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

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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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All glories to Swamy Ananthazhvan who is the father-in-law of Lord Srinivasa! All glories to Swamy Ananthazhvan who is the father of Goddess Alarmenmangai…


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As per the  divine order of JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja his disciple  Swamy   Anathazhwan served LORD VENKATESHWARA at Tirumala hills . He maintained a garden and was offering fragrant flowers to LORD daily  .The beautiful  garden  was planted with  flower bearing plants  such as vakula , patala , punnaga , shenbaga and other  fragrant trees . The bunches of  freshly grown flowers hanging from the branches  were grand to look  . The ears of pilgrims walking around the garden had  strains of music poured forth by bees and all kinds of plumage birds ,  humming bees , cuckoos and the chirping of birds made the garden a  perfect place for divinity .  Nammazhwar’s hymns referring to the Lord as residing in flower bedecked  ThiruVenkata Hills ( Sindhupoo maghizhum Thiruvengadam) was   aptly reverberating .

One day , on routine checks Azhwan  became upset .He found that the  garden had been defiled.

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The flower plants were somehow looking  tramped  by a foreigner . The fruits were plucked and strewn hither and thither. He guessed someone had visited the garden and were running around  freely .  Nobody around could tell him how this had happened. The gateman was clueless. Ananthazhvan  with his disciples kept  a watch for intruders.

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It was the  beautiful  Spring season ( Vasantha ruthuvu). Ananthazhvan was hiding underneath a bush in a garden . At dead end of the night, he could see a  divine  princely couple with opulence  tejas wearing  wonderful ornaments moving  inside  the garden. For a moment he was overjoyed with the divinity in their  appearance , however   he was also overtaken by  their play that caused withering of the plants and the fragrant flowers .

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He decided to arrest  them  and  thus made attempts  by slowly following  the couple. He was surprised to see both of them smiling and allowing themselves to be under his control . Azhwan decided to tie them to a tree and wait for the next day to arrive for handing over them to the security .

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However the charming prince who was very handsome  escaped from Anathazhwan’s clutches. The princess  however could not escape as she was  moved  by  our Azhwans pure  bhakthi.  Azhwan  out of sheer love to “LORD”   questioned the divine lady   underneath a Champaka tree .

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 What made you come here and  Why were you two  inside this  garden that was exclusively being maintained for serving LORD VENKATESHWARA .  How can one commit such offense of  meddling with the  garden flowers that were being grown only for the service of LORD .

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Azhwan asked about their living and what way they were connected to the Holy hills not knowing she was JAGANMATHA herself .

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The divine  lady answered, 

Swamin “I am like your daughter. I did no wrong.  

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I  and my  Lord   who just left me out of fearing  you ( smilingly )  are the rulers of these Hills.

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My Lord wanders all  over the Hills as he pleases. He must have entered your  garden and enjoyed the beauty  and was moved with  your bhakthi  to LORD .

I am not responsible for  whatever  has happened. Please allow me to leave .  Being proficient in   shastras you must accept as a wife I cannot mention the name of my Lord  ….

…………….Please leave me free…………………

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Azhvan  out of  respect and moved by the divine lady’s words  replied

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.. Amma … You look like Mahalakshmi. Verily, you are like  a daughter to me.   Your  LORD  is sure to come searching for you. Let him  come in the morning. I will take a ransom from him for the damage and then release you. Till  then,  I am sorry  you will have to be under this Champaka  tree ,”  and  thus our Ananthazhvan was holding vigil  whole night to meet the Supreme LORD …..little did he realize that LORD was enacting a divine leela to be cherished by all of us .

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The next morning the Archakas opened  the temple gate and went into the sanctum sanctorum for the morning rituals. They were surprised   to note that the golden locket covering Alarmelmangai on the chest of the Lord was missing.

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The temple officials of the temple grew suspicious. At this point of time,  an aasurees  voice was heard by one of the Archakas  pointing out that none of  them  are  guilty   and that when the Lord and  Alarmelmanga were strolling  in the Swamy Ramanuja garden  maintained by  the devotee Ananthzhvan,  out of abundant mercy Goddess Mahalakshmee  has submitted  to Azhwan . 

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She was under the Champaka tree under the watchful eye of Azhvan. The Lord commanded the  Archakas of the temple to go to the garden and  honor  the azhvan  and with respects invite Azhwan to the temple. Promptly, the  Archakas went to the garden  with the temple honours and were bewildered to see Alarmelmanga who was in the disguise of princess and Azhwan under the Champaka tree.

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In the Dvaparayuga, the Lord was tied to the mortar by Yasoda. The same way, in this Kaliyuga, Alarmelmanga was tieddown to the Champaka tree  by Anathazhwan. They conveyed to him the Lord’s command. Ananthazhvan with full remorse  begged pardon and was  crest-fallen that he has done  bhagavath apachara. With all humility he seeked forgivance for the unexpected error . He immediately  released Alarmelmanga and prostrated  before her  repeatedly praying for forgiveness. Alarmelmanga  smilingly advised that  Anathazhwan that he should consider her as his daughter as agreed . Immediately, she transformed herself into a  princess . Anathazhwan finishing his morning oblations took his   daughter with flowers and garlands in procession to the temple.

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He bowed before the Lord  repeatedly and humbly praying for  his mercy said LORD please forgive me for the foolish act .Here Adiyen has come with the Jaganmatha .Please forgive me and accept heras she was so kind to bless me in being her father . 

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The  divine princess  immediately transformed herself and adorned the chest of Lord Srinivasa. This was the origin of the tradition considering Alarmelmanga as the daughter of Anathazhwan and the Lord of the Seven Hills as Anathazhwan’s son in-law. In the Tamil month of Purattasi, during the Rathotsavam, on the eigth day of  Srivari Brahmotsava, it is customary even today to adorn the Lord with Pitamabara and silken cloth as Sambhavana of Anathazhwan,the father-in-law. 

There is a benediction to Anathazhwan

Malaiyil vengadavarkku mamanar vazhiye

Alarmelmangai tiruvukku appanar vazhiye

(Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the father-in-law of Lord Srinivasa!

 Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the  father of Alarmenmangai!)

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 Swamy Ananthalwan joined eternity with  Lord  Venkateshwara on the sacred Thiru Adi Pooram day ( July- August) . Even today , Lord Venkateswara visits this  garden and bestows honours on the Magizha Tree.  The satari at the main sanctum sanctorum is glorified as  Sadagopa in remembrance of Nammazhwar.

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The  Satari  in the Swamy Ramanuja shrine is  glorified as Ananthalwan.

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Few more divine pastimes of Azhwar and LORD  are shared in below posts

Please click on the below links…….

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/the-divine-crowbar-at-the-entrance-of-tirumala-temple/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/the-ants-at-tirumala/

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics credits : Google images

Video credits :  Ramyagiri

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Your assistants dragged me ! but you honor me ! i don’t understand…..’ Yamadharmaraja replied ‘even I don’t understand your greatness; how can they ? You chanted kriSNa’s name once in your lifetime’ Azhwars says .. …. namanum Murkalanum pEsa, narakil nindrArgaL kEtpa narakamE Svargam Agum nAmangaL udaya nambi


The  revered  Azhwars and Acharyars  take up upon themselves the burden of saving men who LORD gives up hopelessly for the reluctance in seeking HIM .

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Do Acharyars really possess these virtue ?

An example is quoted from scriptures

By a Rishi’s curse a saint was consigned to the nether region , the hellish planets   . The saint he was continued to follow his  devotional  practices with all sincerity .

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The demons  noting that the person could be a  faction from devas , harassed him with their weapons . But as he was a devotee of LORD Sriman Narayana he proved invulnerable to them .

The worried demons approached their guru Shukra for a suggestion to wound the  arrived devotee . Shukra suggested , My dears !! Begin by abstracting his love for Sri Hari  and rest is assured for him to be in your grip …

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The demons put on the disguise of devotees and making friendship  with the saint practically explained that Sri Hari had neglected him so far even down to his confinement in the nether regions  and hellish planets ,  and thus could certainly not be worthy of worship . They spoke ill about Sri Hari relating to his  deep misfortune .

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All the efforts to rob his love to Sri Hari  proved futile , but parallely the saint exhibited a great compassion in his heart for the demons at sight  of the profundity of their sinfulness.The saint  supplicated  LORD to exhibit his abundant mercy on these  sinful men  for their offences . The saints prayers had instant effect .The demons turned into friends and were anon taken to Lord’s abode of bliss .Thus the power of salvation vested in LORD manifests itself with redoubled vigour in the members of HIS holy  abode …

 Kulasekshara Azhwar wonders at the propensity of people to live lives steeped in sin, when there is any number of the Lord’s names, which one could chant and think about, capable of instantly cleansing of them of all sins. Why could one not say “Ananta”, “Vaikunta”, “Mukunda”, “Krishna”, ”Govinda”, “Damodara”, “Madhava” etc., which are incredibly sweet on the tongue and also act as purifiers, wonders Azhwar in the verses of ” Mukunda mala”

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“ananta Vaikuntta Mukunda Krishna GOvinda DAmOdara MAdhava iti

vaktum samartthOpi na vakti kaschit ahO! JanAnAm vyasana abhimukhyam!”

We have seen how terrifying hell and  the demons  were in the episode .. Azhwars speak of an occasion when the entire  hell was transformed into a heavenly abode.

How could this be possible ?

  Azhwar elaborates in the following TirumAlai pAsuram—

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namanum Murkalanum pEsa, narakil nindrArgaL kEtpa

narakamE Svargam Agum nAmangaL udaya nambi

 In a glowing tribute to the glory of the Lord’s holy names, Sri Tondarappodi Azhwar recounts the episode of a conversation between Mudgala and Yamadharma raja. Mudgala was a  wicked person, guilty of several sins. On one occasion,  unknowingly , he gifted a cow to a brahmin , accompanying it with the words, “Let this be for Krishna” (“KrishNAya nama:”) as he heard this verse many times from others .

When he  left his mortal coils , and reached YamalOka,   Yamadharmaraja   received him with all respects and  honour . Mudgala was surprised and  sought the reason for the unusual reception given to him .  Yamadharmaraja  replied ,  the single word “Krishna” uttered by  you  during the “GodAnam”  , had got  rid him of all  the evil.

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 The beneficial effects of the single utterance of the Krishna nAma did not stop with Mudgala. Those residing in the hell  who listened to the conversation between Yama and Mudgala, and heard  Krishna nAmA, were instantly absolved of their sins. What is more, the entire hell was immediately transformed into heaven, lock, stock and barrel.

 Such indeed is the efficacy of the holy name of the Lord, which is capable of benefiting even those who utter or listen to it, by sheer accident, without any instinct of devotion or adulation.

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For those who are unable even to utter the short and sweet names of the Lord, Azhwar has another prescription for saving them from the fires of hell.

A mere mention of the hallowed abodes of Emperuman would, by itself, ensure that none goes to  Hell , indeed, if everyone were to just say the name of a divyadesam once, it would render the hellish worlds uninhabited and desolate, says Azhwar in the following pasuram—

“arivilA manisar ellAm arangam endru azhaippar Agil

poriyil vAzh narakam ellAm pullezhundu ozhiyum andrE”

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Credits Google images

Video Credits : manumithra and singer sri Udayalur kalyanaraman

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The King of Ascetics ……..”KashAya sobhi kamaneeya sikhA nivEsam .. dandatraya ujjvala karam vimala upaveetam … udyat dinEsa nibham ullasat oordhva pundram roopam tavAstu yatirAja drisOr mamAgrE”


Few hundred years ago at Srirangam the capital of SriVaishnavam ,  the King of Ascetics ,  Jagath Acharyar  Swamy Ramanuja  showered his mercy on several citizens . Far away from the Srirangam temple there was a poor peasant named Pattini Perumal   born in the fourth varna .  An ardent devotee of LORD Ranganathar he used to sing the Azhwars pasurams with devotion and  was always immersed in the depth of his emotions .

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Swamy Ramanuja used to take the route to the kaveri river bank daily along the side of his hut . One day listening to the divine outpourings from the poor man , he stopped and went inside the hut to see the great devotee . Pattini perumal was shocked to see  Jagath Acharyar entering his hut .He offered his obeisances and seeked blessings .Both of them were immersed in the sweet ecstasy of Azhwar hymns not knowing how time passed .Swamy Ramanuja advised Pattini perumal to join the Ashramam for his devotion which was unexpected . Thus Acharyar had a congregation of great devotees of LORD irresepective of caste and creed .

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One more  interesting incident is chronicled as having taken place at the holy temple of Srirangam.  At the  ashram ,  the washerman employed to wash the clothes of agraham , one day washed LORD Ranganathar’s royal garments as well . The obedient washerman showed the clothes to Swamy Ramanujar with  all humility .

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Swamy was immensely pleased with his services . He at once took him inside the temple and walked directly inside along with the washerman. The washerman was overjoyed with Swamy’s mercy .

Swamy Ramanuja  with  all humilty   prayed and  said .

Oh .Lord!  Jagathrakshaka …!!  

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Look at this man’s service to your royal  highness .He has been so careful in washing your garments and our Agraharam  garments and been very eager to serve the temple  on many  occasions .

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Please shower your abundant blessings on this soul for his upliftment ..

 Lord smiled !  and  replied ….  My child Ramanuja  ……………………

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For the loving services rendered to us this day by him , we forgive the offence of his ancestor the washerman during our Krishna avataram. And  to this day it is the custom for the LORD to receive the  royal clothes  from the washerman just as he brings them and use it for the Lord .

No approach thus attaches to the glorious Acharyas in upliftment of a seeker . No case of  caste , creed and  colour enter their judgements .They are benevolent to the fallen souls and their only service to LORD is by uplifting the fallen souls .

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Such incidents though trivial are fraught with great significance and important issues as affecting and moulding the society ..

Every man / woman regardless of caste colour joined Swamy Ramanuja’s vasudeva kutumbam community ..

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 Jagath Acharyar  Swamy  Ramanuja  with His towering personality,  Fair complexioned- with dwAdasa oordhva pUndram (12 ThirumaN kaapu ), the pristinely pure saffron  yati (sanyaasi) robe (that adds beauty to the fair complexion further), the dark tresses curly hair of sikhA which is so charming on His moon like divine smiling face laden with compassion ( dayA) on us, (Charming and  most graceful Thirumukham), the white bright pooNool (yagnOpaveedham), the strong thridhaNdam, the lovely Lotus feet..

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Oh Lord! What a sight It could have been, to those Srivaishnavas must have been blessed with!

How fortunate must have the citizens been those days to be graced by Acharyar  walking so gracefully with such an enchanting personality, with great revered disciples Swamy  KooratthAzhwAn,  MudaliANdaan, Embaar, young  Bhattar, Kidaambhi Acchaan, Nadathur Azhwan, Thirukkurugai piraan pillan, Ananthazhwan, kidambi Acchan,  seven hundred Yathis , seventy four simhadhipathis who have given us abundant wealth of knowledge ..

As  the dear disciple of Swamy Ramanuja  , Thiruvarangath Amudanar quotes ,

kaNdukoN dEnem iraamaa NnusanRannai kaaNdalumE
thoNdukoN dEn_avan thodtar_poR RaaLil_en thollai ven^n^Oy
viNdukoN dEn_avan seerveLLa vaariyai vaaymaduththin
RuNdukoN dEn,innam uRRana Othil ulappillaiyE….

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Having  seen  Swamy  Ramanuja- what a sight it is indeed,  which  makes one   eager  to serve the golden feet of his devotees; Now that  taken just a sip from this ocean of auspicious qualities  all my past karmaas  have been  destroyed.

Satyam satyam Punah Satyam, YathirAjO Jagath Guru…………………

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Credits Google images, cover pic :  credits : JET 

video credits : Melkottai Emprumanar Thirumanjana kattiyam by Prasanna Swamigal                      ( Thirukoshtiyur vembu)  Sri Ranga padmanabhan , sri venkata krishnan

 

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THE ROSE GARLAND THAT WAS TOO HEAVY FOR LORD KRISHNA


  This incident happened few hundred years back  near Mathura . One day King Akbar on a routine check   goes in disguise  towards Fathepur Sikri near Mathura and   halts at Mathura.  His servant   who wishes to impress his king wants to gift him something . Knowing   Akbar  is a   lover of roses he  decides to get a rose garland for his King…
 

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The servant anxiously    rushes towards the  local market to buy  the best roses.  He finds one shop  displaying wonderful  colorful fragrant  roses.  Walking ahead  he decides to take them and offer the same to his Master .
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 He  finds a man  inside  the shop   already paying cash for the deal of buying  the same garland of rose  flowers  along with   baskets of loose flowers.  (  as he  had an ardent desire to  make a huge bungalow of rose  flowers for the LORDSHIPS . ..) .
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Akbar’s servant was adamant with the strong desire  to impress his King . He  tells  the  shop keeper  that he would pay more for the same roses  that was given by this man .
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Amused , the man looks  around and replies  to the servant  ,  how can you do that when I already purchased all those roses? The discussion starts in the presence of the shop keeper ..
 Looking at the  new entrant , the  innocent man he was , he  asked him who he was ?
Akbar’s servant with much pride  on his face replied ….
Look !!  I am the royal servant of King Akbar and  you know  Jahapana Badhasha Akbar loves roses ….
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 Being his servant …. My desire is to make  him happy  !!! So please allow me to have them with the best price I can pay ..
A thought raced in the mind . of this man  ..
..When one servant is filled with so much of attitude  to  serve the king !!!
Why  should  I not be  filled with more attitude being  a  servant of Lord  who is the King of The Kings in the world.
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Braving himself he said to the shop keeper  Look !  I would pay  any thing for the roses .. 
The bargain begun ….
Both started bidding, 1 rupee, 2, 5, 20, 50 Rupees….
The servant did not really have that much amount but kept on bidding, neither the  mathura man  had so much of amount.
However  ,  the bid finally  ended  for Rs 100 / – which was very big amount those days …
Akbar’s  servant vanished as he could not face the price …………………
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 Now the same flowers was sold to  Mathura man for Rs 100 / .  As he  did not have that big amount with him ,  he   wished for some time  …..
He went back and  sold his  jewels, everything that was with him and  gave it to the shopkeeper  . Pleased he  took those flowers and submitted to the Head Priest of Srinathjee Temple  and requested him for   decorating the flowers  in  the temple and  make a flower bungalow for  LORDSHIPS.
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Out there  Santh Vithalnathi the descendant  of Acharya Sri Vallabacharya was serving LORD  Shrinathj decorating those fragrant flowers .  The Lordships were adorned with fragrant flowers The darshan was splendid .  The devotees thronged to have darshan of LORD in huge numbers .. The time  for afternoon rituals arrived .

The Priest was about to  perform Mangala Haarathi  and he was amazed to notice  Lord Shrinathjis head bowed.

Priest Vithalnathji  was surprised .  He silently closed the inner doors of the  temple altar and  with tears  pleaded LORD to forgive him … and  pleads   pardon   assuming  that there could have been some pain  in  LORD’s neck which forced him to bow his head 
Lord Shrinathji replied – Yes ! My child …

 

Today I  cannot  bare the load of this  rose garland which was  honored by that innocent man . This  is the most expensive because its been purchased with so much of  love for me .
This  man from Mathura made me bow said the LORD ..
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 Lord commanded to the priest …..Get that nice man here immediately …..  Vithalnathji asked his disciples to search for this man  at Mathura.

  The innocent man was located in the same flower market . He was requested to at once accompany them to the temple . The urge to have darshan of LORD made him literally run ..

With  his eyes filled with tears seeing the mercy and love of God towards him he  falls like an uprooted tree  under Lords  lotus feets.  Lord Shrinathji picks him & hugs him for the devotion ..

Any material thing lost or sold is always in the favor of a true devotee. . Only love towards the supreme Lord comes with us who leads  the soul to liberate from this mundane world..
.The real result is ecstatic love of  Lord Krsna: 
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patram pushpam phalam toyam   yo me bhaktya prayacchati

tad aham bhakty-upahritam  asnami prayatatmanah

Adapted from a discourse from an advanced devotee
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics : Courtesy : Google images
Videos credits  : vayanamasi
 
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Naattuku Pollan ……Namakku Nallavan …Though the whole world is against you ..We are always for you ..


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Nallan was a disciple of Swamy Ramanuja .He was an ardent devotee of LORD VARADAR at Kancheepuram . Attending classes at Ashram of Swamy Ramanuja , his bhakthi towards Lord Varadar increased manifold . Any services for his Acharyar was cheerfully obeyed . Once it so happened , Swamy Ramanuja had to leave Kancheepuram on an important  mission .  Nallan accompanied till the banks of the river vegavathi and seeked permission to return .

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While returning on the banks of the river he found some object floating from a far distance .He moved near the banks and saw a  corpse floating . He looked closely and found the corpse bore vaishnava symbols of discuss and conch on its shoulders . Nallan immediately jumped into the river .He carefully brought the corpse to the shore .

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With deep respects he carried out the funeral rites . The ceremony went on well with his  dedication . However his relatives abandoned him . During the final rites  when food was to be  served to the brahmins . No one supported his noble en devour  in taking places .

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Exhausted , he prayed his adorable LORD VARADAR to help him ……………………

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All of a sudden ,  an  attractive  vedic priest  approached  him . He was looking very handsome  showering opulence . Braving himself , he offered his obeisances and requested him to  accept the food being served . The priest smiled  at him and  accepted the honors . Nallan could not move his eyes from his radiance .He had tears gushing on the priests  humility in accepting his service when the entire village were aghast with his noble act .

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At the end , he took his blessings and  thanked him for considering his request , when the whole village were  against him  .The priest replied with a bewitching smile …….

.. Nattuku Pollan ..Namakku nallavan ….. …. ….meaning ….

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 Though the whole world is against you ..We are always for  you … and then vanished in thin air …

Nallan understood … It was Lord Varadar who walked down to save him …

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 Another incident similar to this took place in Maharashtra few hundred years back .Santh Eknath was an ardent devotee of Lord Panduranga  of Pandharapur . An advanced saint who moved with all  the people seeing Hari in every one .

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One day Eknath was performing his ancestral rituals. Two strangers   happened to pass by his house and understood that a feast was being prepared smelling  the aroma in the surroundings . They were discussing that it would be good if they could get this food. Eknath on listening , called them and  offered them the food that was being prepared. They were pleased with Eknaaths humility .

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The invited  Brahmans who had come for the ceremony  could not digest the respect given to the strangers  .They immediately left the place on seeing this.  The news spread like a fire . All  the Brahmins in the village on  hearing  this started speaking ill  for  distributing  the food that was prepared for ancestral ceremony to some out castes before completing the ceremony.

They decided that no one  shall attend the  ceremony . They then  decided  that none  in the village would mingle with him and  have any contact with him .

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Eknath had to prepare food again for the ceremony  though it was getting late .  Eknath was now worried that he would not be able to feed the Brahmans after the ritual is over as no one would come to his house .

Eknath  offered prayers to Sri Hari and  started performing the rituals . As no one was prepared to attend the ceremony , he kept the 1st kurcham thinking of Sri Hari .  Lord Vitthal  arrived  and sat down to have the food.

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As soon as LORD arrived , other  demi gods  along with  his forefathers who were  invited  during the ceremony came down and took the food directly. After the ceremony ,  they blessed Eknath  and disappeared.

. Another  incident in the life of Santh Namdev is related to illustrate this truth. Namdev along with fellow devotees once undertook the pilgrimage  and brought  the holy water of the Ganga  on return . This pilgrimage was undertaken at a time when there was no transport available and devotees often undertook the entire journey on foot. The weather was unbearably hot and the terrain they had to traverse tested the endurance of even the most faithful among them. When they had almost reached their destination they came upon a frail donkey on the verge of dying due to thirst. Everyone except Namdev passed by without any consideration for its predicament but not the saint. He stopped and alleviated the donkey’s misery by quenching its thirst with the holy Ganga water he was carrying with him. All his friends were taken aback by his act and ridiculed Namdev for throwing away all the merit he would have gained by completing the pilgrimage. No sooner had they chided Namdev the donkey became transformed  to the wonder of his friends. The saint had seen only the Lord suffering in the form of the donkey and hence did not hesitate to offer it water. True to the unitive vision Namdev had,  LORD HARI  appeared to him at the spot   as he made his offering……

Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita  says , “  A  Yogin is the  one who, out of a sense of identity with others on account of the perception of the same Self in all, feels their joy and suffering as his own………………………

Adapted from a discourse shared by an advanced devotee 

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : courtesy google images 

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At Tirumala …. Lord Venkateshwara Abhisheka vaibhavam …….. VenkaTAdri samam sthAnam brahmANDe nAsti kinchana …venkateSa samo devo …. na bhUto na bhaviSyati……..


 The Lord of the seven hills is the Lord of the universe. The special significance of Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala lies in the fact that it is the oldest religious institutions in the world where unbroken religious worship is being carried on for over 1,500 years by revered Acharyas and millions of pilgrims  reach the holy abode more than any other temple in the world .The temple is held in high  veneration by many devotees

The average number of piligrims who seek darshan is about 50,000 to 1,00,000  daily and on festivals double this .The emotional outpourings of the great Azhwars makes one rush to this sacred hills to have  HIS  darshan . Mere listening to the wondrous compositions of his noblest and humblest devotees, like Annamacharya  Tyagaraja  and Purandara Dasa suffices. They combine the quintessence of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

Everything begins and ends or is reduced to sunyam (nothingness) before him, while the infinite world pens to the sincere seeker with an infinitesimal offering. This is because spiritual wealth through devotion is the basis of life .

VenkaTAdri samam sthAnam  brahmANDe nAsti kinchana

venkateSa samo devo    na bhUto na bhaviSyati!

There is no place in the entire universe that equals Venkatadri , the place where  Lord resides ………and there is no Lord, either in the past nor in the future…….                                                            who  shall equal  Lord Venkateswara.

  Tirumala is one of the seven Swayam Vyaktha Kshetrams . Tradition has it, that hands of man did not work for the dhruva bera  ( Main deity  )  of Lord Venkateswara .  Lord out of His own will, and abundant mercy had appeared at TIRUMALA and continues to stay here for this age Kaliyuga

  This ageless temple of Lord Venkateswara is located a top the Tirumala Hill at an elevation of 3,000 feet .The abode of Lord Venkateshwara  stands unique as an embodiment of man’s eternal quest for the divine and  seeking His infinite grace.

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pilgrimage to the sacred Hills is a soul-stirring experience cherished by every devotee. Even atheists and rationalists admit a sense of humility and the presence of the Lord here .As one approaches the  inner sanctum ,  a strong pull towards LORD is experienced. The soul identifies its existence in this body and regrets its foolishness in remaining in several bodies for several births and ignoring HIS love for us.  Lord Venkateswara is also known as Pratyaksha Daivam (manifest divinity) who  helps his devotees in distress .

Azhvaar being brought

Nammazhwar categorically relives his musings in a verse…

pOkinRa kaalangaL   pOya kaalangaL*    pOku kaalangaL,

* thaay thandhai  uyi-raaginRaay*

unnai _naan adaindhEn viduvEnO,?

paaginRa tholpugaz moovulakukkum*

naathanE! paramaa,*

thaNvENGkadam mEkinRaay*

thaNdhuzaay virai_ naaRukaNNiyanE.

At all times past, present and future 

Oh Lord!!! 

You are my mother, my father my very life itself …and …your holiness having reached you, Oh Lord!! Will I ever let you go?

Oh lord of the three worlds …   Oh Supreme One! With your eternal fame, so far-reaching, with the fragrant cool garland of tulasi leaves …….You grace the cool Venkata hill.

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  Few come out with rain of tears and a few feeling relived, and a few want more to just be there looking at HIM..  doing  nothing more ……like an infant cuddling in the arms of his mother asking nothing ……………………………

All men irrespective of religion, status, caste, and creed make several trips in their lives to worship the LORD, as they are our divine parents for ever.

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 At Tirumala  apart from having sarva darshanam , devotees participate in   daily  Arjitha sevas such as Suprabatha seva  , Thomala seva, Archana Seva , Kalyanaotsavam,  Arjitha brahmotsavam, dolotsavam, Sahasradeepalankarana seva , vasanthothsavam, Ekantha seva conducted at different times in a day . Apart from the daily seva , weekly sevas  that comprises of Vishesha pooja on Monday ,Ashtadalapada padmaaradhana on Tuesday , Sahsrakalshabhishekam on Wednesday, Thiruppavada sevai on Thursday and   Abhishekam             ( Vastralankarana sevai ) on Friday   conducted in a grand manner .

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Among all the above darshanams ,the Vastralankara seva   ( Abhishekam )/(Thirumanjanam)  on Friday early hours  is most cherished  darshan for any devotee , as  one has the great fortune to be in the temple inner sanctum for more than two hours having darshan of Lord amongst vedic chants and  azhwars’s  divya prabhanda sevakalam

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For this wonderful darshan the devotee is supposed to report one day in advance on Thursday. On Friday early hours around 2 AM, the ubhaydhaare reports at Vaikuntam queue complex for Arjitha seva ticket verification.

 Hearing suprabhatam being recited inside the temple and silently chanting the same………

we walk in the queue…..

. ( the origin of the suprabhatam or wishing of  an auspicious dawn was penned by His holiness sri P.B.Annan 600 years ago * the divine pastime is shared in the below appended post )

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