Swamy Koorathazhwan, foremost disciple of Swamy Ramanuja who was the embodiment of true compassion and humility….


Shrivathsa chinha mishrebhyo nama uktheem adheemahe!

Yadhukthasyas thrayee kante yaanthi manggala soothrathaam!!

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Salutations to  the great mahaan Srivathsa Chinha Misra (Swamy Koorathazhwan) whose Sri Sookthis became the thirumangaalyam  ( mangalasoothram ) of Veda Maatha.

Swamy  Koorathazhwan appeared during the year 1010 AD at the  Kooram village about 16 kms from Kanchipuram, the temple town of Tamilnadu (Sowmya varusham  on Thai –Hastham star during  Jan-Feb as per English calendar ) to Sri Ananthan and Perundevi . Swamy is considered to be the amsam of “Srivatsam” which adorns  Lord’s chest.  As this mark is very close to where Thayar resides, he invariably inculcated Thayar’s  abundant compassion.

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Swamy  Koorathazhwan is  glorified as the “pavithram” of Swamy Ramanujar  thus proving his closeness to Swamy Ramanujar.  Swamy Ramanujar felt incomplete without Mudaliandan Swamy and Koorath azwan. MudaliAndaan  is considered as “Yathiraja Padhuka and Dhandam( tridandam which a sanyasi hold in his hand) . Swamy  Kooratathazhwan  is considered as Pavithram worn by Swamy Ramanujar. This has been revealed by Acharyar when he meets Swamy Thirughostiyur Nambi at Thirughostiyur .

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Swamy was also glorified as “Haaritha kula thilakar “(the best among born in Haritha kulam ) and belonged to an affluent wealthy family.  He was the chieftain of the entire village  of Kooram.

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He was an extremely intelligent who could grasp knowledge by  hearing once only .  He was a human  personification of compassion, generosity  and humility.

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Compassion, humanity, tolerance, shedding ego, detachment from material things, being faithful, being truthful,  feeding the needy, not harming anyone either by word,deed, thought , pardoning people who inflict harm on us, respecting elders , unflinching devotion at the lotus feet of  Acharyar Swamy Ramanujar with the firm faith contemplating only on Lord  Sriman Narayanan and not resorting to worship  of any demi god  were  the qualities of Swamy Koorathazhwan

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Koorathazhwan had a close association with Swamy Ramanujar at Kanchipuram even before  Swamy Ramanujar embraced Sanyasam and became the pontiff of Srivaishnavism. He lived with his family in Kooram  and continued with  dhadhiaaradhana kainkaryam.  Later after Swamy Ramanujar took up sanyasam and went to Srirangam, as per Lord’s sankalpam an incident took place which changed the life of Kooratazhwan from a wealthy person to “Ramanuja dasan”

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It so happened that one night after dhadhiaaradhana kainkaryam was over, the doors of Kooratazhwan’s thirumaligai were closed with a big bang and the sound emanated from the bells of the door could be heard by Perundevi Thayar at Kanchipuram . Thayar enquired from Perumal about it for which Perumal replied that it was from the wealthy Kooratazhwan’s thirumaligai and extolled his kainkaryam to Thayar.  It was divine will to bless him with more kainkaryam and the divya dampathigal ordered Thirukachi nambigal who was fanning them to bring Azhwan to their presence.

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Thirukachi nambigal reached Kooram and informed Azhwan about the discussion Perumal and Thayar had regarding his wealth. Had any person been in his place, he would have jumped with joy to hear about Perumal’s description.  Kooratazhwan repented for his mistake that the noise emanated from the door disturbed the divya dampathigal and without a second thought distributed the entire wealth to the needy and set out to Srirangam to take asrayanam at Swami Ramanujar’s holy feet.

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While traversing through the forest, he observed that his wife was worried about something and on enquiry learnt that she was carrying a golden bowl for him to have food.  Kooratazhwan threw away the golden bowl saying that they were going to surrender to Ramanujar which was  very precious compared to this gold. Such was his vairaagyam.

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Koorathazhwan excelled in study of Vedas and scriptures and put them into practice.  He considered the entire Universe to be Perumal’s children and  ensured that everyone was properly taken care of by giving food which is required for sustenance.  He used to relentlessly  do “dhadhiyaaradhanai”(anna dhaana kainkaryam) every day from morning to night  as he believed that the wealth bestowed on him by the kind grace of the Lord should be utilised in a proper way.

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In the Divya Prabhandam ,  Ramanuja Nootrandhadhi, the great disciple of Swamy Ramanuja , Swamy  Thiruvarangathu amudanaar  praises Koorathazhwan in the 7th pasuram as

“Mozhiyai kadakkum Perum Pugazhaan* Vanjha Mukkurumbaam

Kuzhiyaik kadakkum* nam Koorathaazhwaan charan koodiya pin**

Pazhiyaik kadaththum Iraamanusan*pugazh paadi allaa

Vazhiyaik kadaththal*enakkiniyaadhum varththamanrey

In the above pasuram, Thiruvarangathu Amudanaar praises his Acharyan  Swamy Koorathazhwan with whose grace he got Ramanuja sambandham.  Before becoming disciple of Swamy Ramanujar,  he was known as “Peria kovil nambi” and was in charge of temple administration, reading puranams, doing prohitam etc .in both Perumal and Thayar sannidhi.  However, initially he was not comfortable with Swamy Ramanujar  directions whom Namperumal made incharge for ubhaya vibhutis(in charge of material and spiritual world) .He didn’t part with the rights of temple administration and hence Swamy Ramanujar could not proceed with  much reforms.

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Kooratazhwan as per Ramanujar’s advise undertook the task of slowly molding  Peria kovil nambi and was  thus successful.  Swamy Ramanujar could make  the necessary reforms in Srirangam temple which is being followed till date. Later, Peria kovil nambi realised Ramanujar’s greatness and approached him to be accepted as his disciple.  As Swamy felt that Kooratathazhwan was responsible for his transformation, he directed him to accept Koorathazhwan as his acharyar. Azhwan named him Thiruvarangathu amudanaar.  Amudanar cites this as “Koorathazhwan charan koodiya pin…”in Ramanuja Nootrandhadhi.

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Another interesting fact is that this is the only pasuram which praises Ramanujar’s thiruvadi sambandham and thus establishes koorathazhwan’s greatness.

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Koorathazhwan though  very intelligent, handsome, was very wealthy , had all the good qualities. Despite  all these  , he didn’t have slightest iota of ego.  Amudanar refers to these qualities as “Vanjha mukkurumbaam…”. Normally, a person even if he has anyone of the above quality would be puffed up by ego  .Koorathazhwan was an embodiment of all virtues and was very humble and poised.

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He had compassion  not only to humans but also to animals and plants.  As mentioned earlier, he felt that all are God’s children and ensured that no one remains hungry. Hence he used to always feed the needy. Many incidents in his life speak about Azhwans compassion to the world he lived .

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Once ,   when a frog was caught by a snake and was wailing, Koorathazhwan who was tender hearted fainted hearing the frog’s plight.  In another instance, when he went into the banana plantation for cutting leaves to be used for serving food, he fainted when he saw milk oozing out of the banana stem .  Such was his compassion and humanity.

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His ego never propped up when Udayavar asked him to go for 11th day ceremony at Periakovil nambi’s place. When Periakovil nambi’s mother passed away, he approached Ramanujar to help him by sending someone for being part of the 11th day ceremony when the person himself is treated as the departed soul and offerings are made.  Only when the person is satisfied, the ritual is deemed  to be complete. The person who goes in that form would be abstained from participating in any religious ceremonies for a period of one year.  So it was difficult to find a person who would budge into his request.

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Kovil peria nambi requested Ramanujar to send one of his disciples for the purpose. Ramanujar felt that Kooratathazhwan alone could complete his task and advised him.  Kooratathazhwan who could read Swamy Ramanujar’s desire participated in the 11th day ceremony and  when he was asked as to whether he was satisfied he replied in negative.  When Periakovil nambi offered him to give anything for appeasement, Koorathazhwan asked him to hand over his temple responsibilities.

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 Periakovil nambi had to budge in.  Koorathazhwan submitted the same to Ramanujar’s lotus feet.  Swamy Ramanujar took incharge of the temple activities and assigned the job of purana patanam(reading puranam) and prohitam(main priest) to Koorathazhwan.  These activities are till date being followed by Koorathazhwan’s descendants.

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Once while returning from Kaveri after having holy bath, he helped a pregnant woman by helping her to lift the water pitcher   unmindful of to which caste she belonged to.  In those days, orthodox people would be hesitant to do such activities but for our Azhwan , humanity was equal to Godliness.

To fulfill Yamunacharyar’s desire of writing a commentary for Brahma sutras,  Swamy Ramanujar along with Koorathazhwan undertook the arduous task of going to Kashmir for referring to   Bodhyana vritti .  Having procured the literature, while  returning, they were suddenly waylaid by the people sent by  Kashmiri pundits to return the manuscript Ramanujar had to reluctantly part with the grantham and was depressed as he could not fulfil his acharyar’s desire.

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At that time, Koorathazhwan humbly submitted that he could reproduce the entire grantham which he happened to read after Ramanujar retired for the day.  As he had a highly grasping ability , he reproduced the entire commentary at the  lotus feet of  Swamy Ramanujar and played a vital role in composing SriBhashyam-the authentic commentary on Brahma Sutras.  Saraswathi-goddess of learning herself declared to Ramanujar that this was the most authentic commentary and gave  Swamy Ramanujar the title “Bhasyakaarar”.

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Once when Srirangam was about to be waylaid, by the invaders , Acharyar  Peria Nambigal – acharyar of Swamy Ramanujar took some soil  and uttered some mantras to evade intruders.  Having done so, he gave the  same  to Swamy Ramanujar ordering him to give to a person who was blemish-less without any ego  so as to sprinkle it on all four sides of Srirangam border.  Immediately Swamy Ramanujar assigned the task  to Koorathazhwan who accomplished it successfully.

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Once  it so happened , Koorathazhwan happened to see through a key hole of a door , how  Swamy Ramanujar graced a deaf and dumb person by placing his holy feet on that person’s head.  Koorathazhwan lamented and regretted that he was not so fortunate as that person and was feeling ashamed of his intellect as Ramanujar had assigned him various tasks which acted as an obstruction for  obtaining similar grace as that person.

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To save  Swamy Ramanujar from the atrocities of Krimikanta Cholan the tyrant king , Koorathazhwan pleaded  Sway Ramanujar to accept his white robes and leave Srirangam along with Mudaliandan  to a safer place along the banks of Kaveri river. Swamy  Ramanujar and Mudaliandan left incognito to Melnadu and was thus protected from  the terror Krimikanta cholan.

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 Swamy Koorathazhwan donned the orange robes of Swamy Ramnujar and appeared before the king along with aged Peria Nambigal.  Peria Nambigal succumbed to the king’s punishment loosing  his eyes.  Koorathazhwan  who regretted for having seen this sad episode , voluntarily plucked his eyes and left the place.  The perplexed king’s attention was thus diverted.  The blind Koorathazhwan  managed to serve  Peria Nambigal who due to advanced age could not tolerate the pain and attained acharyar’s feet. This incident is remembered at Kooram on the 5th day of Azhwan thirunatchitira utsavam.  Koorathazhwan  is  adorned with orange robes and Swamy Ramanujar in white robes to remember the divine pastime .

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Swamy Koorathalvan was staying at Thirumalirumcholai  during his exile from Swamy Ramanuja  under divine intervention  . Swamy  was  carrying out pushpa kainkaryam ( Flower service )  for  Lordships  every day. He glorified  the lordships “Azhagar” with Sundarabaahu stavam which forms part of Pancha Sthavams .  The remaining  are Sriranga sthavam, Sri Varadaraja sthavam, Sristhavam, Athimaanusha sthavam.

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Once ,  during  the month of  December  ( Margazhi maasam)  Koorathazhwan walked the hills and reached the temple . He recited  the  verses of Andals glorification of LORD  from  her  Thiruppavai  . Later with all the due respects   he offered a  garland to the LORD .The priest in turn honored Koorthazhwan   with  sathari ( Srisatakopam)  .

On returning from the temple en route the hills , Koorathazhwan was feeling   sad  for some reason .  He looked around the  majestic hills . He passed  the rivulets and reached  his house . He  sat outside his house and was in a trance .

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Suddenly a young well built man emerged  from no where and  politely stood before Azhwan . He asked ..Swamin  What is making you dull today ?HHHH

Swamin !!! I assure you whatsover the  problem,  I would  solve the same  .  Azhwan was silent ..

Despite repeated such assurances, Koorathazhwan, insisted that there was no way his problem could be solved. At his casual  reply , the  charming man got surprised.

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He  went near Azhwan and said …Swamin Do you know who I am ?

Swamy  Koorathazhwan replied with all humility,

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Swamin ! ”Adiyen  can recognize  you  very well.

You are the Lord himself”. 

Amazed at how  azhwan could recognize him,  Lord was keen to know ..

Azhwan replied  that he could smell the Lord fragrance  from  the garland that he had offered for the day.

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Coming back to the question of what was troubling azhwan, azhwan still insisted that though he was the Lord himself, his trouble could not be resolved even by him.

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 Lord insisted for Azhwans  explanation …

“What is the problem – you have to tell me?”

Azhwan replied,

“ The  Thiruppavai  pasuram mentions your anubhavam with the yadava kulam.

Adiyen am sad that   I was not fortunate to  be born in the yadava kulam. Now that I have  Swamy Ramanuja  association ,

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Adiyen is eligible for  moksham.  However adiyen cannot be associated with the yadu kulam where devareer ( LORD) was there with each one of them to their joy …Can adiyen experience that big  joy of being part of your kulam?”now ……………………….

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The Lord truly had no answer to his query !

Azhwan was always in the mood of serving LORD ..

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On returning to Srirangam from Melnadu after a long period of 12 years, Swamy Ramanujar met his dear disciple and embraced  Koorathazhwan tightly who had just returned from Thirumaliruncholai after knowing about his Acharyars arrival. Swamy Ramanuja advised him to go to Kanchipuram and pray to  Lord Varadarajar for restoring his eyes. Koorathazhwan with the help of few disciplies reached Kanchipuram and composed Varadaraja sthavam as per his acharyar’s instructions.   Lord  pleased with his devotion, appeared before him to bestow boon, Koorathazhwan requested the Lord to give  him eyesight which he could see HIM and Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja .He also pleaded to  bestow moksham to Naaluran (the person who was responsible for instigating cruel thoughts to Krimikanta cholan) and all those associated with him.

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Lord Varadarajan bestowed both the boons.  When Swamy Ramanujar who was in Srirangam came to know of this, he felt so joyful that he was confident of getting moksha as he had” Koorathazhwan sambhandham”.

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Azhwan always used to glorify Mudaliandan  who was Swamy  Ramanujar’s nephew that he was very fortunate to have deha sambandham too whereas  he had only atma sambandham.

Koorathazhwan and his wife Andal were blessed by  Peria Perumal HIMSELF with children.  Once due to heavy rains, the wealthiest person Koorathazhwan who was now living on Uncha vrutti   in Srirangam could not go out and starved the whole day.  His wife Andal who could not see his plight prayed to Lord Ranganatha who was being offered the night prasadam known as “Aravanai prasadam”. With a heavy heart, she thought that while Lord Ranganatha was  being offered with  varieties of  dishes , her husband was allowed to starve. Lord Ranganatha immediately answered her prayers by appearing in a  priest’s dream ordering him to take temple prasadam with full temple paraphernalia to Koorathazhwan’s house.  Koorathazhwan was surprised to see a visitor at that odd time with prasadam.  He guessed that it must be his wife’s act which made the priests arrive at that time.  As he felt that the temple prasadam had to be sold to get income for the temple, he simply honoured by taking two servings of the prasadam .  The Lord appeared in his dream and said that he would be blessed with two sons who would be considered and brought up as the Lord’s own children.  Swamy Ramanujar fulfilled his acharyar,Yamunacharyar’s desire to name two befitting persons after Parasara rishi and Veda Vyasar.   Swamy Ramanujar named them Parasara bhattar and Vedavyasa bhattar(Srirama pillai)..

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Koorathazhwan who was always in the mood of serving his Acharyar, approached Peria Perumal with a prayer to leave this material body before his acharyar so that he could receive him with poorna kumbham when Swamy Ramanujar would decorate Thirunaadu.

  When  Swamy Ramanujar questioned him about this  strange act, Azhwan  quoted   the beautiful verse “Soozh visumpanimugil…. from Thiruvaimozhi …that means

“ when the muktatma enters Vaikuntam, he is received by the inmates with due honours…..

he submissively replied that  he wished to be in continuous service to his Acharyar and wanted to welcome him in  Srivaikuntam .

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Contemplating on Swamy Ramanujar, Koorathazhwan left his body by  uttering a sloka on his acharyar(thanian on Ramanujar)  which every Srivaishnava recites daily

yO nityam achyuta pAdAmbuja yugma rukma      vyAmOhatastaditarANi tRuNAya mEnE |
asmad gurOr bhagavatO asya dayaikasindhOh    rAmAnujasya charaNou SaraNam prapadyE
|

May Koorathazhwan   who pardoned  his enemy and prayed for him , teach us how to love.

Today  being Azhwans appearance day (THAI HASTHAM)   JAN 18th 2017 ,  Wednesday   ,all vaishnavas praise the glories of Azhwans bhakthi towards Acharyar

Few pastimes are shared in the below posts

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/lords-very-dear-devotee-kooresa/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/swami-kurathazhwan-atmagunas/

Watch the following clips in which the vaibhavam of Kooram and Azhwan is explained by the temple Bhattar

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Swamy Koorath azhwan thiruvadigaley sharanam

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Photographs : Courtesy Google images

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When the great saint “Thirugyyana Sambandhar” honored the Sri Vaishnava “Thirumangai Azhwar ” ( A divine pastime )


The Sri vaishnava Divya desam  of “Thirivikarama Perumal Temple”  is located near  Seerkazhi in Tanjore district ( Tamil Nadu). It’s about half mile away from the Seerkazhi Railway station. Lord Srirama Vinnakara Thadalan  graces the devotees  as  Lord Thiruvikrama as he did in Thiruvekka and Thiru uragam divya desams  of Kanchipuram.

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 Lord in Thirukovilur  adorns  shankhu and chakaram as abharanam ,  and in Thiru uragam of kanchipuram  he is without them and raises his left and right lies up in order to scale the whole world by his foot,  a majestic darisanam to be cherished by every devotee  .

But here in Seerkazhi, Lord SrimanNarayana graces  as Thirivikrama with all his five weapons with his left hand extending upto the left foot, which is folded upwards.

The temple priest was kind in  explaining about the divine pastimes of the Lordships here , which makes one rush to this temple .

The Moolavar of this Divyadesam is Thirivikaraman also glorified  as Thadalan and Ulagalanthan. One can have Lords Ulagalantha sevai. (ie) in the Nindra Thirukolam .

Goddess ( Thayaar)  in this  holy place  is glorified as Loga Nayaki. The Utsavar Thaayar is Mattavizh Kuzhali.  An interesting incident  happened at this  place few hundred years back  .

Once the great Parama shivan devotee ,Thirugyana Sambandar( one of the four Shaivakuravar was staying  near to this temple in a mutt) . He was one of the most prominent of the sixty-three Nayanars.  Our  Thirumangai azhwar along with devotees were passing by the mutt .

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Glories of the Azhwar was being sung by his Azhwars followers .

The disciples  of Thiru Gyana Sambandhar who  asked the followers of Thirumangai azhwar to maintain silence till they crossed their mutt and wished their guru is not disturbed  .  

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Azhwar   was over hearing  the discussion  amongst the disciples about Thirugyana Sambandar and wishes to have an audience with the saint .He takes the opportunity and thus   walks  straight into their  mutt.  

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The  saint  Thirugyana Sambandar   is spell bound looking at Azhwar’s majestic  appeal .He welcomes  him and cordially invites him for a  devotional debate . Azhwar with abundant glow  begins with  a song on the Lord  Sriman Narayana  the cause of all causes ….and the param porul whom one must seek for ever ….

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Azhwar  continues to glorify  the LORD of the same holy place  by quoting the divine verses

“Oru Kuralai Iru Nila Moovadi Mann….” regarding the majestic  posture of the Lord at this Divya desam and the opulence LORD carries on bestowing abundant mercy …

Hearing the thundering voice and the terrific  command of Azhwar in the glorification of the LORD the revered saint   Thirugyana Sambandar  had torrent of tears  flowing  . The sweet music along with the  intricate meaning made him swoon in LORDs own world imagining the divine pastime .
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A true devotee he was ,   he at once prostrated  Azhwar and presented  him  the spade (vel) which was  honored to him by Goddess Aadhiparashakti .   Pleased with Azhwar’s entry and the honour  , he immediately commanded his disciples to glorify the Azhwar.

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Both of them embraced  each other and bore good bye in a sad mood and paved way to the unity of Saivism and Sri Vaishnavam.

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan 

Video credits : Thanks to Araiyar Sevai STD Pathasala

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..ELEVEN GARUDA SEVA UTSAVAM AT THIRUNANGOOR Jan 28th-30th,2017


Offering  countless obeisances to Asmath Acharyar, Sri Sri  Mudaliandan Swamy and all spiritual masters ,  Adiyen wishes to share our  travel and darisanam experiences  at Thirunangoor done few years back . We had  attended this  great festival twice and  wish to share the divine experiences to all the devotees .

It will be a great fortune and mercy for the ones who will be attending this year festival  on Thai Amavasai  which is being celebrated from 28-01-2017 to 30-01-2017at Thirunangoor.The latest invitation is appended below …

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The remote  village of Thirunangoor near Sirkazhi reverberates with satsangh   every year Thai Amavasya and the succeeding 2  days are celebrated in a  very grand manner.

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On Thai Amavasya, Thirumangai Azhwar  the great saint of  Vaishnava sampradaya is given Manjal Kuliyal  (holy bath with turmeric water) which is being celebrated in this remote village past  12 centuries .

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The next day, 11 Garuda Seva of LORD  is celebrated which is being done since past  100 years .The third day marks the return of Azhwar to Tiruvali-Thirunagari temple. Srivaishnavas make it a point to participate in these festivities.

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MANJAL NEERATAM AND ELEVEN GARUDA SEVAS   HELD AT THIRUNANGOOR EVERY YEAR ON THAI AMAVASAI  AND PRADHAMAI DAY respectively. ??????????????????????????????? May the Supreme Lord bestow me the knowledge to describe about the Garuda Seva. Adiyen seeks the blessings of all the   devotees  , Acharyas and  Azhwars   for  describing the great event .

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Thirumangai Azhwar  affectionately  called as Kaliyan, was the valiant army chief of the then Chola King that the king gifted him with a small territory to rule over. Hence, he was known as Thirumangai Mannan .

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He was attracted to an apsara Kumudavalli , daughter of a physician and expressed his desire to marry her. Kumudavalli who appeared on this earth to transform this valiant king to a  devotee , laid the condition that he should  serve  1000 Srivaishnavas every day  by offering Prasadam for one year .

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Thirumangai Mannan fulfilled her condition and continued to do so even after his marriage as he got habituated in this wonderful kainkaryam of feeding  the srivaishnavas. In due course, his wealth diminished and as Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, when HE decides to bless HIS devotee, HE takes away wealth and enacted a divya leela.

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Due to his love for vaishnavas , our Azhwar resorted to stealing and plundering wealth from the rich and the egoistic  but  used the wealth for feeding Vaishnavas and renovating temples.

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One day ,  Tirumangai Mannan comes to know through his friends that a newly wedded couple bedecked with precious  jewellery  were  passing through a forest in a palanquin and if they could plunder their wealth, they could continue with their cause of serving Srivaishnavas forever.

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Overjoyed , Thirumangai Mannan along with his four friends  rush to the  place in the midnight ,  galloping  fast on his horse, who he calls as Aadalmaa. He  waylays the divine couple who are resting  near a mandapam at “Thirumanankollai” and plunders their wealth. This precious booty is carefully put  over a cloth and ties it . Not being satisfied with the loot, he  advances towards them and tries to remove the Thirumetti of Thayar with all his might but  is unsuccessful.

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By coming in contact with Thayar’s thiruvadi, realisation dawns on him.  He is amazed .Something draws him towards them for a second look . However  he manages and when he tries to lift the loot, he is unable to do so. He  suspects  the bridegroom for having put some charm on the loot  .  He threatens Perumal who is disguised as the bridegroom with a sword to disclose the secret which is not allowing him to lift the loot .

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Perumal  smiles at him . He advises him to purify himself by having a dip at the  Kavery tributary  and return so that he can impart the secret to him.

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Thirumangai mannan  politely obeys the advise . He returns to  Perumal. Lord  gives him the most sacred mantram,Thirumantram . The moment Perumal whispers the sacred Ashtakshari Thirumantram , wisdom dawns on Kaliyan and he surrenders at the Lotus feet of the Divya Dampadhigal.

He repents for all his earlier deeds and outbursts his  divine pourings starting with  the wonderful pasuram

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“Vaadinene Vaadi….” and decides to glorify Perumal by visiting holy places in India..

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He is transformed as Thirumangai Azhwar and riding on his Aadalma horse glorified Perumal in about 86 divya desams.

                                         OUR PILIGRIMAGE EXPERIENCES

With the directions given by senior devotees we reached Thirunangoor in the evening and  discussing about the divine pastimes of Azhwars with elders .

Though we did not have a proper resting place all of us relaxed lying down at the temple entrance awaiting Azhwars arrival  as it was  almost midnight when we reached Thirunangoor. The  village of Thirunangoor  is fully crowded with many devotees . We all relaxed in front of a house near Thirunagari temple. Suddenly around 1.30 A.M. in the  early morning, we were awakened by sounds of  crackers and trumpets .

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The drums and Nadaswaram  were being played to welcome our Azhwar  .

On enquiry, we were told that Azhwar’s purapaadu ( procession )  was about to start and Azhwar was being dressed as the chief .

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Adiyen was keen to join the procession amongst many many senior devotees and the excitement in following Azhwar . Un mindful adiyen took a shower near a bore well and quickly changed my clothes and applying  Urdhvapundram ran behind the crowd to be as close  to Azhwar and the devoted priests .  It was totally dark with  few  street lights  which were going ON and Off  and sad that  there were no proper roads. Unmindful of the thorns and stones, all the bhagavathas were  literally running behind the Azhwar as some one is waiting for us .

True ! The all compassionate LORD is so keen to meet the Azhwar for his upliftment . Adiyen  had the same feeling .As it was too difficult to carry children in the crowd  my family followed us by hiring a  motor car amongst other devotees .

This unique devotion  of the villagers and the devotees coming from far off places has to be seen in person to taste the bliss .  The  holy intention of the procession ( purapaadu)  is Azhwar personally goes to each  of the 11 temples, glorifies the respective Perumals while going for Manjal Neeratam and personally invites  the LORDSHIPS  to  grace them to come to Thirumanimaada kovil for the Garuda utsava darshanam  which will be held the next day.  The tradition of glorifying the LORD at the respective divyadesams  by the pasurams sung by Azhwar is done with all humility

. ??????????????????????????????? Let me attempt to narrate the happenings in the chilly night of Amavasai . Our Azhwar (Thirumangai Azhwar) was seated majestically  in a well-decorated palanquin and the procession  started from the temple  Azhwar proceeds  to Thirukuraiyalur, his birth place.

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The crowd braves the chilly weather to somehow occupy the temple corridor to  have the closest darshan of Azhwar and Perumal . It was 2.30 AM when we reached this temple .  We could see hundreds  of devotees following the procession . The Azhwar literally runs and the bhagavathas also run behind the azhwar. Adiyen participated in the procession and literally was in bliss being with advanced devotees . It was a memorable trek for spiritual quest .The zeal cannot be explained.

We are in THIRUKURAIYALUR, the appearance place of Thirumangai Alwar.

??????????????????????????????? The Temple Priest along with the senior devotees receive  Azhwar  with due temple honours and mangalasaasanams. The first pasuram  starting with “VAADINEN VAADI” was  recited .

It was as if Azhwar was almost there guiding us .The pasuram literally brought chilled tears in my eyes .  Adiyen was able to feel the soul literally craving for HIS grace and the nectar was directly being fed .

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Was able to meet  bhagavathaas who were carrying out  “PUSHPA KAINKARYAM FOR THE AZHWAR ON THESE TWO DAYS”.   Ahead of this recitation we were offered hot prasadam ( Kesaree) .This prasadam became a benchmark for me to offer it LORD later . After honouring the prasadam adiyen moved near to the temple premises where the devotees were thinning away .Offered humble obesiances to LORD NARASINGA PERUMAL and prayed LORD to bestow his abundant mercy in having satsangh always .

The special feature in this big festival is that without any discretion, all the residents of  the 11 villages participate in this function and the hospitality  extended by the local residents cannot be described in words.

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All the bhagavathas who attend this function are sumptuously fed . We can see the village residents  voluntarily offering us buttermilk,  hot milk and food etc enroute

They all consider it as their own family function. Now our  Azhwar proceeds  to THIRUMANGAIMAADAM , the birth place of Kumudavalli Thayar., who was solely responsible for transforming  our Azhwar into a Srivaishnavite.

It’s a  very old temple and  the darshan of Azhwar specifically at this place reveals his liking to this place and his consort . After recitation of the respective pasurams and mangalashashanams , we were offered  Chakrapongal prasadam  which was honoured . The sweet prasad , the sweet pasurams , the sweet crowd  and our SWEET AZHWAR was indeed most memorable night .

On looking at the watch , Adiyen was amazed ,It was  already  3.30 AM  and was looking as fresh . Never was Adiyen awake except for the Suprabatha seva at Tirumala Hills . We must have  around  4 Kms .

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From here we proceeded along with Azhwar to

THIRUKAVALAMPADI  THIRUMANIKOODAM  and  THIRUPAARTHANPALLI 

  scattered around  for about 10 kms and as done in the temples our Azhwar requests Perumal to grace the garuda Utsavam the nest day after reciting the prescribed pasurams of the Divya desams . Few temples the time taken is more as per the number of Pasurams .Adiyen was fortunate to be around the learned bhagavathas and advanced devotees who were literally up to date with the history of temple and Azhwars pastimes .

All these temples are scattered in a radius of 10 to 12 kms .Unmindful of the darkness , poor roads and route followed each of us were moving in a brisk pace to match the speed of the Procession .We must congratualate the palaquin bearers of Azhwar who are so energetic and infuse the spirit to just keep moving seeking his mercy .  The whole place is  charged with religious fervour and was eye- captivating. One must not miss to see bhagavatha’s bhakti for the Azhwar. Due to Azhwar’s sheer grace, Adiyen  was able to participate in the procession.

The procession was more or less like a running race. It shows the Azhwar’s anxiety to have darshan of Perumal at different divya desams . In each of the temples, we could see  the utsavar anxiety  to receive the Azhwar by  waiting outside the garbagriham to welcome our Azhwar. Adiyen was overwhelmed with joy and at the same time  was stunned to see an ocean of Srivaishnavas running behind the Azhwar. True ! If a bhaktha makes a small attempt to seek him

jai jai

…LORD moves few miles to reach him  .All through the way, Perumal’s naamasmaranam was done and Azhwar’s vaibhavam was recapitulated. Even the thorns and stones on the road  become flowers to the devotees now .Enjoying the company of a senior devotee adiyen suddenly noticed Azhwars procession moving inside a field lushy and so green . For a moment,  was totally confused . Adiyen didn’t know what was happening. The senior devotee explained  that it was Azhwar’s practice to go across fields, muddy lands and canals  during his times and as a mark of respect the procession goes in the similar fashion and that practice is followed even today. It was a very thrilling experience. Around 8-10  bhagavathas  were shouldering the palanquin and by seeing the speed in which the procession was taken, Adiyen thought they may  drop the palanquin. But  was corrected about my misconception by other bhagavathas that such incidents do not happen and Azhwar enjoys the procession to be taken in this way.  Adiyen decided to accompany the procession in the damp fields along with the  bhagavathas   though was bit apprehensive about slipping in the  green fields . Adiyen never ever felt that we were in the fields  . We along with  Azhwar cross the agricultural fields, (keni kattu), canals etc.  One young devotee was sharing his experience that the local people request the procession to be taken across their fields because they strongly believe that  Azhwars mercy on them will  have a good yield if the procession goes from their fields.

??????????????????????????????? It takes about half a day for our  Azhwar to cover these 5 temples. After  inviting the Perumals in these five divyadesams  it is almost the next day afternoon .

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Now our  Azhwar proceeds  to the banks of Manikarnikarai ( tributary of the river cauvery )

On the banks of the canal, Azhwar does mangalasaasanam to his  Acharyar , Sri Naraiyur Nambi Perumal (Naachiyar kovil, Kumbakonam) who personally  initiated him into Vaishnavism and mangalasaasanam to his favourite Perumal, Sri Ranganathar .  The Divyaprabhanda pasurams takes you literally to the divyadesam along with Azhwar .

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An interesting happening takes place .The Priests along with bhgavathas  stood in knee deep water reciting  pasurams on LORD Thirunaraiyur Nambi and Sri Ranganathar. Our  Azhwar takes  a quick dip in the canal . Along with the Azhwar,  all the devotees also had a holy dip.

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One devotee informed that  Azhwar, when he  was the chief ,he  used to have bath in these waters for refreshing himself after he returned from his looting expedition. Hence, the  old practice of having holy dip in the Manikarnikai waters is still followed even today.  Azhwar is now honoured with garlands and peethambarams which were adorned by the two Perumals of the divya desams previously. These gifts are  specially brought from Kumbakonam and Srirangam with due temple honours. Now our Azhwar proceeds to  a nearby old mandapam well decorated  for Manjal Neeratam..

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..Thirumanjanam ( Abhiskekam)  was performed to  SINDANAIKU INIYAN ( one who is sweet for contemplating ) who accompanies Azhwar during the entire procession ( deities worshipped by Thirumangai Azhwar himself),

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Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli Thayar. It is very interesting to note that Azwar is never separated from Thayar except on one occasion i.e. during THIRUVEDUPURI UTSAVAM celebrated  during  Panguni Uthiram day every year in April. Only during this occasion, Azhwar leaves Kumudavalli Thayar alone for a span of 3-4 hours as he goes to rob  Perumal’s properties and eventually transforms to become HIS only property .

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We are now in the Mandapam premises . A sahsradhaara plate where the Azhwar deities are honoured with a holy bath . The beauty is during Abhishekam ( Thiurmanjanam)   to Lord Sindanaiku Iniyan the remnants holy water / milk/ honey /curd  flows through the Sahasradhaaram on Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli’s  who are underneath LORDS LOTUS FEET

. MVI_0094 Its a great bhagyam to have darisanam of Azhwar when the holy water of his deities is allowed to bathe the divine couple who have showed us the path of surrender to our only LORD SRIMAN NARAYANA.

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Adiyen was fully charged amongst the bhagavathas . Few  senior bhagavathas sang Azhwars Pasurams with some dancing to the tunes .

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Overall the festive atmosphere infused more and more bhakthi and adiyen found there was some special attraction in our Azhwars bewitching smile . MVI_0096 Reflecting on Azhwars pastimes adiyen reclined at the mandapam premises sometimes with tearful eyes thanking Azhwar and Asmath Acharyar for blessing me to be among this wonderful devotees who are in  the trance of HARINAAM all the while  .

???????????????????????????????At about 6 P.M., Azhwar reaches Thirumanimada kovil popularly known as Narayana Perumal kovil. It is here that 11 Garuda sevai is performed. The garuda vahanams of all Perumals are kept here in designated mandapams. Azhwar is greeted as usual and pasurams comprising of Thirupallandu, Kanninunsiruthambhu, respective pasuram from Peria Thirumozhi are recited followed by neivedyam, saatrumarai and vaazhi thirunaamam. Azhwar then visits Thiruvanpurushothaman kovil where professional musicians entertain Azhwar by exhibiting their talent in playing nadaswaram and mrudangam . 9o After mangalasaasanam, Azhwar visits Manavaala maamunigal sannidhi in the temple precincts. Azhwar was one of the favourites for Manavala mamunigal mamunigal organizes the 11 garuda seva on the following day. We were offered prasadam  , panchaamrutham, chakarai pongal etc  sumptously . The Manjal Neeratam is still fresh in our minds. May Azhwar bless us by giving us  many many more oppurtunities to be amongst his devotees  It was almost  3 P.M now . As per the plan , the procession  re started. Azhwar now marches to THIRUMANIMADAKOVIL , THIRUNAGARI  and glorifies the Perumals to grace the function the next day .

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Prasadam is offered at every Divyadesam to the devotees . Now our  Azhwar proceeds to  THIRUVANPURUSHOTHAM KOVIL , THIRUVAIKUNTAVINNAGRAM    THIRUSEM PON SEI KOVIL THIRUTHETRIAMBALAM THIRUARIMEYAVINNAGARAM and finally awaits for all Perumals to grace him at THIRUMANIMADA KOVIL  and following the same custom of reciting the divyaprabhanda pasurams  glorified by  Azhwar at the respective divya desams. We were overjoyed to be among  a sea of devotees and managed to take rest in open area and  moved to the premises of  Srinivasa Perumal kovil more popularly known as “Annan Kovil “ and  passed the night at temple along with devotees .

The next day morning, all of us assembled at Thirumanimada kovil for participating in  the most awaited  11 GARUDA SEVA.

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Adiyen took this small oppurtunity to have darisanam of  Anann kovil,, Thirupaarthanpalli, Thiruvaali-Thirunagari before proceeding to attend the Eleven Garuda sevai  . Offering repeated obesiances to our Azhwar in  Thirunagari temple. The temple itself is very big. The  deity of Thirumangai Azhwar along with Kumudavalli Thayar is eye captivating. It makes one recollect   Acharyar Manavala mamuni’s thaniyan . Azhwar’s lips are slightly opened as if they are uttering THIRUMANTRAM. Azhwar is seen holding THIRUMADAL in one hand and has  a spear with him. Azhwar is seen wearing anklet. This anklet and Vel were given as gifts to the Azhwar when he won in a contest about Vaishnavism with a advanced saiva devotee Thirugyanasambandhar .

THE PREPARATION FOR ELEVEN GARUDA SEVAI BEGINS

??????????????????????????????? From 10 A.M. onwards we can have darhanam of  divya desa Perumals from each temple who accept the Invitation of Azhwar  We are able to observe  a  big pandal  erected for the Perumals. The Perumals  arrive  in their respective palanquins with mangalashanams . Now we race towards  Thirumanimadakovil at 14 hours.  We take darshanam of  almost  Seven Perumals who  had arrived . AnnanPerumal Vanpurushothaman Kudamadumkoothar MadhavaPerumal Narayanan Pallikondaperumal Almost by  4 P.M. all Perumals from 11 divya desams arrive and take the  gaurd of honour from our Azhwar  as our  Azhwar arrives to recieve our most reverred guest of the wonderful seva  from Thirumanimada kovil for receiving the Perumals.

Our  Azhwar  awaits  near the entrance of the temple.  Acharyar Manavala maamuni  awaits facing  our Azhwar.

, 7655 Swamy Manavalamaamuni was very fond of Thirumangai Azhwar and he , as a disciple supervises this grand Garuda  Utsavam . The place was over crowded but fortunately we could have a clear view of the proceedings and were able to have good darisanam . To enable the crowd to know about the proceedings, a big board was hung depicting the particular Perumal’s Thirunaamam, and Divya desam.

9900 Mangalasaasanam on the particular Perumal rendered by Thirumangai Alwar was recited and our  Azhwar does pradakshinam to Perumal.  Azhwar is  honoured  with parivattam and garlands previously worn by the Perumal as a blessing . Our  Azhwar humbly bows down to  accept the  gifts given by respective Perumals from the divyadesams . Azhwar wears the garland given by Perumal and  adorns the parivattam .  Fruits etc are offered as neivedyam to  Perumal and then to Azhwar and later to  Swamy Manavala Mamumuni followed by  karpoora aarthi

. 12345 Now the honoured Perumal  gets inside the Thirumani mada kovil. An interesting feature noted was there was a separate troop of musicians who played naadaswaram, mela and thalam for each Divyadesam  Perumal.

9876 Finally Karpoora  mangala  haarthi with Poorna  khumbham is given. The sequence in which the mangalasaasanam  done to the Perumal  is as follows

9000 1) THIRUNARAYANA PERUMAL OF THIRU MANIMADA KOVIL-   adorned  in white colour dress .

2) KUDAMAADU KOOTHAR PERUMAL OF THIRU ARIMEYA VINNAGARAM-  adorned in blue colour dress

3) SRI LAKSHMI RANGANATHAR OF SEM PON SEI KOVIL

4) SRI SRINIVASA PERUMAL OF ANNAN KOVIL (palanquin covered with blue and meron velvette cloth)

5) SRI PURUSHOTHAMAN OF THIRUVANPURUSHOTHAM (dressed in white and grey)- palanquin covered with green cloth (Note: All the palanquins were covered with cloth with sankhu, chakram and Thiruman embedded on it)

6) SRI VARADARAJA PERUMAL OF THIRUMANIKOODAM (silver crown, holding mace, dressed in blue and red –palanquin covered with white cloth)

7) SRI VAIKUNTANATHAR OF THIRUVAIKUNTAM ( Adiseshan seen as umbrella for Perumal, blue and red colour cloth covered over the palanquin) (The alankaranam for all the Perumals are  fantastic)

8) SRI MADHAVA PERUMAL OF THIRUDEVANARTHOGAI (meron colour kreetam-dressed in yellow and red )

9) SRI PARTHASARATHY PERUMAL OF THIRUPAARTHANPALLI (dressed in printed silk cloth-silver umbrella –Maragadham visible on Perumal’s Thirumaarbhu-red colour palanquin

10) SRI RAJAGOPALAN of THIRUKAVALAMPAADI (dressed in pink and blue coloured silk cloth-red coloured palanquin)

765 During circumbulation  to  LORD Sri Rajagopalan  Azhwar  majestically circumbalates   amidsts  the  enchanting Nadaswaram  ( Nagin music) . After all the Perumals take leave ,  Swami Manavala mamuni does pradakshinam to Azhwar amidst the background nadaswaram playing  style and the Azhwar along with  swami Manavala mamuni enter the temple. The reception  function takes place for about 2 hours. Around 5PM  inside the temple,  we can have darshanam of each Perumal  who have a separate  chamber  and  ( Abhishekam ) Thirumanjanam to all the Perumals and Azhwar is performed in Ekantam ( private) . After the Maha Abhisheskam ,  all the Perumals are adorned with wonderful ornaments and flowers .The Garuda vahanam is also adorned with flowers and other paranphalia . We had darishnam of all the Perumals and seeked their grace in  having satsangh always

. 345 Around  11 P.M. , the Garuda seva starts.  We quickly come out of the temple and eagerly await to have the Garuda seva darshanam of all the Perumals . We observe the moment the main door opens our  Acharyar Swamy  Manavala mamuni  followed by Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli Thayar seated on hamsa vahanam  arrive much to the joy of the devotees .    Swamy Manavaala mamunigal in his parangi naarkali vahanam  comes out first and receives Azhwar seated on Hamsa vahanam. One by one all the  Divya desam Perumals arrive in Garuda vaahanams. Mangalasaasanam sung by Azhwar is recited and after due honours, the Perumal goes round the 4 mada streets..

14 Its a divine feeling to be amongst  a sea of srivaishnavas assembeled reciting the  Divya Prabhandam pasurams . Few devotees were distributing the pasurams books for others to follow and recite .  Now the Perumals on Garuda vahanam grace  Azhwar and the devotees who are eagerly waiting for his  darshan . and All the divya desa Perumals follow them. The procession winds its way through the four mada streets of Thirumanikoodam. It takes about 3 hours for all the Perumals to complete the oorvalam. All the Perumals assemble in front of Thiurumanimaada kovil. Azhwar thanks all the Perumals for having blessed all the sinners like us with their Divine Grace.  Swamy Manavala mamuni’s saatrumarai takes place later and  all the Perumals enter into the temple.  On the way to Thirunagari, Azhwar  proceeds to Sri  Annan Kovil, Madhava Perumal kovil (Thirudevanarthogai), Thiruvaali and Thirunagari divya desams

. ??????????????????????????????? On the third day, after all the divyadesa Perumals leave to their respective divyadesams, Azhwar also leaves Manimada kovil.. On the way he visits Annan Kovil where he is received grandly as he is considered as their “Maapillai”(son-in-law”). Finally Azhwar reaches Thirunagari where Vayalaali Manavalan-the presiding diety of Thiruvali-Thirunagari temple waits near the entrance on Garuda Vaahanam to welcome Azhwar . Perumal and Azhwar then enter into the temple together. This marks the end of the three day festivities at Thirunangoor which is celebrated for more than 140 years. Adiyen with tears submit to the  divine will of  Azhwar and Almighty who graced us tohave the darishna bhagyam amongst several devotees .

What else does a soul needs except HIS cool benovalent grace always to be among Haribhaktaas………..

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Nadu nagaramum NAMO NARAYANA enru ..

Thats the final prayer LORD ..

Adiyen seeks his mercy to be HIS always …

Please forgive adiyen for any slips in glorifying and describing the great festival .

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Kazhiyur Varadan

09849635903

For any more info contact adiyen

tirumaladasan@gmail.com

varadhan_k@yahoo.com

varadhan_k@hotmail.com

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The Highest transcendental truth… “Just become an instrument…… “nimitta mattram bhava savyassaachin mayaivaite nihataah poorvameva…..


 This  whole world is moving according to the plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  There is a specific plan being carried out in this material world. What is this plan? The cosmic manifestation is a chance for the elevated souls to go back to Godhead. . As they overcome the  material nature, they  slowly get  conditioned. One who  can understand the plan of the Supreme Lord and cultivate Krsna consciousness   gradually becomes intelligent.  He slowly realises the creation and destruction of the cosmic manifestation are under the superior guidance of Lord .  The Battle of Kuruksetra was fought according to the plan of LORD . Arjuna was refusing to fight, but he was told that he should fight and at the same time  desire the Supreme Lord 

Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, the Song Celestial, tells his dearest friend and disciple, Arjuna, “Nimitta matram Bhava Savyasachi”. You just become an instrument.
So the man of God feels in the inmost recesses of his heart that he is a mere instrument. He works for God, he lives for God. He feels that God Realisation is not enough. He feels that God Manifestation here on earth is of paramount importance.

One divine pastime  chronicled as  Azhwar’s musings is being shared for a vivid description of a jiva seeking Lord’s lotus feet …. …12.jpg

The youngest Azhwar among the illustrious revered twelve Srivaishnava  Azhwars was Thirumangai Azhwar He was also glorified with the names  Kalivarimuni ,Parakalamuni and had a title “Kaviloka divaakarah” .. ( the sun of the world of poets ) as glorified below …

kalayaami kalidhvamsam

kaviloka divakaram

yasyagobhih prakaasaabhih

aavidyam nihatam tamah …

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The magnum opus “Periya Thirumozhi” consisting of 1080 pasurams in the Naalayira Divya Prabhandam speaks about Azhwar’s deep love to Lord .The below post describes about Azhwars past and his attraction to LORD in his later life ..

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/the-divine-loot-by-azhwar-at-seerkazhee-in-tamilnadu/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/the-grand-day-when-azhwar-got-thirumantra-upadesam/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/vedipuri-utsavam-thirumanthra-upadesam-to-azhwar/

The supremely devoted Azhwar after having darshan of the  Sri vaishnava divyadesams  by glorifying the Lordships in every divya desam  was pondering about his position Though his mission was accomplished in uplifting the fallen souls in seeking Lord’s lotus feet unconditionally thus surrendering  to the only HIM the Supreme Lord Sriman Narayana , Azhwar had some musings for not able to obtain immediate results.

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Azhwar became anxious and perplexed as how much longer he would have to bear his karma and when would he attain the bliss of emancipation. He had a unexplained  fear whether LORD would continue to keep him in the material world all together .In this perplexed mood he entered into a casual discussion with Lord of the Lords Sriman Narayana ..

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Looking at the Lord !! he laments ,

Oh My Master !!      you had pushed me away ..far far away ..by throwing me long long long ago in a  bottomless pit  full of material and mire in this world …

 Oh Lord !!! Am I not yours like the Nitya muktas . Am I stranger to your highness ?

Devareer could have kept me amongst the Nitya surees for serving your highness …

govindaa

Azhwar submits … It is  described in Srimad Bhagavatham

Na me dveshyosti na priyah

You declared no one in particular is beloved to you and neither you hate any one .

It is  also declared Samoham Sarva bhuteshu and look upon everyone equally ….and announced the supremely pure Jiva is like a kausthubha jewel that is effulgent with knowledge bliss …

Oh ! Lord does this give you any happiness seeing your children suffering in this infected material world ?

You have thrown me in this muddy samsara …a bottomless pit …

govindaa

Lord  with compassion replies !! with a bewitching smile …

Oh Parakala muni ……………….

Am I cause for your difficulties ? which……

you invited due to various sins committed by you in different lives you have taken since immemorial..

My child …   Yes!

I appeared several times and taken various incarnations to punish the evil doers  and reward the one who did virtuous deeds .

I took all the pain in seeing that people like you are uplifted ..

But am sad ..you never ever sought me and preferred to be Independent .

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Never you showed inclination towards me ..You evaded and avoided me and slowly moved  away from me  as if you had taken a vow that you would not see , hear , speak and seek me at all.

You were always seeking material pleasures and thus enjoyed the ephemeral worldly pleasures and indulged in sinful  deeds.  entertaining  hatred every moment towards my devotees ,

My Child …. You are therefore ..cause for the succession of sorrows which have chased  you for the gross misdeeds.

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Kaliyan … Now don’t  impute me for your misdeeds .

 

Azhwar humbly responded …..

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Oh Lord !! The Mind is the cause for a person to entertain a desire or wish in favour of a particular object and this crazy mind is under YOUR control ..as you declared in SBG

Sarvasya chaaham hridi samnishtah.”

As HRISHIKESHA you are the cause of the good and bad thoughts …

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Azhwars have proclaimed

Ennaitheemanam Keduthathaai

and YOU alone have ensured that my mind is diverted from the evil thoughts which forces me to commit these sins

..Maruvithozhum maname thandhaai…

Oh ! Lord !! This mind you gave me which with love seeks your refugee ..and you gave this sinful mind ..and then threw me in this ocean of samsara

..Lord !! Please show compassion and uplift me ..

Lord once again smiles and replies…………..

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Oh Parakaala muni …My child …

From time immemorial ….

You never sought me .

To attain specific fruits and get rid of difficulties you had performed certain yagas and yagynas and seeked fruits .

You overlooked me. With that faith you had overlooked me and thus you had several succession of lives doing good and bad deeds thus falling in the unending cycle of karmas in this samsara .

Now tell me ..How can I be a part of your sins ?

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Azhwar shakes up and with moist eyes .He continues to plead ..

Oh Lord !! Please don’t say that I  forgot you ..

I entertained the faith and trust that some actions would give specific results and that therefore I had distanced from you my LORD out of ignorance …

What authority do I have to do good or bad karma ..My Lord …

Lord !! Being LORD of LORD’s , please do not put me in the karmic code of life . For my own upliftment  please bear me ..

Lord !! As per knowledgeable people what pleases you is a virtuous deed and that angers you is a sinful deed ……………

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annaadah vasudaanah…

Lord !! This verse proclaims you decide the fruits of our  karma..

. In that case Lord !! Can your grace not flow on us to do good karmas only ?

You are everything ..Please exhibit that divine power by uplifting this fallen soul ..

Lord  with abundant mercy smiled….

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and said ..Oh ! Azhwar ……

Are you an insentient being like a  stone or that rock …You have knowledge,  a body and the senses .. With all these , You acted independently ..You are the enjoyer .. You seek .. You attain …and then you enjoy your might…………………………

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As a jiva you are supposed to use your Jnana to discriminate between good and bad .

In Spite of having  Jnana and the freedom to act independently you have yourself become the cause of your evil consequences

.Child ! I am of no fault at all ..

Azhwar  disappointed , once again pleads and begs LORD …

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Lord ! You are Omnipotent and my Indweller ..

Yasya prithivee sariram

Yasyaatmaa sareeram

Sarvam vai karestanuh

Jagatsarvam sareerantey…

Lord !! Your entire body is this entire world …Lord you enter matter in a very subtle manner and then you take control of this matter in the same way which Jiva controls or conduct the decaying body ..

For this entire matter Lord!! you are the primary cause ….

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Just as a charioteer directs the horses which draw the chariot I act only as per the directions given by you and If you oppose I cannot perform and become powerless

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Oh Lord !! Is it not your gesture to look after your own child and this body  is of that Atma (Jiva) which belongs to you alone ..and the protection of all the jivas like me  is Lord ! Your responsibility  as you are the nature of Eternal Atma

 

Lord !! In the Ashtakshara mantra it is proclaimed that there are nine types of connection which are with us and cannot be overlooked ..

Oh Lord !! Am shivering with fear as how much longer You who are Independent will push me into this abyss of samsara .Lord

………………..

fb_img_1472948421315.jpgPlease don’t make me a victim of your divine leela ,….

instead make me an instrument in your service

The discussion echoes an ordinary Jiva’s struggle and plight in emancipation .

Azhwar further  continues

Maattramula aagilum solluvan makkal

Thottrakkuzhi thottruvippaaikal Endru innam

Aaattrankarai vvzhmarampol anjugindren

Naattrachchuvai ooru oliyaagiya nambhi

Oh Lord …

The taste , touch , vision etc which are seen in the earthly and the five elements are being indicated as the qualities which are in you ..

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You are the essence in water , sound in the sky , scent in the earth and in short sap and essence in everything

..Lord !! Nothing can exist without you ..

Oh Lord …With all these  qualities that are substances which induce desire and hence creating problems that commits sins  thus forgetting you Lord due to ignorance and mad illusion thus falling in this bottomless pit repeatedly ..

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We are just small puppets .

Though you have given us the knowledge , the senses in this body are uncontrollable horses which have caused my befall Knowing fully well that the physical pleasures are ephemeral , temporary and very minute which leads to great difficulties that resulted in deep sorrow ..yet like a drunken mad monkey this mind runs swiftly and this body is like a fruit full of worms which have already begun to eat me inside ..

Lord ………………

You pushed me into this deep pit with a noose called karma and punish me by giving this body which has full of worms ..

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As a tree which is on a bank of a rapidly flowing river fiercely cutting into the banks is all the time not knowing as and when the tree is washed out even my life is like that

...Lord !! Am trembling with fear now

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Lord out of abundant compassion and like a father who painfully tweaks the cheeks of a child and enjoys the cries thought …chuckles and thinks …

Umn !! That’s true..I allowed you to fall and that was for your own good ..

I have got rid of your atheistic beliefs and cruel conduct once for all

I taught you the Ashtaakshara mantraa

which made you sing Naan kandu kondain Naarayana ennum Naamam and made him aware of the True Knowledge ..

Its just a matter of few more years ..I will accept and uplift him permanently ..as he has to just accept his Prarabhdha karmaa and then …

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Lord now replies pretending to be unhappy …

Oh Parakala Muni … What is this unusual behaviour from you ..Its your Prarabhdha karma which is causing pain . Have you forgotten your unbearable misdeeds and hatred towards my devotees ?

Why is this anxiety bothering you .. If you can find any other person who can uplift you ………..Please carry on …

Azhwar immediately submits sobbing uncontrollably ..

Oh Lord !!   Am a insignificant being ..Please forgive me ..You are an ocean of compassion and abundant mercy ..

How could I ever imagine to get your benevolent grace ..Please forgive me

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Ashtaakshari is my only bread  butter and life force .

.Lord !I am suffering with unlimited anxiety for the fear that I amy be again pushed into this samsaara ..

Seetramula aagilum seppuvan makkall

Thottrakkuzhi thottruvippaikolendranchi

kaatrathidaippatta kalavar manam pol

Aattrathulangaanirppan Aazhivalvaa

Oh ! Lord adorning the  mighty Sudarshana chakram , Tell me…………

Do you need the divine chakra ?

 ..In this entire creation there is NO ONE who can oppose your supremacy and cause difficulties

.Having the chakra is to protect people like me ..

All your weapons are for protecting your children……………………

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The totality of the evil deeds of any devotee will be obliterated by the Sudarshana chakra if only such devotee were to have the insignia of the chakra on his shoulders ,

Oh Lord !! I am travelling in a boat which is caught in the middle of the ocean surrounded by  agitated waves due to the winds of passion ..Oh Lord !! Please pardon me …

Azhwar submits with unconditional surrender ..

Knowing LORD is eternal , he submits

 Lord  when  a  child who is full of mischief falls into a well , the entire world blames the mother  .though Mother is no way responsible  for the event …

A story used to be shared by our great revered Acharyar Swami Peria Vachan Pillai …

The great war of Mahabharatha concluded ..The revered saint Udanka was upset . He approached Lord Krishna and enquired 

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Lord …

You revealed Srimad Bhagavad Gita and said ..

..na me dveshyosthi na priyah 

For you all were same .. 

You could have very well changed the minds of Kauravas thus preventing this catastrophe ….

Lord was silent ..These were the words

nimitta mattram bhava savyassaachin

mayaivaite nihataah poorvameva

LORD was speechless when Azhwar addressed him with this revelation..

Azhwar was special to LORD .. he  earned his love for the devotion and  unconditional surrender ….. …………………………..

Many elevated souls  have realised this highest  transcendental truth….They do not care much for earthly good or evil. They care only for Lord’s inner dictates. Constantly they listen to the dictates of their Inner Pilot ( The Lord as Antharyamee)  and then on the strength of their oneness,  the inseparable oneness with their Inner Pilot, they offer their selfless, dedicated service to humanity

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. They try to offer  divine knowledge to aspiring humanity. Again, they tell humanity that Lord Realisation is not their sole monopoly. Everyone needs to  fulfill his  dharma on earth, fulfill the  duties, the reason why we are  here and then  hand our existence over to existence and let life itself play its tune on  us , the hollow bamboo flute. just let destiny fulfill itself through us , emptying our self of all the  selfish ego desires and illusions and  then realize the divine which is acting in us  through  in order to bring blessings and final upliftment

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 Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Inspired by a discourse shared by an advanced Spiritual guru…

Pics : Courtesy Google images

videos : Thanks to  Sri Balaji .M

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Pillai Urangavilli Dasar the disciple of Swamy Ramanuja .. ..whose wisdom was blinded with deep love for the Supreme Lord.. a divine pastime


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Pillai Uranga Villidasan  was  a favourite disciple to Swamy Ramanuja .He became very close to his Master so rare that was his piety  though belonged to a lower caste he had privileges conferred upon him . Very often Swamy Ramanuja was seen returning from Kaveri leaning on the shoulders of Swamy MudaliAndaan and Villidasan  . A brahmana is unclean before bath and clean after a bath and the disciples watching were curious with their Masters way why they had not changed places while accompanying Swamy Ramanuja .

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They took courage to question their Master for an explanation. Swamy condescended to them saying  , my children  ! Have you not heard that learning , riches and high birth swell a fool with pride , but adorn the wiseman ?  This  man our villidasan  is utterly destitute of this three fold vice but we are not .

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Hence he is fit enough to be touched by me  .On hearing the golden words the disciples bent their head in shame and dared make any further  protest , but all the same malice kindled their minds against the favourite disciple Villidasan who was  a sudra and  more close to their master  than a Brahmin disciple could be  . They could not digest a sudra should stand so high to their masters estimation , as their own prestige as Brahmins was being jeopardised.

Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Kovil

Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Kovil

Swamy  Ramanuja was aware of the disciples  grudge towards the advanced devotee who was a gem among  all of them .  As a true Master  he wanted to  convince the error  which is making them spiritually fatal . He devised a plan  and hence called a close disciple in private  and ordered him to secrete  all the clothes of the  disciples  in the night  when they were fast asleep. ( these were the clothes which are washed  and hanged high to be dried up ) . The task was accomplished .

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The next day all the disciples were aghast with the missing of their daily wear . Each one was accusing the other and the entire scene turned into chaos.  They were calling names  against each other .Swamy Ramanuja walked into the chambers hearing the unusual noise . All the disciples vented their anguish about the missing clothes .Swamy Ramanuja  calmed them and advised them to accept the same as Lords providence . Alternate arrangements were made .

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Days passed , Villidasan who was living near to the Ashram  was serving Acharyar with utmost devotion . One day it got delayed  as Villidasar  was entrusted some jobs for some festival . Swamy Ramanuja walked into the disciples chamber and told them that they all must go to Villidasars house located few  metres away and make an attempt to rob the precious jewellery and other ornaments from Ponnachee his wife  when she is asleep.  . All of them knew Villidasar was a rich person and had gifted many golden jewellary to his wife Ponnachee  in the past on several occasions and she was always bedecked with the ornaments .  It was decided that they need to rob the jewels when Villidasar was serving Swamy Ramanuja  in the ashram .

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The disciples were very happy . All of them marched hurriedly to Villidasars house .They could see Ponnachee fast asleep .Ponnachi was sleeping on the floor of the hut using her hand as a pillow.  She was bedecked with wonderful gold jewelry The moment one of the disciples bent down to unhook her ear-ring, she woke up.  .  Without any inhibitions they waited  , collected all the jewellery from the chest  and attempted to  remove the jewellery worn by her during her sleep  once again . But , Ponnachee  recognised the disciples and did not want to startle him.  She thought ,when  Swamy Ramanuja’s disciple committed such an act of theft it must have a divine sanction .

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She then laid still and allowed them remove the ear-rings, bangles and the nose-ring she was wearing on the left side of her body.   She felt they were taking away their own property  for whatever effects she owned in this world were not really hers but entrusted to her for their sake . This is how Property is to be spiritually viewed . She gently rolled over for them to strip the other side of the jewellery she was wearing .  She was anxious that the vaishnavas should complete their work and not go away with half work done . But her  movement however created a fright  and put the disciples  on their toes to leave the place .

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The vaishnavas returned to the ashrama  .Pillai dasar after completing all the works assigned  to him submits his humble  prayers to Acharya and takes leave .   Meanwhile , the disciples  entered the ashram  and explain the happenings at Villidasars house in detail to Acharyar. Swamy Ramanujar  orders  them to follow Villidasar immediately  up to his house and watch all that might take place in the house . The disciples quickly left the jewellery  in Ashram and followed him in the dark .

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In the house Ponnachee was eagerly waiting for her husband  as done daily.When she heard the footsteps  of Villidasar , she hurriedly went to the entrance and  welcomed him  .She washed his feet with all affection  .Villidasar  looked at her very strangely as she had decked jewellery one sided only.  He said , What is this lady ??  taken aback with her strange dress sense .  Nothing My Lord she replied  soothingly  .I shall explain you in detail .Please honour the prasada quickly as it is already too late  . She continued   about the incident  that happened few minutes back .  She pleasingly said that the  vaishnavas who are our gurus had come to our house just now   my dear …..while I was lying asleep.   May be they were in need of their jewels .I could hear them whisper that I was asleep and It was the right time to  take the jewellery . Lying down hearing their whisper , I pretended to be fast asleep so that they could complete their task .  They  laid hands on me and took all the jewels from my right side as the left  side was visible .

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Our effects are theirs  as you know  , so to let them have all , I quietly turned around my right  side  with all my care doing so  to make them believe that I was really fast asleep, but my bad luck it some how gave them a alarm and to my utter regret  they left without completing the job they had come for .  . On hearing this Pillai urangi got upset and was angry with her . He said ..Hey Foolish woman !!!    you have spoiled the great opportunity to serve the vaishnavas . You must have laid motionless till their work is completed …. ……If the jewels were theirs Its their wish to take them as they like . I am really very upset with your behaviour…… He said half the jewels  have been best invested , the remaining are vanity  .

 The vaishnavas were observing the conversation behind the doors . They hurriedly left back to Ashrama  and gave a full report of the conversation . Swamy Ramanuja the Acharyar  now spoke to his disciples and  asked them to remain awake. He then instructed them to wake up all the other disciples. All of them should clean themselves and assemble before the Acharya for an important lesson. Eager to hear new lessons from the Acharya, they all gathered around him in no time.

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Suddenly from no where  Villidasan ran into the mutt with his wife . He fell down at the Acharya’s feet like an uprooted tree. He and his wife  Ponnachee were with tears  .  The other disciples were stunned at the unusual sight. They had never seen Villidasan crying so much.

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“We have committed a grace sin  Acharya. We have together  sinned. We are no longer fit to be your disciples. Condemn us to the worst of hells; even then the retribution will not be
adequate.” cried Villidasan

“What happened, my child? Why are you crying? Why is your wife crying?”
Swamy Ramanuja  asked the devotee disciple ..

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Acharya   “Some of your learned disciples had come into our hut today to take my wife’s jewels. She was sleeping. Your disciples took the trouble of removing the jewels
from her person themselves. Ponnachi did not want to startle them by waking
up all of a sudden. When she turned the other side so that they can remove those jewels also, they just ran away.  “Acharya, I am not even fit to be a dust in the feet of those learned disciples. Aren’t you called the Udaiyavar?

Doesn’t that mean that all of us,all our belongings, properties and everything belong to you?

When you sent your men to take your things,   Ponnachi should have welcomed them and should have given them whatever she had. She has sinned, My Lord. “And I have sinned too. Please  curse us  a punishment . My wife has decided not to wear jewels on the one side of her body for the rest of her life.” for the grave sin committed ….

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You  showed LORD  to me. And I could not even give some worthless piece of yellow metal to you, when you needed it! What a sinner I am! There is no hope for me, there is no salvation for me!”he was uncontrollable ….

Swamy Ramanuja turned to his other disciples.

Please tell me whose wisdom is  better , great yours or his ?

Please know that caste is of no importance..

It is the virtue that is most important and prized .

This is why I say ….  Even River Cauvery cannot clean me completely. But this man’s touch can purify me. That’s why I lean on him when I return from the river.

Villi,  my child ….. please teach these people how to love.”

Pillai-Uranga-Villi-Dasar

The disciple who first complained to Ramanuja about Villidasan  prostrated  to him  and Ponnachi’s feet begging their pardon.

Swamy Ramanuja then returned the jewels to Ponnachi and commanded her to wear them then and there. And also ordered that she should never be without those jewels. The silence that reigned  in the Ashram was pregnant with many lessons, many teachings
and many leanings….

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It is told that Villidasan was called as Mahamati  (  a human wiser than wisdom ) the wisdom blinded by love for Lord .He was love blind as to fear any danger for one who is above all dangers . Mahamati  used to walk   with his sword drawn in front of the Lord so that he may stop anyone who dared to do any act in the least offensive to the Lord of Lords….

More details about this great disciple can be read in this post linked below :

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/the-wrestler-who-surrendered-to-the-most-beautiful-eyes/

True !!!   Bhaagavatha apachAram is worse than BhagavathapachAram

Sri.Pillai Uranga Villidasar thiru adigale sharanam.

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

hey kr

 

Pics  Courtesy : Google images , anudinam

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……Only by the association of devotees can one develop a desire for Krishna consciousness…… ..Kulashekhara Azhwar’s musings …


Ghushyate yasyanagarey Rangayaatraa dhiney dhiney

tamaham sirasaa vandey Rajaanam Kulasekharam..

The above sloka speaks about the Azhwar who was an Emperor seeking Lord Ranganatha’s darshan every breath ……..

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Sri Kulasekhara Azhwar was the sixth among the illustrious  Srivaishnava  Azhwars. He appeared at a place in Kerala  at Thiruvanjikalam and was a great devotee of LORD . He became more effulgent because of his total immersion in rendering service to the devotees Our Elders advise in a verse  that …..

Nyagrodhabeeje vatavat pranave sabdajaalavat

sidde tadeeya seshatve sarvaarthaah sambavantih

means

only when we have the feeling of being a servant in the presence of the devotees of the LORD then only we can have the realization of the  LORD. 

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As  this is the only way one gets  great strength that this quality only can confer  us by giving us the objective of realizing the LORD amongs’t the devotees  .If one was to weigh in a balance to find out whether Kulasekhara Azhwar had love to LORD or LORD’s devotees , one would find that his humility  to the devotees of LORD was much much higher .

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It is said that it became a daily occurrence for the King to go along with his entourage to have darshan of Lord Ranganathar and  that just before they proceeded on a pilgrimage they would see some great devotees coming opposite  to them as guests of the King , and immediately ,  the King could not leave them because he felt he had the rare privilege to serve them as they were devotees of LORD that gave him immense happiness .

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This almost became a daily affair. Our elders advise that one must not keep aside the rendering of service to the devotees and instead render service to the LORD which is of no use due to the offense committed . It said  during the actual worship of LORD when some devotees visit us they immediately handover the responsibility to other family member and rush to serve LORDS devotees . Kulasekhara Azhwar was  such a great king.

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Normally Power takes a man to great heights thus forgetting his real self.However Azhwar showed utmost humility and regards in the presence of his devotees .

He thus became Bhaktha Shiromani

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The citizens used to comment that the King was a mad man as though he had all the wealth and power he rejected it and served LORD and HIS devotees unconditionally Azhwar composed a collection of  wonderful pasurams named” Perumal Thirumozhi”  and in one of the pasuram  he laments that worldly people are suffering great poverty not knowing that right underneath the ground in the hut in which they are living , there lies  a hidden treasure . These unfortunate persons ,  are all those worldly people  who are not able to recognize the great LORD who is the In dweller in their heart and  the Eternal witness . Not being able to recognize such a LORD who can redeem them  they are attached to the temporary and inferior pleasures and  thus bear great sufferings .

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He never thought he was an Emperor.   Azhwar described four attributes of the LORD which are  being sung by advanced devotees at Srirangam temple .

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The first is Eru adarthathu  ( Lord Krishna’s valor in overcoming the seven bulls to marry Neela devi ) 

Enamaai nilam keendathu ” Lord Varahas’s incarnation to save Goddess earth and assurance to Mahalakshmi through  the Charama Sloka giving a boon to grant Moksha to  all the devotees  who surrender  unconditionally . This  varaha Charama sloka is recited as a part of the daily ritualistic worship  in all the houses along with the Lord Krishna’s Bhagavad Gita Charama sloka .In the Bhagavad Gita it is stated that those who are faithfully following the Karma , Jnana  and Bhakthi Yoga and offer woship have to remember LORD during their final moments of their life if they are to attain Moksha ( Liberation ) 

Antakaalecha maameva smarananmuktvaa kalebaram

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If at the final moments one is not able to recollect LORD they cannot attain Moksha .It is very difficult for a human to think of LORD in the dying state as he may not be in a position to use the power of speech and  other senses due to his suffering from serious illness caused by accumulation of phlegm and other biliary diseases.The mind itself may be shriveled due to extreme pain .And the Mind is always occupied in anxieties of his kith and kin . Having noticed the difficult situation in which a dying person may be placed , the extremely compassionate Lord Varaha assures Mahalakshmi , he would definitely think of his supreme devotee and take them in his shelter . Recalling this great commitment the devotees were dancing in joy in the other premises .

Varaha Charama  sloka confirms that Lord thinks of his devotee during his final hours instead of the devotee thinking of LORD  .

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In another part of the huge temple, another group of devotees were hymning the courage of LORD RAMA  ” Mun Iraamanaai maaradarthathum “  Lord Rama overwhelmingly defeated  the demon king Ravana by releasing a shower of arrows . Ravana was almost defeated as his bow fell down along with his chariot. Ravana was in great distress and agony .Lord could have killed the demon .

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However ,  out of abundant compassion  he said , Ravana .. Please go home …. You are now very tired …. You come tomorrow with new  weapons of war with a new chariot and a charioteer …..and allowed him to leave

Would anybody take that courage to release a dreaded enemy ??

That was LORD RAMACHANDRA ….

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Else where in the precincts of the big temple , some devotees were recalling the story of Lord Vamana. ” Mannalandhathum “..Though LORD was Emperor of Universe , he was willing to seek a favor from King Bali proving his opulence .

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Azhwar had musings of the Holy place Srirangam in every breath thinking of the above  divine pastimes.  All the above divine pastimes pertaining to the the LORD are extremely sweet . One such thought made Azhwar  seek the association of those devotees  who used to mentally recall all the divine pastimes and with great ecstasy dance in the temple precincts in various groups .

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In their ecstasy , they used to shed copious tears of joy  and were immersed in happiness . Their tears of joy used to flow like a torrent  stream . Srirangam has two branches of the river cauvery embracing it.  In the process ,it looked as if this flow of tears , which had formed itself into stream was a third branch surrounding Srirangam .The streets were flooded with wet mud due to this  stream .The devotees were dancing in this wet mud chanting the HOLY NAME  . Azhwar mentally recalled this sweet incident and expressed his desire that how fortunate he would be to apply on his forehead the wet mud as a holy mark in mark of respect to the great devotees singing LORD’s names ..

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Kulasekhara Azhwar  knotted  out the  priceless pearls of wisdom and strung them into a garland (mala) of poems  in  the Mukundamala, where he surrenders

 krsna tvadiya-pada-pankaja-panjarantam    

 adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah

prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih      

kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te

 “O Lord Krsna, at this moment let the royal swan of my mind enter the tangled stems of the lotus of Your feet. How will it be possible for me to remember You at the time of death, when my throat will be choked up with mucus bile and air?”Azhwar prays the Lord to keep him in the company of bhaktas, who relish the constant thought of the Lord’s lotus feet.

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Such devotees are characterized by palms folded in supplication, heads bowed in devotion, hair ends of the body standing upright in joy, tones shaky with emotion, and eyes filled with tears..all tell tale signs of their boundless bhakti brimming over.

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Here is the beautiful sloka from Sri Mukunda MalA:

“BaddhEna anjalinA natEna sirasA gAtraischa rOmOdgamai:
kaNttEna svara gadgadEna nayanEna utkeerNa bAshpAmbunA
nityam tvat charaNAravinda yugaLa dhyAnamrita AsvAdinAm
asmAkam SarasIruhAksha satatam sampadyatAm jeevitam”.

 

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Azhwar Thiru adigale sharanam

Pics credits : Google images ( Thanks to all the devotees )

Video credits : ammaskrishna

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Thirumangai Azhwar ….” Manjakuli Utsavam” and Thirunaangur 11 Garuda Sevai Utsavam..vaibhavam …


Sriman Narayana Charanau Saranam Prapathye

Srimathe Narayanaya namah

Sri Kumudavalli sametha Thirumangai Azhwar Saranam Prapathey

Srimathe Ramanujayah namah

Sri Dasarathaya namah

Sri Vara Vara Muniye namah

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Offering  repeated obeisances to Asmath Acharyar, Sri Sri  Mudaliandan Swamy, Adiyen wishes to share our  travel and darisanam experience at Thirunangoor done few years back . We had  attended this Utsavam twice and we wish to share the divine experiences to all the devotees . It will be a great fortune and mercy for the ones who will be attending  next  year on Thai Amavasai  which is being celebrated from 27-01-2017 to  29-01-2017.

The appended invitation was issued last year for reference about the programme details

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The remote  village of Thirunangoor near Sirkazhi reverberates with satsangh   every year Thai Amavasya and the succeeding 2  days are celebrated in a  very grand manner.

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On Thai Amavasya, Thirumangai Azhwar  the great saint in Vaishnava sampradaya is given Manjal Kuliyal(holy bath with turmeric water) which is being celebrated for more than 12 centuries .

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The next day, 11 Garuda Seva of LORD  is celebrated which is being done since past  100 years .The third day marks the return of Azhwar to Tiruvali-Thirunagari temple. Srivaishnavas make it a point to participate in these festivities.

. 788MANJAL NEERATAM AND ELEVEN GARUDA SEVAS   HELD AT THIRUNANGOOR EVERY YEAR ON THAI AMAVASAI  AND PRADHAMAI DAY respectively. ???????????????????????????????May the Supreme Lord bestow me the knowledge to describe about the Garuda Seva. Adiyen seeks the blessings of all the   devotees  , Acharyas and  Azhwars   for  describing the great event .

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Thirumangai Azhwar  affectionately  called as Kaliyan, was the valiant army chief of the then Chola King that the king gifted him with a small territory to rule over. Hence, he was known as Thirumangai Mannan .

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He was attracted to an apsara Kumudavalli , daughter of a physician and expressed his desire to marry her. Kumudavalli who appeared on this earth to transform this valiant king to a  devotee , laid the condition that he should  serve  1000 Srivaishnavas every day  by offering Prasadam for one year .

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Thirumangai Mannan fulfilled her condition and continued to do so even after his marriage as he got habituated in this wonderful kainkaryam of feeding  the srivaishnavas. In due course, his wealth diminished and as Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, when HE decides to bless HIS devotee, HE takes away wealth and enacted a divya leela.

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Due to his love for vaishnavas , our Azhwar resorted to stealing and plundering wealth from the rich and the egoistic  but  used the wealth for feeding Vaishnavas and renovating temples.

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One day ,  Tirumangai Mannan comes to know through his friends that a newly wedded couple bedecked with precious  jewellery  were  passing through a forest in a palanquin and if they could plunder their wealth, they could continue with their cause of serving Srivaishnavas forever.

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Overjoyed , Thirumangai Mannan along with his four friends  rush to the  place in the midnight ,  galloping  fast on his horse, who he calls as Aadalmaa. He  waylays the divine couple who are resting  near a mandapam at “Thirumanankollai” and plunders their wealth. This precious booty is carefully put  over a cloth and ties it . Not being satisfied with the loot, he  advances towards them and tries to remove the Thirumetti of Thayar with all his might but  is unsuccessful.

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By coming in contact with Thayar’s thiruvadi, realisation dawns on him.  He is amazed .Something draws him towards them for a second look . However  he manages and when he tries to lift the loot, he is unable to do so. He  suspects  the bridegroom for having put some charm on the loot  .  He threatens Perumal who is disguised as the bridegroom with a sword to disclose the secret which is not allowing him to lift the loot .

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Perumal  smiles at him . He advises him to purify himself by having a dip at the  Kavery tributary  and return so that he can impart the secret to him.

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Thirumangai mannan  politely obeys the advise . He returns to  Perumal. Lord  gives him the most sacred mantram,Thirumantram . The moment Perumal whispers the sacred Ashtakshari Thirumantram , wisdom dawns on Kaliyan and he surrenders at the Lotus feet of the Divya Dampadhigal.

He repents for all his earlier deeds and outbursts his  divine pourings starting with  the wonderful pasuram

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“Vaadinene Vaadi….” and decides to glorify Perumal by visiting holy places in India..

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He is transformed as Thirumangai Azhwar and riding on his Aadalma horse glorified Perumal in about 86 divya desams.

OUR PILIGRIMAGE EXPERIENCES:

With the directions given by senior devotees we reached Thirunangoor in the evening and  discussing about the divine pastimes of Azhwars with elders .

Though we did not have a proper resting place all of us relaxed lying down at the temple entrance awaiting Azhwars arrival  as it was  almost midnight when we reached Thirunangoor. The  village of Thirunangoor  is fully crowded with many devotees . We all relaxed in front of a house near Thirunagari temple. Suddenly around 1.30 A.M. in the  early morning, we were awakened by sounds of  crackers and trumpets .

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The drums and Nadaswaram  were being played to welcome our Azhwar  .

On enquiry, we were told that Azhwar’s purapaadu ( procession )  was about to start and Azhwar was being dressed as the chief .

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Adiyen was keen to join the procession amongst many many senior devotees and the excitement in following Azhwar . Un mindful adiyen took a shower near a bore well and quickly changed my clothes and applying  Urdhvapundram ran behind the crowd to be as close  to Azhwar and the devoted priests .  It was totally dark with  few  street lights  which were going ON and Off  and sad that  there were no proper roads. Unmindful of the thorns and stones, all the bhagavathas were  literally running behind the Azhwar as some one is waiting for us .

True ! The all compassionate LORD is so keen to meet the Azhwar for his upliftment . Adiyen  had the same feeling .As it was too difficult to carry children in the crowd  my family followed us by hiring a  motor car amongst other devotees .

This unique devotion  of the villagers and the devotees coming from far off places has to be seen in person to taste the bliss .  The  holy intention of the procession ( purapaadu)  is Azhwar personally goes to each  of the 11 temples, glorifies the respective Perumals while going for Manjal Neeratam and personally invites  the LORDSHIPS  to  grace them to come to Thirumanimaada kovil for the Garuda utsava darshanam  which will be held the next day.  The tradition of glorifying the LORD at the respective divyadesams  by the pasurams sung by Azhwar is done with all humility

. ???????????????????????????????Let me attempt to narrate the happenings in the chilly night of Amavasai . Our Azhwar (Thirumangai Azhwar) was seated majestically  in a well-decorated palanquin and the procession  started from the temple  Azhwar proceeds  to Thirukuraiyalur, his birth place.

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The crowd braves the chilly weather to somehow occupy the temple corridor to  have the closest darshan of Azhwar and Perumal . It was 2.30 AM when we reached this temple .  We could see hundreds  of devotees following the procession . The Azhwar literally runs and the bhagavathas also run behind the azhwar. Adiyen participated in the procession and literally was in bliss being with advanced devotees . It was a memorable trek for spiritual quest .The zeal cannot be explained.

We are in THIRUKURAIYALUR, the appearance place of Thirumangai Alwar.

???????????????????????????????The Temple Priest along with the senior devotees receive  Azhwar  with due temple honours and mangalasaasanams. The first pasuram  starting with “VAADINEN VAADI” was  recited .

It was as if Azhwar was almost there guiding us .The pasuram literally brought chilled tears in my eyes .  Adiyen was able to feel the soul literally craving for HIS grace and the nectar was directly being fed .

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Was able to meet  bhagavathaas who were carrying out  “PUSHPA KAINKARYAM FOR THE AZHWAR ON THESE TWO DAYS”.   Ahead of this recitation we were offered hot prasadam ( Kesaree) .This prasadam became a benchmark for me to offer it LORD later . After honouring the prasadam adiyen moved near to the temple premises where the devotees were thinning away .Offered humble obesiances to LORD NARASINGA PERUMAL and prayed LORD to bestow his abundant mercy in having satsangh always .

The special feature in this big festival is that without any discretion, all the residents of  the 11 villages participate in this function and the hospitality  extended by the local residents cannot be described in words.

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All the bhagavathas who attend this function are sumptuously fed . We can see the village residents  voluntarily offering us buttermilk,  hot milk and food etc enroute

They all consider it as their own family function. Now our  Azhwar proceeds  to THIRUMANGAIMAADAM , the birth place of Kumudavalli Thayar., who was solely responsible for transforming  our Azhwar into a Srivaishnavite.

It’s a  very old temple and  the darshan of Azhwar specifically at this place reveals his liking to this place and his consort . After recitation of the respective pasurams and mangalashashanams , we were offered  Chakrapongal prasadam  which was honoured . The sweet prasad , the sweet pasurams , the sweet crowd  and our SWEET AZHWAR was indeed most memorable night .

On looking at the watch , Adiyen was amazed ,It was  already  3.30 AM  and was looking as fresh . Never was Adiyen awake except for the Suprabatha seva at Tirumala Hills . We must have  around  4 Kms .

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From here we proceeded along with Azhwar to

THIRUKAVALAMPADI  THIRUMANIKOODAM  and  THIRUPAARTHANPALLI 

  scattered around  for about 10 kms and as done in the temples our Azhwar requests Perumal to grace the garuda Utsavam the nest day after reciting the prescribed pasurams of the Divya desams . Few temples the time taken is more as per the number of Pasurams .Adiyen was fortunate to be around the learned bhagavathas and advanced devotees who were literally up to date with the history of temple and Azhwars pastimes .

All these temples are scattered in a radius of 10 to 12 kms .Unmindful of the darkness , poor roads and route followed each of us were moving in a brisk pace to match the speed of the Procession .We must congratualate the palaquin bearers of Azhwar who are so energetic and infuse the spirit to just keep moving seeking his mercy .  The whole place is  charged with religious fervour and was eye- captivating. One must not miss to see bhagavatha’s bhakti for the Azhwar. Due to Azhwar’s sheer grace, Adiyen  was able to participate in the procession.

The procession was more or less like a running race. It shows the Azhwar’s anxiety to have darshan of Perumal at different divya desams . In each of the temples, we could see  the utsavar anxiety  to receive the Azhwar by  waiting outside the garbagriham to welcome our Azhwar. Adiyen was overwhelmed with joy and at the same time  was stunned to see an ocean of Srivaishnavas running behind the Azhwar. True ! If a bhaktha makes a small attempt to seek him

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…LORD moves few miles to reach him  .All through the way, Perumal’s naamasmaranam was done and Azhwar’s vaibhavam was recapitulated. Even the thorns and stones on the road  become flowers to the devotees now .Enjoying the company of a senior devotee adiyen suddenly noticed Azhwars procession moving inside a field lushy and so green . For a moment,  was totally confused . Adiyen didn’t know what was happening. The senior devotee explained  that it was Azhwar’s practice to go across fields, muddy lands and canals  during his times and as a mark of respect the procession goes in the similar fashion and that practice is followed even today. It was a very thrilling experience. Around 8-10  bhagavathas  were shouldering the palanquin and by seeing the speed in which the procession was taken, Adiyen thought they may  drop the palanquin. But  was corrected about my misconception by other bhagavathas that such incidents do not happen and Azhwar enjoys the procession to be taken in this way.  Adiyen decided to accompany the procession in the damp fields along with the  bhagavathas   though was bit apprehensive about slipping in the  green fields . Adiyen never ever felt that we were in the fields  . We along with  Azhwar cross the agricultural fields, (keni kattu), canals etc.  One young devotee was sharing his experience that the local people request the procession to be taken across their fields because they strongly believe that  Azhwars mercy on them will  have a good yield if the procession goes from their fields.

???????????????????????????????It takes about half a day for our  Azhwar to cover these 5 temples. After  inviting the Perumals in these five divyadesams  it is almost the next day afternoon .

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Now our  Azhwar proceeds  to the banks of Manikarnikarai ( tributary of the river cauvery )

On the banks of the canal, Azhwar does mangalasaasanam to his  Acharyar , Sri Naraiyur Nambi Perumal (Naachiyar kovil, Kumbakonam) who personally  initiated him into Vaishnavism and mangalasaasanam to his favourite Perumal, Sri Ranganathar .  The Divyaprabhanda pasurams takes you literally to the divyadesam along with Azhwar .

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An interesting happening takes place .The Priests along with bhgavathas  stood in knee deep water reciting  pasurams on LORD Thirunaraiyur Nambi and Sri Ranganathar. Our  Azhwar takes  a quick dip in the canal . Along with the Azhwar,  all the devotees also had a holy dip.

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One devotee informed that  Azhwar, when he  was the chief ,he  used to have bath in these waters for refreshing himself after he returned from his looting expedition. Hence, the  old practice of having holy dip in the Manikarnikai waters is still followed even today.  Azhwar is now honoured with garlands and peethambarams which were adorned by the two Perumals of the divya desams previously. These gifts are  specially brought from Kumbakonam and Srirangam with due temple honours. Now our Azhwar proceeds to  a nearby old mandapam well decorated  for Manjal Neeratam..

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..Thirumanjanam ( Abhiskekam)  was performed to  SINDANAIKU INIYAN ( one who is sweet for contemplating ) who accompanies Azhwar during the entire procession ( deities worshipped by Thirumangai Azhwar himself),

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Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli Thayar. It is very interesting to note that Azwar is never separated from Thayar except on one occasion i.e. during THIRUVEDUPURI UTSAVAM celebrated  during  Panguni Uthiram day every year in April. Only during this occasion, Azhwar leaves Kumudavalli Thayar alone for a span of 3-4 hours as he goes to rob  Perumal’s properties and eventually transforms to become HIS only property .

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We are now in the Mandapam premises . A sahsradhaara plate where the Azhwar deities are honoured with a holy bath . The beauty is during Abhishekam ( Thiurmanjanam)   to Lord Sindanaiku Iniyan the remnants holy water / milk/ honey /curd  flows through the Sahasradhaaram on Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli’s  who are underneath LORDS LOTUS FEET

. MVI_0094Its a great bhagyam to have darisanam of Azhwar when the holy water of his deities is allowed to bathe the divine couple who have showed us the path of surrender to our only LORD SRIMAN NARAYANA.

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Adiyen was fully charged amongst the bhagavathas . Few  senior bhagavathas sang Azhwars Pasurams with some dancing to the tunes .

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Overall the festive atmosphere infused more and more bhakthi and adiyen found there was some special attraction in our Azhwars bewitching smile . MVI_0096Reflecting on Azhwars pastimes adiyen reclined at the mandapam premises sometimes with tearful eyes thanking Azhwar and Asmath Acharyar for blessing me to be among this wonderful devotees who are in  the trance of HARINAAM all the while  .

???????????????????????????????At about 6 P.M., Azhwar reaches Thirumanimada kovil popularly known as Narayana Perumal kovil. It is here that 11 Garuda sevai is performed. The garuda vahanams of all Perumals are kept here in designated mandapams. Azhwar is greeted as usual and pasurams comprising of Thirupallandu, Kanninunsiruthambhu, respective pasuram from Peria Thirumozhi are recited followed by neivedyam, saatrumarai and vaazhi thirunaamam. Azhwar then visits Thiruvanpurushothaman kovil where professional musicians entertain Azhwar by exhibiting their talent in playing nadaswaram and mrudangam . 9oAfter mangalasaasanam, Azhwar visits Manavaala maamunigal sannidhi in the temple precincts. Azhwar was one of the favourites for Manavala mamunigal mamunigal organizes the 11 garuda seva on the following day. We were offered prasadam  , panchaamrutham, chakarai pongal etc  sumptously . The Manjal Neeratam is still fresh in our minds. May Azhwar bless us by giving us  many many more oppurtunities to be amongst his devotees  It was almost  3 P.M now . As per the plan , the procession  re started. Azhwar now marches to THIRUMANIMADAKOVIL , THIRUNAGARI  and glorifies the Perumals to grace the function the next day .

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Prasadam is offered at every Divyadesam to the devotees . Now our  Azhwar proceeds to  THIRUVANPURUSHOTHAM KOVIL , THIRUVAIKUNTAVINNAGRAM   THIRUSEM PON SEI KOVIL THIRUTHETRIAMBALAMTHIRUARIMEYAVINNAGARAM and finally awaits for all Perumals to grace him at THIRUMANIMADA KOVIL  and following the same custom of reciting the divyaprabhanda pasurams  glorified by  Azhwar at the respective divya desams.We were overjoyed to be among  a sea of devotees and managed to take rest in open area and  moved to the premises of  Srinivasa Perumal kovil more popularly known as “Annan Kovil “ and  passed the night at temple along with devotees .

The next day morning, all of us assembled at Thirumanimada kovil for participating in  the most awaited  11 GARUDA SEVA.

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Adiyen took this small oppurtunity to have darisanam of  Anann kovil,, Thirupaarthanpalli, Thiruvaali-Thirunagari before proceeding to attend the Eleven Garuda sevai  . Offering repeated obesiances to our Azhwar in  Thirunagari temple. The temple itself is very big. The  deity of Thirumangai Azhwar along with Kumudavalli Thayar is eye captivating. It makes one recollect   Acharyar Manavala mamuni’s thaniyan . Azhwar’s lips are slightly opened as if they are uttering THIRUMANTRAM. Azhwar is seen holding THIRUMADAL in one hand and has  a spear with him. Azhwar is seen wearing anklet. This anklet and Vel were given as gifts to the Azhwar when he won in a contest about Vaishnavism with a advanced saiva devotee Thirugyanasambandhar .

THE PREPARATION FOR ELEVEN GARUDA SEVAI BEGINS

???????????????????????????????From 10 A.M. onwards we can have darhanam of  divya desa Perumals from each temple who accept the Invitation of Azhwar  We are able to observe  a  big pandal  erected for the Perumals. The Perumals  arrive  in their respective palanquins with mangalashanams . Now we race towards  Thirumanimadakovil at 14 hours.  We take darshanam of  almost  Seven Perumals who  had arrived . AnnanPerumal VanpurushothamanKudamadumkootharMadhavaPerumal NarayananPallikondaperumalAlmost by  4 P.M. all Perumals from 11 divya desams arrive and take the  gaurd of honour from our Azhwar  as our  Azhwar arrives to recieve our most reverred guest of the wonderful seva  from Thirumanimada kovil for receiving the Perumals.

Our  Azhwar  awaits  near the entrance of the temple.  Acharyar Manavala maamuni  awaits facing  our Azhwar.

, 7655Swamy Manavalamaamuni was very fond of Thirumangai Azhwar and he , as a disciple supervises this grand Garuda  Utsavam . The place was over crowded but fortunately we could have a clear view of the proceedings and were able to have good darisanam . To enable the crowd to know about the proceedings, a big board was hung depicting the particular Perumal’s Thirunaamam, and Divya desam.

9900Mangalasaasanam on the particular Perumal rendered by Thirumangai Alwar was recited and our  Azhwar does pradakshinam to Perumal.  Azhwar is  honoured  with parivattam and garlands previously worn by the Perumal as a blessing . Our  Azhwar humbly bows down to  accept the  gifts given by respective Perumals from the divyadesams . Azhwar wears the garland given by Perumal and  adorns the parivattam .  Fruits etc are offered as neivedyam to  Perumal and then to Azhwar and later to  Swamy Manavala Mamumuni followed by  karpoora aarthi

. 12345Now the honoured Perumal  gets inside the Thirumani mada kovil. An interesting feature noted was there was a separate troop of musicians who played naadaswaram, mela and thalam for each Divyadesam  Perumal.

9876Finally Karpoora  mangala  haarthi with Poorna  khumbham is given. The sequence in which the mangalasaasanam  done to the Perumal  is as follows

90001) THIRUNARAYANA PERUMAL OF THIRU MANIMADA KOVIL-   adorned  in white colour dress .

2) KUDAMAADU KOOTHAR PERUMAL OF THIRU ARIMEYA VINNAGARAM-  adorned in blue colour dress

3) SRI LAKSHMI RANGANATHAR OF SEM PON SEI KOVIL

4) SRI SRINIVASA PERUMAL OF ANNAN KOVIL (palanquin covered with blue and meron velvette cloth)

5) SRI PURUSHOTHAMAN OF THIRUVANPURUSHOTHAM (dressed in white and grey)- palanquin covered with green cloth (Note: All the palanquins were covered with cloth with sankhu, chakram and Thiruman embedded on it)

6) SRI VARADARAJA PERUMAL OF THIRUMANIKOODAM (silver crown, holding mace, dressed in blue and red –palanquin covered with white cloth)

7) SRI VAIKUNTANATHAR OF THIRUVAIKUNTAM ( Adiseshan seen as umbrella for Perumal, blue and red colour cloth covered over the palanquin) (The alankaranam for all the Perumals are  fantastic)

8) SRI MADHAVA PERUMAL OF THIRUDEVANARTHOGAI (meron colour kreetam-dressed in yellow and red )

9) SRI PARTHASARATHY PERUMAL OF THIRUPAARTHANPALLI (dressed in printed silk cloth-silver umbrella –Maragadham visible on Perumal’s Thirumaarbhu-red colour palanquin

10) SRI RAJAGOPALAN of THIRUKAVALAMPAADI (dressed in pink and blue coloured silk cloth-red coloured palanquin)

765During circumbulation  to  LORD Sri Rajagopalan  Azhwar  majestically circumbalates   amidsts  the  enchanting Nadaswaram  ( Nagin music) . After all the Perumals take leave ,  Swami Manavala mamuni does pradakshinam to Azhwar amidst the background nadaswaram playing  style and the Azhwar along with  swami Manavala mamuni enter the temple. The reception  function takes place for about 2 hours. Around 5PM  inside the temple,  we can have darshanam of each Perumal  who have a separate  chamber  and  ( Abhishekam ) Thirumanjanam to all the Perumals and Azhwar is performed in Ekantam ( private) . After the Maha Abhisheskam ,  all the Perumals are adorned with wonderful ornaments and flowers .The Garuda vahanam is also adorned with flowers and other paranphalia . We had darishnam of all the Perumals and seeked their grace in  having satsangh always

. 345Around  11 P.M. , the Garuda seva starts.  We quickly come out of the temple and eagerly await to have the Garuda seva darshanam of all the Perumals . We observe the moment the main door opens our  Acharyar Swamy  Manavala mamuni  followed by Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli Thayar seated on hamsa vahanam  arrive much to the joy of the devotees .    Swamy Manavaala mamunigal in his parangi naarkali vahanam  comes out first and receives Azhwar seated on Hamsa vahanam. One by one all the  Divya desam Perumals arrive in Garuda vaahanams. Mangalasaasanam sung by Azhwar is recited and after due honours, the Perumal goes round the 4 mada streets..

14 Its a divine feeling to be amongst  a sea of srivaishnavas assembeled reciting the  Divya Prabhandam pasurams . Few devotees were distributing the pasurams books for others to follow and recite .  Now the Perumals on Garuda vahanam grace  Azhwar and the devotees who are eagerly waiting for his  darshan . and All the divya desa Perumals follow them. The procession winds its way through the four mada streets of Thirumanikoodam. It takes about 3 hours for all the Perumals to complete the oorvalam. All the Perumals assemble in front of Thiurumanimaada kovil. Azhwar thanks all the Perumals for having blessed all the sinners like us with their Divine Grace.  Swamy Manavala mamuni’s saatrumarai takes place later and  all the Perumals enter into the temple.  On the way to Thirunagari, Azhwar  proceeds to Sri  Annan Kovil, Madhava Perumal kovil (Thirudevanarthogai), Thiruvaali and Thirunagari divya desams

. ???????????????????????????????On the third day, after all the divyadesa Perumals leave to their respective divyadesams, Azhwar also leaves Manimada kovil.. On the way he visits Annan Kovil where he is received grandly as he is considered as their “Maapillai”(son-in-law”). Finally Azhwar reaches Thirunagari where Vayalaali Manavalan-the presiding diety of Thiruvali-Thirunagari temple waits near the entrance on Garuda Vaahanam to welcome Azhwar . Perumal and Azhwar then enter into the temple together. This marks the end of the three day festivities at Thirunangoor which is celebrated for more than 140 years. Adiyen with tears submit to the  divine will of  Azhwar and Almighty who graced us tohave the darishna bhagyam amongst several devotees .

 

What else does a soul needs except HIS cool benovalent grace always to be among Haribhaktaas………..

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Nadu nagaramum NAMO NARAYANA enru ..Thats the final prayer LORD ..Adiyen seeks his mercy to be HIS always … Please forgive adiyen for any slips in glorifying and describing the great festival .

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Kazhiyur Varadan

09849635903

For any more info contact adiyen

tirumaladasan@gmail.com

varadhan_k@yahoo.com

varadhan_k@hotmail.com

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Lord Jagganath’s bidiapana


LORD  Jaggannath  the  “ Supreme Lord of the Universe ” showers his  abundant mercy at  the most sacred pilgrimage spots in India (  one of the four dhams  that lie on the four directions of the compass in the state of Orissa )  The temple is dedicated to Lord  Jagannath, who is Lord Krishna himself along with  Balabhadra and Subhadra, the brother and sister   of  Lord Jagannath.

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A divine incident occurred  few hundred years back at this holy temple ,during the rule of the King Pratapa Rudra . Near to the temple there lived an ardent devotee Prabhu dasa  . He stayed near to the temple  of Lord Jagganathar . He was  an innocent devotee  and  a regular visitor to the temple right from his childhood.  He used to watch the sevaks serving the Lordships in different capacities all through the day .  He loved the last ceremony  ” Pahuda “at the temple . The last ceremony  of the day was special . It is said this seva is attended by all the demigod and goddess when the majestic Supreme Lord retires for the day . The ecstatic kirtans  and recitation of  hymns gives a feel of being at Sri vaikuntam.  It is said three beautiful beds made of ivory  , decorated with the sweetest smelling flowers  especially jasmine makes the entire surroundings flooded with  divine fragrance .  Flowers are scattered all over the beds to the sounds of devotional music and kirtans  when the miniature golden forms of Lordships  Jagganathji , Subhadraji, and Balabhadraji  retire .

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A mangala harathi is offered and all the flowers are scattered all around overheads that are invisibly collected by the demigods as a mahaprasad. This sweet episode was regularly shared by devotees .Prabhudasa was eager to attend this seva but could not make it .Days passed ! One fine day he had the opportunity to join a group of satsangh  devotees in having darshan of Lord Jagganathar . Very anxious to have darshan of Lord in close distance his mind raced to be just just there . With intense devotion and muttering some feeble words  of prayer and gratitude  and  tears  he moved closer  . Seeing the sea of  devotees chanting the Holy name he was overjoyed . He joined the satsangh   chanting the Holy names  .He used to feel one with LORD and wished to remain in that condition .  Suddently , he was stopped and  the curtains was pulled . The time of bhoga approached . The bhoga was  carried by the sevaks with utmost devotion  . Suddenly ,  it occured to his ignorant mind  that  the spicy betel leaf prepared with flavour will be most needed by the Lordships to partake after their food . But he came to know that  such arrangement of offering prepared  scented betel leaf as bhog to Lords after food to enable them to mentally relax and enjoy was not in the routine rituals of service..

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check the appended post

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/jai-jai-jagannath-sacira-nandan-tribhuvana-kore-jar-cara%E1%B9%87a-vandan/

Prabhudasa intensely felt such needs of the Lords should have been a part of his daily bhog. He mentally volunteered to offer such prepared betel leaf added with spice and flavour in his own hands after food Lords had taken .   He  overheard a Sadhu saying ,the concept of bhakti   involves the idea of being not only a servant of the Lord, but also a servant of His servants. ‘Bhaj’ stands for seva ( service)  therefore what a devotee is expected to perform. Service to servant of  the Lord is supreme as the LORD resides with his ardent sevaks always  .These words eschewed Prabhudasa mind always .He decided to do something which pleases the sevaks and thus LORDSHIPS .

 Looking at the sevaks he used to offer pranaams . The next  day he went inside the temple and asked  a sevak about the service he was rendering while  bhog is  offered .

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 The sevak replied ,My child !

Every day  Lord of Lords is offered  around 56 types of  raja bhog  prepared in the kitchens of the  big Temple and made available to the devotees in Ananda Bazaar sold by the  sevaks (Suaras). Few   sevaks  are engaged to supply the requisite materials for cooking  and a few carry them to Lords altar . All the sevaks are always busy in the service of Lordships.

Prabhudasa   realized that to please the Lordships , selfless rendering  of services to all the sevaks and  devotees was absolutely  needed as told by the Sadhu  . He was looking out for some seva which would please LORD .

A flash invoked  his inner being . He recollected   scented   betel leaves  offerings to the Lordships  play an important role  and knew  that the servants of the temple engaged in the service of the Lord were  consuming betel leaves with spices after their daily routine of work. This it looked gave some bodily relief during their regular turn of services  . The mental relaxation along with a small nap after chewing the betel leaves made them more energetic . He saw them wanting for the energetic spices for their work  . He immediately decided  that offering the  betel leaves service to the servants of the LORD was the best way to please the LORD as they were serving the LORD in close quarters .

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He devised a plan .Early morning he went into the nearby jungles  to pluck the betel leaves  washed it and made them into bundles .He  moved into the local market to  buy the best spices and fragrance for the scented betel leaves to be given to the servants of Lord

His first job was to make a delicious betel leaves stuffed with the best spices filled with fragrance to Lord Jagganthjee . He used to offer the same at the temple premises looking at the temple altar seeking his permission to serve the  fortunate sevaks . The offered betel leaves were  kept aside as mahaprasad .

With the basket well decorated , he used to wait near the pavement  of Mahadwaar for the  supply the scented betel leaves for the pleasure of sevaks  .  The objective of such service was not to earn money but to be a part of the  divine service rendered by the sevaks . He knew the exact timing when the sevaks would arrive  and in need of the betel leaves ,other times he used to rush inside the temple to have the darshan of Lord of Lords.

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After offerings are done , he used to sell the same to the customers and pilgrims’ seeking them ..

Days passed .

From early dawn to the belated hour of every night various services and rituals of Lordships used to go on every day as a routine.

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“Badasimhara vesa”  is the last routine service at the night . The immortal verses of “Gita govindam”  is chanted inside the temple followed by a ecstatic kirtan till midnight .At that hour of night no common devotee and visitors  are seen inside the temple .Even the outside premises of temple is deserted .Only saints  and austere devotees are seen inside .

Prabhudasa even at the dead hour of lonely night used to await for the sevaks . One full moon night , “Badasimhara Vesa”  was being conducted .The kirtan was melodious .Everything had almost come to end . The lion gate and the gates inside the temple were closed under lock and key with seals . Prabhudasa  had an habit to pack his belongings only after seing the Lion gates are closed .

In that pitch hour from the darkness , two youthful persons were seen to have come from the side of the Lion gate of the huge temple and proceeding towards him .They had a divine aura . The moon was feeling shy to boast her moonlight . The effulgence radiating out from their lovely appearance was feast to the soul .

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One young man was dressed in yellow coloured dhothi ( peethambaram) and the other was dressed in blue coloured dhothi .Their eyes were very special .Looking at their beautiful eyes Prabhudasa felt he  was being drawn into the world of eternity ..In their chest the sacred thread was hanging down adding beauty to their appearance .The bewitching smile pulled him more closer .Prabhudasa was overwhelmed with joy as they approached nearer him. His body was shivering and was in a different mood of ecstasy.

Looking at them with joy multiplied stammering he said …

Please ..please …have this scented betel leaves …

The young men smiled and said … Yes!! Baba …

We just came to have that one from you …

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He hurriedly took the betel leaves , cleaned them thoroughly and began to prepare the flavoured dish  by adding the best spices and flavours  slowly watching their smile that pulled his heart out of him …Out of deep love and devotion , he twisted the betel leaf into a decent fold and with all reverence offered it in their hands . The young men took the betel leafs and partaking the same moved inside the temple at the dead of the night smiling all the way.

Prabhudasa was in a trance .He couldn’t believe what happened .

Who were they ? And why did they come ?

By the time he was recollecting the entire night he dozed to sleep. He woke up the next day but was in a different mood .He wanted those young men to come again. He waited at the same place, pleading the sun to set quickly.  It was dead of the night, the two young men once again arrived with bewitching smile. They once again took the betel leaves from Prabhudasa and just smiled. They never asked Prabhudasa in his turn or ever insisted them to pray the price of the same since he was in a different world all together during their stay .This happened for few days and every day he had a different experience .It used to be all of a sudden When he regained consciousness, he was feeling so sad and wished they were there permanently with him.

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The Shopkeepers who gave him spices on loan started pestering him for the money .He was feeling low as how to ask the young men for the money as it was more than a month they were coming and taking the scented betel leaves. As the arrears from them would get rid of  a shopkeepers debt he braved himself to ask them this night .

It was a cool night. The young men arrived with charm smiling at Prabhudasa .  Prabhudasa offered the scented betel leaves and  had tears and with all humility said , My child ! You have been enjoying the scented betel leaves past few days .. and I am short of paying arrears to the shop keeper who gives me the spices .

May I please ask your good selves to pay me the money for repaying it to the shop keeper ?   And…

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 you know non payment will amount to indebtness to him and being a sin .. If I do not pay …. that gets carried to the next birth somehow .

The young men replied for the first time smiling…

Oh! baba ..we are very sorry for this .We do not have any money now … but let us pay you something  …  saying this they removed their aprons and said please accept this aprons as pledge/ security .

We will for sure handover the payments tomorrow positively .

Prabhudasa  felt sad ! He said My child !! Kindly  take back your aprons and just pay me the arrears tomorrow .I can’t see you’ll without aprons .

 The young men smiled and said

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Baba ! we too do not want to accumulate that sin to the next births for repayment . The request from Prabhudasa to keep the aprons were not considered .

Inside the temple , Saint  Balarama dasa and Ativadi Jagannatha dasa where returning from kirtan of Sri  Chaitanya maha prabhu .They happened to sight the two young person’s  amidst the conversation.

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Overwhelmed to see the divine aura coming from the far end , they reached  the spot and looked at Prabhudasa and said

Baba !! you are fortunate to have those aprons and advised him to accept the same  .They said to keep the aprons offered as  pledge by them which they assured to redeem the next day after paying the arrears according to their assurance .

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Prabhudasa with much hesitation kept the two aprons .

Next day , when the main doors of the temple was opened the priests noticed that Lord Jagganatha’s and Balaramas aprons were missing . The same was brought to the notice of the devotee king Pratapa Rudra . Search for the aprons was  undertaken  . One sevak said he saw the aprons at Prabhudasa’s residence . Prabhudasa was immediately summoned .He was rebuked and harassed to confess the guilt.

Prabhudasa  was dragged into the Kings court . It was unexpected . Prabhudasa  with folded hands submitted to the King  how the aprons reached him. The King asked Prabhudasa to identify the two young men so that they will be punished .

 Prabhudasa immediately recollected ,

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Your honour !! The revered saints Balarama dasa and Ativadi Jagganatha dasa  could recognise  the young men as they advised me to have their aprons .

King Prataparudra along with his ministers  walked inside the temple and offered obeisance’s  to Sri Chaitanya mahaprabhu disciples Sri Jagganatha dasa and Balarama dasa  and seeked their permission .

The saints told the King that the two young men  who appeared were Lord Jaggantha and Balaram themselves and now they  seated in te golden throne and revealed that divine incident that took place last night .

Since there is no system of service of offering prepared and scented betel leaves to the Lordships after the last bhoga , before the close of the temple the Lordships  went to Prabhudasa to partake the scented betel leaves as service .

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 My dear King !

Prabhudasa is a great devotee and worthy for royal respect …

King Pratapa Rudra felt sad for embarrassing the great devotee . He immediately fell at the feet of Prabhudasa and appointed him as a sevak who offers  scented betel leaves to the Lordships .The  offering of bidiapana to the great Lordships started and continued since this incident ..

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There was another interesting incident that took place later .  Few hundred years ago  after this incident , a very wealthy man  in South India came to Puri dhaam . He was very proud because of his wealth. He had come along with his family, though personally he had no faith in Lord  Jagnnatha.  He decided to challenge the deitys origin and the worship .Looking at the  food is offered to the deities three times daily he  publicly declared arrogantly ,  he would make a donation of 100,000 rupees to Jagannathar  if the temple cooks could spend all of it to prepare one offering  as bhog . In those times fruits and vegetables were very cheap. Even one hundred rupees were enough to buy the ingredients for one bhoga, or food offering.

One thousand rupees was too much those days .

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No one in the temple could  imagine what to purchase for  this huge amount .  This became a great problem for the priests . They were undoubtedly sad to see such a challenging attitude on the part of a arrogant man .

The priests assembeled and discussed , “Should he be told that such a huge amount  was  absolutely too much? Or  Should we tell him to give a smaller donation? Will this be too embarrassing to ask of him? We know Jagnnatha is  great- His temple is majestic, His rituals are mystic and divine-

how we can tell this man to give less…It was a difficult task

 How can we tell him to make a smaller offering so that we ordinary mortals can handle it?”

 They checked what could be the costliest  ingredient ?

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Butter was the most costly of all ingredients, so what type of prasada could be prepared from only ghee? The most delicious and costliest prasada could easily be prepared with butter and coconut palm sweets within 10,000 rupees maximum .

 But this millionaire wanted to offer prasada costing 100,000 rupees!

Since the origin of Jagnnatha Temple itself, lakhs of people had been served maha prasada in the Ananda Bazar of the temple. Many types of delicacies were in abundance there. In fact, Jagnnatha Temple is the only temple in the world to have always treated maha prasad as more valuable than even darshan  or the sight of the deities. All can eat it, regardless of caste, color, or creed. Yet never before had such a problem arisen. The temple cooks were  in a dilemma ..

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There was no prasada that could be prepared that would cost 100,000 rupees! Finally they decided, “Let this problem be communicated to the Lord Himself, and let His will prevail.

A group prayer was conducted  before Him.

Nobody can prevail over His wish.” The  head priest, made a heart-felt prayer, “Oh Lord, please choose which food you desire.”

 In  a  sweet way, the Lord  answered the head priests  prayer,  in a dream, “Let this wealthy person offer me one piece of scented betel leaves . But !!!  the betel nut within the pan leaf must be smeared not with lime, but with the powder of a finely ground pearl  from a elephants  forehead.”

The  wish was immediately communicated to the wealthy man. The desire was unexpected His  face paled. He thought, “A mere betel nut! Nothing more than that!”

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It is said that an elephant is worth one 100,000 rupees, dead or alive. How many bull elephants would have to be killed to find one pearl? Not every bull elephant has a pearl inside its forehead. It is a  very very rare phenomenon and it is said , one in a million has a pearl in its forehead. The wealthy man’s  head began to reel. He was defeated. He was incapable of offering even a single betel nut to Lord Jagnnatha. Unknotting his turban and removing his sandals, he went running to the Lord with a purse full of 100,000 rupees in his hands. A huge crowd followed.

Everyone stared at this strange sight. The Lord had defeated the millionaire at his own game of dollars and cents. At last his human pride was crushed. He started sobbing, reaching out to Lod  Jaggannatha, with unrestrained childlike cries. In total devotion and defeat he prayed, “Oh Lord, I have made a stupid human blunder, for am totally incapable of offering you even a single betel nut. What else can be offered to you?

Oh Lord, pardon me. I am a fallen man, insignificant before you,

Everything is yours and you are everything. Take whatever I have.

Please accept only the sweet-smelling red betel nut of my heart.”

“Trnadapi sunicena taroriva sahisnuna,

amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada Harih”,

which means, one who assumes a position lower than even a tuft of grass, is as tolerant as a tree, and is a respect  of persons without caring for one’s own prestige, he alone is fit to worship Hari the Lord of Lords. This shows how a Vaisnava is to remain unconcerned about his own worldly status while being concerned about the welfare of those around him.

Jaya Jagannatha!

Our Travel diary is available in the appended link post

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/rath-yatra/

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics credits : Google images

Video credits : HG Swarupa damodar das

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” Poigai Azhwar “…..wishing to witness the charming divine effulgence of the Supreme Lord Of Lords again and again, instantly lit a spiritual lamp imagining … .. Mother earth as the physical lamp structure, the sea of ether as the ghee for the flame, and the lit flame being verily the Sun himself !. ….. vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai Idar neenghugavE enRu……


  “Azhwar” are  saintly souls who had  immersed  themselves in the exclusive devotion  to  Lord  Sriman Narayana  in  unconditional surrender.  The advanced  saints,  were the supreme devotees of Lord  propagating  Sri Vaishnavism among the masses through their poetical compositions glorified as  Divya Prabhandams   highlighting the beautiful effulgent form, auspicious attributes and divine deeds of the Supreme Lord in His various incarnations based on their personal mystic experiences.  They lived as  human beings and burst out bhakti laden great works for the  sake of humanity.  The direct result of the Lord’s divine grace  on Azhwars  made their outpourings  special and therefore  called ‘ Divyam’. It is  because of this that the works of Azhwars  are  called ‘ Divya Prabandham’  and are 4000  poems (pAsurams). 

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The Divya Prabhandams of the Azhwars are, therefore, held in as great veneration and reverence as the Vedas in Sanskrit. All the Azhwars held the view that Lord  Sriman Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead  and  one’s  only  goal of life  was to attain Him. And, the path that each one of these Azhwars advocated was  chanting the Divine Name of the Lord!  which  is  the easiest path to  attain the lotus feet of  Lord. 

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     Of the twelve Azhwars , the first three — Poigai Azhwar, Bhoodhatazhwar and Pey Azhwar were believed to be of mystic birth dating back to  Dwaapara era. The fourth, Thirumazhisai Azhwar was said to have been brought up by a  couple who had the good luck to have his darshan in a  forest  . Kulashekara Azhwar was a Chera king. Periazhwar, Thondaradippodi Azhwar  and Madhurakavi Azhwar  were born into brahmin families. Nammazhwar was born in a farmer’s home and Thiruppannazhwar belonged to the Pana community. The only female  among them was Godha (Andal)   glorified  for  “Thiruppaavai  pasurams ”  even to a common man and  celebrated  as an incarnation of Mother Earth (Bhoodevi).  Thirumangai Azhwar, the youngest of the Azhwars was a chieftain of a Chola king.

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The first three AzhvArs – Poigai AzvhAr,

Bhudhath AzvhAr and

Pey Azhvar  were  “ayOnijAs” –

“ones who were not born from a womb”.

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They appeared on water-flowers  at  three different water sources.

Poigai AzhvAr manifested on a lotus flower at Kancheepuram  Lord  YatthOkthakAri perumaL temple tank  on  the  ” sravanam” star during the month of “aippasi”  (November ) .

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The second Azhwar was Bhudhath AzhvAr who appeared on a nIlOthphala (kurukkaththi flower in tamil ) near  the seaside at thiru-k-kadal-mallai (present day Mahabalipuram)  on the day subsequent to Poigai  Azhvar (month of Aippasi, Avittam star ). 

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The third Azhwar “Pey Azhvar”  appeared on a sengazhuneer flower in a well in thiru-mayilai (present day Mylapore,  the temple of Lord  Adikesava perumal  on the day after Bhudath Azhvar appeared (aippasi month, sathayam star).

All the three Azhwars were blessed by the Lord with supreme knowledge, and as a result, they lived a life focused on divinity, worshiping the Supreme Lord at different temples, and living a  life of ascetics.  

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To them the entire cosmos , all sentient  and the insentient entities in it were alive and vibrating  with the underlying divinity of Lord represented  by HIS body and HE being the inner controller of  the soul .

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Azhwars point out very clearly in their outpourings the most important attribute of Lord is

HIS immense compassion represented by HIS divine consort Sri: the divine mother forever residing in HIS heart and most easily accessible and who helps in the ultimate redemption of the embodied souls .

  Since the appearance of such great souls is invariably tied to a reason of divine intent,

the three Azhvars had to meet to fulfill the purpose of their appearance, to wit, give the world the esoteric truths  in a manner accessible to  common man  .

The stage was set at Thirukovilur and the divine plan was already about to reveal .   Lord Sriman Narayana achieved  this by making the Azhvars meet and become the harbingers in the effort towards the composition of the holy  Dravida Vedas.,,

Thus   Lord  arranged a divine plan and  made each of them go to the town  Thirukovilur  which   is  located 75 kms from Cuddalore and about 200 kms from Chennai.

                        The rain clouds had overcast the sky and cover of darkness spread all around in the holy town of Thirukovalur . The torrential rain began  pouring  generously .  It was as if the sky will tear open to give its opulence .

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Proceeding  the temple streets ,  Poigai Azhwar  found out a small  front  passage ( dehali or rayzhi , thinnai  in tamil )   in front of Mrikanda  Ashrams hut  ( the present Thirukovalur  temple sanctum sanctorum )  which was fit for one person to lie down. 

Thanking Lord for his mercy , Poigai Azhwar   moved in and  occupied the space to lie down .  Meanwhile , Bhoodath Azhwar  coincidentally arrived there looking for a shelter.

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Poigai Azhvar welcomed him and said , Holy Sire ! Please come !!  

“we have enough space for one to be supine, two to sit ,…  please  come in”.

Both the Azhwars were now seated , and were indulging in bhagavad guna anubhavam (recounting the innumerable auspicious qualities of the Lord) .   Meanwhile  pEy Azhvar  also came at the same time to the same Ashrama. The two Azhvars already present in that little room said,  Swamin !!

in this place, one can lie down, two can sit, and three can stand …. please come in”.

PEy AzvhAr joined them, and the three Azhvars continued their joy filled discussion of the Lord’s auspicious qualities and  divyaanubhutee which was one of the most auspicious moment to be remembered in the history of Thirukovalur.  Lord pleased with the divine outcome now decided to be amongst HIS favourite devotees .

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The darkness became denser and inside the small room they were not able to see each other. In the  thunders and  lightning that flashed across, the trio could see a  fourth person  exquisitely charming  entering the room  and they felt as if  they were overpowered with a sublime, divine feeling.

The trio could immediately realize that the fourth person was none other than Lord  Sriman Narayana Himself huddling among them.  Poigai Azhwar , wishing to witness the charming divine effulgence of the Supreme Lord  again and again, instantly   lit a spiritual lamp to the Lord of the lords and the outpourings  

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vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga
veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga
sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai
Idar neenghugavE enRu…

which means “using the earth as the physical lamp structure, the sea of ether as the ghee for the flame, and the lit flame being verily the Sun himself!.”

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 thus   the first Azhwar composed hundred  verses glorifying the Lordships …. now glorified as “Mudhal thiruvandhAdhi (first poem of the type andhAdi, meaning the last word becomes the progenitor of the thought for the following verse) which is among the Naalayiram Divya Prabhandam …………….

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 Bhudaththu Azhvar, in turn offered a lamp using his yogic powers too, yet  in a little different  fashion

 – “anbE thagaliyA, ArvamE neyyAga 
inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA
naNpurugi GnAna chudar viLakku EtrinEn
Gnana thamizh purindha nAn 

using his immense love for the Lord as the lamp structure, and his longing for union with the Lord as the energy engendering the flame. He composed a  beautiful set of 100 divine  verses known as “iraNdaam thiruvandhAdhi” (second poem of the type andhAdhi)….

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The two sacred  lamps of spiritual love, lit by Poigai Azhvar and Bhudhath Azhvar, allowed  all the three Azvhars to  experience the Lord in  opulence  proximity. That ambrosia  filled experience inspired the third , Pey  AzhvAr to  glorify the Supreme Lord instantaneously …

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“thiru-k-kaNdEn, pon mEni kaNdEn .

thigazhum aruKKan aNi niramum kaNdEn..

seRukkiLarum ponnAzhi kaNdEn

purisangam kai-k-kaNdEn……..

en Azhi vaNNan pAl inRu”


meaning, “I had the darshan  the divine consort of the Lord – Maha Lakshmi I  had the darshan of  the divine body of the Lord ,  the beautiful complexion of the Lord and the auspicious discus (chakra) verily the remover of obstacles that prevent us reaching the Lord, and the beautiful  white, divine conch in the hands of the Lord”.

This becomes  the first verse of ” Munraam  Thiruvandhadhi (third poem of the type andhadi), which is a set of 100 verses too  counted among the Naalayiram Divya Prabhandam . This uplifting divine experience bound them into a state of togetherness. They traveled across various parts of  India spreading the  divine message of the Lord for attaining HIS abode and  remaining in that bliss  through there divine pasurams   (The  three thiruvandhadhis).

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The one hundredth verse in turn hooks up to the first verse forming a lovely garland of verses maintaining the eternal thread of continuity .

To all the Azhwars LORD was a living presence experienced in the totality of HIS being and manifestation in HIS myriad creation . 

HE lived in them and they lived in HIM  ..

Video Credits : Sri Sunder rajan Parthasarathy

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Lord Krishna’s largest umbrella… Giri Govardhan … (Govarththanam ennum kotrraa kkudaiyE….)


 The  holy hill Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is located in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura. The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock. Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill.

This  HOLY DHAAM  is considered as the most sacred place in  Vrindavan and  performing Pradhikshana is most auspicious .Few lacs  number of devotees perform Pradhakshina during Karthik maas and few thousands every day ….

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Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock. Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers. As the hill is very sacred , pilgrims are prohibited from climbing  the hill. There is a fencing all around the Goverdhana hill . Goverdhana giri is the most blessed devotee as it had  Lord Sri Krishna sambandham everyday during Krishnaavataaram which even Himalayas did not have. Krishna Himself chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes. Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities.

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In Srimad Bhagavatham, Lord mentions that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical. As per the scriptures, Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends.  Lord Krishna at such an young age ,  used to walk about  50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear .

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This makes us  recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam

“Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale kolam seiyudhu enge iru….” .,

Peria azhwar’s feelings when he expresses mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.) .

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It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains. Krishna ,who was just 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods. The Lord added that Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity. The Supreme suggested that instead of Indra, Brahmins, cows and Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed. On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas performed GOW-pooja (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill.

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On  Lord Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered. Lord Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain, declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood with his relatives and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF .

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HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced by Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings.

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The gopas returned happily. The identity of Sri Krishna with Goverdhana Hill is still honoured and devotees take goverdhana shila (-small  impressions  from Goverdhana Hill and place it in the altar and worship. (In order to preserve the hill, devotees are now restrained from taking them) .

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The glorification of Goverdhana giri was not liked by Indira  .The torrent rains  under the authority of Indra  poured for seven days causing misery. Lord Krishna  lifted a mount and held it upside down like an umbrella.

As  Lord Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today . To commemorate the above incident, Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord. . The residents of Vrindavan, Goverdhan and the devotees of the Lord do parikrama around Goverdhana hill and offer huge quantities of 56 varieties food preparations (chappan bhog) . All the devotees are sumptuously fed with the mahaprasad offered to the Lord and Giriraj. ) As the Lord protected the cows and the people in Goverdhan, He got the name “GOVINDA” .

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Deepavalee has special significance for all vaishnavas . On the fourth day of the five day Diwali festival Sri Goverdhana Puja and Annakoot Utsavam is celebrated in Vrindavan  and other  temples amidst chanting of “Giriraj Dharan ki Jai” (Glory to the lord who lifted Goverdhan on his  little  finger) reverberates .

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 There is very interesting pastime of Shri Giri govardhan raj connected with  bhaktha hanumanjee.  When Lord Rama along with the vanaras were  building the bridge to Lanka in the Ram lila, Hanuman  made an attempt to pick up Govardhan to use him in the noble service .  Govardhan was so happy to be engaged in the service of the Lord but just as he was about to lift him, a voice from the sky said “the bridge is finished”.

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Therefore Hanuman did not lift Govardhan.  Giri Govardhan was sad.  

When Lord Ram was returning from Lanka with  Mother Sita he stopped here and spoke to Govardhan saying “do not worry, the next time we appear, we will personally pick you up and personally engage you that happened in the Krishna avatar.

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As per Srimad Bhagwatam Lord was lifting the huge Sri Goverdhan Parvat for seven days  continously prior to Diwali,  and rested him back  on earth & asked the citizens to worship the  holy mountain.

Jai Jai Girigovardhan ki ………………..Jai .Jai

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Photos : Courtesy ..Google

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