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Monday, February 23, 2015

Thirumalai Ananthan Pillai 961st Thiru Avathara Mahothsavam ~ Thirumala 2015

The name 'Pandavapura' means "Town of Pandavas".  Pandavapura having paddy and sugarcane fields is 130 km from Bangalore and 25 km from Mysore. There are many jaggery manufacturing units too adding sweetness to the town which has Cauvery water flowing through Visweswarayya Canal.  To us, devout Sri Vaishnavaites, this place – to be specific a small village known as Siruputhur ‘Kiranganoor’ [Hale Kiranguru] in Srirangapatna taluk is of significance as it is associated with one of our Acharyars ~ and can you connect it the Holiest of places “Thirumala Thirupathi” . 

Sri Ananthazhwaan was born in year 1053 near Mysore in a village called ‘siruputhoor’ ~ now called Hale Kiranguru.  When Udayavar was rendering kalakshepam on Thiruvaimozhi, (the verse – sindhu poo magizhum Thiruvengadathu – meaning the place replete with flowers), Udayavar asked whether anybody would do the pushpa kainkaryam at Thirumala.  Remember, Tirupathi was a very dense jungle ridden with wild animals with adverse weather.  Ananthazhwaan readily came forward and said that he would go, if Udayavar so desires.  Udayavar was so elated that he praised Ananthazhwaan as the real man and till date, his descendents have the name ‘Thirumalai Ananthanpillai’ meaning manly.

திருமலையில் சிறப்பு வைபவம் -
திருமலை அனந்தான்பிள்ளை திருவவதார மகோத்சவம் :
Thirumalai Ananthan Pillai Uthsavam at Thirumala 2015

Fortunate to attend the 961st  Thiruvavathara Uthsvam of Thirumalai Ananthan Pillai held at Thirumala Tirupathi on Sunday 22nd Feb 2015.

As ordained by Swami Ramanujacharya, Thirumalai Ananthalwan, a great Acharyar did devoted service for Thiruvengadamudayan, about 1000 years ago.  Sure you would have had darshan of Lord Venkateswara – Tirupathi Balaji so many times – have you not noticed the ‘crowbar’ kept at the Main entrance to the temple and do you know it's legend.  If not, do observe and bow obeisance the next time, you enter the Holy entrance at Thirumala.

Of the many divyadesams sung by Azhwaargal, Thirumala occupies a very prominent position.  Our Acharyan Emperumanaar (Udayavar, Ramanujar, Bashyakarar……….) did many service to the Lord here and Udayavar was instrumental in many of the religious practices being established in Thirumala.  His disciple ‘Thirumalai Ananthazhwaan’  served the Lord here as ordained by his Acharyar. 

Legend has it that Ananthazhwaan was organizing ‘a flower garden’ – he was constructing a lake for supply of water on the hills – an extremely arduous work.  Lord Balaji in one of His Thiruvilayadals, came to the place and tried helping him.  Wrongly assuming the person as hindering the work, Ananthazhwaan threw the crowbar at the Lord (without knowing Him); later realised his folly and got the Divine Blessings of Lord.  This  crowbar is now seen at the entrance of the Templeof Supreme Lord Thiruvengadam Udaiyaan.  Thirumalai Ananthazhwaan continued his floral and other services to Lord Srinivasar for many years. He was so devoted in his service ordained by Ramanujacharya that for him, it was service that was of primary importance, even when compared to God.   In the holy shrine of Thirumala, there is the beautiful sannathi of Sri Ramanujacharya.   The Vigraham of Sri Ramanujar that we worship inside the Sri Vari Temple was given by Udayavar himself and installed by Ananthalwar. 

The garden created by Ananthazhwaan is now known as ‘Puraisaivari Thottam’.  It lies on the back side of the temple near Chinna Jeeyar Mutt and one can reach this place through the Thirumala Museum also.    Now there is a beautiful brundavanam at this place maintained by the descendents of Thirumalai Ananthazhwaan.  The lake created by him now stands majestically as ‘Ramanuja lake” replete with water on the hill !!   Twice in a year,  Sri Malayappar visits this place [Baag Savari]  and honours Ananthazhwaan now in the form of Magizha maram.  ‘Sri Venkatesa Ithihasa maala’ is considered the best amongst the many works of Thirumalai Ananthazhwaan

For the past few years, anniversary Uthsavam of Sri Ananthazhwaan is being celebrated at his place at Thirumala.   It is being organized by his descendents, well supported by Thirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam, through its ‘Alwar Divya Prabandha Project’.   Almost a decade back, when it was organized for the first time, the place wore not so great looks, but over the years has been improved and maintained so well that it is a fitting tribute to Thirumalai Ananthazhwaan who did yeoman service to Lord Srinivasar. 

This year it was 961st  Birth day celebrations which was  very well organized.  His Holiness Thirumalai Periya Kelviappan Sri Satakopa Ramanuja Periya Jeeyar Swami,  His Holiness Thirumalai Ilaiya Kelviappan Sri Govinda Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar  Swami,  His Holiness Sriperumpudur Embaar Jeeyar Swami,  His Holiness Melkote Yadugiri Yathiraja Jeeyar Swami, Thirukovalur Jeeyar Swami  presided over the divyaprabandha goshti. There were hundreds of Kalakshepa Athigarigal,  Athyapakars from various divyadesams, Ubaya Vedantha periyavargal and many youngsters who participated in the ‘Thiruvaimozhi Goshti’.  There were kalakshepams by renowned scholars too.

Let us worship the feets of Thirumalai Ananthazhwaan who was renowned for his knowledge, devotion, steadfastness and more good qualities. Some photos taken during the celebrations are here  :

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan. 

the magizha maram - Acharyar himself and his statue below

the story of Acharyar Ananthazhwan

Swami Udayavar Ananthazhwanai niyamithal
Ananthazhwar doing kainkaryam to Thiruvengadamudaiyan

Swami Emperumanar sannathi inside Thirumala Temple

Srinivasar purappadu to thiruvarasu of Ananthazhwar and mariyadhai

Jeeyars at the Function

Sri Ramanujar pushkarini at purasaivari thottam

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