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Thursday, November 30, 2017

'Kaisika Dwadasi' கைசிக மகாத்மியம் Numpaduvaan @ Thirukkurungudi Divyadesam 2017

Western Ghats, very rich in bio-diversity,  is older than the Himalayan mountain range. The  forests of the wide ranging region include some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Western Ghats has a significant impact on the monsoon weather pattern in the country.  At least 325 globally threatened (IUCN Red Data List) species occur in the Western Ghats. It possesses rich varieties of  flora and fauna and some of the critically endangered ones thrive here. Howsoever interesting it be otherwise, for us – this mountain range is most important to Srivaishnavaites for the great divyadesam and this post is on a drama that occurs every year at this divine place.

This pic credit : Thirumazhisai Kannan

Thirumangai Azhwar, whose uthsavam is celebrated in the month of Karthigai, during his times, built the huge walls of Srirangam and contributed in no small measure to the temple there, sought moksham, Lord Ranganatha directed him to visit his ‘Southern Home.’ Accordingly, Kaliyan came down to  the Vamana Kshetram of Thiru Kurungudi  and performed services invoking the blessings of Lord Azhagiya Nambi and composed the last of his sacred verses (Paasurams) on the Lord before attaining moksha at Thirukkurungudi.

It is “ThirukKurungudi” divyadesam  located on the  foot of the Mahendra Hill on the Western Ghat. From Chennai, one can take the Kanyakumari/Ananthapuri Express to Valliyur. From here, one can reach Thirukkurungkudi (10 km) in 20 minutes by boarding the Papanasam bound bus.   At this divine place, stands the most majestic Azhagiya Nambirayar Temple ~ sung by Periyazhwar,  Thirumazhisaippiran, Thirumangai Azhwar and Swami Nammazhwar.   The famous ‘Kaisika puranam’ is associated with this temple and is read on ‘shukla paksha’ dwadasi of the month of Karthigai, known as ‘Kaisika Dwadasi’ and enacted in drama form too .. .. ..

If one were to describe the Puranam in a simple captivating manner: it is :-  

"ஊன் மல்கி மோடு பருத்தவனுக்கும்..... நினைந்து,  நினைந்து  உள்கரைந்துருகி இளைத்தவனுக்கும்' நடந்த சத்திய போராட்டம் “கைசிக புராண மகாத்மியம்.”

(the battle of wits beween a Rakshas who grew fat eating meat and the baktha who became leaner living  thinking, and singing paeans of God all the time)

Every year on the Kaisika Dwadasi day (this year it falls on 1st Dec 2017)  the puranam is  read out [in characteristic manner by Sri U.Ve M. A. Venkadakrishnan Swami] at Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple and by sampradhaya vidwans in many other divyadesangal.   The high moral  story of Nampaduvaan is in the 48th  chapter of Sri Varaha Puranam,;  explains and emphasizes the importance of singing the glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.     Sri Varaha Purana is considered one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas.

எம்பெருமானிடத்திலே  பக்தி கொண்டு அவனது திருவடி நீழலையே அடையவேண்டி திண்ணம் கொண்டு  இருப்பவர்கள் - சகல உயர்வும் பெறுபவர்களாவர்.  திருக்குறுங்குடி திவ்யதேசத்தில் மகேந்திர மலையில் நடந்த இந்நிகழ்வு அனைத்துக்கும் சிகரம் வைத்ததை போன்றதாகும். கார்த்திகை மாதம் சுக்ல பக்ஷ ஏகாதசி இரவு அன்று ஸ்ரீமன்நாராயணின் பரமபக்தனான நம்பாடுவான் திருக்குறுங்குடிநம்பி பெருமாள் கோவிலை நோக்கி செல்கிறான். அந்த இரவு நேரத்தில் அவன் செல்லும் வழியில் ஒரு ப்ரம்மரக்ஷஸ்(பிசாசு) அவனை வழிமறித்து அவனை பிடித்துக் கொள்கிறான். ப்ரம்மரக்ஷஸின் தேகமோ கொழுத்து பெருத்த தேகம். நம் பாடுவானோ மிகவும் இளைத்து மெலிந்த தேகம் உடையவன். அதனால் ப்ரம்மரக்ஷஸின் பிடியிலிருந்து தப்ப இயலாதவனாக இருந்தான். ஆனாலும்  அவன் சற்றும் மனக்கிலேசம் அற்றவனாய் தான் ஸ்ரீமன் நாராயணனிடத்திலே கொண்ட நம்பிக்கை சற்றும் அசையாதவனாய் இருந்தான். ப்ரம்மரக்ஷஸை பார்த்து, "நான் ஏகாதசி விரதமிருந்து நம்பெருமாளை துதிக்க சென்று கொண்டிருக்கிறேன் என்னை விட்டு விடு;  என் விரதத்திற்கு பங்கம் செய்து விடாதே என்று கெஞ்சினான். எனது இந்த அற்புதமான விரதத்தை கோயிலின் வாசலில் வீணையை மீட்டி  நம்பெருமாள் முன்பே ‘பண்’ இசைத்து திருப்பள்ளியெழுச்சி  பாடி எனது விரதத்தை முடித்து விட்டு வருகிறேன் பிறகு நீ உன் இஷ்டம் போல் என்னை புசித்துக் கொள் என்று வேண்டினான்.

அதற்கு ப்ரம்மரக்ஷஸ் பலமாக சிரித்து, "யாரவது தானாக வலிய  வந்து உயிரை மாய்த்துக்  கொள்வாரோ ?  நீ என்னிடமிருந்து தப்ப பொய் சொல்கிறாய்; நீ  இந்த வழியே வராமல் வேறு வழியில் சென்று தப்பிவிடுவாய்" என - அதற்கு நம் பாடுவான் பதினெட்டு விதமான ப்ரதிக்ஞைகளை செய்கிறான். லோகம் உண்டானதும் சத்யத்தாலே என வாக்கை காப்பாற்றி  திரும்பிய நம்பாடுவானிடம் ராக்ஷஸ் பல பலன்களை யாசித்து,  கடைசியில் கீத பலத்தையாவது தருமாறு கேட்டு, சத்தியத்தின் பெருமையை உணர்ந்து, அவனிடமே சரணாகதி அடைந்து மோக்ஷம் அடைந்தது. இந்த சிறப்புதான் கைசிக மகாத்மியம்**

Tomorrow 1st Dec 2017 is a very significant day for all of us -  ‘shukla paksha’ dwadasi of the month of Karthigai.  [shukla paksham is the waxing phase of Moon and dwadasi is the 12th day – the day following Ekadasi].  It is the day of “Kaisika Dwadasi”.  In Divyadesams, most importantly at Thirukurungudi, Thiruvarangam,  Azhwar Thirunagari, Thirukachi,  and in Thiruvallikkeni – ‘kaisika puranam’ is read before the Lord. 

சங்கினோடும் நேமியோடும் தாமரைக் கண்களொடும்;
செங்கனி வாயொன்றினொடும் செல்கின்றதென்  நெஞ்சமே.

Swami Nammalwar describes this Divyadesa Emperuman thus – that upon seeing His most beautiful thirumeni,  Azhwar’s thoughts are with the Emperuman and he cannot think of anything else…..  it is the divyadesam hailed as most proximate to Lord Mahavishnu’s abode of Sri Vaikundam [~calling distance from here~] – the most sacred place located around 40 kms from Thirunelveli…… 11 km from the seat for Thennacharya Sampradhayam “Nankuneri aka Vanamamalai – Thirusirivaramangai” and on the other side lying closer is another divyadesam called ‘ThiruvanParisaram [Thirupathisaram]’.

The World exists on promises and fulfillment of them and the story of Nam Paduvaan only describes the greatest virtues of those devoted and committed to the kanikaryam (service) to Lord.  The ardent devotees of Sriman Narayana will never err or sin in life.   There cannot be a better example than that of ‘Nampaduvaan’. 

The story of Num Paduvaan can be best summarised as “the fight between ‘Padi Ilaithavan and Pasiyale Ilaithavan’ [one who leaned by fasting in the vratha of Singing paeans and one who was starved off food].  Legend has it  that on every Kaisika Ekadasi day, Nampaduvaan, an ardent devotee of the Lord Maha Vishnu  used to do Namasankeerthanam for Emperuman at Thirukurungudi.  This Nampaduvan Charithram was narrated by Sri Varaha Perumal to Bhoomi Pirarttiyar in Varaha puranam. The gist of the story as heard from Sampradhaya Periyarvargal and as heard at Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam in earlier years  (read out by Dr MA Venkatakrishnan) is given here :

Nampaduvaan, a great bhagavatha at Thirukurungudi used to observe ‘jakratha vratham’ without sleeping full night singing the glory of the Lord and thinking only about Him. ‘Ninainthu nainthu ul karainthu urugi’ ena he keeps singing the glory of Lord Sriman Narayana.  This went on for many  years…..

 On a  particular  year while on the way to the temple of  Thirukurungudi, (Malai Nambi sannathi atop Mahendra parvatham),  situate on the hills in dense forestry; where even today ordinary mortals find it somewhat difficult to access, Nampaduvan was confronted by a Brahma Rakshas. This Rakshas who has been starved off food, tells Nampaaduvaan that he would devour him. Nampaduvan humbly requests that he has the duty of nama sankeerthanam. Nampaduvan pleads with the rakshas that he would return back after his vratham and darshan of Kurungudi Nambi. The rakshas naturally was not prepared to believe  and asks whether in this material World  would  come back as food ‘when death is certain’  and asks : is there any possibility that a deer could escape after it was caught up by a lion ? 

Nampaduvan has nothing else in life but his sincere devotion to Lord Nambi. He promises that he would indeed return; he mentions of the various sins that he would get, if he were not to return.  He tells the Rakshas that the World revolves on Sathya, the truth and if he were to act against his dharma, he would be getting the results of worst sins; some of which are stated to be : ‘taking food without taking bath on important days such as Sashti, Amasvayai, Chathurthasi’;  ‘reclaiming the land donated’; ‘to differentiate between self and the visitor when eating food’; ‘chasing away the herd of cows when they are thirsty’ ~~.. and more….

When he says that he has been rendering this for 10 years, the brahmarakshas says that it had been without food for 10 days and is so hungry that it immediately wants to devour the flesh and blood of the devotee.  Nampaduvaan finally convinces the rakshas to release him for a while.  With intent will, he goes straight  to Thirukurungudi temple renders pasurams on Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi; Kaisikam is a kind of music composition (called பண் in tamil)

Completing his vratham with the singular determination,  he returns as stated back to Brahmarakshas.   While returning Nampaduvan is interrupted by Thiruk Kurungudi Nambi Himself in the disguise of an old man advising him to take alternate route escaping the rakshas.  Nampaduvan firmly tells that he will keep his promise, would stand by his dharma and would go back to the rakshas.  He even says that if the rakshas is not found in the appointed place, he would further go in search of the rakshas.  Such is his commitment that he indeed fulfills his vow and presents himself  before the Brahma rakshas.

The Brahma rakshas is startled by the return of Nampaduvaan and offers to free him,  if he were to transfer the fruits of his dharma;  Nampaduvaan retaliates saying that he had agreed to offer himself and is for the taking.  Awe struck the rakshas asked for the palan(fruit) of the pasurams Nampaduvan had rendered; then least the fruits of song rendered during one yamam [a measure of time]  and in the series of discussions that went on rakshas wanted at least the palan of the last kaisika pan.

It gets  revealed that the Brahmarakshas was a vidwan by name Soma Sharma who was cursed by Devas arising out of his ahankaram.  He also incurs soola dosham as he dies without completing a yagna. Despite all this, the palan of pun (the song) relieves him of the curse.   This occurred thousands of years ago and few hundred years ago,  on Kaisika Dwadasi day, Sri Parasara Bhattar chanted kaisika puranam before Lord Ranganatha;  a tradition continuing till date with the descendants of Bhattar remndering  the puranam on kaisika dwadasi day at Srirangam.

It is believed that those who go to temple on this holy Kaisika Dwadasi day and read ‘kaisika purana’ will be showered with  munificence of Lord…. For us hearing the Kaisika puranam in Divyadesam nearer will give us all benefits of a good pure happy life ; those who hear ‘kaisika purana’ will get His choicest blessings and perhaps all of us who read and think of Nampaduvaan and Lord would also be getting the bountiful blessings of Lord Sriman Narayana,

Parayana palan 
ஸ்ரீ வராஹப் பெருமாள் பிராட்டியிடம் உரைத்தது : " யார் ஒருவன் கார்த்திகை மாதம் சுக்ல பக்ஷ  த்வாதசி நாளில் -  நமக்கு முன்பாக கைசிக மகாத்மியம் வாசிக்கின்றானோ, வாசிப்பதை கேட்கிறானோ - அவன் நமக்கு என்றும் திருப்பல்லாண்டு பாடியபடி இருக்க கடவன்". இப்படி ராகம்/பக்தி  மூலமாகவே எம்பெருமானை அடைவதற்கான உபாயம்  உள்ளது.

Azhwar Emperumanaar Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Saranam. 

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

30th Nov. 2017.

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