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Monday, January 28, 2013

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]

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