Lord waits for his dear devotee “Peria Nambi” during Rathayatra..



Lords chariot waits for Swamy Peria Nambee

Swami Alavandar is universally considered to be the Acharyar of Sri Ramanujacharya, though he had never spoken once to Swami Ramanuja till he lived. Whatever he taught Ramanuja he did it only through his disciples. Alavandar’s disciples were priceless gems. Perianambi, Thirukoshtiyur Nambi, Thirumaalaiyaandan and Peria Thirumalai Nambi were the chief disciples.

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Of these Perianambi personally taught swami Ramanuja and it was Thirukoshtiyur Nambi who made  swamy Ramanuja walk to his place 18 times to learn the meaning of LORD’S name.

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Alavandar had another disciple by name Maraneri Nambi. The other disciples were all high-caste Brahmans whereas  Maraneri Nambi belonged to a caste which was in the lowest rung of the social ladder during those  period.Alavandar did not discriminate between his disciples and he loved Maraneri Nambi more than the other disciples.

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Peria Nambi and Maraneri Nambi were of the same age. They became close friends. They would discuss their teacher’s words and each friend would contribute to the other’s learning. Once Alavandar was suffering from a painful disease called the carbuncle. Carbuncle, known as the King of Boils, Rajapilavai, in Tamil, is caused due to inflammation of tissues in the back and neck.

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The shooting pain emanating from the fast-spreading boil would be unbearable. Antibiotics and painkillers were unknown in those days and it is difficult for us even to imagine the kind of pain the disease inflicted on its victims.

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Swamy Alavandar was suffering silently. He did not even let his disciples know about the disease lest they should be worried. Perianambi and Thirukoshtiyur Nambi alone knew.

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One day Maraneri Nambi went to Alavandar’s house. He insisted that he should see his Guru. Alavandar was hesitant. But Maraneri was adamant. So he was let in. Alavandar tried to cover his pain and welcomed him with a smile.

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He thought that Maraneri had come there to clear his doubts in his lessons. The best way out was to dispose Maraneri as early as possible without letting him find out his disease. Maraneri came into the room and prostrated at his Acharya’s feet.

“May you be blessed, Maraneri Nambi.

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Please get up. You see I have a lot of things to do today.

Please tell me your doubts fast. We don’t have much time.” “Gurudeva, I have been your disciple for decades. Have I asked anything from you?”

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“No.”
“Today I have come to you with a desire. I have set my mind on that object.

And I can’t live without that. You have that with you. Can you give that to me?”

“It’s yours Maraneri. Whatever it is.”

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“Thanks, Gurudeva.”

Maraneri ran out to fetch a silver vessel containing the holy water.

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Alavandar was puzzled.

“Please Gurudeva show me your hands.”

“What for, Maraneri?”

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“When you gift a piece of land you need to solemnize the gift with the holy water, right?”

“Yes, you are right. You want the mutt’s land near the river kaveri .Well, it’s yours.

Take it………………….

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“No, Acharya.

”“Then..’

“Please repeat whatever I am going to say..

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“I, Yamunaithuraivar alias Alavandar, do hereby gift to my disciple Maraneri Nambi, the Rajapilavai disease which I have now, along with the pain, the suffering and all the after-effects.”

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“What the hell you are doing Nambee ?   This is not a game.

This water is holy. And if I repeat whatever you said, then you will have the disease, you moron. Don’t ever say the words again.

“You are one of the greatest Acharyas, the world has ever seen.

You have promised to give whatever I want…….

How can you go back on your word, Gurudeva?”

“But that’s ridiculous, Nambi.”“What is ridiculous, Acharya?

You are our Guru. You have a hundred disciples.

A thousand people come to you every day to listen to your words.

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Even the Lord who sleeps forever in the temple is looking forward to see you every day.“How can you afford to be confined to your bed? And by your kind, wise words you are removing our pains. Pains which have been following us for millions of births. How can you suffer in pain, Acharya?

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“I am a low-born worm, Gurudeva. By accepting me as your disciple you made a gift to me which is worth more than the whole universe.

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“Now, Gurudeva, please.. I beg of you.. please allow me to do my part.

If you refuse to give your disease then I will have no option than to die at your feet. It’s your call.” Alavandar melted. He poured the water on his hand and chanted the appropriate mantra.

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“Please bear with me, Gurudeva. I have one more request.”

Alavandar looked at his disciple through a screen of tears.

“Let this transaction be not known to anybody else in the world.”

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Alavandar was happy and sad at the same time.

Happy that he had such a loving disciple and sad because he was forced to give so much of pain and suffering to such a nice man.

Maraneri Nambi went out as a happy man.

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Peria Nambi met him outside the room.

“Why are you so happy, my friend?”

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“After many decades of discipleship it was only today that our Guru was kind enough to give me a precious prasadam.

And that too only after I compelled him to do so.”

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Perianambi did not understand a word of what his friend said. Alavandar’s recovery was quite dramatic after that day.

A week later Maraneri Nambi was down with carbuncle. It is said that he suffered for three months from shooting pain. Whenever he was in pain he would only chant the name of his Gurudeva.

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Because his Guru’s blessings were fully on him and because the Lord was moved by his selfless love Maraneri Nambi recovered from the disease sooner than the usual time.

Years flew.

  Swamy Alavandar was more than a hundred years old.

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One day he passed away.

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Maraneri Nambi and Perianambi, who were in their eighties, cried a lot over the death of their loving Guru.

Swamy Ramanujacharya then came to Srirangam and took over the reins of the Ashram. Maraneri Nambi was now in his death bed.

 He called his friend Perianambi one day and insisted that he should be left alone with his dear friend.

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“Perianambi, my dear friend, I have a fear.

When I  leave this body they would give  this body to my relatives.

I have quite a lot of them, no doubt.

But most of them are drunkards and cheats.

They would drink arrack, dance around my dead body and utter all profanities.

“I am Swamy  Alavandar’s disciple and I have been thinking only of my Guru and God all these years.

“Giving my body to my relatives would be like giving the sacred ghee offered in the yagas to a street dog.

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My body in which my Guru and my Lord reside should not be humiliated by those crooks.

”Perianambi held his friend’s hands and assured him.

“I will take care of that. Our Lord, our Guru and the new head, the loving  Swamy Ramanuja will never let that happen.

Believe me, Maraneri. “

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Maraneri Nambi was relieved.

He died peacefully in his sleep that very night.

When Perianambi heard of his friend’s death he came running to the Ashram. He supervised all the funeral arrangements himself.

And then he did the unthinkable.

Perianambi who was born in the highest caste of Brahmans did the last rites himself and lit the funeral pyre.

It was nothing short of a revolution in those days.

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How could somebody born in the highest of castes, somebody like Perianambi, do the last rites for someone born in the lowest of castes?

It created a great furore.Many disciples of the mutt opposed Perianambi’s action.

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Perianambi was banned from the temple. He was not allowed to mingle with the people.And somebody took up the matter with  Swamy Ramanuja.

Now Perianambi was Ramanuja’s teacher.

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Ramanuja knew all about Perianambi’s love. He also knew about Maraneri Nambi’s devotion.

After all Ramanuja was the man who stood on the top of the temple wall and revealed the most sacred secret to those born in the lowest of castes, in spite of his Guru’s warnings.

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Yet he wanted the other disciples to know about Peria Nambi and Maraneri Nambi.

He summoned Perianambi to his presence and held a court martial.

“Oh Worshipful Acharya, you have been charged with a very grave offense.

That you did the last rites for a man born in the lowest of castes. You are a learned Brahman. 

“You know it is forbidden by the sasthras. And the punishment prescribed for such an act is total ex-communication.

That is you can’t enter the temple, this mutt or any other Brahman’s house.

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What’s your answer, Acharya?” 

Perianambi knew his disciple like the palm of his hand.

He knew that the show was only for the gallery.

He saw the disciples jeering at him.

Normally a soft-spoken person that eighty year old man now roared like a lion, no like the lion-faced Lord Narasimha.

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“Ramanuja, I have not done anything wrong.

Do I have to remind you that in the great epic Ramayana our Lord Rama did the last rites for a bird, Jadayu?

“Neither am I superior to Rama nor my dear friend Maraneri Nambi inferior to that bird.” 

Measured words.

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Not a single word wasted.

Pointed arguments.

The arrow hit the bull’s eye.

The lion-faced Lord had killed the demon called bigotry.

Or at least that was what he thought……

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Ramanuja clapped his hands like a child.

He then turned to the other disciples. 

“Are you clear now?

Do you have any counter arguments?”

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Nobody spoke.

But very few understood.

Well, they exactly did not have an argument against Perianambi’s powerful example.

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At the same time they were not large-hearted enough to condone Perianambi’s excesses.
They started avoiding Perianambi.

If he went to the temple the priests would leave the place.

If any Brahman saw him on the road he would turn his face the other side and walk away…..

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Swamy Ramanuja came to know of the ill-treatment meted out to Perianambi.

He was very sad.

After teaching love for years and years, these people still acted like fanatics.

‘What’s the big deal? Why should I waste my life teaching these bigots?’

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Ramanuja ran to the temple. It was late in the night.

They were about to close the doors.

They were waiting for the Acharya to finish his darshan.

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Ramanuja was sobbing before the sleeping Lord.

“I tried my best to make them understand Perianambi’s love.

I have failed in my mission.

Please, Lord, you will have to do something about it.

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“Please don’t let Perianambi suffer for his greatest act of love.

Please my, Lord. Please…

”The Lord who is nothing but Love, the Lord who even while sleeping on the banks of Cauvery is constantly thinking about his devotees, the Lord who cannot tolerate any kind of bigotry, just smiled.

He had already made up his mind to teach a lesson to those fanatics.

It was festival time in Srirangam. The very next day was the famous car festival.

The huge Ther (car) of Srirangam was to pass through the house of Perianambi.

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When the Lord’s Ther came into the street Perianambi was sitting in his pooja room with all the sadness in his face.

He had never missed the car festival in the past. Because he was a well-learned Brahman and one of Alavandar’s disciples, the car would stop at the gate of his house so that he could have dharshan.

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But this time it was different. He was not allowed in the temple.

And nobody talked to him. He also knew that the Lord’s car would not stop in front of his house, this time.

His eyes were shedding tears of love…..

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“My Lord, do you also think that what I did was wrong?

Maraneri Nambi is a much better person than I. And I am really proud that I had the blessing to light his funeral pyre.

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“If you have also decided to let me down, Oh My, dear, dear Lord, so be it. If you let me down, I don’t want anybody else to save me.

Do whatever you wish, my Lord.” The Car had just approached the house of Perianambi.

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When Azhagia Manavala Perumal seated in the car was right in front of Perianambi’s house-entrance the huge car suddenly came to a grinding halt.Actually the administrators had cunningly planned to make the car run at double the usual speed when they were crossing Perianambi’s house.

But those petty minds were but small pieces of cotton in that large fire of love whose name was AzhagiaManavala Perumal. He had his say.

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And He always had his way.The gigantic Ther stopped before Perianambi’s house. It looked as if their roles had been reversed. For years and years Perianambi used to wait outside his house for the Lord.

Today the Lord was waiting for him. The administrators thought it was a mechanical problem and could be corrected only if they applied more oil on the axis. Pots of oil were poured on the humongous axis.

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Yet the car would not move.They sent word to the nearby villages. Hundreds of people came to pull the car. The Lord did not even move a milli-metre.They sent word to the stable and six elephants were brought to pull the car. The Lord was adamant. They then went in search of mantrikas and astrologers.The Lord was waiting patiently at the gate of Perianambi’s house.

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Four hours had passed. Perianambi was crying in the pooja room. Nothing moved.The best of mantrikas was summoned. He came there, closed his eyes and went into a state of trance.

After thirty minutes he woke up. “Idiots, you have hurt a good man, a noble soul. Unless you give Lord’s prasadam to him with due respects the Lord will not move an inch from this place. And fools, do remember this.

If he thinks ill of you even for a second you’ll all be burnt to ashes in no time. You can even play with this God. He won’t mind. But never try to play with his devotees.

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You will be annihilated.Emboldened by their silence the mantrika delivered his punchline with aplomb.“You fools, if you have any sense still left in you, fall at Perianambi’s feet and beg his pardon.

Unless he forgives you even this loving Lord will not forgive you. Mind it.”He refused to accept any fees from them.

“I have a strong policy not to accept anything from sinners like you.” He ran away from the place. Then and only then they realized their mistake.

The Chief Priest went into Perianambi’s house and fell at his feet. “Perianambi, our Lord, Azhakia Manavalar is waiting to see you.

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At your gate. Looks like He won’t move any further unless you come out and see him. ‘Please come with me and accept the Lord’s prasadam. And please forgive all of us. We are all petty-minded people.

 “We now know for sure that you are on our Lord’s side. No, no, our Lord is on your side. Please come, Peria Nambi. The Lord has been waiting for you for the past four hours.” Perianambi ran out of the house.

It was a sight to see almost the entire town falling at his feet.He ignored them all and fell before the huge car.

The Chief Priest lifted him up and honoured him with the Lord’s cloth and his sadari. A garland was taken from the Lord and was placed on Perianambi’s neck.

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Azhagia Manavala Perumal was affectionately smiling at his devotee. Perianambi was respected like a King amongst his peers.

For did not the Lord Himself stop at his place? Seeing the bewitching smile on Azhakia Manavalar’s most beautiful face Peria Nambi folded his hands.

He did not even attempt to control his sobs. “Any day your love is a million times better than mine, my Lord. Give me a billion births to be born as a worm to be crushed by the feet of your loving devotees. I can’t even repay a small fraction of your love.

Oh My Lord, you stopped at my place! You stopped at the house of this worm! You waited for me! My Lord! My Lord!”

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The Chief Priest came near Perianambi and gently reminded him.“Please let the Lord go, Perianambi. It’s getting late, you see. Please..”

Perianambi moved away.

The Lord took leave of his devotee and resumed his onward journey. The huge car now moved as if its wheels were on air.

The gigantic Chariot started moving when less than fifty people gently pulled its ropes.

Credits :  HG Shri  Varalotti Rengasamy

All glories to Peria nambee
All glories to Alavandar
Srimathey Ramanujaya namah:

Pics :  Thanks to Google images /and other websites shared by advance devotees

ThirupaAn Azhwar .. emotional outburst ..My eyes that have seen” Supreme Lord ” will not see anything else! ” En Amuthanai kanda kangal Matrrondrai Kaanaave “


ThirupAan azhwar appeared during  the month of Karthikai in the Rohini thirunakshatram at Uraiyur near Srirangam

 

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Azhwar was a ardent devotee of Lord Ranganatha and  used to sing songs in praise of the Lord with the accompaniment of his veenai . Azhwar  used to walk from Uraiyur to Srirangam which was almost 20 miles , but did not attempt to go  inside the temple due to the practices followed by the temple those days .

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 He used to stand at the southern bank of river Kaveri facing the temple and used to glorify the Supreme Lord  singing on his veenai . This was going on for a long time.

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 One day early in the morning hours , he was singing song in praise of the Lord with deep devotion and was in a absolute trance.

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LokaSarangar, the chief priest of Lord Ranganatha’s temple came to river Kaveri  as a routine , to  collect kaveri  water for ( abhishekam ) thirumanjanam to the Lordships . As he found ThirupaNazwar who was in a trance , obstructing his path, he told him to leave the place .

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ThirupaNazwar who was in a different mood ,  did not hear anything as he was totally immersed in Lord Ranganatha’s glory and  oblivious to his surroundings.

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Lokasarangar got very angry . He picked up a stone and threw it at ThirupaNan  to disurb him from the mood. 

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It struck ThirupaNa’s forehead and  thus he suddenly came out of his trance.

A true devotee , he pleaded with  the Priest Lokasarangar to forgive him for his mistake and left the place hurriedly .

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Lokasarangar reached the temple with the kaveri water . He was  panicked to find Lord was unhappy with his arrogance  and  was  worried.

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That night Lord Ranganatha appeared in his dream and told him that by hurting His true devotee he had committed a grave mistake. He ordered him to bring ThirupaN to the temple, carrying him on his shoulders.

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Next morning Lokasarangar went in search of he great devotee  ThirupaN with  other devotees . 

He located the devotee  at the bank of Kaveri singing in deep devotion .  Running  towards him , he fell at his feet and pleaded him to forgive him for the act . He requested Azhwar,  that the Lord had ordered him to bring him to the temple.

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ThirupaN was aghast and told Lokasrangar,

“Swami, I come from a low caste and I am not allowed even to set foot in Srirangam.

How can I go into the temple and have  Lord’s darshan?”

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 The Priest Lokasarngar  replied …

  Swamin !!!  “You do not have to set foot, but  

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…. Please allow me to  carry you on my shoulders as per the Lord’s order.”

As ThirupaN was still hesitating, Lokasarangar had to convince him to accede to his request as it  was from Supreme Lord ……

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When Lokasarangar carried Thirupan on his shoulders surrounded by  vedic pundits , the people of Srirangam watched with astonishment.

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It was a celebration …

The devotee was being carried by the Chief Priest .

The group  reached the temple and Lokasarangar took him to the sanctum .

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ThirupaN was in total bliss to  get darshan of  the Lord’s Sayana Thirukolam.

He was so bewitched to see the Lord’s beauty.  He  immediately started singing describing the Lord’s beauty from

( Lotus feet to his blossoming divine face )Thiruvadi to Thirumudi in ten  wonderful pasurams.

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This outpouring during his very first darshanam of LORD  glorified as “Amalan Aathipiraan.” which is among the 4000 Divya prabhanda pasurams .

 

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As ThirupaNazwar finished singing he merged with Lord Ranganatha while the onlookers were looking dumb-founded. Thus he was also blessed like Andal to merge with the Lord.

* koNdal vaNNanaik *

kOvalanAy veNNey uNda vAyan *

en uLLam kavarndhAnai **

aNdar kOn aNi arangkan *

en amudhinaik kaNda kaNgaL *

maRRonRinaik kANAvE

 Having  seen the One whose color dark like   rain clouds
and  the one with the mouth that swallowed the butter of cowherds,
He is the Lord of the devas,
He is Lord Ranganatha,
He is my nectar, my life !
My eyes  that have seen my Supreme  Lord and will not see anything else!

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In Amalanaathipiraan   ThirupaN Azwar describes Lord’s beauty from His Kamala Thiruptham to His thirumudi part by part and also sangu, chakram .

The Lord  once again reconfirms that  caste, colour or creed is no bar for a true devotee to  reach his lotus feet . Lord’s grace and benevolence is showered on his true bhakthas without any discrimination.

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Azhwars Appearance day is celebrated in all Srivaishnava temples in grand scale.

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Photos Courtesy :  Google images  uploaded by advance devotees

LORD RAMA ANSWERS A BRITISHER’S PRAYER


LORD RAMA ANSWERS A BRITISHER’S PRAYER

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It was during the period 1795 to 1799 a British officer called Colonel Lionel Blazehe was Collector of Chengalpattu District . Colonel Lionel  on his routine survey had witnessed two cracks to the huge tank in Madurantakam taluk.

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The enormity of the problem can be appreciated only when we know of the massive size of the tank. Having an area of 13 square miles and a depth of 21 feet, the breaching of the tank following torrential downpour was any official’s nightmare. Wanting to take preemptive action in the year 1798 the Collector camped at Madurantakam.

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During his sojourn the Collector was exploring ways and means to undertake urgent repairs of the breaches if and when they happened. During the course of his inspections, he happened to see a large collection of granite and other stones in the precincts of the  LOrd Sri Rama temple near to the tank .

ramaaThe Collector mentioned to his subordinates that these granite stones  could be put to use in restoration of the bunds. Hearing this the temple priests submitted that the stones were meant for constructing a separate shrine for  Mother Janakavalli Thayar and since there was paucity of funds,  the construction could not commence.

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Noticing this the Collector is said to have remarked that where was the need for a separate shrine when more urgent work like repairing the bunds were crying for resources and asked the priests jestingly as to why the Lord was not able to save the tank each year? The priests replied saying that the Lord was always known to answer a sincere prayer from the heart.

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Meanwhile ,  during his stay , the rains came and it poured and in a few days the tank was full to the brim and a rupture seemed imminent. That night a worried Collector camped near the tank hoping against hope that the bunds would hold. The water level had risen alarmingly .In another hour or so of the rain and the lake would breach submerging the whole villages and since rain was still coming down in sheets accompanied by a storms , there seemed little hope of averting the inevitable.

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He imagined whether it was the will of the Jesus that he should die in a heathen land,forsaking his beautiful wife and affectionate children in distant England? The moment these thoughts occurred to him, he banished them with guilt-he was the District Collector, responsible for the lives and safety of thousands. They looked up to him with child-like faith, hoping against hope that the fair-skinned “Durai” would somehow work a miracle and save them all from certain death.

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But what could he do in the face of Nature’s unrelenting fury? The swirling waters of the lake were looking more menacing by the minute, and the wind had snatched away the umbrella held over his head by a lackey, apparently angered at the Collector’s efforts at protecting his head while thousands innocent villagers were drenched to the skin stretched tightly over their skeletal bodies. He was desperate and could think of no way to prevent the waters rushing out on their terrible mission of destruction.

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The  pious old priest of the temple, who had spoken of the temple deities reached the Collector’s side and, picking up courage, told the Official that only Lord Rama could save them now, as the situation seemed beyond human intervention. He explained to the skeptical Englishman the immense power of the Lord and His matchless beauty.

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In the drenching downpour, despite the shivering , swallowing away many of his words, his broken English, he gave the foreigner an account of the exploits of Lord Sri Rama and of His bridging the vast ocean with the aid of mere monkeys. He narrated about Lord Rama who from a royal family had spent fourteen hard years in the jungle, just to obey an unjust command supposedly from His father and conveyed to Him by a step-mother who was intent on making her own son the heir to the throne.The old Priest said , when we are drowning, we tend to clutch at straws in desperation, especially when nothing else is available to hold on to. The British man was in a similar situation.

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Though his strict Christian upbringing and military training prompted only disbelief at the Priest tales, still an image began to form in his mind of a tall, handsome Prince, with a long bow held aloft in His powerful hands, the personification of mercy and righteous conduct, the symbol of sacrifice.

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His lotus-like eyes brimming with mercy for all mortals, and accompanied by an equally impressive figure, obviously a younger brother and ever ready to rush to the rescue of those in distress, at a mere call for safety, be it from whichever quarter. And once the image of the bewitching Lord entered his mind, the britisher found it was difficult to shake it off and experienced an extremely pleasurable sensation, even amidst the desperate situation he found himself trapped in.

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Still , his mind reluctantly he posed round to the possibility of appealing to this mythological hero for aid, which seemed the only thing left, especially since all other efforts had failed. And once his mind accepted what was hitherto unthinkable for him, he felt unreasonably accepted and prayed in his heart of hearts to Lord Sri Rama to somehow, somehow, lead him and thousands of villagers out of this apparently inescapable end.

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“Oh Sri Rama!” prayed the Britisher ,” Please do this, if not for my sake, then for the sake of the thousands who believe in You with all their spiritual might and conviction. I was listening to the stories of Your impossible feats with only half an ear.

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However, if it was possible for You to conquer that vast body of waters (lying between You and Lanka) with the mere threat of retribution, it should be no difficult task for You to control the menacing waters of this MadhurAntakam lake and to keep them confined to the inner bunds.

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I know understand well that these are the words of an ignorant fool who lacks absolute faith in You.He inwardly prayed LORD SREE RAMA .

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Do this for me and for the sake of the hundreds of men, women and children who are in danger , and I shall surely build a temple for Your Consort, whom You appear to love dearly. Lord, please do help me!” The Britisher saw a miraculous sight. He saw two warriors bearing bow and quiver guarding the bunds.

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He went on his knees and prayed, for he knew it was none other than Lord Rama and his divine brother Lakshmana in his heart inwardly . It was indeed strange that nobody else who was a part of the Collector’s team saw the Lord. The awe-struck foreigner, overjoyed by the unbelievable fainted and fell on the sandy silty tank bund with a thud, slipping into unconsciousness, obviously incapable of absorbing the full delight of the divine spectacle.

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When he emerged from his trance, Colonel found himself in his comfortable bed in his own quarters . The impossible situation in which he had fainted, the Collector sat up with a jerk and demanded from his subordinates the latest position on the flooding threat, and felt immense relief wash over him when told that the rains had stopped with miraculous suddenness during the night and the lake waters too, poised on the brink, had receded to fairly safe levels.

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Through a planned opening of the sluices, the water level was brought back to near normal and the threat had blown-over. After a while the vision evanesced the rain stopped.

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The Transcendental image of the Lord and His infinite mercy in answering the insincere prayers of an unbelieving foreigner continued to occupy the Britisher thoughts forever, and he used to recount the tale with devotion to skeptical audiences even after his return to England.

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The grateful Collector undertook the building of the shrine for  Mother Janakavalli thayar and the Sri Rama in the temple came to be known as the Erikatha Ramar (Rama who saved the tank). The edict with the Collector’s name citing him as a benefactor can be seen even today in the Madurantakam temple.

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The temple of Madurantakam is situated 50 km from Chennai on the Grand Southern Trunk road leading to Trichy. There is a separate shrine for Sri Periya Nambigal and Sri Ramanujar here in this temple. This is said to be the only temple where Swamy Ramanujar is seen as a Grahastha (married person) and is seen with white clothing instead of saffron, as seen in other temples.The great event of Swamy Ramanujars Panchasamaskara Vybhavam  is  celebrated  during August  month .

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All glories to LORD SREE RAMA
All glories to the Britisher who surrendered to LORD
Jai Jai Sree Rama
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
sri-rama-pattabhishekam
Pics : Courtesy Google

video credits : chkrman

Lord Krishna declares ..” Masanam Margaseershoaham’ literaly meaning ‘Mathangalil naan Margazhi’…and Goddess Andaal shows us how to seek LORD in this auspicious month …


 

Lord Krishna reveals that he manifests himself as the month of Margazhi, when He describes his Vibhoothi to Arjuna in the 10th chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita

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This Tamil month of Margazhi conjures up different experiences . Sanctums in almost all temples open in the small hours blaring songs to wake up people early. The devotees make pre-dawn visits to have darshan at the temples. The colourful kolams ( rangolis ) at the entrance of the houses and temples before sun rise with flowers adds to the devotional spirit. This month is entirely devoted to devotional and spiritual activities.

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Devotees chant holy names by doing Nama Sangeerthanam and Nagarasangeerthanam .THE 30 pasurams of Thiruppavai sung by Aandal who is reverentially called ‘Soodi Kodutha Sudarkodi’, Mother Andal set the example of showing devotion to God through deep love and total surrender .The appearance of mother Andal during the tamil month Aadee is very special and hence one glorification goes like Thiruvaadi poorathu jagathudithaal vazhiye

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The only divya desams where Perumal, Azhwar and Naachiyar had done thiru avatharam is the holy shrine Srivilliputhur near Madurai . Also our mother Andal came from Moolasthanam to garbagruham to welcome Swami Ramanuja and addresses  our JagathAcharyar as   Anna and hence during margazhi utsavams,  Swamy Ramanujar is welcomed  as ” aruLapAdu Koil Annan” .
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Srivilliputhur has been given to Sri Andal as ‘Sri dhanam’ by Lord Varaha Perumal (Adhipathi of the kshetram), Sri Vada Perunkoviludayan (referred to as ‘Kannan’ by Sri Andal) & ‘oru magal thannai udayavarana’ Sri Periazhwar  and hence this is the reason  all the houses in Srivilliputhur are glorified  as ‘Nachiar Thirumaaligai’ and  the Sannidhi is also be called as ‘Nachiar Devasthanam’

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And importantly not like other Nachimaars, for whom birth place is different from the husband’s place,  Andal has both these places  as the same place.

This is another specialty for Sri Andal .

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Mother Andal  has given  sama asana,     Thiruvaradanam, amudhu seithal together  to  Peria Thiruvadi ( Sri Garudazhwar ) during the month of July  August ….a4


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By this, She proves the kalayana guna  of treating her  devotees  in par  in taking them to the lotus feet of Lord  . Another speciality  in Srivilliputhur is that,aa Sri Periazhwar has done ThiruAradhana  kainkaryam  to  mother Andal here. This is the   a rare specialty compared to other  Andal sannidhis.

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Our Jaganmatha Andal after singing the immortal poem “Thiruppavai,” goes for a well deserved sleep.ee
Lord appears in her dream.
A pleasant dream of  divine wedlock.
It is also a pleasant dream of number of emissaries carrying her message of love to her beloved Lord of Dwaraka.

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In the transcendental mood , suddenly  . Mother  Andal wakes up and recollects the divine experience ….

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She thanks Lord for granting her wish

Lord advises Andaal once again to sing one more song as pleasant as Thiruppavai.ttttt

Andaal is overjoyed …

She replies …Lord !!! Me …

Yes !!! replied the LORD …

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Did you not seek the ‘kingdom of service’?

and I want you to continue your song”.

Andaal had no qualms about it.

She decides to sing what she had dreamt.

Thus was born the immortal ‘NACHIYAR THIRUMOZHI ’ of one hundred and forty odd wonderful hymns.

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At this holy place ,every day a parrot adorns our Thayar  which is conducted as a special ritual in this temple

This parrot is made of special leaves every day and presented to the Lordships Presiding Deity , Andal at Srivilliputtur.
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This parrot is made every day with leaves and kept In the left hand of Sri Andal.c

At the end of the day, It is given to devotees who seek for blessings ….‘ Kili viDu Thuthu’ is a genre in Tamil.

Andaal is said to have sent the parrot to Lord Sriman Narayana to express the message of her love.800px-Parrot,_SrivilliputturSrivilliputtur_Thiruvaadipooram_2013_21 

The Lord listens to her wonderful hymns with utmost interest and enjoys every bit of it.

Lord out of His infinite mercy, grants her wish of ‘service’ and also the grand ‘wedlock’a

How can we ever know the dream of Andal if she had not chosen to tell us?

Are not dreams in the personal domain of the individual?

Only after Andal had sung the two immortal songs, does the Lord arrange for the marriage retinue to call on her father and urges him to wed his daughter for him at Sri Rangam.dd

Andaal’s entry into eternity,through the temple of Sri Rangam is a sequence of fascinating events. Its a constant reminder for jivatmaas to seek Paramatmaa .

Jaganmathas appearance day  is celebrated   during July /August  in ThiruAdipooram star , at all sri vaishnava temples   and every day all srivaishnavas recite THIRUPPAVAI which binds us to our Divine parents …a2Srivilliputtur_Thiruvaadipooram_2013_29

Forever and forever, in this and the next seven births  ,

May we  be  privileged to have a relationship with YOU and YOU only …..

We surrender to Divya dampathees

 

Oh ! LORD !!!!
and please shower us this boon that we should be beholden and offer worship  to  YOU  and only YOU and not any other

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Thiruvaadi  poorathu jagath tudithal vazhiyeThiruppavai muppadum cheppinall vazhiyePeriyazhvaar pettreduththa pennpillai vazhiyePerumpoodur maamanikku pinnanall vazhiyeOru nootru narpathu moondr uraiththall vazhiyeUyararangarke kanni ugandhaliththal vazhiyeMaruvarum thirumalli vada nazhi vazhiyeVan puduvai nagar Kodhai malar padangall Vazhiye andal-srivilliputtur

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

video credits :  Shangu Chakra Gadha Padmam ,

Bombay saradhaPictures : Srman Srinivasa Raghavan , google images uploaded in social media by various groups

Continue reading “Lord Krishna declares ..” Masanam Margaseershoaham’ literaly meaning ‘Mathangalil naan Margazhi’…and Goddess Andaal shows us how to seek LORD in this auspicious month …”

Kooresa ..The most advanced srivaishnava ..


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“yO nItyamachutha padAmbhuja yugmarugma
vyAmOhatas-tadI-tarANI trNAya mEnE
asmath gurOr bhagavatOsya daIyaIyaka sIndOhO
rAmAnujasya charanow sharanam prapadyE !”

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—-“The Holy Feet of My Master, Ramanuja, are my sole refuge!     

For He Is an Ocean of Mercy! And for Him. ……

all else Is dross other than the supreme wealth that Is the Holy Feet of God!” ……

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This wonderful prayer was recited by the great saint Swamy Koorath Azhwan on his Acharyar Swami Ramanujar ..

offering obeisances.. and this glorifications is recited by all vaishnavas daily in their prayers and this sloka  is  unconditional  surrender to the lotus feet of Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja …

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The story of Swamy Kuresan’s lIfe has been told many times over the centuries. Nonetheless,It Is a lIfe-story of such nobIlIty and InspIratIon that It wIll bear repetition Inumerable tImes tIll the yuga ends.

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Swamy Kuresan appeared at a place called “kooram” near KanchIpuram.

He belonged to the clan of the HarItas and to a well-to-do, land-owning and properties. Kuresan had a gem of a person In hIs young and homely wIfe, AndAlammA.

They lIved a happy and contented lIfe In Kuram near to Kancheepuram

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The couple  were both known In KanchI for theIr unstIntIng philanthropy and kindness. They were both ardent devotees of  Lord KanchI Varadarajan the presiding deIty of the holy cIty.

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Under some dIvIne interventIon Kuresan quIckly became a dIscIple of Swamy RamanujAchArya and thus Kuresan started a new chapter In hIs lIfe at the capItal of VaIshnavIsm SrIRangam.

kkkkkkkkHe was one of the closest dIscIples of Swamy SrIRamanuja.

He assIsted Ramanujacharya In all aspects and affaIrs of hIs mInIstry… the temple of Lord SrIRanganatha and the SrIVaIshnava communIty.

He was Ramanuja’s aIde In scrIptural study, dIsputatIons and exegesIs. He was at hIs beck and call.

He tended to hIs mInutest needs.

He was hIs factotum.

HIs amanuensIs.

HIs valet.

HIs eyes and ears.

HIs conscIence keeper.

HIs alter ego….

Kuresan soon became hIs Master’s faithful shadow.

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Kuresan and Swamy Ramanuja proceeded to compose the great standard works of “srI-sampradAyam” that have come down to posterIty —

“srI-bhAshya”,

“vedanta-deepa”,

“vedanta-sAra”,

“vedArtha-sangraha” and

“gIta-bhAshya”.

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Later after hIs VIjaya YathIraI , Swamy Ramanuja fInIshed hIs Immortal “srI-bhAshyA” with a sense of utter fulfillment thanks to the “vruttI” and even greater thanks to the darIng enterprIse and phenomenal memory of hIs chIef dIscIple, SrI.Kuresan!

Swamy Ramanujas stature as a gIant of an “AchAryA” In the VedantIc galaxy of IndIa became secure.

SrI VaIshnavam had reached Its pInnacle of development around that tIme.

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Amongst some sectIons of the people whIch at that tIme was concentrated around GangaI-konda- sozha-puram… near ChIdambaram … hatred to SrIVaIshnavaIsm and of Swamy Ramanuja began to flare up.

 

The KIng of ChozhanAd at that time was a tyrant who was also a SaIvIte fanatic.

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HIs name was KrImIkantha Chola of the clan of the Kollutunga kIngs.

He  was hell-bent on rooting out VaIshnavIsm in hIs kIngdom and the best way to do that, he thought, was to destroy Swamy Kuresan then volunteered to go as Ramanuja’s proxy and respond to the royal summons.

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In the process Kuresan plucks hIs own eyes rebuking their usage that set sights on a sinner like that fanatIc kIng .ThIs Chola tyrant, KIng KrImIkantha, dIed of a deadly tumour that grew InsIde hIs neck in a day or two for the grave sin committed on a ardent devotee of LORD .

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After hIs death, the fanatIc frInge of SaIvIsm  lost Its mIlItant edge and the land of the Cholas agaIn reverted to sanIty and Its hIgh cIvIlIzatIon.KrImIkanta Chola’s successor was hIs son who turned out to be a wise kIng utterly unlIke hIs father.

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He dIscouraged relIgIous bIgotry In hIs kIngdom and allowed freedom of faIth and worshIp amongst all hIs subjects. TakIng leave of hIs vast followIng In the Mysore regIons of TIrunarayanapuram, and at the rIpe old age of around 100, Swamy IRamanuja fInally decIded to return In trIumph to  SrIRangam.

HavIng e learnt that his Acharyar  Ramanuja was returnIng to SrIRangam, Kuresan and his famIly, exiled In TIrumalIrunjolaI for several years, returned to the capItal. 

Kuresan worked tIrelessly at SrIrangam all hIs lIfe for hIs Acharyar  Ramanuja who was by then more than 110 years old and also for the cause of SrIVaIshnavaIsm whIch had by then become fIrmly establIshed as a dIstInctIve shool of VedantIc thought and practIce In IndIa.

It so happened , One day blInd Kuresan went all by hImself to vIsIt Lord of Lords  Ranganathar In the temple. After offerIng worshIp Kuresa contInued to lInger behInd In the presence of the Lord.

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The reclInIng LORD was a lIttle surprised and asked Kuresan,

“You seem to have somethIng to say to Me, Kuresa?”.

Kuresan replIed,

“No my Lord! I am here so that I may sIng your praIse to my hearts content!”.

LORD was pleased and saId,

“Kuresa, you have pleased me today! Ask of me any favour you want!”.

Kuresan quIckly replIed,

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“O Lord Ranga, you have bestowed me wIth every blessIng and gIft In lIfe!

There Is nothIng that I lack! What can I ask thee further?”.

The LORD however pressed Kuresan,

“No, once more ask, and ask for more, If not for yourself, then ask for the love that I bear towards my beloved spouse, RanganayakI, and towards my Ramanuja!”.

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Kuresan then prayed LORD that he be released from hIs mortal body and be merged In the Lord’s Feet.

  Lord , however demurred and saId,

“Ask me anythIng but that,

Kuresan! SaId LORD …….

Kuresan saId he had nothIng else to ask. 

LORD Ranganathar fInally relented and saId,

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“Let It be so then! What you have asked of me, Kuresan, shall be boon for not only thee but also a boon conferred upon everyone that has any sort of kInshIp wIth thee!”.

On receIvIng the supreme blessIng from the LORD  of SrIrangam,

Kuresan walked out of the temple wIth hIs head held hIgh In prIde!

He felt lIke a crown-prInce who was about to be coronated In the KIngdom of God!

He went home wIth hIs spIrIt soarIng!

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MeanwhIle thIs news of Kuresan’s prayers answered wIth Lord Ranganathan quIckly reached Swamy Ramanuja .

When the old AchArya heard of the divine  IncIdent , He stood up ImmedIately, and throwIng hIs upper garment In the aIr, and  great rejoIces  for the great boon gIven to hIs dIscIple

The old achAryA’s behavIour was so unusual that a dIscIple sIlently questIons their Acharyar .

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 Swamy Ramanuja  was immensely pleased and replIes ,

Look my children !!

  When “My faIthful one, do I also not bear kInshIp wIth my Kuresan!

My salvatIon too Is now assured by the boon that Lord Ranga has granted my Kuresan!”

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It was an Ironic but wonderful reversal of roles!

Usually It Is by the guru’s Inter Cession that God’s grace Is fetched for a dIscIple. But here In the case of Kuresan and Ramanuja,

It was the Master who was benefiting from the dIscIple’s stock wIth the AlmIghty!

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The old pontIff then left hIs Mutt and made hIs way to the quarters of Kuresan In the other part of SrIRangam. Kuresan was waItIng for hIs guru. When the Master met Kuresan he questIons hIs dIscIple ,

“What have you done,Kuresan?!

You have gone and done a deed wIthout even consultIng me your guru?”.

Swamy Ramanuja’s tone was a bIt remonstrate and a bIt accusatory too.

So Kuresan kept sIlent.

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“Why do you not speak, Kuresa?

What was your purpose In goIng to our Lord Ranga and beggIng HIm

to let go of thee far In advance of someone lIke me here who Is so far gone In age?

Do you wIsh to be gone ahead of me, my dear Kuresa?

Why?”.

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Kuresan spoke In soft tones,

“My Master, my most Holy SIre!

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My sole purpose was to preserve the order of precedence In “parama-padam”….

In Lords KIngdom.”.

“Don’t speak to me In rIddles and conundrums, Kuresa!

I am your Acharyan , speak plaInly wIth me!”, gently chIded Ramanuja.

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SwamIn !!, In the “pasuram” “muDIyuDaI”

It Is saId that our elders In heaven who preceded us come out of the gates of “parama=padam” to welcome theIr younger brothers when It Is the latter’s turn to arrIve there…. and then the elders usher the young ones Into God’s Presence.

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SIre, but thIs I consIder as beIng of Improper order!

It Is the younger ones who should always go fIrst and prepare In Heaven to receIve and welcome theIr elders.

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That Is the order of precedence I wIsh to preserve!

Hence, SIre, I go In advance so that I may welcome my Master when he arrIves there In good tIme!”.

When Ramanuja heard Kuresan’s stIrrIng words hIs whole body shook wIth tremors of emotIon. HIs spIrIt melted.

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“My most beloved Kuresan, you forget the rule In Heaven that all dIfferences and dIstInctIon between elder and young, between wIse and Ignorant, between saInt and sInner sImply dIsappear there! And….

yet you Kuresan, who has served me here so devotedly as a dIscIple, wIsh to perpetuate In Heaven too the same relatIonshIp that exIsted between you and me here on earth!

O, my dearest Kuresa, Is there anybody to match you In thIs world! Kuresa, my beloved chIld!”.

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The aged Swamy Ramanuja could not contaIn hIs tears and rushIng forward took hold of hIs dIscIple and embraced hIm.

“Kuresa, my Kuresa, my dearest son, you are my very soul!

How can I part wIth thee?

You say you want to leave thIs old man behInd alone In thIs world!

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Can you not be kInd-earted to thIs Master of yours of so many years? Take me too wIth you, my son, to the KIngdom of God!

Why do you want to leave me behInd to suffer the pangs of separatIon? WhIle I am yet here upon thIs earth, how can you be so anxIous for Heaven,

O Kuresa? Tell me, how can you enjoy “parama-padam” wIthout me?”

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On hearIng hIs old guru’s wrenchIng words, Kuresan heart was torn to shreds by emotIon.

He was stunned Into a poignant sIlence.

After a moment Kuresan meekly replIed….

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“My Master, my Great SwamIn 

In the depth of my thoughts for the mIserIes of earthly exIstence,

AdIyen completely forgot the poInt that you have raIsed!

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Pray forgIve me please, SIre, please pardon for me my thoughtlessness even In the presence of God!”. Ramanuja then saId,

“If Lord Ranga can grant you a boon such as that whIch you asked hIm, Kuresa, surely He can grant me one too!

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So I wIll go rIght now to HIs temple and ask hIm to stop you here on earth for my sake!”. So sayIng Ramanuja turned and walked a few paces towards the temple of Lord Rangantha….

but then after a short distance paused abruptly and reflected aloud…

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“The WIll of God Is unalterable! What audacity on my part to go and force HIm to change it …

No! Let me submIt and be resIgned to the DIvIne Inevitable!”.

So sayIng the old guru retraced hIs steps towards Kuresan.

Ramanuja now faced Kuresan and spoke In a clear voIce: “

Kuresa! When you are gone how shall I lIve wIthout thee?

Alas,

God In “parama-padam” has attracted thee, even though our Ranga here has all attractIons too!

So then yet have you decIded to sever yourself from Lord Ranga here! Happy Is the God In “parama-padam” and happy HIs celestIals to claIm thee as one of theIr own!

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“But Kuresa, I am an old and fadIng man now, let me not change your mInd and dIsturb thy plans! Be It all as thou wIshest! All HaIl to you, my dearest Kuresa! Go now, go now and proceed to the Blessed KIngdom of God and rule there In eternal Peace and HappIness!”.

So sayIng Ramanuja gathered the blInd Kuresan In hIs arms and smothered hIm wIth love, strokIng hIs head and shoulders as If he were a but mere a chIld.

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“Kuresa, In thIs moment when you have to depart from me, I salute thee now, my son!”.

It was moment of dIvIne pathos. Kuresan had no words left In hIm! Such was hIs stupefIed condItIon of beIng that he sImply lay motIonless In the arms of hIs great “achAryA” who clasped hIm In hIs arms as If he were a tIny Infant!

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After a whIle Kuresan dIsengaged hImself slowly and sImply fell at Swamy Ramanuja’s lotus  feet lIke a log of senseless wood. The old guru then bent down and raIsed hIs dIscIple and wIped away hIs tears.

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“Go now, my chIld, go now quIckly to the Lord! Thou hast now my leave to depart!”.

So sayIng the aged and venerable  Swamy Ramanuja turned and slowly made hIs way to return to hIs monastery……..

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It was at that moment that a most excellent and poIgnant prayer (“tanIan”)…

In euphonIums SanskrIt sprang spontaneously to Kuresan’s lIps and whIch even to thIs day all devout followers of SrIRamanuja recIte In theIr homes daIly and at all tImes:

“yO nItyamachutha padAmbhuja yugmarugma    vyAmOhatas-tadI-tarANI trNAya mEnEasmath gurOr bhagavatOsya daIyaIyaka sIndOhO rAmAnujasya charanow sharanam prapadyE !”.

Watch the following clips in which the vaibhavam of Kooram and Azhwar is explained by Bhattar


Inspired and adapted from an article shared by a advanced devotee Shri Varalotti Rengasamy

Pics : Courtesy Google images /Social media uploaded by advanced devotees

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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“Manakkal Nambi” (SriRamamishrar) the great saint’s role in Sri vaishnavism


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 The most revered disciple Swami Rama Misra (Manakkal Nambi) appeared at maNakkAl (a village on the banks of river cauvery, near srirangam).  He lived with his Acharyan UyyakkondAr and served him for 12 years  at the holy place Thiruvellarai. . UyyakkondAr pleased with Swami Rama Mishrar  appoints him  as his successor while leaving to paramapadham  ( srivaikuntam) . He  advises his disciple Rama mishrar ( Nambi)   to train Ishvara muni’s son Swamy Yamunacharya such that he takes over the duty of  spreading the sri vaishnava dharisanam.

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Meanwhile  at Srirangam , Swamy  Yamunar   joins the school of Sri Mahabhashya Bhatta  who is well versed in all the  vaishnava sampradayas . During this period all the Vidwans (scholars) in the Chola Kingdom had to pay annual tribute (prescribed fee) to Aakkialwan, the royal purohit who was close to the King .

As it is the case ,one day on receiving the notice for payment  , Mahabhashya Bhatta  became very sad, as he was penny less. Observing his  Acharyars  sad face, and coming to know the difficult situation, Swamy Yamunacharya  took it upon Himself to put an end to the audacity and the atrocity of  Royal  purohit Aakkialwan .   In presence of the gaurds ,Yamauna  tears  the notice to pieces and sends the messenger back.

On hearing the happenings there ,  Aakkialwan send backs   the messenger  to check  whether Yamuna  was a poet or a scholar well versed in Shastras.   The gaurds  come to know about Yamunas  proficiency from the neighbors   and  informs the Purohit about his strong hating to the opponents .

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 Aakkialwan  ,  astonished at the scholarship of  Yamuna informs the  Chola King.

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The King orders  this young Scholar to come to his court immediately. Yamuna   bluntly refuses. The King realizing that he wasn¡¯t dealing with an ordinary person, sends a palanquin along with  bearers to bring Swamy Yamuna.

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As Yamuna reaches the courts, he  passes  a sloka to show his scholarship.

¨ Though you strive hard to find an equal to me ,  mastered both the Meemamsas starting from the slope of the Himalaya mountain (in the north) which is lucky enough to possess the tender foot prints of the mountain girl Parvathi up to the bridge (in the south) which caused the blooming of the Lotus like face of Sita, abducted by the demon Ravana and also beginning from the rising mountain (in the east) of both the luminaries Sun and Moon and ending with the setting mountain (in the west).

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As  Aakkialwan read the sloka, his face turned red  and he shouted aloud that he would debate with this young imposter. Looking at Yamuna, the king orders  him ..

Young man …

You please start the debate with our court pundit, Aakkialwan to prove your scholarship

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 Yamuna replied, ¡ Well, your Majesty it is hard for you to decide who is  the winner and the loser when we debate and we both may not accept defeat. Therefore it would be appropriate if we argue in the midst of learned scholars who are assembled here

Having invited all learned men, the King occupying  the royal throne along with his queen at the debating hall looks at the young  man  . The queen, being very much impressed by the handsome appearance of the young man, drew the attention of the King towards him and exclaimed that he would never sustain defeat in the wordy quarrel. If at all  Yamuna is defeated, she said that she would become a maid and cook the food for the dogs in the palace. The King too retorted saying that in case Aakkialwan was the loser, he would part with half of his kingdom by presenting it to  Yamuna.

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The debate started much to the eagerness of the Royal couple . Aakkialwan said to  Yamuna,  Let us start with ordinary worldly affairs. I will negate all your affirmatives and your negative statements will be made affirmatives by me. Agreeing to this proposal, Swamy Yamuna uttered three sentences to Aakkialwan expecting him to counter the statements ..

1) Your mother is a barren woman.

2) The King is righteous one

3) The Queen is a very chaste woman.

Fearing  severe punishment at the hands of the king by the denial of the three statements, Aakkialwan simply blinked and winged his hands.

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 Yamuna came out with his denial of these three statements and explained from sastras .

1) A single tree cannot become a garden. Similarly one child is not enough to make a mother. As Aakkialwan is the only son of his mother, she is still a barren woman.
2) The sins committed by the subjects will go to the King, as he has not prevented them from doing so. Thus the king loses his righteousness.
3) Normally a girl becomes the wife of some divine personalities like Indra etc. after her marriage. Hence, the husband is not allowed to share her bed immediately after the marriage. Thus the queen has forfeited her claim for chastity.

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These negations earned the approval of all scholars and thus Aakkialwan was put to shame. The same fate overtook Aakkialwan in the Shastra debate that followed. Now  Yamuna had acquired the right to strike on the head of Aakkialwan. But he politely declared his decent decision,

Oh gentleman! I will not strike you on your head as per our agreement before the debate. It is because, I give due respect to your age and the exalted position that you occupy in the royal court. This proclamation earned the appreciation and approval of all the scholars. The queen rushing towards  Yamuna embraced him and observed with a slippery tone full of affection You have come to my rescue.

Hence you are  my ruler (Ennai Aalavandeero!).

From that day onwards he came to be called Aalavandar.

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Having said so, she took him to the palace accompanied by the King. His Majesty also kept up his promise by offering half of his kingdom to Aalavandar. Enjoying all the royal pleasures in the company of his wife, the young prince ruled over the kingdom happily and peacefully.

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Manakkal Nambi got this news that the future Acharyar of Srivaishnavism has become the King .  Watching silently the eminence which Alavandar had reached so rapidly and  Aakkialwan ’s ignominious defeat  and Alavandar becoming a king, his joy knew no bounds He  wanted to fulfill his promise to his revered Guru Uyyakkondar in bringing him back to the Sampradaya .

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He  thought of his Acharyar’s instructions in  making Alavandar the future Apostle of the Faith. So, he went to the palace, but the guards obstructed his entrance. He found his way however into the kitchen where contracting friendship with the cooks, had ascertained from them the potherbs that pleased Alavandar most. He took that herb Thoodhuvalai, a kind of spinach, daily to the kitchen for a period of six months; and yet no notice was taken of it. Wearied, he stopped away for a few days. Alavandar finding his favourite dish missing from his dinner so suddenly enquired of the cooks the reason. They informed him of an old Brahmana having, for six months uninterruptedly, brought the green herb and having stopped the supply for a few days. “If he should return again,” commanded the king, after chiding them, “inform me at once.” Rama Misra thought he would try again, and so put in his appearance with the favourite vegetable, after some interval. The king was immediately informed; and he ordered the venerable man being conducted into his presence. When he duly arrived, the king rose, and making obeisance, seated him with every mark of respect; and asked how he may reward him for his services, -by money or by lands.

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Our Misra said: “Good king, these riches I do not need from thee; for I have precious riches, amassed by your ancestors, to give thee; and I shall show thee where they lie treasured up. Till I put thee in possession of these, let me be admitted to thy presence without hindrance by the guards at thy gates.” Alavandar was taken out of himself by this unexpected revelation, and placed his men under instructions to admit the worthy visitant freely without caring for ceremony. Swamy Rama Misra now began to teach Alavandar the Bhagavad Gita, the essence of all the Upanishads. As Alavandar listened attentively through the eighteen books of this Sublime Poem, his spiritual sense was awakened, and a craving caused in his heart to realize God, as is spoken therein. “How shall I realize Him?” asked he of his Acharya. “That is taught in the Great Charama Sloka”, promptly responded the teacher and taught its significant Mysteries. The more Alavandar meditated on these, the more they entered deep into his heart.

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The saving Grace taught therein made him more and more inclined to surrender himself to God, and more and more to cultivate the sense of resignation to His will. His soul bent more and more to Him with the nourishment the teachings gave, just as the ripening grain-stalks bend as they receive more milk. As days passed, his love for the Merciful grew warmer and warmer; and as this love increased, his attachment to other things; became weaker and weaker.

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The Teacher watched the spiritual progress of his disciple, and thought the time was ripe for leading him to where his promised patrimonial wealth lay hidden. He led him therefore to the Holy Shrine of Srirangam, where, pointing to God reposing therein in the serene glory of His presence, to all worshippers accessible, he said: “Who will not worship Rangam, the most Holy, – if he be wise? For doth not wisdom blossom here and keep Yama (death) out of sight?” This is your trove, your heritage, and my trust, which I here discharge on this auspicious day.”Alavandar, with the spiritual vision which was endowed to him by God’s Grace, saw in the Holy Image of Ranga the Treasure of the Universe enshrined; and exclaimed, with (a) feelings of remorse in his heart for past days, which had been spent without this Blessed Vision, and (b) feelings of bliss overflowing in streams of loving tears, at the fascinating sight he enjoyed: “O Blissful God”, he exclaimed, “Many days have I lost in the vain pursuits of the world. I mourn for this. Now I have seen Thee reclining on Thy Sesha. I serve Thee for evermore. I find myself reclaimed from the death of worldly enjoyments, and initiated into the life of Thy service.”

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Lord! lands and friends and riches,
Sons and wives, cattle and houses,-
To him who has thy service tasted,
Hateful objects become they.
After this, a determination came to him to renounce the world, and don the robes of the Sanyasin, in as much as the love of the world and of God were incompatible with each other. Hence forward he devoted himself to divine contemplation and service.

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Swami Manakkal Nambee was binding force for srivaishnavam to progress.
All glories to Swami Manakkal Nambee

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Pics : Google images

MUKTHINAATH DARSHAN ( A travel diary )


                          MUKTHINAATH  DARSHAN 

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Muktinath Kshetram is located  in Nepal  and is an important pilgrimage site for  Sri Vaishnavites and Buddhists. It is one of the eight swayam vyakta kshetrams-out of this 4 are in southern India and 4 in Northern India. In Northern India,  LORD has manifested Himself in the form of forest at Naimisaranyam, as  divine water in Pushkar, as mountain in Badrinath  and as Fossils in Saalagramam kshetram whereas in rest of India, Perumal is in Archa form (Tirumala, Srirangam) .

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The best season to visit  ( Mukthinaath) “saalagramam” is during March-April and during September to 1s week of October. May to August is rainy season and is not advisable as per locals . As a visit to this place bestows liberation, this kshetram is known as Mukthi kshetram and Perumal as MUKTHI NARAYANAN.

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With the blessings of Almighty, Adiyen  had darshan of  LORD   at Mukthinath ” Saaligrama divya desam” one among the 108  Srivaishnava Divya desam  with  my family who accompanied me in paying obeisance’s for all the  105 divyadesams since past 6 years .  This was our 106 divya desa yaatrai and it took 3 years for Adiyen to undertake this. My sincere  prayers to  LORD VENKATESHWARA ” ( Thiruvengadamudaiyan)  during my regular  visits to Tirumala sowed the seed of desire deeply in my heart to visit this divya desam and  feel blessed by his abundant mercy for making this yathirai memorable and a milestone in our  divyadesam piligrimage.  The pilgrimage to Shalagram was definitely  ecstatic.  This piligrimage was undertaken during 2006 and was posted in www.srivaishnavam.com . Was keen to share the pictures and video clips as requested by few devotee friends . The present  situation  as per the experiences of piligrims is   roads are good and  transport arrangements are available right from Jomson to Mukthinath .Also the road to Pokara to Mukthinath is approachable and made motorable with some  good experiences .Before I continue with my travel diary done during 2006 , Adiyen  offer my sincere obeisance’s to Sri Rangasri group members , ISCKON Maharajs and several great devotees of LORD who played a pivotal role in making this trip possible with whatever information they could give me.

1915805_106655152698392_4018377_nWith humble obeisance’s to  my parents and elders’ , we left to  Gorakhpur by Secunderabad-Gorakhpur Express  train and reached Gorakhpur  next day in the evening in the evening .  We checked into one of the many hotels, Hotel Standard (room rent 350/-) though the plan was to retire in Railway retiring room. Gorakhpur, a busy city, wore a festive look on the eve of Durga ashtami.  Durga Ashtami and Vijayadasami are the major festivals in Uttar Pradesh apart from Deepavali. We  strolled into the streets to have a glance of the celebrations in the busy city.

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As we did not really plan any package trip we took a chance to enquire about the facilities en route  from Gorakpur. We happened to peep into one of the tourist offices near  to the hotel opposite to Railway station. There are many travel agents near the station who arrange for pilgrimage, mountaineering and sight seeing trips to Nepal. Out of inquisitiveness, we contacted Sai Baba Travels and finalized the  tour package for Rs.45,000/- including  the cab (Bolero hire charges) for 9 days, border permit and other road permits, room accommodation at Pokhara for 3 days, at Jomsom for 1 day, at Chitwan for a day, at Katmandu for a day , at Janakpur for a day  and flight tickets from Pokhara to Jomsom for 4 persons  to and fro with a vegetarian driver who respects our values .The agent  obliged and handed over letters to be given at the various hotels we were to check in. He had taken Rs.25,000 as advance and assured us  that we don’t have to pay anywhere.  Presumed  that they had tie up in several places in Nepal.

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We left Gorakhpur  the next day early morning i.e: by  a four wheeler “BOLERO” around 9 A.M.  After 90 kms , 2 hours drive, we reached Sunouli, the last village on the Indian border.  It took about an hour to finish all the formalities in the border by the agent who accompanied us upto Sunouli .  For Indians, the immigration is very simple. The  temperature was a bit hot .  It was 12 noon by the time we crossed the Nepali border. As children were very keen to visit Lumbini and other picnic spots Adiyen had to compromise the yathirai out of academic interest. We reached Lumbini  in the afternoon .  Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is one hour drive from India-Nepal border and is situated 250 kms south-west of Katmandu.

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This is recognized as one of World’s Heritage Centre and covers a vast area of over 970 sq. kms .   We visited the holy tank in which Mayadevi,  Buddha’s mother had a holy dip and the Asoka pillar, several  monastries built by Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Nepalese , Germans  and our own Vipaasana centres.

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From Lumbini we drove to Pokra ,Almost 95 % of the land area is covered by mountains and as one has to travel thru ghat roads, night journey is not advisable.  Also, it is not advisable to give lift to any stranger .  Intoxicants are freely available and as the country is economically poor, wayside robbery is very common.

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Our trip started driving around mountains .It was a pleasant drive .Continuously Harinaam sankirtan was our breath through the ears . The ride to Pokhara is a dangerous one. The Machapuchare Peak of the Annapurna range,is  seen from Pokhara. The Machapuchare {“Fishtail”} peak is 6696 meters high and has never been climbed. The government forbids mountaineers from trekking it because Nepalis consider it holy. Though one of the most magnificent of Himalayan mountains, Machapuchare is a small compared to Mt. Everest (Sagarmata),.

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Pokhara valley (3000 feet above sea level)  is one of the most picturesque spots in Nepal situated amidst lovely lakes – Phewa, Begnas and Rupa which have their source in Annapurna ranges of the Himalayas. Pokra , a small but busy town is the travel base for all trekkers and is situated 200 kms from Katmandu. It has a floating population of foreign tourists in thousands.  There are innumerable hotels/lodges and shops selling mountaineering equipments and also few Vegetarian restaurants like Marwadi Hotel, Punjabi Dhabas where only vegetarian food is served. Almost all the hotels are situated around Phewa lake and offers fantastic view of the lake with mountains as back-drops.  Though there were few  browsing centres, the charges are costly- 100/- per hour and the speed is very slow.  STD call charges are also high. We checked in Hotel Blue Heaven  at Pokhara  for the night.

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It was   shocking  to note  that no arrangement for flight booking was  done upto Jomson as the agent had not even informed them regarding this.  We were totally upset about this as we intended to be at  ” Mukthinaath “Saaligramam on Ekadasi day.  The attempts by the  hotel owner by contacting travel agents for flight tickets continued . Our anxiety increased as no one was able to provide us with a confirmed ticket.  Festival  being Dussera, all the tourist offices remain closed and we were left with no other choice other than sight seeing . Being a holiday, we could not even get a guide but a shop-keeper accepted our request and accompanied us.

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First, we visited Gupteshwar temple, which is in  a natural cave descending around 100 steps, shrine dedicated to ParamaShiva .  A sage by name, Gupteshwar did penance at this place and had darshan of Lord Shiva, the presiding diety of Nepal.  The rocks have taken the shape of a huge snake and it looks as if the snake is protecting the deity.  This natural formation is admirable.  The entry fee for Indians is Rs.20/- and for Nepalese , it is FREE.  Few saaligrama shilas were also placed near the shivalingam.  It may be noted that saaligramams are available  everywhere in Nepal.  From there, we proceeded to DEVI’S FALLS on the other side of the road.

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The water from these  falls joins the Phewa river.  This was discovered few decades ago  during a sudden gushing of water into the town. Bhairavi temple situated on the other side of Phewa lake has to be reached  by boat.  The charges for the boat ride is 20/- NR. It is a common practice in Nepal to apply Kumkum mixed with rice on the forehead during Dussera.  The tradition of kumkum with which Goddess Durga was worshipped for 8 days would be applied on brothers’ and sisters’ forehead for their longevity is practiced with pomp and show.  Every sister ensures to visit her brother and apply tikka.  After viewing sunset from the temple, we retired for the day. “WORLD PEACE” centre ‘s  Buddha Stupa situated on a hillock could not be visited  as we had to rush back to the travel agent for confirming ourtickets  for Saaligrama yaatrai  To our dismay, the tickets were not confirmed.  None of the agent could help us and we finally decided to approach Gorkha Airlines office itself with the request and sadly   the office  situated opposite to Pokhara airport was closed. Dussera is celebrated grandly all over the country and it is very common for offices to remain closed for at least a week in Nepal similar to West Bengal.  Only Gorka Airlines provides service from Pokara to Jomsom. Added to this, due to bad weather conditions, all the flights to Jomsom were cancelled for more than a week.  Hence, there was no room for reservation.  All the efforts to contact travel agents proved futile.  Finally we drove to  Gorkha Airlines office  next day which is 7 kms from Pokra and after hours of pleading, we could finally get our tickets to Jomsom but  the return journey  could not be confirmed as that would be decided at Jomsom and added that our journey  of Lord Muktinarayanan  ..

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The ticket costs Rs.15,000/- INR to and fro for 4 Persons. As 3 more days were  left for our trip to Saaligramam, we decided to visit the remaining places as per our package.  We checked out in the afternoon and proceeded towards Katmandu bypass road   to Chitwan.  Chitwan jungle is 195 kms from Pokara and it took about 5 hours for us to reach the place.  Chitwan jungle is famous for its rare species of animals including one horn rhinos, kingfishers, elephants etc.  Chitwan is located on Nepal-Bihar highway. The package tour to Chitwan offered by all the travel agents include to and fro to Chitwan, night stay in one of the resorts, elephant ride, Nepali lunch, viewing cultural programmes in the jungle, and a visit to Tharu museum.

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The cost for the same is Rs.3,500/- for 4 PAX which is not  really much worth . However, having paid, we went to view Tharu Cultural Programme organized by the local tribes, The next day we left early in the morning  in a  open top gypsy accompanied by 2 guides and a driver deep into the forest, though we could not spot any rare animal except deers and monkeys , we happened  to see  crocodile breeding centres, and also saw a man-eating tiger which was in a cage.  Not preparing  for further exploitation,  except surrendering to our  LORD ,we left for Katmandu, which was another 5 hours drive. reached Katmandu at 7P.M. shiva-pashupatinath-templeKathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is also called as Kantipur. Kathmandu is full of temples. It lies in a valley surrounded by high hills. Magnificent snow peaks are visible in the north. This city is situated to the north of Patan and the west of Bhaktapur. The altitude of Kathmandu is 4500 ft from sea level .Though we  had intended to stay in ISKCON guest house at Katmandu but as there was no accommodation, we were forced to check in Hotel Taj (as recommended by the travel agent) and retired for the night. On 5th, we went for local sight seeing in Katmandu.  And covered various temples including the famous Pashupathinath temple. The temple of ParamaShivan one of the Jyothir Linga  is situated at the bank of the sacred Bagmati river. It is 5 Kilometers for east from the Kathmandu city. This pagoda style temple built with golden roofs and silver doors is where thousands of devotees come to pay homage to God Pashupati Nath. Shivaratri is the holy day of religious festival of Hindu people. Pashupati Nath ia the patron deity of Nepal. It was noon and midday abhishekam was going on.  Lord Shiva’s face with matted locks and Ganges escaping from the locks is beautifully carved on all five sides of the deity .  The  main sanctorum  (garbagriham) has doors on all four sides which enables the devotees to have darshan from all the four sides. 

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 Offering humble prayers seeking a wonderful  darshan and satsangh at Mukthinath  we proceeded to Buddhanilkantha temple  which is 9 km from Kathmandu city. The temple consists of a pond in which lies a diety  of Lord Vishnu reclining on the coils of a cosmic serpent. The huge deity  of sleeping Vishnu lying on Ananta Sesa, in the cosmic ocean is very attractive . The Deity is over 1,000 years old. Lord Vishnu is about 5m (17 ft) and is lying in a 13m (43 ft) long tank, as if floating, with His legs crossed. His four hands hold the four symbols of Vishnu: the chakra (disc), club, and conch-shell and lotus flower. Budhanilkantha literally means “old blue-throat.”

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Ananta has 11-hooded heads. It is believed that the deity was carved in the 7th or 8th century during the Licchavi period.  It is carved from the single block of black stone of a type not found in the valley. The main festival of the year is when Lord Vishnu, who sleeps on the cosmic ocean during Chaturmasya period wakes up on the Haribondhini Ekadashi day in late October or early November. Many thousands of people come on this day. Three other images of Lord Vishnu were carved at the same time.

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One is here at Budhanilkantha and is considered the most important and original, one is at Balaju Gardens, and one is at the old Royal Palace in Kathmandu, but can not be viewed by tourist.  It was told that The king of Nepal is not allowed to see the deity at Budhanilkantha, but he can see the other two deities.. This is the  deity of Budhanilkantha was lost for a while and was later rediscovered by a farmer. It is believed that the farmers struck the buried deity with his plough and that blood came out from the ground. The morning puja between 9 and 10 am is interesting. Budhanilkantha is about 8km northeast of Kathmandu and 15km from Thamel, at the base of Shivapuri hill. Buses to Budhanilkantha depart every half-hour from Rani Pokhari or the City bus stand (1 hr, bus #5, Rs 7) inKathmandu. From where the bus stops the temple is around 100m away. Tempos depart from Jamal on the north side of Rani Pokhari to here. Iskcon took over the maintainence of the temple and grounds from about 1986-87. there is now even a guest house  Hindus can walk down the steps and touch His  lotus feet, but foreigners cannot.The ISKCON Temple is located about a ten-minute walk from the Budhanilkantha Temple, in a beautiful rural setting. Buses to Budhanilkantha (8 km) depart from Rani Pokhri in Kathmandu, every half-hour.

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The next point was Boudhanath temple constructed by Tibetans, and Swayambhunath temple .  This temple is also dedicated to Buddha and is one of the oldest Buddhist monastries. .  We returned back in the evening and after a bit of last minute purchase like bags etc. for our Muktinath trip, retired for the night.The next day  we checked out around 8 A.M to visit few more tourist places in Katmandu .  Hanuman Dhoka is the Durbar Square of the ancient city of Kathmandu. King Pratap Malla, the lover of art and architecture, established the image of  Bhaktha Hanuman  in the main gate of his palace. The Durbar (palace) Square, itself is named as Hanuman Dhoka (meaning  Hanuman gate). Within the Durbar Square, there is a three tiered pagoda style temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D.

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This temple of goddess, Talejubhawani, is on a big platform which is considered as one of the most magnificent temples in Nepal. In Hanuman Dhoka, there are plenty of things to be seen, as the dreaded figure of Kal Bhairab, (God of Destruction), coronation platform, statue of King Pratap Malla, Big Bell and drum. Within the Durbar Square, there is a three tiered pagoda style temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D. This temple of goddess, Talejubhawani, is on a big platform which is considered as one of the most magnificent temples in Nepal. In Hanuman Dhoka, there are plenty of things to be seen, as the dreaded figure of Kal Bhairab, (God of Destruction), coronation platform, statue of King Pratap Malla, Big Bell and drum. Within a short walking distance from Durbar Square, the temple of Akash Bhairab lies at Indra Chowk, the main market avenue of the Kathmandu city. The image of Akash Bhairab is displayed outside the temple for a week during the festival of  Indra Jatra. We then moved to  to BOUDH NATH TEMPLE ,This  classical stupa located at Boudha in the north east of the Kathmandu city. This is considered to be one of the biggest stupas in the World. The stupa having four eyes in four directions is symbolized as watch for welfare and behaviour of human beings. It is said that the stupa was built by King Man Dev as per the advice given by goddess Main ogini. The Lamas of Nepal who are real devotees of Lord Buddha always dwell at the surrounding of the stupa.  Further moved to Soyambhu NathTemple   situated at the hill side of Kathmandu city. It is at a distance of two miles from city. This stupa is made of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth. From this stupa one can see a beautiful view of Kathmanducity.  Bhaktapur, also known as Patan which has old monuments.  Earlier, this was the capital of the Nepali kings.  This place with all its monuments is worth seeing including “PACHPAN(55) WINDOW PALACE. This place also houses a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna which is opened for public only once in a year on Janmashtami.  All the monuments are in red colour. We resumed our journey to Pokhara in the evening after leisure purchases .  The route  to Pokhara from Katmandu is tough and the driver has to be careful as the locals in the dark are very tough to convince. En route , there is a famous temple known as “MANOKAAMNA MANDIR” – a temple dedicated to an amsam of Parvati. This temple is situated on top of a hill and has to be approached by ropeway. Similar temple is found in Rishikesh too.  As it was getting dark we didn’t alight  here and continued our journey to Pokara. On reaching Pokhara, we approached Gorkha Airlines office regarding our return journey confirmation but got a negative reply. However, the manager Mr Rane  spoke to his counterpart in Jomsom and issued us REQUEST ticket.  We were delighted to see few south Indians in a nearby hotel . With sigh of relief , we checked into this hotel run by a Punjabi HOTEL DEGCHEE.  The hotel incharge who seemed to have contact with Jomsom hotels, made arrangement for our hotel stay in Jomsom  and trekking permits, horse ride for children.   We learnt from him that there are different modes of transport to reach Muktinath from Jomsom.

  • By walk
  • By pony ride
  • By motor cycle (charge 2200 NR with 2 hours stay in Muktinath)
  • By tractor (depends upon the no. of passengers)

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The package for Rs.5,500/- INR which included hotel stay at Jomsom and Muktinath, 2 ponies, overnight stay allowance to pony rider and trekking permits  was considered good enough as we did not have any alternative though  we later learnt  it was exorbitant.  The climate in Pokhara valley is unpredictable.  To add to our tension, there was a heavy downpour in the evening and we had our apprehensions regarding next day’s flight to Jomsom.  However, the hotel owner assured us that this was very common and it would return to normalcy by morning.  By this time, we lost all our confidence and  sincerely chanted Sri Vishnu sahsranamam. We shed our pride , surrendered  and prayed Perumal with devotion and sincerity  for our safe  journey and a darshan.  We knew that it was “NOW or NEVER” for us.  We had to go to Muktinath at any cost and reach Gorakpur as planned ,because there is only one train to Secunderabad from Gorakpur and we had to leave for Tirupati on 15th.  All the tickets were confirmed and we were in total confusion.  We realized that whatever information which we gathered and were confident about was NOTHING and only HIS GRACE could make us visit MUKTINATH. Our sole intention was to go to Muktinath and all other sight seeing were only to kill the time usefully.  The day finally arrived .It was   Pournami ( Full moon day )  , the auspicious month of Purattasi.  Submitting to LORD and with  our morning prayers, we left for airport which is a 10 minute drive from the hotel. 

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 Our flight was scheduled to depart at 8.30 A.M. (fifth flight). As mentioned earlier, Gorkha Airlines and Royal Nepal Air lines  operates service for POKHARA-JOMSOM-POKHARA sector presently . For the record, Royal Nepal Airlines,  have only 1 or 2 flights operating ( Depending on their moods) is known to be the most unreliable airline in Nepal. There are many other airlines flying to Pokhara and Jomsom, such as Nikon Air, Buddha Air and Cosmic Air, and they  are presently not operating for losses incurred. These others are private airlines, while the government runs Royal Nepal Airlines. The private airlines are more reliable in Nepal.  Out of their 2 flights, only one was operational and this has to make atleast 5 trips every day to clear the traffic.  As mentioned earlier, the services resumed only 2 days earlier after a gap of 10 days.   To our dismay, we learnt that though it was nearly 9 A.M., the first trip itself did not take off due to fog.  Boarding pass were not issued to us because our names were in the 5th trip.  The officials were doubtful because after 11 AM , flights cannot reach Jomsom due to heavy winds and if the wind doesn’t subside the flight will be cancelled . Our hearts beat fast chanting Dwayam. There’s a light breeze, which is chilly.The sky is blue and the tops of the mountains  are slowly becoming clear. We started reciting  Sri Vishnu Sahasranaamam in the airport  and prayed ardently to Periya Thiruvadi   ( Garuda bhagavan )and Siriya Thiruvadi  ( Bhaktha hanuman )  for their intervention in reaching Lords abode . The children were excited when  The sky became clear and the flights resumed. Chanting Vishnu Sahasranaamam was mandatory for all of us  .

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Our turn to board the flight came at 11 A.M. Thanking the Lord, with tears rolling , we boarded the 20 seater propeller flight with window seats for everyone at 11 A.M . We’re on the plane. It’s moving. 18 passengers plus the flight attendant squeezed into these little seats. No overhead baggage compartment. The flight attendant passed out some sweets and cotton for people to plug their ears. The captain is still checking out the RPMs. We are about to take off and we chant loudly GOVINDA …….We’re in the air now. It’s a smooth flight.

On the right of the aircraft I can see the white Himalayas, which stand like a great wall between Nepal and China. On the left are high mountains, but no snow. Below us are valleys and a holy river. The weather is good. It is clear. We can even feel some heat on my feet. The plane flies between the Himalayas, not over them! The flight takes only 20 minutes but seems a lot longer. We are in this  little Dornier aircraft, skims craggy ridge tops and is often buffeted by mountain winds. Chanting Lords name continuously I slowly dare to see the propellers from the window panes ..When an airplane flies to Jomsom they are very close to the mountains on either side of the valley. Strong winds come off the mountains at times, making it difficult or impossible to fly. A few years ago a flight crashed into the side of one of the mountains and it took them several days to find it. There were no survivors.

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The recent news of a helicopter crashing added to further fear though my wife and kids were relaxed and surrendered to Lords wish. Just 20 mins from Pokhara flying up the highest-deepest valley in the world, sometimes battling winds of 120 Mph (200 km+) as the clouds lift causing a kind of vacuum effect propelling winds.  The flight is moving amidst big mountains, taking sharp turns and is sure to instill fear in everyone but the Lord’s names on our lips drove out the fear in us.

We  are now flying  between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, two immense glacier covered peaks towering well above the airplane as we flew up the Gandaki river valley. We were longing for our lifetime mission to be completed and were enthusiastic and prepared to face the worst situation, if any.

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We landed at Jomsom airport in about 20 mins  . We look around the small airport  surrounded by mountains . Quickly coming out we see plenty of foreigners accompanying us .

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Jomsom is so modern that there’s even an Internet Cafe here.  This is apple country. Apples like cold weather, We took 3 kgs of apples Thanking Lord very much we briskly moved  and  located the hotel .  As assured the incharge , had made all arrangements for our trip to Muktinath.  Annapurna trekking permit is a must and we had taken our pass port photographs with NR as fees for the same . 2 ponies with a guide were provided.  Baggages were tied to children’s ponies and myself accompanied by my wife started the holy trek to Muktinath at 12 noon While my wife and children were chanting I quickly  procured the Conversation Permit to go trekking in the area surrounding Annapurna Mountain  and understood the ponies were booked no doubt but are awaiting at the banks of gandaki river which is 20 mins trek . After clearing the town of Jomsom which is modern , we headed out over the stony riverbed. . I was enthusiastic in revealing the legendary stories about this punya stala to my kids who are distinguished  as they also joined in the 106 Divya desam yathirai effortlessly.

Gandakyamcha uttare teere Girirajasya dakshine Dasayojana vistheernaam Mahakshetra Vasundharaa

Salagramo Mahadevo
devi Dwaravati bhaved
Ubhayossangamo yatra
Muktisttattra na samsaya.”

“To the north of the river, Gandaki (also called Narayani), and south of the Himalayas, there is the holy region of Salagrama, which is ten yojanas extent, where Dwaravati merges into Salagrama. Undoubtedly such a place is capable of vouchsafing Moksha.” Actually, about 140 miles from Khatmandu is situated Muktimati or Muktikshetra, also called “Salagrama-kshetra. Legend has it that once Bramha was exasperated at the rate of increase of the sinners among his creation. Then drops of sweat rolled down his cheeks (Ganda), ultimately collecting themselves into the form of a female child called “Gandaki.” She took it into her head to do a severe penance which became so overwhelming that the Devas started trembling before her. As usual they offered her the bait of a boon on return for her stopping her penance, but they met a Tartar in her, for she wanted to mother all the Devas. Not having the power to grant such a boon, the Devas pleaded their inability, at which Gandaki became furious and cursed all the devas to be born as worms on the earth below. The Devas in their turn placed a counter curse on her head that she should become “Jada” or inert matter. Naturally Bramha was concerned with this unexpected development. Unable to find a way out, he consulted Indra and Rudra. With them also he drew a blank. Finally, all the three turned to Vishnu, who said: “In as much as the curses have been already pronounced, they cannot be revoked, and both parties affected must suffer them. The problem is how to make them work to their mutual and ultimately universal benefit.” After consideration, Vishnu said: ” I shall take up my abode in the Chakra Teertha near Salagramakshetra. You, Devas, shall migrate to this hallowed region as “Vajrakitas” eating into the pebbles. Gandaki shall in the form of a river fill the universe enveloping the shilas hallowed by me.” Salagrama stones are obtained only from the river Gandaki, which is a Himalayan stream, celebrated since antiquity as Narayani, Saligrami, Hiranvati and Hiranyavati. The epic Mahabharata speaks of its sanctity (Bhishma-parva) . The puranas also describe it as a sacred stream in which all the gods and titans abide . By merely looking at it, one would eliminate all his mental defilement’s, by touching it his bodily sins are burnt up, and by sipping its water the verbal demerits are thrown out: One who comes into contact with this sacred stream will be liberated from the cycle of birth and deaths, even if he be a sinner.

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And for the reason, the river Gandaki became among all the rivers extraordinarily sacred Being a mystic river, looking at it, touching it, bathing in it and sipping its waters will be conductive to eliminate all sins, even the greatest of sins pertaining to the body, speech and mind. Adiyen recollected  them there  are many aspects of this pilgrimage right from   going to the Holy Tirtha of Shalagram high in the Himalayas; the challenge of one’s faith, to be there and to find one’s worshippful Lord; the material elements, and other various hardships – walking many miles/kilometres, high altitude, no food, the weather, the constant wind, wild animals, dacoits and theives, mundane trekkers, so many things.

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We are now trekking near the banks of Gandaki river. Which  rises beyond the Himalayan ranges, probably in Tibet, and flows (in the north-south direction) into Nepal, There is a lake at the source of the Kali-Gandaki , called Damodar-kunda on the Nepal . The lower Gandaki is well known as Mukti-natha-kshetra, also called Saligrama-kshetra. The sacred stones are largely found on the banks of Kali-gandaki near Tukche, between the two mountains Dhavala-giri and Annapurana. Damodara-Kunda is  considered as  Saivite place of pilgrimage by Nepalis. This is the punya kshetram where saligrama deities  are found within the Nepal territory to the fortunate souls . As advised by my father the children learnt the sloka  by heart  supposed to be chanted while we trek the route .The sloka  goes like this with meaning explained below

dheya sada savitra mandala madhya-varti—  naryanah sarasijasana sannivistah

keyuravan makara kundalavan kiriti   –hari hiranmaya vapuh dhrita sankha cakrah

Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be meditated upon in the center of the sun globe. He is situated on a lotus flower and seated in the lotus posture. He is adorned with beautiful golden bracelets, amulets, earrings, necklace and a crown. He has the golden effulgence and is seen holding the pure white conch and Sudarshana cakra in His lotus hands. Oh wielder of the conch, disc, club, and other natural weapons, You are the Lord and resident of the spiritual realm. Oh indestructible one, protector of the worlds, oh lotus eyed Lord, please save all of us who have taken shelter of you and appear before us .We found there was a path that skirted the riverbed, but we preferred to walk along the riverbed. The children were delighted to see the horseman and the horses at the river bank. As we walked along we started to notice the wind was picking up and the clouds were closing in from the mountains on either side of us. My children happily rode the horses chanting the Dhyana sloka as I advised them to sincerely pray and look in the river for holy salagrama silas .En route after offering oblations and sincere  obeisancesto the holy   gandaki river I requested the horse man to help the children in looking for the salagrama  which he readily obliged. The river Gandaki is a very ancient river; and the geologists say that it existed even before the formation of the Himalayan ranges. It rises beyond the Himalayan ranges, probably in Tibet, and flows (in the north-south direction) into Nepal. And for the reason, the river Gandaki became among all the rivers extraordinarily sacred Being a mystic river, looking at it, touching it, bathing in it and sipping its waters will be conductive to eliminate all sins, even the greatest of sins pertaining to the body, speech and mind. My soul danced with joy looking at the nature and being in Gods own world.

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We are now in the Lower Mustang belt as per the Map . Mustang is an Anglicization of the Tibetan Lo Manthang, which is an autonomous region in north-central Nepal that borders on Tibet. The destination of our trek today was to reach Mukthinath by evening  . En route there is the village of Kagbeni (“Crow Confluence” in Nepali). The rocky highland stretching from Jomsom to Kagbeni–through which the Gandaki flows–is called Lower Mustang. Upper Mustang is where Damodar Kund is located, a lake that is the root source of all salagram silas.  It was told that from here one treks to Damodar kund the source of all the saligrama silas ( Sree Moorthy ) According to one version, the Salagramam Divya Desam is just the bank/bed of River Gandaki and not the Mukthinath temple. Few also claim Its Damodar kund .River Kaligandaki has its source in Damodar Kund and throughout its flow to south right up to Indian border carries a manifestation of lying lord Vishnu with Damodarkund jeweled as His auspicious Head and with Muktinath as the mouth, Shaligram Chakra as chest Kuru Kshetra as the waist, Devaghatam as the Knee and lastly the auspicious feet of lord Vishnu goes to the credit of Gajendra Moksha devadham,. Such a beautiful elaboration of the lord, one may find starting from the auspicious lakes of Damodar Kund. The Damodar Kunda (lake) is situated rain shadow of High Himalayas north of Annapurna range. The elevation of the Damodar Kunda is 4890 meters and it is a cold and windy place. According to another version, the Mukthinath temple is very much the Divya Desam of Salagramam. It is difficult to establish which of the two versions is right. Either way, there is no question that our  great  saint Thirumangai Azhwar visited at least the banks of the Gandaki River, as did Swamy Ramanuja. And no matter which version is accurate, there is no taking away from the beauty of this Divya Desam and its surroundings. and one of the pAsuram, Tirumangai AzhwAr exhorts his mind to attain the Lord of Salagrama. It was this Lord who, armed with bow and arrow, crossed forests inhabited by wild deer, elephants and horses, and then built a bridge of boulders to reach the high-walled fortress of Lanka and severed the ten heads of Ravana- the king of the RakshasAs glorifying LORD RAMAs avataram . The route to Damodar lake is three days walk north east from the main Mustang trekking route & very close to Tibetan border.

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We had to drop the idea  of going into Upper Mustang as expensive permits are required from the Nepali authorities . Formerly the Gandaki River Valley was the most important trade route between India and Tibet. It was controlled by the Buddhist kingdom of Lo Manthang, which was of Tibetan culture.

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But more than 200 years ago the Buddhist Raja of Lo Manthang allied with the Hindu Raja of Kathmandu in a war against Tibet. This is why the present region of Mustang (Lo Manthang), which is populated mostly by Buddhist people with Mongolian features, is part of Nepal and not Tibet (now fully controlled by Communist China).

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Now the trekking trail takes us away from the bank of the Gandaki for a while. I along with my wife started chanting  Shri Vishnu sahasranaamam , while my eyes were immersed in the beauty of Lords own little world far away from material and karmic vasanas. .   Few foreigners along with their guide walk briskly before us cheering NAMASTE … I feel their enthusiasm in trekking the mountains and truly with the protective wind shields, woolen socks, rock boots and body packs they were perfect mountaineers,  I avoided the trekking kit to tax my body in reaching Lords abode with a sincere vow as I did for Ahobilam and Tirumala.

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Muktinath is situated at a height of 3,800 metres whereas jomsom is at 2713 metres.  The distance to Muktinath from Jomsom by walk is 21 kms (via Kagbeni) whereas now there is another short-cut which involves  climbing of a steep mountain but would save about 3-4 kms.   To reach Muktinath, we need to cross 3 settlements- Eklabhatti, Khinga, Jharkot (Earlier, piligrims used to go toMuktinath via Eklabhatti, Kagbeni, Jharkot).  One can find maps displayed on boards with the name of settlement, no. of hotels,lodges , distance to the next settlement and approximate time-only in these places, one can get drinks/ food etc) I could see my children moving away from us  quickly . I wonder whether we can make it today . En route we see the skull of a yak. This classic symbol of desolation accentuates the atmosphere of loneliness that hangs over the Gandaki River Valley. Between Jomsom and Kagbeni one sees evidence of human habitation only rarely. We could see an   isolated stone hut of a herdsman. Nobody was home when we passed it . A  metal suspension bridge  en route spans the Gandaki River Valley. What adds a cultural mystique to the mountain paths and the flat areas of the Kali Gandaki are the teams of yaks and mules that would traverse the steep slopes carrying supplies back and forth from each area. The owner would be behind a team of 6 or more animals that methodically climb and descend (they could probably have done it blindfolded), stepping out of the way of persons who would approach from the opposite way. Each would wear an enchanting bell (like one of those wind chimes) which would create a sattvic atmosphere, especially needed when you round a sharp corner on a narrow path and if without the bell… without a warning…well you tell me…you are quietly rounding a blind corner bend over a 500 meter canyon and suddenly you come nose to nose with a large personality with long horns…how would you react? So the bells do provide tranquility and safe travels. On the pan of the Gandaki you will note on the bottom right-hand side of the picture a tiny line of such a team sauntering along. This gives you an appreciation for the vastness of the area. Incredibly strong winds often blow through the valley, and if you are crossing this bridge when such a wind comes up, you truly fear you’ll be blown off into the valley below . My wife pauses for rest on the east end of the bridge. Where I quickly take few pictures and shoot from my camcorder . As we continued our trek, we moved away from Kali Gandaki river  ,we could view her only from a distance.  Initially, the way was broad enough but it was a stony path. Though one doesn’t feel thirsty due to the chillness , it is advisable to carry a bottle of  water, some glucose, few apples etc on the way . Some  foreign tourists were  cycling on the steep mountains. They are fortunate to be there as It was sure Its HIS blessings they were there and who knows destined to get emancipation too.

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We were surrounded by Annapurna mountains on one side and Dhaulagiri mountains on the other sides. With mountains all around, a pleasant chilly breeze and Kali Gandaki flowing below, the picturesque beauty was feast to the body mind and soul.   Visualizing the Viraata Purusha in our mind’s eye  moving upwards, the path was narrowing and in some places, we came to the edge of the cliff. We had to slowly walk forward by holding hands. This was becoming more adventurous.  Crossing  many mountains on the way and the connecting path is  usually narrow.  It took about 2 hours for us to reach the first settlement EKLABHATTI. At this point we are thankfully within sight of the town of Kagbeni. The trek through the valley involves is mostly flat and level. But the valley itself is some 2000 meters above sea level! Thus catching your breath is a problem, since there is less oxygen in the air than normal. As we descend from the bridge to the valley floor we meet a herd of incredibly nimble mountain goats. At the upper edgey we  can see Ekla Bhatti, the southern “suburb” of Kagbeni. Behind , the holy Gandaki flows on her way from Kagbeni, visible in the distance As the sun shines  over the Himalayan horizon, we see the blackish waters of the Gandaki from a higher altitude. I finally locate the sign board of Eklabatti where my children and the horseman are awaiting. The pony rider told us that from this place, there are 2 routes  – one towards Kagbeni and the other towards Khinga.  Kagbeni is a small developing village with staying facilities and people with sufficient time stay at kagbeni.    But as we were running short of time, we decided to go via Khinga.  Further  trail to Muktinath carries us out of the Gandaki River Valley into the soaring mountain heights. This is not easy going. The air was thin to begin with, but now as we trudge ever-higher in the hot sun  and the decreasing oxygen becomes more and more of a problem. In less than half and hour, we look down upon Kagbeni as if from an airplane. We met a good number of trekkers along the Jomsom-Kagbeni-Muktinath path. Americans, Australians, Britishers, Europeans, and local Nepalese were moving in scattered numbers. The trail winds along the side of a steep valley formed by a white-water tributary that rushes down to meet the Gandaki at Kagbeni. In the cliffside opposite are many caves. The local Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns sometimes retire to these caves for meditation and austerity. Chanting loudly Lords names and the mahamantra , We   climb the steep slippery mountain for about half an hour .  The pony rider advised us  not to look up or look down as it would instill fear in us we trek like sheeps..  There is a very narrow path where one can put only one foot carefully .  Children were frightened to sit on the pony but having come half the way, they had no other choice but to keep their eyes tightly closed and pray to Lord. We were passing thru a deserted place where there was no vegetation but only few mountain shrubs. WE were literally gasping for breath.  Added to this, wind started blowing and it was becoming even more difficult to trek.  After climbing the steep mountain, we kept on walking on the narrow way for nearly an hour .  Suddenly the weather changed and it started drizzling.  We were unable to put a step further because it was slippery and the rains would make the road worse.  Added to that, there was no one in sight to help us in any adverse condition. Once again, our prayers to Lord did not go in vain. It stopped drizzling and there was only cool soft breeze. Prayed to Bhaktha Hanuman for His intervention and all of a sudden  It stopped drizzling.  Soft cool breeze was blowing .  WE felt as if Vayu Bhagavan was being kind to us as we are on the way to have darshan of Lord Vishnu.  It was 4 PM in the evening.  Rested for a while at one of the way side restaurants and with the ingredients like milk powder, sugar, which we had taken  with us, prepared some hot drink and we are charged up once again.  It may be mentioned that enroute at the settlements, the hotels provide limited variety of fast food like rotis/ noodles and hot water.   The pony rider asked us to walk fast as it was getting dark  at 5 PM itself ,but as we are not used to walking, we could not do so.  The trek from Khinga was not very difficult. In and around Khinga, we came across rich vegetation, and the dwellers in these places, polite by nature,  were seen knitting mufflers and other woolen products.  Apples were available in plenty , though a bit costly compared to Jomsom, we could get them for Rs.10/- per kg.  On the way, we had to cross few mountain streams while trekking which was refreshing.  It was becoming dark at 5 itself and by 6 P.M., we could not see anything.  Exhausted, we decided to stay overnight in the nearest settlement.  The inn-keeper charged Rs.300/- INR for 4 beds.  After finishing our dinner, we retired for the night.  It was very very cold. Although short of breath, and having to stop every few hundred feet and rest, and although it took me 6 hours to get up there, we made it. Practically it was a miracle. Although sore tonight, I am not at all sorry that I went there and I’d gladly go again in the future

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Next day  morning,  we woke up at 430 AM and could see the sun rise at 5.30AM . It was calm and serene throughout. We checked out of  the inn and continued our journey.  It took about an hour for us to approach the village of Jarkot.  Looking  carefully we  can see the dark red Buddhist monastery perched on a hilltop at the edge of this village. It is 500 years old. The Muktinath temple is about an hour’s walk beyond Jarkot. On the top of the mountain is the white lip of a glacier that feeds the Gandaki with its icy waters. Having left Jarkot behind, we are approaching the Dreamland Hotel, which is the first building visible as one enters the village clustered at the foot of the hill of Muktinath. The trek is really tough as the altitude is beginning to increase steadily. This is the last settlement enroute to Muktinath.  The temperature was almost 3 degree and due to the numbness in our feet and hands, we could not walk further.  (Usually, trekking shoes are worn by piligrims  which was overseen by us as a part of our vow ).  Jharkot has many lodges with staying facilities etc and usually pilgrims/trekkers who visit Muktinath stay in Jharkot.  Though a room was booked in Hotel Muktinath at Jharkot, we could not make it the previous day as we could not proceed further. We could have a clear glimpse of Muktinath from Jharkot itself.  After walking few yards, we started climbing few stone steps (may be 700 or so)  laid in an improper way with  no  proper finishing etc. The pony drive, motor drive is only upto Jharkot. From Jharkot  , everyone invariably has to climb these steps. It took about half an hour or so for us to reach the temple. Total trekking time taken by us is  9 hours. Usually, people who are used to regular walks, jogging, trekking etc can  finish within 6 hours. The dark red structure behind is the entrance gate. As one ascends you reach plateau after plateau where you think that you have reached the summit, but it just keeps on going. Because of the altitude and our physical state you are forced to rest on the way up (sometimes after every 100 steps) The large stone stairs at the closing intervals (almost like a malicious test) takes you to the final test of patience in seeing GOD . Well! Soul stirring experiences at the cost of trimming the body ..and that is what is LIFE ….Realizations streaming ….This body ..mind and spirit in equilibrium is what is good quality of self realisation …The MIND understands and the body too ..as the soul is going to meet the supersoul ( PARAMATMAN)

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Finally you do reach the town of Muktinath and above the town (another 45 minutes) is the  temple built in a glacier (from where the mountain pan is taken).. En route  we happened to see helipads.  Helicopters from Pokhara/Jomsom upto Muktinath  and back fly daily. During  peak season, the copter flies many times . Also, we were told that the weather conditions do not affect the copters much.  We happened to meet few  South Indians  who had come in package tours organized by travel agents in Chennai . It takes about 40 minutes to reach Muktinath from Pokara and  half an hour’s stay at Muktinath.   The package would cost 21000 INR . They however miss the thrill of trekking the holiest mountains.   This is safe for physically unfit and aged people.  We are entering the entrance of the temple now. A  few  Buddhist prayer wheels at the entrance to the Muktinath complex is visible  These rotatable  cylinders are a common sight in Nepal. They are inscribed with the Tibetan Buddhist mahamantra Om Mani Padme Hum–“Aum! The jewel in the lotus! Hail!” The jewel is the pure spirit soul and the lotus is the purified body of the true follower of Buddha’s way. Tibetan Buddhist turn these prayer wheels to earn merit. Simply pushing on them to get them revolving is supposed to be as good as chanting the mantra as many times as the wheel then revolves.

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Having passed through the entrance gate, we proceed to the complex’s first shrine. Muktinath is sacred to both Vaisnavas and Buddhists.  My dream comes true. Adiyen along with my family members are very much in the 106th  Divyadesam  This is the Muktinath Temple proper. Lord Muktinath is, for Vaisnavas, Sri Padmapani (the form of Lord Visnu from whose lotus feet sacred waters flow). Tibetan Buddhists worship Him as Adi-Buddha. Lord Muktinath’s form is manifest in brass. In bodily shape and posture He resembles the Yoga Narayana Deity Atop the hill behind the Muktinath Temple is a Buddhist shrine.  Its  9 A.M. A huge bell is hung in front of the gate. There are 108 shower spouts coming from the glacier on the back wall of the shrine with the best water that makes the journey a complete success.

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Since the water is ice cold and due to limited time allowed for darshan, most of them sprinkled water from the 108 gomukhis behind the temple  .Thanking Lord profusely tears rolling I brave to take  a bath  under the gomukhs. My children run under the gomukhs  reciting Dwayam. Atop the hill behind the  Muktinath Temple is a Buddhist shrine. Incredibly, some Buddhist nuns who serve at Muktinath daily climb this hill to also perform worship up there Jutting from the stone wall that encloses Muktinath Temple on three sides are 108 gomukhs or cows’ mouths. From each mouth icy glacial water flows. The water is considered as pure as the Ganges, which flows from Gomukh in the Indian Himalayas. ! The tremendous Nilgiri peak overlooking Jomsom.  The Water from Gandaki is routed through these man-made gomukhis which are closely built ,the distance between the gomukhis may be hardly a foot .   WE felt as if a hammer had struck our heads after passing thru these gomukhis. Added to this, we were asked to have a dip in 2 small tanks situated in front of the temple.  The temperature for the day was recorded at 3 degrees and the chilly water was almost in a frozen condition . Unlike in  Vishaal Badri  in Bhadrinath , where we are greeted with steaming hot water, here it was icy cold . After changing into dry clothes in separate rooms provided for ladies and gents, we went inside the temple.  The garbagriham was closed and we were asked to wait for few mintues.

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Meanwhile, we did pradakshinam around the temple chanting Harinaam . The temple is very small.  In front of the garbagriham, towards our right, there is a deity of our  Jagatha Acharyar, Swamy  Ramanujar.  . After taking acharyar’s blessings, we approached the Thiruma mani mantapam to have darshan of Perumal.

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The moment we   had darshan of the divya mangala swaroopam of the Lord, Sri Srimoorthi, we forgot the cold and the  body pains.  The enchanting beauty of the Lord cannot be described in words.

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The deity at Muktinath has a large brass kavach ( armour) with a very transcendental smile. On His left and right are Bhu and Sri, two  divine energies of the Lord manifested in their female forms Though in the divya desa naamavali, Perumal is known as “SRIDEVI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI SRIMOORTHI”, we found ubhaya naachiyaars, Sridevi and Bhoodevi Thayar on either sides of Perumal flanking Him. Perumal is seen in sitting posture while Ubhaya Naachiyars are in Nindra Thirukolam. As it is often mentioned  that Adisesha always performs various kainkaryams to Perumal, here Adisesha is seen spreading hoods like an umbrella.

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Garudazhwar and other saaligramams are also worshipped. Inside the garbagriham, near the entrance on the right side, there is a small deity  of Buddha. Muktinath is holy place both for Hindus and Buddhists. Even foreigners enter the temple and have a darshan of the Lord even though they do not know the significance of the place, they offer their respects to the Lord.  It must be only due to their poorva janma sukrutam. I could relate the darshan exactly with THIRUVENGADAMUDAIYANS darshanam.

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A Buddhist lady accepted our offerings to Perumal- vastrams for Perumal and Thayar, dry fruits, honey, sandal paste, rose water etc. which we had carried with us for offering it to Lord.  This lady gives theertha prasadam and offers neivedyam and is restrained from doing Thirumanjanam to the Lord.  Unfortunately, the male priest was not available in the temple and hence we could not perform Thirumanjanam.  However, the lady offered us to take one saaligramam outside the garbagriham and perform Thirumanjanam but Adiyen felt that Adiyen  was incompetent, hence did not accept the offer.  There was no rush and we were able to have darshan to our heart’s content.

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Perumal’s smiling Thirumugam is very enchanting and we could not take our eyes off .  We recited 108 divya desa naamavali in front of Perumal and recited Thirumangai Azhwar’s pasurams on this divya desam.  In ecstasy, I remembered Thirumangai mannan’s pasurams on Naimisaaranyam which is full of repentance and started reciting the same in the temple.  My children braved to sing Annamaya Kirtans amidst the few piligrims.  Adiyen thought of everyone associated with me and prayed the Lord to bestow moksham and best devotional service  on them .  Adiyen prayed to the Lord to give me another chance to visit this shrine  again and give another opportunity to visit all the divya desams . The  Nepali security emphasized  that the temple was 500 years old and it would be closed during severe winter (i.e. from October to February) every year.  Due to time constraint, we left the temple reluctantly after taking few photographs.  I had heard that Westerners aren’t allowed in the temple of Muktinath, but that’s not true. It is said that Badrinath sent Muktinath to this place, high up in the mountains.  I overhear a foreigner saying  that anyone who takes the trouble to visit that place will get liberation. Adiyen , however, did not pray for liberation. Rather, Adiyen  prayed for pure devotional service.  A five minute walk down the temple towards left led us to a place where we can see 2 wonders :- First, fire coming from water and fire coming from stone.  This fire is emitted continuously and has to peep into a small opening to see the same.

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A natural blue fire can be clearly seen from water which is unbelievable. This is a representation of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu as it was here Brahma and Shiva did penance to obtain Lord Vishnu’s grace.  Lord Vishnu appeared before them and as per their desire, continued to reside in this place.  This is also considered to be a  Buddhist shrine because one Buddhist monk got enlightenment here.  As a proof of this, we could find various stupas of Buddhist monks and their dwarapaalakas.   After thanking Perumal, we left the place at 1100 hours.  On the way back, we happened to visit a  small thirumaligai  run by  a Srivaishnava, a disciple of Chinna Jeeyarswamy.  He greeted us warmly and offered us some herbal drink which would act as an anecdote against the  biting cold weather.  Infact, despite our bath in icy cold water, none of us fell sick . When Adiyen  was expressing my desire to collect saaligramams silas for worshipping , swamy was kind , he immediately gave me 5 saaligramams murthys worshipped by the mutt  , out of which 2 were collected from Damodar Kund and one moorthi was receiving his upacharams daily reciting Acharyar dhaniyan and Thirupallandu. Was blessed indeed .LORD was very kind to come along with us to our home to be with us .Tears rolling chanting dwayam adiyen offered humble pranaams to all .Felt my purpose of birth was fulfilled.

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After  settling down , we started our return journey to Jomsom. We were told that it would take 4 hours for us to reach Jomsom as it is easier to walk down the mountains. My children had already left on the ponies with the horse man  along with our luggage and PERUMAL  ( Lordships ) . We were lagging behind.  Added to this, we missed our route.  Though we were doubtful about the route, we could not get clarification as there was no one around us.  Guessing our way, we climbed down the hill and reached a cliff which was the dead end. Below the cliff,  as we saw Gandaki  river flowing, we guessed that it should be the route and while trying to get down, we nearly had  almost a fall.  Clinging to each other both of us were totally perplexed, frightened and chanted loudly Hanuman Chalisa.  Luckily we spotted few farmers who were working in a far away field and waived a cloth towards them .  Immediately a young lad of about 15 years came to our rescue.  After saving us from this fall, he accompanied us for half an hour or so and led us to the correct path.  He told that we had come near Kagbeni village and that particular place was the route to Domodar kund where the origin of saaligramam begins  and that Eklabhatti was far off. Silently prayed LORD for a darshan at Daamodar kund soon.  Added to this, due to heavy winds, we were finding it very difficult to put even a step further..  By straying on the wrong path, we had to walk for another 2 hours. Finally, we reached Eklabhatti at 1700 hours.  Meanwhile, children were worried and were enquiring about our whereabouts.  As we had gone on the wrong side, they only got negative reply which added to their worry.  Meanwhile, they went to the banks of Kali Gandaki river and while reciting the sloka told by my father , they were able to collect some saaligramama moorthies right from the  holy river.  Out of these, one murthi was that of  Lord Sri Rama, one Sri Srinivasar, Varahar, Matsya murthi and few Hiranya garbhams.  They also collected 2 big saaligramams which we wanted to worship at our Kushaiguda Sri Venkateshwara temple.  But maybe it was  Perumal’s will  to stay back in Jomsom itself as  the airport authorities did not allow us to take the bigger silas. It was already dark when we reached Eklabhatti and as we had another 1 hour trekking, the pony rider advised my wife to ride on pony.  My younger daughter trekked with me for more than  one and half hour amidst chanting bhajans and maha mantra  We reached Jomsom at 19 hours.  We were pleased to hear about our ticket confirmation from the hotel owner.  Our flight was scheduled to leave Jomsom at 9 A.M. the following morning. Thanked LORD for all His grace and retired for the night.  We called home from the satellite telephone and informed Lords grace in giving us a darshan .After all any SriVaishnavaite desires he vist all the Divya desams and take to spirituality .Our Elders were very pleased for our children braving to reach the holy dhaam..It was a pleasant experience. Next day, the hotel manager approached us and informed that the flight to Pokhara was cancelled due to technical failure of the aircraft. On hearing this, we were totally shattered .  He advised us to either take a helicopter (a private one) which he would be arranging for others by paying for the tickets in  dollars (INR 30,000)  or either go by jeep upto 20 kms, walk for about 15 hours to reach Thathopani, take a bus to Pokhra which would take about 20 hours.  As the second option was impossible, we decided to opt for the first one and gave our consent.

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Arrangements were made to get a helicopter from Katmandu .  Though the scheduled departure was at 12 noon as promised by the hotel manager, the helicopter arrived at Jomsom at 1600 hours only.  All of us boarded it and reached Pokhara at 1700 hours. The 20 minute journey by helicopter was  very inconvenient and fearful. Worst with noise and full of congestion.

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The very rare privelage of travelling in a helicopter was being fullfilled may be I felt.   Adiyen was continuously chanting Maha mantra and the moment we left the copter, 2 devotees who hail from England  approached me and offered Prasad saying that they had done Pournami pooja at Muktinath, a day before we reached the holy shrine. I was happy to learn that they have migrated to Kashi and having undertaken penance, they are simultaneously doing research on Vedas.

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It is only due to the abundant grace of Perumal on this sinner that Adiyen could visit all the divya desams with my wife and children  and attribute this to my previous janma wherein  adiyen would have been associated with Srivaishnavas by touching the dust of their feet or  must have done some petty kainkaryam which yielded this fruit of visiting the divya desams in this janma.  May the divine forms of Perumal of all divya desams remain fresh in our memories and may our lips continuously chant the holy myriad names of the Lord.  May our visit to the divya desams remain fresh in our minds so that when we leave this human body, we would be qualified to get moksha. The cab driver whom we got used to address as “kaka” was waiting for us at the airport.  We rushed to the hotel where we had left our baggages and without losing any time, we left the place to go to Janakpur.  We thanked  the Hotel manager and his brother-in-law for all his intervention and help. But for him, it would have been impossible for us to go to Muktinath.  We decided that we offer our prayers to Sita Piratti .Taking clue from the fellow Nepalis we dashed into the cab with the available 24 hrs left . We traveled whole night and at 01.00 hrs we alighted at a thickly populated area and rested. At 5AM we resumed our journey to Janakpur which is located near Bihar border in Nepal is one of the most attractive tourist spots.  This is the place where Goddess Sita was born and the place where the famous “SITA RAAMA KALYANAM “ took place.  So, we didn’t want to miss this.  It takes about 8 hours to reach from Pokhara  and we had to cross Chitwan jungle.  We reached Janakpur at 0800 hours in the morning .  The driver informed us that it would take another 10 hours for us to reach Gorakhpur provided there was no traffic jam. We had to hasten ourselves as we had to be in Gorakpur at any cost that night. We quickly went inside the palace –converted into temple.  Prayers on Goddess sita was written in Hindi on display boards.  Morning abhishekam was just over and we had to wait for few minutes to have darshan of Thayar.

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In the  sanctum sanctorum, Lord Rama, Sita Devi and King Janaka are seen.  During aarthi, prayers on  Sita Devi were sung. Apart from this, the palace houses other shrines too.  In one of the shrines, we could find full family of Janaka – Lord Rama –Sita, Lakshmana-Urmila, Bharata, Shatruguna –Srutikeerthi, King Janaka, his brother, his queen .  Apart from this, this shrine houses 3,000 saaligramama silas which were covered by a satin  cloth. We proceeded to Sita Rama Kalyana Mantapam which is situated just outside the palace on the left side. Rs.5/- is charged as  entrance fee . A big mantapam in the centre with life –size images . Lord Rama, and  Sita in Kalyana Thirukolam in sitting posture,Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatruguna also in Kalyana Thirukolam, King Janaka and his brother in standing posture, Dasaratha,his queens, Sage  Vasishta and other rishi in sitting postures, Brahma, Shiva and other devas blessing. The sight was a real feast to the eyes.  Around the mantapam, on 4 sides, there are 4 sannidhis for all the 4 brothers with their wives.

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We left Janakpur at 0930 hours and having visited all the places as per our schedule, we continued to reach our final destination, Gorakhpur.   We crossed Nepal border at 1500 hours (that was the last day of our permit) in bihar.  The highway roads in Bihar is the most horrible one with full of bumps and it took more than an hour to cross the border on the Indian side. There is absolutely no cleanliness, no hygiene, no traffic rule, no proper roads.  Uttar Pradesh which we entered around 6 P.M. was more horrible with traffic jams. We were stuck in traffic jam for more than 5 hours. No police to regularize the traffic.  We learnt that it was very common and most of the truck drivers had left their trucks on the road itself and were loitering.  Once again , our sincere prayers to Lord Hanuman was answered.  After hours of pleading the truck drivers, we somehow got way to move . But the way was not sufficient for a car to pass through. the the driver literally tilted the car because of muddy road on his left and drove only on 2 wheels carefully .  With great difficulty, the impossible task was made possible by the grace of Lord.  We reached Gorakhpur at 2300 hours in the night.  We checked into one of the hotels near the station, and retired for the night.  Thanked God profusely for the successful, though was seeming  impossible adventurous trip to Nepal. We boarded Secunderabad-Gorakhpur Express at 0600 hours on the following morning and reached Secunderabad at 1830 hours the following day.  Thus ended our trip to Saaligramam ( MUKTHINAATH KSHETRAM)   After a short break of 2 days, we went to Tirumala with our parents and thanked God for His abundant Grace on us all over  . As part of our VIMSATI DARSHANAM scheme, we participated in Suprabhata seva, Unjal seva, Archana Anantara seva for 2 days and also performed Thirukalyana utsavam to Malayappa swamy ( our parents performed the same). WE also visited Thiruvellikeni and thanked Sri Parthasarathy Perumal for successful completion of divya desa yaatrai as way back in 1998, we had prayed to this Perumal for visiting  all the srivaishnava divya desams. Unfortunately, our desire to perform   ( Abhishekam) Thirumanjanam to utsavar could not be fulfilled as the temple authorities do not permit outsiders for performing Thirumanjanam.  However, one could offer milk during Brahmotsavam for Lord’s Thirumanjanam .

jaiDuring this trip, Adiyen’s faith was put to test  several times and Adiyen passed this only due to the grace of Lord and His devotees. Adiyen may be contacted for any guidance while planning for this yathirai. I can be contacted on 9849635903 any time

e mail  details

varadhan_k@yahoo.com

tirumaladasan@gmail.com

varadhan_k@yahoo.com

jai mukthinath

JAI SRIMAN NARAYANA

SWAMY RAMANUJAS “PANCHANARAYANA KSHETRAM ” IN KARNATAKA


                            SRI  MUDALIANDAN SWAMY VAIBHAVAM mudaliandaan Sri Mudaliandan Swamy-Belur.

All Glories to Swami  Mudaliandan Swamy the first disciple of  Jagath Guru Swamy Ramanujar ( to whose Thirumaligai adiyongal belong to).

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Elders reveal that LORD  Rama incarnated HIMSELF as Dasarathi, nephew of Swamy Ramanujar at Purusha mangalam (presently known as Nazrath Pettai in Chennai). Lakshmana’s servitude was incomprehensible and to repay this gratitude,  Lord Sri Rama  appeared as  as Dasarathi and served Swamy Ramanujar in Kaliyugam.

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  • Swamy Ramanujar appointed 74 simhadipatis (disciples) to propagate Srivaishnavam and  our Dasarathi was their leader.  Hence Dasarathi came to be known as
  • “Mudali “”Andan”.  ( The foremost)
  • Sri Mudaliandan Swamy was entrusted with the job of managing Srirangam temple affairs.
  • Swami Mudaliandan is  also  glorified  as the “paaduka” and “Tridandi” of Swamy Ramanujar.  When Swamy Ramanujar embraced Sanyasasramam, he did not leave Mudaliandan and Kooratazhwan whom he considered as his Tridandam and Pavitram respectively.
  • When Thirugoshtiyur nambi instructed Swamy Ramanujar to come alone to learn about Tirumantra rahasyam, Swamy Ramanujar took Mudaliandan along with him. When questioned, Swamy replied that a Sanyasi should  always carry Tridandam with him .Such was the intimacy between Swamy Ramanujar and Mudaliandan.
  • Kooratazhwan says that he has only “Atma sambandham”with Swamy Ramanujar whereas Mudaliandan has both “deha sambandham” and “atma sambandham”.

Swamy Ramanujar established Vishistidadvaitam with Srirangam as his base and was becoming very popular.

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It was Namperumal’s  divine plan  to make  Swamy Ramanujar leave Srirangam  for a short time , and purify other places by placing his holy feet in Melnadu  and retrieve Thirunarayanan who was worshipped by  Lord SriRamar and Sri Krishna during Tretha and Dwapara yugas  .

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Peria Perumal thus created a difficult situation by which   Swamy Ramanujar had to leave Srirangam after taking Peria Perumal’s consent and thus    proceeded towards north accompanied by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy.

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After many days of travel and undergoing various hardships following the course of Kaveri, Swamy  Ramanuja finally arrived in Karnataka where the local tribals served them. An interesting divine pastime is appended in the below post where Swamy Ramanuja meets Kongi Piratee his  disciple

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More details in the below link

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/kongil-piratti-worships-swamy-ramanuja-padukas/

This place is near Srirangapatinam. The local people who were averse to Swamy Ramanujar conspired a plan to do away with him.  Swamy Ramanujar learning their evil intentions ordered Mudaliandan Swamy to place his feet in the drinking water pond in that area  now called saligrama near Thondanur , which he  politely obeyed.

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At  salagrama  ,by  partaking this Sripada theertham, the minds of the evildoers changed and they fell at Swamy Ramanujar lotus feet  seeking forgiveness.  Such was the greatness of our Mudaliandan Swamy .

Ramanujar named this place as “Saligramam” which is near Melkote.  Even today this pond is maintained by the archakar who ensures that no intruder pollutes the pond by locking the gate.  There is a small temple opposite to this pond in which Swamy Ramanujar’s Thiruvadi chuvadugal are worshipped.

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  There is also a deity  of Swamy Ramanujar in Sesharoopam near the garbagriham. At that time, Jainism was prominent in Mel nadu which was ruled by King Bittideva who was a staunch follower of Jainism. 

The king’s daughter was possessed by an evil spirit and no one could cure her.  Vaduga Nambi, a disciple of Swamy Ramanujar suggested to the queen that his spiritual master was capable of restoring the princess to normalcy. 

The Jain king invited Ramanujar to his palace to cure the princess but Swamy was initially reluctant to enter a palace.

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Vaduga nambi persuaded Swamy Ramanujar to resent to the king’s plea which could help in establishing faith in Srivaishanvism. . 

Swamy Ramanujar consented and sanctified the place , and drove away the evil spirit by placing a dhastamam (stick) on her head uttering a  mantra and splashed some water and immediately the princess became normal.(This  divine stick is at Yoga Narasimhar sannidhi in Thondanur .  The archakar places the dhastamam on the visitors head and sprinkles water on the face..)

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King Bittideva, true to his word, became Swamy Ramanujar’s disciple  and embraced Srivaishnavism and was  named  “Vishnu vardhana” and thus the entire kingdom became RAmanujar’s followers.  It is told that about 1000 Jain pandits who could not bear this challenged Ramanujar for an argument .

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To defeat them, Ramanujar advised a curtain to be drawn in between and taking his original form of Adisesha with 1000 hoods, he answered and defeated all the 1000 Jains at a time.

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This incident happened at Narasimhar sannidhi in  Bhakta nagari (presently known as Thondanur).  Sri Mudaliandan Swamy rendered “Dhaati Panchakam”in praise of Ramanujar at this place.

This place is on the way to Melkote(about 16 kms)  from Srirangapatinam . It is important to remember that our AchArya personages did not give room to wasting emotions when their protocol and place of worship suffered disturbance and, instead, concentrated on alternative positive programmes.

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Thus, during his ‘exile’ to Tirunarayanapuram, Ramanuja got the ‘pancha nArAyaNa pratishThA’ executed by  swamy mudali-ANDAn, with the support of the hoySaLa ruler vishNu-vardhana.

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The wonderful opportunity  given by Swamy Ramanuja to  Mudaliandaan is remembered even today . “Dhati Panchakam” speaks of the victory of  Swamy Ramanuja over other philosophies – both those that accept Vedas and those that don’t – and his establishing the Visishtadvaita philosohpy that was built by Azhvars and Purvacharyas.

As the name suggests, it comprises of five slokas The word  “DHATI” means “attacking” – as this work shows the attack that Ramanuja carried over the other philosophies that were widespread at that time, it is an appropriate name for it. 

 

 Swamy out of his love composed a wonderful composition on Swamy Ramanuja called “DHATEE PANCHAKAM” which starts with the introductory sloka ..

wp-1503755772005.The Varthamana swamy descendant of Swamy MudaliAndaan was kind to recite this sloka at our residence during his recent visit , a clip presented below

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Yath Chakrey Bhakta Nagare Dhaati Panchaka Uthamam

Ramanujaya Sath chaathram vandhey Dasarathim gurum

beloor1   Swamy Ramanujar instructed Mudaliandan Swamy to establish Pancha Narayana kshetrams(5 temples dedicated to Narayana)with the help of King Vishnuvardhana who provided everything required. 

  All these five temples were consecrated at almost the same time.  These pancha Narayana kshetrams are

:- keerthinarayana PANCHANARAYANA KSHETRAM

Sri Keerthi Naryan Kshetra Talakad

Sri Nambi Narayana , Thondanur

Sri Thirunarayana ,Melkote

Sri Kesava Narayana Temple , Belur

Sri Sowmya Narayana , Nagamangala

Sri Veera Narayana Temple ,Gadag,

Srirangam  and Salagrama

The below picture is of Swamy MudaliAndaan both Moolavar and Utsavar being worshipped at Belur…

. Sri Mudaliandan Swamy-Belur.

(Pl. Note: Some consider  Melkote to be one of the Pancha Narayana kshetrams whereas some archakars with whom we interacted opined that as this temple was renovated by  Swamy Ramanujar and not Mudaliandan and hence is not Pancha Naryana kshetram.

the rock on which Rama slept

Gundulpet which is about 2 hours drive from Talakad is considered as Pancha Narayana kshetram.)

 

The places purified by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy’s thiruvadigal during his stay in Mel nadu are

Srirangapatinam(entry into Mel nadu),

Nagamangala(Vijaya sthambam erected here),

Saligramam(Sripada theertham-water pond sanctified by  Mudaliandan Swamy),

Dodda mallur ,

Melkote and

Pancha Narayana temples.

wp-1503755465300.Having assigned Swami Mudaliandan with the job of constructing temples, Swamy Ramanujar focused on the spread of  Sri Vaishnavism. 

During his stay, Perumal appeared in his dream and informed him 1) about the availability of Thiruman kaapu on the banks of Kalyani Pushkarini,

IMG_0549Kalyani Pushkarini-another view. 2) the place where HE lay hidden by sand dunes . 

Swamy Ramanujar with the help of the king retrieved the Moolavar idol of Thirunarayanan and constructed a temple for him and arranged for all utsavams to be performed.

cauvvv 3) When Swamy Ramanujar wanted to have an utsavar deity  , Perumal appeared in his dream and informed that HE was with Delhi Sultan. 

At a ripe age of 90 plus , Swamy Ramanujar undertook this journey and brought back the Utsavar Chella pillai-the utsava murthy literally walked towards  Swamy Ramunujar and sat on his lap along with the Delhi princess (Thuluka naachiyar)

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Swamy Ramanujar stayed for 12 years in Melkote and  laid down the system of worship and assigned jobs to specific persons which is being followed even today.

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A divine pastime is shared below

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/sri-vishnu-loka-mani-mandapa-margadhyayee-ramanujo-vijayate-yathiraja-raja/

PANCHANARAYANA KSHETRAM YATIRAI DETAILS 

 This yatra was done few years ago and the latest details have not been updated .

The Pancha Narayana kshetrams in Karnataka along with important places visited by Swami Mudaliandan can be covered in 4-5 days. Necessary arrangements for our trip like engaging a car for two days, accommodation and food arrangements at Melkote, prashad arrangement at ISKCON ,Mysore were already made. 

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The cab driver Ramu  can be contacted on 09964387174 is aware of all these places.

Reaching Sri Keerthi Naryan Kshetra Talakad

1keerthinarayana  From Mysore station, we drove to Talakad which is about 62 kms from Mysore(as per our car reading) and takes about 2 hours.  The driver went to the archakar’s house and requested for the temple to be opened for which he consented.  We then went to River Cauvery for  a holy dip in the holy waters  which is about 2 kms from the temple and then returned to the temple.  On the way, we saw sign boards leading to Pancha Linga temples.  Talakad is famous as one of the Pancha Narayana kshetrams and also as Pancha Linga kshetrams.

The archakar, Sri.Lakshmipathy  can be contacted on

08227-273415

 

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The kind bhattar  opened the doors of the make shift temple.  WE were amazed looking at the divya mangala Thirumeni of Perumal Keerthi Narayanan.  The moolavar in Nindra Thirukolam clad in green dress is about 10 feet height with ubhaya nachiyars on  either side whose height is about 3 feet.

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The vigraham is carved in Hoysala style which is a wonder. Performed archanai and offered fruits to the Lord.  The archakar informed that as the original temple built by Mudaliandan Swamy collapsed, the deities were kept in this place. This place is declared as a heritage site by Archaeological Department. 

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The ruins of the temple have been collected and numbered accordingly for which ASI needs appreciation.  Hopefully, the temple would be renovated soon.In this place, the moolavar vigraham of Sri KeerthiNarayana Perumal with ubhaya nachiyars is in the centre, the moolavar vigraham of Sri Sundaravalli Thayar is kept on the left side and on the right side, we can  have darshan  of Swamy Ramanujar, Mudaliandan and Desikar.

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Brahmotsavam is performed for 7 days during Chithirai culminating on Utharam (Perumal’s star).  Thiru aadi pooram which is Thayar’s thirunakshitiram and acharyar’s thirunakshitrams are performed here.

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The utsava vigrahams which are replica of the Moolavar are housed in a nearby temple.  Perumal seen with chathur bhujam(4 hastams) holding Padmam and Gadam on the upper right and left Thirukaigal (hastams) respectively.  The lower 2 hastams hold sankhu and Chakram on the left and right side respectively.

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Sri Lakshmipathi archakar informed that Melkote is not a Pancha Narayana kshetram and Gundulpet which is about 2 hours drive from this place is considered as Pancha Narayana kshetram.  He advised us drive to  Gundulpet via Narsipur, Nanjangud.  As it was already half past 1, we skipped visting gundulpet as it was not advised by our acharyar and we had to rush back to ISKCON ,Mysore where Sri.Jagjeevandasa, in-charge of ISKCON Mysore (09972096996) had arranged prashad for us.  .

Proceeding to Sri Nambi Narayana Temple  , Thondanur

veera narayana temple gadag We proceeded to Thondanur and reached Nambi Narayanan temple at 5.15 P.M.

This Pancha Narayana kshetram located amidst greenery was closed and the archakar who stays nearby refused to open the temple doors.  We were dejected as it would not be possible to stay for a day and have darshan of Perumal.  The watchman took pity on us and opened the temple door and took us inside which was pitch dark.  We had to satisfy ourselves by standing in front of the locked garbagriham of Nambi Narayana Perumal.  However, the watchman pointed a sculpture and said that it was the replica of the Lord inside. 

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Offered humble obeisances to Swamy Ramanujar and thanking the watchman came out of the temple. When we were about to get into the car, we met a Srivaishnava who is the archakar in the nearby Yoga Narasimhar sannidhi  was driving towards  Lord Narasimhar temple and instructed us to follow him. 

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A small board displaying Swamy Ramanujar’s temple and Yoga Narasimhar temple welcomed us.  The temple is situated on a small hillock near Nambi Naryanan temple is a revered place.  The archakar showed us the divya mangala thirumeni of Sri Yoga Narasimhar and placed the dhastamam used by Swami Ramanujar for driving off evil spirits on our heads.  Then he splashed some holy water on us and gave us theertha prasadam and was narrating Swamy Ramanujar’s pastimes. 

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We were then taken to another sannidhi in the temple precincts towards right of Narasimhar sannidhi where Swamy Ramanujar is seen is Sesharoopam. 

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It was here Swamy Ramanujar defeated 1000 Jain pandits by assuming his original form of Adisesha with 1000 hoods

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0le8xsh2Dg

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The archakar showed us the Thirumeni of Udayavar which is made of swadhai (made from herbs- similar to Thirukurungudi, Thiruthankaal Perumals) pointing to the eyes which were similar to that of a snake, abdomen and the hoods.  Another interesting feature is here Swamy Ramanujar seated in Padmasana  shows Jnana mudhra and does not have Tridandam. This thirumeni of Sri Ramanujar is unique which must be seen by everyone.

The archakar informed that Swamy Ramanujar is in Sookshma roopam here.

veera narayana temple utsavarr   Devotees whose wishes are fulfilled by praying here , offer white veshti to Lord Narasimhar and kaashayam vastram (orange robe) to Swamy Ramanujar. The archakar who preferred to remain anonymous informed that Perumal can be seen in 3 forms:-Nambi Narayanan,Yoga Narasimhar,  Parthasarathy, Venugopalan out of which we were not fortunate to have Nambi Narayanan’s darshan.  We visited  Sri Venugopalaswamy Temple.  The moolavar is Sri Parthasarathy in sitting posture with chathur  bhujam holding sankhu, chakram in his upper arms, right lower hastam in abhaya hastam and left hastam placed on HIS lap.  Sri, Bhudevi nachiyars are also in veetruirundha thirukolam. 

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Utsavar Krishnar is in dancing style.  The uniqueness about this idol is Perumal’s right foot is in front and left foot behind.  The archakar informed that this temple was about 5500 years old built by Yudhisitra.  The  vigrahams of Chakaratazhwar, Nammazhwar and Ramanujar  are placed outside the garbagriham.  Thanking the archakar profusely, we left the temple at about 7 P.M. and drove to Melkote.

MELKOTE

THE PLACE WHERE SWAMY RAMANUJAR STAYED FOR ABOUT 12 YEARS

yoga narasimhar Vijaya sthambam at Nagamangala

After about an hour’s drive, we reached Melkote- the place close to Swamy Ramanujar’s heart. Archakar Sri Narsiraj Bhattar, whom we contacted earlier on 094487 54696 had arranged for our stay in Belur chathiram  which is on the way to the temple.  We dumped our baggages in the room and rushed to the temple which was about to close.

As Bhogam was being offered to Lord Thirunarayanan, the curtains were drawn and we were asked to wait for some time for participating in Sahasranama archana, the last seva of the day.Meantime, we went to obtain the grace of Kalyani Thayar and Swamy Ramanujar.  The archakars in Thayar sannidhi who are related to Narsiraj Bhattar stated that Melkote is not Pancha Narayana kshetram and endorsed Talakad archakar’s views.  They informed that from Talakad one can reach Melkote via Maddur and Srirangapatinam and need not pass thru Mysore.

   thondanur lake

Just as we reached Perumal sannidhi, the curtains were drawn out and mangala aarthi was being shown to Perumal.  Had a wonderful darshanam of  Moolavar amidst chanting of Prabhandam pasurams.

We then followed the archakar to utsavar sannidhi which is on the left side in the same precincts and had a wonderful darshan of Sampathkumaran /Chellapillai with ubhaya nachiyars.  We were informed that only in this temple, there is a separate sannidhi for utsavar.  We participated in  Sahasranama archanai and relished Perumal’s soundhariyam..  We were recapitulating how this Perumal showered grace on our Udayavar who is our saviour.

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  After archanai and shodasa upachaarams, Perumal was singing lullaby for taking rest.. A priest came and gave about 6 dosas as prasadam in our hastams.  The priest in Thayar sannidhi with whom we intereacted introduced himself as Sri Narsiraj Bhattar’s brother and took us to their Thirumaligai for honouring prasadam.  The Lord was gracing us with huge quantities of prasadam that we didn’t have appetitive for another meal. At the same time, we could not refuse the archakar’s hospitality. Learning about our next day’s program to visit Nagamangala, Saligramam and Belur, they advised us to to have darshan at  Belur first as it was very far off and then go to Saligrama via Valiya Narsipur, K.R.Nagar and proceed to Srirangapatinam via K.R.Pettai, Bogadhi, Nagamangala.

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  They called up Sri Krishnaraj Bhattar, their brother who is the chief priest in Belur and informed about our visit.  The bhattar was glad to host us on the following day as it was Amavasya.  .   After taking their blessings and thanking them profusely for their guidance , we retired for the night. We were fortunate to visit  our Thirumaligai  ( MUDALIANDAAN) which is adjacent to the bhattar’s house .

KALYANAI PUSHKARINI DARSHANAM

sriranga patnam

We  drove to Kalyani Pushkarini which is nearby.  Sprinkled some water and after purchasing Thiruman kaapu etc., we started off on our journey to Nagamangala and reached at about 9.15 A.M.  The temple doors were closed.  By this time , we got accustomed to this closures.  We tried to enquire from some passerby regarding the temple but unfortunately we just came across a single person with whom we could not communicate properly.  We waited for about 15 minutes and decided to leave.  Meantime, we peeped into the Hanuman shrine nearby which was deserted.  Adiyongal tried to contact  Sri Narayana Bhattar, the temple priest on his mobile no. 094487 50603 but there was no response.

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Circumbulated the Vijaya sthambam erected in front of the temple  by Swamy Ramanujar and left the place.  After about an hour’s drive, to our utter dismay, we realized that the diary in which we were jotting out details and which contained imp. information was missing.  WE were guessing that we would have left it at the temple entrance where we had kept our belongings and again contacted bhattar. 

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Luckily he responded informing that as he was in Bangalore and asked his son to take care of the temple in his absence.  Knowing our plight, he helped us by giving their landline number and asked us to contact his family who would go to the temple and check whether the diary was available or not. 

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By Perumal’s grace, we got the reply in affirmative and informed the bhattar about the same.  The bhattar opined that this leela was enacted by Perumal to ensure that we visit him again and take HIS blessings as the Perumal is Sowmya Kesavan (Kesavan who is Klesha naasaaya) and suggested us to go back to Nagamangala.  The driver said that it would be impossible to travel so far as we had to board the night train to Bangalore. Hence we decided to visit this place from Bangalore.

 

 nambi narayana temple REACHING BELUR TO HAVE

DARSHINAM OF LORD KESAVA NARAYANA TEMPLE

Closer view of the temple gopuram in Belur. We reached Belur at about 11.30 A.M. The magnificent Belur Chenna Kesava temple also known as Vijaya Narayanan temple is one of the Pancha Narayana kshetrams and attracts many tourists and is a heritage site.  WE proceeded to Chenna Kesava Perumal sannidhi and met Sri.Krishnaraj Bhattar and gave his brother’s reference.  We were asked to come closer to Perumal’s sannidhi and had a good darshanam.  The Lord ,true to HIS name, is very beautiful and enchanting.

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The Lord is seen sporting a nose ring and anklets as HE had taken the form of Mohini.  Since the Lord gives darshan as Mohini, the Thayar is Padithaanda pathini-she doesn’t compete with Perumal by coming outside  due to HER surpassing beauty.  We were wonderstruck at the beautiful sculptures.  The big hall outside the garbagriham was crowded with tourists who were assisted by the local guides in explaining about the sculptures.  Marvellous indeed.  We then visited a nearby shrine which houses replica of Chenna Kesava Perumal.

  This sannidhi was not crowded .  the archakar informed that this replica of Perumal was engraved and shown to Mudaliandan Swamy and King Vishnuvardhana who gave their consent to go ahead with the original vigraham.  This sannidhi and the expenses related to it were borne by Queen Shantala Devi, wife of King Vishnuvardhana.  Pointing to a cenre place in front of the garbagriham, the priest said that the queen would dance in front of this Perumal.  He took us to other shrines in the temple.  When we expressed our desire to have darsanam of Swamy Ramanujar, he informed that it would not be possible as the temple authorities open the sannidhis only twice daily for offering food. 

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The rest of the day, the shrines remain closed.  We were saddened to know this and decided to atleast stand in front of the sannidhis and pray for our upliftment.  When  two archakars came with the keys to open the sannidhi, our joy knew no bounds.  It was like a thirsty man getting water to drink.   We thanked Swamy Ramanujar for casting his glance on us.  They offered the fruits and gave karpoora aarthi.  We first had darshan of Swamy Ramanujar and then of Sri Mudaliandan whose sannidhi is on the left.  Even the aged archakar who accompanied us was shocked. Thanked the Lord profusely. Now our return journey  was to reach Mysore via Saligramam.

THE HOLY WATER THAT PURIFIED A KINGDOM

sripada theertham sri paadam

We reached Saligram at about 5 P.M.  On reaching Saligramam, while we were enquiring route to temple, the local residents informed that the temple would be closed and directed us to archakar’s house.  The archakar along with his little son accompanied us to the temple which is about 2 kms from his residence. 

 

 

The small temple  situated in serene surroundings has Swamy Ramanujar’s Thiruvadigal.  Pooja and all upacharaams are done to the Thiruvadigal.  The archakar removed the copper covering and we could have NIja Paada darsanam of Swamy Ramanujar. 

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Below RAmanujar’s Thiruvadigal, the figures of Mudaliandan Swamy, Embar and Vaduga Nambi are engraved.  Near the entrance on the left side, we were captivated by a beautiful figure of Swamy Ramanujar as Sesharoopam (similar to the one in Thondanur).  After circumbulating the temple, the priest took us to “Sripada Theertham”- a small pond sanctified by Sri Mudaliandan’s Thiruvadigal.  The archakar ensures that this place is not polluted by locking the gate. The archakar collected some water and sprinkled the holy water on us .  We felt blessed to be purified by the most sacred water.  We were constantly remembering asmath acharyan glorifying the importance of Sripada Theertham.  Only in our Thirumaligai, Sripada theertham is given to everyone..

The photos and videos can be viewed here:

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It took about an hour for us to reach Srirangapatinam .  As there was heavy rush in the evening, we paid our obeisances from outside and boarded Bangalore express from Srirangapatinam.

Worshipping Lord Sowmya Kesava  at Nagamangala temple finally

soumya keshava temple soumya keshava temple2   After reaching Bangalore ,  we visited Dodda mallur, the place visited by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy.  Had darsanam of the Lord Navaneetha Krishnan in “Vennai kaapu” and visited shrines of our acharyars.  Proceeded to Nagamangala which took about 3 hours .  Luckily the temple was open and we had darsanam of Sri Sowmya Kesava Perumal along with our ubhaya nachiyars and utsava murthis ,Narasimhar and Venugopalan.  The priest pointed a sculpture on the ceiling explaining that a nagam has coiled itself in such a way that the head (considered to be Rahu) and tail(considered to be Keshu) meet.  Hence this kshetram is famous as Raghu-Kethu kshetram and all malefic effects caused by these two planets get cured by visiting this place.   The priest has returned  our diary saying that the watchman had kept it safely.  The Vijaya sthambam was inaugurated by Swami Ramanujar and later this temple was built.  

On the way to Gadag , Hubli to have darshan of Lord Veera Narayana:

En route to Belur-Mangalore Highway   Vijaya Narayana Perumal popularly known as Chenna Kesava Swamy( We reached Hubli  from Bangalore and took a connecting train to Gadag which is about 60 kms from Hubli and reached the temple at 10A.M. Gadag known as Kruthapuram is one of the pancha Narayana kshetram. The presiding Perumal is Sri Veera Narayanan  is adorned in yellow pithambaram holding chakram on the upper hastam and sankhu on the lower side.  The lower right hastam is in abhaya mudra and the Lord holds blossomed Padmam in lower left hastam (like Guruvayurappan).  A gadam is placed on the right side.

Ubhaya nachiyars-Sridevi and Bhudevi grace us  on either sides.  The utsava murthi is Krishnar . As the moolavar is Saligrama thirumeni, every day thirumanjanam is performed to Perumal. The dasa avataaras of Perumal are beautifully engraved on the arch covering Perumal.

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He said that Perumal here is “Darshana Murthi”-we had Thiruvadi darsanam referring to Lord Srinivasar in Tirumala as Kanchana Murthi, Lord Panduranga as Bhajana murthi and Lord Jagannath in  Puri as “Bhoga murthi”.   As Kruthu muni did penance here, this place is known after him as Kruthapuram” .  While circumbulating the sannidhi, we visited Narasimhar sannidhi which is behind Sri Veera Narayanan’s sannidhi. 

jai narasinghak
Jai Jai Narasimha

Opposite to Narasimhar sannidhi, we can find a small brindavan (tulasi pot) with Raghavendra Swamy.  We were told that saint Raghavendra Swamy visited this place and after he attained Samadhi, as per his instructions, little mud from his Brindavan at Mantralayam was brought and kept in this place. 

 

During Sravan month (Aavani), 3days pooja is performed here. Navaratiri utsavam for 10 days and Gokulasthami are celebrated grandly.  They celebrate Sri Krishna Janmashtami when Rohini is ascendant and decorate the Lord with floral garlands..

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Sri Krishnachari gudi who is incharge of temple affairs can be contacted on 099019 15561 and the priest Sri Rameshachargudi on 099457 18229

The temple timings are 5A.M.-12 and 5P.M. -8.30 P.M.

Thus by acharyar’s anugraham , adiyongal could visit all the sacred places.  With a prayer to enhance our bhakti and enlighten us more about our Poorvacharyars and Ramanuja darsanam , adiyen humbly offers this write up at the feet of asmath acharyar and seeks forgiveness from the bhagavatas for this agnani’s mistakes and correct adiyen.

Asmath Acharyar His Holiness Swami Sri U. Ve. K. K. V. A.Kumara Ramanujachaaryar

Adiyen offers humble obesiances to asmath present Acharya Swami MudaliAndaan swami for the mercy on this insignificant servant

Adiyen   Kazhiyur varadan Ramanuja dasan

Photographs : Courtesy MudaliAndaan.com

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AHOBILAM TRAVEL DIARY… “Aho Veeryam ahho sowryam aho bahu parakramaha Naarasimham param daivam Ahobalam Ahobalam”


NAMO NARAYANAYA
SRIMAN NARAYANAYA CHARANAU SARANAM PRAPATHYE
SRIMATHE NARAYANAYA NAMAH
SRIMATHE RAMANUJAYA NAMAH
SRI MUDALIAANDAN SWAMY THIRUVADIGALEY SARANAM
SRI AMRITHAVALLI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI LAKSHMI NARASIMHA PARABRAHMANE NAMAH
jai jai jai

 

Prostrating at LORD LAKSHMI NARASIMHARS LOTUS FEET , Adiyen feels honoured to share the divine experiences of our  yaathirai to Ahobilam Divya desam. Every darshan is special .

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Our first trip was 20 years back and later we  had darshan every 2-3 years .

Ahobila Mutt authorities had taken the holy initiative to develop this kshetram on war footing and made it convenient for the piligrims to have darshanam of  all the Nava Narasimhar temples over a period of time thus making it easier to approach compared to 20 years back.

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We offer humble obeisances to his holiness  Jeeyar and the Mutt followers as this holy initiative from HIS HOLINESS has really made pilgrims journey more simple .. Presently nine archakas ( priests ) have been appointed who perform Nityathiruvaaradhanai  ( worship) to all the Nava Narasimhars .They travel by Cycles/ Mopeds /Walk  to the temples and are very cooperative with the pilgrims explaining the importance of the temples .

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Adiyens sincere acknowledgements to Ms.Ramesh , the author of “108 DIVYA DESAMS”and members of Sri Rangasri group ,who helped us to undertake this pilgrimage  a decade back .

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Adiyens recent visit  five years ago  was most memorable . Out of the 108 Sri Vaishnava divya desams, two are in Andhra Pradesh, Tirumala and Ahobilam. Both the divya desams are situated in the Nallamalai Hills in Chittoor districts respectively.

Ahobilam is  about 68 KM from Nandyal Station . As per the Puranas, Nallamalai Hills is the personification of Adisesha, the great serpent bed of Perumal.

Srisailam, one of the famous ParamaShiva sthalams is the tail end, Ahobilam is the middle portion, Tirumala is the head and Srikalahasti, another Shiva kshetram is the mouth of Adisesha.

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Thus, the sacred hills houses two Vishnu and two Shiva kshetrams.

Ahobilam, the great Narasimha kshetram is also known as

Ahobalam,

SingavelKundram,

Vedachalam,

Garudachalam,

Veera kshetram, and finally  pancha kosa kshetram etc.for the following reasons.
AhobilamRoute

AHOBALAM :- means “great strength”. Since Lord manifested Himself here for
rescuing His devotee by killing the asura, Hiranyakasapu, the devas praised Him
saying “AHO BALAM” (Oh! What a strength)

VEDACHALAM :-Perumal restored the Vedas to Brahma by killing Somuka, an asura.

GARUDACHALAM:-Perumal blessed Garuda who was doing penance here.

VEERA KSHETRAM :- Lord exercised one of His gunas “VEERYAM”

NAVA NARASIMHA KSHETRAM 

There are nine temples dedicated to  Lord Narasimhar at  Ahobilam
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This Holy dhaam is called as PANCHA KROSA KSHETRAM

All the nine temples are situated within a radius of  5 krosas or 10 miles or 16 kilometres.

Ahobilam is situated 25 Km from Arlagadda a small town  in Kurnool district and can also be approached via Cuddapah district. It is situated on hills amidst thick jungles. The local tribals are very kind .

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jai7  Earlier , almost all the temples were  scattered on the hills with no direct route , one was forced to walk back the way he came and then go to the next temple ,but now the scene is different .

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Great care has to be taken while trekking especially when we trek the holy hills . Added to this, the place is inhabited by wild animals and monkeys. Due to monkey’s menace, even eatables have to be taken with utmost care. It is always advised to take help of local guide.

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 Thirumangai Azhwar’s mangalasaasanam comprising of 10 pasurams describes the divya desam beautifully.

Azhwar  describes Perumal’s ugra swaroopam and the scenic beauty of this place. In the first 8 pasurams,  Azhwar  describes how difficult it is to reach this place which is inhabited by wild elephants, tigers, lions and  the tribals .

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 Azhwar quotes  that even tigers and lions offer their prey to Perumal before eating them. But in the 9th pasuram Azhwar says that these difficulties would be faced only by the enemies and demons and the bhaktas need not have any fear because here Perumal residing along with  goddesss (Thayar)  would always protect the devotees. This pasuram boosts  our confidence level and  take refuge in Him.

Every nucleus in Ahobilam reverberates with Lord Narasimha’s holy name.

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As per sthalapurana , Jaya and Vijaya, the dwarapaalakas gate keepers of Sri Vaikuntam were puffed up with ego  due to their proximity to Perumal. They  were cursed by Sanathakumara brothers (who were the Manasaputras of Brahma ) to get separated from Lord (Perumal).

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The repentant dwarapaalakas were given the option of either living a pious life for 100 births or become demons for 3 janmas ,develop enmity towards the Lord and finally get  liberated by Perumal. They opted for the latter and hence were born thrice.

In their first janma, they were born as Hiranyaaksha and Hiranyakasipu,they took their second birth as Ravana and Kumbakarna and in their third birth, they were born as Kamsa and Sisupaala.

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LORD  declares in Bhagavad Gita that He will appear to protect His devotees and destroy the  enemies. So whenever the earth becomes overburdened with sinners,the Lord manifests Himself to protect His devotees. Narasimha Avataaram is one such avataaram where the Lord appeared to protect the great child-devotee, Prahalada by killing his father, Hiranyakasipu.

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 The Narasimha avataaram is the only avataaram where the Lord appeared as “half beast half man “ a rare combination. It is only in this avataaram that Lord depicts contrasting feelings of “sowlabhyam”and “krodham” i.e. love and hatred with the same organ, “eyes” at the same time. The Lord was full of compassion and love to the child devotee , Prahalada and at the same time was fierce and angry with Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu with his severe austerities had wittingly acquired a boon from Brahma that he should not get killed by any of Brahma’s creation, he shouldn’t die either during day or night, he shouldn’t die either on earth or in the sky, he shouldn’t be killed by using any weapon or astram. Puffed up with the confidence that he couldn’t be killed as fulfilling as the above conditions would be impossible, he had become notorious and tortured pious people. He developed hatred towards Lord Vishnu.

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But his son, Prahalada was a born Vishnu Bhakta. All his advises to realise the soul and seek Narayanan’s Holy feet became invain. The wicked rakshasa started torturing his son by throwing him from top of hill, administering poison, throwing him in sea, fire etc. All the efforts of the rakshasa became futile as his son was protected by Lord. He realised the purpose of birth and had absolute faith on the Ultimate. Sri Mukkur Swamy gives a wonderful explanation to the incident when Prahalada was thrown from top of the hill.

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He says that when Prahalada was thrown by the asuras from top of the hill, he held his hands close to his heart to ensure that Perumal who was residing in his heart as ANTARYAAMI” shouldn’t get hurt. Seeing this act of Prahalada,Bhoomidevi overwhelmed with pity protected the child by taking him in her alms on a bed of flowers. When Prahalada was thrown in the fire, Agni deva protected the child and it was his aunt,Holika , who got burnt. This incident is celebrated even today as “Holi “ festival in India.

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The asura could not accept the concept of “OMNIPRESENCE OF THE LORD” propagated by Prahalada and as a challenge, he kicked a nearby pillar in his palace and asked the boy to show him the Lord. The asura was fully confident that as he himself had constructed the palace, he was sure that the Lord could not be present. Even before he could complete his sentence, an extraordinary being emerged out of the pillar.

 

 

 

The being had a body like a human and a face like that of a lion’s. He had sharp nails like the paws of a lion.

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This was the most prominent avataaram of the Lord “NARA-SIMHA “ . The Lord with His wonderful form of half-beast and half-man (he was neither a man nor a beast but at the same time, he was the combination of the two) and 10 hands placed the asura on His lap (it was neither earth nor sky), he was holding the asura with two of his hands; pierced the asura’s intestine with his nails, (thus not using any astram or weapon), it was evening when the incident occurred , (thus fulfilling the condition that he should neither be killed in the morning nor night).

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Thus the Lord killed the asura and lessened the burden of the earth . Even after the samhaaram, the Lord was furious . Thayar and the demigods were afraid to go near him and pacify. It was Prahalada who sang the praise of the Lord known as “PRAHALADA STHUTHI” and pleased the Lord.

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This sthuthi comprising of 43 slokas contains the essence of Vedanta philosophy difficult to grasp even by mature minds. Prahalada was able to recite this slokam only due to the grace and touch of the Lord. This incident is mentioned in the seventh chapter of Srimad Bhagavatham.

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The Lord took him on His lap and blessed him to rule the kingdom and finally reach His abode. He also granted the boon that no one belonging to his dynasty would be killed by Him. (This was the reason why Perumal didn’t kill Bali Chakravarthy, the demon-king who was Prahalada’s grandson when Perumal assumed Vamana avataaram , Dhenukaasuran and Banaasuran during his Krishnaavataaram. With His touch, the sins of Hiranyakasipu got wiped off .

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The Lord conceded the request of the devas to stay back in earth and protect His devotees. He later married Chenchulakshmi, a partial manifestation of Thayar and continues to reside in this holy place even today.

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To this day, this tribe enjoys special privileges and they get offerings for Perumal’s Thirukalyaanam which is celebrated in a grand way. It was only after obtaining the grace of Narasimhar, Sri Ramar got the information that Ravana had kidnapped Sita Devi. It was after having darshan of Narasimhar,Lord Srinivasar met Padmavathi Thayar and married Her.

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The presence of the Lord can be experienced even today. To quote few instances, itmay be mentioned that Perumal appeared as a sanyasi to Srinivasachariyar around 500 years ago to the first Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt and initiated him into Sanyasam and prompted him to propogate Srivaishnavism.

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The Lord gave the Jeeyar the utsava vigraham of Malola Narasimhar and the deity  is in the custody of the Ahobila Mutt Jeeyars for Nityathiruvaaradhanai. The Lord also protected the 33rdJeeyar of Ahobila Mutt from wayside dacoits. The Lord saved Annamacharyar , the great saint who attained the Lotus feet of the Lord by singing His praises, from the harassment of the local king and he got initiated into Srivaishnavism by the then Ahobila Mutt Jeeyar.

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The Lord blessed King Pratapa rudra by enlightening him about true knowledge. This king contributed to a great extent for the welfare of this place.The present Ahobila Mutt Jeeyar has contributed to a great extent by spending few lakhs of rupees for the renovation of old temples and constructed new temples. The way to these temples has become accessible. As mentioned earlier, there are 9 shrines dedicated to nine forms of Narasimhar.

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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.

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Apart from the navaNarasimha 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 konneru near Bhargava Narasimhar , Ramatheertha near Lower Ahobilam and Raktha Kundam near Jwala Narasimhar ,Bhavanaasini near Ugra Narasimhar which flows through both the mountains are a few to name.

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MOOLAVAR : SRI LAKSHMI NARASIMHA SWAMY
THAYAR : SRI AMRITHAVALLI THAYAR
VIMANAM : Gugai (Cave)
THEERTHAM : BHAVANAASINI
PRATHYEKSHAM : PRAHALADA, GARUDAR ,HANUMAR
MANGALASAASANAM: THIRUMANGAI AZHWAR (1008-1017)

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Adiyen wishes to briefly give the details of the nava narasimhars.

1) PRAHALADA VARADA NARASIMHA SWAMY:

Situated at the foot of the hills known as Lower Ahobilam, this temple can be visited by one and all. Usually all homams and yagams are performed here. Here Perumal is seen along with Thayar blessing Prahalada. Hence, Perumal is known as “Prahalada Varadar”.The utsava vigrahams of all the Narasimhars except Malola Narasimhar are offered nitya thiruvaadhanai here. To the left of Perumal, utsava vigraham of Pavana Narasimhar can be seen majestically .

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In front of the Lord, the utsavaiodls of Prahalada varada Narasimhar along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi grace us . The processional deity of Jwala Narasimhar along with His consorts is also seen inthe garbagriham . The vigraham is superbly carved and on request , thearchakar removes the alankaranam and performs Aaarathi to the idol. This idol has 10 arms and Hiranya vadham (killing) is beautifully depicted. There is also a small vigraham of the first Ahobila Mutt Jeeyar facing south. The temple is a huge  and many monkeys can be seen here. The walls of the temple depict the sthala puranam briefly. There is a Thayar Sannidhi to the right of the temple.

2) BHARGAVA NARASIMHA SWAMi:

This temple is situated two kilometres from Lower Ahobilam on a small hillock and can be approached by foot. As Bhargava(Parasurama) did penance here, the Lord is thus known. It is easily approachable.

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3) YOGANANDA NARASIMHA SWAMI:  Situated at a distance of 3 kilometres from Lower Ahobilam, this can be approached by foot. It was here that Prahalada mastered the art of yoga from Perumal Himself. The divya mangala swaroopam of the Lord is eye captivating. Perumal is seen alone in Yogaasanam.
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4) CHATRAVATA NARASIMHA SWAMI:- This  temple is situated at a distance of nearly 3 kms from Ahobilam on a different route also reachable on foot . As Perumal is seated alone under a peepul tree which protects Perumal like an umbrella, He is known as Chatravata Narasimhar. This Perumal is fond of music played by Gandharvas. It looks as if the Lord is deeply engrossed in music by clasping His hands. We were told that He is fond of Adi Thalam. Reptiles keep moving in this place but they don’t harm the devotees. One has to take care of these.
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5) UGRA NARASIMHAR SANNIDHI:- This  temple is in Upper Ahobilam. There is a narrow bus route and it takes about 40 minutes to reach this place from Lower Ahobilam. This is considered as the divya desa temple. Usually, pilgrims have bath in Bhavanaasini or Paavanaasini (a spring which flows from the top of the hill) and then have Perumal’s darsanam. A dip in Paavanaasini absolves all the sins committed. Though there are no proper bathing ghats, still we can see hundreds of devotees having holy dip unmindful of their surroundings.

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The sannidhi is located inside a cave . Perumal along with Thayar is seen in Veetruirundha Thirukkolam . Opposite to Perumal, there is an idol of Prahalada. There is a dark room on the other side of the cave which is believed to be the place where Chenchulakshmi resides . Recently, under the supervision of Jeer, a bridge across Paavanasini river has been constructed which facilitates the pilgrims to go to Varahanarasimhar temple (Krodha Narasimhar)
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KRODHA NARASIMHAR: One kilometer further from Upper Ahobilam leads to the shrine of Krodha Narasimhar. He is also known as Varaha Narasimhar as His Thirumukam resembles a varaham (a boar). Any japam done here elevates one spirtually. Especially, Narayana  Sadakshara Japam from Varaha Kanda bestows manifold benefits as told by Archakar Swamin. He is the Maha varahan , who lifted the Earth from the nether-world with His tusk and emerged as a great blue mountain . He is the One , who gave us the Maha Varaha Prapatthi slokam asuring that He will come to the rescue of his devotees

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KARANJA NARASIMHAR SHRINE :

This temple is situated between Upper Ahobilam and Lower Ahobilam.. As the divya mangala moorthi is installed under Karanja vruksham, the deity has been named so. Perumal is seen in VeetruirundhaKolam and is holding Sarngam (bow), dhanus (arrow) and chakram . As usual,Adisesha acts as “Kudai”(refer Irundhal Kudaiyam…) and isprotecting. The theertham here is known as Bhairava kundam. Hanumar who visited this place was astaunch Rama bhakta . Lord Narasimhar appeared to Hanumar, who was a staunchRamabhakta, with bow and arrow thus showing that He is Rama Himself. This Lord is in Padmasaanam pose. One can have darshan of Hanumar also. We are reminded of Sholangur .

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6) MALOLA NARASIMHAR:

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This  holy shrine is situated two kilometres away from Upper Ahobilam. Perumal came in search of Mahalakshmi Thayar who was doing  penance here and placed Her on His lap. Hence, Perumal seen along with Thayarhas a somya (graceful) form. Due to Thayar’s presence, Perumal graces even the worst sinner . Azhwar refers to this Perumal in pasuram no. 1016 (Peria Thirumozhi) when he says that bhaktas are always protected by Perumal andonly the wicked have to fear . This Lord gives abhayam to His devotees and Thayar bestows Asthaaiswaryam and grants the wishes of the devotees. There is a vigraham of Thirumangai Azhwar in the sanctum . Outside the temple, there is a small pillar with murthis. Those who are not able to go to Ugra sthambamcan prostrate this pillar.

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7)     JWALA NARASIMHAR:-

This temple is located at a higher altitude called AchalAchaya Meru that is four kilometers from Ugra Narasimha Swamy and may bear around 2800 feet. And can be approached from Malola Narasimhar shrine. It takes about 2 hours to reach this temple from Upper Ahobilam. The path is slippery and as mentioned care has to be taken. It was here that Lord  killed Hiranyakasipu by tearing his stomach with his spear like nails. The deity with 10 hands which is approximately 3 feet high and is scaring to look at.

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This is the spot, where Lord NarasimhA’s anger grew to the highest level during and after the tearing apart of HiraNyan . There are three mUrthams at this sannidhi . At the center is the JwAlA Narasimhan with Garudan at His feet . He is holding HiraNyan’s head and ankles with one set of hands ; with the third and fourth hands , He is tearing apart the stomach of HiraNyan ; with the fifth and the sixth hands , He is holding Chakram and Sankham ; with the seventh and the eighth hands , he is pulling the two strands of HiraNyan”s intestines up and wearing them as a garland around His neck .The Uthsava mUrthy of JwAlA Narasimhan is at the  Lower AhObilam temple with 10 hands.
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Beside this shrine, there is a small pond known as “Raktha Kundam” where the Lord is believed to have washed His blood-stained hands . The water is reddish in colour and this was the explanation given by the guide to us. Recently, a temple has been constructed for this Lord and a archakar is appointed to perform Nitya Thiruvaaradhanai.

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8) PAVANA NARASIMHAR:  This temple is situated six kilometres away from Upper Ahobilam towards north east on the banks of River Pavana. It is difficult to approach this temple as wild animals keep roaming earlier If one wishes to visit this temple, he must do so during daytime with the help of a guide.

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The path is too narrow, the trek amidst cluster of rocks is strenuous . It takes about 45 minutes for trekking.One can view Malola Narasimhar shrine and few water falls on the way on the other side of the mountain. Forest fire is very common in this place and this helps in one way to ward off wild animals. It is believed that devas offer worship to this Lord.

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The Lord is seen along with Thayar . The local tribals usually observe fast on Saturdays and offer flowers, honey, fruits, rice, jaggery etc. to the Lord.The general notion that “bali” (sacrifice) is done here was rebuked by the priest. He said that the sacrifice would be done elsewhere in the jungles . He also added that wild animals do not roam near the temple and only during severe summer,they come to the river bank to quench their thirst.

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They usually do not hurt anyone.Besides the above shrines, other places of interest are Prahalada Padi or PrahaladaMettu (Mettu in Telugu and Padi in Tamil means “step”) and Ukku sthambam.

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PRAHALADA PADI is the place where Prahalada had his vidyabhyaasam from Sukracharya’s sons. The way to Prahalada padi though tough is breathtakingly beautiful with river flowing on one side and with various water falls amidst a huge valley. This reminds me of the route to Badrinath.

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The temple is in a small cave and one has to crawl to enter inside the cave. Only 4 persons can be accomodated insideat a time. Mountain lizards and bats move freely here.It was here that the child started propogating Lord’s qualities.

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Prahalada used to resort to this place for meditating upon the Lord. There is a vigraham of Narasimhar in centre . to its right, there is an idol of Chakaratazhwar and to the left , there is a vigraham of Lord Vishnu.

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UKKU STHAMBAM

 

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More brief details can be had from this link
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which is situated at a distance of 8 kms from Upper Ahobilam isthe pillar from which the Lord emerged . The pillar which is situated at the edge of the cliff is split into two as a proof that Lord appeared from this pillar. Ahobilam usually give their offerings here.

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It is very difficult to reach this place which is at a highest altitude .Doing pradakshinam around this pillar is even more difficult as it isin the cliff. Near the ukku sthambham (iron pillar) as the Telugus call, there is Perumal’s Thiruvadi. The climb is very difficult . Only with His grace can one visit this place.

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One has to have a sharp vision and a flexible body to bend, crawl etc.This can be approached from Prahalada padi on the way to Jwala Narasimhar shrine.While describing this pillar, Sri Mukkur Swamy says that the entire world is still pregnant with Narasimhar inside except this because Perumal has come out of it.The symbols of Vishnu, namely, Sankhu, Chakram, Naamam are carved on the face of the hill.

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One can have a bird’s eye view of the entire Ahobilam from this place. Theatmosphere is calm and serene . Various waterfalls all around looking like thin streams makes us wonder and appreciate the nature and Lord’s creation. It’s a best place to meditate.

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“Aho Veryam aho sowryam aho bahu parakramaha
Naarasimham param deivam Ahobalam Ahobalam”

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JwAlA Ahobila MaalOla Krodha Kaarancha Bhaargava..
YogAnanda Kshathravata Paavana Nava MUrthaya…..
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Adiyen will feel honoured for being a small instrument in devotees wishing to have darsanam of LORD by guiding with route and other details .

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With humble pranams
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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