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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thiruvallikkeni Sri Varadharajar Garuda Sevai & .. " Doddachaar Sevai"

Dear (s)  
For a  Srivaishnavaite, Perumal Koil refers to “Sri Varadharaja Swamy temple’ at Kanchipuram.  Legend has it that Brahma performed Asvamedha yaga at mokshapuri i.e., Kanchi and Lord Vishnu emerged out of the fire with Sanku Chakram. It is believed that the annual Uthsavam was initiated by Brahma himself. Indira’s white elephant Iravatham took the form of a hill called Hastigiri on which shrine of Varadharajar is located. This Swami is known by various names, prominent among them being : Devarajar, Devathirajar, Thepperumal, Varadhar, PerArulalar …

The annual brahmothsavam is now on and today (Wednesday, 14th May 2014)  is the famous Garuda Sevai – when Lord is taken in procession on vahanam of Garuda also known as Periya Thiruvadi. Garuda was born to Kaashyapar and Vinathai (Vinathai siruvan siraguennum  ena pasuram]

My Acharya is Cholasimhapuram Doddayachaaryar (presently Sri U. Ve. Kovil Kanthadai Chandamarutham Singarachaar Swamy) . Garuda Seva has special significance for Kanchi, Sholinghur because of Swami Doddayachaaryar connection.   The Sri Vaishnavaite and Thennacharya Sampradhayam places great emphasis on following the path shown by Acharyan and our Sampradhayam is pround of the rich  lineage of greatest of Acharyars who have guided us towards salvation.  One can easily discern from the  Great ‘Thaniyan’ of Swami Koorathazhwaan that we observe daily - “Lakshminatha samarambaam, Nathayamuna madhyamam – Asmath Achaarya paryanthaam, vanthe Guru parambaram”  - We the Sishyas of Swami belong to the lineage, which emanated from the Holy feet of Sri Periya Perumal, Periya Pirattiar, Senai Muthalvar, Nammazhwar, Naathamunigal, Uyyakkondar, Manakkal Nambigal, Aalavanthar, Periya Nambi, Emperumaanar, Koorathazhwar, Mudaliandan, Embaar, Battar, Nanjeeyar, Nampillai,  Vadakku Thiruveethipillai, Pillai Logachariyar, Thiruvoimozhipillai, Maanavala Maamunigal, Vaanamamalai Jeeyar to  Doddacharyar (of whose lineage we have the present head – Sri Singarachaaryar Swami)

As our Swami observed, even in Kali Yuga – Perumal had direct interaction with Thirukachi Nambigal and our Doddacharyar Swami.  Garuda Seva has special significance not only for Kanchi, more so for  Sholinghur because of Swami Doddachaaryar connection. Forefather of the present day Acharyar, who lived during 16th century, was an ardent devotee of Lord Varadharaja and did many kainkaryams to Him. He was a regular in the annual Vaikasi Garuda Sevai of Devathirajar. Legend has it that on a particular year, he was not well and could not attend the Garudothsavam at Kachi. He was feeling desperate about his misfortune of not being able to have darshan of PerArulalar at Kachi on Garuda vahanam. He lamented standing near the Thakkan kulam at Cholasimhapuram (Sholinghur]. He composed hymns on Varadharaja, known as Sri Devaraja Panchakam. He longed for the Lord's sevai and these outpourings were a direct result.

Emperuman will never let his ardent bhaktha down. He came down to Sholinghur and gave darshan to Doddacharyar - seated on Garuda vahanam. Such is the mercy and leela vinotham of PerArulalar.  Even today, on Vaikasi Garudothsavam day, there is a tradition known as Doddachaaryar Sevai, when the archakas hide Lord Varadar at the western gate for a short time with two umbrellas just before He leaves the temple.  It is believed that Lord goes to Sholinghur for giving darshan to Doddacharyar. The mangala harathi takes place thereafter.

In the Devaraja Panchakam, Acharyan [Doddachaaryar] sings that .’Lord Varadarajan is radiant on the back of Garudan --the son of Vinathai—and is flanked on both sides by the twin sets of white umbrellas and Kavari deer tail chamarams (fans). His sacred, lotus-soft right hand is held in abhaya mudhra pose assuring all that He will free them from all their fears. His beautiful lotus-like eyes rain anugraham on all the beholders. Adiyen salutes always that Sarva Mangala Moorthy emerging out of His aasthaanam through the western gopuram on the third day of His Vaikasi Brahmothsavam.

Understand that there were 5 Thirumaligais of the lineage of Doddacharyar  earlier.  Presently there are only two - the family of Swami Periyappangar Swami - of whose lineage is our varthamana Acharyar - Sri Ubhaya Vedantha Kovil Kanthadai Chandamarutham Singarachar Swamy;  the other is that of Swami Vedanthachaar.

Here are some photos taken this morning during the purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni. 

Adiyen Srinivasadhasan.

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