A true seeker of LORD will always respect the devotees of Lord . He never distinguishes about their birth and caste in seeking their association . A devotees glory can be seen with that deep knowledge and practices which takes them nearer to LORD . It will be a boon serving such advanced devotees .
The most advanced devotee Nampaaduvaan sang in praise of Lord Thirukkurungudi Nambi at Thirukkurungudi temple . He submitted the fruit of the punya earned by him to a brahmin turned BrahmaRakshasa SomaSharma and thus converted him back into a Brahmin.
The Uttana Ekadasi glorifies this divine pastime which happened few hundred years ago near a remote village Thirukurungudi which is briefed in the next few lines .
Of the Ekadasi marking the annual calendar, the interval between the Sayana and the utthana ekadasi represents the span of yoga nidra (cosmic slumber) of Lord Sriman Narayana .
This shukla paksha Ekadasi during the karthika month is celebrated as Uttana Ekadasi / kaisika ekadasi when Lord wakes up from his yoga nidra on this day after the chathurmasyam period .
The belief that those who undertake fast and recite / listen to the Kaisika Puraanam on the Kaisika Ekadesi day, are said to be fortunate devotees .
The word kaisikam means swaram .
This kaiSiki raga, is favorite to Lord as per the Srivaraha puranam. The divine message behind the auspicious day reverberates the fact that caste is not a hindrance in attaining LORD and true bhakthi alone is enough.
Lord assures that such a devotees even if they go to other planets , they would not think of the pleasures in such places and instead keep singing deeply moved in the mood of just glorifying HIM alone thus eventually they acquire HIM without any doubt.
This divine pastime happened in the beautiful Sri vaishnava divyadesam of Thirukurungudi where Lord appeared as vaduganambi the close disciple of JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja in a divine pastime appended below
Once there lived a advanced devotee Nambaduvaan who was born in the fourth varna .
( Swamy Parasara bhattar aptly names this pious soul as nampaduvan since the purana does not speak about the devotees name . May be Acharyar wanted an appropriate prefix to represent the great avatara purushas like Swamy Nammazhwar , swamy Nampillai , Swamy Nam Jeeyar )
He was a great devotee of Lord Kurungudi Nambi. Every night, he would walk several miles to the Thiru Kurungudi Nambi temple and with utmost devotion for hours together would stand before the Lord with his Veena and glorify the Lord with his ballads and before dawn, he would go back to his place, so no one noticed his presence at the temple. This was his daily routine This almost happened for about ten years
Once during the month of Karthigai ( November- December ) month Nambaduvaan left to Lord Kurungudi nambi temple to observe his Ekadasi fast and glorify the LORD as done earlier. As he was passing in the dark night through the village he was way laid by a Brahmarakshasa on the way to temple.
The Rakshasa was looking very fearful and demanded its share of food and threatened him . Nambaduvaan was shocked. He pleaded with Brahmarakshasu that, he would return back soon after his austerity is done with the last darshan of Lord ThiruKurungudi Nambi.
The Rakshasa was not prepared to believe him . Nambaaduvan pleaded the Raakshasha to allow him to go to the temple for a night which may be his last , so he could sing praise of the Lord one last time and that he would come back in the morning for the Raakshasha to consume him.
The Raakshasha laughed out stating no one in this world would be foolish enough to let go a handy prey. Wanting to meet the Lord one last time, Nambaaduvan requested the Raakshasha several times.
Finally he submits with all humility that he will accrue the related sins mentioned below in case he ignores the promises .
Nambaaduvan now clearly makes those 18 such promises that night and states that if he fails even in one of those 18 promises, he will be a party to committing of all these 17 deadly sins.
The 18th promise of Nambaaduvan is the essence of the Kaisika Puraanam and the reason why Kaisika Ekadesi and Kaisika Puraanam are most important to a Sri Vaishnavite is revealed in this statement
“If one ever tries equating Lord Sriman Naarayana to anyone else in this world, I will be a party to that biggest sin And may I never get Moksham from this cycle of births”
This promise reinforces the belief that ….
Lord Naarayana is the one and only supreme force and is incomparable. …….
This bold statement by Nampaduvan instills faith in the rakshasa about his sincerity . The Rakshasa says Oh ! Nampaduvana !!!
None would dare to say this .
Anyway , I believe on you, and shall wait till you return.
Nambaduvaan glad that he was allowed , happily marches to Sri Kurungudi temple, observes his jAkratha vratham , glorifies LORD with his songs for the last time and thanks HIM for his mercy seva for almost 10 years .
The next day Nambaduvaan walks back to submit himself to the Brahmarakshasa as promised . Lord ThiruKurungudi Nambi out of abundant compassion comes before him dressed as an old man (Nambi kizhavan ) .
He asks him why is he was returning in such a hurry ? Nambaduvaan explains about the incident. LORD advises Nambaduvaan to take another path to escape from the Brahmarakshasa . Nampaduvan tells him about the 18th promise and being a devotee of LORD he does not want to loose that identity in befooling the Rakshasa
The old man replies “It’s usual in this world to save one’s own life from an enemy, one can promise on various things, but it’s not necessary to fulfill all those vows”.
Nambaduvaan replies that he would stand on Dharma being LORDs devotee and accepts whatsever comes on the way instead of this diminishing life .
Lord Thirukurugur Nambi is pleased with his devotion and blesses Nambaduvaan.
Now as decided Nambaduvaan meets Brahmarakshasa as promised and submits himself to consume him. The Brahmarakshasu is shocked with Nambaduvaan’s humility and requests Nambaduvaan to bestow the punya credited by his songs on LORD which he sang last evening .
Nambaaduvaan states that his glorifying the LORD was not done with any motive. The Rakshasa pleads him to at least credit his punya he got from the songs he sung last night . Finally the Rakshasa falls at Nampaduvan’s feet pleading him . Later with further openness the Rakshasa reveals that previous birth he was a Brahmin vidwan Soma Sarma and used to conduct Yaagams ( Havans ) . Due to his arrogance of considering himself as the all knowing, he committed many sins including not completing a Yaagam.
Hence, he had to take the ugly form in this birth.
Hearing the pleas of the Brahmarakshasa, Nambaduvan again says that he never glorified LORD with any motive . But , still he shall pray LORD Thirukurungudi Nambhi to releive him from all his sins. LORD gives the merit of the last song and relieves Brahma Rakshasa of its sins.
This divine pastime strongly reiterates that true bhakthi is enough to attain Him and caste of a person is totally insignificant.
Kaisika Puranam, is a part of Sri Varaha Puraanam and comprises of several hundred slokas which glorify Lord Narayana as the ultimate supreme .
Thiru Kurungkudi is said to be the home to the Sri Vaishnava tradition of ‘Kaisika Ekadesi’ and Kaisika Natakam (drama) worship of the Lord through dance, music and drama is a special event at the Thiru Kurungudi Nambi temple .
On the Kaisika Ekadesi day an event that dates back several hundred years is enacted . There is a mandapam known as Kaisikga Mahatmyam mandapam where Perumal along with naachiyars, azhwars and acharyars give darshan.
Just ten days before this event , the temple servant who is all around in charge of the temple premises and another two persons belonging to devadasi vamsam take the blessings of Nambi perumal , undertake a (vow ) vratham, and are given coconut as prasadam. They stay in seclusion beside the sannidhi for 10 days, cook food offer it to Perumal and partake the prasadam for 10 days. On ekadasi night, they once again take Perumal’s blessings, take the brahmarakshas’s mask which is kept behind Perumal and the person acting as brahmarakshas is adorned with the mask . The drama is enacted amidst the august gathering all through the night till the early hours next day. Later in the evening, Lord gives darshan on Garudan.
At Srirangam , on this day Lord Namperumal is offered 365 dresses and later in the night, descendants of Sri Parasara bhattar read out kaisika puranam along with bhattars commentary. After this, purapadu of namperumal takes place .
Elders command that ” Even if one is born in a lower caste and still follows the Nine types of devotional service and surrenders to Lord unconditionally , He automatically gets liberated . He becomes a scholar by word and deed because of Lord’s mercy on him. Consuming the devotees Sripada Theertham is a great blessing and serving him is most pleasing to LORD . Many incidents appended below reveal this important lesson for a devotee to progress in spiritual world.
The great devotee Guha was accepted by Lord Rama as his own brother . Lord Krishna preferred to stay with Vidhura to anyother when He came as a messenger to meet the kauravas .Though he had many friends and Elders he preferred Vidhura . Hence status is no criteria to decide one’s BhagavadSambandham.
Lord Rama left Ayodhya the land of the learned scholars to join with the innocent monkeys and embrace Hanumanji lovingly and accepted Sugriva and Vibhishana as His Brothers. The sacred funeral of Vidhurar was done by Dharma putra, Jatayu by Lord Rama and Maraneri nambi by Periya nambi .
In the Rajasooya yaga the Agrapooja was done to a gopala by name – Krishna. At Thirupuliyur, the Priests performed Agrapooja to Thirumazhisai Aazhwar who was brought up by a woodcutter. Kurumbarutha Nambi was a great devotee at Thirumala(Pushpa Mandapam) was worshipped and reverred by a great king and Kshatriya Thondaiman Chakravarthy.
JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanujacharya learnt from Sri Thiru Kachhi nambi who alone was able to talk to Lord Varadar at Kanchi. At Srirangam the temple priest Lokasaranga carried Thirupannazhwar on his shoulders into the temple sanctorum .
During Thiruvaradhanam, Swamy Ramanujar used to hold the hands of Sripillai Urangavilli Dasar as Kayasuddhi. After Thiruvaradhanam, Sri Nampillai used to receive Prasadam from Pillai Eru Thiruvudaiya Dasar.
During Graha Pravesha, Sri Vadakku thiruveedi Pillai asked Sri Pillai Ramanuja Dasar to enter His house first.
Our Poorvacharyars have written commentary on Vishnu Puranam and Kaisika Puranam only. Vishnu puranam by Engalzwan and Kaisika Puranam by Swamy Parasara bhattar.
Swamy Paraasara Bhattar had presented a wonderful commentary for the entire Kaisika Puraanam .
This Divya Desam is located about 30 kms South East of Tirunelveli and near Nanguneri . One can have darisanam of all the Five temples of Nambi Perumal.
All glories to the devotees who are attending the great festival at this Holy place on December 10th , 2016 .
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images
video credits : Advanced devotees who attended this seva.