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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ratha Sapthami ~ Surya Prabhai purappadu

26th Jan 2015, the grand Republic Day of the Nation was significant religiously too…. it was – 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 after Thai Amavasai-  Shukla paksha (waxing phase of moon)  dedicated to God Surya.   It is believed that earth’s inclination towards the sun is the steepest on the day.

Special bathing rituals are observed in some regions on this day.  Surya (Sun) worship is deep rooted in the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures.  The day  is 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 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.  The charioteer of Surya is Aruna, who is also personified as the redness that accompanies the sunlight in dawn and dusk. Aruna was born to Vinatai and Sage Kashyapa….. the other son is the most illustrious Periya Thiruvadi (Sri Garuda Azhwar)  ~ to Aruna was born Jatayu and Sampati, who are mentioned in the epic Ramayana.

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.  Ratha Sapthami  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 as there will be purappadu in the morning in Surya Prabhai and in the evening Chandra Prabhai. 
At Thiruvallikkeni, there was to be no purappadu – as there is balalayam for Sri Parthasarathi & Sri Andal, Sri Vedavalli Thayar and Sri Ranganathar and Sri Ramar.  There was Thiruvaimozhi Sarrumurai and purappadu inside the Temple as the Uthsavars were taken to the kannadi mantap.   During Balalayam,  there will no darshan of Moolavars.  The renovation works are expected to take around 4 months + time.  

The above  photos are  of Sri Parthasarathi Suryaprabhai of yesteryear and couple of photos of Sri Devathi Rajar of Thirukachi [photos courtesy my friend Sri VN Kesavabashyam]

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

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Thirukachi Arulalan Seevaram Parvettai 2015

Thirukachi Arulalan Seevaram Parvettai 2015

One may wonder seeing so many people descending the hill  literally with Perumal ~ there are purappadus where the Processional deity travels quite some distance blessing people on the way.   Kanchipuram has been the repository of many magnificent temples. There are several big temples and for Vaishnavaites “Perumal Kovil” would only mean the temple of Lord Devarajar –  Sri Varadharaja Perumal.

Pazhaiya Seevaram is a small village located about 20 kms from Kanchipuram on the road going towards Chengalpattu. While going from Chengalpattu, one can reach Pazhaya Seevaram 5 kms before Walajabad. At Pazhaiya Seevaram on the banks of Palar  river, there is this ancient temple for Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar, located picturesquely. 
 river Palar and temple as seen from the river

This temple is located on a small hill on the banks of the river Palar. It is said that 3 rivers namely, Palar (Ksheera Nadhi), Cheyyar (Bahu Nadhi) and Vegavathi (Saraswathi) merge here to become one and it is called Triveni Sangamam.  This place is considered sacred.   The hill on which the temple is located is called Padmagiri. There is a motorable road to ascend the hill. The temple is not located on the hill top ~ it is on the midway.

The significance is the annual trip of Kachi Varadar], famously known as ‘Seevaram Paarvettai’, which taken place during Pongal.  Lord Varadarajan leaves Kanchipuram on the evening of the Pongal day, after traversing many villages and blessing devotees, reaches Pazhaya Seevaram Lakshmi Narasimha koil – Perumal has Thirumanjanam here. Here are some photos of the grand event (courtesy Sri VN Kesava Bashyam Swami)

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sankranthi Oorgola Uthsavam at Thiruvallikkeni 2015

Today 15th Jan 2015  is a day of celebration ~ ‘Pongal” – the harvest festival celebrated as ‘Makara Sankranthi’ in many parts of India. Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara rasi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. From today, it is the month of ‘Thai’ – which commences ‘Uttarayāyaa, a term derived from two different Sanskrit words "Uttara" (North) and "ayana" (movement) thus indicating a semantic of the northward movement of the Sun on the celestial sphere.

On ‘Bhogi’ ~ the day before the Pongal, it was the divine wedding of  Sri Andal with the Perumal she idolized and sang in Her prabandhams.   Andal Thirukkalyanam follows the Pavai nonbu and the 9 days of Neeratta Uthsavam.  After the grand vivaham, today it was Sankranthi Oorgola Uthsavam.

Today’s purappadu of newly wed Divya Thampathis - Sri Andal and Sri Parthasarathi grandly occurred  in a special open palanquin [one that had no roof known as kooralam].  Sri Parthasarathi, was embellished with many dazzling ornaments adorning the Crown [Sigathadai]; Sri Andal in a beautiful sitting posture sat opposite to Him in the pallakku. 

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

PS : Read this report in  - In what is considered as the first Sankranti festival post bifurcation, over 18 Lakh people are expected to travel to Andhra Pradesh from Hyderabad. Already all special trains, buses deployed for the festival are full and even many are expected to travel through personal vehicles and cabs. As per the estimate, over 32 Lakh people from Seemandhra stay in Hyderabad alone. Out of this 20 to 22 Lakh would be visiting their native villages and kith, kin in different places.

What's striking is that the huge exit of such a large number of people for at least five to six days is going to affect the daily business in Hyderabad. The city buses, auto-rickshaws, daily commodity sellers like milk, vegetables, fruits, tiffin centres, hotels, super bazaars, shopping malls are going to suffer huge dip in their business. The loss of business for an approximate five days would be at least 300 Crore to private businesses alone. This in turn would have telling affect on government in form of taxes, power bills, water bills etc. Many are expecting that this would show the strength of Seemandhrites staying in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana who contribute huge revenue to the new state. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bhogi purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni ~ Andal Thirukalyanam

‘Bhogi’ ~ the day before the Pongal day [Makara Sankranthi] is an important day.  Today,  14th Jan 2015  is Bhogi.  This is the day when the divine wedding of  Sri Andal with the Perumal she idolized and sang in Her prabandhams is performed.  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 Paramapurusha. 

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. 

இம்மைக்குமேழேழ் 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 yellosw silk and Sigathadai kireedam  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.

Raghupati Surya Prakasha Rao, son of a wealthy Andhra businessman was attracted into Movies.  Sent to Overseas for learning the art, he went to London and joined Barkers Motion Photography, then Germany and Hollywood.  A faulty camera ruined his first feature ‘Meenakshi Kalyanam’.  He set up Star of East Studio, known as Glass studio in Purasawakkam in 1921 where he made Bhishma Pratigya.   He made among others The Catehist of Kil-Arni, Gajendra Moksham, Bhakta Nandan,  Mohini Avatar, Lanka Dahana, Pavalakkodi,  Rose of Rajasthan ………….. [source : Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema]

Iyarpa sarrumurai : இயற்பா சாற்றுமுறை - 2015

 Iyarpa sarrumurai :   இயற்பா சாற்றுமுறை

I have been writing about  Adhyayana Uthsavam comprising of Pagal Pathu, Vaikunda Ekadasi, Irapathu, culminating with Iyarpa Sarrumurai – during this great Uthsavam, “Naalayira Divaprabandham’ is rendered entirely.

During Pagal pathu, it is the 1st and 2nd Aayiram pasurams including : Periyalwar Thirumozhi, Thiruppavai, Nachiyar Thirumozhi, Perumal Thirumozhi, Thiruchanda Vrutham, Thirumaalai, Thirupalliyezuchi, Amalalathipiraan, Kanninum Chiru thambu, Thirumozhi, Thirukurunthandagam, ThiruNedumthandagam are recited in the  afternoons.

The Irapathu is hailed as ‘Thiruvaimozhi Thirunaal’ when after the purappadu, daily one hundred from Thiruvaimozhi  are rendered everyday.   On day 10, it is  the last canto ‘Patham Pathu’ of Swami Nammalwar, which speaks of ‘entering Vaikundam’ by all ‘vaikuntham puguvathu mannavar vithiye’ in the pasuram of  Nammalwar. 

The day after the culmination of Irapathu,  comes “Iyarpa Sarrumurai” when all pasurams of Iyarpa are being rendered.  On 11th Jan 2015, it was the Iyarpa sarrumurai at Thiruvallikkeni.  At the Thiruvaimozhi Mandapam, there was the grand golu of all Azhwargal and Acharyas and in the centre was Lord Parthasarathi.  Divyaprabandha goshti started around 0500 pm  ~ the pasurams forming part of the Moondravathu Aayiram, known as Iyarpa : Muthal Thiruvanthathi,   Irendam Thiruvanthathi, Moondram Thiruvanthathi, Nanmugan Thiruvanthathi, Thiruvirutham, Thiruvasiriyam, Periya Thiruvanthathi, Thiruvezhuk koorrirukkai, Siriya Thirumadal, Periya Thirumadal and Iramanuja Noorranthathi [also known as Prabanna Gayathri] of Thiruvarangathu Amuthanar were all rendered.

At Thirukachi, understand that this is slightly different – the day after culmination of Irapathu, ‘aadhi antham’ of Iyarpa and a day later it is Iyarpa Sarrumurai at Kannadi mandapam.  For the bakthas, it is great to have darshan of Azhwargal, Acharyargal and Perumal at one place ~ and for this, Battars and Sripadham thangigal have a great role. 

Here are couple of photos of Thirukachi Iyarpa Sarrumurai (all credit to my friend Sri VN Kesavabashyam – the last photo is that of Sri Kurathazhwan being taken in purappadu by young Sripadham thangis – one among them is the son of the VN Kb – a great sight to behold exhibiting the spirit and involvement of children at this age and equivalent credit goes to their parents who initiates them at the youngest age …. Vazhi Ethirajan Thiruvadigal; valarga Srivaishnavam.

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan. 

Vaikundam puguvathu Mannavar vithiye ~ Swami Nammalar Thiruvadi Thozhal 2015

After Vaikunda Ekadasi, the Irapathu Uthsavam culminates with Sarrumurai – the 10thday of the Uthsavam.  The Irapathu Uthsavam is performed for Swami Nammalwar and the 10th  day is very significant for the 'Thiruvadi Thozhuthal'. This year 10th Jan 2015 marked the culmination of Irapathu Uthsavam and I had posted on the grand sarrumurai purappadu.   

There is great excitement and eagerness in the minds of all bakthas about Vaikunda Ekadasi and ‘Paramapada Vasal’……… they are part of the Adhyayana Uthsavam beginning with Pagal Pathu, Irapathu – concluding with Thiruvadi Thozhuthal and Iyarpa Sarrumurai. 

After the Sarrumurai purappadu of  Irapathu Uthsavam is the most reverred  “Thiruvadi Thozhuthal”. In the Sarrumurai purappadu, Swami Nammazhwar could be worshipped in his Thirumeni without kavacham.  After Thiruveedhi purappadu, there is the  rendition of 10th chapter (Patham Thiruvaimozhi) of Thiruvaimozhi in front of Lord Parthasarathi, Alwars, Acharyars and prominently Swami Nammalwar. [similar in most other Divyadesams too]

At the start of the penultimate pathu ‘Soozh vizhum pani mugil thooriyam muzakkina’ [Thiruvaimozhi 10-9] – Swami Nammalwar is taken in the palms of Archagas, around the asthanam of Lord Parthasarathi and then  placed on the lotus feet of Lord, then covered fully with ‘Thiruthuzhai [Thulasi]’.  This marks the entering of Mokshapuri after a great life on this earth  by Swami Nammalwar – as he himself sung ‘Vaikuntham puguvathu mannavar vithiye’

Symbolically, this represents Lord gracing Paramapadam along with His consorts, holding all divine weapons, wearing divine ornaments, served by Periya Thiruvadi (Garuda)- there is Vishvaksenar, Dwarapalakars and all Nithyasuris, who are closer to God and serve Him daily.  The opening of the Gate these ten days is symbolic of the gate to Mokshapuri and reaching the Lotus feet of Sriman Narayana  after crossing the 7 logas and cleaning the feet in the divine Vraja river.  That Swami Nammalwar reaches the divine culmination is Nammazhar Moksham or Nammalwar Thiruvadi Thozhudhal.  

Nammazhwar a typical Jeevathma, leaves the physical World, his atma takes new dress, crosses the logas, gets cleansed in Viraja nathi to attain the Lotus feet of Sriman Narayana.  The atma which is not destroyed by fire or by anything else, eventually attains the eternal bliss of serving the Lord alongside Mukthas and Nithyasooris.   This is called Vaikunta Prapti.

Then as it were to happen,  those in the  earthly World appeal to Lord to give back Nammalwar and Lord Paramapada Nathan grants Azhwar  back to us to show us the way of leading life devoted to Sriman Narayana and the process of nearing Lord and reaching Him, seeking the Moksha. 

Needless to add that the holy thiruthuzhai [thulasi] and Perumal theertham distributed to all those present are immensely valuable and would make human beings blessed in leading the life in the righteous way.

Sri Nammazhwar thiruvadigale saranam.
Azhwar Emperumanar Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Saranam

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan

this alone is taken in previous year

The photos posted here are of Nammalwar & Devathirajar of Thirukachi
All photo credits my dear friend Sri  VN Keshavabashyam]

Sri Andal Neerattam day 9 - Siriya Thiruther 2015

                      Today, 14th Jan 2015 is 30th day of the month of Margazhi ~ and today concludes Thiruppavai assigned to every day in the month.  Today’s pasuram  is :
வங்கக் கடல்கடைந்த மாதவனைக் கேசவனை*
திங்கள் திருமுகத்துச் சேயிழையார் சென்றிறைஞ்சி*
அங்கப்பறை கொண்டவாற்றை * அணிபுதுவைப்
பைங்கமலத்தண்தெரியல் பட்டர்பிரான் கோதை சொன்ன*
சங்கத்தமிழ்மாலை முப்பதும் தப்பாமே*
இங்கிப்பரிசுரைப்பார் ஈரிரண்டுமால் வரைத்தோள்*
செங்கண் திருமுகத்துச் செல்வத் திருமாலால்*
எங்கும் திருவருள்பெற்று இன்புறுவர் எம்பாவாய்.*

Thiruppavai is the garland of 30 songs of faultless Sangam Tamil about  how the beautiful Moon like bejewelled maidens sang in praise of the Lord begetting boons – sung by Sri Andal, the daughter of Pattar Piran.  Those who sing these verses of Thiruppavai are bound to be joyous finding the eternal bliss as granted by Lord Sriman Narayana, the mighty and gracious Lord.

Today being the concluding day of Neeratta Uthsavsam, this morning it was Siriya thiruther at Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam.    The purappadu which commenced at around 09.00 am took around one and half hours.  Here are some photos of the purappadu and one can have darshan of Sri Andal in sitting posture, draped in a beautiful green saree

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

கூடாரை வெல்லும் சீர்க்கோவிந்தா ~ Koodarai Valli today .. 2015

Today ~  11th Jan 2015  is a very significant day,  the 27th  day of the tamil month of Margazhi.  Colloquially known as “Koodarai Valli” – this is a day, when  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”

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  eternal follower, allowing the Master to decide, determine and dictate the future. The best of wealth that one can get is the chance to do kainkaryam (service) to the God Himself and to Bhagavathas (His followers)

கூடாரை வெல்லும் சீர்க்கோவிந்தா உன்றன்னைப்*
பாடிப் பறைகொண்டு யாம்பெறு சம்மானம்*
நாடு புகழும் பரிசினால் நன்றாகச்*
சூடகமே தோள்வளையே தோடே செவிப்பூவே*
பாடகமே என்றனைய பல்கலனும் யாமணிவோம்*
ஆடை உடுப்போமதன்பின்னே பாற்சோறு*
மூடநெய் பெய்து முழங்கை வழிவாரக்*
கூடியிருந்து குளிர்ந்தேலோரெம்பாவாய். 

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 Vathsalyam,  Soulabhyam,  Souseelyam, Swamithvam, Soundharyam, Gnanam. To celebrate,  Andal  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.  To us, the bakthas, 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 floral garlands already worn by her.  Here are some photos of Sri Andal taken at Thiruvallikkeni during the Neeratta Uthsavam which is on way.  Sri Andal was exquisitely draped in golden yellow  silk [மாம்பழ வண்ண பட்டு] and gave darshan in a grand sitting posture. 

Sri Andal thiruvadigale saranam.

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.