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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Garuda Sevai - Crowds and Covid 2020

History is replete with chapters of human misery – of Nature’s fury, plague and other diseases, man’s avaricious wars and the like – the present situation was never envisaged !

About 2 months back 9.3.2020 was  Masi Magam – a day on which Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman visited  Bay of Bengal at Marina beach.  Garuda Seva is one occasion which attracts thousands of devotees.  If life had proceeded the way, we planned, today would have been day 3 of Sri Parthasarathi Perumal Chithirai brahmothsavam – grand Garuda Sevai.

                  The city of Chennai is not in great shape.  New novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) clusters have cropped up in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Chennai, due to the capital main vegetable and fruits market at Koyambedu emerging a ‘super-spreader’.  State suddenly is witnessing a spurt with  500 positive cases each day since the start of this week and total nos. racing to 5000. Tamil Nadu government announced an intensified lockdown from April 26 to 29 during which the Koyambedu market was allowed to function as it was. During this period, people resorted to panic buying on April 25. Due to this, many retail shops ran out of essentials, which forced the public to rush towards the Koyambedu wholesale market. Thousands of people visited the market paying no heed to social distancing norms, with many avoiding masks as well.  This  panic reaction was indeed not called for. At many shops across the city, there were huge crowds on the day before the ‘total lockdown’ came into effect.

Life is all about learning from mistakes ! ~ at least from now on – let us be responsible citizens or responsible family member the least – never venture out unless it is extremely essential .. .. Govt may have other priorities ‘revenue champion liquor shops’ would open – manufacturers and so many others stand to benefit at poor citizen’s cost – We are not thinking of economic cost of the tippler letting his hard earned money in arrack shop – more worried of the positivities that they may spread!

Brahmothsavam  is a grand festivity – each day it is different Vahanam, and Perumal has classy alankarams … on Garuda vahanam day, thousands gather early in the morning to catch glimpse of the Lord as he comes out of the gate (Gopura vasal darsanam).  On Garuda Sevai day, people from far and away come to the temple, offer vasthram (new clothes), place before Lord coconut, fruits & other offerings and have darshan of Lord in Garuda vahanam. 

Last year  ( 21.4.2019 ) was the grand Garuda Sevai of Sri Parthasarathi Perumal.  Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong person, has a white face, wings,  prominent beak, wears a crown – massive, strong – and more than anything else – ever devoted to Sriman Narayanan, carrying Him on his shoulders all the time. His devotion and being close to Emperuman all the time – Garuda, is admired as ‘Periya Thiruvadi’

It is a day of masses ~ teeming crowds, chanting the name of Lord Sriman Narayana, offering him everything including hundreds of vasthrams – all roads would read Mada veethis as people rush to have darshan of Lord on Garuda and enjoy the aesal and other festivities.

Sri Peyalwar speaks thus on Sriman Narayana’s appearance on  the vahanam :

பொலிந்திருண்ட கார்வானில் மின்னேபோல் தோன்றி,
மலிந்து திருவிருந்த மார்வன், - பொலிந்த
கருடன்மேல் கொண்ட கரியான் கழலே,
தெருடன்மேல் கண்டாய் தெளி.

Sriman Narayana appears riding on the mighty Garuda – to Alwar it is akin to  a glorious dark raincloud lit by a lightning, the most merciful Saviour of the Universe – Emperuman with lotus dame Sri Mahalakshmi on his chest – provides darshan seated on Periya thiruvadi Garuda. He ordains his heart, that having seen Emperuman’s  feet  through knowledge,  asks Heart to rise and understand the greatness of eternal Saviour Sriman Narayana.

The streaming bakthas had the pleasure of His darshan and here are some photos of people and people  - the bagavathas were so  pleased having seen our Lord.

At Thiruvallikkeni it would be Sri Peyalwar’s moonram thiruvanthathi and the sarrumurai pasuram is of special significance. Alwar directs us to fall and take the lotus feet of Emperuman.  He with eight hands at Attabujakaram divyadesam in the holy Kanchi – holds victorious eight weapons that have never heard of defeat, He who wields the Chakra that went sparkling towards the proud crocodile, killed it and saved the elephant King Gajendra purely because of his devotion.  Can there be any better refuge than His feet – let us fall and pray to the most benevolent Lord, our only Saviour.

தொட்டபடையெட்டும் தோலாத வென்றியான்,
அட்ட புயகரத்தான் அஞ்ஞான்று, - குட்டத்துக்
கோள்முதலை துஞ்சக் குறித்தெறிந்த சக்கரத்தான்
தாள்முதலே நங்கட்குச் சார்வு.

திருமயிலை பேயாழ்வார் வாக்கு :  எம்பெருமான் தனது கரங்களில் ஏந்தின  எட்டு திவ்யாயுதங்களை  பற்றிக்கொண்டு நமக்கு அருளும் என்றுமே தோல்வி என்பதே அறியாத ஜெயசீலன். அவ்வெம்பெருமான் திருக்கச்சி திருவட்ட புயகரத் திருப்பதியிலுள்ளவனும், முன்பொருகாலத்தில், நச்சு நீர்ப் பொய்கையிலே, மிடுக்குடைய முதலை வாழ்வுதான் முடியும்படியாக  இலக்குத் தப்பாமல் பிரயோகிக்கப்பட்ட திருவாழியையுடைய பெருமானது திருவடி தாமரைகளே - நம் அனைவருக்கும் சார்வு, பரமப்ராப்யம்.

This is a pasuram on Emperuman at Ashtabujagaram divyadesam near Thirukachi Devaperumal Thirukovil @ Rangasami kulam.  Here are 3 photos of Garuda sevai at this divyadesam taken by my friend Sri VN Kesavabashyam.

~ and .. .. today could locate some photos of Sri Thelliya Singar brahmothsavam – Garudasevai at Thiruvallikkeni divaydesam taken on 7.7.2006 (yes 14 years ago!) (the ones posted below)

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan.
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar
Posted on this day 26.3.2020.
Gratitude to  Sri Kachi Swami (Sri U Ve PB Annangarachar swami) –

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