THE DIVINE CROWBAR AT THE ENTRANCE OF TIRUMALA TEMPLE


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Millions of devotees throng the Tirumala Hills practically round the clock throughout the year for having darshanam of Lord Venkateshwara .

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It is always the darshan what he gives us than what we seek .

                                   Many will share their experiences having darshanam with moist eyes . However , Very few are aware that when we walk inside the temple , to the right side of the Main entrance we can see a crowbar tied to the wall which has a glorious past .

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As we move towards the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Venkateswara , how many will remember that there was a time , just a thousand years back, when the Hills were deserted with not much of human habitation in sight .

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Swamy Ramanuja had visited the Hills thrice.

His maternal uncle , Peria Thirumalai Nambi gave him discourses on Srimad Ramayana for several months at the Hills.

The temple and the surroundings were in bad shape and worship was not organized regularly.

Swami Ramanuja was inspired by the Holy Hymns of the Alwars singing the glory of the Lord of the Seven Hills.

At Srirangam the capital of Vaishnavism , during a discourse amongst 74 Acharyars on Nammalvar’s Thiruvaymozhee

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While commenting on the hymn recited by Swami Nammalwar ,

”cindhu pu magilum Thiruvenkatam (3.3.2)

(on Thiruvenkatam Hills, spilled flowers blossom.)

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Swami Ramanuja put it to the concourse of disciples hearing him on Bhagavad Vishayam. ”Srirangam is known as Bhoga mantapam, the place where Lord enjoys Himself at the sight of the devotees on the banks of the river Cauvery.

Kanchi is known as Tyaga mantapam, where the Lord sacrifices for the sake of his devotees. The Thirumalai Hill is known as Pushpa Mantapam where the Lord is bedecked with flowers all the time.

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We should lay a garden for the service of the Lord and see that flowers are arranged for daily worship .

My dear children ….

Is there anyone……………… he posed them the question ……………whether any one of them will take up the task of serving the Lord on the Hills on a day to day basis.

Everyone was hesitating , fearing the hard life up the Hills what with wild animals and the insects in the forests.

Suddenly  …,  Anantharya , a strong and silent devotee in the gathering  rose to his feet and prayed ,

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Beloved Acharya ! Bestow the blessing of serving the Lord of the Seven Hills on this humble self.

With your grace , I will be happy to undertake this service.” 

Swamy Ramanuja was mightily pleased and embracing Anantharya, declared before the congregation ,Anantharya ,

You are truly the man ( Aanpillai).”

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Anatharya chose to settle down on the Hills in fulfillment of the command of the Guru As per command, he climbed up the sacred Tiruvenkata Hills, laid a garden and dug a tank and a lake for the service of the Lord to ensure perennial supply of flowers.

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This was at a time when nobody dared to go up the Hills because the risk involved of difficulties associated with life on the Hills. Admiring his  dedication , Swamy  Ramanuja gave him the title ”Aanpillai “(the great man) He therefore came to be known as Anantanpillai.

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One day Ananthalvan and his wife were digging the earth for creating a  small pond for the  new garden.

The only thought in their minds was that that was a service dear to the Acharya Ramanuja. This time, Ananthalvan’s wife was in the family way and still, despite her physical frailty, was helping her husband with all dedication..

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She was carrying basketloads of mud as per the instructions of Ananthalvan and throwing them at a far  distance.

Lord Srinivasa was unable to bear the pain being undertaken by the lady and was moved by her devotion to the cause.

He took the form of a beautiful young Brhamachari and came before Ananthalvan and ……

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told him

“Oh Acharya, you have grown old……………………………..

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You are not in a fit condition to dig earth up. Your wife is also in full period of pregnancy and she will not be able to carry basket-loads of mud. 

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Please give me the spade.

Let me help you in this task.

I will dig the earth up and carry the basket-loads on my head.

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I will drop them at your desired place. The old couple that you both are may watch me and guide in this task”.

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Ananthalvan heard the youngster and replied to him,” My dear young man, you are looking handsome and soft.

You are full of ornaments and you are not able to carry even the weight of the ornaments on you .

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People like you are born delicate and will not be able to undertake arduous task of digging the earth and carrying the mud.

You will be put to physical strain.

This is a task which you cannot do.

On the other hand, I am fit for this rough and tumble earth work. I will be put to strain if I do not do this job. Please do not interfere.

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If you want to render service to the Lord, you may do it separately elsewhere .

If you come in my way, let me warn you,

I will drive you out you with this tool .

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The Youngman was taken aback at the wrath of Ananthalvan, and for a moment stayed aloof.

However, after sometime, he saw the lady carrying the basket full of mud and walking slowly with infirm steps.

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He accosted her on the way and spoke to her sweetly taking away the basket of mud on his head.

Thus the lady was able to hand over the basket of mud to the Youngman who in turn left it at the particular place.

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Ananthalvan found the work being done in half the time hence questioned his wife whether she was throwing the mud at nearer place instead of the appointed place.

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She told her husband how the young brahmachari was helping her by preventing her from reaching the destination and taking away the basket from her thus doing the job himself.

Ananthalvan grew red in the face.

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He, overtaken by rage, ran after the youngman with the crowbar.

He cried out to him” oh unknown youngster, you continue to interfere with my service in spite of my warning.

You will pay for it”.

The young Brahmachari ran for his life as Ananthalvan was chasing him ( a divine play indeed ) 

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The young man climbed up a big banyan tree and hid himself among the leaves.

He beseeched,

” My dear Ananthalvan, spare me.

Do not hit me.

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I have rich diamond and golden ear-rings.

My garment is of golden tissue.

I will give you all these things if you spare me”.

Ananthalvan thought for a moment and kept quite,

“Let him climb down and start running as soon as he believes me. I will catch him then…….

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”So he told the lad,” All right I will leave you alone. You may come down.

“The boy jumped down from the tree and started walking briskly even while turning his head backwards to see if any body was following him.

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A few minutes later he   found that Ananthalvan was chasing behind in order to catch him. The young lad started running …….

  Being unable to catch him, Ananthalvan  unknowingly threw the tool which he had used to excavate the soil …..( crowbar)   at him.

The tool  hit  the divine lad  on his chin and he was profusely bleeding.

However, with the bruise , he vanished into the temple, closing the door behind him. Ananthalvan waited for the boy to emerge from the temple.

There was no trace of the temple door opening.

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The priests came to the temple for the evening Puja.

Ananthalvan told them how the young lad had entered the temple and closed the door from inside.

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The priests shouted at the boy to come out of the sanctum sanctorum and open the door since it was time for the evening Puja.

The door opened.

Ananthalvan, the priests and other devotees entered the sanctum sanctorum.

There was no trace of the boy.

As they neared the Lord in the garbhagriha, they found that even as

He was all smiles, from His beauteous chin blood was oozing out.

Shocked at the spectacle of blood oozing out of the Lord’s chin, Ananthalvan wondered how this could happen and prayed to the Lord for an explanation.

The Lord answered his prayers and told him,”My dear Ananthalvan, I wanted to partake of the service you were doing for me and for the devotees.

You would not allow me to join you in the service.

You were after me in rage and threw the crowbar at me which hit me on the chin.

How can you forget it so soon?”

Ananthalvan was awe-struck and in fear begged of the Lord for forgiveness for what he did.

He applied herbs and stopped the flow of blood.

199296_157231014337773_100001526273908_342777_2119728_nThe Lord was supremely happy and told him”

I am delighted at your complete dedication to my service.

You will have the Sesavastra ( adorned clothes ) , the diamond studded ring and the golden ear-ring as honours from me”.

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Even to this date, the crowbar with which Ananthalvan  injured the Lord is hung at right side of the entrance to the main gate of the temple and the Lord is adorned with Pacchaikarpura on the chin.

This is distributed to the devotees as Sripadaremu.

 Swamy Ananthalvan served LORD and   breathed his last at an age of 84 years .

There is an Ananthalvan Vrindavanam on the Hills in the Ananthalvan garden.

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There is also a Makila tree (vakula) in the garden.

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According to tradition, it was on the Tiru Adi puram day (July-August ) that  Swamy Ananthalvan reached Acharyar’s lotus feet ..

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Even today Lord Srinivasa with his Consorts comes in procession to the garden on the evening of Tiruvadi Puram and maha prasada is offered on that occasion.

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At the time of His return, the Makila tree is offered with flowers from the Lord and also Sri Sathakopa.

Outside the  Swamy Ananthalvan ThiruMaligai (the house wherein Ananthalvan resided), the Sri Sathakopa is bathed in holy water (Tirumanjana) and Lagu Samproksanam takes place. The Archaka goes to the Svami Puskarini for bath.

This tradition which is carried on even today shows that the Makila (Vakula) tree is probably Swamy  Ananthalvan himself reborn on the Hills.

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Photos : Courtesy Google pics and social media shared by several devotees

videos : Credits Social media

 

THIRUMANGAI AZHWAR AND THE BLESSED TAMARIND TREE


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Thirumangai Azwar had done lot of services to LORD at Srirangam. Azhwar built the hundred pillar mandapam for the yearly festival adhyayana uthsavam. He built the north and south gopurms at Kulasekaran thiruveedhi and also the fourth compound wall ( Mathil suvar) which is called Maharlokam . This compound wall’s inner praharam is called “Aalinaadan veethi” that was the name of the place ruled by Azwar. There is a big Garudazwar sannathi in this praharam. The entrance is called Karthikai Vaasal to remember the birth star of Azwar He built the Thirunadai malikai that joins the Chandra Pushkarani and Velli Azakiyan vasal. On total he completed eight major construcion works in Srirangam. The big question is Where from he got this money for all these construction work? There are interesting stories. Lets cherish them ..
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Azhwan sent his disciples to find out where from they could get money for this noble cause. One of the disciples came and told him that there was a gold Buddha statue in a Buddha Vihar at Nagapattinam near Kanyakumari and if they could get it, they could sell the statue and get money for the construction work. But the statue was installed on top of the Vimanam and if the statue was removed the Vimanam would get damaged. Hence they had to find out a way to remove it without damaging the vimanam. But for that they had to find out the sculptor who constructed it. Azhwar sent his disciples to find out where the sculptor lived . Later locating the place , he went in person with his disciples and stayed with a person living opposite to the sculptor. He told that person that he was going on Yathra visiting places and just waiting for the arrival of a ship to continue his yathra to Nagapattinam. One day he was talking to his disciples in a raised voice and was telling them that he came to know that the golden Buddha statue was stolen. The sculptor who heard this was shocked and started cursing the helper who worked with him and knew the secret of the construction of the Statue. Thirumangai Azwar asked the sculptor where the helper lived and that he would go and search for him and punish him for his misdeed. He told Azwar that he did not know his where about but he was from Choza Nadu. Azhwar spoke to him pleasingly and requested him to tell him about the ( Vimana Makuta suthram)construction secret. He assured him that he would find the sculptor and recover the statue from him. The same day a ship arrived and the Azhwar boarded the ship with his disciples. Azhwar went to the Buddha Vihar with one of his disciples and was hiding there till night fall. As he had already took clues from the sculpture to remove the golden statue without damaging the Vimanam, with his disciple’s help he removed the statue. The statue was glittering in the moonlight and Azhwar was just thinking, Buddha who renounced his princely home and kingdom did not deserve a golden statue. On reciting a pasurem the gold from the statue melted and dropped into Azwar’s lap.
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Immediately he told his disiple that he did not want both of them to be seen together and told him to go back to Srirangam and he would follow suit. He decided to walk back to Srirangam. When he was approaching Thirukkannangkudi it was getting dark. He was also feeling tired and so wanted to take rest. Seeing a big tamarind tree, he sat underneath the tree. Beside the tree he saw a wet ploughed field. He digged the muddy field and buried the gold. Then he took rest under the tamarind tree. He was afraid that he might fall asleep and some one might take the gold. He told the tree, even if he fell asleep, the tree should be awake and take care of the gold. Next morning the tamarind tree woke him up by shedding its leaves upon him. He thanked the tamarind tree and blessed the tree as URangaa puLI. It is believed that the leaves of the tree never closed after this incident. The owner of the field came to plough the field in the morning. Thirumangai Azhwar stopped him by saying that it was his land and he would not allow him to plough. The farmer told him that for generations the land belonged to his family and how Azhwar was telling that it belonged to him. Azhwar told him that he was also asking the same question to him. The owner took him to panchayath and when they asked for proof the farmer showed his patta. When they asked Azhwar that if the land belonged to him where was the patta. He told them that it was at Srirangam and if they gave him twenty four hours time he would bring it and show it to them. The panchayath gave him time. Azhwar just wanted to take out the gold and leave the place, and for that only he asked for time. People say that from that time the law suits of that place keeps on dragging.

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So the law suits are described as Thola Vazakku. (means never ending)While he was staying there Azhwar felt very thirsty and he saw a woman drawing water from a well. He went and asked for some water, but the woman refused to give water thinking that Azhwar would claim the well also as his property. Azhwar got angry and cursed that the bore well would become dry and water would never flow from underneath. The well was called UUraa KiNaRu and always remained dry since then. Azhwar felt very tired and slept under a Makiza tree. The Lord took pity on him and came as a traveler and gave him food and water. As Azhwar was in a dazed condition due to thirst and hunger he ate the food and consumed the water. Then he looked up to see the person, but there was no one there. He blessed the Makiza tree to be Kaayaa maram, never to dry and always to remain green and since then the tree is green .That night he went to the field and took out the buried gold and started back his journey to Srirangam. On his way the Lord took the form of the traveler again and blocked Azhwar from walking further. When Azhwar asked him who he was, he appeared with His Sangu- Chakram and azwar was delighted to have darshan of the Lord of KannaNgkudi. He then understood that the previous night Lord of KaNNangudi only blessed him by giving him Thirtham and prasadam.. When Thirumangai Azhwar prayed to Lord Sri Ranganatha in Srirangam, the Lord directed him to visit Thirukurungudi for salvation where the Azhawar sung his last Mangalasasanam.
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Azhwar Thiruvadigale sharanam
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

THIRUMAZHISAI AZHWAR VAIBHAVAM


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One day, Paramasivan along with Parvathi , were passing by on their vahanam . When their shadow was about to touch Thirumazhisai AzhwAr, (AzhwAr an advanced sidha purusha) who was  on some work  notices , moves away. Noticing this PArvathi requests Paramasivanar that they should go and meet him.

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Paramasivan hesitates .

He informs Paravathi that Azhwar is a great soul and devotee of SrimanNarayana and he will simply ignore them.

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However , Parvathi insists,   and hesitatingly , Paramasivan obliges.

AzhwAr  is  in  trance with Hari vibhuthee and thus not in loukik mood.

Paramasivan  , understands the transcendental state of Azhwar  and asks AzhwAr

“How can he ignore them , when they are right next to  him ?”.

AzhwAr offers his Pranaams and replies

“ Adiyen has  nothing to ask you” except Haribhakthi . 

Parameshwaran replies That is always there but still  “We want to give you some benediction”.
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AzhwAr  replies 

Swamy  “I dont want anything from you”.

But Paramasivan insists and advises You may ask for whatever you desire”.

AzhwAr with a smile  replies , In that case … “Can you give me mOksham?”.

Paramasivan replies  “I have no authority to give that.

Only srIman nArAyaNan can give that”.

AzhwAr then asks “Can you postpone the death of some one?” for which Parama Siva replies “That is based on the individual’s karmA.

I have no control over that”.

AzhwAr then shows a needle and thread and asks  Paramasivan   “Can you send this thread into the needle?”.

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Paramasivan wants the world to know about this great devotee of Sriman Narayana and thus he pretends  being  angry and declares that he will burn him down like he burnt kAma dhEvan.

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AzhwAr  retaliates  meditating on SrimanNarayana . A  great fire flows from both the directions . Parama Sivan unable to bear the heat of that fire from AzhwAr , at once surrenders to  Lord  srIman nArAyaNan, and all the dhEvas, rishis, etc also approach Perumal and request him to stop the chaos.

LORD , immediately orders the praLaya clouds to bring a great rain and when they ask if they have the power to subside AzhwAr’s fire, emperumAn says he will give them the power.
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A great flood gets formed after subsiding the fire, and AzhwAr being fixed on LORD continues his meditation without any disturbance.

Paramasivan being amazed at AzhwAr’s nishtai gives him the title “bhakthisArar”, glorifies him and explains to parvathi that “dhurvAsar was punished for his apachAram to ambarIshan. So, bhAgavathas cannot be defeated” and leaves to his place.
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Its always a pure devotee who wins by his bhakthee and Lord always proves this repeatedly that HIS bhaktha is dearest to HIM .

Bhakthisarar Thiruvadigale sharanam

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan