THE DEVOTED SRIVAISHNAVA ACHARYAS AT SRIRANGAM

The month of  ( March – April )   in tamil (Panguni )  is sacred  as it is the appearance month of –  Lord Ranganatha  on Revathi  star and Goddess  Sri Ranganayaki Thayar on Uthiram star  both occur during the same  month. The most important and the oldest festival called as “Adi Brahmotsavam” is performed during this month for 10 days and culminates on the  day of Panguni Uthiram .  About 800 years ago an unusual incident occurred which has remained as one of the most cherished brave effort by our Acharyas for protecting and leaving us the  legacy  of our great srivaishnava sampradaya and our Lordships…

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  Almost 800 years ago , the festive mood was vibrating with splendor. At the banks of Kollidam river preparations were being made for  Lord’s arrival with pomp and show . The stage was decorated with wonderful flowers and   the best decorative lamps . A huge golden throne decked with diamonds and costly jewels, attracted the venue.  The devotees were discussing.. Who else except Lord of the Lords is going to preside now. Devotees from far off arrived in large numbers to attend the great festival .It was a darshanam  not to be missed .

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It was customary for the Lord to alight and have Abhishekam done amongst the huge gathering of  devotees .  The entire stage was decorated.  Milk ,  Curd , Honey, Coconut water , Rose water , sandal oil , various types of perfumes , flowers , holy basil leaves garlands was set in order for the  Lords ceremonial bath .The feast for the eyes was about to  begin …

Finally the time arrived …amongst the mangala Nadaswaram and the priests chanting Azhwars prabhandams Lord of Lords arrived in majestic style .   The great Acharya   Swamy Desikan ,  Swamy Sudarshana suri  along with several disciples accompanied the  Lordships and  were  guiding the priests  in conducting the rituals .  Mangala haarathee was offered amongst the huge crowd .All the devotees  in one voice chanted loudly clasping their hands on their heads …..

G O V I N D A ….. G O V I N D A     G O V I N D A ….G O V I N D A……RANGA

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Among the most revered  Acharyas , Priests  and devotees ,  a distinguished  very  old  devotee   aging around   85  years  or more  ,was contemplating on the various divine pastimes of the  great  devotees  who had served Lord in all aspects , even sacrificing their lives for the Lordships .

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Silently glorifying the great Jatayu who served Lord Rama , and  Lord  Rama performing funeral rites for Jatayu   , Lord Krishna preferring to dine with Sri Vidura even though he had the option of dining with exalted elders such as Drona or Bheeshma the episode of ThiruppAN azhvar,  LOkasAranga Munithe  the great kulasekhara azhwar  attachment to Lord ,   Sri Periya Nambi and his attachment to Sri MaranEri Nambi, Swami Ramanuja and his deep devotion to Sri Thirukachchi Nambi   he was silently cherishing … His  thoughts were with pure devotion overflowing ….

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What have I done for the Lord ???  for his mercy in being among this august gathering .   His face exuded serenity and was in   total peace.  Caught up in these  devotional thoughts and having darshanam of Lord Ranganatha he was lost in a different world full of  bliss .He had slowly  forgotten the world around him.   That  great personality was  none other than  our Jagath Acharyar Swami Pillai Lokacharya  .

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The proceedings were being conducted smoothly .All of a sudden  among the august gathering  a person rushed to the  old  Acharyar . He was sweating  . He took courage and said … Acharya , I was washing clothes on the banks of  Cauvery river  when my donkeys  ran away suddenly hearing  some unusual noise . I attempted to find what was the reason . Slowly I climbed a small hillock to see what was that frightening my donkeys .  Much to my surprise  I noticed  a large battalion of  men on horses with ammunition marching towards our direction .

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With their attire I guess they should be the moslem invaders . I  am told by my relatives that  many temples  around    us were being looted and desecrated by  these  invaders.  Acharya , I am scared .. What would happen to  our temple and our Lord Ranganatha  . I am afraid for  our families .Please do something .. Swamy Lokacharya was taken aback .  He closed his eyes and said ..Don’t worry ..Our Lord will take care .. He  got up majestically and walked towards  the deities .  Prostrating to Lord seeking his grace He looked at that man and said … Just go and continue with your routine work .  But ! Just keep watching the invaders movements and inform as soon as possible

 444Swamy Desikar , Swamy Sudarshana suri and other Acharyas assembled and met Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar and concluded it was  Ulugh Khan  the army commander sent by Tuglak . They had to take a quick decision  . All of them informed the priests for staying beside the deities at all cost , and gave some important  tasks to be completed without any delay .  They briefed them about the unexpected calamity that may take place any time and hence instructed the priests to secretly carry the Lordships to the temple without the regular Abhisheka .

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The devotees who had assembled were  slowly coming to know about the sudden change in the programme  as the news spread like fire . All the assembled devotees silently marched back to their respective homes cursing the enemies who created this unholy trouble. The Lordships were silently taken back inside the temple . Swamy  Lokacharyar called the Chieftain and the Elders  of the temple and  advised them what could be the steps  that  may have to take facing the invader.

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The   objective was not to confront the enemy but to focus their efforts to ensure that the moola virat  was not desecrated. All of them decided that they shall form three groups . One group shall be headed by  the eldest  Swamy Pillai Lokachariya,   who shall carry the deities of Lord Ranganatha and His concerts in a covered palanquin and proceed southward with few disciples .

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Swamy Sudarshana suri took up the task of erecting a stone wall in front of the  main sanctorum to  misguide the invaders . A stone wall was constructed with support of many disciples in a short time   The third team was to provide cover for the team lead by Swamy Pillai Lokachariya [the team with the deities  of our lord and his consorts so that swami had enough time to maintain safe distance from the enemy.

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Swami Desika who was the youngest among the Acharyas was requested  by Shri Sudarsana suri to go with the third party and somehow save himself so that he at least might be left to propound Sri Vaishnavism and the teachings of Jagatha Acharya Shri Ramanuja.  Shrutaprakashika  was the work that was made out of generations of learning’s from Acharyas  and  an elaborate commentary on  JagathaAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja’s Sri Bhasyam .

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Sudharsana Suri entrusted his two  young  sons and manuscript “SrutaprakaasikA” to  Swami Desika   Swami Desika had an earnest desire that  this great work  must at any cost  be saved . Swami  as instructed immediately took up the directions from Sudharsana Suri and was about to leave  towards northward with the little boys . At the temple town , all of them decided in one voice that  they will not oppose the army  , but behave as if nothing is so serious ..   There was a regular update about the Invaders  who were approaching . The people  were in two moods  whether they should remain in town or flee.  Who was to decide and advise them? The people  were utterly confused .They decided to take counsel from Lord Ranganatha himself then decided to appeal to the LORD  Himself  . They all dropped chits (Tiru Ulla seettu) expressing their opinion and  with  devotion they drew up one chit which said that all could remain at Srirangam  itself. They decided in was the Lord’s order and remained facing the situation bravely.

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The same evening, the  invaders marched inside the  Srirangam town from Samayavaram  . Thousands of the town’s  citizens were  harassed and injured .The terror in which  the enemy looted the prosperous town   speaks about the bravery of the srivaishnavas there  .It was a very sad plight and the  bloodbath that followed who resisted will make one cry  for our great forefathers who sacrificed their lives . This had been recorded in the History of Srirangam Temple known as Koil-Ozhugu . The great bloodshed of 12,000 Sri Vaishnavas at  Sri Varahaswamy Sannidhi makes it the worst day in the temple town .

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Inside the Hall , Swamy saw heaps of corpses lying around . He somehow braved the boys to lie down unnoticed to give an impression that no one survived . The little boys stretched underneath  along with some of them and our dear Swami also lay down next to them along with the holy book. Swamy Desikar thus concealed the two boys and himself amidst a heap of corpses and passed the night with caution . The enemy troops assumed that they were corpses and did not bother to probe. Observing the enemy troops moving away , Swamy slowly took the frightened boys before dawn unnoticed in North-Westerly direction towards Satyamangalam . He was completely exhausted and was worried with LORD and the other revered Acharyas .

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At the other side of the temple , while  the enemy was  invading  the town,  the old Acharyar dutifully carried the Lord’s deity with a small group of disciples with utmost caution braving the worst scenarios of terror with  fear .  Leaving Srirangam, he had to suffer many hardships during the journey.  He had to be wary of the enemy attack while he also had to protect himself and his party from robbers.

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He  was constantly praying LORD for his mercy and keeping his disciples motivated with LORD’s divya charitam . All of them decided  that whatever sufferings may befall them, Lord  Ranganatha’s should not face any danger or desecration.  After an arduous trek, they reached Jyothishkudi near Madurai.  Lokacharya was a man strictly adhering to religious modes of conduct  and manners.

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  He was  finding  it difficult to secure accommodation and catering facilities on the way.   These troubles were common to people in those days but the Acharya had to face more severe hardships as he had to carry  Lord Ranganatha without any hardships to the Lord . All through the journey, they had to pass through possible attacks from invaders and thieves.  They had to trek hundreds of miles on foot.  In spite of all kinds of hardships, the Acharya carefully kept the  Lord Ranganatha in his
personal possession.

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He was particular that the traditional daily worship of Lord  Ranganatha should not be missed and therefore carried the deity  himself with greatest care and devotion and proceeded towards the south. Trekking several miles with constant fear of the enemy  lack of food and rest had adversely affected  the Acharya’s health.  Also  enroute  , he had to face the enemies wrath  some occasions  injuring him too  .Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar accepted all the sufferings for our LORD .He was mentally distressed about the future .   His mind refused to continue living on this earth seeing the tragic state in which Ranganatha had to be kept often hiding here and there .

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He wept several times with the unexpected turn of events  . It was like Jatayu the great devotee of Lord Rama  injured by Ravana while the latter was carrying away    mother Sita, he wept  helplessly.

 He proceeded to a village called jyothishkudi, which was surrounded by the Anamalai
mountains adjoining thick, dense forests. They found a dilapidated mandapam (ceremonial hall), and decided to retire for the night.
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He was exhausted and  came to know  it was time for him to leave his body. He was surrounded by his great disciples . Looking at LORD sweating  , he said to his disciples , Please fan the Lord as he is also tired coming along with us .  The disciples were sad to see their Acharyar completely exhausted and had tears watching the scene when he was fanning the Lord with those injuries in his body ..There was a pin drop silence  ..With tears He meditated on his Acharyar  and father, Swami vadakku thiruveedhip piLLai , pleaded them to forgive him as He could not able to protect Lord Ranganatha .

He could see numerous ants in the  small place .  He touched all of them, for the reason they also would be in srivaikuntam along with him .  as it is believed that any living being touched by the hands of a Sri vaishnavA is assured mOksha . He was always pining, ‘Let this body and soul of mine be sacrificed for Lords sake!’ and had his wish fulfilled.   He sought nothing for himself, amassed no earthly riches, and laid down his life for a Noble cause and became Lokacharyar .  

He once again justified his name as the universal guru, for he delivered even ants and insects until his last moment!! The most amazing incident was when we  can observe  millions of ants in that region even this day who could be the descendants of the ants that Swami  delivered by his touch.

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Lokacharya was one of our esteemed teachers and philosophers who preached equality of men irrespective of caste, place of residence, etc.  After the disappearance  of Pillailokacharya the disciples  performed the last  rites  and continued their journey along with  Lord  Ranganatha towards south passing through   a very long route covering Thirukoshtiyur ,Jyotishkudi .Srivalliputhur ,Calicut , Gundulpet , Chittoor   Melkote ,  Sathyamangalam and finally  Tirumala in the present Sriranganatha Mandapam where LORD stayed for 60 years .

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 The great Iyppasi sravana  ( October –November )  festival is celebrated  as a mark of respect for  Acharyar Pillailokacharya’s sacrifice  even today .

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He attained the lotus feet of his Acharyar  in the tamil month of Adi, on the dwAdasi day.  On reading this wonderful divine pastime we  need to believe that

May be our LORD wanted to see himself being protected by his devotees and glorify our respectful Acharyas who had done everything  as  HIS  kainkaryam ..

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Who or How else can we explain the need to “save” our Lord!!! who is beyond every thing .

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All glories to Swamy Pillai LokaAcharyar

All  glories to Swamy Sudarshan suri

All glories to Swamy Desikar…………

“shrImAn venkaTa-nAthAryaH kavitArkika-kesari |
vedAntAcharya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hridi |
kavithArkika simhAya kalyANa guNa Saline
Srimathe vEnkateSAya vEdhAntha guravE namaha

lOkAchAryAya guravE krushNapAdaSya SUnavE |

SamSArabhOgiSandashta jIvajIvAtavE nama: ||

aththigiri aruLALar anumathiyOn vAzhiyE
aippasiyil thiruvONaththavathariththAn vAzhiyE
muththi neRi maRaith thamizhAl mozhintharuLvOn vAzhiyE
niththiyam nampiLLai patham nenjchil vaippOn vAzhiyE
nIL vachana bUdaNaththil niyamiththAn vAzhiyE
uththamamAm mudumbai nagar uthiththa vaLLal vAzhiyE
ulagAriyan pathangkaL UzhithoRum vAzhiyE

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Courtesy  Google images

video credits  :

Sriranga yatra , Perumal pictures ( CDs available in 2 volumes Must watch )

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About Kazhiyur Varadan

Am seeker of true knowledge , aspiring to serve and share the divine pastimes of Lord and HIS devotees . Interested in meeting devotees and love traveling to all holy places . Major interest is to interact with devotees and be of some use to the world in spreading Lord's divine play . This blog is an attempt of knotting a garland of priceless pearls from Sri vaishnava Divya desam . .....Divya leelai .. .......and .Divyaanubhuthee shared by zillions of hari bhaktaas . Though Adiyen is neither competent or qualified in sharing this elixir of spiritual world , out of abundant mercy from asmath Acharyar His Holiness Sri Sri MudaliAnddan swamigal ,adiyen is attempting to reproduce the same which is done purely by the grace of AchAryar and the Lordships by hearing from various advanced devotees . Am like a bee collecting the nectar from sacred flowers and posting the same in this honey comb blog .. There can be few photographs which would have been uploaded from google images to practically have the feel of the holy place and be of some service to the devotees . In case the owner of the pictures /images, videos has any objections for this adiyen shall remove the same . If any of the images presented here violates copyright issues or infringes anyone copyright or are not under "Fair use" the same shall be removed ASAP . Anything erroneous in adiyens post is completely my fault/ignorance and anything noteworthy goes to the spiritual masters . Any faults are solely due to my poor understanding and seek pardon for my poor expression . All the divine pastimes shared are from the lectures and the ones shared by several advance devotees .All the compliments and praise belong to the great Spiritual masters for their mercy on adiyen ( your servant ) to share and re share in this blog to remain that bliss always ...... Seeking your blessings in this small service of sharing the divine posts .. Adiyen Ramanuja dasan Jai Sriman Narayana IMPORTANT 1) Spiritual Material posted in this blog are just for information purpose and for spreading awareness. Few divine pastimes which was shared in discourses and the holy place is being re shared which are subject to mistakes or discrepancies with time . So, kindly , don't be offensive and don't post any aggressive or illegitimate comments on the blogs due to the differences in opinions. 2) This blog may contain links to other sites through advertisement, user comments, articles. While Adiyen tries to link only to sites that are safe and secure, Adiyen am not responsible for the content or the privacy practices employed by other sites., since the linked site is not under the control of me, am not responsible for the contents of any linked site or contents of the links mentioned in the links site. Adiyen am providing this link just for informational and academic purposes only. 3) This blog may contain inaccurate, incorrect and clerical errors. Adiyen do not warrant nor assure the accuracy/correctness/completeness of the materials/articles or the reliability of any advice, opinion, comment or other information displayed or distributed through this blog . 4) We are in the service of spreading the divine pastimes of LORD and HIS devotees .Please correct adiyen in any shortcomings .
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5 Responses to THE DEVOTED SRIVAISHNAVA ACHARYAS AT SRIRANGAM

  1. Anand says:

    jai HO
    dhandavath pranams

    Like

  2. Kazhiyur Varadan says:

    Reblogged this on kazhiyur varadan's web blog and commented:

    May be our LORD wanted to see himself being protected by his devotees and glorify our respectful Acharyas who had done everything as HIS kainkaryam ..Who or How else can we explain the need to “save” our Lord!!! who is beyond every thing .

    Like

  3. Alwar Srinivasan says:

    ual work is laudable i pray Lord Ranganathar to shower his blessings to you and your family.
    Great work
    with blessings
    tupul alwarsrinivasan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. RAMAKRISHNA RAMANUJADASA says:

    CHATURVEDI SWAMY took all of us to jyotishkudi and serve the lord pillali lokachariar the mantle of vaishnavism , swamy has explained the great ness of the acharya, his works and importance of ashtadasa grandhamulu, srivachana bhushanam etc., salute to all our acharyas who reached the lotus feet of the lord and still guiding us for final route

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SATYA GOPALAN says:

    Hari Om! Adiyen! Another to charge my battery! It’s a pity that my father bearing the name LOKACHARY never knew a word about the Acharya & passed away @ 89! Being a strict Maths Teacher, his world was nothing but Mathematics.Naturally, we brought up in such an atmosphere knew nothing about Vaishnavism, being Thengalai Iyengar. Now that NARAYANA, by HIS sheer Mercy has sent VARADAN, personification of the disciple of Sri Ramanuja,(no exaggeration) I just feel like as if Perumal speaks to me as HE did with Tirukachi Nambi! Such is the effect of the articles. Tears never stopped following the foot prints of Lokachariyar to ‘ve become Acharyar for the universe! Your interpretation decorates the post! Many of my lingering ?s are answered. I ford. to my sisters. May Narayana instil in you a very Healthy Longest life to render such Spiritual Service, the need of the day, when all Youth throng to US to hunt dollars, all while leaving their age old parents to look for themselves! – Jai Sriman Narayana!

    Liked by 1 person

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