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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Deepavali purappadu @ Triplicane - Pyrotechnics - the fireworks that lit the sky !!

Life offers so many opportunities to learn ! – there are so many people whom we need to admire !!  – on a festive Deepavali day, thousands congregated at Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam to have darshan of Acarya Swami Manavala Mamunigal and Sri Parthasarathi.


For Srivaishnavaites  at Thiruvallikkeni divaydesam and elsewhere, Deepavali is double bonanza ~ it combines  with Sri Manavala Mamunigal Uthsavam – this year on day 6 of the Uthsavam – Deepavali was  celebrated with fervour.  Deepavali is the festival of lights, is the most popular festivals of Hindus and is celebrated all over the world.  Deepavali symbolises the spiritual ‘victory of light over darkness and good over evil’.  During the celebrations every house gets  decorated by lighting díyas and drawing rangolis. 

During the evening special purappadu – thousands walked with Emperuman, some doing kainkaryam, some enjoying the festive mood of fireworks lighting the sky, some feeling happy being part of the crowd, few bursting crackers and more ! – then there was this group to (who are the subject matter of this post!) 


All pyrotechnic compositions evolve heat upon ignition, and this release of energy can be used to produce colour, motion, smoke, and noise. There are applications as well for the chemically- produced heat itself. The use of incendiary mixtures in warfare can be traced back to ancient times, when it provided an effective means of assaulting well-fortified castles. Naval warfare was revolutionized by  the use of flaming missiles to attack wooden ships, and much effort was put into improving the heat output, portability, and accuracy of these thermal weapons.  To understand the chemical nature of pyrotechnics, one must begin at the atomic level.  A couple of  hundred years of experiments and calculations have led to our present picture of the atom as the fundamental building block of matter.  (don’t even think of the atombomb of Deepavali – this is much more Science!) 

An atom consists of a small, dense nucleus containing positively-charged protons and neutral neutrons, surrounded by a  large cloud of light, negatively-charged electrons.  A particular element is defined by its atomic number – the number of protons in the nucleus (which will equal the number of electrons surrounding the nucleus in a neutral atom). For  example, iron is the element of atomic number 26, meaning that every iron atom will have 26 protons in its nucleus. Chemists use a one or two-letter symbol for each element to simplify communication; iron is given the symbol Fe, from the old Latin word for iron, ferrum. The sum of the protons plus neutrons found  in a nucleus is called the mass number. For some elements only one mass number is found in nature. 

A Firecracker is a diminutive  explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang, usually for celebration or entertainment. They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound. Firecrackers, are very popular and the town of Sivakasi, down South is very famous for manufacturing quality fire crackers.  For Deepavli, people  light up fireworks near their homes and in streets. Additionally, cities and communities have community fireworks. 

The word “ fireworks as a metaphor,   describes the higher flights of oratory, of literature, or of human strife, whether it be in Parliament or party meetings, or merely descriptive of domestic discord, is familiar, even threadbare, the metaphor has generally a humorous flavour. The rapture from many thousand throats, at the bursting of a flight of shell, or the darting up of the wonderfully tinted rays of the “ Magical Illumination ” at the Crystal Palace, maintain that the most dramatic moment on the stage is more affecting to the spectators. 

Pyrotechny is possibly the only art which can compete with nature ; anyone who has seen a first-class firework display will admit that for impressive grandeur, colour effects, and contrasts of light and shade, pyrotechny is unapproached.   Many artists have tried to record their impressions, but the results have been generally disappointing.  That fireworks are popular there is no doubt; no form of amusement is capable of giving enjoyment to so many people at one time; there is no entertainment which so appeals to youth and age of all classes and tastes. And yet it is doubtful if there is an industry concerning which the public at large is so profoundly ignorant.  To the average onlooker any firework which rises in the air is a rocket, any that revolve are Catherine wheels ; both of these assumptions are incorrect.  

What is the average conception of a firework factory ? A building, let us say, in which workmen, with sleeves rolled up, are busily engaged in shovelling heaps of gunpowder. How many know that a firework factory consists of dozens of small buildings, the construction of which is exactly defined by law, separated by spaces also specified by law ; that workmen may not roll up their sleeves in the danger buildings ; or that the amount of gunpowder in each building is strictly limited to a small quantity ? All of these restrictions being enforced with the view, of course, of limiting the effects of any explosion that may occur.  

12.11.2023 evening was phenomenal !!  -  Acaryan Manavala Mamunigal Uthsavam – Deepavali purappadu with Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman – Triplicane exploded !   so many many crackers and more than them beautiful fireworks -  one flip side is – one  10000 wallah leaves so much of heat and pile of rubbish and immediately, divyaprabandha goshti and Sripathamthangigal carrying Emperuman  walk on the road ! – and before them, even as the cinders remain partly extinguished, Mamunigal sripatham walks on them.


The purpose of our life is to do service to our Emperuman.  Swami Nammalwar ordains that - when we do kainkaryam to Lord (to Him at Thiruvenkadam), we must do service by being with HIM throughout our life and do as a slave would serve his master. Life in a divyadesam is always exhilarating – you get to mingle with so many persons whose life is entwined in service to Emperuman Sriman Narayana.  There are many many kainkaryams –   one would not have imagined this or may not have seen this earlier  -  people wielding broomsticks ! 

As Emperuman Sri Parthasarathi purappadu occurs,   thousands of crackers are burst, rockets, flower pots and many other items light the sky – one sees the skyline with hued colours .. .. .. as crackers are burst – the road itself  gets hotter, there could be remnants which could suddenly burst and it is difficult to walk on – at Thiruvallikkeni there was this group of volunteers, who without of thinking of anything else got  involved in cleaning the road to enable it being  good for the goshti, sripadham thangi and others to walk on -  more specifically for the Perumal to continue His purappadu. 

Sri Thirucherai Sarathy (fondly Lamba Sarathi to us) – is a Vadhyar, Swayamsevak, kudaikarar, Sripathamthangi –  has been sweeping s the deepvali rubbish regularly for Perumal purapadu over the past few years.   This year  AMR sundar, Tmt. Valli Ramachandran and few others joined them (there could be more – am posting the names of the people I saw and excuse me, if I had left out some!).  Grand purappadu continued even amidst slight drizzle threatening -  joyous occasion for all Triplicanites, celebrating Deepavali and having darshan of Acaryar and Emperuman. 


Fall at the feet of all Sri Vaishnavas and pray our Emperuman to give the intelligence of mind in being humble and never criticize or speak ill of those involved in every type of kainkaryam.


Azhwar Emperumanar Jeeyar thiruvadigale saranam

~adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar
Biblio : Chemistry of Pyrotechnics- John A Conkling; Pyrotechnics - the History and Art of Fireworks making by Ala St H Brock 

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