At Tirumala !! When the screens opened by themselves……


 Innumerable  Emperors , Kings ,  Rich  , poor ,   people following different religions  have worshiped  Lord  Venkateshwara  at Tirumala  from times immemorial and have been blessed  with prosperity .  There is never  any person who had  darshan only once .The thirst to seek HIS mercy takes one to the Holy abodes several times . The Glory of  of the Lord of Seven Hills is vast and is beyond words to describe Every devotee will have a experience to share .

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The unique status of those blessed to have His darsanam at Tirumala is hinted by Kulasekhara Azhwar in one of the verses of  Mukunda Mala ……

  For him , who had the darsana sowbhagyam of  Lord Venkateshwara   , this wide earth is a small speck , the rolling oceans a water drop , the raging fires a mere spark , the shoreless winds a mere breath , the vast sky a pin hole.

O Lord! May Your unbounded Majesty excel !! ”

Azhwars advise in their pasurams, the purpose of this Life is  to seek HIS lotus feet in this birth without wasting time 

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It was during the year  1839  the great devotee of Lord Rama   Sri Thyagaraja visited Tirupati,  on a piligrimage . A staunch Lord Rama’s devotee trekked the holy hills in the mood of seeking Lord’s darshan . Always absorbed in the divine pastimes of Lord Rama ,absorbing Lord’s kalyana gunas the devotee used to emotionally outpour the krithis which have become a prayer book to all of us . 

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The trek was long as those days there was no proper roads and one had to cross  the jungles and stay over night en route.  . Thyagaraja was eager to seek Lord’s darshan  .He was told by several devotees about Lord’s magnificent appearance and the speciality of Tirumala . 

It took almost 1 full day to reach the holy shrine  and happened to be Friday. Thyagrajar walked uptil Swamy Pushkarani the holy tank besides the temple  and took a  dip .  He  quickly  walked  towards   Sri Varahaswamy temple and had darshan .

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Overjoyed he proceeded towards Ananda Nilayam . The eagerness to have darshan of Lord was at its peak . Being Friday , Lord after having his ceremonial holy bath was being adorned with Royal clothes by the temple priests and hence the  screen  was put  .There were several pilgrims eagerly awaiting Lord’s darshan near the entrance  .

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 For a moment Thyagaya was sad as he had to wait for Lord’s darshan . His eagerness to have Lords darshan was suddenly stopped by the  screen . He was always in the mood of Lord Rama’s glories …..

He mentally prayed  …Oh Lord Venkatesha … Every one says ,You are the Supreme LORD  gracing every one who surrender to you .

Oh Lord !!! I cannot  wait further without seeing your majestic form ..

He  emotionally bursts out with a  melodious kirtana which was specially sung for Lord !!!

“Teratiyagaraadaa” whose meaning is

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Oh  Lord !!   Tirupati Venkataramana! Could you not remove the screen,

the screen of anger,  delusion ,arrogance and jealousy, which is  taking a firm stand within me,

Oh Lord ! that screen which  keeps me out of the reach of dharma and other  four Purusharthas Dharma ,Artha, Kama and  Moksha? 

Oh Lord !!! This screen which  effectively hides  me  from vision, the immaculate light of the lamp, Jnana.  And…….

My Lord !!! by the existence of this screen,  this  mind gets caught by evil, just as ignorant beasts are got into the Hunter’s net…….

Oh Lord !!!  I have been following you faithfully…….

Oh Lord   I pray sincerely ….. please please  remove the screen and allow me to have your darshan………..

The kirtan was so melodious and Lord was listening ..

It was the time LORD wished to see his devotee  .

Suddenly !!the screens fell  without any one attempting , much to the astonishment of all the devotees . 

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Lord’s darshan to saint Thyyagaraja was just one to one .Thyagayya was shell shocked . With copious tears he addressed Lord with choked voice ..

Oh ! My Lord Venkataramana …. My saviour !!! What a magnificent darshan 

!! Oh Lord !! am blessed to see this wonderful form , I am immersed in that deep nectarine experience 

On that divine  forehead , I see the bright  Urdhva Pundram . The Peetambaram , the sahsranamamala  ,the nandakam , the lotus hand that is pointing your Lotus feet .My Lord  !!!  Your two lips shine in their redness like the ripe bhimbha fruit  and those lips sport a gentle smile arising out of Your  abundant  grace on me …

Oh Lord !!  May that beautiful face with such beauty marks  appear before my mind always ! ! Am blessed ..truly blessed to have this darshan …

and the great devotee of Lord Rama emotionally  sings ……………………………

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“Venkatesha ninu sevimpa”………….. in his happiness on seeing the Lord.

Oh Lord!! To have this darshan !!! these two eyes are insufficient … I need few  more thousands of eyes my Lord !!

Oh Lord! Pankajaksha …. What’s my eligibility to have your wonderful darshan ..Its your kindness and  mercy on me .. Else which mortal can be  here ….

Saint Thyagaraja had a unique combination of the  devotion of Prahlada, the music of Narada . The Pancharatna Kritis are the most representative of Saint Thyagaraja’s art as a composer. The Divyanama and Utsava Samprathaya Kritis composed  are melodies. The vanity of wealth or the pomp of power never tempted the great saint .Thyagaraja was constantly repeating the Rama Shadakshari mantra for  over 21 years and  had  completed almost  96 crores of Rama Nama. It is believed  Lord Rama appeared before him  in his dream and assured him salvation.

 

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Courtesy Google Images

Video credits :  i dream music

 

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ALI.PIRI…THE GATEWAY TO TIRUMALA


It was during 1783-84 ,  a time when the atrocities of the  foreigners  were unbearable . Their  hatred for idol worship made the locals  tremble, not in fear for their lives, but in fear of the possible damages that the age old  holy idols in their ancient temples would suffer. Drastic measures were made to save the deities  from disrespect.  However the demons used to destroy them and if that was not possible, deface them. The smaller utsavar idols made of the expensive Panchaloha were carried off in large heaps to Delhi, to be melted into new ornaments.

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The priests did their very best to cover the sanctum with bricks and send the smaller idols for safekeeping with trusted families. The forces however, kept driving further  in conquest. People mourned the deaths of their near and dear in the struggle .  The invaders were ruthlessly  attacking the temples and looting the jewellery .It was a dark period for the Hindus  .

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Hyder Ali  thus  invaded the Chandragiri Fort and marched in the surrounding areas to loot the temples . The ones who opposed were punished and were exiled.

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 It was a bright sunny day . The green meadows and the hilly terrain was a treat to the eyes .Galloping on the horses they reached the foot of the Tirumala hills . The magnificent Hills were a feast to watch . The aroma from the trees the water falls around  tempted the general to march ahead . All of them looked closely  around . The magnificent mountains and the seven peaks were looking stunningly beautiful with the glowing sun .

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The news about the ruthless invaders reached the  temple priests  at Tirumala .They  were very scared to face the enemy . The news that they were looting other temples  was already known to them,but they never imagined that they would reach Tirupaty.

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All of them assembled at the temple premises and chalked out a plan . The Senior Priest announced ,  My dear Swamin ! There is no escape now . We will be finished in no time the moment the evil  forces reach here .Let us attempt to save our Lordships by carrying him along with us .  A old devotee replied , How are we going to leave the Hills ? Why not face the enemy bravely and sacrifice our lives than being cowards running away  .This is VarahaKshetra and Lord Venkateshwara  has his own  plans . Let us seek his lotus feet and then decide . The suggestion was well taken …

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All the devotees rushed to the temple sanctorum , offered a mangala haarathi and pleaded LORD for his mercy .  Oh Lord !Our Savior …. We are in utter confusion .. We will sacrifice our lives but will not allow the enemy to enter the temple .

Please save us from this agony. Its your DIVINE WILL that’s final . 

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The Elder Priest announced , Look  children  ! Its our turn .Let us face them bravely .When HE is there why worry ?  LORD will never leave us …

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All of them decided to sacrifice their lives than remaining as a  mute spectator . This was the last darshan .With copious tears each went up near the LORD  had the last darshan feast fully  and left the temple . They  descended the Hills with anguish imagining that was their last darshan . The sun was radiating severe heat . Passing the terrains and the hillocks the priests along with the devotees marched fearing sudden attack . They managed to reach   some where  near  to the foot  of the Hills  .The commotion was pathetic as the families also joined them fearing death and few escaping into the jungles calmly . They reached  the last hillock and to their shock they saw a battalion  of armed forces on their horses looking all around .They had  weapons and looked ferocious . It seemed they had travelled from Chandragiri Fort  . The courage and enthusiasm to face the army suddenly vanished .

All of them were trembling with fear .

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There was a shout from the battalion .  A stout man looked like the General  screamed …Hey !!! All of you come here ….He was looking dreadful ..

. He was speaking in  Urdu  . He screamed again …

UUPAR  KAUN HAIN ?  ( WHAT IS THERE OVER THERE ?)

Once again he yelled ….

Hey Bomman ……………… Uupar kyaa hain ?

( What is there over there )

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The Priests were calm . All of a sudden they heard a  sweet voice among them . All turned around . They saw a small boy  glowing with divine aura smiling and bravely walking before the army chief .The voice was clear and gracious and  in the same language . For a minute the Army Chief Hyder Ali was bewildered . The Priests  were shocked to see the new entrant  .

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Who is this boy ? He was not seen when we descended .Did he join us enroute ? Many questions were being whispered among them .

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The boy bravely walked before Hyder Ali and replied .

Haan    …. Iss jagah pavitra hain …………Varah kshetra hai …

( This place is holy and is  resting place of  Varaha )

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Aadhi Varaha Kshetra kahatey hain

Hyder Ali is stuck with the boys beauty .Naturally even a stone hearted person also will get intoxicated with HIS looks ….

 He said …….. Yeh bolo . …… Varaha matlab kyaa  hain ?

( What do you mean by Varaha  ? ) 

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The moment he asked this question ,suddenly there was a loud noise from the hillocks . To the surprise of the devotees ,  Hundreds of wild boars in herds rushed in lightening speed making the army tremble and run for their lives .The whole battalion vanished in no time looking at the huge  boars chasing them .

The place this divine leela happened was Adi Padi (  foot path in tamil )  and over a period of time got corrupted as Alipiri …( May be as Ali ..Hyder Ali  left ).

The Priests understood  the divine  boy was LORD himself who appeared to save them …

They chanted the holy names of LORD and ascended the HILLS with vigour and joy …

Pilgrims take a vow to go on foot from  this place  Alipiri the gateway to  to Tirumala to have darshan of LORD .  There are two footways. 1) Alipiri footway and  2) Srivari mettu foot way  from the other side of the Hillocks near to Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara swamy Temple at Tirupathi.

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 Alipiri ,  most used footway by piligrims is  9 km trek  . Enroute a pilgrim finds solace in the holy hills trekking watching hundreds of devotees chanting the HOLY NAME .The pathway is  laid  with comfortable steps and shelters. There are  around 3500 steps and  it  takes approximately 3 – 4 hrs to climb as per once health and age Pilgrims can keep their luggage at Alipiri luggage center and can proceed to Tirumala. TTD runs two free buses from the Tirupati Railway station to Alipiri, with a frequency of 30 minutes. Pilgrims who intend to walk up the hills to Tirumala can use these buses. Apart from buses there are many auto rickshaws to Alipiri from Bus stand, Railway station. Elders advise one to have a holy dip at Azhwar Theertham

( DETAILS OF AZHWAR THEERTHAM  IS APPENDED IN THE BELOW POST 

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/azhwar-theertham-at-tirupati/

( Presently called as Kapila Theertham ) and proceed to trek the Hills.

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Adapted from a  discourse shared by Elders

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pictures : credits Google Images uploaded by several Hari Bhaktas

Videos: Thanks to Sri Hare Srinivas ( Tirumala Tirupati ) 

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Azhwar Theertham at Tirupati


 ” TIRUMALA  is  Bhooloka  Vaikuntam and Lord  Vaikuntanathan  out of abundant mercy has appeared  as Lord Venkateshwara in this yuga for our upliftment . The sacred TIRUMALA Hills consists  of seven peaks considered to be seven-hooded Adhisesha . Before  seeking to  have  darsanam of LORD ,  the devotees  are  supposed to shed  the    inherent tamasic  qualities and approach with  sattva gunam for  HIS darshanam .

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 Elders advise us to  reach the foot of the  Tirumala Hills and have a holy dip at Azhwar Theertham presently called as Kapila Theertham  before ascending the Hills. This divine place is located enroute to Tirumala .  Out of the   1008 theerthams  located in and around  TIRUMALA  HILLS , Azhwar  Theertham ( Kapila Theertham)   is the only  natural spring  located  at the foot of the Hills.  

On the shores of Alwar theertham is  enshrined Sri Lakshmi Narayana Perumal gracing the devotees . Lord  is gracing with goddess  Sri maha Lakshmi . On the other side we can  have darshan of  Lord Venugopala Swamy

It is believed that this holy water  springs source is   from  Lord’s  lotus feet and hence is considered to be very sacred. Near the water falls  of  Azhwar Theertham  there is a  small temple of  Swamy Nammazhwar .

Further ahead we see a small cave. Many years back,  this region was ruled by Emperor Thondaiman, who  used to visit Tirumala daily.

Since it was difficult to cross all the Seven hills in the normal way, it is believed that  the Lord had shown him a shorter route  to reach him via this  cave!

It is  said  that there was a  temple  for Lord Sri Narasimha inside the cave .

Presently ,  the Azhwar Theertham is known as Kapila Theertham .This place is glorified for the Paramasiva temple  installed by  Kapila Rishi  and hence the name  Kapileswara. This wonderful temple is  one and half miles from Tirupati.  It is also said ,during  the ‘Kartika’ month  on the ‘Purnima’ (full moon) day,  many locals assemble to have darshan of Azhwars and Paramasivan

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In the Tamil DivyaPrabhandam sree sookthee Azhwars have sung  around 202 divine pasurams on LORDSHIPS   . By  having a holy dip in Azhwar Theertham,  the devotee  gets purified physically

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  This is similar to our journey to Sri Vaikuntam. It is explained in detail  about  the journey in the Archaradhi gadhi, that enroute the  jiva atma  has a purificatory dip in Viraja Nadhi .

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 As Tirumala is  Bhooloka  Vaikuntam,  Alwar Theertham is like Viraja river  and so it would be appropriate to take a holy dip  here before we have darshan  of LORD up hills!By doing so, the soul sheds the  Tamo and Rajo  gunam and proceeds to Alipiri, the foot of the Hills. Trekking  up the holy  hills  is considered to be very sacred. Recalling the inner meanings of the Azhwars divya prabhandam and Acharyars  who have glorified the Holy Hills in their outpourings one  treks with reverence to have LORD’s darshan ..

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 All animate and inanimate beings on the Hills are  worship able on this sacred Hills  .

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A view of the sacred  hill from the   footpath at Alipiri is seen to be believed. As the summit opens into a spacious, charming valley, the range of the  splendour breaks through several outlets like fantastically shaped rocks in the form of serpentine roads.

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The flora and fauna on  the Holy Hills  provide an example of a perfect ecological balance by nature.

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  The imposing chain of seven hills extending in curves with its intermediate ranges and ridges  resembles the divine serpent, Adisesha.

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It is mentioned in Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatam, the range of 7 hills are  celebrated   as Seshalam, Garudachalam, Venkatadri, Narayanadri, Vrishabhadri, Anjanadri, Neeladri  and represents the great serpent bed   As per Upanishads ,  in brief  the Jeevatma passes through five stages in its spiritual evolution , namely, Annamayya  kosa , Pranamaya kosa , Manomaya kosa  Vignanamaya  and Anandamaya kosams.

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The  devotee  sheds Annamaya kosa at this holy place Azhwar Theetham . After a  holy dip  and blessings  of Swamy Nammazhwar  he   ascends the holy hills  in the  Pranamaya stage on  to the Hills. Once he  reaches the Mokaala Parvatham (the knee breaking ascent )  with abundant mercy  he moves  into Manaomaya kosam and  with serious quest to seek LORD from  heart and the mind he approaches JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanujar  shrine . ( The appended post describes about this ancient temple )

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/the-temple-of-swamy-ramanuja-on-tirumala-hills-mambazha-emperumanar-throva-bhashyakar/

The darshan enlightens  him with knowledge  of the  real relationship between prakruti,  jeevatma and Paramatma  .  

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With the  blessings of Swamy Ramanuja he   reaches the  sacred hills . He is advised to take a dip in Swami Pushkarini near the temple. From here he gets inspiration and seeks the lotus feet of Lord Varaha  ( Gnana Piran) (Sri Bhoovaraha Swami ) and gets  further enlightened  thus the  the Vignanamaya kosa is activated .  The final stage is reached when he  seeks union with the supreme  Lord  our  Lord  Venkateshwara  in the Aananda nilaya vimanam.

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 When Anandam( bliss )  takes possession of the soul, there is no further need for  any desire other than reaching his lotus feet permanently ……  The great devotee Annamaya submits to the LORD in this appended kirtana a jivas struggle to reach HIS lotus feet … Check the meanings too in this clip ….

 

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Google images  

Videos credits : Ramyagiri

 

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The great devotee Thirukkanna mangai Andaan


Thirukkannamangai  temple is  one amongst the   srivaishnava divya desam in Kumbakonam. This divine place is located in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu. Around 8 kms  from Tiruvarur amidst  a huge tank  Darsha Pushkarini this   temple  is located  near  Western banks  .  Azhwar  keeps comparing the Lordships  here to  the sugarcane and also refers to the village as the place where blue lotuses bloom. While those flowers may not be so visible now, the sweetness of the shrine cannot be denied.

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About 25 miles from Kumbakonam, the temple is among the Pancha Krishnaraya kshetrams– the others being , T mihirukannapuram, Thirukanankudi, Thirukannamangai and Thiru kapisthalam. This holy  place is also called as “Sapthamirtha Kshetram”.An unique darshanam for the devotees  at this temple is of Mahalakshmi thayar. This sannidhi where Abhishekavalli thayar is in a resident posture . ( Erundha thirukolam ).The sanctum  has an artha mandapam and maha mandapam too. In this artha mandapam, there are beehives in the rectangular windows on the south and north walls.

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The gopuram has four levels and the sub-shrines to the Goddess Abhisheka Valli and Andal have wagon-vaulted roofs to the pavilions fronting them.

Peria Thiruvadi ( Garudalvar )  gives darshanam  in standing posture and is considered to be a very powerful giver of boons. He is not clad in the standard red bordered white dhoti but in a multi-coloured silk sari! And on his neck is placed a sweetmeat offering that is unique to Tirukkannamangai. It goes by the name of Amrita Kalasam and resembles a laddu.  Maha Abishekams are performed for Garudalwar  every Sunday.

. It is believed that the four Vedas took the form of four pillars and the pavilion goes by the name of Veda Sagara.

The Goddess is in a shrine to the left of the outer corridor. Abhisheka Valli derives her name from the legend that she was ceremonially bathed with the  holy waters of the tank before her marriage to  Maha Vishnu. A beehive is seen inside the temple  that waxes and wanes with the seasons .

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The bees shift home every six months, residing to the left of the Goddess during the Dakshinayanam (July to December) and to her right during Uttarayanam.( January to June).The 33 crore devas took on the form of these divine insects to witness the heavenly wedding of the Lord and  goddess  as per the legend.

The same was sung in one of the hymns of Thirumangai Azhwar”Kalivandaraiyum pozhilsoozh Kannamangaiyal kandhu kondene” It is believed that the bees are the Gods who came to attend the wedding and decided to stay on, being enchanted with  the holy place Tirukkannamangai .

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 On other side of a bigger mandapam , there are eight pillars .Each pillar features a painting of one each of the asthalakshmis.The presiding deity of this temple is Bhaktavatsala perumal who gives us darshanam in standing posture and thayar is glorified as Abhisekhavalli thayar .

A very important  divine pastime must be cherished .

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In  this Srivaishnava Divya desam there lived a great devotee by the name Thirukkanna mangai AndAn who was a disciple and nephew  of a great srivaishnava Acharyar  Swamy Nathamunigal and  the foremost disciple to learn Naalayira Divya Prabhandam from his Acharyar . He was performing daily services in the temple unconditionally  without any desires .He used to pluck the grown grass and make the pathway clean for the devotees  .He used to be always ready to do any menial service that was fit for the temple .

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One day, he saw two dogs fighting with each other. The sight of this fight drew the attention of the owners of these dogs to quarrel and beat each other to the extent they both got badly injured and one almost lost his life .

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Thirukkanna mangai AndAn witnessed this. He thought to himself, “if the owners of the dogs have so much affection and sense of ownership for their loyal dogs that they are ready to give up their lives, then why would not our LORD who owns this dog-“Thirukkannamangai AndAn,” if dedicated to Him, not come to his protection?”

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Thinking this way, he served the LORD and entered the kOvil and rested on the floor in a small room near the entrance. Deeply engrossed in his realization to serve the LORD , the very next second, he attained the lotus feet of LORD . Renouncing the intent of protecting himself, he subjected himself to the mercy and protection of LORD .The Priests in the temple could see some unusual object gushing inside the temple sanatorium confirming the great devotees love to the LORD .

As per legend it is told one who spends a night in the vicinity of the temple attains Moksha .( Also glorified as Dakshina Pushkarani .)

Today Aani Sravanam is the appearance day of the great devotee Thirukkanna mangai AndAn.. ( June 24th 2016)

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics  \ Courtesy : Google images

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Lotus feet !! tad-vishhNoH paramaM padaM, says the Upanishads meaning the Divine feet are the supreme..


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The absolute sense of surrender echoes the feeling that we have none other to protect us  other than our divine parents and seek their lotus feet .Our karmic parents , husband , wife friends even the demi gods will not be able to rescue us  and it is LORD SRIMAN NARAYANA alone who can take care of  us all the time .The divine feet constitute the ultimate solace for all sorrows.

Peria Azwar expresses his musings about Lord Krishna’s  stay at Gokulam , Mathura and Vrindavan in his divine out pourings Naalayira Divya Prabhandam ( Appended link below about the divine pastimes )

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/chinni-krishna-and-peria-azhwar/

The holy feet which walked on the ground had impressions they called it as  samrajya lakshanam .All those divine marks on the soles of his lotus feet , those lovely impressions were visible on the ground in gokulam .

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Azhwars and Acharyas have expressed their divine thoughts about the lotus feet of Lord Krishna in several slokas . The holy feet is so tender that even when the goddess mahalakshmi the divine consort massages with love and tenderness the feet becomes red .

Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja surrendered to the lotus feet of  Lord Ranganatha

Swamy Desikar surrendered to the lotus feet of  Lord Varadarajar.

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 In the Holy Epic ,  Srimad Bhagavatam at one place the great devotee   Akrura comes to Vrindavana to meet Lord  Krishna.  He  has the darshan of the the footprints of the Lord on the dust of Nanda-grama.  Immediately , with tears  he at once  jumps  on the  holy spot  of Vrindavana and rolls  about among those footprints  overjoyed and   expresses …

”  My fortune !!!!!  This is the dust from my master’s feet! How wonderful and blessed I am …

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All together,  around  eleven  distinguishing marks are decorated  on the soles of Lord’s  lotus feet.”  (  Few scholars conclude there are Nineteen ) …

The  auspicious marks on the soles of Lords feet   bears the marks of a banner , a pot of ambrosia , an umbrella , a thunderbolt , a lotus , a  kalpavruksha , a conch  , the ankusa/spade, a fish , a rose apple   and  a disc  .

Similar feelings were experienced by the  advance devotees of Lord , the gopis of Vrindavana seing Lord  Krishna’s footprints in the dust.  The gopis became overwhelmed simply by seeing those marks  imprinted on the ground.  

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 When Krishna went away from Vrindavana the Gopis could not forget their Lord . On the land of Vrindavana are the impressions of His footprints, that are the residence of the goddess of fortune.   Just by seeing Krishna’s all-attractive footprints, the gopis  remembered many  divine pastimes with  Krishna.

The divine feet is the most important place for any devotee . At several places Lord reveals this place pointing one of his lotus hands towards HIS feet hinting that is the place we need to seek salvation . A sloka from Rig veda  glorifies …….

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Tad vishno: paramam padam sadaa pasyanti sooraya: |  diveeva chakshuraatatam 

Tad vipraaso vipanyavo  jaagruvaagum sassamindhatae vishnor yat paramam padam

   Acharyas have expressed the auspicious qualities of the imprints , viz:  the conch bestows knowledge to the devotees , the disc ensures the Lord shall destroy the enemies and get rid of our sins , the kalpavruksha  fullfills all our wishes , the banner captures the attention of the devotees ,  the umbrella  protects him with shield from material desires ,as a fish cannot live without water a devotee cannot live without LORD’s association , the lotus lends fragrance to those who seek succor at HIS lotus feet , the spade controls the elephant mind and bestows boons to a sincere seeker in his up liftment

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In this manner, the Lord’s lotus-feet destroy all the inauspicious qualities of His devotee and confer  him  with supreme bliss.

Lord Srinivasa graces through   His lotus  Feet to  the devotees  by pointing His right Hand down and asks them to surrender for their redemption. Nammazhwar in his divine out pourings expresses  his  ineligibility ,  helplessness and having no one else to save and protect him.  Having no qualifications, disability to pursue any other means  be it Jnyana Yoga , Karma Yoga , Bhakthi Yoga  and  realizing the eternal nature of being His servant  only always- seek HIS lotus Feet.

The lotus feet of the Divine are ageless and faultless, they eradicate all our misdeeds –

so goes one Vedic mantra …

caraNaM pavitraM vitataM purANaM yena pUtas-tarati dushhkRtAni. 

THIRUK

The steps that the Divine Feet took  are so great that LORD  is glorified  as ‘the Great Lord who measured  the whole Universe’  ulagalanda-perumAL (in tamil) details mentioned in the below  link …

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/the-lord-who-measured-the-worlds-brahma-kadigina-padhamu/

 

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

 

 

 

 

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Sant Namadeva feeds a dog with ghee ….Bhaje Pandurangam


The great  devotee of Lord Vittala , Namadeva  used  to go to a  nearby village Gopalapur  to pen  his  emotional filled   divine abhangs on Lord without any disturbance.   One day ,  it was  getting delayed and he did not turn home for lunch.

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Namadev’s  wife who was concerned  for the delay ,  walked along with the  lunch to Gopalapur.  She requested her husband  Namadeva that he should have his lunch as it was getting late . But Namadevar was in a different mood completely .His thoughts were filled with Lord Vittala .He advised her to leave the lunch in the basket and  carry on with her daily works

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Rajayi his wife   with respect   kept  Namadeva’s lunch in a bag near him and left the place .   A dog  quickly  got hold of the chapathis  in the lunch bag and ran away with the food .  Namadeva  who was filled with thoughts of Lord Vittala watched the animal . He   immediately took  some ghee  and sugar along with  milk  got up and ran behind the dog. This surprised the passerby’s .  The dog unexpected this and hence  ran as fast as it could.

Namadeva  too chased it as fast as he could  by calling

…Vittala ..Vittala …..

and finally succeeded in trapping the dog near a bush with caution .

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 He  offered obeisances to the Lord he  saw  in the  animal  .He fondly took him  on his lap  and  attempted to feed  him  with sugar and ghee and later some milk . He  brushed him with affection  and said

“Panduranga! My Lord !!!  This  raw  chapathi will make your throat dry. Please have ghee, sugar and milk  along with this .” Saying this , he opened  opened the animal’s  mouth to feed him.

That very instant,  a wonderful thing happened .He could have darshan of  Lord Panduranga there itself !

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With tears he said  ‘Oh!  Vittala !!! My Father !!!   Why should you take this  form ”and make this old man run …..

Lord Panduranga replied, ” Namadeva, I am free  enough to take any form I desire. But,  what is surprising and  amazing  me is  that, you are able to  recognise  me  irrespective of the form that I take.”

 Another great saint ,  Sant Jnaneshwar  was ridiculed by the villagers and the pundits for his  plain devotion when  he requested a  buffalo   to recite Sama veda to prove the omnipresence of Lord …. Watch the below clip recorded at Paithan where the incident took place few hundred years back..

The buffalo began to recite vedas  and this place is  located at  Naag ghat near  Paithan in Maharashtra .

sant gyaneshwara

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 Another   revered saint Sant  Tukaram  saw  Lord Vittala  in all  the creatures. Out of divine will once he was asked to guard a corn field. He enjoyed  this job as it did not hinder with his daily routine of chanting Lord’s holy names .  Earlier ,the birds would see human presence  in the field and  fly away without eating the corns. But as  Sant Tukaram got immersed in his  emotional out pourings abhangs, the birds started to feed on the corns. Seeing   Lord Vittala  in all the birds, he, instead of scaring the birds away, fed the birds with more corns from the field that he was supposed to guard, thus gaining the wrath of the owner which later made the owner realise the saint was not a very ordinary human.

The saints  believed that God is within all living beings .An important spiritual practice followed by them  was the chanting of Lord’s holy names . Remembering Lord and repeating his Holy Name  was most important . Another  ingredient for the spiritual life was kirtana or bhajans, the singing of hymns of praise of the Lord . All these spiritual practices helps in  transforming  the body, emotions, thoughts, and one’s very existence into expressions of the soul, our true identity and spiritual essence. This makes it  easier to have enough peace of mind and  enter the world of the supreme soul  seeking bliss .

 sant tukaram

 More information about the advanced saints of Maharashtra is available in the appended blog post

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/pandharpur-yatra-bhajey-pandurangam-a-pilgrims-diary/

 

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Credits :  The black and white pics have been borrowed from the paintings of Painter – Mr  Raghuveer Mulgaonkar

 

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THE OCEAN OF COMPASSION..LORD SRI RAMA


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Lord Sriman Narayana  incarnated as Lord  SRI RAMAR to personally demonstrate  the world the teachings of Vedas  and adhere to the path of DHARMA in all circumstances.    Azhwars, acharyars, and innumerable saints and advanced  devotees like Tyagarajar, Bhakta Ramadas,  Kabirdas,  Tulsidas, Kambar  and countless  worshipped Lord Rama who personally blessed them  all. Our elders suggest us to read Srimad Ramayanam, especially the first sargam in Sundara kaandam  for  self realisation .

pattabhishekam Nammazhwar in  his emotional out pourings “Thiruvaimozhi 7-5  reveals  “kaRpaar Ramapiraanai allaal maRRum kaRparO?…”

RAAMA

Sri Rama ruled the  entire world from Ayodhya for 11,000 years and when he was reminded by Brahma through Dharmaraja to return to Sri Vaikuntam, Lord Rama shed all the royal robes and walking barefoot from the royal palace, clad in  pure white holding dharbha reached the banks of Sarayu  to ascend to Sri Vaikuntam.

The Lord  took everything (the Grass, the creeping ant, the living and non-living, everyone and everything, – both animate and inanimate- all that was born or created by Brahma- all that existed in His Ayodhya to the supreme  position (moksham).

That was Lord SriRama  so merciful and compassionate that He took ALL (irrespective of their jnanam, bhakti, knowledge, scholarship, or even an inclination to think of moksham) out of His own  unlimited compassion  .

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Kulasekhara Azhwar confirms this in Peria Thirumozhi “ Andru Saraasarangalai Vaikunthathuku Yetri….”.  Lord took the entire living and non-living thing to Sri Vaikuntam. Once again Mother Andal glorifies Lord  Rama as “Manathukku Iniyaan”-the one who is dear to heart.

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 One is reminded with the divine incident when Sage Valmiki  requests Narada  to name a person who is known for having all the sixteen opulent qualities. Narada  unhesitatingly replies that  Lord Sri Rama, the Emperor  of Ayodhya is the embodiment of all the sixteen qualities.   Among  the sixteen great  qualities Goodness Honesty Sweetness Simplicity
Compassion , Strength , Humility , Bravery , Valour,  Talent , Prowess,  Success , Memory , Trustworthiness , Heroism,  Genuinity we humans  get attracted to the quality of Daya(compassion) as it is only due to Lords mercy  , our  pile of sins are forgiven and  thus  redeemed from the cycle of birth and death.

  Lord Rama exhibited this quality of dhaaya to  many of the humans  . Ayodhya vaasis, Kakasuran, the rakshasa who attacked him in Panchavati  , Kaikeyi   and most of the characters in the Ramayana ….

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 It is said Once , Parvati devi questions ParamaShiva as to on whom he contemplates while meditating. ParamaShiva replied that he always keep chanting the most sacred naama of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.- the  sweetest name RAAMA .

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Lord Shiva emphasizes the importance of the innumerable names of the Lord composed by Bheesmacharyar known  as Vishnu Sahasranama stotram. Parvati devi out of motherly compassion questions Parama Shiva as to what is the alternative if a person is not able to chant the  entire thousand names of the Lord.  ParamaShiva answers that uttering the holy name of SRI RAMA  will  bestow the benefit of reciting the  entire thousand names of  Lord Sri Hari.  Such is the power of RAAMA NAAMAM. In Varanasi, Lord Shiva personally utters the Tharaka mantram in the ears of the person leaving this mortal body and ensures that the jiva atma  attains moksham. When Bharata along with raja maatas and entire retinue met Sri rama in Chitrakoot, Bharata abuses his mother for her sinful action and seeks pardon from Lord .  Lord Rama chastises Bharata for accusing Mother Kaikeyi and remained untainted with her behaviour.  He showed the same respect to her. Indra’s son Jayantan was captivated by  Mother Sita’s looks .

Sri Ramar sannidhi at Gupthar Ghat,Ayodhya

He took the form of a crow and while Lord Rama and Sitadevi were resting in Chitrakoot, he inflicted injury on Sita maata by perching her .  Lord  Rama who was lying on Sitadevi’s lap was fast asleep, Mother Sita endured the pain without disturbing  the Lord .  But the evil Kakasuran took it as an advantage and continued with his evil act until Lord Rama got up.  Lord Rama was furious with Kakasuran and as he did not have Kodhandam with HIM at that time, HE took a grass, uttered Brahmastram and aimed at Kakasuran which chased him until he  fell down on the same rock where Sita and Rama were resting.

Swami quoting Nammazhwars pasuram about the greatness of guptar ghat

Mother Sita out of compassion slowly turned him towards Lord Rama’s holy feet and made him seek refuge.  The most compassionate Lord, who is  spared his life by  defacing  his eye.

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Lord Rama’s daya gunam was exhibited.  Spatik shila in Chitrakoot is the place where this incident took place. While in Panchavati, when 14000 rakshasas headed by Kara and Dhooshana attacked , Lord Rama  killed everyone but spared one rakshasa as he donned a saree and escaped.  Lord Rama’s dhaya gunam was so much that even though he knew him to be an enemy, he spared him because he was in woman’s attire! Lord Rama performed the final rites to Jataayu, the eagle king who fought valiantly with Ravana and tried to rescue Sita .

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Lord Rama

Lord Rama affectionately took the ailing Jatayu in HIS arms and  conferred moksha .

  The holy place where Lord Rama completed his incarnation  is  glorified  as Gupthar Ghat located in Faizabad about 15 kms from Ayodhya. Driving past the military areas in Faizabad roads really grand , we reached Gupthar Ghat in half an hour’s time from Ayodhya few years ago as a part of our Sri Rama Anu Yatra . River Saruyu also known as River Gargha considered as Sage Vasishta’s daughter was  very calm. The bathing ghats at River Saruyu are meaningfully constructed and are well maintained. After purifying ourselves in the sacred waters and offering morning oblations, Adiyen was engaged in routine morning rituals when a group of devotees headed by Sri Gomadam Swami of Sri Rangam reached the banks of Sarayu .

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Looking at us near the ghat, they chose to have bath in the same place.  When we approached Swami to pay our respects,  the revered swamin  was delighted to know about our trip and blessed us. He said that it was due to the divine will of the Lord that we drove all the way from Ayodhya to have holy bath in Saruyu at this place because usually devotees have bath in Ayodhya itself . Swami mentioned about the greatness of Gupthar Ghat and appreciated us for having chosen this place for purifying ourselves.

bath at Ganges,Buxar

Guptar Ghat

More details of this holy place at this appended link :

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/piligrim-diary-to-sri-rama-holy-abodes/

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Videos courtesy :  Sri Balakrishna Prasad garu/ Sri Naveen kumar

Pics : Few from Google images

 

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THE HOLY PLACE UNAFFECTED BY KALI (.. Kaliyum kedum kandu konmin) “KANDUM ENNUM KADINAGAR”.. .


 The Himalayan mountains are divided into various mountain ranges, Garhwal Himalayas, Central Himalayas, Annapurna ranges and so on. They stretch from Jammu up to Nepal. The Himalayas are the abode of Gods and innumerable saints contemplate on the Lord at this place.

“PRAYAG” means confluence of  rivers.  Panch Prayag means “Five Confluences” referring to the five confluences of  the holy river Alaknanda with Dhauli Ganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhagirathi . The rivers join  at Vishnu Prayag, NandaPrayag, KarnaPrayag, RudraPrayag and Devprayag respectively.

 

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From Rishikesh,  Devprayag is the first  destination  among  Panch Prayags.  Devprayag is 73 kms uphill and will take 3 hours by car. Devprayag is the most important of all prayags  where rivers Bhagirathi, Alaknanda & the mythological river Saraswati (flowing underground) meet to form Ganga.  The Alaknanda flows from the left, and is an eye-catching shade of light blue whereas the Bhagirathi light shade of green. However, in the changing weather, the colours seem to alternate. The Alaknanda has its origins in Alkalananda glaciers at Alkapuri,  beyond bhadrinath ,where  the demigod Kuber settled. Alaknanda is  calm and flows gently, whereas Bhagirathi river flows with much vigor .

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When the two merge and flow as one, the colour of Gangaji turns into a beautiful emerald. From here one road goes by the side of river Bhagirathi to Yomunotri ( via Tehri ) and other road along the side of river Alaknanda goes to Kirtinagarg, Srinagar and Kedarnath.

 There is a small suspended bridge that  connects the prayag to the river bank where the highway (more like a lane) is situated. We have  to walk a few hundred meters down the hill, in a narrow lane, to reach the prayag .

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Proceeding further we climb  106 steps and  enter   Lord Sri Raghunathji temple.

This Srivaishnava divya desam is glorified by Azhwars  

as  “KANDUM ENNUM KADINAGAR” .

PANCHABADRI 291

There are 4  Sri Vaishnava divya desams in the Himalayas itself.   “Kandam ennum Kadinagar” popularly known as Dev Prayag is one among them. Periya Azhwar has glorified the LORDSHIPS here with   divya prabhanda pasurams . Azhwar recollects the pastimes enacted by the Supreme Lord as Trivikraman, Raman, Krishnan in his pasurams. Azhwar elaborates how the Lord who is “Purushottaman” (the best among purushas) approached Bali for 3 measures of land and grew gigantically in size to measure the Universe.  While doing so, when the Lord’s lotus feet reached Satyalokam, Brahma washed the feet with water from his kamandalam which became the Ganges.  ParamaShivan the foremost Vaishnavite adorned  this water on his head and released the flow of water in different directions.  Referring to  Lord Sri Rama avatar, Azhwar says that the Lord who  disfigured  sister’s nose and brother’s head (referring to Soorpanaka and Ravana) resides here.  Referring to  Lord Krishnavatar, he cites how child Krishna killed Kuvalayapeetam, wrestlers and finally killed Kamsa now resides at this place.  The Lord who holds various weapons like conch, sudarshna chakram, gada, saarngam-the bow, kadgam-the sword to reassure the devotees of HIS protection doesn’t have any work with these weapons  as because of holy bath in Ganges, the sinners get cleansed of their innumerable sins.  So these weapons are like ornaments to the Lord.  Peria Azhwar  declares that the one who recites these pasurams will be absolved of all sins by the “Sreepaadha theertham of Lord Vishnu” which is known as Ganges and will be blessed to render service to the Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord , Vishnu on the banks of Ganges at this divya kshetram. The context says when Azhwar was glorifying the Lordships here the kali purusha quietly moved away ….

 

The Moolavar ( main deity ) is worshipped as Neelamega Perumal , Purushothaman,   .The  locals worship the Lord as Sri Raghunathjee  and the goddess vimala, pundarikavalli thayar .The holy theertham is ganges herself .It is believed that to atone the brahmahathi dosha committed in killing the demon Ravana , Lord Rama came to this place for doing penance .The place where Lord Rama did penance is in the temple premises and is  worshipped as “RAM GADDI”(the place where  Lord Rama meditated).On special festivals such as Vijayadasami, Basant Panchami, Sriramanavami  the utsavar  deity  arrives at this holy spot and give darshan to the devotees assembled . This temple is surrounded by hills on three sides. The hill in front is known as Dasaratanchal, right side is known as Narasimachal, the temple itself is located on Giridhachal.

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There is a banyan tree near the temple  which is supposed to be immortal  . The Priest clarified that the Trinities-Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva reside in this tree and hence it is considered to be very  sacred. It is also believed that during Pralayam which Lord takes out of his own will , he will rests on this banyan leaf  as sung by Thiruppan Azhwar

 PANCHABADRI 293

“AALAMAA MARATHINMEL ORU BALAGANAAYE

 The Priest further informed that  Anna dhanam is of great significance in this temple .

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The  Main deity (Moolavar) gives darshan  is in Nindra Thirukkolam ( Standing pose )  with chathurbhujam . He is the Perumal described by Periazwar in his pasurams but locally He is worshiped  as “Raghunathji”. He is seen holding Panchaayudhams and his height is more than 6 and a half feet. A bow and arrow which doesn’t form part of the Moolavar is kept near the Lord. To His right, Thayar who is addressed as Goddess Sita graces the devotees.  Everyday  Abhishekam (Thirumanjanam)  with sacred Ganges and milk is performed to the Lord at 6 AM  in the morning .Lord is adorned with new clothes every day and in a specific colour .Interestingly the priests also wear the same colour dress adorned by Lordships.

DAYS

COLOUR OF VASTRAM

SUNDAY            

RED

MONDAY

WHITE

TUESDAY

RED

WEDNESDAY

GREEN

THURSDAY

YELLOW

FRIDAY

WHITE

SATURDAY

BLACK

Detailed Travelogue to Saptha Bhadri is appended in the below mentioned post

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/piligrimage-to-saptha-bhadri/

video credits : sri dhanya

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

 

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Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalambam.. . Jai Jai Prahalada Varadaa


 This incident took place 30 years ago  . The  Annual Brahmotsavam for Lord Varadaraja was  being celebrated with piety and fanfare at the temple town of Kancheepuram. . The big day  “Garuda Sevai”  is conducted in Kancheepuram in the Tamil month of Vaikasi is of special significance.The Lord of  Lords  was showering his abundant mercy on all the devotees assembled . A staunch devotee of Ahobila Jeeyar was fortunate to undertake the divine service to hold and carry the Royal umbrella that overspreads on the Lordships as the procession proceeds in the streets of  Kancheepuram.

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The festive mood is a fortune to watch . The procession was lead by the Temple Elephant ,  a cow , a  horse and the fire crackers specialists . Few   thousand thronged to witness the Lordships in escastcy . The drummers and pipers  followed behind them. Adhyapakas reciting Divyaprabhandam chants proceeded .Then followed the fortunate bearers of Lordships on their shoulders. The dandikas which they carried joyfully walking amidst cries of Govindaa ..Govindaa ..Varadaa .

Govindaa ..Govindaa ..Varadaa .

Govindaa ..Govindaa ..Varadaa .

was reverberating all around pulling all the starving souls nearer …

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Behind them were the pundits  chanting vedic hymns  .On the Pandal the Archakas stood close to the Lordships and behind the gaily decorated deity on the dandika stood the disciple who was  a bit old , solemnly holding the stem of the pole carrying the spotless canopy that spread shade and splendor over the magnificent Lord who was pouring abundant mercy on the devotees who were thronging multitude.

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The bearers of the divine Lordships out of devotion ran , sometimes walked , triumphantly displaying the weighty  divine encumbrance on their shoulders .The Priests had to balance themselves and  handle the stage with caution perched  in precautionary standing .As they proceeded after a brief halt in front of  a devotees house  the  disciple devotee noticed an electric wire in front of him that was posing as an obstruction to the  royal umbrella he was holding  .Before he could raise any alarm the dandikas ran fast as a result the electric wire pushed the Umbrella . The umbrella is a very heavy structure and before he could really manage he along with the umbrella were about to tumble down .

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Helpless though he was ..his sincere devotion to Acharya made him think to recite the holy hymn Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalambam Strotram  so that Prahalada Varadar would give him HIS helping hand . As he did not have that much time ,  confused  he decided to utter the holy name ..Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalambam and thus completely surrendered to the Lord

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This train of thoughts occurred in split of seconds before he could hit the ground and miraculously he landed gently as if by a parachute his firm grip on the pole in tact .

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Tears of joy rolled in his eyes .He stood awe in shock as nothing happened as he imagined . The Umbrella was intact and Lord was  gracefully  smiling at him .

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His instant prayer recitation of one line gave him instant succor …

Jaya Jaya Prahalada varada 

Jay Jay Lakshmi Narasimha

 Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

Pics courtesy : Anudinam.org /Google images

videos : hindutara

Adapted from Narasimha Priya Magazine

 

 

 

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SRI SITANAVAMI AT PANTH PAKAR..NEAR SITAMARHI ( THE HOLY BANYAN TREE WHERE LOKA MATHA SITA HALTED AFTER THE WEDDING)


 

After  the Lordships Sita Rama  wedding at Janakpur in Nepal , the royal family along with their guests were returning to Ayodhya . It was getting dark .The Royal family decided to retire for the night at this  very holy place  Punouda  which is located  near Sitamarhi in the state of bihar

Birth of Sita from yajna bhoomi, Sitamarhi

The place where  Lokamatha Sita devi’s palanquin (“doli”) alighted under a banyan tree is marked by a hound covered with red cloth. Beside this  banyan tree the deities of   Lordships Sita-Ramar is  worshipped by the  local people  .

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A stone inscription mentioning  Lord  Rama’s encounter  with   Parasurama and the divine incident  of   Lord Rama taking over the Vishnu dhanush is mentioned in the marble slab  . It was revealed that the  banyan tree is  very sacred.  The locals believe  all disputes of any kind  are solved at this place . A Elderly person commented , No one lies here !!  If someone dares to tell lie, he would be punished immediately.

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Another strange aspect of this holy tree is that the roots of the banyan tree get coiled to the main trunk itself and they do not touch the  earth at all .

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Exactly one month after Sri Rama navami festival , Seetha Navami is celebrated all over the world .And  throughout Janakpur and Sitamarhi, this festival is celebrated for 10 days culminating in Sita Navami to be celebrated on May 16th this year 2016. (in the Tamil month of Vaigasi (May-June). Everyone in this  entire belt ,  feels delighted  to be associated with Sita Devi who is eternally remembered for her “PATIVRATA DHARMAM”.( As Ayodhyavasis associate with Lord Rama the Sitamarhivasis associate with mother sita)

jaya jaya jaya

Sita an embodiment of purity and wifely devotion and the consort of Lord Ram.  Sita Navami is observed on the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Vaishaka month (April – May). Sita Navami in Vaishaka month is more famous with Hindu communities in western and eastern parts of India.

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The locals  glorify  Sita and Rama and go to the extent of declaring that Sri Rama gained so much recognition because of HIS association with  our mother SITA DEVI .

  Every evening, Sri Ram charitra Manas is recited under this tree .A dance ballad also accompanies the troupe  Nearby  this tree , there is a small tank known as “Sita Kund” . Near this kund under a tree, small utsava murthis of Sita ,Ramar, Lakshmana and Hanuman along with a doli(wooden palanquin) is  worshipped .

Bharat Kund,Nandigram

The priest informed that these deities belonged to Sitamarhi temple and it is customary for them to take the deities in procession to Janakpur and while returning from Janakpur, to halt at all the  holy places  sanctified by Mother Sita Devi.

The priest was  was quoting verses from the holy text written by the great saint  Tulsidas. He also referred to slokas from Valmiki Ramayanam.  He said that in that village, there was  neither a police station or  panchayat since ages . Any dispute would be solved under this tree . The offender would fear to commit any offense due to the  outcome which  he would  face internally .  A net is  tied around the tree to ensure that dried leaves do not fall on the ground and protect the  sanctity of the  place.

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The priest informed that many devotees do “ Mithila Parikrama” starting from Sitamarhi , reach Janakpur and  on their return visit Panth Pakar, Punouda and other places which are on the way to Sitamarhi and end their parikrama on Sita Navami at Sitamarhi.…..

Jai Jai Sita Ram

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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