The month of ( March – April ) in tamil (Panguni ) is sacred as it is the appearance month of – Lord Ranganatha on Panguni Revathi and Goddess Sri Ranganayaki Thayar on Panguni Uthiram both occur during this month.
. This is the only day on which the Divya Dampatis of Srirangam are seen together in Utsavam. The Utsavam takes place at the royal court located at the western entrance of the great Temple of Lord Ranganatha. Interestingly, this is the only entrance which does not have a Rajagopuram. Incredibly Swamy Ramanuja chose this blessed day for reciting the wonderful hymns the Gadya Trayam- Saranagathi gadyam,Sriranga gadyam and Vaikunta gadyam, unambiguously outlining the doctrine of Surrender .(SharaNagati-which is atma Vivaham) wedding of the jivAtma to the paramAtma.
On this day Panguni Uttaram , Swamy Ramanuja gathered his disciples and approached the great Temple of Lord Ranganatha. Our Paramacharya was greatly moved by the majestic sight of the Divya Dampatis beautifully decorated in Utsavam at the Royal Court of Lord Ranganatha. As a result of this Anubhavam, Swamy Ramanuja poured out his heart in an extremely soulful, highly intimate, and deeply intense SharaNagati ( TOTAL SURRENDER ) in the Sharanagati Gadyam and the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam.
The most important and the oldest Brahmotsavam called as “Adi Brahmotsavam” is performed during this month for 10 days and culminates on the next day of Panguni Uthiram. During this brahmotsavam, Lord Ranganatha marries Kamalavalli Nachiyar of Uraiyur divyadesam.
Many devotees make it a point to have darshanam of Lordships on this day specially to have kataksham by Divine Parents .
Only on this day, Perumal gives darshan with Kamalavalli at Uraiyur for one full day. Incidentally this is the place where the great Thiruppan Azhwar appeared . On the 9th day of Brahmotsavam, the serthi (divine union) takes place at Srirangam. On this day alone, Namperumal gives darshan along with Ranganayaki Thayar. An interesting event cherished as ” Pranaya Kalagam Uthsavam ” takes place on Panguni Uthiram day morning and in the night , Gadyathrayam(threee gadyams) are recited in front of the Lordships which is followed by Thirumanjanam (Holy abhishekam) to Namperumal and Ranganayaki Thayar . Thirumanjanam is performed for 18 times reminding us of Swamy Ramanujar’s visits to Thirugoshtiyur. which are sequel to this sweet visit. Our Mother Sr Ranganayaki comes to know of LORDs visit to Uraiyur nachiyar and gets upset.
The dramatic events on the Panguni Uthiram day unfold as Sri Ranganachiyar vents her Pranaya Kobam on Lord Namperumal and how Lord pacifies her and how in the end the divya dampathis join together to bless the devotees makes this festival a feast to the soul . In the morning hours , Lord aware of Goddess mood goes around the four mada streets without any musical instrument being played ( Nadaswaram ) to collect kanikai ( gifts ) from devotees and thus gives darsanam to everyone .
The devotees are given an opportunity to serve Rajadhirajan(Lord of the Universe) with some money. He stops at every house asking His devotees to support Him when He faces the queen Goddess Sri Ranga Nachiyar.
With the temple elephant (Andal) leading the way followed by the vedic pundits reciting dhivya prabhandha goshti LORD enters the temple and walks towards the sanctorium (sannidhi) of Goddess (Thayar) after literally moving around for three hours around the prakarams. When Sri Ranga Nachiyar sees Lord Ranganatha coming towards Her, the temple doors are shut. For the next couple of hours, Pranaya Kalagam Uthsavam (household quarrel between the Lord and His consort) takes place that is wonderfully enacted by Arayar swamy.. The conversations between Namperumal and Ranganayaki Thayar are communicated through Arayar swami (for Namperumal) and through Pandari swami (for Ranganayaki Thayar) and they never face each other during this kalagam Utsavam . The Lord pleads innocence and tries to appease the goddess in many ways but all his submission is outrightly rejected . Few questions asked by Goddess make this utsavam very interesting …
Goddess questions Lord about his scratch marks on His Thirukkazuthu (neck) and reason for His Thirukkangal (eyes) becoming so red. She also asks why His Thiruman kappu ( Tilak ) and His Thirukkuzal (hair) are all messed up. She also goes on to ask Him why His Thiruvadharam (lips) are white and why He has kungumappoo (Saffron powder) all over his Thirumeni (body), His ThiruvadigaL (lotus feet) are red. Hence, She says that She was very unhappy because of HIS indifference to her .
The Lord out of divine love responds back to each question.
Being the protector of the universe (Jagadhrakshakan), riding the horse in the night and fighting against all evil forces to protect His devotees and thus the eyes were red.
Hair locks are messed up because of the fierce winds while galloping on the horse.
His Thiruman kappu had dissolved because of the harsh sun rays.
His lips were white because He had to fight against the asuras (demons) to protect the the devathas.
His neck was all scratched by thorns while He was riding through thick forests to fight the Asuras.
He continues further , that His legs were red because He had to ride the horse with His feet in the stirrup and finally
He has kungumappoo all over His body because the Devathas praised Him after His victorious campaign by showering Him with flowers.
Thus, He submits that He was late because of all the battles He had to wage with the Asuras and due to this calamity lost the ring in the river Kollidam while returning.
He had to get a new ring and some flowers before he meets Her.
This caused Him to be late.
Goddess is still not convinced and refuses all His gifts and flowers and commands him to never come inside and return back to Uraiyur where HE had been a couple of days ago.
Lord Namperumal with a very innocent look replies saying that He doesn’t know the place called Uraiyur and has never been there. Ranganayaki Thayaar asks the Lord to prove His statements.
To prove his innocence Lord offers to put His hands in a vessel full of snakes ,
cross any ocean of Goddess choice ,
and offered to promise on His devotees that He has never seen Uraiyur.
Sri Ranga Nachiyar rebukes HIS explanations. He, the one who sleeps on a bed of Adhi Sesha ( Serpent bed ) would never be harmed by any snakes. He, the one who lies in the great milk ocean (ThiruppArkadal) and for whom the river Yamuna parted to let Him through as baby Krishna will have no problem crossing any ocean. Also, HE, whose lotus feet are sought after by all His devotees would never be betrayed by them. Unmindful , she exhibits her annoyance of Pranayakalpa by throwing milk, curd, butter and flowers on Him .
Lord Ranganatha now pleads innocently then says that He has come to meet Her after going through such difficulties and She is not letting Him in. He says He feels very depressed and embarrassed as She shut the door in His face. The Lord says – “andha avamanam umakku andri yamakku illai” meaning “this embarrassment is not for me but for you.”
Seeing the Lord is feeling very sad, our great Nammazwaar, acts as the mediator and approaches mother Sri Ranganayaki and says that if the supreme Lord and Goddess are upset against each other, then that would be the end of all known universe (Pralayam).
He requests Mother and prays that the Lord is for all and She has to understand that He is sought after by all and so She should be able to let Her Azhagiya MaNavalan go to His devotees too as well for granting their prayers and uplift them finally So, He humbly requests that Sriranganachiyar forgive the Lord and allow Him to enter Her premises.
Goddess Ranganayaki understands Nammazwars reasoning and commands Her assistants to let Her Lord enter inside. Lord Ranganatha and Ranganayaki come together and exchange garlands, Kasturi Thilakam, turmeric and necklaces making a benchmark of a divine couple .
As soon as the door is opened, Lord Azhagiya Manavalan is delighted and rushes in to be with His consort. A beautiful scene transpires here. The Lord does not go immediately to our Sri Ranganayaki sannidhi . But rather goes to the mudhal mandapam and stands there, as if to ascertain whether our Thayar has really accepted and forgiven him. Lord sends his vastram across to Thayar, which is accepted by the Thayar. After this the Lord then directly heads towards and Thayar Sannidhi and then he seats directly across Sri Ranganayaki Thayar. Now our Aranganathan looks at our Lokamatha Thayar’s eyes directly as if to ask “why did you make me go through this struggle” and Thayar in turn asks him “Why did you go away without telling me”.
At this point of time other than the Sri Ranganayaki’s Archakas and our Sriranganathan’s Archakas, no one is allowed to be present. Thus sweet conversation takes place between our Lord Aranganthan and Ranganyaki Thayar as it would take place between any husband and wife. After they have talked for a long time, our Azagiya manavalan asks Thayars permission to go and complete the Panguni uthram thirunal as several devotees are waiting. Thayar replies that how can she let him without having performed any upacharam. She then gets delicious and sumptuous “Akkara adasil” ( Sweet pudding ) prepared for him, with copious amount of milk, rice, dhal ( lentils ) , jaggery and lots pure ghee. Both our Lordships now grace together and have the delicious “Akara adisil” ! The happiness of the Lord and Thayar can be seen in the eyes of lord who cannot take his eyes away from the Thayar! After this beautiful sight, the lord then decides to head towards the beautifully renovated Panguni Uthram mandapam. As soon as our Azagiya manavalan reaches the mandapam in the afternoon, our Thayar immediately, but silently and surreptitiously enters the mandapam as if she doesnt want anybody to talk about or ask her about what had happened .
After this the Lord and Ranganayaki Thayar give darsanam to several devotees who have thronged to see them. It has to be mentioned that here only the Thayar is adorned with a garland and not then Lord himself! Also, Namperumal doesn’t face the audience but looks uninterruptedly at Thayar.
The recitation of the Gadhya Thrayam begins at about 11 P.M. . Those heavenly chants fill the air with beatitude and immense happiness. At this time the whole srirangam is very festive and people make sweets and savories as if there is a marriage in their own house.After all, it is a happy and beautiful unification between the Royal couple! The Gadhya Thrayam starts with the chant of “Vaikunta Gadhyam” and then proceeds with the “Sri RangaGadhyam” and at last ends with the beautiful chant of the “Sarangadhi gadhyam”!
Lord Namperumal (Sri Ranganathar) and Peria pirattlar (Sriranga nachiar) are seated together. Lord (naMperumAL) is standing majestically as usual and more beautiful and graceful today due to the compassionate looking pirAtti and is enjoying the beauty of Her Lord without taking Her eyes off Him even for a second This was the right opportunity for LokaAcharyar Swami Ramanuja to ask for favors from our DIVINE PARENTS.
He submits to the LOTUS FEET through his divine outpourings Gadyatrayam. Swamy Ramanuja worshipping them, submits his deep fear of samsara (association with the body in a cycle of births) and begs the Lord to save him. Swamy Ramanuja surrendered his all to the Lord and begged Him to be his sole savior. In the Three Gadyaas, Swamy Ramanuja’s prayed swamies innermost feelings of deep devotion to the Lord break all restrictions and flow freely towards the Lord and His consort.
These are prima facie a spontaneous outburst of devotional experience and not coldly labored compositions. The inner voice of the devotee addresses Sri and the Lord and they do reply clearly through the same inner voice. In the Saranagati gadya, Swamy Ramanuja first addresses Sri as the mother of the Universe, as his own mother, and as the loving consort of his Lord, and seeks her intercession on his behalf. This is itself a saranagati addressed to the mother.
Happy at being addressed this, Sri replies ‘So be it’; “let your prapathi bear the proper fruit of being accepted as a devoted servant” The commentators have it that this assurance is not only for the Acharya but for all his spiritual progeny. The boon that Lord granted to Swamy Ramanuja applies to his spiritual heirs. It is worth noting that once he gets the assurance from Sri of her sure mediation, he addresses himself directly to the Lord seeking Him as the sole savior. The LokAcharya then addresses the Lord speaking of His incomparable glory, “His immense wealth, His power, His retinue, His divine weapons, His beautiful ornaments, His loving consorts, of His infinite compassion and other admirable qualities words which are a rhapsody of devout fervor which can come only from the very depth of a realized soul. Swamy Ramanuja holds out prapathi as the highest message he had for his followers.The Sriranga gadyam is a shorter piece and is essentially the same as the Saranagati gadyam. It is addressed directly to Sriranganatha. ” Sriranganatha! mama natha! namostu te” are the words of the acharya. To the seeker of salvation who has taken to the path of Prapathi, it is essential that he should spend his time in devoted service of the lord; in serving his devotees; by meditating on Him and singing His praise; by repeatedly uttering the Dvaya mantra (this is an enjoyable and sweet pastime). The acharya gives expression to all these, briefly, in confidence to the lord at Srirangam. His intention is that this short text may be repeated easily in the presence of the Lord by devotees intent on the fruit prayed for. Immensely pleased , Lord assures Swamy Ramanuja that He and all his disciples will be surely uplifted for attaining the paramaporul Moksha for sure . Later, Thirumanjanam to Namperumal and Thayar are performed for 18 times. This signifies Sri Ramanujar’s visit to Thirugoshtiyur to learn the dwayam mantra artham. All the upacharams are performed for 18 times.
Later, saatrumarai goshti is done at Udayavar (Ramanujar’s )sannidhi in the early hours. At about 7 A.M. the next day, Perumal reluctantly leaves thayar and goes back on Goratham.
After all this, the Lord then requests Thayar’s permission to go and complete the remaining procession. At this request, our Ranganayaki thayar’s face drops and looks downcast, which indicates her reluctance to part with the Lord at this point of time. But , thayar then mentions that First she will leave and return back to her Moolasthanam after which the Lord can start.
This shows the patience, forbearance and the humility of our beloved Thayar. The Lord then starts to leave towards the “Goratham (Chariot), before which he peeps into Sri Ranganyaki Thayrs sannidhi, as if to take a glimpse of his beloved wife and say “Bye” before proceeding . After this the Lord starts for the procession. Anywhere in the world a woman has to undergo lot of troubles and hardships and still put up a smile to make everyone in her family happy.
On Panguni Uthiram day, only Thayar sannidhi is kept open and it is not possible to have Sri Ranganathar(moolavar) darsanam on that day.
All adiyars know that the Lord and Thayar are above all such domestic quarrels taking place in our lives all the time. We also know that He is the fountainhead of all things in the universe and there is nothing like He should be going after several women etc. when He himself is paramporul ( The ultimate ) . Secondly the big question will Thayar ever quarrel with the Lord? So what is the significance ??
Elders clarify that the significance of all this drama is that Namperumal and Thayar are doing a play act to demonstrate to ordinary mortals like us how to run the household with harmony in the face of upsets. They also show the deep love , mercy and compassion true ladies have and why we have to give the ladies great respect and exalted position in our society. Azhwar describes Srirangam as the abode of the supreme Lord who had sixteen thousand devi’s (as he married all of them in His Krishnavataram by their deep devotion and request ). When he has already taken sixteen thousand consorts which Sri Rukmini Devi whole heartedly accepted, where is the question of getting upset about one
Kamalavalli nachiyar? of Uraiyur . Our Perumal is Paramatma and the jivatmas represented by Thayar are all wedded to Paramatma with Thayar doing the purushakaaram(bridge between Perumal and the fallen souls)
Andal nachiyar explains:-
“Peyyu ma mukil pol vanna, un pechum seikaium engalai
Maiyal erri mayakka un mukam maya mandiram than kolo”
Hey, dark skinned Lord, your words, acts and your innocent looking face are all designed to cast a spell over us. The Lord will always cast his spell over His devotees to protect them. And Maya Jagan Mohini Thayar always assists Him in his spell!
When the Lord knows that Nachityar is upset with him, He is planning to pacify her indicating thereby that all of us should try earnestly to take care of the ladies’ concerns.
In this entire drama, what stands out is the “Paraspara Anyonyam” of the Divya Dampathis. When Thayar is angry Lord understands and adopts a seemingly submissive posture. And Thayar relents when overlooking the fact that it is the only day in a year she is with Him and He has been to another nachiyar. She sets an example of kindness and forgiveness for all the womenfolk.
When Thayar allows Lord to enter Her Sannadhi, He at first stops at first mantapam and sends His Vastram to her. He does not rush in all the way. Thayar also understands His intention and accepts the vastram. She knows He will be hungry and gets a sumptuous Akkara Adisil ( sweet pudding) prepared for Him. In these days of hurried life when both the partners sometime go to work, can you imagine such understandings . Later She silently follows Him so that the devotees do not smell any difference between them! It is truly amazing that Divya Dhampathis had set examples which are relevant even today………
Arangan Vazhga, Arangamaanagar Vazhga
Let Lord Ranganatha protect us Let Shri Ranganachiyar bless us always …
Sri Ranga MangaLa nidhim karuna nivAsam
Sri Venkatadhri SikharAlaya KaaLamegham
Sri Hastigiri Siksrojvala Paarijatham
Sreesam namAmi Sirasa yadhusaila dheepam
Seeking the Lotus feet of Narayana
Kaveri Viraja Seyam Vaikuntam Rangamandiram,
Sri Vasudevo Rangesaha, Prathyaksham paramam patham
Vimanam Pranavakaram, Vedasrungam mahadbhutham
SriRangasayi bhagavan pranavaartha prakasakaha!
May the Lord and Thayar bless all devotees with such anyonyam. Let the eyes which have seen the Supreme Lord who ate plenty of butter and who has conquered my heart view nothing else.
Adiyen must have committed apacharas in expressing this wonderful utsavam which is due to adiyens mandha budhee and seeks forgivance to all the bhagavathas who are reading this ..
Vachaka Dhosham Kashamikkavaum………….
Adapted from Sriman Narasimha bhattar article ..
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan