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Friday, March 27, 2015

Thirunarayanapuram (Melkot) Arayar Shri Srirama Sharma honoured by President of India

Recently, the President of India Mr Pranab Mukherjee awarded Certificate of Honour to eminent scholars of Sanskrit, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian. He also conferred the Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman to young scholars for the year 2014.  One of the recipients of Certificate of Honour was Shri Srirama Sharma Arayar of Thirunarayanapuram.

Sri Vaishnava temples follow the doctrine and practices instituted by our great Acharyar Sri Ramanujar.  In most Divyadesams, one would be impressed by the resplendent splendour of Archavathara Murthies, the garlands and floral decorations, the ornate ornaments, the devoted services of Battars, Veda Adhyapakars rendering Vedas and Divyaprabandhams, the Sripadham thangigal who with mighty devotion take the Lord on their shoulders and there is more…

In the lineage of great Acharyars of our Sampradhayam – Sriman Nadhamunigal is in the midst. After the great Azhwars, there was a period when the ‘divyaprabandhams’ rendered by them were lost in oblivion; it was Sri Nathamunigal who got them back; he is credited with the regenesis of  ‘Divya Prabandham’.  He was also an exponent of divine music  who initiated the ‘singing of divyaprabandham ~ now known as Arayar Sevai’.

The “Araiyar Sevai” is unique offering that takes place on certain specific occasions at a few divyadesams – Thiruvarangam, Srivilliputhur, Thirukurugoor [Azhwar Thirunagari], Thirukkannapuram and of course Thirunarayanapuram [Melukote]….  It is bakthi in its purest form – rendered by special people – who sing the verses of Nalayira Divyaprabandham accompanied by abinayam [gesture] with ease.   Araiyars are hereditary and take great effort to preserve their family tradition, descending from the days of Acharyar Nathamunigal…. Sadly, there are not many as over the years we have failed to recognize and take care of their exquisite art totally dedicated to Sriman Narayana.  `Araiyar Sevai’ is the visual enactment of the passionate expression by those in the tradition of Araiyars who have upheld the literature of Iyal, Isai and Natakam.  The Araiyars are not mere dance performers ~ being well versed in Vaishnavaite commentaries possessing great knowledge. Have read that according to ‘Koil Ozhugu’  record book of the Srirangam temple, Thirumangai Azhwar, started the practice of presenting Thirunedun thandakam with the accompaniment of music  before Lord Num Perumal; ages later, Nathamunigal introduced its performance during the Thiruvadhyayana Uthsavam.   His nephews - Keezhai Agathu Azhwar and Melai Agathu became the foremost Araiyars at Srirangam.  According to tradition they were given a cone-like cape “Ariyar Kireedam'' two cymbals and the sacred garlands by the Lord of Srirangam Himself.  The Araiyars first recite the Paasuram, they then explain its inner meaning and finally perform the Abhinaya, a unique art/dance performance with their hands and legs explaining the Paasurams with special musical effect.

I had earlier posted about the committed to and continuing the traditions of Araiyar Sevai by ‘Srinivasachariyar of Srivilliputhur’. Melkote [Thirunarayanapuram] has a rich legacy and extremely committed people who uphold the traditions.  The Temple of  ‘Sri SelvaNarayana Perumal Kovil’ at Melkote referred to by us as ThiruNarayanapuram, is a Abhimana sthalam of Udayavar, who lived here for 12 years, codified and ordained strict procedures for betterment of Sri Vaishnavism.    It is a hilly protected place, calmness, serenity and divinity pervading here.  It is on rocky hills known as Yadugiri, Yadavagiri and Yadushailadweepa, overlooking the Cauvery valley. The moolavar here is Thiru Narayanar also known as Sampathkumarar and Selvapillai – the name of temple is ‘Cheluva Narayana Swamy Temple’. 
a panoramic view of the Temple from atop the hill;
and Garuda Sevai purappadu

Sri U.Ve. Arayar Srirama Sharma Swami has been continuing their family tradition of doing Arayar service to the Lord. This elderly scholar was in Thiruvallikkeni in Sept 2014 attending the sathabhishekam celebrations of Dr MA Venkatakrishnan Swami and performed at ‘Sri Nampillai sannathi’ on 23.9.2014 … here are some photos taken by me  on that day.

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan


  1. Sir
    Would like to meet you.
    C S Prasanna kumar

  2. Adiyen had the unique privilege of being present with family, a few years back at Mylapore,Chennai, while He was honoured alongwith adiyen's Acharyaswamy of Oppilliappan Sannadhi, with honorific title and a purse (purse was politely turned down by adiyen's Acharyaswamy as He is wont to do)for their achievements and knowledge of Srivaishnava philosophy. Have had the continued privilege of meeting the Arayarswamy as often as possible thereafter at Melkote. He wears a simple outlook and His gait and appearance can deceive many an onlooker
    and nincompoops like adiyen who can only wonder at His in-depth knowledge of the scriptures.

    1. Swami - if only you had provided your name too, that would have been more enjoyable .. adiyen dhasan


    But the sad thing is his son sri Narayana Sharma is spoiling his name .

    This link shows the truth