Yadhava Prakasha noticed Ramanujar missing and asked all the disciples to search for him. Govinda pretended to search for Ramanuja so that he should not be doubted.
All concluded that Ramanuja must have lost his way in the wild jungle and have been devoured by wild animals. Yadavaprakasha continued the sojourn to Kashi along with his disciples .
Then on reaching Kashi , Govinda took dip and rose his palms , he saw a Shiva Lingam in his hand surprised , he showed it to his master .
His Guru commanded that as Paramasivan is pleased with Govinda and it is his direct blessings , he must worship him.
Govinda worshipped the Lingam in Madhuramangalam ( even to this day you can see this Lingam) .
Later ,he dreamt Paramasivan of Kalahasthi beckoned him so he went to Kalahasthi and continued to worship in the temple .
Years rolled on .
Swami Ramanuja became the disciple of Thirukachi Nambhigal , Periya Nambhi, Thirukoshtiyur nambhi and had taken sanyasa .
Ramanuja needed some trusted lieutenant to assist him . He then remembered Govinda , whose timely advice saved his life.
Now the real problem was how to bring Govinda back into Vaishnava fold .
He requested his Maternal uncle Thirumalai Nambhi to explore the possibilities of bringing Govinda back to vaishnava fold .
Thirumalai Nambhi went to Kalahasthi and met Govinda and quoted few verses of His Acharyar Alawandar’s Shostra Ratna Mala .
He impressed upon Govinda that worshipping Lord Sriman Narayana is the only way for path to salvation .
Govinda got convinced took permission from Paramasivan and proceeded along with his uncle to Thirumalai to learn Divyaprabhandam under him.
Meanwhile Swamy Ramanuja for learning the inner secrets of Srimad Ramayana from his uncle Thirumalai Nambhi proceeded to Tirumala.
Once he finished his Srimad Ramayana studies under Thirumalai Nambhi , Acharyar and his own uncle wanted to gift something to his student and lamented he did not have anything to give.
Seizing the wonderful opportunity Swamy Ramanuja requested Govinda to be allowed to join him, which Acharyar Nambhigal readily agreed .
Swami Ramanuja and Govinda returned back to Srirangam via Kanchi.
He gifted him with a necklace as per elders version which is seen in the temple
Though he joined Swamy Ramanuja , Govinda was always sad that he was missing his Acharyar and Uncle .
Seeing the sad plight Swamy Ramanuja immediately asked Govindar to go back to Acharyar Thirumalai Nambhigals place.
Overjoyed Govindar returns to Tirumala .
On reaching he understands even his Acharyar is unhappy with his decision as Nambhigal ignores him .
He advises Govindar to return back and quotes
“Cow once sold or gifted in dhana cannot be taken back .
Govinda with humility returns back to Swamy Ramanuja , more refined, wiser and chastened.
Swamy Ramanuja pleased with his move and affection advises him to attend all lectures, discourse, debates expositions and dispositions.
Govindar gradually becomes a shadow of Swamy Ramanuja and serve his master day and night.
Though Govinda was married, he never lived a householders life, and remained like a Brahmachari . He wanted to take Sanyasa like his master Ramanuja. But his Mother was unhappy about this and she wanted the linage to grow. She approached Ramanuja and expressed her deep desire . Ramanuja asked Govinda to spend some time with his wife in privacy .
Govinda respected his master’s word and spent time with his wife, but whole night he explained his wife about Lord’s divya leelai and experiences becoming transcendental by absorbing the esoteric truths .
The next day his wife narrated to her mother in law how advanced devotee his son was and she was blessed to be in his company hearing the Lord’s divine pastimes .
Mother was shocked ..
She summoned her son and asked was there anything he had to say about his loneliness last night …
Govinda replied …Mother .!!!
When SUPREME LORD is in my heart and present everywhere , ever watching me , how can i feel lonely enough to be able to do any other work other than that of contemplating on HIM ..
Swamy Ramanuja tested Govindas Celibacy in different ways and found latter was firm like a mountain and his aim was to become an ascetic.
He presents Govinda a Arch robe of an ascetic and gives his initiated name as “Emperumanar”
Govindar informs his master whether he did deserve this honor at all
Swamy Ramanuja joins the first and last syllables of his name and gives the name “EMBAR”and thus Govinda got his name “EMBAR” our most revered Acharyar
As commanded by Ramanuja , Embar taught Parasara Bhatta all that he learnt from his Acharyar .
He succeeded in making the Parasara Bhatta the worthy successor of Swamy Ramanuja to carry on the Ramanuja Sidhantha to the future generation.
During the year 1137 when our beloved Swamy Ramanujar shed his mortal coil and proceeded to Srivaikuntam , Swamy rested himself keeping his head in Embars lap .
The holy hill Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is located in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura. The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock. Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill.
This HOLY DHAAM is considered as the most sacred place in Vrindavan and performing Pradhikshana is most auspicious .Few lacs number of devotees perform Pradhakshina during Karthik maas and few thousands every day ….
Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock. Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes. Dan Ghati is its long neck. Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers. As the hill is very sacred…
his temple Lordships is glorified by our Nammazhwar .The temple is one of the 108 srivaishnava divya desams .
The King was stunned to see Kaaladhooshakan .
The bewitching smile and the magnetic aura he carried made the entire court spellbound .The eyes carried a special effect.
The King was just watching his glowing face .Meanwhile , the minister questioned him for the reason his stealing .
The thief ( LORD ) said I have stole that part of the wealth which is as per dharma. Your majesty has not protected the dharma as a King and hence we had to interfere The temple is also classified as a Navatirupathy , the nine temples revered by Nammazhwar located in the banks of Tambaraparani river.
Near Tirunelveli -Thiruchendur route at the northern banks of the holy river Tambaraparani river , there is a glorious temple of Lord Vaikuntanathar .
Lord rests on Aadhishesha facing the east holding a wonderful mace in his divine lotus hand .
In this small village few hundred years ago there was a thief ,kaladhooshakan .
He was a nice devotee of the Lord .
He used to visit the temple in the day and pray Lord for a good booty in the night .
It was a one to one conversation. He made it a practice to offer fifty percent of his loot for some service to the Lord. Though it was always petty thefts , he wished he somehow looted the royal chambers .
He ardently prayed LORD for his mission to be accomplished .He meanwhile worked with a plan to navigate the royal chambers for the d-day in…
Hanumanji traversed through the country three times. First time,from southern tip of India to central srilanka when he came in search of Sitadevi. He flew from Mahendragiri –the southern tip of India and landed on Suvela parvatham (Ramboda) after encountering Surasa at Nagadeepa(presently this is near the north-western part of Srilanka). Further, came down and killed Simhika-the rakshasi –the place now identified as Thiruketeeswaramnear Anuradhapura and then landed on Suvela parvatham (Ramboda). Encountered Lankini-the guardian rakshasa on the western side and then entered Ravana kingdom (Sigiriya-central part), searched for Sita in Mandodari palace too (now known as Sita Kotuwa), worried and prayed to HER sitting on a rock known as Manikatuther( near Ramboda), spotted AshokaVanam(Hakgala Botanical garden-a hill station in the Central highlands) ,found Jaganmatha in a distressed position under Simshukavruksham (Sita Eliya Sita amman temple), consoled her, conveyed Srirama’s message. Hanumanji conversed with Mother Sita assuming a tiny form. As he wanted to get Sitadevi’s grace , he assumed a giant form in her presence thus convincing her about his capabilities to assume any form and obtain HER cool grace on the huge form. WE can find Hanuman Footprints(huge and small) near Sita Eliya After accepting “choodamani” from her, he destroyed Ashokavanam and challenged the asuras , vanquished one-fourth of the army killing many rakshasas including 80000 kinnaras, 5 army commanders and a vast army, Jambumaali, Akshakumaran-ravana’s son,and finally voluntarily got bound by Indrajit’s brahmastram with the intention to meet and advise Ravana to return Sitadevi. As Srirama’s messenger, he enumerated Srirama’s valour citing Vali’s death and advised him to return Sitadevi else face dire consequences. The furious Ravana ordered his tail to be burnt and accordingly Hanumanji’s tail was wrapped with cotton and dipped in oil and fire was lit to his tail. Due to Sitadevi’s prayers, the fire didn’t burn him. He set the whole Lanka into flames except the Simshuka tree which sheltered Sitadevi and dipped his burning tail at the southern most part of the country known as Ussangoda which was one of the aircraft centres of Ravana. Hanuman ensured that the safety precautions like moots etc. were damaged, hiding places for the Ravana’s army for attacking enemies were destroyed, RAvana’s aircraft centres were destroyed thus curtailing his movement out of Lanka.
Srimad Ramayana, the great Indian scripture (Ithihasam) composed by Sage Valmiki, narrates the incidents in the lives of Lord Rama and Mother Sita who were the incarnations of Sriman Narayana (Perumal) and Mahalakshmi (Thayar) elaborately. This epic comprising of 24000 slokas has been divided into seven kaandams-Balakandam, Ayodhya Kaandam, Aaranya kaandam, Kishkindha kaandam, Sundara kaandam, Yuddha kaandam and Uttara kaandam.
The purpose of Lord Sriman Narayana incarnating as a human being was to annihilate RAvana- and Kumbakarna –the fierce demons who had acquired invincible powers from Brahma that they would not be killed by any God/demon etc., neglecting humans and monkeys (vanaras) as the egoistic Ravana felt that human beings and vanaras were too insignificant for him.Having thus obtained boons, RAvana became so powerful and invincible that he started tormenting the sages (rishis), misbehaved with women and killed innumerable beings and finally committed the gravest sin of…
The beautiful Sundara Kanda is the chapter of the Srimad Ramayana which speaks about the great devotee Hanuman’s selflessness, strength, and devotion to Lord Rama ..
Hanuman was fondly called Sundara by his mother Anjani and Sage Valmiki chose this name over others as this kanda deals mainly with Hanuman’jis journey to Lanka…………..
Everything in this kanda is sunder ( beautiful) .
Rama is beautiful, Sita is beautiful and the story is beautiful.
After coronation of Sugreeva as the King of Vaanaras, Lord Srirama and Lakshmana spent four months during monsoon in Maalyavan parvath in Hampi, Karnataka.
Lord Srirama experienced unbearable pain due to separation from our mother Sitadevi. The Lord was worried about Sitadevi’s welfare and used to lament uncontrollably.
At the end of monsoon, Sugreeva deputed crores of vaanaras and bears in all directions in search of Sitadevi giving them one month’s time to trace the whereabouts and inform for taking up next course of action.
Sugreeva explained geographical particulars about all the places around the world in detail .
The vanaras headed by Prince Angadha and supported by senior Jambavan and Hanuman were assigned the task of searching in the southern direction. Lord Srirama handed over HIS finger ring to Hanumanji who was standing in a corner.
Our poorvacharyars give reason as to why Srirama selected Hanuman to give his finger ring . It was the time at Kishkinda when Lord Rama was in search of Mother Sita . Hanumanji was in thoughts to see Srirama lamenting for a lady.
Hanumanji a brahmachari was wondering as to why a person of high stature like Lord Srirama tutored by rishis like Sage Vasishta, Vishwamitra was so emotional .
Lord Srirama our antaryami sensed Hanumanji’s feelings . To make Hanuman realise the greatness of Sitadevi, Srirama selected Hanuman and handed over HIS finger ring with HIS holy name engraved on it.
And it was also an indication that Paramatma laments for all the jivaatma in the same lines .
It was because of the holy ring that Hanuman could cross the ocean and meet Mother Sitadevi and obtain HER blessings. When Hanumanji saw Sitadevi’s steadfast devotion towards Lord Srirama, he regretted for his thoughts initially .
Having understood HER greatness , Hanuman visualised both of them together in his heart and offered prayers.
Hanumanjee introduced to mother Sitadevi that he was “Rama dhoothan” whereas when he returned to Lord Rama as “Sitadevi’s messenger” to convey the good news about Sitadevi’s welfare, he addressed himself as “Raama daasan”. With Mother’s grace, our ego vanishes. Our poorvacharyars comment that when Hanuman went as “rama dhootan”-, he was gifted with fire on the tail whereas when he returned as Sita dhootan, he was embraced by Lord Rama.
The vanaras who went in the southern direction explored all the places until they reached SWayamprabha caves near Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu where they lost their way.
Swayamprabha a advanced Sathwi was the guardian for the caves owned by Mayasuran. She transported the vanaras to the seashore after knowing about their devotion to Lord Rama . Having reached the seashore, the vanaras were worried because the stipulated time fixed by their King Sugreeva was over and they could not trace Sitadevi.
Angadha had lit a big pyre for them to sacrifice their lives.
He started lamenting about Sitadevi’s abduction, Jatayu sacrificing his life in Ramaseva after fighting with Ravana , their search expedition and failure in the assignment.
Sampaati-the eagle bird summoned Angadha and introduced himself as Jatayu’s elder brother , shared how he lost his wings while protecting Jatayu from the scorching heat of sun in the process loosing his wings and became immobile.
Sampaati was informed about Jatayu’s Raama kainkaryam and he too resolved to do the same. He informed the vanaras about Sitadevi’s whereabouts with his sharp vision in the far away land, Lanka. Having done this Raama kainkaryam, Sampaati regained his lost wings and flew away.
Now that the whereabouts of Sitadevi were known, the vanaras started contemplating as to who would cross the ocean which was measuring 100 yojanas (1000 miles) to meet mother Sitadevi. Each vanara expressed their ability to cross few yojanas .
Angadha said that he could cross 100 yojanas but would not have the energy to return.
The aged Jambavaan who knew Hanuman’s capabilities approached Hanuman and started enumerating his strength and skills. Due to a Sadhus curse Hanuman who had forgotten his capabilities now remembered them .
He confidently proclaimed that he would finish the yeomen task of locating mother Sitadevi saying that like Rama’s arrow which never failed to hit its target, he would accomplish the task.
All the vanaras vowed to observe fast until Sitadevi was found. Reposing confidence to the vaanaras, Hanuman stood on Mahendragiri parvatham near Thirukurungudi in Tamilnadu and after offering prayers to Suryan, Indran, Vayu, Rama , He increased in size and leapt on the sky to cross the ocean.
Thus starts Sundarakandam,-the most beautiful kaandam as everything is beautiful in it. EVery household in India has a copy of Sundarakanda . It is a normal practice in Srivaishnava wedding to present Sundarakandam to the groom as it is considered very auspicious.
Our poorvacharyars have clearly indicated that
Lord Rama is the Paramatma
MOther Sita is the Jivatma suffering in this material world for reunion with Paramatma
Lanka is the samsara(material world)
ten headed Ravana is our ten senses
Hanuman is the acharya(gurudeva) who extols Paramatma’s qualities to Jivatma, gives the holy name to Jivatma,
submits Jivatma’s plea to Paramatma,
destroys Lanka(samsaara) with the fire of knowledge
reunites Jivatma with Paramatma.
The jivatma who gets illusioned with material world leaves Paramatma and ends up in trouble loitering in the material world until an acharya intervenes and imparts supreme knowledge about the Lord, gives us the mantra to attain HIM, submits our plea to the Lord and ensures our union with the Supreme Lord by destroying our desires (samasara)
And our journey to SriLanka to have the darshan of all the holy places begun last month and an attempt is being made to reproduce the divine bliss to millions of Hari bhaktha .
Hanumanjee faced the first hurdle which was a friendly gesture by Mynaaka parvatham who was a close friend of Vayu bhagavan ( Hanumanjee’s father )
He offered fruits and asked Hanuman to take rest but Hanuman refused politely by embracing the mountain for its gesture saying that he intended to reach Lanka by evening and was lacking time.
Hanuman won Mynaakam with his friendly gesture. He didn’t succumb to any temptation.
The second hurdle came in the form of Surasa who was a Naagamaatha( mother of snakes). The devas prompted her to test Hanuman’s capabilities. Surasa obstructed Hanuman’s way saying that she wanted to swallow Hanuman to satiate her hunger.
Hanuman replied that he would fulfil her wish after completing Lord Srirama’s mission. Surasa refused.
Hanuman displayed his intelligence in tackling this hurdle. He asked Surasa to open her mouth to such an extent so that he could enter into her mouth. Hanuman started increasing his size and Surasa also widened her mouth. When Surasa had opened her mouth widely, Hanuman suddenly decreased his size,entered into her mouth and before she could close her mouth, he came out of her mouth swiftly.
Surasa was pleased with Hanuman .She blessed him assuming her true form.
Nagadeepa also known as Nayanateevu, is an island near the North-western part of Srilanka is now identified as the place where this incident took place.
There is a big temple for Naagamaatha known as Nagapooshani temple. This is also considered as one of the eighteen shakti peetams.
To reach this place, one has to drive from Jaffna for about 38 kms upto Pungudutheevu . From Pungudutheevu drive for about 15 kms on a bridge to reach jetty.
Our journey to this wonderful place is recorded in this video
Regular boat services at an interval of one hour is available to go to Nagadeepa. The fare for the boat ride is LKR 50/- and will take about 20 minutes .
It is one way-the boat stops near the buddhist monastery and the return would be pick up from Nagapooshani temple or vice-versa . Autos ply between these two places for a nominal charge of Rs.10/- LKR.
In Nagadeepa, there are two places to be visited- the first one is the Buddhist monastery as Buddha had visited this place and changed the factionist Naagas into pious people and made them follow Buddhism. Nagapooshani amman temple can be reached by auto. Devotees perform milk abhishekam to the naagas in the temple.
The third hurdle for Hanumanjee was a rakshasi named Simhika. Lying on the ocean she had the power to pull the shadow of anyone flying over her. She used her strength to deaccelerate Hanuman’jis speed by pulling his shadow.
Hanumanji realised the gravity and the unexpected hurdle .Breathing Lord Rama’s name he waited for the right opportunity. The moment she opened her mouth wide to swallow him, Hanumanjee entered into her mouth like a bee and piercing her stomach came out of her thus killing her. Simhika was in a pool of blood. Hanumanjee thus encountered the third hurdle with his strength.
This place is identified as Thiruketeeswaram on the North-western part of Srilanka (between Jaffna and Anuradhapura) about 116 kms north-west of Anuradhapura-a famous site for Buddhists.
Also, Kethu-one of the navagrahas who is Simhika’s son prayed to Shiva at this place. Hence this place is known as Thiruketeeswaram.
Mandodari’s father built this temple. Presently the Shiva temple is undergoing renovation.
Hanumanji landed on Suvela parvatham in Srilanka .
This place is now known as Ramboda.
After sunset, Hanumanji took a miniature form and was encountered by Lankini- a rakshasi when he was trying to enter into Lankapura.
Lankapura is considered as the places around Sigiriya and Kandy.
RAvana ruled from Sigiriya Fort .
Hanuman defeated Lankini and started searching for Sitadevi in all the places including the Pushpaka vimanam, palaces of RAvana’s queens, Ravana’s palace, Mandodari’s palace, kitchen etc.
He found heaps of food in the kitchen but didn’t have the slightest temptation to eat. He searched every nook and corner of Lanka but could not trace mother Sitadevi. Hanuman was worried that he had to look many ladies which was against his brahmachari vow.
But he convinced himself that if you have to search for a deer, you will have to search amongst deer. Likewise, a woman has to be searched amongst women. AS he respected all women as his mother and sister, his mind was very clear and was only focused on our Mother’s ( Thayar’s ) welfare.
After searching for the second time, Hanumanji was worried .He sat on a rock and decided to end his life as he knew that if he returned without seeing Sitadevi, he would be the cause for destruction of Ishvaku race and the vaanaras.
Hanuman however regained his determination and realized his mistake.
He understood that though he prayed to all the gods he forgot to offer prayers to Mother Sitadevi
Recollecting HER appearance as an ayonija,
He immediately prayed to Sitadevi guarded by Rama and Lakshmana to disclose her whereabouts similar to the way SHE chose to appear to King Janaka.
By the grace of Sitadevi, Hanumanji spotted Ashoka vanam- a beautiful garden which he had missed to explore.
This place where Hanuman sat and contemplated on Mother Sita is identified as MANIKATUTHER located between Ramboda and Nuwara Eliya.
It is about 20 kms from RAmboda hill and Nuwara Eliya is about 50 kms from Manikatuther.
Manikatuther is located in Labbookelle Tea Estate in Kondakalai village on a hill. WE need to take an auto to go up the hill which has a muddy path from the base.
AFter reaching a certain point, we have to trek up the hill through Labbookelle Tea Estate .
The scenic beauty is inexplicable. When we visited this place, the whole area was engulfed in fog , it was drizzling and cool breeze was soothing . Presently , there is only a small shiva linga under a tree.
Sri.Kanakaraj, a disciple of Chinmaya Mission who accompanied us informed that on a clear day, we can view both Ramboda and Nuwara Eliya.
The village is named as Kondakalai because while Ravana was forcibly taking Sitadevi to Ashoka vanam, Sitadevi’s hair got deranged.
He also informed that the food given by RAvana to Sitadevi was thrown away by HER which fell scattered in the surrounding forests. The remains became fossils known as “SITA GOOLI” have been certified by American researchers as vitaminised rice balls dating few thousands of years . These balls are considered as symbol of auspiciousness. We were fortunate to get them to be placed in our altar.
Near Manikatuther, there is a temple for Sriman Narayana seated on Garuda with Sridevi and Bhudevi. Mahavishnu is bluish in complexion . But the locals address this temple as “Rama temple”.
During Margazhi,(Dec-Jan), early morning Pooja is performed and bhajans are conducted in the nights during the whole month. Few rare beautiful pics from Ramayanam are hung on the walls inside the temple.
When Hanumanji entered Ashoka Vanam (presently known as Hakgala Botanical Gardens in Nuwara Eliya), the flowers blossomed , birds chirped and the weather was very pleasant. Some flowers dropped on Hanuman’s body which added to his beauty.
Hanuman jumped from one tree to the other in search of Sitadevi. Finally, he found a sobbing lady under a tree and looking at her appearance, the colour of her sari and the jewels which were hanging from the tree, Hanuman guessed that it was Sitadevi. His joy knew no bounds.
He was contemplating as to how he has to pick up a conversation with her. Meanwhile, RAvana arrived and started persuading Sitadevi. When Sitadevi rebuked him, he became so wild that he wanted to strangle her but was stopped by his wife Daanyamaalini.
Mother Sita underwent all these troubles for our upliftment.!
He left after warning her that she would be killed and served as breakfast at the end of two months in case she doesn’t concede to his request.
The rakshasis who were threatening her were chastised by Trijata-Vibhishana’s daughter who disclosed the dream she had.
She dreamt about Rama’s victory, Sitadevi’s reunion with Srirama, Ravana’s death, anhilation of rakshasa clan, Vibhishana’s coronation and advised the rakshasis to stop torturing Sitadevi as SHE alone could protect them from SRirama’s wrath.
The rakshasis stopped harassing and slept. Sitadevi who was totally devastated, decided to end her life by hanging HERSELF from Simshuka tree with her hair.
Hanumanji who was sitting on the Simshuka tree became worried at HER approach. To save HER from this disaster, Hanuman softly sang Srirama’s story starting from HIS appearance,wedding, banishment , Ravana’s foul play in kidnapping Sitadevi, Jatayu’s death, Sugreeva’s friendship, their search operation etc. When Sitadevi got convinced that he was Rama’s messenger, Hanuman presented the holy ring given by Srirama to her and pacified HER that SRirama would kill Ravana ,resuce HER and return to Ayodhya to rule the world.
Thus , the entire Ramayana was sung by Hanuman. This place is known famously known as “SITA ELIYA-SITA AMMAN TEMPLE” located about 4 kms from Nuwara Eliya on a lower altitude. Nuwara Eliya,also known as “Little England” located in the Central highlands of Srilanka is one of the coldest regions in Srilanka .
The thought that Sitadevi sitting under the tree in the cool Ashoka gardens without any protection against the harsh weather conditions made us feel depressed.
Hanuman convinced Sitadevi that Srirama would come at the earliest and rescue HER. Unable to tolerate Sitadevi’s distress, Hanumanji offered to carry HER on his shoulders and unite HER with Srirama.
He expanded his form to convince about his capabilities. So, we can see two sets of footprints in Sita Amman temple-one small and the other one huge . Sitadevi shared few incidents with Hanuman to be conveyed to Srirama so that HE would believe Hanuman and also gave HER choodamani to be handed over to Srirama.
After taking Sitadevi’s blessings, Hanuman decided to meet Ravana and convey Rama’s message. So, he uprooted the trees in Ashoka vanam . He defeated the rakshasas who came to fight, destroyed one-fourth of Ravana’s army including 80000 kinnaras, five army chiefs, Ravana’s son-Akshakumara and finally voluntarily got bound by Indrajit’s brahmastra as Hanuman wanted an audience with Ravana.
All these incidents took place at Hakgala Botanical Gardens.
Hanuman was taken to RAvana’s assembly in Sigiriya Fort. Hanuman introduced himself as Sugreeva’s minister and Srirama’s messenger , informed the killing of Vali who had humbled RAvana earlier , advised Ravana to return Sitadevi and save his clan from Srirama’s wrath.
Ravana ordered Hanuman to be killed but was intercepted by Vibhishana who said that a messenger should not be killed but could be punished.
Ravana ordered that Hanuman’s tail be burnt. Hanuman’s tail was wound with cloth dipped in oil and fire was lit. When Sitadevi learnt about this, having faith in HER CHASTITY, SHE prayed to Agnideva to protect Hanuman from burning.
Hanuman realised that though his tail was burning, he didn’t feel any burning sensation or pain. Hanuman wanted to express his gratitude to firegod by offering the tall mansions to agni. Hanuman freed himself from rakshasas’ clutches and jumping from one building to the other including RAvana’s palace and assembly , he lit fire in all the places.
AS Lankapura was furnished with gold, the fire spread immediately . Fire spread within no time to Ravana’s assembly on Sigiriya fort due to the strong winds that blow there.
Hanuman burnt the whole Lanka including Ravana’s airports at WEragantota , Ussangoda (the southern tip of Lanka). Hanuman cooled his burning tail in the waters near Ussangoda.
The sand in Ussangoda is red in colour. Usually red sand would be wet whereas here it is as hard as rock. No vegetation grows here. This is a protected site. It is advisable to visit this place in daytime .
Ussangoda near Hambantota, 83 kms east of Galle, is a sea coast on the southern part of Srilanka.
RED SAND AT USSANGODA
Hanuman became worried about Sitadevi’s welfare as the entire Lanka was burning. But he heard from celestial beings about Sitadevi’s safety and Vibhishana’s house not burnt. The pleased Hanuman returned to Ashoka vanam and after personally seeing Sitadevi assured her about Rama’s arrival and returned to Kishkinda after taking Mother Sita’s blessings.
Hanuman returned to the vanara camp and shared with them Sitadevi’s welfare. He informed them in detail about his entire journey. They started the return journey to Kishkinda to inform the good news to SRiraram, Enroute stopped for a while at Madhuban near Hampi to satisfy their hunger. While all the vanaras were satiating their hunger by drinking honey and eating fruits, Our Hanuman was engrossed in Rama kirtana which was his food.
Hanuman and other vanaras headed by Angadha returned to Maalyavan parvath and informed about Sitadevi’s welfare and presented the choodamani to Srirama. A beautiful temple for the Lordships at the place where this incident took place can be seen in Hampi. Srirama praised Hanuman and embraced him for completing the mission thus emphasising that HE COULD BE ATTAINED ONLY WITH HANUMAN’S GRACE.
Our poorvacharyas say that when Hanuman submittd to Srirama without Sitadevi, his tail got burnt but when he got Sitadevi’s blessings, he was blessed with Rama’s hug.
This emphasizes Thayar’s intervention as PUrushakaaram in our Srivaishnava sampradayam. Thus ends Sundarakandam.
Pics credits : Few from Social media
The Yudhakanda post to follow which will cover all the places in Srilanka
Srimad Ramayana sites in Srilanka can be classified as
Places where Lord Rama purified Sri Lanka located in the Northern,North-Western and Central Srilanka-namely, Thalaimannar ,Ramasethu, Nilavarai Bottomless well , Ramboda, Rattota, Dunvuila, Divurumpola
Places where Mother Sita was held captive . Seetha Kotuwa, Sita Eliya, Divurumpola and RAvana Caves .
Places visited by Hanumanji -almost the whole of Lanka especially Sigiriya, Ramboda, Manikatuther, Hakgala Botanical gardens, Sita Eliya, Ussangoda, sanjeevini drops at Rumasalla, Ritigala, Thalladi, Kacchiteevu, Dolukonda.
Lord Srirama along with Sitadevi and Lakshmana were living in the paransaala (hermitage) constructed by Lakshmana in Panchavati near Nasik.
As the hermitage was surrounded by five banyan trees, it is known as Panchavati about 12 kms from Nashik. The demon Ravana deceitfully kidnapped Mother Sita in the absence of Lord Rama and Lakshmana at the end of thirteenth year of exile and flew towards Lanka in Pushpaka Vimanam.
Jatayu-the eagle bird fought valiantly with the demon RAvana sacrificing his life for Lord Rama and attained salvation. This place is known as Taket located about 60 kms from Nashik.
Jaganmatha Sita became inconsolable over the death of the aged Jatayu whom Srirama addressed as “FATHER” . When the pushpaka vimana was flying over Kishkinda , Sitadevi bundled her jewels and dropped it in the midst 5 vanaras at Kishkinda (Hampi) which is located in Karnataka . These jewels were presented to Srirama by the vanara Sugreeva while Lord was searching for Sitadevi.
Our poorvacharyas expressed in their teachings that Mother Sita an incarnation of Mahalakshmi Thayar could not be kidnapped by an insignificant asura named RAvana. Ravana after acquiring invincible powers by performing severe tapas was tormenting the whole universe. Puffed with arrogance , pride and lust he had kidnapped and imprisoned many celestial girls. To free the innocent girls from the clutches of the cruel RAvana , the divine mother Sita allowed RAvana to kidnap HER so that SHE could free all of them from Ravana’s captive .
This act of Mahalakshmi can be compared to a parent’s attempt whose child had fallen into the river. Instead of standing at the shore and lamenting, the parent would immediately dive into the river to rescue the child. The parent and child are related only in this life whereas we Jivatmas have relationship with Paramatma from time immemorial.
From the day we took this human body due to our desires , Paramatma anxious and worried makes all attempts in seeing that we recognize our original nature and initiates all plans to make us understand our true identity .
HE sends Acharyar for our upliftment. Lord Sri Rama the Paramatma sent Hanumanji -the acharyar who glorified Paramatma and gave the holy name (ring ) to Sitadevi.
As Srirama had pledged to annihilate the entire asura clan, Mother Sita out of compassion wanted to save RAvana by advising him . Such was Mother’s compassion. Whenever Sitadevi encountered RAvana, SHE advised him to extend friendship gesture as both of them were kings and Lord would be pleased to accept Ravana as his friend even though he had committed the gravest sin of separating HER from the Lord. She enumerated Lord Srirama’s qualities and advised him to surrender and thus protect his wealth and clan.
Our acharyar’s ancestor- Sri Mudaliandan swamy also glorified as “Dasarathy” who is considered as the reincarnation of Lord Rama HIMSELF ,and the foremost disciple of Swamy RAmanujar used to compare our lives with Srimad Ramayana ….
Sita is the suffering Jivatma,
Lanka surrounded by sea on all sides can be compared to our body entangled in this samsara saagaram,
RAvana is the mind,
the ten heads of Ravana can be compared to the ten senses ,
Lord Rama is the Paramatma..
Hanumanjee is the Acharya who unites Jivatma and Paramatma by conveying Paramatma’s intentions to Jivatma and doing samasrayanam. Acharya conveys our plea to Paramatma and ensures that the Jivatma rejoins Paramatma.
In Lankapura, RAvana’s palace along with many palaces for his many queens made of pure gold once stood here majestically until Hanumanjee burnt it down.
Mother Sitadevi was first brought to Mandodari Palace after alighting from Pushpaka Vimanam at Weragantota.
Sitadevi resolved not to drink even water in Ravana’s palace until she was rescued by Lord Srirama.
RAvana alighted from Pushpaka vimana at Weragantota near Mandodari’s palace in Lanka now known as “Seetha Kotuwa” meaning Sita’s Fort and house arrested mother sita.
Seetha Kotuwa in SriLanka is about 10 kms from Weragantota located 70 kms east of Kandy near Mahiyangana-( a famous Buddhist site and would take about 1hr 45 minutes to reach).
Weragantota was the runway for Ravana’s aircraft popularly known as “Pushpaka Vimanam”
The devas prompted Indra to offer payasam to Sitadevi for HER sustenance as it was very important for Ravana’s defeat and for the welfare of the world . Only if Sitadevi was alive, Lord Rama would come to Lanka and kill RAvana. So , Indra submitted their plea to Sitadevi requesting to have the heavenly food . After making offering to Lord Rama , Sitadevi just took a morsel of it .
It may be noted that Sitadevi discarded the food given by RAvana which was scattered around the hilly regions . These morsels known as “SITA GOOLI” can be traced in the forests even now to the lucky ones around Ramboda in Kandy district.
We were fortunate to get SITA GOOLI we visited Manikatuther.
The archeological site is maintained by Srilankan Government. They have guest house facility and a restaurant . From this office , one needs to walk downwards in the terrains to approach this place.The thick vegetation and forest like atmosphere with wild shrubs on either sides makes one wonder how tough it was for mother facing this demon .
Due to rains, the path we walked was bit slippery. At some places, some small rocks have been placed to easily step down. Though the distance from the archeological office to the actual site is only 800 metres, it would take roughly one hour to and fro to traverse the area. We were accompanied by a guide from the archeological department. Our cab driver and guide helped us in all ways. There is no temple. Only 2 platforms on either sides which are marked as the place occupied by Mother Sita can be seen . On the other side ,we can find steep steps going further down which must have been used by the residents to reach other palaces!!
Fearing Lord Rama’s reaction , RAvana escalated the security and sent spies to Dhandakaranyam to inform him about Srirama’s moves. He persuaded Mother Sita to fulfill his wish.
As Sitadevi was reluctant, the egoistic Ravana who had the habit of always boasting about his achievements and wealth wanted to win Sitadevi by showing the wealth and beauty of his kingdom.
He relocated her from Seetha Kotuwa to Ashoka vanam on his chariot. Sitadevi was crying inconsolably while being taken in the chariot. This route taken by RAvana is now known as Chariot Path . Presently this place is located between RAmboda and Nuwara Eliya.
At the junction near Blue Field Tea Factory, we have to take an auto and drive for about 10 kms and then start trekking the hilly are for about 10 kms to reach Chariot Path. There is no vegetation in this path . We have short trees on either sides. There is a small pond known as “sita Tear Pond”. As the name implies, Sita’s tears got collected in this pond and this never dries up even during famine as per locals .
Sita Flowers in the form of Rama’s bow grow only in this place. It would take one full day to visit this place.
Mother was relocated to Ashoka vanam now known as Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Hanumanjee met mother sita under Simshuka tree now known as Sita Eliya after crossing the ocean while winning the rakshasas
Ashoka vanam was a pleasure garden on a hill station . RAvana thought that Sitadevi who was used to live in forests would feel pleased being in Ashoka vanam . As RAvana had a curse that he could not touch any woman without her consent, he was very careful in approaching Sitadevi. Due to his tamasic nature ,he used to think Lord Srirama as an inferior person who was exiled and hence tried to allure mother Sitadevi with all the worldly comforts and riches.
Mother Sitadevi considered RAvana and his wealth as mere grass and chastised Ravana for his action. Angered by mothers words , He ordered the rakshasis who were guarding her to convince her in succumbing to his wishes or else die in their hands.
In Srimad Ramayanam, it is mentioned that RAvana gave one year time to Sitadevi to succumb to his wishes. But our poorvacharyas opine that it was the other way as Mother Sitadevi extended his life span by one year with the hope that he would change for the better and patiently bore all the afflictions on HER. Such is the compassion of Mother Sita.
In Valmiki Ramayanam, it is mentioned that RAvana moved Sitadevi from Mandodari’s palace to Ashoka vanam where 700 rakshasis were deputed to take care of her. It doesn’t mention about Sitadevi staying in some other place .
But in Srilanka, few places like RAvana caves, Istreepura etc. have been identified as places where Sitadevi used to be re located by Ravana . As per the locals , after Hanumanjis adventure and attack, Ravana ensured that Sitadevi was shifted from Ashokavanam to various other places so that HER whereabouts were not known to anyone.
Presently, Hakgala Botanical Gardensin Nuwara Eliya is identified as Ashoka Vanam.
The Simshuka tree under which Hanuman happened to meet Sitadevi, converse with HER is known as Sita Eliya.
This is about 4 kms down the hill from Nuwara Eliya. There is a beautiful temple known as “SITA AMMAN TEMPLE” which houses 2 sets of Sita,Rama,Lakshmana and Hanuman idols.
In and around the temple precints we can find the altars, Sita stream, Hanuman’s foot prints and the rock on which Sitadevi used to contemplate on Sriram.
Nuwara Eliya being a hill station is a very cool place and it rains almost every day.
We can find many vanaras at this place minding their own business and not troubling the devotees. We felt that the lucky vanaras continue to relish the divine pastimes of Hanumanji here .
The temple administration provides a carved picture of Sita Rama Lakshmana and Hanuman in gold plated frames for LKR 2000 (INR 1000). Devotees place these in the altar and take it to their homes as remembrance.
The temple priest informed that one set of deities in the temple was installed by the devotees for which regular worship is being done. ON the right side of this sannidhi , we can find another set of Lord Sita,Ramar deities along with Lakshmana and Hanuman.
These deities reappeared in the nearby stream known as “SITA STREAM” two hundred years back. The deities of Lord Rama and Sita are almost of the same size whereas Lakshmana is smaller.
SITA STREAM AND HANUMAN FOOT PRINTS
As per Srirama’s orders, Sitadevi had purificatory bath in the nearby stream which is right behind the altar. Also, when Sitadevi heard about the punishment vented on Hanumanjee by the demon Ravana , she purified HERSELF with the water from the stream and invoked Agni by saying that if she was chaste, the fire lit on Hanumanji’s tail should not harm him. So, this stream is considered very sacred .
Next to the stream, we can find a small rock where a sculpted figure of Sitadevi sitting under Simshuka vruksham is seen accepting Srirama’s ring from Hanuman . Hanuman is greenish in colour and Sitadevi is of golden complexion. In front of this, we can find two foot prints of Hanumanji- one is very small and the other one very big. As Hanuman introduced himself to Sitadevi in a miniature form and later convinced her about his capabilities by taking a huge form, we can find here the two different footprints of Hanuman. The rain water gets collected in these footprints.
IN Balakandam, it is mentioned that Sitadevi was such a delicate personality that even if someone stared at her for few minutes, her complexion would become reddish. She was so tender. The thought that such a tender princess who was affectionately brought up by King Janaka and taken care by Dasaratha Chakravarthy and Lord Srirama had to withstand the harsh weather conditions along with the pungent words of the demon RAvana is heart piercing.
During the war between Lord RAma and RAvana, Ravana had cast a Nagastram which made SRirama and Lakshmana unconscious. RAvana who thought that he had killed SRirama, summoned the rakshasis in Ashoka vanam to take Sitadevi to the battlefield on Pushpaka vimanam and show Srirama to Sitadevi. The cruel minded RAvana thought that if he produced an evidence that Srirama was killed, Sitadevi would succumb to his wishes. RAvana’s cruel selfish nature can be assessed by this. He was not bothered about Sitadevi’s plight. Sitadevi was totally shattered when SHE saw Srirama lying on the battlefield. SHE cried inconsolably until Vibhishana’s wife consoled HER pointing to Srirama’s face which was lively adding that only a sumangali can get into Pushpaka vimanam. in another instance, she advised Sitadevi to offer prayers to SunGod who was their kula deivam. It may be noted that AGastya rishi advised Srirama to invoke Sun God and taught him “ADITYA HRUDAYAM”.
Mother Sita had all the powers to protect HERSELF and curse Ravana. But the only reason that SHE had surrendered to Srirama and it was HIS duty to protect HER, she endured everything silently .Hanumanjee lamented when he saw Sitadevi in the most pitiable condition –having become lean due to lack of food and wearing soiled clothes (he recognised it because Sitadevi had torn a piece of her sari and bundled the jewels in it before throwing.
The place where Sitadevi underwent the ordeal of proving HER chastity to the world is located about 15 kms from Sita Eliya on the way to Ella.
After winning the battle, Lord Srirama advised brother Lakshmana to coronate Vibhishana .
Srirama ordered Vibhishana to inform Sitadevi about his arrival . Accordingly, King Vibhishana submitted Lord Rama’s wish to Sitadevi for which she replied that she was anxiously waiting to see HER Lord immediately without wasting time. Mother Sita devi after having a purificatory bath , adorning new clothes and jewels was taken in a palanquin. As the assembled vanaras wanted to have darshan of Sitadevi for whom they had defeated the asuras , our compassionate mother got down from the palanquin and walked amidst the vanaras so that HER cool grace fell on them. Lord Rama was pleased with the gesture .
Lord Rama as people’s representative , being an emperor it was HIS duty to establish dharma and not set a bad example to the subjects as she was in enemy’s place for a year for no fault . Though the Lord was the Emperor of the entire land, He considered HIMSELF to be “people’s representative” and acted accordingly.
Sitadevi ordered Lakshmana to lit a pyre as she decided to end her life for the happenings . As the fire was lit, Mother Sitadevi offered obeisances to Fire God-Agni bhagavan and always meditating on Lord Rama, walked on the pyre. The moment Sitadevi walked into fire, all the 33 crore devas appeared on the scene along with Agnideva and offered their obeisances to the divine Lordships.
King DAsaratha also appeared and thanked Srirama for fulfilling his vanavasa wish. Dasaratha requested Sitadevi to forgive Srirama for HIS act and asked Rama to seek any boon. Srirama requested that Dasaratha should accept back Kaikeyi and Bharata.
When Indra bestowed a boon, Srirama requested that all the vanaras who lost their lives in the war should be alive. After granting Rama’s wishes, DAsaratha and all the devas disappeared from the place. All these incidents took place at Divurumpola.
Our acharyas have commented on this incident that Agni-the firegod wanted to purify himself as Ravana had polluted agni by offering flesh and other abominable things. Agnideva wanted to get purified with Sitadevi’s contact and hence this incident took place. Agnideva who was controlled by Ravana didn’t have the guts to burn Lanka. It was Sitadevi’s chastity which was used as fire for burning Lanka.
Sitadevi’s life incident can be compared to prapannas. The jivatma who is loitering in the material world gets to know about Paramatma through Acharya who glorifies the Paramatma and gets samasrayanam done for Jivatma.
The Acharya submits the Jivatma’s plea for reunion with Paramatma .
For having a darshan entrance fee is charged. There is a Buddhist pagoda at this place. WE can find 28 buddha statues which is of significance. The caretaker showed us paintings from RamayAna.
A small shrine for Sita,Rama,Lakshmana brought from India by a great Sri Rama bhaktha is beside the Hanuman statue.
A diety of a confident Sitadevi measuring about 7 feet entering into flames is kept in the room and a painting of Rama,Lakshmana,Vibhishana, Hanuman and all the assembled vanaras lamenting over this ordeal will definitely make a person cry.
At the actual place of Agnipariksha which is behind the shrine, a Bodhi tree (Banyan tree) from Gaya has been planted here.
Devotees do parikrama around this with reverence. We can also find a small Ashoka tree planted in the temple premises.
RAVANA CAVES:- Ravana cave is located in Ella between Nuwara Eliya and Kataragama. It is about 60 kms from Nuwara Eliya and about 90 kms before Kataragama.
It takes about one hour to reach the caves on top of a hillock ascending through steep narrow steps. There are three caves which have been identified as Sitadevi’s captivity.
Istreepura is a tunnel network that connects to several places and we didn’t visit this place due to lack of time.
Shall be updating about the places Lord Rama and Hanumanjee purified Sri lanka .
Azhwars often express their love as a mother OR of a daughter OR a lover meaning their own Souls longing for union with the Supreme Lord . Most of his 473 verses in Divya Prabandham, collectively known as “Periazhwar Tirumozhi” speak of the early years of Krishna. Azhwar became the father- in- law of Lord Narayana when his daughter Andal marries the Lord. – – an honor none else could claim.
Amongst the 12 Azhwars , Vishnuchittar was glorified as ” Peria Azhwar” .
Our poorvacharyars comment that though he appeared after Mudal azhwar, Nammazhwar, Thirumazhisai Azhwar, he was honoured with the title “Peria Azhwar because while all other azhwars glorified Lord as Supreme Personality, Azhwar had “pongum parivu”( vatsalyabhava).
Swamy Manavala Mamunigal in ” Upadesa Ratnamala ” says “Pongum parivaale petraan Periazhwar ennum peyar” meaning that because of the vatsalya bhaavam like a mother towards the Lord, he was conferred with this title. Periyazhwar was overwhelmed to have darshanam of the Lord after winning the debate called by the Pandyan King at Madurai few hundred years back .
Having darshan of Lord Koodal Azhagar Perumal , along with the Goddess who had come to witness the marathon procession honours done by the King to the Azhwar , on Garuda Vahanam , Periyazhwar was worried…
Srimad Ramayana, the great Indian scripture (Ithihasam) composed by Sage Valmiki, narrates the incidents in the lives of Lord Rama and Mother Sita who were the incarnations of Sriman Narayana (Perumal) and Mahalakshmi (Thayar) elaborately. This epic comprising of 24000 slokas has been divided into seven kaandams-Balakandam, Ayodhya Kaandam, Aaranya kaandam, Kishkindha kaandam, Sundara kaandam, Yuddha kaandam and Uttara kaandam.
The purpose of Lord Sriman Narayana incarnating as a human being was to annihilate RAvana- and Kumbakarna –the fierce demons who had acquired invincible powers from Brahma that they would not be killed by any God/demon etc., neglecting humans and monkeys (vanaras) as the egoistic Ravana felt that human beings and vanaras were too insignificant for him.
Having thus obtained boons, RAvana became so powerful and invincible that he started tormenting the sages (rishis), misbehaved with women and killed innumerable beings and finally committed the gravest sin of abducting Mother Sita, the personification of chastity.
RAvana recollects all the misdeeds he committed in Yuddha kandam but doesn’t repent for his deeds. The demigods (devas) appeared as monkeys (vanaras) in large numbers to assist the Lord in this great mission..
To quickly recap Ramayana, Lord Sriman Narayana appeared as the eldest son of King Dasaratha in Ishvaaku dynasty in Surya kulam along with Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatruguna .
Mahavishnu appeared as Lord Rama, Adisesha as Lakshmana,panchajanyam(Vishnu’s conch) as Bharata, and Sudarshana Chakram as Shatruguna. Protected Vishwamitra’s yaga and married Sitadevi-an ayonija, an incarnation of Mahalakshmi –the foster daughter of King Janaka who appeared from the bowels of earth in Chandra vamsam. Srirama was 12 years old and Sitadevi was 6 years old at the time of wedding.
They spent 12 years happily in Ayodhya until Srirama left for forest to spend 14 years in exile to keep up HIS father’s word. Lakshmana and Sitadevi accompanied Srirama. After pacifying and assuring Bharata HIS return after 14 years and giving HIS padhukas to Bharata to rule as HIS representative, Lord moved out of Chitrakoot and went into Dhandakaranya forest. Lord Rama promised the rishis in Dhandakaranyam that he would kill the asuras and resolved to kill Ravana who was terrorising the entire Universe. Surpanaka-Ravana’s sister who was captivated by Rama’s beauty was disfigured by Lakshmana when she tried to harm Sitadevi .
Srirama single handedly killed 14000 rakshasas including Kara,Dooshana who came to fight Srirama. The humiliated Surpanaka influenced Ravana by describing about them emphasising more on Sitadevi’s beauty kindling lustful desire saying that she was fit for Ravana. Having heard about Rama’s valour, RAvana deceitfully planned to abduct Sitadevi in Rama’s absence and with the help of Mareecha who was disguised as golden deer separated Rama and Lakshmana from Sitadevi thus paving way for the shameful ghastly deed. RAvana disguised as sanyasi approached Sitadevi for alms and enquired about her presence in the forest. Sitadevi replied to him enumerating all the incidents adding that they have completed 13 years and were undergoing the last year of vanavaasam after which they would return to Ayodhya.
When she queried about him, Ravana revealed his true form ,boasted about his achievements and expressed his desire of making her as his queen. When Sitadevi rebuked him, he got angry and abducted her in Pushpaka vimanam and proceeded southwards towards his country, Lanka
(Our poorvacharyars opine that Mother Sita underwent all these troubles for our sake as SHE being Jaganmatha wanted to protect Ravana. Whenever Mother Sita encountered RAvana, SHE chastised him for his ghastly act, advised him to return HER back and not get punished. She enumerated Srirama’s qualities and advised him to surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord. That is Jaganmatha’s compassion. Though she could protect HERSELF, she waited patiently for Srirama’s arrival as SHE had surrendered to HIM.)
Jatayu –the eagle bird fought valiantly to rescue Sitadevi from his clutches and in the battle that pursued, he sacrificed his life after informing Rama about Sitadevi’s abduction. Srirama performed last rites to the eagle-the privilege which even his own father Dasaratha didn’t get. Later, after killing Kabandhan and granting moksha to Sabari, Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman and Sugreeva who presented the jewels thrown by a distraught lady while travelling on an aerial car southwards. Lord Rama recognized Sitadevi’s jewels and became inconsolable. Rama accepted Sugreeva as his friend, killed Vali and made Sugreeva the vanara king.
In turn, Sugreeva deputed the entire vanara army to search for Sita throughout the universe giving them 2 months’ time. The vanaras headed by Angadha, supported by Hanuman and Jambavan went southwards until they reached the ocean. Unable to trace Sitadevi, the distressed vanaras decided to end up their lives by jumping into fire. Sampaathi- the eagle bird who was in an immovable condition heard Angadha lamenting about Sitadevi’s abduction , Jatayu’s death and their unsuccessful attempt in tracing her and being unable to face their king , decided to end up their lives. Sampaathi with his sharp eyesight spotted Sitadevi in Lanka and informed them that she was in Lanka but was unable to mention the correct location.Having helped in Rama kainkaryam, Sampaathi got its wings and flew away. All the vanaras became joyful and started contemplating as to who would go to Lanka. Each vanara expressed his capability to cross the ocean while Hanuman sat silently. The aged Jambavan approached Hanuman-Vayus’ son , praised him about his capabilities and strength and influenced Hanuman to take up the yeomen task of finding Sitadevi. Hanuman had a curse because of which he would know his capabilities only when he is reminded of.
Thus starts Sundarakandam-the most beautiful heart rendering acts of Hanuman who saved Sita Devi and Rama’s lives . In Srivaishnava sampradayam,Lord Hanuman is depicted as Acharya who goes in search of Jivatma-Mother Sita, gives her the holy ring containing the Lord’s name (samasrayanam) , consoles the Jivatma , advises the mind which is the controller of senses to surrender to Lord, burns Lanka which is considered as the human body and cause for all troubles , submits the Jivatma’s plea to Paramatma(Sri Rama) and ensures unification of Jivatma with Paramathma.
It is normal practice in Srivaishnava wedding to present a copy of Sundarakandam to the bridegroom as the mere presence in the house would bring all auspiciousness and the couple would live happily. Reading Sundarakandam is considered as reading the entire Ramayanam because (1) Hanuman narrates to Sitadevi by singing the praise of Srirama. He describes in detail Lord’s appearance, HIS marriage, happy life in Ayodhya, exile, killing of rakshasas in Dhandakaranyam, Ravana’s foul play, Sugreeva’s friendship, search for Sitadevi. When Sitadevi queried about their friendship, Hanuman submits that because of HER anugraham by throwing HER jewels, Rama trusted them and entered into friendship with Sugriva. He further informed about Vali’s death, Jatayu’s death, search expedition undertaken by them. For consoling HER, Hanuman assured HER that Rama would kill Ravana, rescue HER, would go back to Ayodhya and rule over the entire world. Thus, all the incidents pertaining to Ramayana are covered in Sundarakandam.
Sundarakandam is of the shortest tenure but the most important incidents took place. Hanuman is the main character. Starting from his flight from Mahendragiri, his encounters with Mynaaka parvatham , Surasa,Simhika, Lankini, search for Sitadevi, rescuing Sitadevi by singing Lord Rama’s praise when she attempted to commit suicide, updating her with the developments in HER absence, assuring her of Lord Rama’s arrival to rescue HER, handing over the ring given by Lord Rama , accepting Choodamani to be handed over to Srirama as identification, destroying Ravana’s one-fourth army, representing as Rama’s messenger, He advised RAvana to return Mother Sita or face dire consequences and finally burning Lanka with the fire lit on his tail by Ravana, and after ensuring Mother Sita’s safety returns to Lord Rama to convey the good news about Mother Sita’s welfare and Lord Rama embracing Hanuman as a token of gratitude. All these incidents except meeting Lord Rama took place in and around Srilanka and these places have been identified which is mentioned in the later part of the post.
Likewise, most of the incidents mentioned in Yuddha kaandam except Rama’s return to Ayodhya via Kishkinda, Bharadwaja ashram, Nandigramam took place in Srilanka. Most of the places have been identified and an attempt was made by Divyadampathigal’s grace to visit the Ramayana sites in Srilanka.
In Srilanka, Buddhism is widely followed and we can find stupas in almost all the places. Likewise there are many temples for Murugan and Shiva and these places are identified with Ramayanam. People of this beautiful country respect all religions. There are few places identified with Ramayana but which does not bear any reference in Valmiki Ramayana. Few incidents not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayanam which is considered as the “moolam-source” are identified with these places. To mention a few, Muneeswaram,Manawari, Koneswaram,Sanjeevini drops which fell at 5 places, Ravana caves , Istreepura are not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayanam.
The Ramayanam sites in Srilanka can be classified as
Holy places associated with Mother Sita –Weragantota,Sitakotuwa,Ashokavanam,SitaEliya, Divurumpola, Sitawaka.
(All these locations can be found near Central Srilanka and NuwaraEliya-the hill station towards south ).
Holy Places visited by Lord Rama from north-west- . Lord started from Thirupullani near Rameswaram on the south-western part of India, built the Ramsethu bridge from Pamban island to Thalaimannar near Mannar located on the north-western part of Srilanka..Other places are : Nilavarai near Jaffna, place near Keerimalai Varadarajar temple, Ramboda,Dunuvila, Rattota (all these are located around Kandy)Divurumpola , Muneeswaram, Manawari. Lord entered Srilanka from the north-western part moved along the west coast and finally reached the central highlands around Kandy .These places are located around Kandy and one has to drive through hilly roads
Holy places visited by Hanumanji :- Hanumanji traversed through the country three times. First time,from southern tip of India to central srilanka when he came in search of Sitadevi. He flew from Mahendragiri –the southern tip of India and landed on Suvela parvatham (Ramboda) after encountering Surasa at Nagadeepa(presently this is near the north-western part of Srilanka). Further, came down and killed Simhika-the rakshasi –the place now identified as Thiruketeeswaramnear Anuradhapura and then landed on Suvela parvatham (Ramboda). Encountered Lankini-the guardian rakshasa on the western side and then entered Ravana kingdom (Sigiriya-central part), searched for Sita in Mandodari palace too (now known as Sita Kotuwa), worried and prayed to HER sitting on a rock known as Manikatuther( near Ramboda), spotted AshokaVanam(Hakgala Botanical garden-a hill station in the Central highlands) ,found Jaganmatha in a distressed position under Simshukavruksham (Sita Eliya Sita amman temple), consoled her, conveyed Srirama’s message. Hanumanji conversed with Mother Sita assuming a tiny form. As he wanted to get Sitadevi’s grace , he assumed a giant form in her presence thus convincing her about his capabilities to assume any form and obtain HER cool grace on the huge form. WE can find Hanuman Footprints(huge and small) near Sita Eliya After accepting “choodamani” from her, he destroyed Ashokavanam and challenged the asuras , vanquished one-fourth of the army killing many rakshasas including 80000 kinnaras, 5 army commanders and a vast army, Jambumaali, Akshakumaran-ravana’s son,and finally voluntarily got bound by Indrajit’s brahmastram with the intention to meet and advise Ravana to return Sitadevi. As Srirama’s messenger, he enumerated Srirama’s valour citing Vali’s death and advised him to return Sitadevi else face dire consequences. The furious Ravana ordered his tail to be burnt and accordingly Hanumanji’s tail was wrapped with cotton and dipped in oil and fire was lit to his tail. Due to Sitadevi’s prayers, the fire didn’t burn him. He set the whole Lanka into flames except the Simshuka tree which sheltered Sitadevi and dipped his burning tail at the southern most part of the country known as Ussangoda which was one of the aircraft centres of Ravana. Hanuman ensured that the safety precautions like moots etc. were damaged, hiding places for the Ravana’s army for attacking enemies were destroyed, RAvana’s aircraft centres were destroyed thus curtailing his movement out of Lanka.
During his second visit to Lanka, Hanumanji was part of Rama’s army. Hanuman carried Rama on his shoulders while crossing the ocean and also during the war. Likewise, Angadha carried Lakshmana on his shoulders while crossing the sea.
Hanumanji played a vital role in the war that ensued between Rama and RAvana. Hanuman traversed through Lanka for the third time when he flew twice to fetch Mruthasanjeevini herbs to revive Lakshmana and Rama. AT that time he must have flown from the north and reached Himalayasenroute stopping at the Himalayan ranges near the present KuluManali in Himachal Pradesh which is slightly located on the north-eastern part of Ayodhya. He was advised by a rishi meditating there that sanjeeviniparvath which lies between Mount Kailash and Mount Rishaba was far away from that place and requested Hanuman to accept his services. As Hanuman was running short of time, he explained the situation to the rishi assuring him to visit again. Hanumanji later appeared as a small swayambhu idol to the rishi meditating on the hill near Kullu. This incident is displayed in the famous Hanuman temple in Kullu. A huge statue of Hanuman greets the visitors.
Dronagiriparvath-another mountain range in the northern India volunteered to do Rama kainkaryam. Hanuman pleased with the mountain’s gesture blessed it saying that it would get rewarded by the Lord Himself in future.(This hill is the famous Goverdhanagiri parvath located near Vrindavan and Lord Krishna blessed it by placing it on his little finger for seven days and blessed that the Lord and Goverdhan were synonymous. Goverdhanagiri is very close to Lord Krishna’s heart.!! We considered ourselves very fortunate to carry a part of Goverdhan being worshipped as “Giriraj” in our altar to Srilanka. )
While returning to Lanka carrying the Sanjeeviniparvath, as it was getting late, Hanuman flew through Ayodhya, Nandigramam(there is a shrine in Nandigramam for Hanuman known as “Lagey Hanuman” as he got injured by Bharata’s arrow. Due to lack of time, Hanuman didn’t retaliate at Bharata and proceeded southwards ), crossing over Arakonda near Chittoor and reached Lanka as he had to be there before sunrise. (Arakonda located about 3 hours drive from Tirupati has been identified as Sanjeevini drop place in India .)
As per the research done in Srilanka, they have identified 5 mountains as Sanjeevini drops . The medicinal plants which grow in the cool hilly regions of Himalayas grow on these mountains situated in the tropical regions of Srilanka. They are (1) Thalladi near Mannar, (2) Kachiteevu island near Jafffna, (3) Ritigala mountain 84 kms from Anurdadhapura towards Central part of Northern Srilanka on Anuradhapura-Habarana road near Sigiriya, (4) Dolukonda near Kurunegala, (5) Rumasalla in Unawatuna near Galle in the southern most tip of Srilanka. IN Valmiki Ramayana, it is mentioned that when Hanuman flew across the sky carrying Sanjeevini , the injured and dead vanaras were revived due to the medicinal power. Hanumanji flew back to replace the Sanjeevini parvath at the same place in Himalayas. So, we can assess that Hanumanji flew to and fro through Lanka atleast 3 times.
With the blessings of Asmath Acharyar and Elders we could have darshan of all the holy places during 2010 which is briefed as SriRama Anu yatra travelogue
The inert desire of visiting the holy places in Srilanka fructified this August 2018 After obtaining Asmathacharyar’s blessings ,and with the grace of our Kula deivam-KazhiyurAdikesava Perumal and Lord Srinivasa, we undertook this yatra.
A detailed plan was chalked out which would normally take 14 days. But due to official constraints, we had to cut short the trip to 9 days .
Initially, we had decided to book the accommodation on our own and arrange for transportation by contacting service providers in Srilanka . But the hanuman logo of Ramayan Tours attracted us and we decided to go with them for our tour. Later, during our visit, we learnt that all tour operators in Srilanka have to get themselves registered with the government by which they can get concessional rates in hotel accommodation. If we book through online hotel accommodation sites like booking.com/agoda etc., the rates quoted by them are higher. If we go directly , we are considered as “foreigners” and the rates are different. Also, few bookings online were cancelled by the hoteliers citing some reason. So, it is better to plan through reliable tour operators like “Ramayana Tours” for a hassle-free trip. They had offerd us 10 seater A/c Luxury model High end vehicle for our trip, Family A/c room at all places, Jain breakfast and dinner. Coffee addicts may have to make their own arrangements as we don’t get south Indian coffee there especially in the southern and central parts. Cost of living is on the higher side compared to us. You get fresh vegetables,fresh fruits and curd everywhere.
Our customized itinerary covering Ramayana places on daily basis was shared with M/s Ramayan Tours ,srilanka (also known as Flywing Tours) who ensured that we have a comfortable trip. Mr.Kingsly-the chairman of the company with whom we were negotiating assured us excellent service and stood by his word. In Srilanka, there is a restriction on speed limit and night driving–the vehicles cannot exceed 50 KMPH . In our case, the travel agent risked the two restrictions. Usually the guide and chauffeur don’t provide service after 7 P.M. So, he deputed his son who is the Managing Director of 3 travel companies to guide us and also arranged for a young reliable person who drove beyond the stipulated time. We used to travel for about 10-12 hours daily at 80-100 KMPH and usually reach the hotel for night stay after 9 p.m. only. WE visited two sanjeevini drops but could not view Ramasethu due to government restrictions .
After taking leave of our Aathu Perumal, myself along with my wife and 2 daughters carrying our yatradieties-(Sita Lakshmana hanumathsametha Sri Ramachandran, laddugopal, giriraj, srimurthis, dwarakasalagramam, swamyramanujar and our acharyars pic ) left Thiruvengadam and took the night flight to Colombo via Chennai on 10th august ,2018 reached Colombo at 3 A.M.on 11 th August, 2018. The flight was delayed by an hour . WE were warmly welcomed by Mr.Kingsly and his son,Mr.Ishaara whose Office address and phone numbers are mentioned for devotees to take up similar yatra .
Drove us to Hotel Crown Plaza in Katunayake which is about 5 kms from the airport and retired for the night.
In this article, a brief account about the location ,actual distance etc. is given for quick reference. WE started from west (Colombo) and proceeded down south, moved towards central srilanka, north-east, north and ended along the west coast.
WE traveled for about 2300 kms in 8 days but didn’t get strained at all due to the smooth drive on the lovely well maintained roads(no bumps/speed breakers) surrounding greenery was a feast to the eyes, the weather was cool with average max.temperature around 22 degrees , no noise pollution. The places around Kandy are on the hilly region and the driving time would be more compared to other places. The travel operator provided a brand new Nissan High Roof A/c vehicle .
The details and importance of the above holy places would be shared soon in the coming blog posts
The most sacred shrine of Lord Narasimhar at Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the hills of the eastern ghat.
The temple consists of nine shrines to Lord Narisimha located around a 5 KM circle. The shtala Purana states that PakshiRajar Garuda prayed for a vision of Lord Narisimha . Garuda commended his penance near to Srisaila Kshetra .
After long years of penance Lord manifested Himself in the cave of a mountain.
Few miles to the north east of the holy mountains where Garuda was performing penance a vision of HIS manifestation was granted to Garuda………………..
who after obtaining as sign of location of the mountain cave gladly traveled to the holy spot and was blessed to be graced by Satswaroopa , Mahapurusha , Lord Jwala Narasimhar not easy accessible to common people those days
Garuda worshipped the Lord and glorified LORD as Ahobilam is…
So am I. You see over there.. yes, that’s a big town. And there is a large well. Its water used to be very sweet. I know that. I have stayed in this town. Can you please some bring water for us?” Bringing water for them.. If they had asked for his life Ramanuja would have given it happily. “I would love to do it my Lord, sorry, Sir. But you see I don’t have any vessel with me.
Swami Ramanujacharya’s very first Guru was his own father swami Somayaji. The lessons started from a very young age. Unfortunately as his father passed away when he was just sixteen the lessons came to an abrupt end.
By that time Ramanuja had been married and the family along with his widowed mother had moved over to Kancheepuram. Ramanuja was in search of a good teacher. The only person available was Yadavaprakasa who was originally a part of the Advaita movement .
Later he broke away from the group and started teaching on his own. He openly declared that he was not happy with the Great Shankara’s commentary on Brahmasutra and was attempting to write his own commentary.
Yadavaprakasa could not tolerate any criticism. He was egotistic, eccentric and positively cantankerous. But he was well versed in Vedas and Shastras. He was an authority on magic, spells and evil spirits. There…
When one thinks of the holy place Pandharpur , mind races to have darshan of Lord Vittala and when the quest to know about his devotees begin , the biography of the great saint Santh Tukaram brings tears .
Santh Tukaram appeared during the year 1608 A.D in a small village Dehu in Poone district which is about 41 kms from Ahobila Mutt, Pune . and seven miles from another important place Alandi—the place honored by the Samadhi of another great saint Jnaneshwar.
Tukaram from his childhood worshiped Lord Vittala of Pandharpur.
His Elders constructed a small temple of their own and dedicated it to Lord Vittala . His family members, since many generations, had participated in the ‘Wari’ of Pandharpur, i.e., the annual pilgrimages to Pandharpur on the eleventh day of the month of Ashadh (June-July) and again on the eleventh day of the month of Kartik (October-November).
When Tukaram was about seventeen years, he lost his parents and about that time, his elder brother left the village and went to Varanasi seeking spiritual salvation.The next few years, were almost cyclonic in their effect for Tukaram.
Taking advantage of his state of mind, the debtors would not repay whatever was due to him and the creditors began to trouble him for the money due to them.
Tukaram tried his hand in several ventures of trade and came back either with empty hands or with a loss as he was a man of simplicity and humane to the core .
He was robbed of everything by confidence-tricksters who gave him gilt brass ornaments in exchange for all the money he had with him.
He was a simple person who could not see others unhappiness people .One occasion, returning home, he came across a poor man along with his family starving. He could not see their plight . He just gave away the profit as well as the principal which his wife had borrowed for some petty business.
Seeing his behaviour , Tukaram was not entrusted with anything valuable when he went far from home.
Tukaram’s wife Jijabai helped him again and again to set up a small shop in his own village, but she was always convinced by Tukaram that serving all the beings , no matter it was fellow human beings , animals , insects etc was his only goal . Tukaram used to sit in the shop doing kirtan and being very kind and honest to his customers. As usual due to his compassion to his fellow humans , he became bankrupt very soon as he never thought of himself and family .
Sant Tukaram saw Lord Panduranga in all creatures. Once he was asked to guard a corn field. He liked this job as it did not hinder with his habit of Namakirtan on Lord Panduranga. The birds would see human presence and fly away without touching the corns. But as Tukaram got immersed in his abhangs, the birds started to feed on the corns. Seeing Panduranga 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.
During the years 1629 and 1630, the country was facing severe famine. It was most difficult period The promissory notes dues for the family became dead letters of credit as nothing could be realised during the famine.
Tukaram lost his people and cattle .Very upset he went into the Bhamnath forest nearby. For fifteen days he stayed there meditating on the Supreme Lord without any basic needs .
He realised the true knowledge with his penance . The revelation made Tukaram more aware of the purpose of his life .He slowly withdrew his love for his household, wife and relations.
He gathered all the promissory notes and threw them into the Indrayani river, in spite of the protests of his relatives.
He reconstructed the temple which had fallen into disrepair and began to spend his entire time in Naama Kirtan. His mind was now steady fast with total surrender .
As a result of his whole-hearted devotion , Tukaram was rewarded with Guru Upadesh.
As elders say , SathGuru visited Tukaram in a dream. Tukaram describes this, as the greatest event of his life, thus
“The Sadguru came to me in a dream and was really very kind to me, though I had done nothing to deserve it. He met me when I was going to the river for a bath and placed his hand on my head and blessed me and advised me to do Japa …….of Jai jai Ramakrishna Hari. Tukaram’s joy knew no bounds.
Tukaram began to spend his life more and more in devotional practices, study of the works of great saints Jnanadev, Namdev and Ekanath thus getting inspired to pen Abhangs
Whenever Tukaram began to perform Kirtan, people began to flock in large numbers considering him as a realised saint and give him all the respect.
This was resented by a small number of people who sent a report against Tukaram to Rameshwar Shastri regarded as a learned Scholar during those times . Due to his standing in society , he forced Tukaram to stop all those activities which will pull crowds due to his kirtans .He instructed him to stop penning abhangs and, that he had already made, should be drowned in the nearby Indrayani river.
Tukaram held all elders in great reverence,. He was sad . He immediately brought out of his home all the works , bound them together, tied a big stone round the bundle, and threw it into the river in presence of the village elders .
Tukaram’s traducers, who were jealous of him, were greatly pleased. Tukaram did not mind their taunts. He thought , was it a big fault for merely, singing the praise of Lord in his abhangs as advised by Lord himself .
Dejected , Tukaram sat on the bank of the river Indrayani praying to Lord Panduranga to forgive him and show some way out as Naama sanKirtan was his breath . For thirteen long days he thus sat unmoved without water, food or sleep seeking Lords guidance .
On the fourteenth day, one of Tukaram’s followers, in a dream, saw Lord Panduranga advising him to fetch the Abhangs composed by Sant Tukaram floating on the surface which was intact.” .
Tukaram was moved by the mercy of Lord and thus in ecstasy he delivered Abhangs blaming himself for doubting the word of Lord and putting Him to so much trouble of having to preserve the poems in water for thirteen days.
By this divine incident, Tukaram’s name and fame spread far and wide. Materially he remained poorer but spiritually richer . He was always in Naama sanKirtan and he earned nothing.Whatever LORD arranged was his meal and wherever he moved he comforted himself under trees , ashrams , temples no matter where he was . It was Naama sankirtan always .
The great Maharashtra King Shivaji was a great admirer always supporting his devotional services .
Tukaram always advocated Saguna Bhakti in the form of repeating His Name and in the form of singing LORD’s praises. He said Bhakti was the higher form of devotion and service was even higher than Mukti.
Many wonderful events have occurred in Sant Tukaram’s life. His fame spread throughout the land, but he himself remained unaffected by all that. He knew the exact time when he would depart from this world. He grew weary of living and thought his time was being wasted in attending to the wants of the body when it should have been better utilised in Kirtan, Bhajan and praise of Vithoba.
He prayed to the Lord that he might be taken away soon to His lotus feet where he could remain worshiping Him continuously for ever and anon.
Once Tukaram’s told his friends that he would be going away to meet Vittala in a few days. No one believed his words .Finally that day arrived . He called all the villagers for a Akhanda sankirtan . The night was splendid . Many came to hear his kirtans and the last kirtan before was memorable in many respects as the subject was Harikatha.
Tuakaram continued ..my brothers and sisters …
“Harikatha is like the union of three holy rivers—Lord, the devotee and His holy Name.
By participating in this kirtan one’s sins are burnt and one is purified.
And my children ….
Even the pebbles lying around here become holy and fit to be worshiped.
“Though you all bear the responsibilities of family life, never ever forget our Lord Panduranga.
Never forget to worship Him and sing his praises.
Pandharpur is very near you.
It is the Vaikuntha on this earth.
Please Go and worship the Lord there. It is my experience that the Name of the Lord alone will save you at the time of death.
All of you have protected and maintained me in your midst for such a long time. I can never repay you and I am very grateful to you.
I shall ever pray to Vithoba to bless you all and take you all to heaven after this life. This is my goodbye to you all and this is my advice to you.
I prostrate before you and beseech you with tears never to forget the Name of the Lord. Always do Kirtan and Bhajan of Lord Narayana.
Do not be anxious about your material welfare.
The Lord will look to it.
This is all ephemeral. The Lord’s Name is eternal.
Depend on it only, live and sing the praises of the Lord.
Do Japa of Ramakrishna Hari and He will always save you.
This is my last request and advice to you.”
The Lord’s Name is eternal rest all is ephemeral
Thus passed away one of the great saints of Maharashtra with Lord’s Name of his lips, singing praises of Him.
Tukaram left this world during the year 1649the second day after the Holi festival . Every year the day of his disappearance popularly known as Bheej is remembered at the banks of the river dehu . Thousands of devotees assemble near to this holy place
This place is located inside Military area. We were fortunate to be here unexpectedly during our Pandharpur yatra few years back .
The vehicles had to be parked before one enters the military area . From the parking area, the temple is about 3-4 kilometres.
Most of the devotees join singing bhajans holding Tulasi pots on their hand, some playing tambura , kartaal etc.
It is usual practice of the devotees to fast on that day and have prasadam only after taking Sant Tukaram’s blessings.
Along with us, other devotees joined and within no time, the bus was jam packed. The bus was however parked at a distance of about one kilometer. The entire place was charged up in devotional fervor.
A devotee was singing Abhangs and was so glad to share the meanings and the essence of the various teachings of Santh Tukaram which am reproducing ….
Tukaram Maharaj prays to LORD to grant him a boon of being small as a small ant ……………gets a grain of sugar to eat.
A giant elephant is made to bear pricking of the weapon by its controller.
Tukaram Maharaj says, he who has a great ego undergoes great troubles.
He asks us to understand the benefit of not having an ego.
There is no happiness greater than the peace of mind.
Everything else causes sorrow.
Therefore make your mind peaceful to see the inner light.
One with a mind agitated by anger and lust has to suffer ensuing restlessness.
A peaceful mind is free from such sufferings.
One, who is able to control his sense-organs, is capable of forgiving others.
Such a person gains recognition and establishes his relation with Lord Vittala.
Even if a huge agricultural field has been inherited then that won’t give harvest unless it is cultivated.
Tukaram Maharaj says, one should understand this fact without burning one’s heart.
Pandavas were sent to exile in the woods but they held Lord Vittala in their hearts. Pralhada was tortured by his father but still he meditated on Narayana in his mind. Sudama, a brahmin, was afflicted by poverty but he did not forget Narayana. Tukaram Maharaj says,
O Lord Vittala we should not forget you even at the time of being under the mountain of miseries…
A donkey that is made to have bath in a sacred river does not become a horse. He, who does not have a pure mind, does not listen to any good advice.
Even if a sweet juice is fed to a snake, there won’t be any reduction in its poison.
There are many who proclaim themselves as saints. How can we accept unless we see their behaviour.
There appears a stream of water only for a while after it rains.
Later not a drop of water is seen.
A particle of snow appears like a diamond as long as it does not meet a hammer.
Dogs barking at an elephant develop pain in their mouths. The elephant is least affected by this. Monkeys mocking at tiger invite disaster for their lives. Tukaram Maharaj says, he who mocks at saints will lose his face.
A monkey puts its hand in a vessel containing peanuts. After taking peanuts in its hand it cannot take out its hand as the mouth of the vessel is not big enough.
The monkey for the sake of handful of peanuts does not go away and is caught.
A parrot sits on a string laid by the hunter. The string inverts its position and so is the parrot. Due to high voltage fear the parrot firmly grasps the string and forgets that it has two feathers to fly away.
The parrot is caught ultimately. Tukaram Maharaj says that it is not surprising if creatures without brains behave like this. It is surprising to see human beings forgoing their greatest interest for a pittance.
Earn money through an honest business.
Spend money for noble cause by maintaining equanimity of mind. Work for others’ welfare. Dont say harsh words for others. Consider others’ ladies like your mother and sisters.
Show kindness to all beings.
Rear cows and other cattle. Make possible arrangements for drinking water at remote places for quenching the thirst of people.
Dont harm others. He, who abides by the above teaching, spreads good name of his parents all around.
The virtue of renunciation that is required for realising Panduranga is also acquired through such actions..
A creeper of nectar will bear fruits of nectar. This will also result in continuous rise in the seeds of nectar. Like this association with good people results in all round increase of happiness. From a seed originates a tree.
From a tree countless seeds originate.
Who would like to be crucified on a cross of sandalwood? Similarly none would like to remain tied in the chain of gold. Similarly whatever knowledge one gains is a burden if that raises one’s ego.
A dead tiger filled with stuff appears like a tiger. Actually it is not a tiger. A coin with gold plating is not a coin of gold. This fact is clear if it is observed closely. A monkey dances as per the training of its master, it does not have any talents of its own.
Tukaram Maharaj says, he who keeps stock of absurd virtues has to suffer embarrassment.
The best worship of Lord Vittala can be performed by the mind. There is no need of instruments and implements for performing a puja.
The purpose of worship is to understand the mind, to understand the truth.
The final benefit or loss will be caused by the mind.
Mind is the seed that gives birth to the tree of action.
He, who has merged his identity with the Lord Vittala,
cannot see others suffering. Tukaram Maharaj says, making the mind calm is the true worship.
Tukaram Maharaj says, let us be equanimous in happiness and misery.
There is no discrimination for devotees in the eyes of the Almighty. He is waiting for those who have devotion in their minds.
He eats coarse grain offered by Vidura.
He protects Prahalada in the house of demons.
He helps Rohidas to dye clothes.
He helps Kabir to weave cloth.
He helps Sajan Butcher selling meat.
He helps Sawata Mali in petty agricultural operations.
He helps Narhari in performing chores of a goldsmith.
He helps Chokhamela for grazing cattle.
He drives the chariot of Arjuna.
He eats with great love dry food offered by Sudama.
In the homes of milkmen he does the task of maintaining cows
He acts as a doorkeeper for King Bali. He repays loan of Yekoba.
He takes birth as a human being for the sake of Rishi Amba.
He drinks a glass of poison for Meerabai.
He becomes a low breed person to pay off loan of Damaji.
He carries earth for Gora Kumbhar.
He repays loan of Narsi Mehta.
He is still standing on a brick for Pundalik.
Parents of Pundalik are great to have such a great son.
Thanking Supreme Lord for the wonderful company , we joined the ocean of ecstasy relished by great devotees of Lord Vittala …
Tukaram’s abhangs was being played everywhere through the sound systems. There is another arc with the beautiful words “ JNAN,BHAKTI,VAIRAGYA TUKARAM”. The crowd reminded us of Brahmotsava celebrations in Tirumala.
Amidst the sea of devotees more than a lakh of devotees ready to witness that miracle which happens every year at noon. A big cut-out of Lord Pandurangan from a distance attracted everyone’s attention.
On the way, we could have sparsham of Tukaram’s padhukas which were placed in a palanquin. Unmindful of the scorching heat and clasping each other’s hands we proceeded to Tukaram’s Samadhi mandir. On the left side, we have darshan of Indrani river which was witness to the various incidents in Tukaram’s life flowing peacefully.
Many pilgrims were purifying themselves in the water. This river which flows past Alandi, brings Jnanadev’s blessings too along with her to this place. Pilgrims who have a holy dip are benefited with Jnanadev and Tukaram Maharaj’s grace.
Sant Tukaram like Nammazhwar was the only person who left to SriVaikuntam with this mortal body. Elders reveal Lord arranged Garuda vahanam and singing the praises of the Lord , while everyone was watching, Sant Tukaram embarked on the Garuda vahanam and ascended to Srivaikuntam.
He promised his followers that on every disappearance day which falls on the second day after Holi ,popularly known as Bheej, he would come from Vaikuntam exactly at noon in the form of a gentle breeze to this place and bless the devotees. Because of the gentle breeze, the leaves of the tree which was a witness to the incident gently move and the leaves fall.
To enable the assembled devotees who stand far away from the tree, the temple authorities have tied a red flag as an indication. When the breeze gently blows, the red flag moves which can be witnessed by everyone. The assembled devotees continuously sing the abhangs and as noon approaches, the fervor and intensity of the bhajans increases. Words cannot describe the sight. One has to personally witness this incident. We were there … to receive Our Bhaktha Tukaram’s blessings …What a journey it was ..
Sadhu Satsangh ki Jai ..
Bhaktha Tukaram ki Jai
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics/ Videos :
Credits to all Lord Vittala devotees who uploaded in social media /Google pics
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 .
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.
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
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…
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.
” TIRUMALA is most holy shrine 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 .
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…
AT the behest of Pundalikan, Lord resides here and gives darshan to millions of devotees . As Lord stands on Vittu(brick) , HE is glorified as as Vittalan.
The place where the Lord stands is the present temple.
The Saints like Namdeo, Dnyaneshwar to Tukaram wove their life around Vitthala and saw in Vitthala their brother, father, friend and a compassionate Lord who could bless them with ultimate salvation.
“Vittala ” is our Compassionate Lord who mingled with all the devotees by taking various roles like a cobbler, barber, servant, potter, gardener thus assisting his devotees in household chores and helping them in their own spiritual up liftment and seek salvation
Pilgrimage to Pandharpur near Sholapur in Maharashtra and having darshan of Lord Vittal is incomplete without mentioning the great devotee Pundalikan.
Pundalaikan who hailed from southern part of India undertook a pilgrimage to kasi along with his parents and family . As his old parents couldn’t withstand the long journey they camped on the banks of Bhima river in the present Pandharpur.
As there was no improvement in their fitness and due to their old age , they decided to stay there forever serving LORD and his devotees .
Pundalikan was a caring and obedient son .
Always in the service of his parents chanting the holy name he continued to start a fresh life being at this new place.
The Divine Name of ‘ Jai Jai Ramakrishna Hari Jai Jai Vasudeva Hari’ ever reverberating in this holy town made him swoon into transcendental…
There lived a devotee named ” Lakshmi Narayana ” in this holy place . Narayana spent his entire life doing services to Lord Aramudhan. He was the one who built the Rajagopuram which is app 44-m tall, 11-tiered tower by collecting small small donations from devotees and strived hard to finish the task .
There are nine Dwarakas known as “Nava Dwarakas” out of which five (Pancha Dwaraka) are very famous holy dhams visited by all vaishnavas .
The “Nava Dwarakas” are listed below
1) Mukti Dwarka (Gomti Dwarka)-main temple located in Dwarka in Gujarat
2) Rukmini Dwarka (4 kms from Dwarka)
3) Bhet Dwarka ( in an island 8 kms from Dwarka)
4) Moola Dwaraka (Rajkot-Dwarka route)
5) Sudama Dwarka (Porbandhar)
6) Nathdwara (near Udaipur in Rajasthan)
7) Kankroli Dwarka (near Nathdwara)
8) Prabhasa Theertha (Veravel near Somnath)
9) Dakore Dwarka (near Ahmedabad)
Dwaraka is one of the four important dhams(holy places). The other three dhams are Puri, Badrinath and Rameswaram. Dwaraka is counted as one of the seven “MUKTHI THARUM KSHETRAMS” ( MOKSHA STHAL ). The other six are Mathura, Ayodhya, Kasi, Gaya, Kanchi, Ujjain.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sriman Narayana out of abundant compassion appeared as LORD Krishna to save the good and destroy the evil.
As per divine plan, Lord Mahavishnu appeared as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudevar in Mathura, the holiest of all cities during midnight on krishna paksha Asthami thithi in the tamil month of Aavani (Sravanam) in the closed jail which was fully guarded on a rainy night. The Lord appeared as a child with chathurbhujam holding the divine weapons Sankhu, Chakram, Gada, Padmam to Devaki and Vasudevar to reaffirm that HE had fulfilled their early wish. Vasudeva out of vatsalyam prayed the Lord to assume the form of a child and immediately the Lord who is the controller of the Universe obeyed him as an dutiful son .
What can He do for us?
Can He kill the whale with a weapon ?
Can He save the ship?” retorted the captain.
A trace of a smile came over the old man’s face. He appeared so calm and composed at that moment of crisis.
“ Lord Jagannatha is my only resort.
Any danger is dispelled if one prays to Him,” the old man said passionately.
“He makes a human response.
His mystery is inscrutable, even to the demigods, what to speak of mere human beings. Yet when we call to Him, He comes and helps us instantly .”
Puranas reveal that out of many thousands of gopis, sixteen thousand are predominant and among them 108 gopis are very close , eight are still more prominent . Radharani and Candravalli are very prominent and Srimathi Radharani is the most prominent. Because Radharani possesses all the charm and sweetness to attract Lord Krishna .The Eight Gopis who are the foremost, dearest and most beloved friends of Shri Shri Radharani are glorified as Asta-sakhis Gopis .Their names are Lalita, Visakha, Chitralekha, Champakalata, Tungavidya, Indulekha, Rangadevi and Sudevi. check the appended blog post for more details
Braj Bhumi is the most sacred dham spread over 168 miles- 42 miles on each direction with Mathura as the center. The holy place comprises of Mathura, Goverdhan, Gokulam Barsana ,Vrindavan and the surrounding 12 forests. The Supreme Lord manifested Himself as Lord Krishna along with HIS attendants and enacted various pastimes 5000 years ago in Dwapara yugam which attracts millions of devotees to have darshan of this holy dhaam repeatedly .
Lord Krishnavataaram is the POORNA AVATARAM of Lord Maha Vishnu. Every inch in this place is sacred because of its association with Lord Krishna’s lotus feet (as He walked over all these places).
Anyone who visits this sacred place is bestowed with divine love . This is one of the seven mukthi tharum kshetrams , the rest being Ayodhya, Avatnti, Kasi,Kanchi, Puri, Dwarka. Also, Mathura is very dear to Lord Vishnu as it has Lord’s association in all the…
Swamy Ramanuja felt to himself that as Lord Krishna preached eighteen chapters to Arjuna before revealing the final word , in order to test Arjuna’s mind the eighteen trips imposed upon me by Acharyar was to condition my spirit in seeking the nectar of instructions .
Millions of devotees throng the Tirumala Hills practically round the clock throughout the year for having darshanam of Lord Venkateshwara .
It is always the darshan what he gives us than what we seek .
Many will share their experiences having darshanam with moist eyes . However , Very few are aware that when we walk inside the temple , to the right side of the Main entrance we can see a crowbar tied to the wall which has a glorious past .
As we move towards the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Venkateswara , how many will remember that there was a time , just a thousand years back, when the Hills were deserted with not much of human habitation in sight .Swamy Ramanuja had visited the Hills thrice. His maternal uncle , Peria Thirumalai Nambi gave him discourses on Srimad Ramayana for several months at the Hills.
The ardent desire of any devotee is to seek an everlasting darshan of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala and… If this darshan is without any physical disturbance or interference by the volunteers , the soul dances in ecstasy.
There is no dearth of pilgrims who wouldn’t stop gushing about their opportune darshan lasting for even a fraction of second or so with our beloved LORD while there are so many others who excitedly wait for Lord’s darshan patiently even for days .
Tradition has it, that hands of man did not work for the dhruva bera ( Main deity )of Lord Venkateswara .
The Supreme Lord with abundant mercy manifested himself in the present form that could easily be worshiped by mortals. It is described in Mousala Parvam of Sri Mahabharatam that when Supreme Lord Krishna decided to complete His incarnation, a divine play was enacted. After the fall of Yadu dynasty , Lord Krishna was…
The great devotee of Lord Venkateshwara sage Annamaya in a kirtan reveals .
.Lord …( I pray to You, Oh Lord! Please be beside me! )
If YOU are the Lord incarnated on the Venkatadri mount, YOU are bound to be by my side!
It is You, Oh Lord, who have made me to become Your devotee;
It is You, Oh Lord, who have knocked my doors ~ only to grant me the Protective asylum under Your Lotus Feet;
You are the ONE who enlightened me;
This is the eternal bliss for me!
This is the Para-Tattvam for me!
This is my moksha-marga (and salvation)!
The above famous Mangala sloka recited in every temple and household glorifies the Lord of Seven Hills (Tirumala) Lord Venkateshwara as “ the Lord who out of deep love for his devotees vacated Sri Vaikuntam along with Goddess and choose to reside on the banks of Swami Pushkarini in Tirumala ” the sacred hills which is also glorified as Adivaraha kshetram.. (cluster of seven Hills )
Various puranas describe about the appearance of the Lord in the Seven Hills. Adiseshan with seven hoods is believed to have assumed the form of the Nallamalai hills for Lord’s ascent .
Tirumala is considered to be the head of Adhisesha while Ahobilam is considered as the middle part and Srisailam as the tail of the adiseshan. An aerial view of the hills authenticate the shape of the hills in the…
“Oh my dear devotees who desire for Moksha seeking Swamy Mamunigal’s lotus Feet listen ….
taking refugee at the Lotus feet of Swamy Mamunigal will definitely lead us to the blessings of “Amanavan” who allows us at the entrance into Sri Vaikuntam” as we are Swamy Manavala mamuni’s disciples …
For realisation of the self, my association with Swamy Ramanuja is essential . No prayer pleases Lord without Acharyar’s mercy. Kooresan politely refuses to accept the gaurd’s honor and walks back to his house . This pastime establishes the supremacy of Acharya sambandham with our poorvacharyas …
Oh Lord ! My father ……………..
when this jiva leaves this body , at the time of death,
Oh My Father !! I need to meditate only on Your Lotus Feet
I am blessed to have realized this, due to Your enormous grace , and…..
I have now come here surrendering to Your Lotus feet at Naimisharanyam
The above verse points out that the eight Swayam Vyakta Kshetrams , Srirangam, Tirupathi, SrimushNam, Vanamamalai, Salagramam, Badri, NaimisharaNyam and Pushkar grant liberation to those who visit the place and seek Lord’s grace . Elders say the Lord as the Archa Murthy at each of these holy Kshetrams signify one Aksharam of the Ashtakshara Mantram .
Naimisaaranyam is 120 kms away from Lucknow between Sitapur and Balmau in the state of Uttar Pradesh .
Naimisaraanyam is 42 kms away from Shidoli .
Naimisharanya is situated on the left bank of the river Gomathi, which is a tributary of the river Ganges .
At ” NAIMISAARANYAM” Lord ( Perumal ) is in Aaranya ( Forest) swaroopam. This is a swayam vyaktha kshethram…
The holy place where LORD NARSINGHA BHAGAVAN incarnated for Prahlada Maharaj …
Please read the vaibhavams of the Nava Narasingh bhagavan .The place is situated 25 Km from Arlagadda in Kurnool district can also be approached via Cuddapah district, Andhra Pradesh ,India.
MORE ABOUT NAVA NARASIMHA KSHETRAM
There are 9 shrines dedicated to nine forms of Narasimhar.
Out of this Prahalada varada Narasimhar is in Lower Ahobilam, Ugra Narasimhar, who is a swayambhu and is treated as the divya desa Perumal is seen in Upper Ahobilam. The other shrines are scattered all over the hills.
Apart from the nava Narasimha shrines, “Prahalada padi” where Prahalada studied and “Ugra Sthambam” from where Perumal emerged are usually visited by pilgrims.
There are number of Theerthas in this shrine. A few like Lanjekonneru near Bhargava Narasimhar , Ramatheertha near Lower Ahobilam…
As Lord Narayana came here as ‘Mannan’ to wed Mahalakshmi and asked Nathamuni to share the Divya Prabandham and the Vaishnava Sampradayam to the world at large, he was referred to as ‘ Kattum’ ‘Mannan- Aanaar’ (the Lord who came aa kings and later presented the entire prabandham through Nathamuni).
The above sloka …. reverberates in all srivaishnava temples and homes glorifying the rich sampradaya we have inherited from our poorvacharyas ….Swamy Nathamunigal and Swamy Alavandar, the two great acharyas have been pillars to Srivaishnava sampradayam, took their avatara at the holy place Kattumannar koil, which is 25 kms from Chidambaram in Cuddalore district of Tamil nadu, South India.
Kattumannarkoil (situated on the banks of the vast Veeranam Lake) hallowed by the birth of these Acharyas is the only place with magnificent temples dedicated to Swamy Nathamunigal and Swamy Alavandar.
Swamy Nathamunigal was the foremost Acharya of Srivaishnava sampradaya .
Nathamuni mastered himself in Vedas at a very young age.
He was devoted to Lord Veera Narayana Perumal and spent most of his time performing…
The streets were flooded with wet mud due to this stream .The devotees were dancing in this wet mud chanting the HOLY NAME . Azhwar mentally recalled this sweet incident and expressed his desire that how fortunate he would be to apply on his forehead the wet mud as a holy mark in mark of respect to the great devotees singing LORD’s names ..
The above sloka speaks about the Azhwar who was an Emperor seeking Lord Ranganatha’s darshan every breath ……..
Sri Kulasekhara Azhwar was the sixth among the illustrious Srivaishnava Azhwars. He appeared at a place in Kerala at Thiruvanjikalam and was a great devotee of LORD . He became more effulgent because of his total immersion in rendering service to the devotees Our Elders advise in a verse that …..
Nyagrodhabeeje vatavat pranave sabdajaalavat
sidde tadeeya seshatve sarvaarthaah sambavantih
only when we have the feeling of being a servant in the presence of the devotees of the LORD then only we can have the realization of the LORD.
As this is the only way one gets great strength that this quality only can confer us by giving us the objective of realizing the LORD amongs’t the devotees .If one…
The result that one yields in kritha yugam by doing dhyanam (meditation),
the result that one yields in thretha yugam by doing yagnam,
the result that one yields in Dwapara yugam by doing archanai (pooja) ,
the same result is derived in this kaliyugam just by chanting Lord’s Holy Name.
Aadi aadi agam karaindu isai paadi paadi kanneer malgi’…………………..
‘Naadum nagaramum nangu ariya namo narayana yenru paadu’………………..
‘Harer namaiva namaiva namaiva mama jeevanam … na gatir anyata’……………..
More sweet than all other sweet things; more auspicious than all other auspicious things;
the greatest purifier of all purifying things—————-
———————-The holy name of Sri Hari alone is everything…………..
There was a temple of Lord Krishna in a village . The temple was always flooded with several devotees. The mood in the temple used to be festive always . Continuous Hari naama sankirtan made the place vibrating with devotion .The devotional Hari nama tunes took one into a serene mood asking for more . It was a continuous flow of elixir .
The continuous chants made the mind swoon into devotional fervor and nothing else was remembered .There was no hunger or thirst .No desire except for just being there and feeding the soul through these ears the elixir that was abundantly poured . It was sheer bliss .
The journey for a devotee of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Lanka takes us through many places in India. One such place is Kishkindha …..Proceeding ahead with our pilgrimage to LORD RAMAs Holy abodes few years back , we reached Hampi in the state of Karnataka where the KISHKINDA charitram happened . RISHIMUKHA PARVATAM is the place where Hanumanji met Lord Rama and Lakshman for the first time. Sugreeva had sent Hanumanji to meet them in order to make sure that they were not spies of his brother and arch enemy Bali.
The journey for a devotee of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Lanka takes us through many places in India. One such place is Kishkindha …..
Proceeding ahead with our pilgrimage to LORD RAMAs Holy abodes few years back , we reached Hampi in the state of Karnataka where the KISHKINDA charitram happened .
RISHIMUKHA PARVATAM is the place where Hanumanji met Lord Rama and Lakshman for the first time. Sugreeva had sent Hanumanji to meet them in order to make sure that they were not spies of his brother and arch enemy Bali.
It is said Hanumanji carried Lord Shri Ram and Lakshman on his shoulders and took Lordships to Rishimukh Parvat to meet Sugreev. The capital city of Sugreev “Kishkinda” is also near by..
This kingdom is identified to be the regions around the Tungabhadra river (then known as Pampa Saras) near Hampi in Karnataka.
To reaffirm the faith of HIS devotees, LORD conversed with HIS devotees time to time .
There are three incidents which our Elders keep saying about the compassion of the LORD in temples .
Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Kovil
At Tirumala – Tirupathi, Lord Venkateshwara used to converse with the King Thondaman Chakravarthy . In Kancheepuram, Lord Vardarajar used to converse with his dear devotee Swamy Tirukachi Nambigal who used to fan him daily .
Similarly at Srirangam Lord Ranganathar used to converse with “Tiruvilakku pichan”the temple servant who used to light the lamps in the temple .
It is a general practice all the devotees surrender to LORD and express their gratitude pain and love for the LORD in this material world.
Few devotees develop extremely intimate relationship with the Lord conversing freely and interact almost daily treating him as a human friend.
Once a great Acharyar was explaining to his disciples about the King Yayati life in Sri Vishnu Purana . The discussion became more interesting .
Two of his disciples asked..
Swamin .. .
Please tell us the difference between Bhakthi and Prapatti.. which is the best ?
My child !
Bhakthi is a slender stream of love proceeding from puny efforts a creature is capable of producing in his heart cavity and this is necessarily subject to many slips whereas Prapatti ( Unconditional surrender ) is the mighty flood of grace pouring down from the All compassionate SUPREME LORD the creator nothing withstanding the rush of the torrent…..
Bhakthi as it is, needs constant efforts with exertion whereas Prapatti is mighty flood of grace pouring down from the Supreme Lord as a natural downpour …
The disciples continued ..
What chief moral lesson needs to be derived from the episode of King Yayati in Sri Vishnu Purana …..
My dear Child !!! replied the Acharya …
The jiva experiences several pleasures as he is infatuated with many things in his previous births . Unsatisfied he once again takes birth and falls into samsara which is a succession of unfulfilled desires .
Under delusion imagining his parents , brothers , sisters , wife , children and grand children would fulfill his desires and give happiness he craves for their long lasting company. However as years pass , the karmas mature and then the realization starts . He faces unlimited sorrows .
Even the so called pleasures becomes meaning less as the drops of honey which rests on a mustache .
In the beginning of Life he is surrounded by pangs of hunger and during his childhood he suffers from ignorance . The middle age passed with some knowledge but having strength in body and senses he faces misfortunes , dangers , humiliation from powerful people . After retirement the body grows older , the heart grows fonder and the mind becomes younger …
Now this old body has a young mind and a fond heart ..Everyday becomes a week end . This continues and in his old age forgetfulness and then weakness of senses and the body inevitable to accept the calamities . Now the realization begins .
He understands that Life in this world is the source of all sorrow.
As Thondaradipodi Aazhwar states this life is full of “Pini pasi moopu thumbam” (i.e) Disease-hunger-oldage-suffering.
He realizes that the five senses are responsible for this suffering. The senses bewitch and hypnotize the jiva dragging it into the samsara .
Even the learned men are not spared from the atrocities of the senses and the worldly temptations that arouse which would ultimately lead to the continuous chain of birth and death.
The peak of sorrow is surrendering to the senses and being tossed about in the samsara sagara repeatedly .
Now the realization reveals that the reasons for all his suffering was due to
1.Lack of Knowledge about Lord
2. Lack of Knowledge about the soul
3.Lack of Knowledge of the way to reach the Lord
4. Lack of Knowledge of the obstacles to this pursuit and
5. Lack of Knowledge of the final fruit in this life ( Moksha)
With Acharyar’s grace he understands that the chain leading to Moksha is
Just as for mundane benefits we cultivate the association of influential people who have either money, status or power, so also for acquiring spiritual wealth one has to cultivate the association of spiritually advanced devotees .
When a holy association begins , spiritual quest germinates which makes one enthusiastic for bhakti to sprout towards the Supreme Lord . And once he surrenders to LORD unconditionally Prapatti takes over …
For devotees who are attached to devotional service even moksha is not attractive. I am their loved one like their soul, friendly like their son, trusted confidante like their friend, mentor like their guru and respected like their favorite Lord. Their minds are always fixed on me. This is all that is needed for Moksha ….
The endpoint of bliss is surrendering to the Lord alone and attaining SriVaikuntam.
As Thirumangai Azhwar says- “Pettra thayinum ayina seyyum“
The Lord like our Mother derives happiness by showering His devotees with His abundant grace. Just as the Mother does not expect anything from the child in return for her love ; the Lord showers His grace on the souls without expecting anything from the soul in return.
The realised jiva now reflects on the various verses of Azhwars and Acharyas . The great king Kulashekhara Azhwar reminds the jiva in his magnum opus ” MUKUNDA MALA “
At the time of death,” prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih , “when the physical condition of the body will be in disorder,” kapha, pitta, vayu will not be in order…. Prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih kanthavarodha , “At that time I shall not be able to speak. O Krishna, At the time of my death, in the situation when my throat will get choked by phlegm, air and bile, how is p ossible to think of You?
Hence O Lord !!! Now itself, May the royal swan of my mind please enter the edges of the enclosure and enter the network of the stem of Your lotus feet.’
The animal had a lovely lion’s face, soft eyes, and the body was human. Almost 15 feet tall. It had a gigantic form. The hunter was aghast looking at the majestic form. No hunger, no fear. The bewitching smile and the penetrating eyes made a huge difference.
Now hunter had copious chilled tears.
He could not take his eyes out of the sight of the animal. He slipped into a state of timelessness… Suddenly a voice was heard!
Near the banks of the river kaveri in a gurukulam the guru was revealing pastime of the divine Lordships . He was emotionally charged and was bringing the real situation what the great devotee bhaktha prahalada was facing and how Lord was taking care of his custody .
The Guru went into the minute details how Prahalada was tortured by his demonic father every time he chanted the Holy name . There was pin drop silence everywhere as he continued to describe the appearance of the Lord ….
The demon screamed …Hey Prahalada,
You say HE is every where …
why is HE not here!! in this pillar? With demonic eyes he thundered ..Come on!!
Allow me to kill you and let me see how your most worship able Lord comes to protect you. With terrible anger, the demon stuck his heavy fist against the pillar.
There was lightning thunder and a forceful sound that could make the entire…
The most sacred shrine of Lord Narasimhar at Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the hills of the eastern ghat.
The temple consists of nine shrines to Lord Narisimha located around a 5 KM circle. The shtala Purana states that PakshiRajar Garuda prayed for a vision of Lord Narisimha . Garuda commended his penance near to Srisaila Kshetra .
After long years of penance Lord manifested Himself in the cave of a mountain.
Few miles to the north east of the holy mountains where Garuda was performing penance a vision of HIS manifestation was granted to Garuda………………..
who after obtaining as sign of location of the mountain cave gladly traveled to the holy spot and was blessed to be graced by Satswaroopa , Mahapurusha , Lord Jwala Narasimhar not easy accessible to common people those days
Garuda worshipped the Lord and glorified LORD as Ahobilam is Mahabhalam .
The Lord was worshiped with glorious verses by Garuda …..
The mountain on which Garuda performed tapas became famous as Garudachala . In the days of yore when truth and dharma prevailed , great heat was observable near the mountain cave of Ahobilam , according to legend when green grass was put in the cave , it would catch fire and smoke would be emitted .
There are nine Narasimha Kshetras ..
Paavana Nava Moorthayaha
The uniqueness of Narasimhaavatara has been extolled by many a devotee .
LORD appeared out of a Pillar neither man nor beast and yet both man and lion..
His very appearance bespeaks HIS supremacy and transcendence .
Among the distinguished disciples of Swamy Vedanta Desikar was brahmatantra Swantantra Jeeyar Swamy who had a illustrious disciple Ghatikastam Ammal .
He was grandson of the great Acharyar Swamy Nadaadooor Ammal the chief disciple and successor of Engal Azhwar . Sreenivasacharyar was his disciple and was studying under his holiness .
He was well versed in the ancient lore and was very knowledgeable in Swamy Ramanuja sampradaya right from his boyhood.
One day the Supreme Lord Narasimha dev appeared in his dream and beckoned him to Ahobilam located in the Nallamallai Hills .
Could this vision be true ? he kept asking himself again and again ..
He hurried to meet his Acharyar and told him about his dream .
The old Acharyar was pleased with the direction of Lord .He asked him to obey the mandate.
Sreenivasacharya proceeded to Ahobilam as per Lord’s command .
He had to climb the hills amidst dense forests. Recollecting the divine dream he passed on the deep jungles with ease …
He had a dip in the Bhavanasini river , and took up abode in that wilderness .
As LORD always takes care of HIS devotee , Mukundaraya, the local chieftain also reached the holy place to receive our Acharyar as per divine command.
On proceeding further he could see the tribals worshipping Lord Narasimha .
They believed LORD had married their foster daughter of a Chenchu Chief .
And since they became His votaries .
They called him Obelessuddu …
They used to celebrate Annual festival by presenting clothes , honey fruits and all the beautiful things .
Srinivasacharya along with few locals entered the forest . After he finished his many chores , a yati beckoned him and administered the Preshamantra after ordaining him into the ascetic order .
Lord addressed him as Sri Satakopa Yati and then revealed his real form of LORD NARASIMHA
He directed the yati to be the Chief Aaaradhaka thus going to villages ministering to the spiritual well being of all his disciples .
Be their Acharya …..
purify them …
with the emblems of Conch and Discuss instruct them into the mysteries of the creed…….
He was the first Jeeyar who received the charter from LORD himself.
This happened on the fifth lunar day of of bright fortnight in the year 1320 the appearance day of Lord srinivas ( Purattasi sravanam )
As Lord disappeared the deity of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha had landed into his hands .
Our dear Lord Malola Murthy wears a paduka indicating he is ever ready to proceed to shower HIS mercy on devotees.
A palanquin and other paraphernalia was offered to the Supreme LORD…..
And thus LORD has graced to accompany the Ahobilam Jeeyars past 700 years .
It was during this time the great King Prataapa Rudrudu was ruling Andhra pradesh. Once while returning from Srisailam after his worship to Paramasivan , Prataparudra stopped and camped at Ahobilam .
He used to worship Paramasiva daily . Everyday he used to mould a linga roopa in gold and worship .He used to offer the worshiped Linga to a brahmin before he partook food .It was a daily routine.
The next morning he was eagerly waiting for his goldsmith to bring the molded linga for worship. It was getting delayed and hence he himself approached the tent where the gold smith was molding the linga . To his surprise he could see the molded gold was taking shape of Lakshmi Narasimha instead of Linga roopa .
Suddenly he heard vedic mantras .
He looked around and was attracted to divine chants near by . He asked his ministers to find out the details . He approached the vaishnavas who were radiating with opulence and requested them to introduce themselves .
The King was led into the Ashram where our First Jeeyar Sri Sri Sri Adivan Satakopan was worshiping the great LORD .
The King was overjoyed to see the holy abode of Lord Narasimha .
He liked the pious atmosphere around with greenery everywhere .
His holiness Sri Adivan Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikar was radiating with divinity . The King fell at the lotus feet of the Jeeyar and offered repeated obeisances . He explained the miracle of the molded gold turning into Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar deity instead of Linga roopa .
The Jeeyar was pleased and blessed him .
The King offered the Suvarna Lakshmee Narasimhar to Jeeyar and asked for his benediction .He directed his ministers to provide all financial and labor support for Jeeyar in propagating the path the Supreme Lord had desired .The King got converted to srivaishnavism and played a role in the Jeeyars journey of propagating the sampradaya.
Thus one would be very fortunate to have darshan of Jeeyar and the Lordships who accompany the Ahobilam Jeeyars .
The divine world Jeeyar accompanies all compassionate our Lord Maalola Narasimhar , Suvarna Narasimhar Mangalagiri Panaka Narasimhar who arrived and joined 42nd Jeeyar Lord Krishna who enjoys Dolotsavam . Lord Ranganathar reclining on Adhishesha with Goddess Mahalakshmi ,Lord Athagiri Varadar worshipped by the great Acharyar Nadathur Ammal . Lord Sreenivasar with Alamelumanga thaayar Sampath kumaran with Yadhugiri Nachiyar Parimalarangan with Goddess Sridevi and Bhudevi , Lakshmi varahan, Bhuvarahan , Adhikesavar with goddesses , Sudarshana Azhwar, Sri Seetha Rama , Lakshmana perumal Lord Aaravamudham , Hayagreevar Sri Andal ,Lord Rangamannar and Saaligrama Moorthies .
The divine world showers divinity all around .Great Acharyars Vishwaksenar Swamy Nammazhwar , Thirumangai Azhwar shower opulence on the lucky ones who have darshan …
Jai Jai Lakshmee Narasimha
All glories to His holiness Sri Sri Sri Adivan Satakopa Yatheendra Mahadesikar
All glories to Lord Narasinga devotees
All glories to Ahobilam Kshetra
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics Credits : Google images and various social media shared by several advanced devotees
An incident that took place when Lord Krishna met Radharani for the last time is discussed during discourses . A priest described the happenings here which is reproduced .Lord Krishna came face to face with Radharani and no words were said. No hands stretched to meet each other, no smile played upon lips and no eyes sparkled with delight.Though Krishna and Radha had been physically separated, they had been inseparable spiritually . Without saying anything they said everything and went their separate ways. They never saw each other again. The Priest was very emotional while describing the glory of the place and this pastime.
Kurukshetra is 2 hour journey from New Delhi by Train and about 3½ hours by bus. Sridham Vrindavan to Kurukshetra is about 5-6 hour journey by train via Mathura-New Delhi route. Kurukshetra is the holy place where the great Mahabharata war took place. It is believed one who leaves his mortal coils at Kurukshetra, attains salvation.
The area extends for over 96 kms. In this place Kuru, the founder of Kuru dynasty , performed penance . Pleased with his devotion Lord blessed him with his desire that whoever leaves his mortals coils here in this place shall get rid of the cycle of births and deaths and attain moksham . Lord Krishna selected this place for the grand finale the Mahabharata war.
Kurukshetra is now a major centre of learning with many colleges and world famous Kurukshetra University. The whole yuddha bhoomi is now flooded with educational institutions.
Once JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja was giving a discourse on the magnum opus “Nachiyar Thirumozhi ” from the 4000 Divya Prabhandam composed by Azhwars .
The disciples were engrossed with the inner meaning of “Nachiyar Tirumozhi ” a set of 143 divine verses that was composed by Andaal the only women saint among the Azhwars .
Mother Andaal’s eagerness to meet Lord Krishna is wonderfully described in these emotional outpourings . Andaal attempts various methods to attain union with Lord Krishna which forms the major part of this epic ” Nachiyar Thirumozhi” .
Among these verses ,”Varanamaiyeeram ” is recited at all srivaishnava wedding ceremonies compulsorily . The divine verses narrate Mother Andaal’s experiences with her friends on her way to submit herself to the Lordships and thus fulfill her purpose of birth .
Another set of verses are chanted daily in Srivaishnava houses while offering the…
After the mahabharata war , Yudhishthir was ruling the kingdom . Bhimasena was assisting the King in public relations ministry . He used to help in solving the problems of people; therefore whoever had any questions/problems would come to Bhimasena and ask him for help.
One day, a person confessed Bhimsena that he noticed a strange thing . His fence near the house was moving into other’s place and he was wondering why it would have happened . Bhimsena said .. Look ! I can help if a demon is troubling you, but not these kinds of strange puzzles. As a result , he asked him to approach Yudhishthir Maharaj.
On the same day, another citizen expressed another strange thing. He confessed that he had a big pot with full of water. He distributed this water into small pots , for the citizens to be served .However as there was not…
Azhwars were the incarnations of of Lord Sriman Narayana’s divine weapons and ornaments (“Azhwar” in Tamil means ‘one who is immersed’).
Since the advanced saints were always immersed in the Lord and His qualities, they were glorified as Azhwars and the places which was glorified by Azhwars are earmarked as Divya desams .
Out of the 12 azhwars, 4 Azhwars appeared towards the end of Dwapara yuga and Eight Azhwars appeared during Kali yuga. Thirumangai Azhwar appeared on the 397th year after the advent of Kaliyuga as per “Guru Parampara prabhavam” composed by Sri.Pinbhagzhagiya Perumal Jeeyar a disciple of Swamy Nampillai.
Neelan as he was called appeared on a bright Thursday in Nala varushey(year name), Karthigai maasey (karthigai month as per tamil calender[Nov-Dec])on Krithikai star on Pournami in Kallar kulam at Thirukuraiyalur – a small village near Thirunangoor about one hour drive from Sirkazhi.
The remote village of Thirunangoor near Sirkazhi reverberates with satsangh all through out the year .
Three important festivities are celebrated grandly in this village.
(1) Thai Amavaasai for 3 days (Jan-Feb)
(2)Thiruvedupari utsavam on Panguni-Pooram (March-April)
(3)Thiru avataara utsavam-10 day utsavam during Karthigai month culminating on Karthigaiyil Karthigai
Thirumangai Azhwar affectionately called as Kaliyan, was the valiant army chief of the then Chola King that the king gifted him with a small territory to rule over.
Hence, he was known as Thirumangai Mannan .
“Thirumangai mannan” who had that power , fame , position which took him to material pleasures like any human .
The possessions and power engulfed him .
Blinded by daring heroism, Neelan was indulged in sensual pleasures..
When she repented for her mistake and asked for a means to go back to the heavenly planet, the sage advised her to transform Neelan(an amsam of Saarangam) and make him a great devotee and get married to him.
After accomplishing her mission, he blessed her that she would be able to get back to her heavenly abode.
Thus , she appeared as a small girl on the banks of Swetha Pushkarini(Thiru vella kulam) in front of Srinivasar Kovil in Thirunangoor.
A physician who happened to pass by was attracted to the small kid. He learnt from her about the cause of her appearance and adopted her as his daughter.
As he was childless for a long time, he considered to be Lord Srinivasar’s blessings .As she was seen holding Kumudha flower, he named her as Kumudavalli.
Once Neelan , the ruler of the province around Thirunangoor happened to come to Thiruvellakulam. He was mesmerized by Kumudavalli’s beauty and expressed his ardent desire to marry her. He approached her parents and expressed his desire .
The Parents were overjoyed as the King was at their doorstep . However , Kumudavalli expressed her desire “to marry only to a person who sported Thiruman kaapu ( Tilak ) on his forehead and got pancha samskaaram ( initiation ) done”.
Immediately Neelan set out in search of an Acharya to get initiated (pancha samskaaram in srivaishnava sampradaya) done.
No one dared to initiate him considering his qualities. The ever compassionate Lord Srinivasar of Thirunaraiyur appeared before him as a Priest and did panchasamskaaram to Neelan. Later, Thirukannapuram Lord Sowriraja Perumal imparted the intricate meanings of Ashtakshari to him. Hence, these two Lordships are considered as “Acharyar” for Azhwar.
Having fulfilled her condition, Neelan approached Kumudavalli .
She replied Oh Prince !
Am glad with your desire in entering a relationship with me .But please understand as your better half I have another condition . I wish you undertake to carry out the bhaagavatha dhadhiaaradanam to 1000 people for one year which gives me immense satisfaction.
Neelan accepts the condition with a smile as she would be his queen soon .
Now , the couple did dhadhiyaaradhanam for one year and continued with the kainkaryam later. The place where he did dhadhiyaaradhanai kainkaryam is known as “Mangai maadam”.
It was a grand feast every day . A vast area was covered with pandals .for devotees thronging daily . It became a sacred shrine with hundred of devotees gathering daily with vaishnava tilaks and glorifying Lordships with songs . Few were discussing the greatness of Neelan and kumudha .Filled with bhagavathas , the place became more vibrant with devotion.
Neelan loved the new role. He never questioned the spending even the coffers of Thirumangai was coming to a stock out position . The Ministers whispered about the coffers getting emptied , but he continued the services selling his jewellary and other precious things .
The news reached the chozha king. He summoned Neelan to return the entire money or face repercussion. As Neelan didn’t oblige, the king had to send an army . Neelan defeated the army with ease . Shocked , the king came in person to wage a war.
Knowing Neelan’s might, the king with the help of his minister, conspired a plan to trick Neelan and arrested him.
Neelan was locked up in a temple for 3 days without food and water.(very similar to bhakta Ramadasar). The ever compassionate Lord Varadarajar of Kanchipuram appeared in Neelan’s dream informing that he could use the wealth lying on the banks of Vegavati river in Kanchipuram to clear the king’s dues.
The next day , Neelan informed the king that he would return the entire money given a chance . The King sent Neelan along with his soldiers to the banks of Vegavati river.
He cleared the king’s dues and kept the balance with him for continuing the bhagavatha kainkaryam which he got infected to.
Neelan resigned from the king’s service and dedicated his full time for bhaagavatha kainkaryam. To continue the kainkaryam, Neelan resorted to looting wealth from the rich peasants who were egoistic selfish and greedy .