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Saturday, September 23, 2017

SriVilliputhur Andal Temple ~ Sri Krishna Devaraya ~ and elephant Jayamalyatha

Vishnu Chittar (Periyazhwar) dedicated his entire life in the service of God. Once Pandya King Vallabha Deva of Madurai, was troubled by the thought — ‘What you want after death should be accumulated in this life itself.’ He summoned his chief priest Selva Nambi to find an answer for it.    The answers of most of the scholars were less satisfactory. And when it was Vishnu Chittar’s turn, he stunned the Pandya King with his description on the greatness of Lord Narayana by citing various references from Vedic scriptures. 

Pleased with this explanation Vallabha Deva gave him the prize money and conferred the title of ‘Bhattar Piran.’ He was also taken out on a royal procession on the Elephant mount around the streets of Madurai. As he moved along the procession, Vishnu Chittar had darshan of the Sriman Narayana on Garuda vahana and he sang ‘Thirupallandu’. 

Sri Krishnadevaraya (1471 – 1529) was the emperor of  Vijayanagara Empire from 1509 to 1529.  He was the third ruler of the Tuluva Dynasty. Presiding over the empire at its zenith, he is regarded as an icon by many Indians. Krishna Deva Raya earned the titles Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana,  Andhra Bhoja and Mooru Rayara Ganda (lit, "King of three Kings"). He became the dominant ruler of the peninsula of India by defeating the Sultans of Bijapur, Golconda, the Bahmani Sultanate and the Raja of Odisha.

Portuguese travellers Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz  visited the Vijayanagara Empire during his reign. Krishna Deva Raya benefited from the able prime minister Timmarusu, who was regarded by the emperor as a father figure and was responsible for his coronation.  He built a beautiful suburb near Vijayanagara called Nagalapura. He patronized many temples and his rule is vastly celebrated as good for all the people.

Krishnadevaraya’s literary fame rests on Amukta Malyada. Traditionally this work has been included among the five great classics of Telugu literature. It shares the limelight along with Allasani Peddanna’s Manucharitramu, Ramaraja Bhushana’s Vasucharitramu, Pingali Surana’s Raghava Pandaviyamu and Srinatha’s Sringara Naishadhamu.   Amukta Malyada is considered  complex and difficult to master, due to its erudition.   In Amukta Malyada, Krishnadevaraya describes the events that led him to undertake composition of the work.  Sriman Narayana appeared in his dream and ordained him to write about the maiden who used to offer Him garlands, after wearing them herself first, i.e, Kothai Piratti -  Goda Devi [Sri Andal].  The story is set at Srivilliputtur in the Pandyan kingdom. The poet gives a vivid description of the temple town and the life of its inhabitants. Vishnuchitta, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, served as a personal attendant at the local shrine of Vadabathrasayee,  manifestation of Sriman Narayana. Goda Devi has the unique distinction of being the only female among the twelve highly venerated Alwars, saint composers and devotees of Sriman Narayana.
Amukta Malyada is a prabhanda and, true to its character, deals with fervour the romantic theme of Goda Devi’s love for Sri Ranganatha  of Srirangam and their marriage.  The name Amukta Malyada means the woman who offered garlands once worn by herself. This is Sanskrit equivalent of her name in Tamil `Soodi-koduttha Nachiyar’.

In my recent visit to the SriVilliputhur divyadesam, had the fortune of darshan of Sri Andal, Sri Rangamannar with Garudalwar ~ and infront of the temple stood majestically, the temple elephant.  The female elephant is named ‘Jayamalyatha’ [probably conjoining Ex CM Ms Jayalalithaa who visited this temple often and the work of Sri Krishna Devaraja – aamuktha malyatha]

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Sept. 2017.

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