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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Praying Emperuman during difficult times : ஒள்ளியீர், உம்மை யல்லால் எழுமையும் துணையிலோமே.

                        3 months ago it was Masi Magam - 27.2.2021 - a day on which the Ocean (Bay of Bengal) becomes much happier – for Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman visits bay of Bengal at Marina beach.   .. ..  could not forget remembering the past –  the year before -  Masi magam purappadu for Sri Parthasarathi occurred on  9.3.2020; then there was Gajendra varadhar thavanothsavam, Sri Azhagiya Singar thavanothsavam (3 days)    15.3.2020   –   then Corona struck .. .. for  296 days there was no purappadu.  This year,   Apr 9, 2021, Udayavar had purappadu in the morning and  evening – on day 1 of His Thiruvavathara uthsavam and .. .. after that no purappadu.  From 26.4.2021, Temples are closed to devotees and we are not in a position to have darshan of Emperuman.  Sad !!

Year 2020 and now 2021 have been far different than the previous years of our experience !  People have been forced to remain indoors (if only everyone had adhered to this properly – the spread would have been much much less !).  Many of us are feeling the stress of remaining ‘incommunicado’.  We are not able to visit our friends, relatives even for emergencies as fear has gripped humanity.  Temples remain closed and WE are unable to have solace of darshan of Emperuman.

Chennai is no Kurukshetra, Panipat or Plassey – perhaps we have not witnessed great wars.  There have been few occasions, when Chennaites had to remain aloof separated but .. .. the one now We are experiencing is different !  looking at the annals of History – Chennai (and Triplicane too) had gone through tough difficult times.

The Great Famine of 1876–1878 was a famine in India under Crown rule. It began in 1876 after an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau.  It affected south and Southwestern India—the British-administered presidencies of Madras and Bombay, and the princely states of Mysore and Hyderabad—for a period of two years.   The famine ultimately affected an area of 670,000 square kilometres   and caused distress to a population totalling 58,500,000. The excess mortality in the famine has been estimated in a range whose low end is 5.6 million human fatalities, high end 9.6 million fatalities – it was known as    Madras famine of 1877 and wiped out a major portion of the population bringing alongside distress.  British handled negligently, inefficiently and were not caring for the people.

Then there have been some wars too.  Fort St David, now in ruins, was a British fort near the town of Cuddalore, a hundred miles south of Chennai on the Coromandel Coast of India. It is located near silver beach without any maintenance. It was named after  saint of Wales because the Governor of Madras at the time, Elihu Yale, was Welsh.

The Battle of Madras or Fall of Madras took place in September 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession when a French force attacked and captured the city of Madras from its British garrison. French forces occupied Madras until the end of hostilities when it was exchanged for the British conquest of Louisbourg in North America as part of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. One of the British defenders, Robert Clive made his name by escaping from the French captors and carrying news of the city's fall to his superiors at Fort St David.   On 9 September the Governor of Madras, Nicholas Morse sued for peace. The terms offered to him by La Bourdonnais were surprisingly generous – the French were to take over the fort and warehouses, but the rest of the town would remain under British control. 

History records that Triplicane (including Sri Parthasarathi swami temple) was for some time under the Dutch who were associated with French.  In all probability those war-torn times, there could have been incessant attacks involving French, Portugese and Britishers.  History records that on 7th Sept 1746, the inhabitants of Madras woke to find a French fleet sitting offshore – and an expedition of soldiers being landed on the shore. The French ships opened fire on the town – but with little effect, struggling to find the correct range and by nightfall a large portion of the garrison had been lulled into a false sense of security. The following morning the French resumed their bombardment from both land and shore, this time with much more accuracy. The fortifications of Madras had been poorly constructed and were largely unable to resist such an attack. As the number of British casualties grew, the morale of the discipline of the troops collapsed. After a direct strike on the liquor stores, a number of soldiers abandoned their posts and drank themselves into a stupor !  

During the First World war, there was an bombardment -  initiated by the German light cruiser Emden at the outset of the war in 1914. With Captain Karl von Müller in command, on the night of 22 September 1914, SMS Emden quietly approached the city of Madras on the southeastern coast of the Indian peninsula. After entering the Madras harbour area, Müller illuminated six large oil tanks belonging to the Burmah Oil Company with his searchlights, then fired at a range of 3,000 yards. After ten minutes of firing, Emden had hit five of the tanks and destroyed 346,000 gallons of fuel, and the cruiser then successfully retreated. Most of the residents of the city were fleeing !

In 1942, the Govt advised the residents to flee for safety.   Within 48 hours, with no confidence that the Empire would protect them, 300,000 people fled Madras – a third of the city’s population. Within a week, half a million had left. The immediate fear was of bombing raids, followed by Japanese forces invading from the east, crossing the peninsula and shutting down the port of Bombay.  However,  Madras was not bombed that year. Japan’s carrier group was ordered back to meet the revived US fleet, and was destroyed in the Pacific War. The Japanese threat to Madras, before it faded from local history, was used as the setting for Tamil novels and films, notably Shivaji Ganesan’s cult classic Parasakthi (1952).

During that time on April 7, the air-raid alert rudely woke people up at 4.35 in the morning. The hour that followed was probably the longest torturous hour the city would have faced. When an ‘all-clear’ signal was sounded at 5.55 a.m. to everyone’s relief, no bombs had been dropped and no shots had been fired. There was no damage, but panic swept Madras. About 50,000 people fled the city everyday. The trains were madly crowded. Those who reached the station in the evening found the platforms dark without lights. Some were worried that the sound of the alerting siren would not reach them amidst the din of the station. People left in a hurry leaving their houses locked. Streets were empty and restaurants and lodgings closed. Prisoners were shifted to jails in Andhra Pradesh by special trains; wild animals in the zoo were shot as a precautionary measure. The bustling metropolis shut itself down to “sombre silence.”

But .. .. the city, the people have all recovered though slowly is what History teaches us – that way Covid 19 too would have its end.  We need to fight it with our strong mental will and resilience  - let us pray our Emperuman that sooner Corona becomes a thing of the past .. .. only Emperuman is our Saviour. 

உள்ளமோ ஒன்றில் நில்லாது ஓசையின் எரி நின்றுண்ணும்

கொள்ளிமேல்  எறும்பு போலக் குழையுமால் என்றனுள்ளம்,

தெள்ளியீர் தேவர்க்கெல்லாம் தேவராயுலகம் கொண்ட

ஒள்ளியீர், உம்மை யல்லால் எழுமையும் துணையிலோமே.

-      திருமங்கை மன்னனின் - திருக்குறுந்தாண்டகம் பாசுரம்


மாந்தர்கள் பற்பல இன்னல்களுக்கு ஆளாகின்றனர்.... எனினும் கடந்த சிலமாதங்களில் கொரோனா தீநுண்மி மனித இனத்தையே ஆட்டி உலுக்கி, பெரும் மனஉளைச்சலுக்கு ஆளாக்கியுள்ளது.  நாம் துயரப்படும் போது எம்பெருமானிடம் பிரார்த்திப்போம்.  இப்போது திருக்கோவில்கள் மூடப்பட்டு உள்ளதால், மேலும் சஞ்சலம்.  இதயபூர்வமாக நாம் நாடி அனுதினமும் வணங்கும் இறைவனிடமே இதையும் முறையிடுவோம்.  எம்பெருமான் ஸ்ரீமந்நாரணனை பிரார்த்திப்போம். சூழலில் உள்ள பல்வேறு துயரங்களை கண்டு சலனப்படும் உள்ளமோ  ஒரு விஷயத்திலும் பொருந்தி நிற்கிறதில்லை; ஓசையோடு கூடின அக்னி கவ்விநின்று உண்ணப்பெற்ற  கொள்ளியில்  இடையே அகப்பட்ட சிறு எறும்பு போலே  எனது நெஞ்சானது குழைந்து நைகின்றது.  அந்தோ!  இவ்வாறு உள்ளபடியினால்  தெளிந்த ஸ்வபாவத்தையுடையீராய்  தேவாதி தேவனாயிருந்து  எம்மைக் காக்கவல்ல தேஜஸ்வியானவரே!  எந்த நிலைமையிலும்  எம்பெருமானாகிய உம்மைத்  தவிர்த்து வேறு துணையற்றவர்களாய்  இருக்கின்றோம்.  உந்தன் திருப்பாதங்களில் பணிந்து உந்தனிடமே முறையிடுகிறோம். இக்கொடுமைகளை எல்லாம் நீங்கி மனித இனத்தை, எங்களை காப்பாற்றி ரட்சிப்பீர்களாக ! 

At Thiruvallikkeni the situation is totally new for us – in a place where we would have celebrations for 300 days of an year, we are not in a position to have darshan even.  Even the Samprokshanam happens in phases at Thiruvallikkeni – so that is Sri Parthasarathi has balalayam, we can have darshan or Sri Azhagiya singar and Sri Varadharajar and otherwise.  Here are some photos of the gopuram view during Sri Parthasarathi samprokshanam in 2015 and some photos of Sri Parthasarathi perumal Amavasai purappadu on 12.1.2021. 

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar

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