govinda studied under Yadava prakasar and rescued Ramanujar from the plot- the Guru Yadavaprakasa hatched. Legend has it that while taking bath in a river, a shivalinga landed in his palm and he became an orthodox Saivatie for a while. He stayed in Sri Kaalahasthi praying and offering pooja to the lingam. During this period he was known as ‘ullangai konarntha nayanar’.   A great Acharya and uncle of Ramanuja - Thirumalai Nambi along with his disciples went to Kaalahasthi and started delivering upanyasams (discourses) next to where Govindha was offering floral prayers to the linga. While he was rendering discourse on Maran Sadagopan’s tamizh vedam – Thiruvaimozhi ~ in the pathu titled “Thinnan veedu” – there is a pasuram - dhevum epporulum padaikkap poovil naanmukhanaip padiaatha - devan Emperumaanukkallal Poovum poosanaiyum thagume ?

which would mean “ Maha Vishnu is the One who created everything – including all demi gods and all beings, sentient, non-sentient- is Chathurmukha Brahma (he is the one who created even Sivan); and it is the Lord Sriya Pathi Sriman Narayanan – the Primordial Chief who as the indweller enabled Brahma to do so… Essentially it is MAHA VISHNU who does it all..

Chathur mukhan the creator was created on the lotus flower from the navel of Emperuman and Azhwar asks whether any flower could be meant for some one else but HIM – the only one unparalleled !! Govindar jumped down crying ‘thagathu ! thagathu ! (cannot cannot). He fell down at the feet of Thirumalai Nambhi… with tears rolling down his cheeks and cried for saving him and to change him to a Vaishnavaite again.  Embaar’s attachment to Ramanuja can be understood by the excellent description of the divinely beautiful thirumeni azhagu : 

Embar's enjoyment of seeing Sri Ramanujacharya's lotus feet , tender fingers reminding one of the creepers, sacred saffron robe, most auspicious poonool, thridandam , His enchanting smile laden with Daya , large dark eyes reminiscent of wish yielding karpaka maram (tree), the kudumi (sikha) formed by abundant tresses is simply beautiful . Embar declares that there is no one equal to him; since Yathirajan's Divine Beauty lingers in his heart.

A great contribution to Vaishnavism is Embar being the acharya to the greatest Sri Parasara Bhattar (son of Koorathazhwan). Legend has it that when Udayavar asked Embar to bring baby Parasarar for naming, Embar by way of protection muttered Dvaya mantram in the infant’s ears and that placed on the baby unusual brilliance. Upon instruction of Udayavar, Embar became the Acharya of the baby and thus vaishnavaites are endowed with a great Acharyar – Sri Parasara Battar.  He attended Ramanujas all lectures, discourse, debates expositions and dispositions and served his master as a shadow. With great resolve and commitment, he secured sanyasa from Udayavar and obtained robe of an ascetic. Udayavar named him Emperumanar but he could not accept this and pleaded that he did not deserve this honour, upon which Udayavar called him “Embar”.

In the year 1137 the greatest of Acharyas Ramanujar left for heavenly abode resting on the lap of Embar. His moving away left Embar sans any interest in life and four years later, he followed the Jagadhacharyar. His work ‘Vijnaasthuthi” will ever be remembered by posterity.

Sri Bhagavath Ramanujar Thiruvadigale Saranam
Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

Here are some photos taken during the sarrumurai purappadu of Swami Embar at Thiruvallikkeni.

The temple at Avatharasthalam – Madhuramangalam. [photos below- taken by me]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DevapPerumal [Sri Varada Rajar] Ekadasi purappadu ~ Thiru Kachi

22nd Jan 2013 was Ekadasi ~ had the fortune of having darshan of Lord DevapPerumal ~ Devathi Rajar, also known as Varadharajar at Thirukachi. For Sri Vaishnavaites, it is ‘Kovil~Thirumalai~Perumal Kovil’ – [referring to the Divyadesams of Thiruvarangam, Thirumala Thirupathi and Kanchipuram, respectively]

The area where Sri Varadharaja Perumal temple is located is now known as Vishnu Kanchi.  Kanchi has a rich history and was associated with the Pallava dynasty as the Pallava rulers ruled the Thondai mandalam for long.  Pallavas established their capital at Kanchi (modern day Kanchipuram famous for weaving and silk sarees) which gradually became popular and famous for its temples and as center of Vedic learning. There are so many Temples inside Kanchi and many of the Sri Vaishnava divyadesams are located in Kanchi.  The city famous for silk sarees and  is called as "City of 1000 Temples"; a famous Sanskrit poem ascribes it as ‘nagareshu kanchi’ – the best of the cities.

Mahabalipuram, now famous World over for its architecture was the famous port of Pallavas; the  name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling.

Temple of Lord Varadharaja Perumal is known as Hastagiri.  The Temple is a huge one on a 23-acre (93,000 m2) complex and shows the architectural skills of ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis in temple architecture and is famous for its holiness and ancient history. The temple has 3 outer precincts (prakaram) namely Azhwar Prakaram, Madai Palli Prakaram and Thiru Malai Prakaram. The main sanctum faces west and can be entered through a 130 feet tall, 7-tiered Rajagopuram.  The Moolavar is on a small hillock 10m tall and a fleet of 24 stps, termed "Hasthagiri" and has murals of the late Vijayanagara empire is found on the ceiling. The thayar’s name is Perundevi thayar. 

On the Ekadasi Day there was thiruveethi purappadu of Lord DevapPerumal. Andal’s Nachiyar Thirumozhi was rendered in the goshti.  Here are some photos taken on that day, during the purappadu and at temple

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

 view of Temple and mandap near thirukkulam

 thiruvanthikkappu after purappadu

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Felicitations to Chevalier Sri U.Ve N S Ramanuja Thatacharyar Swami

20th Jan 2013 provided a podium for many Sri Vaishnavaite scholars conglomerating in one place to honour a Vidwan..

Sanskrit is an amazingly rich language, acclaimed as ‘deva basha’, profoundly rich in literature encompassing poetry and drama.  The grammar of Panini is acclaimed to be the best and described as one of the greatest productions of the human mind.  There are only a few who have mastery over the language.  There are many Srivaishnavaite scholars who have proficiency in Sanskrit and Tamil.

There are many who serve the Lord in various Divyadesams and other temples of pre-eminence.  Most of them are well-educated, have mastered religious scriptures, recite Sri Nalayira Divyaprabandham of Azhwars and more… there are some villages which have regularly had such scholars churned out from its land.

Navalpakkam is another  small village located in Vandavasi, famous for Sanskrit scholars and others who have been serving God. Sri U.Ve N S Ramanuja Thatacharyar Swami is one such legend. This Swami was born in 1928, mastered Tharkam, Vyakarnam, Meemamsa and Vedantam; passed Tamil Vidwan; Hindi; obtained doctorate degree (Vidya Varidhi) from Kasi Sampoornananda Samskrta University and has done splendid academic work.  This learned Scholar well versed in Sanskrit, has been recipient of many many awards…………. the recent one has put International acclaim.

Sure you have heard of ‘Chevalie award’ ~ more so after it was given to Tamil cine actor Sivaji Ganesan.  The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte  in 1802. The Order is the highest decoration in France and  Chevalier [Knight] is its first degree.   Understand that amongst other things the prescribed eligibility is :  minimum 20 years of public service or 25 years of professional activity, and "eminent merits"

Professor Navalpakkam Ramanuja Tatacharya has been recognished for his scholarly achievements.  He was conferred the prestigious title of ‘Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur’ from the Government of France in a ceremony held at the French Consulate in Pondicherry on 12 July 2012, in the presence of his Excellency, Mr. François Richier, Ambassador of France in India.

Many organizations have since honoured him for being the recipient of ‘Chevalie’ award.  This Sunday, 20th Jan 2013, at Bharathiyar Illam, Yogakshema Trust, a  body that propagates the Vedic principles  organized felicitations to NSR Swami; there was a Thiruppavai Sathas too.  His Holiness Andavan Swami was present.

Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Sankara Medical Trust was represented by Dr K Sridhar.  SYMA was represented by Yours Truly.  Some photos of the function are here

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

 Dr Sridhar offering a shawl

 Me felicitating Swami NSR
 Dr VV Ramanujam  on stage.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Child Prodigy - Upanyasakar - Sri Elayavalli Sadajith

What you see here is part of crowd that had gathered at a place in Thiruvallikkeni in the evening around 04.00 pm.  Can you imagine what it was all about ?

Thinking of Sriman Narayana and surrendering at the Lotus feet of Lord Narayana only will lead to us salvation. To be good in life, one should be connected with good things, think and do good things and for this association with good people is of utmost importance.

There are many abodes of Lord Maha Vishnu and among these those sung by Azhwars are reverentially known as ‘Divyadesams’.  Blessed are those who live in Divyadesams for those have the opportunity of having darshan of the beautiful Thirumenis of Divyadesa Emperumaans.  Blessed are those who go to temple regularly and do some kainkaryam to the God.  Blessed are those who continuously chant the name of Lord Govindha and hear those Divyaprabandhams of Azhwars and listen to the commentaries of Purva Acharyas through great Kalakshepa Athigaris. 

Thiruvallikkeni, Brunthaaranya Kshetram ~ the abode of Lord Parthasarathi, abounds with good things.  There is the most famous Great Temple ~ replete with people doing all sorts of kainkaryams.  There are Great Archagas who  devotedly in the service of God do great kainkaryam to the Perumal and do great sarrupadi to Perumal; there is the Veda Adhyapaka Goshti which without thinking of any recompense does ‘veda divyaprabandha goshti’ kainkaryam. There is the Thennacharya Sri Padham Thangigal who beautifully carry the Lord on their shoulders during the purappadu; there are so many bakthas who come to the temple regularly, there are so many of them – doing other kainkaryams including offering grand floral garlands and more. 

The Dhanur masam [month of Margazhi] is replete with kalakshepams ~ renditions of many great Athikaris, explaining in detail the works of Azhwargal and Purva Acharyas in nice, coherent, easily comprehensible manner. While listing those Kalakshepa Athikaris is not easy, there are so many in Triplicane that Triplicaniites have the pleasure of hearing to them so often.

This margazhi was no different… in the morning there was the kalakshepam by Dr U.Ve. M.A. Venkata Krishnan Swami at Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple; there was Sri U.Ve. Akkarakkani Srinidhi Swami at Sri Vanamamalai mutt and in between there was the kalakshepam of Sri Sadajith at Nampillai Sannathi at Peyalwar Kovil Street

People who have heard many Swamins, authorities on Thiruppavai kalakshepam too flocked to Nampillai sannathi to hear Sri Sadajith.  It was a nice articulation when heard from outside but sure one would be wonder-struck if they are to see the person rendering the kalakshepam.

Sri Sadajith @ Geethacharyan has a rich lineage; his father Sri Elayavalli Sriram Swami also performs kalakshepams; more famous is his grand father Sri U.Ve. Elayavalli Bhoovaragachariyar Swami. What sets Sadajith apart is ~ he is a real ‘child prodigy’ – he is only 7 years old. 

As you would understand, a child prodigy is one at a young age develops skills at a level far beyond the norm for their age.  The giftedness of prodigies is determined by the degree of their talent relative to their ages.  The term ‘wunderkind’ is also used to describe such prodigious talent. Child prodigies evoke awe, wonder and sometimes jealousy: how can such young children possess and display so much of talent that most adults will never master, even with years of dedicated practice.

For many parents, a child speaking few words itself is a wonder ~ but here is a child only 7 able to orate, words flowing unhindered ~ dispensing out so much of information that some of us may never get even in our entire lifehood.  The vishayagnanam and the flow with which they are rendered can hardly be described in words; can only be understood by those who heard Sri Elayavalli Sadajith perform at Nampillai Sannathi.  Nothing of a great wonder for many who attended there, for they have been hearing Sadajith for more than 3 years now.

Here are some photos of Sri Sadajith being honoured by Dr MAV Swami and another great legend Dr V.V. Ramanujam Swami

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
15th Jan 2013.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sankranthi Urgola Uthsavam ~ Thiruvallikkeni

Sankranthi Urgola Uthsavam ~ Thiruvallikkeni

At Thiruvallikkeni, today [14th Jan 2013], it was Sankranthi Oorgola Uthsavam.

After Bhogi Thirukalyanam, Sri Andal and Sri Parthasarathi today had purappadu in a special open palanquin [one that had no roof known as kooralam]

Today, also Sri Parthasarathi adorned the Crown [Sigathadai]; Sri Andal was in a
beautiful sitting posture.  It was a great occasion to have darshan of The Divine
Couples [Divya Thampathi].

Here are some photos taken during the purappadu
Adiyen ~ Srinivasa dhasan.

Thiruvallikkeni Sri Parthasarathi ~ Bhogi Purappadu

‘Bhogi’ ~ the day before the Pongal day [Makara Sankranthi] is an important day.  Today, 13th Jan 2013 is Bhogi.  This is the day when Sri Andal has the Divine Wedding with the Perumal, she idolized and sang in Her prabandhams.  The Divine Andal at Her young age was the very embodiment of the Bakthi, thought of Sriman Narayana, wrote beautiful Hymns and wished marriage with the Greatest of the Souls ~the Paramapurushar. 

Andal Thirukkalyanam follows the Pavai nonbu and the 9 days of Neeratta Uthsavam; the Divine vivaham takes place on the Bhogi day.  This is being celebrated in Sri Villiputhur, Sri Rangam and other divyadesams with great fervor.  At Thiruvallikkeni, the wedding of Sri Andal with Sri Parthasarathi takes place on Bhogi day. 

இம்மைக்கு மேழேழ் பிறவிக்கும் பற்றாவான் *
நம்மையுடையவன் நாராயணன்நம்பி*
செம்மை யுடைய திருக்கையால் தாள்பற்றி*
அம்மி மிதிக்கக் கனாக்கண்டேன் தோழீநான்*

In Nachiyar Thiromozhi, Andhal elaborates her Dream Marriage with the Parampurusha, describing the rituals associated with the marriages.  She speaks of that Great Sriman Narayana, the One who owns us all, the One complete with all Kalyana Gunams; the One to whom we all should get attached not in this life but in all our births; Andal dreams of Her Divine Marriage with the Lord. ~ and that comes true on Bhogi day.

Bhogi Pandigai was celebrated originally as ‘Indran vizha’ ~ a righteous king by name Upari Chira Vasu helped Indhran in his battles and the pleased Indhran presented Uparicharavasu his chariot, which would travel on air without touching ground. The story of his chariot touching the ground is associated with the Therazhundhur Divyadesam. On the evening of Bhogi day, Sri Parthasarathi has grand purappadu beautifully adorned as the ‘bridegroom’ ~ today it was the most attractive green silk that adorned the Lord. 

Blessed are We to have the darshan of the Lord beautifully decorated as ‘Kalyana Purushan’ ~ the bridegroom.  Most eyecatching were the jewels adorning Sri Parthasarathi. Today,  He embellished a kireedam known as ‘Sigathadai’ ~ not because of the red silk that worn as a turban.  It was a Crown where reams of jasmine flower are tightly rolled and closed with pure silk cloth with the markings of an Emperor on the forehead.

Words cannot describe His celestial beauty; nor can the photos… still some attempt at describing the Great Bliss that Swami offered on this beautiful day.

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

PS :  In earlier days, puranic and religious stories were being filmed.  Andal Thirukkalyanam was a Tamil film released in  1937 by Saradha Films, directed by R Prakash.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Andal Neeratta Uthsavam - Thiruvallikkeni

Andal’s Thiruppavai contains ocean of values including significance of  Naama sankeerthanam to Sriman Narayanar.   The Saint Poetess observed Paavai Nonbu (vratham) to attain Lord Krishna.  The month chosen for the vratham was Margazhi also known as Dhanur Masam.  She was on vratham throughout the month and the month of Margazhi got lot of significance because of Andal.

In the month of Margazhi, there is the Nine day festival for Andal known as Neeratta Uthsavam.  Daily morning there will be veedhi purappadu of Andal signifying her preparation for the neerattam.  After the purappadu, Andal will have ‘Thirumanjanam’ at the Neeratta mandapam which is just opposite to the Thiruther.

12th Jan 2013  is the eighth day of Andal Neeratta Uthsavam and some photos taken during the Neeratta Uthsava purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni are posted here

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.