LORD KRISHNA’S VISHWAROOPA DARSHAN TEMPLE AT KANCHIPURAM.


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Pandava Dhootha Perumal Temple   ( Thirupadagam ) Kancheepuram

Pandava Dhootha Perumal Temple  ( Thirupadagam )  is located in Kancheepuram in Tamilnadu.

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1 km West of Kanchipuram Bus Stand we can proceed to this temple to have a darshan of LORD KRISHNA  which is very special We can see  LORD  Krishna in a majestic sitting posture (facing East), almost  25 feet in height suggestive of the Lord’s Vishvaroopam.

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Lord Krishna  in order to make peace with the Kauravas,  proceeds  to Hastinapura to the court of Duryodhana on behalf of the Pandavas. 

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With a plot to  harm Lord  Krishna and thus to put all hopes of a peace treaty,  the evil Duryodhana digs a pit and tops it with bamboo sticks.

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On this bamboo topped pit, he puts up a grand stage, thus setting up  Lord Krishna for a mega fall.  Once he enters the hall, the all knowing  Lord Krishna presses the stage with his little toe to send it crushing below.

And immediately after,  Lord Krishna displays his Vishwaroopam to the blind Dhirdharashtra (and only to him), by giving him the vision.

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After having the darshan of  the Lord in his full divine form, a delighted Dhirdharashtra requests  Lord Krishna to restore his blindness, for he does not want to see anything else after having darshan of  the Lord himself.

 IMG_2175 Years after this episode, Arjuna’s grandson Janmejaya, who listened to the Mahabharata story from Vaisampaayana wanted to experience  the moment (that of Lord Krishna Vishwaroopa darshanam )  .

He undertook penance at this place.  Lord Krishna is believed to have  graced him with darshan , as ‘Pandava Dhootha’, in the same way he had in the Mahabharatha episode. Having played the role of a messenger for the Pandavas,  Lord Krishna, here at this temple, is known by that same name  Pandava Dhootha Perumal.

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 It is said  that in this holy place  there was a 18 day debate between  Swami Ramanuja and Yaghya Moorthy . Having lost the debate to Swamy  Ramanuja, the Scholar is said to have become his disciple and was given the  name to Arulaala Perumal Emberumaanar. Check the appended post below about the saints devotion for JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja ..

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/ekadandee-to-tridandee-arulala-perumal-emberumanar-vaibhavam/

The tower above Lord Krishna in  Pandava Dhoodha Perumal  is called Badra Vimana

 

Jai Sree Krishna

Photos : Credits Google images /Adiyen tour pics

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Kulasekhara Azhwar and Lord Venkateshwara


Appearance day of the the great devotee King Sri Kulasekhara Azhwar March 01 -2015

kazhiyur varadan's blog

Kulasekhara Azhwar  the great Azhwar  appeared  in  the royal family of the kingdom of Travancore .

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The rulers of the land did not own   but  ministers/ servants  to the Lord, Who was the actual  ruler . The Majesty was undoubtedly our LORD who was  worshipped by the King and the people   LORD Ananta-Padmanabha Swami .

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The Kings of Travancore would  offer obeisance’s   to the Lord  twice a day and   be there inside the temple of LORD  Sri Ananta-Padmanabha Swami. The King would then make his reports to the Lord of his daily administration of the country, of which he was but  just the trustee. (This tradition of the Maharaja of Travancore visiting Lord Ananta-Padmanabha Swami goes on to the present day even though the King has no real political power in the modern Republic of India.) Such was the pious and saintly quality of the ancient line of Vedic kings…

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Having darsanam of Lordships in Ahobilam, Srirangam, Thirukovalur and Ayodhya


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This  Srivaishnava divyadesam is located near Pallavaram in Chennai . The temple is located  on a hillock and one must  climb  around 250 steps to have darshan of the LORD  .The glory  of this divya desam is related to this temple is described in Brahmanda Puranam and other Sanskrit literature.

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This holy  hill was previously known as “Thoyagiri” meaning hill surrounded by water. When our Thirumangai Azhwar had visited this holy spot and glorified the LORD this place  came to be known as Thiru neer malai” . LORD  (Perumal) gives darshan  in 4 Thirukolam which is compared to the other divya desams by Thirumangai Azhwar as given below (2-4-1)
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Nindra(standing):-  Lord Ramar (at foot of hill) =Thirunaraiyur Sri Thirunaraiyur nambi
Kidandha (lying):- Lord  Ranganathar= Thirukudandhai Sri Aaraamudhan
Irundha(sitting) :- Lord Saantha Narasimhar =Thiruvaali Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar
Nadandha(walking):-  Lord Thiruvikraman =Thirukovaloor Trivikraman

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As mentioned earlier, one can have darshan of LORD in 4 places and in  4 forms –as  Lord Ramar in Standing posture at the foot of the hill,  Lord Sri Ranganathar in reclining posture under Sri Ranga vimanam, as  Lord Santha Narasimhar in sitting posture, as  Lord Sri Trivikraman in walking posture.

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During his visit to this kshetram, the great sage Valmiki  of  Srimad Ramayanam fame  , was not content having darsanam of  Lord Sri Ranganathar and  Lord Narasimhar. He had a desire to have darshan of  Lord Ramar also . Understanding the rishi’s desire, Lord Ranganathar appeared as Ramar, Lakshmi as Sita, Adisesha as Lakshmana, Sankhu and Chakra as Barata-Shatruguna, Viswaksena as Sugreevan, Garudan as Anjaneyar and blessed the rishi at the foot of the Hill. Lord whose complexion is dark blue was praised by Valmiki as Neervannan and at the request of the rishi, Perumal continued to reside at the  foot of the hill. The utsava vigraham of Lord  Ranganathar is kept in this sannidhi only.Since this hill was surrounded by water due to incessant rains for 6 months when Tirumangai Azhwar arrived, this place came to be known as Thiruneermalai.

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Earlier it was called “gaandavanam” as mentioned in his pasuram no. 1079 Any  merit (punyam) done here fetches multifold  benefit.  As per the locals ,devotees who visit this holy place  will be blessed with longevity.

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Any homam for longevity, for marriage etc performed here fetches manifold benefit. One can have the content of having darsanam of Ahobilam, Srirangam, Thirukovalur,Ayodhya divya desams here as Perumal gives His darshan as Lord Narasimhar, Lord Ranganathar , Lord Trivikraman and Lord Ramar
SRI ANIMAMALAR MANGAI NAYIKA SAMETHA
SRI NEERVANNA SWAMINEY NAMAH

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

THIRININRAVOOR.. Lord Bhaktavatsalan who is the very life of His dear devotees


THIRININRAVOOR  a Sri Vaishnava divya desam is  located 30 kms from Chennai on Arakonam route – and 5 kms from Thinnanoor station . As Goddess Maha Lakshmi  arrived from Sri Vaikuntam and stayed here, this place came to be known as “THIRU” “NINDRA” “OOR”

(THIRU= LAKSHMI,    NINDRA= STANDING, OOR=PLACE).

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Lord  MahaVishnu and Samudrarajan (   Goddess mahalakshmi’s  father) once  reached Bhoolokam in search of Thayar as without Her presence,  Sri Vaikuntam  was null  and  dull life .

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  Samudra rajan ,in the course of his search reached this place. He was overwhelmed to see his glorious daughter Mahalakshmi and addressed HER  as “ENNAI PETRA THAI” (mother who gave birth to me emphasizing the fact that Mahalakshmi Thayar is the Divine Mother for the entire world).

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Meanwhile , Varuna, the  Demi God of rain who came in search of Samudrarajan (as he had to quench the sea water for forming clouds ) saw Samudrarajan at this place. Hence, Samudrarajan and Varunan can be seen in the sannidhi along with Divya dhampadhigal.

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Despite Samundrarajan’s pleas to his daughter ,  Goddess ( Thayar ) continued to stay here. A small mantapam in front of the pushkarini was built later as remembrance. Perumal conceded to his bhaktan, Samudrarajan’s request to pacify Thayar to return to SriVaikuntam and descended on the earth as  Bhaktavatsalan   (one whose devotees are very dear to Him) and succeeded in the attempt.

Based on Samudrarajan’s request who had the darshan of the Divya Dhampadhigal on bhoomi for the first time in Kalyana Thirukolam, Perumal continues to reside here.  There is an interesting story related with this kshetram relating to our Acharyar. The temple priest informed us that Swamy Ramanujar’s sister and brother-in-law who were without any progeny  for a long time undertook  piligrimage to Tirumala from Poondamalli near Chennai  .

Enroute they stayed in  Lord  Sri Ramar temple at this place.   They had a divine vision of the Lord. Lord blessed them that He would be born to them as Sri Mudaliaandan and do kainkaryam to Swamy Ramanujar who was an amsam of Adisesha and thus refrained them from going to Tirumala.

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When Thirumangai Azhwar visited this place, as Perumal did not give darsanam, he left the place without doing mangalasaasanam(without singing in praise of the Lord). Thayar pointed out this lapse of Perumal and persuaded Him to request Azhwar to sing mangalasaasanam. When Perumal approached Azhwar, he was singing in praise of Sthalasayana Perumal at Thirukadalmallai (Mammalpuram(Mahabalipuram) and was having vision of Baktavatsala Perumal in his mind’s eye.

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He praised that he was seeing the Perumal standing in Thirunindravoor as the one reclining at Mamallapuram. As Thayar was not satisfied with only one pasuram, She again persuaded Perumal to request Azhwar to sing another song on them. By the time Azhwar had reached Thirukannapuram and when he saw the Lord in his divine vision, he compared Thirukannapura Perumal with Thirunindravoor Perumal .

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Thus azhwar sang 2 pasurams in praise of this Perumal emphasizing that Perumal is omnipresent and He is the same whether He is at Thirunindravoor or Thirukadalmallai or Thirukannamangai. During the month of Panguni, (Mar-Apr), Brahmotsavam for 10 days is performed every year with great fervor by Tirupati Peria Jeer who is in charge of this temple .

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Shri Sudhavalli nayika sametha  Sri Bhakthavatsalla Parabrahmaney namah:

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

RELEVANCE OF NUCLEAR EXPLOSION IN SRIMAD RAMAYANA


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Soon after hearing the whereabouts of Mother Sita from Hanumanji ,  Lord Sri Rama marches from Kishkindha(Hampi) towards  Lanka along with Vanara army and reaches the sea shore at Thirupullani in Tamilnadu.  Looking at the ocean , Lord Rama decides to summon Samudrarajan  ( the king of the sea ) to pave way for HIS army .

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Lord Rama  like any ordinary human being  submits a prayer to Samudrarajan . Lord Rama  further  sitting on dharbam ( kusa grass )  fasts  for three days to invoke  Samudraraja’s  attention.

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However , Samudrarajan puffed up with ego does  not  turn up . Lord  Rama decides to teach Samudrarajan a lesson and takes a sankalpam to dry up the ocean with HIS  mighty kodhandam.

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Samudrarajan  noticing LORDs   mood  repents for his folly and seeks forgiveness and pleads  LORD  Rama to build a bridge with rocks over the sea waters. (NASA has proved the existence of a bridge from SEthukarai) The ever compassionate  Lord  Rama who is a “saranagatha vatsalan” forgives him but as the arrow cannot go waste,  Lord Rama aims at Samudrarajan’s enemies at Durmagulayam on the North-western part of India at present day  “Rajasthan”  on Samudrarajan’s request and destroys them. That place got dried up immediately and is the present day can be seen as  Thar desert.

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Geological Survey of India during their recent excavations have proved the presence of rock salt in huge quantities. This is the evidence that water body existed at that place. It is a coincidence that nuclear scientists have chosen this place for conducting Nuclear Tests .

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Jai Sree Ram

For more info on adiyens piligrimage please check the SRI RAMA ANU YATHIRAI (1) and (2)  in the blog posts

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/piligrim-diary-to-sri-rama-holy-abodes/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/sri-rama-anu-yatirai-part-2/

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Google images

video credits :  padmavathy ramamoorthy

MUKTHI DWARAKA (PRABHASA THEERTHAM)


                                        MUKTHI DWARAKA (PRABHASA THEERTHAM)

                                          (The holy place where LORD KRISHNA  disappeared)

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Veraval also  known as Somnath and Prabhas  Theertham is located on the western coast in Gujarat and the  last rail head in this route. This place is important for all  Hindus  . It is important because it was from this place that  Lord Sri Krishna disappeared and ascended to Srivaikuntam as per the request of the devas.  

 

This holy dhaam  is one  among the ” Nava Dwarakas” .(the junction point where Gomathi river joins the sea.

 456  This  “Prabhasa Kshetram” is also called ” Ban ka Theertham”

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Prabhasam means well illuminating or very bright or well exposed. What was exposed? Some of the auspicious qualities of the Lord are brightly exposed here.

In  Srimad Bhagavad Gita , Chapter 4, Arjuna asked the Lord, whether His birth was real ?

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The Lord replied that just as Arjuna’s birth was real, His Avatar also was real.

Our bodies are made of Pancha Bhoota [space, air, fire, water and earth].

 Then , Was His body also similar?

The Lord informed  that His body was made of Aprakrytam and not  of Pancha Bhoota.

His body was made of Pancha Shakti.

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It is neither created nor destroyed.

The Three qualities are not in it.

Only sattva quality is there.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sukhacharya tells that at the end of Avatar, Lord  Krishna  proceeded  to  Sri Vaikuntam, with His body as such.

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Lord  Krishna after satisfying Himself that He had annihilated most of the demons in human form after Mahabharata war, decided to ascend to His eternal abode, Sri Vaikuntam.

Due to His presence, people belonging to His clan became proud and arrogant.

 

 LORD  wanted to reduce the burden of Mother Earth decided to put an end to the happenings.

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As it was Lord’s will, he made Gandhari and the sapta rishis utter the curse of annihilation of Yadavas.

It so happened  once  few children of Lord Krishna  were playing in the sea shore . One boy who was curious wanted to make fun of the Rishis. He   dressed himself as  a pregnant woman .They  went near the holy saints and asked them to foretell as to what kind of a child would this pregnant lady  bear.

The infuriated rishis cursed that the disguised lady would give an iron pestel which would destroy the entire Yadava race……… which came true.

The shocked Yadus ran to  King Balarama for a solution.

Balarama  was worried .He ordered them to powder  the pestle  into pieces and throw  the powder  away into  the sea at Dwaarka .

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The yadus acted accordingly and returned to their palace assuming all is fine now . A big iron piece which could not be powdered was thrown  far away into the sea which was swallowed by a fish.

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When this fish was caught and cut open by hunter,  he found a big iron piece inside its abdomen .  He found the piece to be  very interesting .

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Overjoyed he  fixed the iron piece  to his arrow and felt that would be useful during his hunting expedition.  One day  while  strolling around the sea shore he happened to see something which attracted his attention . In the greenish grooves he could see pinkish shade ear lobes in the back ground .Mistaking it to be a deer’s ears he took his bow and shot the arrow  which was just made with the iron piece . The arrow   harmed Lord Krishna who was resting under a tree after all the catastrophe caused due the Rishis curse .

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Over a period of time, the powder got deposited near the shore of the sea at Prabhasa Theertha and sharp blade type grass grew there.

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When the Yadus who were fully intoxicated came to the sea shore  the tamo guna in them made a twist in their behaviour .

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By  arguing with each other, they totally lost their mental balance and started hitting each other with the grass and got themselves killed.

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Balarama , noticing that it was Lord ’s will decided to leave this earthly residence, assumed his original form as Adisesha and walked into the sea and disappeared.

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The place where he disappeared can be seen even today in Dwaaraka . Over a period of time, this place has turned into mass of land due to reduction in the water level.

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Lord Sri Krishna was resting under a banyan tree with right leg placed on left lap. A hunter named Jara (who was Vaali in his previous birth when Krishna incarnated as  Lord Rama) , mistook ( LORD) Perumal’s thiruvadi to be a deer from a long distance  and shot an arrow from a distance of 1 kilometre.

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The hunter who came in search of his prey was shocked to see the Lord holy feet bleeding  and begged for forgiveness. The Lord convinced that it was as per His   divine plan and narrated his past birth as Vaali when Perumal hit him from behind and thus fulfilled Vali’s desire for revenge. He bestowed moksham to the hunter.

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This shows Lord’s compassion to persons who try to him. In this avatar, he first killed Putana who had come to kill him and gave her moksham and at the end of the incarnation, he blessed Jara by giving him moksham.

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  According to the Priests version , it  was  said that Lord Krishna had once predicted that exactly seven days after his disappearance the Golden city of Dwarka will perish under the sea. This was what exactly happened as indeed Dwarka city is drowned in the sea due to some torrential rain. The whole incident was symbolic in nature for it paved ways to the beginning of demolitions and destruction.

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Thus was the beginning of Kaliyug. Though we not yet certain of the reasons of his disappearance but few reasons can duly assigned to Lord Krishna’s leaving his spirit for the heavenThe moment  Lord  Krishna was preparing to ascend to Sri vaikuntam, all the  three crore devatas headed by Brahma and PramaShivan  arrived and  were glorifying  LORD   by reciting Purusha Suktam,  LORD disappeared from this  place in the form of jyothi. (When the jyoti reached Suryamandalam, it transformed into a vigraham and descended on  on Tirumala  Hills .

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The moment Krishna disappeared, Kali yugam started and to save His devotees from Kali, Lord decided to manifest in Tirumala and save the devotees till the end of Kaliyugam.

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Krite Nrisimha Bhoothosou Tretaayaam Raghunandanah /
Dwaapare Vaasudevas Cha kalao Vemkatanaayakah //

                                                                       (meaning)

“While Narasimha was the Lord of Kritayuga, Rama (Raghunandana) was the Lord of Treta yuga, Krishna (Vaasudeva) of Dwaapara yuga, it is  Lord Venkateshwara

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(Venkata naayakah) who is the Lord of Kaliyuga.

” Again, of all the mountains where our Lord has taken his abode, Brahmaanda Puraana says

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” Krite Vrishaadrim Vakshyanti Tretaayaam Anjanaachalam / Dwaapare Sesha Saileti kalou Sree Vemkataachalam // 

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As we are in KALIYUGA,

we surrender to this KALIYUGA VARADA – Lord Srinivasa.

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He proclaimed that the devas as well as humans can have HIS darshan at Tirumala and allotted early morning time for the devas.

 

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 Even to this day, before closing the temple after Ekanta Seva , the priests at Tirumala temple fill the pancha paathirams with water for Brahma’s aaradhanai which is given as theertham after Suprabhatam.

 

Similar practice is followed in Badrinath at the time of closure of temple for 6 months during winter.

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When the Badrinath temple is reopened during April, the lamp which was lit 6 months back still burns and the place would be filled with sweet fragrance of scent.)

 

Venkatadri Samam Sthanam Brahmande Nasti Kinchana,

Venkatesa Samo Devo Na Bhutho Na Bhavishyati”.

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Jai Jai Sree Krishna

GOVINDA …GOVINDAA …GOVINDAAAA

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Sri Rama Anu Yathirai(PART 2 )- A Piligrim’s Diary


          Part (1) has been published in below link

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/piligrim-diary-to-sri-rama-holy-abodes/

SRI  RAMAJAYAM

Sriman Narayanaya Charanau Saranam Prapathye  

   Srimathey Narayanaya namah

SrI SIta Lakshmana Bharatha Kshatrughna HanUmat sametha

 SrI  RAmachandra  Parabrahmane namah :

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Apadam-apahartAram dAtAram sarva sampadAm
lokAbhirAmam shrIramAm bhooyo bhooyo namAmyaham

Adiyen bows again and again to Lord  Sree Rama who removes (all) obstacles and grants
wealth and pleases all.

ArtAnAmArtihantAram bheetAnAm bheeti-nAshanam
dvishatAm kAladanDam tam rAmchandram namAmyaham

He who annihilates the pain of the distressed, He who destroys fear in the minds
of the fearful, He who is like the Weapon of Death to his enemies, that
Lord Raamachandra do I worship.

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Srimathey Ramanujaya namah

Sri Dasarathaya Namah

Sri Kooresaya namah

Sri Mudaliandan Swamy Thiruvadigaley Saranam

Prostrating at the  lotus feet of  LORD SITA RAM , Adiyen wishes to share travelogue  of   our second phase of our Sri Rama Anu Yatra which was a blissful experience

In the first phase of our yatra, we visited

Bittoor(the place where the sacred epic  SRIMAD RAMAYANA was written),

Ayodhya-the birthplace of Lord Sri Rama ,

Buxar-the place where Sri Rama killed Tataka the demoness

Siddhasramam– where Sri Rama protected Viswamithra’s yaaga

Ahori    -where the padhuka prabhavam of Lord Rama was revealed to the world by redeeming Ahalya from the  curse of the saint

Sitamarhi-the  appearance  place of Mother Sita,

Janakpur-in NEPAL where LOKA KALYANAM took place .

Nandigramam– in Ayodhya-Allahabad route from where Bharata ruled the kingdom as  Lord Srirama’s representative for 14 years. 

Here,  Bhaktha Hanuman saved Bharata’s life by informing him about  Lord SriRama’s arrival. Also, the place where Srirama and HIS  brothers  laid down their  attire which they wore for 14 years during HIS exile and dressed in royal robes.

Srungaberipuram-where Lord Rama spent  for the first time  in exile at Guha’s place

Triveni sangamam– where Sri Seetha Rama offered prayers to the holy Ganges

Chitrakoot-where Sri Ramar,Sita and Lakshmana lived during THEIR exile and where Sri Rama gave HIS padhukas to Bharata

Nasik – where Surpanaka was humbled by Lakshmana and Sri Rama defeated 14000 demons

Panchavati–  Lakshmana built a beautiful hermitage for  Lord SriRama  to dwell and  the place the demon Ravana committed the offence

Taket- the place where the valiant eagle,Jatayu fought against Ravana and lost his life for the service of the Lord.  The place where Lord Rama performed last rites to the bird.

In the first phase, we visited the places mentioned in Uttara kandam,    Bala kandam,  Ayodhya kandam,      Aranya kandam.

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In the second phase, we planned to visit the remaining places mentioned in Kishkinda kandam,   Sundara kandam(part),     Yuddha kandam(part) in India and finish our  Lord Sri Rama anu yatra at Srirangam and then proceed to Tirumala-the ultimate destination  for thanking LORD for his abundant mercy in the divine journey .

The ever compassionate Lord who is eager to give HIS darshan to devotees made our journey comfortable and most memorable.

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Circular journey details:- (9th oct-18th Oct 2010) Secunderabad-Hospet-Hubli-Mysore-Vanchimaniyachi-Tirunelveli-Rameswaram-Srirangam-Tirupati-Secunderabad

Eager to take up this divine pilgrimage , Adiyongal undertook  Sri Sundarakandam parayanam for successful completion of the yatra.  With ( home )  aathu Perumal’s anugraham, adiyongal started our yatra on 9th Oct.  

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We boarded Kacheguda-Yeswantpur Express at 2100 hours on 9th Oct and reached Hospet at about 0700 hours on 10th morning.

STONE CHARIOT IN HAMPI (WORLD HERITAGE SITE)

Our KISHKINDA YATRAI  started  from this place .

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The holy place Kishkinda in Treta yugam is present day Hampi.  

The greenery the  hillocks and the  mountains , big boulders at  various places give us the feel that this was truly the VANARA KINGDOM and aptly  connected to  the holy epic  Srimad Ramayanam .  Mother Sita was abducted by  the demon Ravana at Panchavati as per a divine plan for LOKA SAMRAKSHAKA .

 

Lord  Sri Rama and Lakshmana  after the unfortunate incident walked  into these woods in search of  Mother Sita and in due course arrived at Taket  near  present Nasik where they noticed  the  devotee bird Jatayu maharaj .  

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The ultimate devotee Jatayu informed the whereabouts of Mother Sita  and narrated the incident of the demon  Ravana  abducting mother and  proceeding towards south  direction  and his efforts to stop him was futile and caused his injuries and leave this world . (The demon   Ravana cut his wings and wounded him severely) .

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After informing  Lord Rama about Mother Sita’s whereabouts, Jatayu breathed his last . Lord Rama performed his final rites and gave him Moksha . 

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Based on Jatayu’s words,  Lord Rama  set their search operation towards south. Lord  Rama and Lakshmana were caught by Kabandhan- a cursed  huge demon who tried to swallow them. 

Lord Rama and Lakshmana defeated the demon who was redeemed by the touch of Sri Rama.   Again by the divine will Kabandha informed that  Lord Rama would be successful in HIS endeavour and suggested him to befriend Sugriva , a vanara who was in exile with whose help HE would be able to defeat  the demon Ravana and rescue Mother Sita.

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Enroute , Lord Rama visits  Matanga muni’s ashram and graceds Sabari- a great old devotee who was waiting for  Lord Sri Rama’s arrival as per her Guru’s instructions.  Th devotee  affectionately served Ramar with fruits and in his presence attained moksham. This place is in Hampi.

There is a beautiful pond  ( saras ) full of white lotuses known as Pampa saras and a flight of steps leads us to a small temple which was Matanga muni’s ashram.

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From here Lord  Rama and Lakshmana set out on their journey go find out Sugriva’s whereabouts.    Bhaktha Hanuman disguised as a Brahmin meets  Lord Rama and Lakshmana to find out about their intentions .  Satisfied that they were not sent by Vali, Hanuman carries Rama and Lakshmana  on his shoulders to Sugriva’s hiding place  at Rishyamukha parvatham.  Sri Rama and Sugriva  become friends and take an oath in agni’s presence to help each other.

  Sri Rama coronates Sugriva as Vanara King and Sugriva promises to help Rama in finding out Sita .

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At the place where their friendship solemnized, we now have a beautiful Kodandaramar temple on the banks of River Tungabhadra.  The place from where  Lord Ramar killed Vaali, the place where Rama stayed for four months during monsoon, the place where  Bhaktha Hanuman hands over the choodamani to Sri Ramar , the madhuvan where the vanaras satisfied their hunger and destroyed the beautiful garden are all located in  and around Hampi.  Added to this, we can  have darshanam of the great devotee Swami  Purandaradasar mandapam- the place where  Swamy Purandaradasar stayed during his last days, the Vittal temple and other places of interest which should not be missed.

ON THE WAY TO HAMPI FROM HUBLI

Travelling past green lushy fields, we reached Hampi in about  one hour.    Purified ourselves in the holy Tungabhadra river near Kodandaramar temple.

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The river   is surrounded by Rishyamukha and Matanga parvathams on either sides.

RIVER TUNGABHADRA NEAR KODANDARAMAR TEMPLE, HAMPI

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Sri Sita Lakshmana Hanuman Sugreeva sametha Sri Kodandaramar is  carved out of a single boulder –

Lord Sri Ramar coronated Sugriva as King of Vanaras at this place even before killing Vali.

HAMPLord Rama is seen in Chathurbhujam holding sankhu, chakram,bow and arrow. The priest narrated in detail all the incidents  .Jai Jai Sree Rama

SRI KODANDA RAMAR TEMPLE ON THE BANKS OF TUNGABHADRA, HAMPI

Few yards from this temple, we have Yanthrothkari Hanuman temple.  Usually we  can have darshanam of  Sri  Sudarshana chakram and Narasimhar together.  But here we have Sudarshana chakram and Hanumar together .

The diety here is very powerful and fulfills the wishes of the devotees.  Our only wish was May LORD always give us satsangh and May we keep meeting LORD RAMAS devotees .

We had darshanam of  ( abhishekam )  Thirumanjanam   for  the yantram when we visited this temple.  Vanaras honoured Hanuman with holy bath after his return from Srilanka.

YANTHROTHKARI HANUMAR TEMPLE, HAMPI

Hampi , the important  place  of Vijayanagaram Empire  was the erstwhile capital of  King Krishnadevarayar  is famous for stone sculptures.

On the way to Malyavanta hill which is located on the other side of Tungabhadra, we visited Virupaksha temple.

Enroute we can have darshanam of  Lakshmi Narasimhar statue about 6.7 mtrs carved out of a single rock , 3 feet Linga carved out of a single rock,  Bhaktha Purandaradasa mantapam surrounded by water 

( The great devotee Purandaradasar spent his last days here)  , Vittal temple where Lord Panduranga of Pandirpur was worshipped for sometime by King Ramarayya-the brother of Krishnadeva rayar.

SRI NARASIMHAR CARVED OUT OF A SINGLE ROCK, HAMPI
SRI PURANDARADASAR MANTAPAM IN HAMPI

Lord Sri Rama and Lakshmana stayed at Malyavanta parvatham for four months due to  monsoon.

INSCRIPTION ABOUT MALYAVANTA RAGHUNATHA TEMPEL, HAMPI

Our Maryada Purushotama Lord Sri Rama used to lament thinking of Mother Sita and the troubles she would be undergoing like any human being  and Lakshmana used to pacify the Lord.

Lord Rama used to swoon away recollecting the good days they spent together and the turmoils which Lokamatha was undergoing now.

Lord Srirama is seen  in meditative posture. In the small cave, we can find a boulder on which  Lord Rama  rested.  Recollecting the divine pastimes we had tears .

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 A beautiful sculpture of  Lord Sita Rama in sitting posture, Lakshmana serving the Lord standing,and  bhaktha Hanuman in kneeling posture  can be seen.

CLOSER VIEW OF HANUMAN WHO IS IN KNEALING POSTURE HANDING OVER CHOODAMANI TO SRIRAMAR,RAGHUNATHJI TEMPLE,HAMPI

Akhand Ramayana parayanam was  being recited  in a close by mantapam which had the reverbations of the HOLY DHAAM .  The place bhaktha Hanuman offered “choodamani” to Lord Rama,  has a  beautiful temple for  Sri Seeta,Ramar, Lakshmana and Hanumar.  

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We can have darshanam of Bhaktha Hanuman kneeling before  Lord Sri Rama submissively handing  over the choodamani to Lord  Sri Ramar.  There are beautiful pictures from Srimad  Ramayanam on the temple walls.  The priest was kind to narrate the incident while showing  mangala haarathi.

RAGHUNATHJI TEMPLE AT MALYAVAN PARVATH WHERE HANUMAN OFFERED CHOODAMANI GIVEN BY MOTHER SITA TO SRI RAMA

Later we proceeded to  Madhuvan and had darshanam  of the huge  bhaktha Hanuman deity who was covered by sindhoor all over.  While giving aarthi to Hanumar, the priest explained how the vanaras led by Hanuman and Angadhan  entered Madhuvanam and after taking Angadha’s consent, they drank honey to their satisfaction and trampled the garden  overjoy with the good news from Anjaneyar .  

Sugriva’s uncle who was the guardian , approached  Sugriva and complained about the vanaras  enthusiasm and their unusual behaviour  expecting Sugriva to rebuke them 

SRI ANJANEYAR TEMPLE IN MADHUVAN, HAMPI

But the wise Sugriva understood that the vanaras would have found Mother Sita and were thus celebrating their joy .  He  was also  overjoyed with the news  and instructed his uncle to send the vanaras immediately to Malyavan parvath where  Lord Sri Rama and Lakshmana were eagerly waiting to hear about  LOKA MATHA’S  welfare.  There is a beautiful pic of Panchamukha Anjaneyar in this temple.

MADHUVAN IN HAMPI

We  proceeded  to Chintamani- for having darisanam at the place from where Lord  Sri Rama aimed arrow at the Vanara king  Vali who was seen on the farther side .

 

Sugriva who was not aware of Sri Rama’s prowess showed the Lord the mortal remains of Dundhubi who was earlier killed by Vali . Lord Rama also demonstrated  his power ( as if he was a normal king )  by kicking the body which flew and fell many miles away.  To once again show HIS valour and instill faith in HIM, the Lord  with a single arrow destroyed the seven sala trees (   A big pillar with bow and arrow marks the event.

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An interesting fact is from the place where Sri Rama stood and aimed arrow at Vali, we can see the place where Vali and Sugriva fought but the reverse is not true.  It takes about one hour by road to reach the spot where Vali fought with Sugriva.  Here, we can have darshan of Sri Rama  padhuka as Sri Rama approached Vali while he was breathing his last and answered all his queries and justified HIS action of killing him from hiding.

CHINTAMANI- THE PLACE FROM WHERE SRI RAMA AIMED ARROW AT VALI IN HAMPI

This temple is situated on a small hillock with Tungabhadra flowing on one side.  A wonderful place full of greenery . We can have darshan of  Lord Sri Rama padhuka at the place where HE stood and aimed arrow at  vanara king Vali.

FOOTPRINTS OF SRI RAMA AT CHINTAMANI
A PILLAR ERECTED AT THE PLACE FROM WHERE SRIRAM SHOT AN ARROW AT VALI , CHINTAMANI

We then  proceeded to  Rishyamukha parvatham , the place where  Lord Sri Rama and Sugriva met for the first time.   This is the place where  Sugriva shows  the jewels  dropped by Mother Sita enroute  from the air.   Bhaktha Hanuman had gathered the jewels from the hillock dropped by Mother Sita and gave it to Sugriva who preserved them.

Lord  Sri Rama identified the jewels and lamented uncontrollably for Sita’s loss and to see the jewels without Sita who added beauty to them.  Our poorvacharyars say that to attain Lord’s mercy, Mother’s intervention is compulsory.  Here Mother Sita graced the vanaras with HER benevolence in the form of jewels.  On the Rishyamukha parvatham, there is a small cave with platforms on either sides on which   Sri Rama and Sugriva sat.

THE PLATFORMS WHERE SRI RAMA AND SUGRIVA SAT WHEN THEY MET FOR THE FIRST TIME

There is also a small yaga kundam ( havan spot )  at the place where Lord  Sri Rama and Sugriva solemnized their friendship and  mutually agreed to help each other in the presence of Agni. (Agni saakshi).

SRI RAMA AND SUGRIVA SOLEMNIZED THEIR FRIENDSHIP

From Rishyamukha parvatham, we proceeded to Matanga muni ashram on the banks of Pampa saras (a small pond filled with white lotuses).  A flight of steps led us to a small temple.   Lord Sri Rama accepted the fruits offered by Sabari at this place. A serene place ..could feel the fragnance of the flowers and the bhakthi of the great devotee Sabhari.

PAMPA SARAS NEAR SABARI ASHRAM, HAMPI

Having visited the important places in Kishkinda, we proceeded  from Hampi to Hubli which is about 3 hours drive to take the night train to our next destination, Mysore. ( We  Paid Rs.2000 for the car)  .  We reached Hubli at about 7 p.m. and after having dinner boarded Dharwar-Mysore express at 2115 hours  which  reached Mysore at 7 a.m. on 11th Oct.

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On 11th Oct, we hired a cab for Rs.2000 to  have darshanam of  the  Lakshmana Theertha which is about 120 kms from Mysore Near Nagarhole.

We  drove past Rajiv Gandhi National Park where we spotted  animals like deers,elephants, peacocks.

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The road is excellent for a drive . Appreciating nature’s beauty accompanied by HARI NAAM kirtans, we reached Lakshmna Theertham after about 2 hrs drive from Mysore .

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LAKSHMANA THEERTHAM, KOORG DIST.,

We reached Lakshmana Theertha  locally called  as Iruppu Falls.  It was a wonderful site .

Just imagined the scene in RAMAYANA and had tears .  A narrow stone laid pathway leads us to the top.  The weather was chilly and pleasant.

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As soon as  Bhaktha Hanuman narrated the whereabouts of Mother Sita,  LORD Srirama set off immediately with the vanara sainyam retinue to Sri lanka.  Srirama instructed the vanaras not to pass through the villages and cause disturbance to the residents there .  As per  Lord Srirama’s instructions, Sugriva ordered that they take the forest route.  Sri Hanuman carried Srirama and Lakshmana on his shoulders.  While they were passing through Brahmagiri mountains, the vanaras felt thirsty and Srirama ordered Lakshmana to quench their thirst.  Immediately Lakshmana aimed an arrow in the hill and water sprouted and thus the vanaras quenched their thirst.

DEERLAK BUTPEASANDAL

This water contains medicinal properties and is capable of washing away the accumulated sins.  We were delighted to have a dip at the altitude where the water was gushing like hari ki paudi ( similar to ganges falling in Haridwaar)  After having bath in the fresh waters, we approached Rameswara temple for darshanam.

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RAMESWARA TEMPLE AT LAKSHMANA THEERTHAM

AFter reciting the related sarga from Srimad Ramayanam, we proceeded  back to Mysore  to board Tirunelveli Express at 1745 hours and reached Vanchimaniachi at about 1030 hours on 12th Oct.

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From Vanchimaniaachi,  we  hired a cab to  reach  Mahendragiri parvatham ( the holy hill from where Bhaktha Hanuman leapt to Srilanka )  near Tirukurungudi via Nanguneri and drop at Tirunelveli station.

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Enroute, we bathed in Tambaraparani river, the river from where Swamy Nammazhwar’s vigraham appeared.  After purifying ourselves, we went to Vanamamalai temple  and had darshan of  Lord Sri Deivanayaga Perumal and Thayar.  When we went to Vanamamali mutt, saatrumarai was going on and we were fortunate to get theertha prasadam.It looked that all was arranged by HIS abundant mercy .

VAANAMAMALAI TEMPLE GOPURAM

No one could guide us to Swamayamprabha cave which is mentioned in Ramayanam.  (As per Sri Velukudi Swamin’s second trip, this is situated in Ramapuram near Kadiyanallur .There is a beautiful Hanuman vigraham inside the cave along with the image of Swayamprabha.) We just offered our dandaavats to the holy place and   proceeded to Tirukurungudi  At this wonderful place ,  we took a jeep to go to malai nambi temple.  Mahendra giri parvatham from where Hanuman leapt in search of Sita is located here.  Here,Malai nambi Perumal-one of the five nambis of Thirukurungudi gives darshan.

MALAI

Driving up the hill on unleveled roads was really challenging.  This drive was similar to the drive for visiting the nava Narasimha kshetrams in Ahobilam.  Chanting Sriman Narayana Kirtans we  thanked LORD for his mercy . The driver pointed us to other jeeps which were numbered saying that all the jeeps were used for Sri Velukudi Swamin’s trip.  Sprinkled  the holy  water from Nambi aaru.

NAMBI AARU AT MAHENDRA GIRI PARVATHAM, THIRUKURUNGUDI MALAI NAMBI TEMPLE
VIEW OF MAHENDRA GIRI PARVATHAM FROM MALAI NAMBI PERUMAL TEMPLE, TIRUKURUNGUDI
CLOSER VIEW OF MAHENDRA GIRI PARVATHAM

The vanaras were spotted everywhere reminding us about bhaktha hanumans journey to Sri lanka . Yes ! SUNDARAKANDAM entry … With  all humilty offered pranaams to all the living , non living things in this holy dhaam . To our surprise the main temple was open   The archakar  was kind to explain the glory of the place .He performed archanai to Malai nambi Perumal and shared with us about Nampaduvan’s charitram which is mentioned in Varaha puranam Kaisika Mahatmayam adding that this Perumal is fond of music. Adiyongal sang few devotional songs.

MALAI NAMBI PERUMAL TEMPLE

We returned to Tirukurungudi temple by 5 p.m.

TIRUKURUNGUDI TEMPLE GOPURAM

We had  darsanam of  Lord Vaishnava Nambi Perumal, the asanam on which Swamy Ramanujar  relaxed  and gave upadesam to Perumal which is adjacent to the garbagriham .   ( Dakshina Bhadri)

We also had darisanam of Tiruparkadal  Perumal  and reached Tirunelveli station to board Rameswaram express

SWAMY RAMANUJAR SANNIDHI IN THIRUPAARKADAL NAMBI TEMPLE

The archakar took us to our favourite Azhwar’s Tirumangai Azhwar Thiruvarasu which is about 2 kms away from the main temple. The youngest among 12 Azhwars reached Lord’s holy feet at this place.  Here Azhwar is seen in Anjali mudra and is not holding spear as he is usually seen in other places.

TIRUMANGAI AZHWAR’S THIRUVARASU IN THIRUKURUNGUDI

From  Rameswaram station, we engaged  a car to visit Navapaasham, Sethu samudram, Thirupullani temple,Dhanushkodi  for Rs.2000/-   Navapaasham  is the holy place  where  all the Navagrahas  together offer obesainces to LORD to protect them from the demon king Ravana .As per locals it was told that all the Navagrahas had offered prayers from the sea for LORDS appearance .

NAVAGRAHAS PRAYING TO PERUMAL TO SAVE THEM FROM RAVANA’S ATROCITIES AT NAVAPAASHAM

From Navapaasham, we went to Sethukarai .  after having samudra snanam at Sethukarai, we visited  Lord Sita,Ramar  temple. It was here Vibhishana saranagathi took place. (Vibhishana along with his two rakshasa friends approached  Lord Srirama seeking asylum from the Lord.  Sugriva and others argued  that he should not be given shelter because  the person who left his brother during crisis was not trust worthy. However, Hanuman vouched for Vibhishana as he was a dharmatma.   Lord Srirama declared to the world that HE would grant asylum even to Ravana,the gravest offender on the earth and it was HIS DHARMA to  protect the person who has done saranagathi to HIS lotus feet. Sri Rama granted saranagathi to Vibhishana and did Pattabhishekam to Vibhishana then and there. This charama slokam is imparted by our acharyars to us at the time of initiation and everyday we recite recollecting the assurance given by the LORD.  A beautiful picture of Vibhishana saranagathi along with the charama slokam attracted our attention.

VIBISHANA SARANGATHI AT SETHUKARAI RAMAR TEMPLE,RAMESWARAM

Our poorvacharyas comment that the  saranagathi done by Vibhishana was successful because he left everything including his family and took shelter at  Lord Sri Rama’s lotus feet.  He was personification of dharma who chastised his brother  Ravana for his demonic act and advised him to return Mother Sita to Sri Rama. He restrained Ravana from killing Hanuman by citing rajadharam that a messenger should not be killed and thus protected Hanuman.   As Ravana didn’t heed to his repeated advise, he decided to leave his brother and continue to tread in the path of Dharma and sought shelter at Sri Rama’s lotus feet with total submissiveness.  (It is stated that when a devotee does total surrender to the Lord with utmost faith, the Lord gives HIMSELF to the devotee.  This has been proved in Vibhishana’s case.  Vibhishana did total surrender to Srirama and the Lord not only coronated him but also gave HIMSELF to him in the form of Lord Ranganatha.)

THIRUPULLANI DARBASAYANA RAMAR TEMPLE, RAMESWARAM

WE  proceeded to  Thirupullani temple to have darsanam of Lord  Dharbasayana Ramar which also happens to be one of the 108 divya desams and as per the sthalavaralaaru,King Dasaratha  worshipped  the presiding diety Sri Adi Jagannathar for progeny.  The Lord graced us by giving darshan in Ekantham, even the priest had gone to prepare prasadam.  So we were left to ourselves to  dissolve in the beauty of the Lord in sayana thirukkolam(sleeping posture) and sang few BHAKTA RAMADASU kirtans and 108 Rama naamvalee  before  the Lordships. The Priest informed  that installing naagams sculpted on stones) will fulfill the desire of progeny. WE can find many such naaga prathishtai in the inner courtyard.  There is a separate sannidhi for Adi Jagannathar.

SRI DARBA SAYANA RAMAR SANNIDHI, THIRUPULLANI

The priest performed archanai  to the Lordships  and narrated as to why  LORD Srirama is seen in this unique asanam and posture. Usually, we  have darsanam of  Sriramar in Nindra Thirukolam(standing posture) holding Kodandam whereas here , LORD gives darshan  in “dharbasayanam thirukkolam”(lying posture on darbha grass.). WE can find Samudra rajan accompanied by his wife praying to Sri Darba sayana Ramar inside the garbagriham on one side and Vibishana Azhwar standing with folded hands on the other side of Perumal.

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The vanara army had reached Thirupullani but didn’t know how to cross the ocean and approached  Lord Srirama for guidance.   Lord Srirama  prayed Samudrarajan (the ocean) to pave  route  for them  for the mission taken up . Lord Rama fasted for 3 days to invoke the Samudra   king to respond  and  rested  on darbham ( kusa grass )  . (Our poorvacharyars opine that the saranagathi done by Srirama to the ocean did not fructify because  the person who surrenders must be totally incapable and in this case , the Supreme Lord who is the creator, protector and sustainer  of the Universe, did not comply with this requirement.  Also, the refuge from whom it is being sought must be capable to give refuge.  Only the Lord can give refuge to everyone and hence the saranagathi done by Srirama was not effective.

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When the ocean didn’t reciprocate,  LORD was upset  and was about to destroy the ocean by aiming HIS powerful arrow.  Immediately  out of fear , Samudrarajan appeared before the Lord seeking forgiveness and requested the Lord to purify him by constructing a bridge over the ocean.  Samudrarajan suggested that the bridge could be built by throwing boulders and rocks under Nala’s supervision and he would hold them.  When Srirama said that the  arrow already taken out  cannot go waste, Samudrarajan humbly requested the Lord to aim the arrow at his demonic enemies who were on the north western side of the ocean.(near present day Dwaraka)  Srirama fulfilled the  kings wish by killing the demons.This  place is the famous Thar desert now .  Sri Kooratazhwan wonders in Athimanushasthavam about  Lord Sri Rama’s valour.  He concludes that how much ever the Lord tries to conceal HIS true identity, it is difficult for him to do so.  Srirama had the capability to vanquish Ravana even without physically going to Srilanka but the Lord took the help of vanaras, bears and squirrels to construct a bridge and go all the way to Srilanka to kill Ravana and rescue Mother Sita whereas HE destroyed the demons who were thousands of miles away from Sethukarai just by aiming a single arrow at them.  Our poorvacharyars glorify the Lord that HE enacted this only to place HIS holy feet on the land which was to be ruled by his dear devotee, Vibhishana.

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Offering repeated obesiances , we  moved  to go as close to Dhanushkodi which has been destroyed by  recent Tsunami.  There is a stretch of bridge connecting the land with the sea.  It takes about 20 minutes driving.  On the way, we could see clearly the stones floating on the water.  This was the bridge constructed by the vanaras for crossing the sea.  WE reached Lord  Ramar temple on the shores.   We were keen to have darshanam of the place where Lord Srirama sighted the ocean for the first time .  SriRama along with the vanaras travelled from Hampi via Lakshmana theertham and landed at this place.  The Lord  spotted  the ocean from here and then decided the future course of action-praying to Samudrarajan, deciding to construct a bridge, giving saranagathi  ( shelter ) to Vibhishana .

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The priest narrated all the incidents.  Nearby , there is a small well  surrounded by sea water.  This is known as “Villundi Theertham”(the water which appeared as a result of  Lord Srirama’s bow),  The priest narrated that after defeating the demon  Ravana, Sri Rama along with Mother Sita and other vanaras were returning .To quench Mother Sita’s thirst, Sri Rama aimed at the ground and Ganga sprang up to quench Jaganmatha’s thirst.  The water from the well is sweet .There is a small pathway to the well.

VILLUNDI THEERTHAM, RAMESWARAM

The priest gave us a vessel to draw water from the well and taste it.  It was potable. (This incident does not appear in Valmiki Ramayanam.  As per Valmiki Ramayanam, Lord Rama along with Sitadevi,Lakshmana, Vibhishana, Sugriva and other vanaras mounted on Pushpaka vimanam from Srilanka and stopped enroute at Hampi so that the vanara wives could join them to go to Ayodhya.  Srirama stopped at Hampi and at Bharadwaja muni’s ashram in Allahabad before meeting Bharata at Nandigramam.)  As mentioned earlier, there are many such incidents linked to Ramayanam though not mentioned in the Adi kavyam.  While returning to Rameswaram, we stopped at a small temple dedicated to Sugriva.  Sugriva is supposed to have refreshed at this place.  There is a small pond beside the temple and a local caretaker gave aarthi and narrated this. After paying our respects at Rameswaram temple, we reached station to board Srirangam train .

RAMESWARAM TEMPLE

Our second phase of Sri Rama Anu Yathirai culminated at Srirangam in  SriKodandaramar sannidhi.

SRIRANGAM-BHOOLOKA VAIKUNTAM

Offering obesiances  to  Lord Sri Ranganathar, the kula-dhanam of Sri Ramar, we recited pattabhishekam sargam at  Sri Kodandaramar sannidhi on the banks of Chandra Pushkarini in the temple premises. 

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The gigantic divya mangala swaroopam of  Lord Sri Sita,Lakshmana, Hanumath sametha Sri Kodandaramar , especially the Lord’s  lotus eyes, kodhandam etc is still vivid in adiyen’s memory.  The entire  Srimad Ramayanam in the form of Thanjavur paintings beautifully decorate the walls of the temple and it was like a quick recap for us reviving our entire tour in the sannidhi.   WE then had darshanam of Sita Ramar in Pattabhisheka Thirukkolam in the nearby Pattabhiraman sannidhi.

SRI SITA RAMA PATTABHISHEKAM

Seeking forgiveness for all our shortcomings and requesting the Lord to shower HIS benevolent grace on us and thanking zillion times the vaishanava reformer of the present era , Shri  Sri.Velukudi Swamin for his initiative which imbibed the desire in us to visit the various holy places, we retired for the day.  Next day, we reached the holy Tirumala Hills to have darshanam of Lord Venkateswara  along with our siblings.  While having Moolavar’s darsanam, Sri Sita ,Lakshmana sametha Sri Kodandaramar who appeared to Swami Ramanujar once again poured THEIR benevolent glance on us and graced us during Oonjal seva .

SRI KODANDARAMAR IN TIRUMALA

After reaching Hyderabad, we offered vada malai to  Bhaktha  Hanumar in Kushaiguda temple.  The entire trip was possible only due to the abundant grace of Sri Rama bhakth Hanuman who saved and guided us all through the journey. Swamy  Hanuman is considered as “paramaguru” in Ramayanam as he plays a vital role in joining the Jivatma with Paramatma. Our poorvacharyars compare Lanka with our body, 10 headed Ravana as our 10 senses, Jivatma is Sitadevi , Srirama is Paramatma.  Paramacharyar Hanuman destroys the body and the evil senses which induce us to do evil acts, uplifts our atma and offers it to Paramatma.

Likewise,   Asmath acharyar ,Sri Mudaliandan Swamy graced our kudil in November  performed Dhaati Panchakam homam invoking Jagadacharyar-Swami Ramanujar, initiated adiyen’s daughter, gave mantropodesam to us and allowed us to perform his Thirunakshitram at our kudil.

ASMATH ACHARYAR SRI MUDALIANDAN SWAMIGAL PERFORMING DHAATI PANCHAKAM HOMAM AT OUR RESIDENCE

Holy water which we had collected from all the sacred rivers-Sarayu,Ganga,Yamuna,Saraswati,Godavari,Tungabhadra, Kaveri, Samudram, Swami Pushkarini theertham were all used for performing Sahasradhaara abhishkem to our acharyar amidst chanting of Vedic hymns and playing of musical instruments.   That was the benedictory fruit given to the Lord for our attempt.   The benevolence of our Acharyar cannot be described in words.

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Adiyen just can’t   describe in  words to share the experiences which we had in this trip.  May the Lord bestow HIS cool and benevolent grace on all the jivatmas  and always protect  his children .  May Lord Hanuman bestow us with the opportunity of visiting Sri Lanka . Though some refrain from visiting this place which caused suffering to Mother Sita, adiyen recollects the incident where Srirama after HIS victory asks Sita to cast HER benevolent glance on that land which was to be ruled by HIS dear devotee,Vibhishana.  Also, this is the place where  Lord Srirama placed HIS foot and killed the demonic king,Ravana.  Likewise, may Lord Rama kill the demonic qualities in us and make us a better devotee and live in  our hearts forever.

SRI MUDALIANDAN THIRUMALIGAI PERUMALS GIVING DARSHAN AT OUR RESIDENCE

Adiyen  Ramanuja dasan

Kazhiyur Varadan

JAI SITARAM

Adiyen humbly thanks Srirama bhaktaas for being kind to read this travelogue . Please forgive me for any errors and mistakes which was due to adiyens poor understanding .

Please accept adiyens pranaams for kind words and may all the auspiciousness be with all. I end this travelogue with mangala slokam recited by Sri Manavala Mamunigal.

Mangalam Kosalendraya , mahaneeya gunabhdhaye,

Chakravarthi thanujaaya sarva bhoumaya Mangalam.

Vedavedantha vedhyaya , Megha Shyamala moorthaye,
Pumsaam mohana roopaya , punyaslokaya Mangalam.

Viswamithrantharangaya , mithila nagari pathe,
Bhagyaanaam paripakaya , bhavya roopaya Mangalam.

Pithru bhakthaya sathatham brathrubhi saha seethaya,
Nandithakhila lokaya , Ramabhadraya Mangalam.
Thyaktha saketha vasaya , chithra koota viharine,
Sevyaya sarva yaminaam , dheerodhayaya Mangalam.

Soumithrina cha janakya chapa banasi dharine,
Samsevyaya sada bhakthya , swamine mama Mangalam.
Danda karanya vasaya , khara dhooshana sathrave,
Grudhra rajaya Bhakthaya , mukthi dayasthu Mangalam.
Sadaram Sabari datha phala moola abhilashine,
Soulabhya paripoornaa, sathvodrikthaya Mangalam,
Hanumath sama vethaya , harresabheeshta dhayine,
Bali pramadhanayasthu , Maha dheeraya Mangalam.
Srimathe Raghu veeraya , sethullangitha sindhave,
Jitha rakshasa Rajaya , Rana dheeraya Mangalam.
Vibheeshana kruthe preethya , lankabheeshta pradhayine,
Sarva loka saranyaya , Sri Raghavaya Mangalam.
Asadhya nagarem divyamabhishikthaya Seethaya,
Rajadhi rajaya Rama Bhadraya Mangalam.
Brahmadhi deva sevyaya , brahmanyaya mahathmane,
Janaki prana nadhaya , Ragu nadhaya Mangalam.
Sri soumya jamathru mune krupaya smanu peyushe,
Mahathe mama nadhaya , Raghu nadhya Mangalam.
Mangala sasana paraiir madacharya purogamai,
SArvescha poorvairacharyai , sathkruthayasthu Mangalam.
Ramya jamathru muneena , mangala sasanam krutham,
Trilokyadhipathi Sriman , karothu Mangalam sada.
Ithi Sri vara vara muni swami krutha ,

sri rama mangala sasanam sampoornam

svasti prajabhyam paripalayantham nyayeana margena mahim maheesah
gobrahmanebhya shubamsthu nityam lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu

RAMAAAAAAAAA

May there be well being to the people;
May the kings rule the earth along the right path;
May the cattle and the Brahmins have well being forever;
May all the beings in all the worlds become happy;
Peace, peace and peace be everywhere!

Jai Jai Jai Sree Sita Rama

‘Let this sloka be recited at the beginning of all Divya prabhandam recitations … just as a Vedic recital begins and ends with the sacred ‘Om’ ordered LORD RANGANATHA


SriSailEsha dayA pAthram dheeibhakthyAdi guNarnavam
Yetheendra pravaNam vandE ramyajA mAtharam munim
————————————————————————————–

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Swamy Ramanuja  had to to complete the original assignment of 200 years as ordered by LORD to uplift fallen souls . With implicit obedience, Adishesha appeared to this world as Swami maNavALa mAmunikaL.     AdisEsha, in his previous incarnation as SriRamanuja, was very much fascinated by Nammazhvars’s appearance and his divine outpouring (thiruvA imozhi), and hence, earned the appellation “mAran adipaNindhu Uynthavan”. In keeping with this overwhelming love for  Swamy Nammazhvar, the second time around, AdisEsha selected Azhvar Thirunagari as the place most suited for his appearance (Swami Manavala Mamuni was the reincarnation of AdishEsha) This was shown in a manifest fashion to his nearest and dearest disciples. Hence we find in his Sri Rangam abode (mutt) a picture on a pillar inside the sanctum sanctorum, depicted as seated on the serpent AdishEsha with several hoods.

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This proves beyond doubt that  swamy  is the reincarnation of Adishesha.SrisailEsha erected a temple at Azhvar-thirunagari for Swamy  Ramanuja and installed Swamys  idol, which had been presented to Sri Madhurakavi Azhvar and  laid  buried at the foot of the famous Tamarind tree Lord realized that this was His opportunity to capitalize and complete his long cherished desire. Lord seized the golden opportunity of Mamunikal’s arrival to the city of Sri Rangam & ordered him as follows,“You shall come to our temple & give a public discourse on the Eedu  (36000 padi), the super-commentary of Sri Nampillai on Thiruvaimozhi along with other commentaries, in your alluring style. You are the most qualified person for this task, as you have the good fortune of being trained by the esteemed acharya Sri SailEsha (Thiruvaimozhip pillai).

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In order to accommodate unhindered conduct for your kAlakshEpam (discourse), I have instructed that all festivities of the temple be held in abeyance during this period. I will be present to partake of your glorious upanyasam(lecture), in tandem with my nAcchiyArs & all Srivaishnavas”. Thus ordered by the Lord Himself, Swami mAmunikaL,with implicit obedience, accepted this clarion call to perform service to the Lord.  On the concluding day of Swami mAmunikaL’s wonderful lectures onthiruvAimozhi and Eedu, the Lord appeared amidst the august assembly of mAmunikaL and sri vaishnavas, in the guise of an archakar’ son by the name Aranga Naayakam and brushing aside the opposition (after all, how is it possible for a little boy to cut through the large, gathered, assembly if He were not the Lord Himself?) preventing Him from getting proximate presence to Swami mAmunikaL’s seat, recited the following stanza in His inimitable, majestic voice resembling the thunder of a rumbling cloud,

“SriSailEsha dayA pAthram dheeibhakthyAdi guNarnavam

Yetheendra pravaNam vandE ramyajA mAtharam munim”

He kept a palm leaf containing the aforementioned sloka on a goldenplate full of flowers, fruits, coconuts and other sacred components of gurudakshiNa (token of appreciation) and after offering it at the holy feet of Swami mAmunikaL, ran towards the sanctum sanctorum & disappeared. To add to this magnificent miracle, Periya Perumal, the Lord Ranganatha Himself, immediately ordered through the archaka – ‘let this slOka be recited at the beginning of all divya prabhandarecitations; just as a Vedic recital begins and ends with the sacred ‘Om’,so also all recitals of the tamil veda, the divya prabhandam, shall commence and end with ‘srI SailESa dayA pAtram’

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Tomorrow , Maasi Krishna paksha dwadasee  16th February 2015 – Swami disappeared from this material world and importantly the day on which Acharya leaves the samsara (sorrow filled material world) and reaches paramapadam (spiritual world of Sriman Narayana ) is celebrated as Thiruvadhyayanam or Theertham.

Swamy Manavala maamuni Thiruvadigale sharanam
Acharya Thiruvadigale sharanam

Lord Venkateshwara’s “Pranayakopa” (anger in love) on Ananthazhwan…


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Once the ardent devotee of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirumala Hills , Swamy Ananthazhwan was engrossed in making garlands for Perumal . Lord sent for him through asuri voice and ordered him to come to the sanctum sanctorum at once.

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Ananthazhwan waited for sometime, completed the garland and entered the sanctum sanctorum.

The Lord was unhappy  at the delay and asked  ….Azhwan  ..

what  would he  do if he were to banish him from the Hills.

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This was out of what is known in Sanskrit as “Pranayakopa” (anger in love)

Ananthazhwan submitted before the Lord  Oh Lord !!!  

Adiyen had come to the  Hills not to obey the Lord’s commandments, but in obedience to the orders of  adiyen’s  Acharyar Swami Ramanuja  .

Oh Lord !!! the flowers would lose their fragrance  in case   of  adiyen’s delay as they  had to be strung in to a a garland before they bloomed.

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This was the order of  adiyens Acharyar  Swamy Ramanuja and Am just fulfilling his Acharyars  command and doing service to the Lord.

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In this regard he was only emulating the ancient sage Madhurakavi who knew of no other Lord except Nammazhvar and worshiped the Lord because that would please his Acharya Nammalvar.

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It is only to please my Acharya, Swamy Ramanuja, “said Ananthazhwan Adiyen is engaged in making garlands and serving at your shrine. I know of no other Lord except  Acharya from Srirangam.

I always chant Madhurakavi’s kanninunchiruthambu and think constantly of my Acharya .

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You  may consider me a dasa of Madhurakavi.

 Oh Lord !!!!our  Nammalvar recited “paran sendru ser thiruvenkatamamalai (Thiru Venkata Hills where the Lord arrived from Sri Vaikuntha)

 Lord !!! After all you are as much a descendent on the Hills as I am. You came little earlier and  adiyen  came a little later.

Adiyen is here to obey the orders of Swami Ramanuja and will refuse to move out.

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Adiyen will continue with my service to you ”The lotus eyed Lord was immensely pleased and applauded Azhwans in describing himself as Madhurakavidasa.

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Since then the descendants and the  disciples of Azhwan chose to add the term ‘Madhurakavidasa’ to  themselves. Like Madhurakavi, Ananthazhwan was also an Acharya dasa.

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Ananthazhwan stood to SwamiRamanuja in the same term as Madhurakavi azhwar stood to Nammazhvar.

When Ananthalvan went to Srirangam and prostrated before the Acharya Swamy Ramanuja, he directed him to Sri Arulalapperumal Emberumanar.

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In implict obedience, Ananthalvan offered himself as a disciple before Arulalapperumal
Emberumanar. 

It is noteworthy that at Tirupathi in the Temple of Lord Govindaraja, there is single shrine for both Madhurakavi and Ananthalvan establishing the latter’s Madhurakavidasatva.

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Legend says that Lord Venkateshwara introduced Himself as a disciple of Ananthazhvan to the Srivaishnava pilgrims on their way up the Hills and to have called Himself as Madhurakavidasa.

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Further he chanted the two Thaniyans and distributed holy prasada to pilgrims ostensibly at the behest of Ananthazhwan. This was the affection LORD had for the Azhwan .

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The Guruparampara prabhava and other works make it clear that Swami Ramanuja first sent Ananthazhwan and then only he himself came up the Hills for worship of Lord Venkateshwara .

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As Swami Ramanuja was returning to Srirangam after worshipping at the Hills and after patting his disciple for the excellent garden he has created, Ananthalzhwan was unable to bear the separation from his Acharya.

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Swami Ramanuja made one Acharyavigraha of himself and after embracing the same, presented to Azhwan.

It is this deity that Azhwan consecrated at the left side of the main shrine on the Hills after swami Ramanujar left for his heavenly abode. According to scholars, this is the earliest  deity  of Swamy Ramanuja.

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The deity’s  at Sriperumbudur, Srirangam and Melkote  arrived and glorified later    during the last days of Swamy Ramanuja. But the deity  at Tirumalai Hills was presented to Azhwan by Swami Ramanuja himself in his middle age during his first visit to the shrine.

The service that Azhwan rendered by getting the deity  of  Swamy Ramanuja from  swamy Ramanuja himself and installing it to the chanting of the Ramanuja Nutrantaati known as ‘Prapanna Gayatri’ has ensured a permanent place for Azhwan in the history of Srivaishnavism.

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Out of absolute surrender to Swami Ramanujar Azhwan himself had composed the Ramanuja Chatusloki singing the glory of Swami Ramanuja.

Even this day all the Nithya Thiruvaaradhanai begins from our  Bhashyakarar sannithee inside the Main temple

There is an Ananthazhwan Vrindavanam on the Hills in the Ananthalvan garden. There is also a Makila tree (vakula) in the garden. According to tradition, it was on the Tiru Adi puram day that Azhwan left to heavenly abode…

wp-image-257088341  Even today Lord Venkateshwara with his Consorts comes in procession to the garden on the evening of Tiruvadi Puram and prasada is offered on that occasion.

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

Outside the Azhwan Thiru Maligai (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 is carried  on  .

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It shows that the Makila (Vakula) tree is probably Ananthalvan himself reborn on the Hills. Kulasekara Alvar had wished to be born on the golden Hills in some form or the other.

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The below two glorification of Swami Ananthawan was done by Lord Venkateshwara in disguise of a small boy to few devotees while giving them prasadam when they wanted to know about his Acharyar ( shared in a separate post ) 

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akhilaathmakuNaavaaSam agjaanathimiraabaHam aachrithaanaam
SucharaNam vanthE ananthaaryadhEsikam”
srimathraamaanujaachaarya sripaathaambOruHathdvayam
SadhuththamaangaSanthaaryam ananthaaryam ahambhajE

“akhila bhuvana janma sthema bhangAdi LIle
vinata vividha bhuta vrAta rakshaika dikshe |
Sruti Sirasi vidIpte brahmaNi SrInivAse
bhavatu mama parasmin Semushi bhakti rUpA ||”

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May my mind & intellect meditate the form of Bhakti in Srinivasa, the highest Reality, revealed in the Vedanta as the Lord who creates, protects and destroys the whole universe with sportive ease and who has taken a vow to protects all creatures who seek him.

All glories to Swamy Anathazhwan
All glories to Swamy Ramanujar
All glories to Lord Venkateshwara

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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SWAMY RAMANUJAR’S MERCY ON A POOR DISCIPLE “COUPLE”


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Jagathacharyar Swami Ramanuja was explaining to his disciples about the glory of Tirumala . All of a sudden he remembered his dear disciple Ananthazhwan  and  felt like seeing him  who was at Tirumala and have darshinam of Lord  Venkatateshwara.

 

Ananthazvan  obediently followed Acharyars instructions  and was successful in laying a garden with all kinds of beautiful and pleasant  fragrant  flowers which  he offered  as soon as it started blooming  to ensure the fragrance remains with LORD  daily .

 

He also  dug  a small pond for gardening the plants  .Swami Ramanuja was very glad to know  about  his disciple  Ananthazvan dedication in serving the LORDSHIPS .

000099Swamy Ramanuja   proceeded his journey towards  Tirumala with  few  of his disciples from Srirangam  . In those days Tirumalai was very  hard to reach and there was dense forest on the way. The climate was also not suitable as it was too cold on the hill.  Two of his  disciples were staying  near to Tirupathy .

 

He sent word through two of his disciples to one Yaghyesar who was a rich man to make arrangements for his stay. Yaghyesar was thrilled to hear the news and started making elaborate arrangements, but failed to look after the disciples who  had come all the way  who gave him the message.

 

 They were  not given proper attention .When  Swamy Ramanuja came to know  about this he felt sad and decided to  avoid going to his  house .Instead he preferred to visit  his other disciple Varadachari. Varadachari  was a poor man and  was living with daily  biksha as per gruhasta ashrama  .

 

His wife Lakshmi was at home when Swami Ramanuja  along with his disciples went to their  house.  Varadacharis wife was  very happy to  have darisanam of their  Acharayar and  disciples. She  requested them to have food at her house, but told them to take rest at the nearby temple  tank  garden  until she finished cooking.

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Sadly  she had no groceries to cook for the guests  and she was in a predicament.  She prayed LORD for HIS mercy .  As time was also moving fast , and her husband did not return  an idea struck her.  In the same village there was a merchant who  used to  show  interest in her and wanted to have relationship with her .

 

All along Lakshmi being a chaste woman, never yielded to his advances. As a difficult situation arose ,  she thought that she could  submit to  the merchant’s  advances and get money to buy things for  her Acharyar and the bhagavathas. After all it was a wonderful occassion to serve Acharyar who has come directly to their small hut .She prayed Acharyar from her heart and seeked his mercy to help her

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She went to the merchant’s  shop and pleaded  him  to give her groceries for serving their Acharyar and the bhagavathas and was willing to submit to his advances in exchange .

The merchant, though surprised to hear this, sent all  the groceries that she wanted. Lakshmi went home and cooked food and after offering it to Lord, she served  Acharyar  and the bhagavathas . 

 

 It was  suprising for  her  husband Varadachari to suddenly see the bhagavathas and  his Acharyar right in their small hut  .  He offered repeated obeisances to Acharyar .He thanked all  of them for being so merciful.He  silently praised his wife for the wonderful satsangh and ThadiAaradhanai she was carrying in no time  .

 

 Yet , he was confused how Lakshmee could manage the Prasadam to so many bhagavathas  as he knew they had no stock in their home . He took her aside and asked her how she was able to manage .

 

Lakshmee with tears told him all that had happened and expressed helplessness in taking that decision . Varadachari  was as cool as as a cucumber . He praised her for her  timely decision and submitted to the will of Acharyar .

llkk   He took her hand and went in front of Acharyar and both prostrated to Swami Ramanuja .  With tears rolling both the disciples expressed whatever had happened  .

 

Swamy Ramanuja was wonderstruck to hear this. He  advised  them to have their  prasad  and take the remaining food to the merchant’s house.Varadachari and Lakshmi went to the merchant’s house together carrying  Swamy Ramanuja’s sreepada tirtham (holy water) and the  prasad that was honoured by Swamy Ramanuja . Varadachari  requested  the merchant  to accept the  prasad and the holy theertham ( Charanamruth) ..

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After  honouring the prasadam that was leftovers from the Acharyar , the merchant behaviour  changed . The merchant was overcome by feelings of disgust with himself.

 

He walked around the couple and prostrated on the ground in front of them, saying —  “you are like my parents —

please forgive my ignorance and stupidity and take me to your guru so that I may take refuge in him”…..

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They all went back to their house and Swami Ramanuja’s grace made all three of them to progress further in the spiritual bliss .

vv22 Swamy Ramanuja accepted the merchant as his disciple. The merchant had offered all his wealth to   Swamy Ramanuja and  Swamy  in turn  offered it to  his disciple Varadachari. But ,  Varadachari refused to accept it saying that his guru kataksham was his most cherished wealth.

 

Thus  Swamy Ramanuja proved that guruvaruL would create miracles!

The merchant  wept with joy saying —

“you are not a human woman but a goddess you have sacrificed everything, you wanted to sacrifice  your honour too .

 He immediately told  Swamy Ramanuja who was overwhelmed by their devotion to him and blessed them again and again. 

All glories to our JagataAcharyar

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Photos and videos  : Courtesy Google and SVBC channel

Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the father-in-law of Lord Srinivasa


 

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As per the order of JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja  Anathazhwan served LORD VENKATESHWARA at Tirumala hills . He maintained a garden and was offering fragrant flowers to LORD .The garden  was planted with vakula , patala , punnaga , shenbaga and other flower bearing fragrant trees , the bunches of flowers hanging from the branches , entertaining the ears of pilgrims with strains of music poured forth by bees and all kinds of plumaged birds ,  humming bees , cuckoos and the chirping of birds made the garden a  perfect place for divinity .

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Nammazwar’s hymns referring to the Lord as residing in flower bedecked  ThiruVenkata Hills( Sindhupoo maghizhum Thiruvengadam) was   aptly reverberating .

One day , on routine checks Azhwan  became upset .He found that the  garden had been defiled.

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The flower plants were somehow looking  tramped  by a foreigner . The fruits were plucked and strewn hither and thither. He guessed someone had visited the garden and were running around  freely .  Nobody around could tell him how this had happened. The gate man was clueless. Ananthazhvan  with his disciples kept  a watch for intruders. It was the  beautiful  Spring season ( Vasantha ruthuvu).

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Ananthazhvan was hiding underneath a bush. At dead end of the night, he could see a  divine princely couple with wonderful ornaments moving  inside  the garden. For a moment he was overjoyed with the divinity in their  appearance , however   he was also overtaken by  their play that caused withering of the plants and the fragrant flowers .

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He decided to catch them and hence made attempt by slowly following  the couple. He was surprised to see both of them smiling and allowing themselves to be under his control . Azhwan decided to tie them to a tree and wait for the next day to arrive for handing over them to the security .

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However the charming prince who was very handsome  escaped from Anathazhwan’s clutches. The princess  however could not escape as she was  moved  by  our Azhwans pure  bhakthi.  Azhwan  out of sheer love to LORD   questioned the divine lady   underneath a Champaka tree .

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Why were you two  inside this  garden that was exclusively being maintained for serving LORD VENKATESHWARA .  How can one commit such offence of  meddling with the  garden flowers that were being grown only for the service of LORD . Azhwan asked about their living and what way they were connected to the Holy hills not knowing she was JAGANMATHA herself .

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The divine  lady answered,  Swamin “I am like your daughter. I did no wrong.  I  and my husband  who just left me out of your fear ( smilingly )  are the rulers of these Hills. My Lord wanders all  over the Hills as he pleases. He must have entered your  garden and enjoyed the beauty  and was moved with the bhakthi of yours to LORD . I am not responsible for  whatever  has happened. Please allow me to leave .  Being proficient in   sastras you must accept as a wife I cannot mention the name of my Lord  ….Please leave me free. Azhvan  out of  respect and moved by the divine lady’s words  replies .. Amma … You look like Mahalakshmi. Verily, you are like  a daughter to me.   Your husband is sure to come searching for you. Let him  come in the morning. I will take a ransom from him and then release you. Till  then,  I am sorry  you will have to be under this Champaka  tree ,”  and our Ananthazhvan was holding vigil  the whole night to meet the Supreme LORD …..little did he realize that LORD was enacting a divine leela to be cherished by all of us .

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The next morning the Archakas opened  the temple gate and went into the sanctum sanctorum for the morning rituals. They were surprised   to note that the golden locket covering Alarmelmangai on the chest of the Lord was missing. The temple officials of the temple grew suspicious.

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At this point of time,  an aasurees  voice was heard by one of the Archakas  pointing out that none of  them  are  guilty   and that when the Lord and  Alarmelmanga were strolling  in the Swamy Ramanuja garden  maintained by  the devotee Ananthzhvan,  out of abundant mercy Goddess Mahalakshmee  has submitted  to Azhwan .  She was under the Champaka tree under the watchful eye of Azhvan. The Lord commanded the  Archakas of the temple to go to the garden and  honor  the azhvan  and with respects invite Azhwan to the temple.

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Promptly, the  Archakas went to the garden  with the temple honours and were bewildered to see Alarmelmanga who was in the disguise of princess and Azhwan under the Champaka tree. In the Dvaparayuga, the Lord was tied to the mortar by Yasoda. The same way, in this Kaliyuga, Alarmelmanga was tieddown to the Champaka tree  by Anathazhwan.

moonThey conveyed to him the Lord’s command. Ananthazhvan with full remorse  begged pardon and was  crest-fallen that he has done  bhagavath apachara. With all humility he seeked forgivance for the unexpected error . He immediately  released Alarmelmanga and prostrated  before her  repeatedly praying for forgiveness. 

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Alarmelmanga  smilingly advised that  Anathazhwan that he should consider her as his daughter as agreed . Immediately, she transformed herself into a  princess . Anathazhwan finishing his morning oblations took his   daughter with flowers and garlands in procession to the temple. He bowed before the Lord  repeatedly and humbly praying for  his mercy said LORD please forgive me for the foolish act .

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Here Adiyen has come with the Jaganmatha .Please forgive me and accept heras she was so kind to bless me in being her father . The  divine princess  immediately transformed herself and adorned the chest of Lord Srinivasa.

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This was the origin of the tradition considering Alarmelmanga as the daughter of Anathazhwan and the Lord of the Seven Hills as Anathazhwan’s son in-law. In the Tamil month of Purattasi, during the Rathotsavam, on the eigth day of  Srivari Brahmotsava, it is customary even today to adorn the Lord with Pitamabara and silken cloth as Sambhavana of Anathazhwan,the father-in-law.  There is a benediction to Anathazhwan…

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Malaiyil vengadavarkku mamanar valiye

Alarmelmangai tiruvukku appanar valiye

(Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the father-in-law of Lord Srinivasa!

 Glory to Ananthazhvan who is the  father of Alarmenmangai!)

 Swamy Ananthalwan joined eternity with  Lord  Venkateshwara on the sacred Thiru Adi Pooram day ( July- August) .

Even today , Lord Venkateswara visits this  garden and bestows honours on the Magizha Tree.  

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The satari at the main sanctum sanctorum is glorified as  Sadagopa in remembrance of Nammazhwar.

The  Satari  in the Swamy Ramanuja shrine is  glorified as Ananthalwan.

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The Vaishnava community always held religious beliefs as filling too vital a function in sustaining individual morality and morale and social order and control.

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

 

Swamy Koorathalvan and Lord Azhagar at Thirumalirumcholai,


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Swamy Koorathalvan was staying at Thirumalirumcholai  during his exile from Swamy Ramanuja  under divine intervention  . Swamy  was  carrying out pushpa kainkaryam ( Flower service )  for  Lordships  every day.

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Once ,  during  the month of  December  ( Margazhi maasam)  Koorathazhwan walked the hills and reached the temple . He recited  the  verses of Andals glorification of LORD  from  her  Thiruppavai  . Later with all the due respects   he offered a  garland to the LORD .The priest in turn honored Koorthazhwan   with  sathari ( Srisatakopam)  .

On returning from the temple en route the hills , Koorathazhwan was feeling   sad  for some reason .  He looked around the  majestic hills . He passed  the rivulets and reached  his house . He  sat outside his house and was in a trance .

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Suddenly a young well built man emerged  from no where and  politely stood before Azhwan . He asked ..Swamin  What is making you dull today ?HHHH

Swamin !!! I assure you whatsover the  problem,  I would  solve the same  .  Azhwan was silent ..

Despite repeated such assurances, Koorathazhwan, insisted that there was no way his problem could be solved. At his casual  reply , the  charming man got surprised.

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He  went near Azhwan and said …Swamin Do you know who I am ?

Swamy  Koorathazhwan replied with all humility,

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Swamin ! ”Adiyen  can recognize  you  very well.

You are the Lord himself”. 

Amazed at how  azhwan could recognize him,  Lord was keen to know ..

Azhwan replied  that he could smell the Lord fragrance  from  the garland that he had offered for the day.

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Coming back to the question of what was troubling azhwan, azhwan still insisted that though he was the Lord himself, his trouble could not be resolved even by him.

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 Lord insisted for Azhwans  explanation …

“What is the problem – you have to tell me?”

Azhwan replied,

“ The  Thiruppavai  pasuram mentions your anubhavam with the yadava kulam.

Adiyen am sad that   I was not fortunate to  be born in the yadava kulam. Now that I have  Swamy Ramanuja  association ,

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Adiyen is eligible for  moksham.  However adiyen cannot be associated with the yadu kulam where devareer ( LORD) was there with each one of them to their joy …Can adiyen experience that big  joy of being part of your kulam?”now ……………………….

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The Lord truly had no answer to his query !

Azhwan was always in the mood of serving LORD ..

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Swamy Koorath azhwan thiruvadigaley sharanam

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Photographs : Courtesy Google images

 

Swamy Koorathazhwan ….who prayed for his enemy too …


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It was during Twelfth Century AD. Kulothunga Chozhan II was ruling over a major part of Tamilnadu.

He had adopted Saivism as his religion.

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He also proclaimed as the religion of the State. Though not a big deal whatsoever religion the King followed became the religion of the state.

But the King wanted to destroy Sree Vaishnavism. Love, whatever may be its form and manifestation, can never be divisive. 

The Chozha King had a diabolic minister by name Naalooran .

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The King first started a signature campaign against Vaishnavism.

All the lords and land owners in the kingdom professed allegiance to the religion of the state out of fear of the King .

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 The King proudly displayed the signature scroll to his minister, Naalooran.

The Minister let out a derisive smile.

“Your Majesty, he said ..  you have got the signature of sheep and rabbits leaving out the real lions and tigers of  SriVaishnavism.

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If  Swamy Ramanujacharya and Koorathazhwan, his main disciple were to sign this scroll then it would be something worth ”..

The King was furious.

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“Let those two be brought before the court”, thundered the  cruel king. The King’s men went in search of Swami Ramanuja and Koorathalwan.

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Swamy Ramanuja had gone to Cauvery for his morning bath. Koorathazhwan was in the mutt. “We want to take your guru Ramanuja to the King’s court.” Kurathazhwan saw the mini army assembled before him.

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He saw the hatred in the Chief’s voice. He knew their mission. Within seconds he went into the mutt, put on Swami Ramanuja’s dress and took Sri Ramanujar’s thridandam (a holy stick carried by Vaishnava Sanyasis) and was ready to go with them.

“We also want your disciple, Koorathazhwan.” Now he was in a fix. If he revealed his identity those rascals would go in search of Swami Ramanuja and would soon find him out.

He was thinking of a strategy, when Perianambi, another disciple of Sri Ramanuja, jumped into the fray. “Yes, He said , I am Koorathazhwan.

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What do you want to do with me?

Koorathazhwan had to take enormous efforts to hide his tears.

Perianambi was an aged man, a devout Vaishnavite and a great scholar.

And he was risking his life. The two great vaishnavas  were produced before the King’s court.

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The King ordered them to renounce their religion and sign the scroll professing their allegiance for the kings order .

Both refused giving Vedic explanations  .

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Sad  was the situation where  a devotee had to prove LORDS supremacy .  

Naalloran, the evil minister, again smiled derisively.

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The King was furious. “Take them away and gorge out their eyes.” He thundered in fury. Perianambi was the first to be taken out. Within minutes Koorathazhwan heard Perianambil’s wail. The cruel soldiers had plucked out his eyes.

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“Is the Vaishnavite worm dead or alive?” The King asked his men with a wicked smile. Koorathazhwan roared in anger. “You called Perianambi a worm, right? Oh,  Cruel King, you will soon know more about worms. May my curse be upon you.” His voice echoed against the four walls of the court.He then ran to Perianambi.

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The devout Vaishnavite was uttering the Lord’s name and Swamy Ramanuja’s name. Life was slowly ebbing out of him. Koorathazhwan placed Perianambi’s head on his lap and let him leave his body and move to Acharyans lotus feet .

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The King’s men then approached Koorathazhwan to pluck out his eyes. “Having seen Perianambi in this state, it will be a sin, if I continue to have my eyesight. “spoke the great devotee .

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With these words the great disciple of Swami Ramanujar , Koorathazhwan took the spear from a soldier and plucked out his eyes himself.

The story did not end there. The King went on a camp to Tanjore. As he was sleeping in the night, he had an unusual feeling in his neck. There was a small infection. He thought of summoning the  doctor  in the morning.

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But by morning the infection had become so great, that hundreds of worms were wriggling on his neck. He died the next day earning for him the epithet Kirumi Kanda Chozhan. The Chozha king with worms on his neck. The worms had to do what was destined to him . Apachara on vaishnava is instant …

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The story did not even end there. It was only several years after the death of the  Cruel King that Swami Ramanuja could meet the blind Koorathazhwan. Ramanuja hugged his disciple and cried.“Koorthazhwan, I am your Guru.

I have not asked anything from you so far. I am going to ask you something now. You should not refuse.”

“My life, my body and my soul belong to you, Gurudeva.

Your word would be my command.”he said to our Acharyar Swami Ramanuja .

Please “Go to Kancheepuram.

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Pray to our Sri Varadaraja Perumal. For your Bhakthi He’s sure to appear before you. Please ask Him to restore your eyesight.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adiyen “I will, Acharya said Azhwan.” With the help of few other disciples azhwan travelled to Kancheepuram from Srirangam. It was a two weeks’ journey.

They reached Kancheepuram in the night. The next morning Koorathazhwar had his bath, finished his morning prayers, prayed to his Acharyar and appeared before Lord Varadharaja.the deity of supreme love.

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Koorathazhwan had been to the sanctom and sanctorum of the temple and had worshipped the Lord’s form many times, when he had his eyes.

Remembering that form, remembering the words of his Acharyar , with eternal love flowing in his heart, Koorathazhwan composed and sang Varadarajasthawam, a beautiful poem glorifying the Lord’s grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perarulaalan, his beloved, Lord Varadharaja was immensely pleased and appeared before his blind devotee in a vision.

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Lord said , “Koorathazhwan, tell me, what do you want?” Had the devotee asked for the seven worlds, the good Lord would have placed them at his feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing the Lord, hearing His voice, now Koorathazhwan’s heart was so full of love, that he forgot his mission. He even forgot his Gurudeva’s words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He forgot the fact that he was blind. What bliss was he enjoying at that moment!

If people could enjoy that kind of a bliss, there would be no hatred in this world.

Why should people hate each other, and that too in the name of God?

He felt sad why at all he cursed the Chozha King.

Then he remembered the evil Minister, Naalooran.

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Naaloran was still alive.

Koorathazhwan folded his hands before the graceful Lord and told him in a shivering voice,

Naalooran, the minister should enjoy the same kind of bliss which I am enjoying now in your presence.

I want no more than this, my Lord.”he said with tears..

That was koorathazhwan  a true vaishnava ..

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Koorathazhwan had done the unthinkable.

Forgetting his eyes, forgetting the previous enmity, forgetting the hatred Naalooran had for Vaishnavites, he had blessed him and had given him eternal bliss.

 

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By asking this boon he had grown in love at par with the God Himself. Later when Ramanujar heard of Koorathazhwan’s act even he could not muffle his sobs.

Religion and God are all about love, the highest kind of love, which does not hold anything for itself, the highest love which does not have a place for hatred or evil.

The Lord granted the boon, blessed Koorathazhwan and disappeared with a mischievous smile on his beautiful lips.

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May Koorathazhwan who was kind enough to give benediction to his enemy teach us how to love.

May he make us love more and love deeper.

Azhwans 1009 appearance day (THAI HASTHAM)   is celebrated on  Jan  26th  2019 ,  .

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Few pastimes are shared in the below posts

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/lords-very-dear-devotee-kooresa/

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/swami-kurathazhwan-atmagunas/

All srivaishnavas praise the glories of Azhwans bhakthi towards Acharyar .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May he always bless us to be devoted to Acharyar and Perumal .

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Srivatsa chinna misrEbyO nama ukthima dhImahE:
yadhukthayas thrayi gantE yaanti mangala sUtradhaam:

I worship Koorathazhwan, whose pancha stavam are like mangala sutra (Thirumaangalyam) for the vedas – i.e., without which there is no clarity in who is paradEvathai.

HHHH

1009 Appearance day celebrations are conducted grandly at the holy place Kooram very near to Kancheepuram  the place where Azhwar had appeared , 

Inspired from   Shri Varalotee Rangaswamy  article
All glories to Swamy KoorathAzhwan
All glories to Swami Ramanuja
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

LORD’S VERY DEAR DEVOTEE KOORESA


Swamy Koorath Azhwan  the great sri vaishnava acharya , earned his daily bread by the traditional means prescribed for a Vedic “grahasta” (householder) viz. “unchavratti” ( the practice of going around one’s neighborhood  for daily alms and sustaining oneself solely by such means)

xxx Nothing was accumulated… be it food or clothes…nothing more was collected than what Kuresan considered as sufficient to satisfy the wants of his family in the space of a single day… that was kuresa the most advanced srivaishnava … 030

One day it rained heavily and the time for going around on his “unchavratti” came and passed. Kuresan and Andalamma  his dear wife  went without any food that day except for a sip of the holy water offered to the household deity.

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They skipped supper too. Kuresan was unmindful of his hunger since he kept reciting the  hymns “tiruvoimozhi” ( Nammazhwars hymns on LORD ) throughout the rainy day, but AndAlamma deeply felt the pangs of pain… pain, not of her own hunger, but the pain of watching her husband starve.  It was evening then and just at that moment the temple bells of the Srirangam temple tolled. It was the signal to indicate that Lord Ranganatha was being offered his evening “naivEdyam” or worshipful food. 028 When his wife AndAlamma heard the temple gong she bit her lips in tears. She couldn’t help silently muttering, “O Ranga, my Rangaa  when your devotee Kuresan goes starving on a day like this, how are you able to enjoy your feast?”.

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The piercing cry of Andalamma’s pain was obviously heard by  LORD  and   for  LORD  that same night appeared in the dream of one of His temple-officials, one Sri. Uttama-nambi whom He commanded: “Go forth immediately with my food-offerings to the house of my devotee Kuresan for he has eaten nothing this day! Tell him that We send him our meal and our blessings!”. Uttama-nambi woke up startled and drenched in cold sweat. 031 Gathering himself up and summoning all temple staff including pipers, drummers, stewards and ceremonial carriers, he marched in a great procession in the middle of the night to Kuresan’s house, carrying trays of food that had previously been offered as “naivEdyam” to Lord Ranganatha. When the procession reached Kuresan’s home Uttama-nambi recounted to him Lord Ranga’s commandment in his dream and begged Kuresan to accept the Lord’s offering of food. .Kuresan was too dumbfounded to react! AndAlamma however gently advised her husband to accept the temple offerings.

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“This food has been sent by our Lord Ranga Himself, and we must accept it and rejoice!”, she said. His job accomplished, Uttama-nambi returned to his abode, utterly relieved that he had carried out Lord Ranga’s express orders without further

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Back home Kuresa however suspected that the midnight offer of food by Lord Ranga had something to do with his wife. So Kuresa queried AndAlamma who after much persuasion confessed to what had happened, of how she had shared her anguish with Ranga over the plight of Kuresan going without a morsel of food on that rainy day.

“My dear !!”, chided Kuresan gently, “what have you done! What have you done! You have tested Divinity’s compassion for a mere morsel of food to fill this sinner’s belly!”. All the same that night, Kuresan and AndAlamma ate the temple food-offerings of Lord Ranganatha and went to bed happily.

xxxx That same night, LORD Ranganathar appeared again in a dream, but this time in Kuresan’s sleep and announced, “Kuresa,  my dear  ….We trust that our offering of food has pleased you. Our offering was not merely to satisfy your pangs of physical hunger but to meet your desire or greater hunger for the love of children! What you and AndAlamma have just eaten are the seeds of two little children to be born to you! They will be Our own children! They are blessed indeed! Rejoice in them as you would rejoice in Our Presence amongst you!”. Lord Ranganatha the all compassionate LORD smiled and  vanished.Kuresan excitedly woke up Andalamma to tell her all about the dream. 033 A few years later, two beautiful boy babies were born to Kuresan and Andalamma! Their hearts burst with joy. The news of the birth of Kuresan’s boys reached  Swamy Ramanuja too and he was transported with joy!

The grand old “AchAryA” himself performed the “nAma-karanam” (christening) for Kuresan’s  both the  boys naming them “VyAsa-bhattar” and “Parashara-Bhattar”!

zzzzxxxxx The latter boy became later in life one of the tallest “AchAryA-s” in the SriVaishnava pantheon of post-Ramanuja stalwarts! Parashara Bhattar came to be acknowledged by posterity as the natural heir to all of Ramanuja’s spiritual kingdom!

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Thus indeed, had Kuresan, through his offspring, Parashara Bhatta, performed yet another great service or “kainkaryam” to his beloved guru

Few more divine pastimes are shared below in the appended posts

Few pastimes are shared in the below posts

https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/swami-kurathazhwan-atmagunas/

He gave unto the venerable RamanujachArya’s arms his fledgling spiritual heir… one who would carry on unbroken the grand tradition of “sri-sampradAyam” for all times to come! 5

All glories to Swami Koorathazhwan

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics and videos courtesy : Shared by several devotees in social media

TRAVELOGUE TO MUKTHINATH -(SALIGRAMAM) -NEPAL DIVYA DARSHANAM


Saalagramam ( Mukthinath )  is the only vaishnava  divya dEsam located   outside of India. … Muktinath describes a region on the banks of the Gandaki River .It is revealed in scriptures

Gandakyamcha uttare teere  Girirajasya dakshine 

Dasayojana vistheernaam Mahakshetra Vasundharaa

Salagramo Mahadevo devi Dwaravati bhaved

Ubhayossangamo yatra  Muktisttattra na samsaya.”

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 Literally means ……

“To the north of the river, Gandaki  and south of the Himalayas, there is the holy region of Salagrama, which is ten yojanas extent,  and here Dwaravati merges into Salagrama.  Undoubtedly such a place is capable of vouchsafing Moksha.”

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 Muktinath    Divya  desam  located  in Nepal   is an important pilgrimage site for  Sri Vaishnavites and Buddhists.

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It is one of the eight swayam vyakta kshetrams

(-out of this 4 are in southern India and 4 in Northern India).

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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 Lord is glorified  in Archa form (Tirumala, Srirangam) .

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The best season to visit   this holy place ( Mukthinaath) “saalagramam” is during March-April  OR during September to 1s week of October.

May to August is rainy season and is not advisable as per locals .

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As a visit to this place bestows liberation, this kshetram is known as Mukthi kshetram and LORD here is glorified as MUKTHI NARAYANAN.

 

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This piligrimage was undertaken during 2006 and was posted in www.srivaishnavam.com Adiyen  was keen to share the pictures and video clips as requested by few devotee friends in the blog which happened recently  . 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 motor able with some  excellent reviews as seen from their  good experiences .

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Before  continuing  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  when Internet was not  really at reach of a common man .

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This divya desam darshan was very special to all of us .  My family joined me in having darshan of all the 105 Divya desams since 2002 .

And  Mukthinath darshan was the last temple we all wished to have darshan .

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The excitement and the thirst to be there was to the peaks as it was very special . Elders encouraged us to proceed but were worried as we were taking our two kids who were too young  and in case they fell sick etc ……

Whatsoever…. ,

we decided to proceed with total surrender to the Supreme Lord

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 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)

10606360_804437686253465_6970303031190894149_n 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  during  the year 2006 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.

 We lost our confidence due to the changing  weather  as flights would be cancelled in case of storms .

We chanted Sri Vishnu sahsranamam and  surrendered  to  Perumal  for  mercy …

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 We knew that it was “NOW or NEVER” .  We had to go to Muktinath at any cost and reach Gorakpur as planned ,because there  was only one train to Secunderabad from Gorakpur and  had to leave for Tirupati  as planned   . More over all the tickets were confirmed .

  We realized  there was NOTHING and only HIS  ABUNDANT GRACE could make us visit MUKTINATH.   The day finally arrived .

It was   Pournami ( Full moon day )  , the auspicious month of Purattasi.  Submitting to the divine  grace LORD and  finishing   our morning prayers, we left to Pokhara  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).

Jai  jai

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 the r conditions  ) 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, but   presently not  been operating . The private airlines are more reliable in Nepal.

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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.   

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To our dismay, we learn t 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 .

This was a shocking news to us ……..

Our hearts beat fast…  chanting Dwayam and mahamantra … My mind races to all the corners of the small airport . My body shivers …. I look around ….pleading LORD …

jai jagganatha

There’s a light breeze, which is chilly.

The sky is  now gone 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 .

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The children were excited when  the sky became  more clear and the flights  were being resumed.

Chanting Vishnu Sahasranaamam was mandatory for all of us  .

02240026 02240029 02240030   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  now on the plane. The air hostess was kind . Making us feel comfortable , we looked at the abundant mountains all over  as she asked us to see through the windows .

Just 18 passengers plus the flight attendant squeezed into these little seats.

No overhead baggage compartment. 

A different feeling all together …..The flight attendant  once again came and passed out some sweets and cotton for people to plug their ears.

The captain was still checking out the RPMs of the propeller .

We are about to take off and we  all chanted the juicy name  loudly

GOVINDA …….GOVINDA ….REMEMBERING OUR LORD GOVINDA

We’re in the air now.

It’s a smooth flight.

On the right of the aircraft  Adiyen could  see the white Himalayas, which stand like a great wall between Nepal and China.

On the left were high mountains, but no snow.

Below us are valleys and the  holy  Gandaki river.

The weather is good and  clear . The plane flies between the Himalayas, not over them! 

We are in this  little Dornier aircraft, skims craggy ridge tops and often buffeted by mountain winds.

jaya jaya

 Chanting Lords name continuously  we  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.

We were told , 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.

02240027   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.

 

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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.

 

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 for just 30 rupees.

Thanking Lord very much we briskly moved  and  located the hotel .  As assured the incharge who co ordinated from Pokhra , had made all arrangements for our trip to Muktinath.

Annapurna trekking permit is a must and we had taken our pass port photographs with  Nepalee Rupee  as fees for the same .

2 ponies with a guide were provided.

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  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 .

 

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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.”

 

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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The Devas in their turn placed a countercurse 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, Lord  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 shilas  are obtained only from the river Gandaki, which is a Himalayan stream, celebrated since antiquity as Narayani, Saligrami, Hiranvati and Hiranyavati.

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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.

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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..

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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 .

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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. My soul danced with joy looking at the nature and being in Gods own world. 10557429_804437459586821_7890910220749951336_n 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 ).

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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,.

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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.

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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.

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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).

10152040_820998507930716_4987882577752276729_n   02240036 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 …

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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 .

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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. 

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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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          Now , 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. 

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 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.

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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.

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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. 

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 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.

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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.

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  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.

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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.   

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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.

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  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 1915805_106655169365057_7852432_n 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. 

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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.

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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 .

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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) 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.

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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.

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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. 1915805_106655099365064_789728_n 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 …….

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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. 

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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. 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.

10403167_804437552920145_7760930898980688630_n 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. 1915805_106655179365056_2585604_n (1) 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. mukti6 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.

1959265_804437426253491_6815295123809277758_n 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.

10353546_804437476253486_817238989884455880_n 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.  

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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.

In a period of 10 years  many more  Sree moorthy ( saigrama silas ) arrived  at adiyens  residence  ( Thiruvengadam ) and are being worshipped  and adiyen never attempted to count the lordships …. 1915805_106655129365061_5713693_n 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.

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 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.

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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.

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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. 02280021   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. 02280022 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. 02280023 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.

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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. 02280028   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. 02280024 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).

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 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.

. 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.

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

DAMODAR KUND BEYOND MUKTHINATH DIVYADESAM


DAMODAR KUND

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The  HOLY DHAAM  “Damodar Kund”  (lake) is situated   under a rain shadow of High Himalayas north of Annapurna range. The elevation of the Damodar Kund  is approximately  4890 meters  . Being at a great altitude the area  is  too  cold and windy place.

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The Damodar lakes are located three days walk north east of the main Mustang trekking route & very close to Tibetan border and Mukthinath .

However nowadays as per the locals there is a mote able road also  .

En route we can have darshanam of Saligrama kshetra (Muktinath) which is situated at a height of 3,800 metres .

Jomsom  airport is at 2713 metres.

The distance to Muktinath from Jomsom by walk is 21 kms (via Kagbeni)

Another short-cut which involves climbing of a steep mountain that  would save about 3-4 kms.

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Presently   Jeeps and motorbikes are operated for easy travel of the piligrims .

To reach Muktinath, we need to cross 3 settlements

– Eklabhatti,

Khinga,

Jharkot

(Earlier, piligrims used to go to Muktinath via Eklabhatti, Kagbeni, Jharkot).  

a6 According to one version, the Salagramam Divya Desam is just the bank/bed of River a2

Gandaki and not the Mukthinath temple.

Few also claim Its Damodar kund .

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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,

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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.  

a7According 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 Thirumangai Azhwar visited atleast the banks of the Gandaki River, as did Swamy Ramanuja.

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And no matter which version is accurate, there is no taking away from the beauty of this Divya Desam and its surroundings where the soul rejoices in being with our own super soul

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                 Thirumangai AzhwAr and PeriyAzhwAr  had glorified this divya desam with 12 Paasurams.

 Thirumanagai AzhwAr visualizes the  Great Lord here as RaamAvathAran and KrishNAvathAran.

PeriyAzhwAr’s  experiences Lord as Baala KrishNan and His play among the Gopikas.

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 In one of   Azhwar’s P asurams , Thirumangai Azhwar counsels His mind to hurry up and reach this divine  SaaLigrama KashEthram to worship the Lord there as  Lord Raama- and Lord KrishNa avathAra Moorthy.

 Azhwar’s  description of the beauty of nature at this dhivya dEsam are  so attractive that one will crave to have HIS darshan .

AzhwAr appeals to His mind politely..

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“KaayAmalar VaNNan SaaLagrAmamadia nenjE”

(Oh My mind! Please travel to the SaaLigrAma KshEthram of the Lord with the dark-bluish hue of KaayAmpoo! “

Manam kamazhum tadam soozhnthu yengum azhahAya SaaLagramamadai nenjE!”

Oh My mind! Please hurry up and get to the SaaLagrama KshEthram of the Lord known for its pretty groves filled with fragrant flowers !…………………..

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AzhwAr exhorts his mind to attain the Lord of Salagrama 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  .

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Adiyens very close devotee brother Sri Thiruvenkada ramanujadasan ( Mouni baba) had been to Damodar kund twice . He was kind enough to share the pics .

 SRIDEVI BHOODEVI SAMETHA SREE MOORTHY PARABRAHMANEY NAMAH :

Adiyen’s travelogue to Mukthinath Divyadesam is available in the below link

SALIGRAMA DIVYA DESAM ANUBHAVAM
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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SWAMY EMBAAR THE ARDENT DISCIPLE OF SWAMY RAMANUJA


Swamy Embaar ( Govinda bhattar ) appeared during the year 1026 in the month of Makara ( Tamil Month of Thai ) under the the constellation of Punarvasu (  and swamy  is said he was the amsam of  Vaiynatheyan/Garudazhwar ) .

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Embaars maternal uncle Thirumalai nambhi named him as Govinda Bhattar. Govinda was the first cousin of  JagathAcharyar Swami Ramanuja .Both of them attended the Academy of Yadhava Prakasha ( Yadhava Prakasha a  Advaitin ) at Thiruputkuzzi near Kancheepuram .

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The  unfortunate  design planned  that need  not be discussed by their Guru Yadavaprakasha to eliminate  Swamy Ramanuja was foiled by  young Govinda by seeing an early opportunity .

More details of this divine pastime can be read  from the below url blog post

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https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/lord-arrives-in-the-guise-of-hunter-couple-to-save-his-ardent-devotee-swamy-ramanuja/

Govinda bhattar  advises  Swamy Ramanujar  about the evil intentions of the troupe.   As advised by Govinda bhattar  , Ramanujar leaves them and by LORD’s will reaches  Kanchi ( We  cherish  how our  Swamy Ramanujar was saved by Lord Varadar  and his consort from getting lost in jungles and had safe passage to Kanchipuram) { Even to this day the same event is celebrated as Salai Kinaru Usthavam .

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Yadhava Prakasha noticed Ramanujar missing and asked all the disciples to search for him ,and even our Govinda pretended to search so that he should not be doubted. Then unable to locate him ,  all concluded that Ramanuja must have lost his way in the wild jungle and must have been devoured by wild animals.

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Inwardly happy they all continued the sojourn to Kashi.  On reaching Kashi , Govinda took  a dip in Ganges  and rose his palms .To his amazement , he notices  a Shiva Lingam in his hand . He immediately proceeds to  show the divinity it to his master .

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His Guru  Yadavaprakashar commands  Govinda that as Paramasivan  was  pleased with Govinda he had the fortune to have his divinity and as it was  his direct blessings , he must worship the Siva Lingam.

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Govinda  accepts his Master’s command.  He starts worshipping  the  Siva Lingam in Madhuramangalam ( even to this day we  can  have darshan of the Siva Lingam) .

Later , he  dreams  Paramasivan of Kalahasthi  advising  him to come to his divine abode .With directions from his Guru , he proceeds  to Kalahasthi . He joins in temple service  and remains there .

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Years rolled on . Swami Ramanuja becomes the disciple of Thirukachi Nambhigal ,Periya Nambhi, Thirukoshtiyur nambhi and had takes  sanyasa .

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 Swamy Ramanuja  now remembers  Govinda , whose timely advice saved his life.

Knowing Govinda bhattar is at Kalahastee  he requests  his maternal uncle  Swamy Thirumalai Nambhi to explore the possibilities of bringing Govinda back to srivaishnava fold . Thirumalai Nambhi  proceeds  to Kalahasthi and  meets  Govinda bhattar  and quotes few verses of His Acharyar Alawandar’s Shostra Ratna Malai  elucidating the importance of the Supreme personality Lord Sriman Narayana .

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He impresses  upon Govinda that worshipping Lord Sriman Narayana is the only way for path to salvation . Govinda bhattar gets all his questions answered and proceeds to the sanctum .

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He  takes  permission from Paramasivan  for joining Swamy Ramanuja in his mission . Paramasivan pleased with his service advises him to remain with Swamy Ramanujar .Govinda bhatar now proceeds  along with his uncle to Thirumala to learn Divyaprabhandam under him.

Meanwhile Swamy Ramanuja  proceeds to Tirumala  for learning the inner secrets of Srimad Ramayana from his uncle Thirumalai Nambhi  at  Tirumala.

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After learning the  inner secrets of the geat epic Srimad Ramayana from Swamy  Tirumalai Nambhi , Acharyar  wanted to gift something to his student and  felt sad  that he did not have anything to give.

Seizing the wonderful  opportunity  Swamy Ramanuja   requests Acharyar to gift him with Govinda bhattar  who was  very obedient and a  true seeker of knowledge. Swamy Thirumala Nambhi understood Swamy Ramanujar’s future plan in spreading the Sri Vaishnava doctrine and hence  readily agrees .

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Swami Ramanuja and Govinda return  back to Srirangam via Kanchipuram. Though he joins swamy Ramanujar , Govinda was always sad that he was missing his Acharyar and Uncle .

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Seeing the sad plight,  Swamy Ramanuja immediately asks  him to go back to  Acharyar Thirumalai Nambhigals place . Overjoyed Govindar returns to Tirumala .

 

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On reaching he understands  his  Acharyar is unhappy with his decision  After staying for a week ,. Acharyar  advises Govindar and tells  “Cow once sold or gifted in dhana cannot be taken back .

Govinda with humility seeks forgivance and  returns back to  Swamy Ramanuja , more refined, wiser and chastened.

 

Now Swamy Ramanuja is   pleased with  his move .With  affection  he advises him to attend  all lectures, discourse, debates expositions and dispositions.  

Govindar gradually  becomes  a shadow of  Swamy Ramanuja and serve his master day and night.

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Though Govinda bhattar  was married, he never lived a householders life,  and he remained like a Brahmachari . He wanted to take Sanyasa like his master Swamy  Ramanuja.

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Much against his mothers wishes Swami Ramanuja agrees to give him Sanyasa after testing his sincerity to accept the sanyasa ashram He presents Govinda a Arch robe of an ascetic and  gives  his initiated  name  as “Emperumanar” .

Govindar bhattar feels humble and    informs  his master whether he  did  deserve this honor.  

 

Swamy Ramanuja  joins  the first and last syllables of his name and gives the name   “EMBAR”and thus  Govinda got his name “EMBAR” our most revered Acharyar

As commanded by  Swamy Ramanuja , Embaar taught  his disciple Parasara Bhatta all that he learnt from his Acharyar   . He succeeded in making the Parasara Bhattar the worthy successor of  Swamy Ramanuja to carry on the  great Ramanuja Sidhantha to the future generation.

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During the year 1137  when our beloved Swamy Ramanujar shed his mortal coil and proceeded to Srivaikuntam , Swamy rested himself  keeping his head in Embaars lap .

  Swamy Embaar composed the  great work called “VIJNAASTHUTHI”.

rAmanuja padhachchAya gOvindAhvAna pAyini |
thadAyattha svarUpAssA jeeyAnmadviSramasthali: ||

 

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Photos and videos : 

Courtesy great devotees of LORD who uploaded in  social media .