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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Masi Magam 2017 - Sri Parthasarathi at Bay of Bengal

By chance occasioned to read a book titled ‘Cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal’ – for the use of Sailors by John Eliot. .. .. ..

Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. Roughly triangular, it is bordered mostly by India and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the east.  Number of rivers flow into it and that includes the holy Ganges, the Brahmaputra, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna and Cauvery. 

Alongside the bay of Bengal is the famed sandy  Marina beach, running from Fort St George to Besant Nagar. To the early morning visitor, Marine offers tranquillity and more.  Do you love the sea, the shore, the waves, the boats and more ! or does it raise an eerie fear in you.  You would read something extracted from the book, though the purpose of the post is the blissful  happenings on 12th Mar 2017  ~ Masi Magam, a special one. At 0530 in the morning  Sri Parthasarathi  adorning beautiful  ornaments had purappadu atop Garuda Vahanam and reached Bay of Bengal for theerthavari. This is an annual Uthsavam and thousands accompany Him, have purificatory bath after Chakrathazhwar theerthavari.

Sri Peyawlar has sung about Thiruvallikkeni temple in his ‘Moondram Thiruvanthati’ – describing  Thiruvallikkeni waves as being  white as milk and there are red pavazham and white pearls at the time of twilight and at that sandhya time he has the darshan of the Lord at Thiruvalllikeni

வந்துதைத்த வெண்டிரைகள் செம்பவள வெண்முத்தம்*
அந்தி விளக்கும் அணிவிளக்காம், - எந்தை*
ஒருவல்லித் தாமரையாள் ஒன்றியசீர் மார்வன்,*
திருவல்லிக்கேணி  யான் சென்று.

கடற்கரையில் வெள்ளை அலைகள்வந்து உதைக்க சிவப்பான பவளம், வெண்மையான முத்துக்கள், அந்தி நேரத்தில் அழகான மங்கள விளக்குகள்  என விளங்கும்  திருவல்லிக்கேணி!

Bay of Bengal on Pournami day would have high ebbs and it would be jumping with joy celebrating the arrival of Sri Krishna, the charioteer to Arjuna atop Garuda vahana.

The object of the little volume according to the author is to give the mariner who navigates in Bay of Bengal, an account of the dangerous storms that occur in it and explain the signs and indications by which he may recognize when he is approaching a cyclone !   it is hardly necessary to remind sailors that storms which are met with in Bay of Bengal are occasionally of excessive violence.  Formerly when little or nothing was known of the laws of storms, they caused frequent grave destruction to shipping.  Brief accounts of atleast two storms that occurred in Bay of Bengal in 1700s are described in detail in  Orme’s History of India.  On 2nd Oct 1746 [that was no Gandhi Jayanthi for obvious reasons !!] the weather at Madras was remarkably fine and moderate all day.  About midnight a furious storm arose and continued with great violence until the noon of next day causing havoc and killing people.   

It is hardly too much to say that the knowledge of laws of storms which is due to the labours of meteorologists utilisings the observations furnished by thousands if seamen, is now sufficient, if properly employed to enable sailors avoid the full strength of cyclonic storms in the open sea of the Bay of Bengal. Disasters still occasionally do happen, may be traced to neglect of the most ordinary precautions or to disregard of the accumulated experiences of the past.  During a cyclonic storm in Arabian sea and Gulf of Aden in May 1885, the Augusta German man-of- war, the Renard French man-of-war, and the SS Speke Hall foundered at sea within a few hours of each other.  If such disasters are not enough, there are strong currents too.  The cyclonic winds by friction with surface water may give rise to strong currents in the Bay of Bengal.  In the open sea, the currents over the whole storm area of fierce and hurricane winds approximately agree in direction with the winds, and are probably stronger than are generally imagined.

Every year, the lensers of Thiruvallikkeni provide glimpses of Lord visiting the seashore.  This time the bravest among the group of  Srivaishnavaites chose to travel in a boat into the sea and deliver us some beautiful pictures of Lord Parthasarathi at the Bay of Bengal on Masi Magam day – a different view of the crowd as seen from the sea.  I was away in Tirumala having darshan of Lord Srinivasa and here are some photos taken by my friend Thirumalai Vinjamoor Venkatesh (popularly Jilla) Swamin.  Reproduced with his permission and shared.

Though boats appear poetry in motion in high seas, it is often difficult and could have : Heaves, the linear vertical motion excess of which can swamp a boat;  Sway; Surge; Pitch; Roll and Yaw – all causing discomfort.  The book printed in 1890 however adds that – cyclonic storms very rarely occur in Bay of Bengal during the months of Jan, Feb & March.  During 15th June to 15th Sept, cyclonic storms are of frequent occurrence, but are not very extensive or violent. 

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

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