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Friday, December 30, 2011

Cyclone Thane brings water to Kairavini Pushkarini - Sri Parthasarathi Swami Temple tank

This place has significant attachment with the birth of the greatest Acharyar ‘Shri Bhagawad Ramanujar” – the reincarnation of Adi Seshan. The great scholar Asuri Sarvakruthu Keshava Dikshithar better known as Keshava Somayajiaar performed yagnam at the temple tank of Thiruvallikkeni and Sri Ramanujar was born to him and Kanthimathi.

In most traditional temples, one would find temple tanks in front of the temple.  Bathing in sacred waters of these tanks is believed to cure diseases and get rid of sins.  Temple tanks are wells or reservoirs built as part of the temple complex in Indian temples.  In Hindu way of life, water is considered sacred and pureficatory.  Protection and management of water supplies helped the Society at large.  The underlining the importance of temple tanks is not their sanctity alone, they serve  a very practical purpose - that of maintaining ground water tables and replenishing community water supplies.
The divyadesam of Thiruvallikkeni derives its name from the holy pond known as “kairavini pushkarini’ – the pond of lily flowers.  Sri Parthasarathi is Kairavani nathar.  

The holy tank of Lord Sri Parthasarathi – the ‘kairavini pushkarini’ was laid with cement in the mid 1970s.  In the recent years, SYMA was instrumental in implementing rain water harvesting.  There existed channels which brought the water from the temple – now there are more channels bringing in rain water to be preserved and raising the water table. 

Cyclone Thane did cause damage to parts of Tamil Nadu but copious water is flowing into the tank and the water level has risen well.  Here are a couple of photos of the Temple tank taken this morning

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The avoidable controversy elsewhere on ‘Srimad Bhagwad Gita’

I have no competence to write on the revered text ‘Bhagwad Gita’  - I know not Sanskrit nor do I recite Bhagwad Gita.  Some thoughts of mine and those of you well versed, may please pardon me, for any wrong committed

Even for a lay man, it is amply clear  - Bhagwad Gita was the message of Lord Sri Krishna on a battle field – the context was not War nor was it war-mongering but advice to his disciple on the ground zero – the battlefield.  It quintessentially is words of advice of eternal principles to live by as well as contextual guidance for any period of time.  The battle had been thrust upon the Pandavas after all options for peace extinguished – now the simple advice for the valiant Arjuna is ‘you have a duty to fight’ – that is the dharma of that hour – War was never the first option or the most sought after one but when there is no option, One cannot duck away and run away from one’s responsibility. 

After posting that one, read reports of Russia expressing sadness over the “Bhagwad Gita”  controversy.   In the wake of an uproar over a move to ban Bhagwad Gita in Siberia, Russia  expressed sadness over the development, saying it is "inadmissible" that a holy scripture is taken to court.

"It is strange that such events are unfolding in the beautiful university city in Siberia, as Tomsk which is famous for its secularism and religious tolerance," Alexander M Kadakin, Russian Ambassador in India said in a statement.  "Well, it seems that even the lovely city of Tomsk has its own neighborhood madmen. It is sad indeed."  "I consider it categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to the courts. For all believers these texts are sacred," the Ambassador said. "It is not normal either when religious books are sent for examination to ignorant people. Their academic scrutiny should be done at scientists' fora, congresses, seminars, etc but not in courts," he said.

Meanwhile, a Russian court today suspended its verdict till December 28 on the demand for banning Bhagavad Gita, which a group linked to the Christian Orthodox Church has described as 'extremist'.

The move triggered strong protests by Members of Parliament earlier in day. They wanted the Indian Government to take up the matter strongly with Russia.  "Russia, as it is known to anyone, is a secular and democratic country where all religions enjoy equal respect. Even more applicable it is to the holy scriptures of various faiths - whether it is the Bible, the Holy Quran, Torah, Avesta and, of course, Bhagavad-Gita -- the great source of wisdom for the people of India and the world," the Ambassador said.

One hopes that wisdom and sanity prevails……….. sarve jana sukhino bavanthu..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Monday, December 19, 2011

the subliminal BHAGWAD GITA ----- and the attempt against it in Russia

धृतराष्ट्र उवाच
      धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः
      मामकाः पाण्डवाश चैव किम अकुर्वत संजय

Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukshetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?"
I really feel for  my ignorance of Sanskrit and not knowing the “ Bhagwad Gita” – the holiest of scriptures.  How sinned are such people !

It is supreme knowledge – the words of Lord Krishna Himself !! – Srimad Bhagwad Gita contains 700 slokas and occurs in *BhishmaParva* of *Mahabharata*. Bhagvad Gita "is the manifest quintessence of all the teachings of Vedic scriptures."  It is the only knowledge that can take mankind to real freedom and real success. Gita  stipulates that real freedom is freedom from attachment, aversion, ego, greed, anger and fear. For Gita, real worship consists of doing one's duty with perfection without being distracted by thoughts of its outcome.  Bhagwad Gita is the magic that can liberate us from all bondages, doubts, self-imposed limitations, anxieties and fears to lead happier, fuller, contented, peaceful and supremely successful lives.  Detachment does not mean inaction or renunciation of action. Detachment means renunciation of expectation of reward of action.
If one be devoted to the constant practice of the Gita, even though he be restrained by Prârabdha Karma, yet is he Mukta, happy, in this very world. life is not tainted by  Karma.  The knowledge as ascertained from Bhagwad Gita is the absolute knowledge, imperishable, eternal, of the essence of My inexpressible State, the Knowledge comprising the whole of the three Vedas, supremely blissful and consisting of the realisation of the true nature of the Self,—declared by the All-knowing and Blessed Krishna, through his own lips, to Arjuna.
Bhagwad Gita is the journey of a despondent Arjuna who faced with the prospect of fighting his near and dear ones in the battle, has thrown away his weapons in the battlefield – to a self-assured Arjuna ready to fight.  Lord inspired Arjuna to complete his goal is well known but we fail to understand the simple fact that we also can raise ourselves to nobler levels by reading and following Bhagwad Gita.
The most profound spiritual preaching in the form of discourse of Supreme Lord Krishna Himself is the most popular and well known of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India. Always being revered as a true source of spiritual knowledge it reveals the purpose and goal of human existence.  The  eternal knowledge of Bhagawad Gita is  freely available to everyone all over the Earth, to all those who seek…  The direct audience to Lord Krishna’s discourse of the Bhagavad Gita included Arjuna (addressee), Sanjaya (using Divya Drishti (or divine vision) gifted by the sage Veda Vyasa to watch the war and narrate the events to Dhritarashtra), spirit of Lord Hanuman (perched atop Arjuna’s chariot) in his flag and Barbarika, son of Ghatotkacha, who also witnessed the complete 18 days of action at Kurukshetra.  The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gītopaniad, implying its having the status of an Upanishad, i.e. a Vedantic scripture.
The Gita consists of eighteen chapters[49] in total:  the first is Visada Yoga – where Arjuna requests Krishna to move his chariot between the two armies. When Arjuna sees his relatives on the opposing army side of the Kurus, he loses morale and decides not to fight.  The last is the Moksa-Upadesa Yoga: In conclusion, Krishna asks Arjuna to abandon all forms of dharma and simply surrender unto him. He describes this as the ultimate perfection of life.
You might have heard of Duma – of the various representative assemblies in modern Russia.  Tomsk is governed by a mayor and a 33-member city Duma.  ………… and Tomsk is in news for wrong reasons…..
Tomsk  located on Tom river is one of the oldest towns in Siberia.  A court in Siberia’s Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict,  in a case filed by state prosecutors.  The final pronouncement in the case will come two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his December 15-17 official visit for a bilateral summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, consolidated bilateral trade and strategic ties and personal friendship.The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June, seeks a ban on a Russian translation of the “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon).
It also wants the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declared a literature spreading “social discord”, its distribution on Russian soil rendered illegal.  In view of the case, Indians settled in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the Iskcon religious movement have appealed to Manmohan Singh and his government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the scripture, an important part of Indian epic “Mahabharata” written by sage Ved Vyas.
Iskcon followers in Russia  fear that the religious freedom of Hindus living there  would be compromised. The court, which took up the case filed by the state prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State University for "an expert" examination Oct 25.    Hindu groups in Russia, particularly followers of ISKCON, say the university was not qualified as it lacked Indologists who study the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent.  The Hindus pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance from a "majority religious group in Russia", and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld.   The prosecutor's case also seeks to ban the preachings of Prabhupada and ISKCON's religious beliefs, claiming these were "extremist" in nature and preached "hatred" of other religious beliefs.  "They have not just tried to get the Bhagavad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist," Das said.
In the Nov 1 letter addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON's New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor's affidavit claims Lord Krishna "is evil and not conforming to Christian religious view".
A book can be banned – but the greatness of BHADWAD GITA cannot be undermined by any Court rulings…….
Jai Sriman Narayana,
Hare Krishna
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Arulmigu Maayappiraan Thirukovil – Kuttanattu Thirupuliyur.

Of the 108 Divyadesams sung by Azhwaars and reverred by Sri Vaishnavaties, 13 are situated in Kerala and known as “Malai Nattu Divyadesangal” – one amongst them is Thiru Puliyur – situate closer to Chengannur.  It is around 126 kilometers away from Thiruvananthapuram on way to Cochin and as you travel from Chennai – after Ernakulam, comes Thirupunithura, Kottayam, Chenganacheri, Thiruvalla – then the Railway Station of Chenganoor.

This divyadesam is closer to Changanoor.  This is a divadesam sung by Thirumangai Azhwaar and Nammazhwaar.  Locally it is known as a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna.  

There are a few steps to be ascended at the entrance and on top we have darshan of Lord Mahavishnu in reclining posture.  Inside, in typical Kerala style is the big temple – with dwajasthambam and a narrow entrance.  

Lord Krishna known as ‘Mayappiran” is in standing posture.  The Gopuram is a single vimana style tiled rounded structure.

Here are some photos taken from outside the temple.

குட்டநாட்டு திருப்புலியூர் மாயப் பிரான்  திருக்கோவில்

மலைநாட்டு திவ்யதேசங்கள் என வழங்கப்படுபவை பதின்மூன்று -குட்டநாட்டு திருப்புலியூர் என வழங்கப்படும் இத்திருக்கோவில் திருவனந்தபுரத்தில் இருந்து கொச்சி வரும் பாதையில் சுமார் 126 கி.மீ தொலைவில் உள்ளது.  சென்னையில் இருந்து இத்தலம் சுமார் 800    கி.மீ தொலைவில்  உள்ளது. எர்ணாகுளம்,  கோட்டயம்,  செங்கணாச்சேரி,  திருவல்லா, கடந்து - செங்கண்ணூர் ரயில் நிலையம் உள்ளது. இங்கு இறங்கி இத் திவ்யதேசத்துக்கு செல்லலாம். 

திருமங்கை மன்னனும் நம்மாழ்வாரும் மங்களாசாசனம் பண்ணிய திருத்தலம் இது.  நம்மாழ்வார் காலத்தில் இப்பகுதியில் ஒரு பெரிய நகரம் இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும்.  இவ்வூர் குட்டநாடு  என்று அறியப்படுகிறது.   

திருக்கோவில் வாசலில் சில படிகள் உள்ளன. முகப்பில் சயனித்த
திருக்கோலத்தில் மஹா விஷ்ணு சேவை சாதிக்கிறார். படிகள்  ஏறி சற்று
நடந்து  த்வஜஸ்தம்பத்தை காணலாம்.  கேரளா பாணியில் குறுகிய படிகள் வழியாக உள்ளே சென்றால் - ஒற்றை கும்பமும், குவிந்த வடிவமைப்புமாக பல ஓடுகளுடன் கூடிய அழகான விமானம் உள்ளது.  இவ்விமானம் புருஷோத்தம / புருஷஸுக்த விமானம் எனப்படுகிறது.   சன்னதி உள்ளே  பெருமாள் கண்ணன்
கிழக்கு நோக்கி நின்ற திருக்கோலத்தில்அருளுகிறார்.  சப்தரிஷிகள்  "ஸ்ரீமன்   நாராயணனே தேவதைகளுக்கு எல்லாம் உத்தமன்" என பரதேவதா நிர்ணயம் செய்யுமாறு கிருஷ்ணர் - மாயப்பிரான் என ப்ரத்யக்ஷம்   ஆனதாக
ஐதீஹம்.  சப்த ரிஷிகள் அனைவரும் பெருமாள் ஒருவரே பரம்பொருள். மற்ற அனைத்தும் மாயை என வழிபாடு செய்ய,  பெருமாள் மாயப்பிரானாக காட்சி அளித்த திருத்தலம் இது.

இத்தலத்து திருக்கோவிலை, பீமன் ஜீர்னோத்தாரணம் செய்தாராம்.
திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் தனது "சிறிய திருமடலில்" ` ~~~~~~  "பேராலி தண்கால் நறையூர் திருப்புலியூர்" எனவும் நம்மாழ்வார்  திருவாய்மொழி எட்டாம் பத்து ஒன்பதாம் திருவாய்மொழியில் பத்து பாடல்கள்  - மங்களாசாசனம் செய்துள்ளனர்.   கருமாணிக்க மலைமேல் எனும் பத்தில் - நம்மாழ்வார் - 'செழுநீர் வயல் குட்டநாட்டுத் திருப்புலியூர்; சுனையினுள் தடந்தாமரை மலரும் தண் திருப்புலியூர்" எனவாரெல்லாம் பாடியுள்ளார்.
திருவாய்மொழி 8-9-10 :
அன்றி மற்றோர் உபாயமென், இவளந்தண்துழாய் கமழ்தல்*
குன்ற மாமணி மாட மாளிகைக் கோலக் குழாங்கள் மல்கி*
தென்திசைத் திலதம்புரை குட்டநாட்டுத் திருப்புலியூர்*
 நின்ற மாயப்பிரான் திருவருளாம் இவள் நேர்பட்டதே (3545)  - என

மாபெரும் மணிகள் பதிக்கப்பட்டு குன்றம் போல் உயர்ந்தோங்கும் மாளிகைகளின் நடுவில் எந்நேரமும் பக்தர்களின் கூட்டம் நிறைந்திருக்க தென்திசைக்கு திலகம் போல் விளங்கும் குட்டநாட்டுத் திருப்புலியூரில் துளசிமாலையின் மனம் கமழ நின்றிருக்கும் மாயப்பிரானுக்கு என் உள்ளம் நேர் படுவதைத் தவிர இதற்கு வேறு என்ன வழி இருக்கக்கூடும் என்று நம்மாழ்வாரால் திருப்பாசுரம் பெற்றது  இந்த திவ்யஸ்தலம்.  

அடியேன் ஸ்ரீனிவாச தாசன்

View of temple from the road

Close up view of the Gopuram (Maha Vishnu)

 The path leading to dwajasthambam

 View of dwajasthambam and entrance


Sannathi - view from the back side


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kaisika Dwadasi Mahatmiyam - the story of Nam Paduvaan

Today [7th Dec 2011]   is an all important day for Srivaishnavaites– ‘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].  Today is “Kaisika Dwadasi”.  In Divyadesams, most importantly at Thirukurungudi, Thiruvarangam and in Thiruvallikkeni – ‘kaisika puranam’ is read before the Lord.  Today, evening there will be veedhi purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi at Triplicane.

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 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.  This went on for 10 and more years…..

One year while on the way to the temple 0f  Thirukurungudi, perhaps Malai Nambi sannathi, which is situate on hill in dense forestry, Nampaduvan was confronted by a Brahma Rakshas. This Rakshas tells Nampaaduvaan that he would eat him. Nampaduvan humbly requests that he had 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 states that none in this material 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.  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 pan in tamil); the last pasuram rendered was kaisika pan.

Completing his determined wish, he returns as stated back to Brahmarakshas.   While returning Nampaduvan is interrupted by Sri 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 and in the series of discussions that went on rakshas wanted atleast 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. The palan of pan (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 and today the descendants of Bhattar chant the puranam on kaisika dwadasi day at Srirangam.

This morning it was read out in characteristic manner by Sri U.Ve M. A. Venkatakrishnan Swami at Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple.   It is stated that the 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. 

As you would know, Thirukurungudi divyadesam is in Tirunelveli District, nearer Nanguneri – the greatest place for Thennacharya Sri Vaishanavas, better known as Vanamaamalai.    Apart from the big temple looking like a Fort,   there is another temple atop the hill known as ‘Malai Nambi Kovil’.

The World exists on promises and fulfillment of them and the story of Nam Paduvaan only describes the greatest virtues of those devoted and commited to Lord.  They will never err or sin in life. 

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 ; those who hear ‘kaisika purana’ will also 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

Azhwar Emperumanaar Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Saranam

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

I had posted on this 2 years earlier, yet writing again [with some additional inputs and for those newly added to my group]

Nambi Rayar Kovil Entrance

Azhagiya Nambi Rayar Gopuram

Panoramic view of Malai Nambi Thirukovil.

Malai Nambi Gopuram