The scene near the ocean was very different . Few squirrels suddenly noticed an army of vanaras marching near the mountains and lifting boulders and handing it over to the chain of vanaras who were carrying them to put in the ocean with valour .
Few vanaras were uprooting the trees and a few making way for collecting the boulders .
All squirrels residing near to the mountains were wondering what was going around .
They could hear all the vanaras doing the work with enthusiasm and were chanting . The sweetest name RAMA reverberated the entire area . Slowly they came out and found the vanaras were in fact constructing a bridge over the ocean ,
They understood that the bridge is being constructed for them to march to the other end of the ocean . Inquisitively few squirrels moved further to see the mammoth work being undertaken along with the Nama sankirtana .
To their utter surprise they had darshana bhagyam of Lord Sriramachandra . Overjoyed with the feeling all of them decided that they must assist in this big work no matter the quantity of contribution .
The squirrels wished that when LORD with his tender feet walked over the rocks and mountains which had been dumped to form the bridge , HIS feet would get hurt by the rough surface .
All of them decided to rush into the ocean , wet themselves come back to the shore , roll the sand and shake themselves so that the sand particles which were clinging to their body would fall on the rocks put by the vanaras .
Few squirrels carried bits of wood ,pebbles and sand out of devotion. They were in the opinion that the pathway on which Lord Rama would walk would be soft due to the sand .
The joy derived by the squirrels in Lord Ramas kainkaryam was multifold . Soon there were many squirrels jumping in the seashore and leaping near the rocks to contribute their might in squeezing as much as sand possible. This they were doing watching the divine beauty of Lord Rama under ecstasy . They some how managed to draw the attention of Lord Rama in their endeavours .
Lord Rama noticed this supreme devotion which had been exhibited by the tiny squirrels in a selfless manner . He gathered all the squirrels close to him and stroked them . The general belief is that is the reason why we see the three marks on the back of the squirrels .
The squirrels had rendered their life worthwhile and noticing a squirrel we can relate this incident .
How fortunate were they ?
Though this sweet incident is not seen in the Valmiki Ramayana , this incident is quoted in other languages of Srimad Ramayana including Kamba Ramayana .
Swamy Thondaradippodi Azhwar in his Tirumalai has mentioned this incident briefly in his (27) pasuram
kuranguhaL malaiyai nookka kuLittu tAm puraNDiTTu ODi taranga neer aDaikkaluTTra SalamilA aNilum pOlEn | marangaL pOl valiya nenjam vanjanEn nenju tannAl aranganArkku ATcheyyAdE aLiyattEn ayarkinrEnE
The meaning of the pasuram in brief reveals Oh Lord ! i did not perform any service that an ordinary man can do. i did not even attempt as little as an animal does. When Lord RAma wanted to cross the sea to go to Lanka, the mighty vAnarAs lifted huge boulders and dropped them in sea.
A little squirrel also dipped in the sea and rolled his wet body on sand and shook the sand particles stuck on his body into the sea.
Oh! Lord A big sinner I am !! i don’t even do such small service to serve your Lotus feet .
Not only I do any physical service but neither have any devotional feelings too. Alas! My human birth is a waste. What else can i do but cry and cry?
This incident also finds place in Thirukolur Pen pillai rahasyam (14) truth .
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
King Veerasikhamani was one of the disciple of Swamy Parasara bhattar . He used to personally come to Srirangam and have darshan of Lord Ranganathar and his Acharyar Swamy Parasara Bhattar . Due to preoccupation with the state matters , he arrived to Srirangam after few months .
He was feeling guilty and sad for he could not progress in his spiritual endeavors like listening to discourses , worshiping the Lord , seeking satsangh etc .
He humbly submitted to Acharyar about his poor commitment in spiritual progress . The King pleaded Acharyar to advise him a simple method for Lord realisation .
Swamy parasara bhattar out of abundant compassion , advised him to carry the image of LORD RAMACHANDRA always with him in his heart and cherish the divine pastimes . The King was curious to know that incident of Lord Rama which swamy cherished .
Swamy Bhattar replied about that time when Lord Ramachandra and the army of vanaras camped on Suvela mountains the sun was about to set .
The army of vanaras assembled and were discussing about their next plan .
One leader announced , dear friends !!!
You know we are very near to Lanka and as the night approaches the Rakshasas become stronger and possess enormous strength to attack our Lord Rama .
Hearing the leaders words ,the vanaras were very confused and upset as they knew that the Rakshasas will somehow create illusions and may create problems to Lord Rama and Lakshamana .
The leader suggested that they will take all measures to protect Lord Rama and Lakshamana . For this they had to be awake shielding Lord Rama and Lakshmana . The vanaras decided that they shall take turns and be on the sentry duty thus protecting Lord Rama and lakshmana whole night .
They alloted the time and were guarding Lord and Lakshamana. However due to the gentle cool breeze from the ocean and their tiredness all the vanaras fell asleep .
As soon as all the vanaras fell asleep, Lord Rama and Lakshmana got up , took over the duties and ever on alert with their bow and arrows .
They created a magical illusion around vanaras thus the Rakshasas were able to see only Lord Rama and Lakshmana and the vanaras were invisible .
The Rakshasa seeing Lord Rama tejas were terrified and fled away without any trace . Thus the army of vanaras were protected by the Karunamoorthy .
Lord Rama is an ocean of mercy when protecting his devotees in distress . Lord Rama saved the very army which had formed only to save Rama .
One must never loose direction even in his thought about the abundant mercy of Lord always protecting us and ever to be with us as Antaryaamee .
So the best way is to hold him in our thoughts and deed always .
Jai Sree Ram
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pictures : Courtesy Google pics
Video clip : Courtesy : vikrantchugh 1987
The Source of Akasha Ganga at TIRUMALA
Those were the days when Swami Nampillai the distinguished Acharyar was delivering religious discourses at Srirangam temple attended by many devotees . As Swamys discourses were absolutely soul stirring due its sweetness in delivery devotees used to throng in thousands inside the temple . Many occasions there was a confusion about the crowds pouring inside the temple whether some festival was going on there , as the numbers used to match with the number of devotees in Utsavams .
His reputation was increasing and consequently the reputation of other Acharyas was being overlooked.
A contempory of Swamy Nampillai was Sri Kandadai Thozappar , grandson of Swamy Mudali Andaan the foremost disciple of Swamy Ramanuja . Swamy Thozhappar was very knowledgeable . Somehow he became increasingly jealous about the fame and reputation of Swamy Nampillai which was going up day by day.
One evening while he was returning from the temple shrine , by divine will he noticed Swamy Nampillai proceeding into the shrine with few hundreds of disciples . Because of the unbearable envy Thozhappar instantly abused Swamy Nampillai in strong words inside the shrine itself amongst the disciples . Swamy Nampillai was calm and polite accepting the pungent words . Inspite of the humiliating abuses heaped on him , Swamy Nampillai unshaken approached LORD and offered his worship seeking forgivance wondering whether inadvertently he had committed any transgression to the great devotee Thozhappar . Upset , he reached home and was seeking pardon repeatedly mentally to the great Acharya .
Swamy Kandadai Thozhappar reached home relaxed , after insulting the great seer . Thozappars wife was an advanced devotee with deep insight and divine knowledge . She was through her fathers side disciple of Swamy Nampillai . She came to know about the misconduct of her husband which pained her deeply. True to her Acharya bhakthi , she abandoned all the household work as she was convinced that because of the arrogant behavior of her husband both would be doomed for the bhagavatha apachara.
She was grief stricken and ignored her husband. Thozhappar who was casual wondered with her sudden change in behaviour . He was used to see his wife welcoming him with affection and attended on him with love and praise . Amazed , He was forced to question her unusual way of behavior especially for the very first time he experienced with her conduct . With uncontrollable grief she replied ,
Swamin .. Do you know what type of bhagavtha apachara you have committed ? Swamy Nampillai is reincarnation of Swamy Nammazhwar. You have dared to abuse a noble soul who is enlightening many many bhagavathas day in and out by his lucid divine commenteries on Lords vaibhavam. And you dared to insult him in the shrine itself without any remorse. What privilege do you think you will have when one abuses his own Acharya.
You have committed a great sin and you are also aware of it . Since I am your wife , you may have right over my body and can punish me but remember I am alive because of my Acharya , who is Swamy Nampillai. I cannot forgive any one who abuses the devotees of the LORD .You are also aware of the aphorisms . The sin you have committed is grave and you pretend to be ignorant . Hence forth there can not be any connection between us . And I do not wish to continue to live with you and never wish to destroy myself ( soul ) .Let me seek my path of life which takes me to Acharyans Lotus feet .
Thozhapar was shaken with the turn of events . He deeply introspected himself and belonging to a distunguised srivaishnava family was disturbed with his behaviour. He understood that this rude behaviour was because of his envy and jealousy. He appreciated his wife for revealing the truth and enlightening him . He found solace in her words and seeked a solution to bridge his unruly behaviour by seeking forgivance and amend the same. His wife said if anything is lost in river , we must seek the same in river and not in a pond . Similarly , she said , Swamy Nampillai is a great Acharya with a kind heart . You need to just fall at his feet and plead forgivance . If he forgives , you will be saved and seeking forgivance from the LORD also will not save you .
Thozhappar politely replied , that he was too harsh on Swamy and was afraid to face him. Insulting the revered Acharyar in the temple amongst many people makes him shiver in meeting him. Ashamed with this conduct , my feet tremble to meet the seer . With humility he requests his wife to accompany him so that Swamy will be appeased and being his disciple he may pardon for her association . As it was too late in the night , both of them agree that the first thing they will do the next morning was to seek Acharyars forgivance .
At the other end , Swamy Nampillai was greatly upset . He sent all his disciples away . He gave up his food for the night and was questioning his own flaws that could disturb Thozhappar which resulted in his outbursts. He felt strongly that he must have somehow misbehaved with the distinguished vaishnava .
He decided that he will seek his forgivance as the sin accredited in misbehaving with a vaishnava shall be severe . His mind was wavering . He decided he will not waste time till the next day . He immediately left to Thozhappars residence covering himself with a white blanket . As the doors were closed , he did not wanted to disturb them . He decided he will rest near the pial at the entrance of the house the whole night and the next day when Thozhappar opens the door he will fall at his feet to seek pardon .The next day , in the early hours , both Thozhappar opens the door
To the surprise they find some person with a white blanket covered standing . As the lighting was poor they enquire about him . Swamy Nampillai replies ..Swami !!! I am a great sinner . Thozhappar was shocked .. Unexpected of his approach He asked him , What was the need to rest on the pial before his house the same night . Have you come to quarrel with me early in this day for the abuses hurled by me yesterday ??
Nampillai with all humility submitted to Thozhappar . Swamin !!! Please forgive me !! Adiyen had just come here to ascertain that any misconduct of mine should not disturb your peace of mind . Having born in a distinguished family of Swamy MudaliAndaan , adiyen requests your kindness to please let me know the misconduct to earn abuse by a revered Acharyar like you .Please forgive me for any misconduct either in words or deeds . Swamin !! If not you , who will be kind enough to forgive me ..
Thozhappar was astounded at the humble appeal of Swamy Nampillai. He was at loss of words and at the unexpected turn of events , especially when he himself was proceeding to seek forgiveness from Nampillai . With tears he pleaded Swamin ” True to my wife’s words what a big heart you possess . It is very difficult to see people with such humility . I was under an illusion that you are Acharyar for a few disciples . I know realise that you are a teacher ( Acharyar ) of the whole world. Henceforth I shall propagate devareer as Lokacharyar . Thozhappar welcomed Nampillai and washed his feet and accepted him as his Acharyar .
Swamy Manavalamaamuni mentions this incident one of his pasuram in the great work Upadesarathinaimala saying..
Thunnu pukazh KanthAdai ThOzappar
tamm uhappAl Yenna UlahAriyanO yenRu uraikka —
pinnai UlahAriyan yenum pEr NampiLLaikku
Ongi vilahAmal ninRathu yenrum mEl.. verse .(51)
Translated in English ..
ThOzhappar of wide fame belonging to the KanthAdai vamsam with joyful respect asked o NampiLLai once ” Are You THE teacher of the Universe (LOkAchAryan)? ” out of respect for his extraordinary scholarship and humility . From that day onwards , that name of LokAcchAryan stayed with NampiLLai as a mark of his srivaishnava guNa visEsham .Later, NampiLLai’s sishyar, Vadakku- Thiruveedhi PiLLai gave the name of LokaachAryan to his son out of his own deep reverence for his AchAryan . This son – who became a very famous AchAryan later – came to be revered as PiLLai Lokam Jeeyar .
Later , Thozhappar had to leave to Kancheepuram and serve the Lordships there .He conducted the Thirukalyana utsavam for Kanchi Devaperumal with Andal Naachiyaar. In turn, Varadar as a measure of showing his love towards Thozhappar, arrived in Thozhappar’s thirumaaligai. He revealed in Thozhappar’s dream that the deity being worshipped was the Shatberam in Thozhappar’s thirumaaligai. Thozhappar, on seeing the grace of the Lord became very happy and named him ‘Aahuya Rakshaka Hari’ (Azhaithu Vaazhvitha Perumal). This deity darshan can be had in MudaliAndaans Thirumaligai ( Ashram )
Swamy Nam pillai became Lokacharyar because he did not loose his temper with even the ones who abused him , instead showed the qualities of patience and mercy of sri vaishnava which converted others too.
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pictures : Courtesy Google pics uploaded by devotees
Swamy MudaliAndaan Vaibhavam
It was a practice of Swamy Ramanuja as a Yati to visit seven houses daily and collect biksha for the day’s offering and consume it as prasada . This act is enjoined on the divine principle that the ascetic has nothing to call or ought to own any worldly goods as belongings to him as such owning begets a series of attachments necessarily and weds him again to worldly interests .
Swamy Ramanuja’s main en devour was to establish the UNITY OF GODHEAD in the world .
It is said once when Swamy Ramanujar was so engaged in the throughfares of srirangam a few boys form mere frolic waylaid him and pointing to a figure which by their toes they drew on the dust. They said innocently !
Swamy Look Here is our Perumal . Swamy Ramanuja was delighted to hear the little boys sermon to him .He immediately prostrated himself before the figure and blessing the boys proceeded on his way.
Swamy Ramanuja’s stewardship in the temple necessarily gave rise to bickering on the part of the local priests . They were jealous of his large number of disciples and the growing power . The administration of the Srirangam temple was done by sthanikar a local group .
They decided …
Why not eliminate him !!
to continue our own dictum’s .
To one of the seven houses where Swamy Ramanuja used to frequently approach for biksha , they reached and traced a greedy person . They gave him some money and command him to offer poisoned bikshai when Ramanuja comes .
The person’s wife being a religious lady out rightly refuses to carry out the atrocious deed . The husband somehow forces her to obey his order for their own survival .
The pious lady is confused . She devises a plan to overcome their arrangements . Sincerely praying Lord , slightly altering her general practice of offering directly into the bowl she keeps the biksha near a corner at the entrance .
When Swamy Ramanuja arrives , she with somewhat trembling hands and tears , prostrates at his lotus feet and moves away . Her mannerisms was peculiar . Swamy Ramanuja understands the reason for her tears . He moves way politely without seeking the bikshai and fasts the whole day .
Soon the news reaches his Acharyar Nambi at Thirukoshtiyur . Upset ,the Acharyar rushes to Srirangam . It was mid afternoon and a hot day .
The banks of cauvery was too hot to walk . Swamy Ramanuja knowing about Acharyar’s coming rushes to welcome him at the banks of cauvery with his disciples at the dry river bed . Due to the scorching heat the sand was very hot . Swamy Ramanuja looking at his Acharyar just falls at his lotus feet like an uprooted tree unmindful even in the burning sand . The Acharyar does not respond asking him to raise up The scene is watched by all his disciples
Suddenly , a disciple takes courage and comes before Acharyar Nambi . Finding the suspense in supportable and provoked by impatience he raises his voice and submits ! Acharya Is this the way to treat a disciple ?
Won’t your holiness ask him to get up ?
Are these exactions of civilians between teachers and disciples ?
Is this a code of submission without any humanity I will not care for this absurd regulations ,
He swiftly raises his guru Swamy Ramanuja and hugs him to his body to take away the heat from the body which was lying in the burning sand .
The disciple was none other than Kidaambee Acchaan (Pranatharthiharan)
Nambi feels glad that the sheer moment of the most painful anxiety and suspense to look for a confidant had arrived .
He looks at the deep devotion of the disciple to Swamy Ramanuja and replies ,
My child !!
I was searching for such a person who would look after Ramanuja with this dedication .
Looking now at KidaambiAcchaan ! With eyes beaming with approbation , Nambi declares …
My son !!
Now I appoint you as Swamy Ramanuj’s body gaurd and no one but yourself shall cook for Swamy Ramanuja and serve him all times .
.Nambi blesses Ramanuja and advises him not to go for bikshai from that day.
Kidaambhi Acchaan, thenceforth was called Madappalli Acchaan and learnt all the esoteric truths along with the thaligai preparations for Swamy Ramanuja and his disciples.
Kidaambhi Acchaan used to get many of his queries answered due to his close association . Swamy Ramanuja blesses KidaambiAcchaan with the rahasya meanings and initiates him with Hayagreeva upasana.
Knowing the series of events , the shocked sthanikar rushes to Swamy Ramanuja’s ashram .
He understands the greatness of Acharyar and feels ashamed for his cruel act.
He falls at his feet and asked for pardon. Swamy Ramanuja , magnanimous in his heart forgives him .
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images uploaded by devotees
Ahamanna Mahamanna Mahamannam ………Ahamannadohamannaado hamann………………….
The Taittiriya Upanishad forms the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of the Taittiriya Aranyaka of the Krishna Yajur Veda.
The above verse is taken from Taitriya Upanishad .
Swamy Mudali Andaan ( SriDasarathy ) being an intimate disciple of Swamy Ramanuja and a keen interpreter of Vedanta , used to extract Vedanta in simple terms for a common man to understand mostly in roopa alankara style . Since what follows has a very subtle meaning it has to be patiently understood .
In the above Taitriya Upanishad verse as said
Ahamanna Mahamanna mahamannam Ahamannadohamannaado hamannaadah .
This verse links a jeevatma to the final stage of Liberation . And , Liberation does not mean the union of Jivatma and Paramatma . It is the co living or being together in great happiness like a couple / father / son .
Liberation is both Jivatma and Paramatma are enjoying each other . This is the established quality of Liberation in Visishtaadwaitha . Liberation of the soul means bringing the being to him and experiencing the happiness with him . Lord has made up his mind to relish the jiva . This jiva is in the form of a grain containing chaff called a body . The Acharya secures the grain places it in the pounding stone called Vedanta , powders it with SRAVANA with the pounding stick UPADESA . He patiently removes the chaff thereby creating the knowledge to differentiate between the jiva and atma. He then makes use of a chaff remover called Nidhidhyasanam and removes the chaff called selfishness and ego . Feelings of independence and being apart from the Lord which are in the nature of foreign matter like mud and sand are also removed .
For removing the remnants of sin and vasanas which are sticking to one like bran to the rice , the grain is again pounded in the pounding stone . By this not only is the bran removed , the rice becomes polished with the help of knowledge of SHESHTVA . Now Acharya puts the polished grains in a vessel called SHRADDHA and washed them with the water called PRAPATTI . With the help of the water small sand particles and dirt which are still clinging are filtered and removed .
This filtered grain is poured into a vessel called DEVOTION TO THE LORD , covered with a lid called KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD and kept over a stove called ” EXPERIENCING THE LOVE OF GOD ” after which the fire of VISHLESHA is lit . For this purpose the firewood called sins committed and yet to be committed is put in the fire which is fanned by a fan called EXPEDITE .
The spillage due to the boil is ANXIETY or EAGERNESS . The love of the Lord is the boil that is achieved . Jiva is now in the form of boiled rice ( Annam ) takes the subtle form and taken through the sushma naadi entrance through the steps of Archiradi which leads to SriVaikuntam where the being is served in a gold plate called the divine body . Lord now joyously partakes the muktaatma called Ahamannam .
The muktaatma when he leaves the world greets the LORD in Srivaikuntam I am becoming Annam to LORD .I am becoming Annam , I am becoming Annam ..In great happiness he says Aham Annam thrice ..in the same way .. and in happiness he also says thrice I am taking food .( Aham Annadaha ) Here Annam means an item which can be enjoyed and satisfaction obtained . Since the purusha is in the form of a son comes to his father and renders service at his shrine , he has enjoyed them the purusha is called Annam and Paramatma is enjoyer and muktha is the Annam . After all the entire effect of creation by the paramatma and his drawing to himself of all the beings is only for the purpose of enjoying them .
Swamy MudaliAndaans Thiru adigale sharanam
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Adapted from a discourse shared by an advanced srivaishnavan
video credits : factory display kamalco
A PILGRIMS DIARY TO NAVA DWARAKAS
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sriman Narayana out of abundant compassion appeared as LORD Krishna to save the good and destroy the evil.
As per divine plan, Lord Mahavishnu appeared as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudevar in Mathura, the holiest of all cities during midnight on krishna paksha Asthami thithi in the tamil month of Aavani (Sravanam) in the closed jail which was fully guarded on a rainy night.
The Lord appeared as a child with chathurbhujam holding the divine weapons Sankhu, Chakram, Gada, Padmam to Devaki and Vasudevar to reaffirm that HE had fulfilled their early wish. Vasudeva out of vatsalyam prayed the Lord to assume the form of a child and immediately the Lord who is the controller of the Universe obeyed him as an dutiful son .
Our poorvacharyars point out that Lord Sri Rama obeyed HIS father’s words at the age of 12 whereas Lord Krishna obeyed as soon as HE appeared . The Lord instructed Vasudevar to leave HIM at Gokula where a devotee couple, Mother Yasodha and Nandagopalan nurtured the desire to have Lord’s association.
Due to Yogamaya’s power-the inner potency of the Lord, Vasudevar’s shackles fell down, he placed the divine child in a basket and unmindful of the obstacles and the weather simply obeyed the divine orders like Bharathazhwar.
The prison gates opened, the guards were fast asleep, Adisesha, the eternal servant of the Lord who takes the position of couch while the Lord rests, as Simhasanam when the Lord relaxes , as padhukas when the Lord walks , continued with his kainkaryam of serving the Lord.
The divine serpent protected the Lord by spreading its hoods over the Lord to protect HIM from pouring rain ,River Yamuna which was in full spat paved way and utilized the opportunity to purify herself by touching the Lotus feet of the Lord and Vasudevar safely reached Gokulam where Mother Yasodha had just delivered Yogamaya and was in deep sleep and exchanged the child without anyone’s knowledge. Andal glorifies this in Tiruppavai as
“Oruthi Maganaai Pirandhu, Ore iravil oruthi maganaai valarndhu…”
The divine child was brought up in Gokulam where right from HIS appearance, the Lord displayed HIS extraordinary qualities in killing the demons who were sent by Kamsa without using any weapon. The Lord spent first 10 years of HIS childhood in Gokulam, Nandagaon, Vrindavan and left for Mathura along with his elder brother Balaramji at the age of 10, killed Kamsa and other demonic friends and restored peace in Mathura.
The Lord released HIS parents from prison, granted their wish of seeing their dead children, made HIS grandfather, Ugrasena the king of Mathura, went to Sandipani rishi to study 64 arts in 64 days, gave life to the dead son of the rishi as “Gurudakshina” and returned to Mathura. Jarasandha, the father-in-law of Kamsa wanted to avenge Kamsa’s death and attacked Mathura many times even after repeated defeats. Lord Krishna to protect the residents of Mathura from these attacks, summoned Viswakarma-the divine architect to construct a palace in the sea and transported all of them overnight.
This golden city is vividly described in Srimad Bhagavatam. When Lord Krishna’s childhood friend, Kuselan (Sudama) came to meet the Lord, he was bewildered to see the beautiful golden palace and was enquiring as to where the entrance is -“Dwaar Kahan” which later got corrupted as Dwarakaa. There are nine Dwarakas known as “Nava Dwarakas” out of which five (Pancha Dwaraka) are very famous holy dhams visited by all vaishnavas .
The “Nava Dwarakas” are listed below
1) Mukti Dwarka (Gomti Dwarka)-main temple located in Dwarka in Gujarat
2) Rukmini Dwarka (4 kms from Dwarka)
3) Bhet Dwarka ( in an island 8 kms from Dwarka)
4) Moola Dwaraka (Rajkot-Dwarka route)
5) Sudama Dwarka (Porbandhar)
6) Nathdwara (near Udaipur in Rajasthan)
7) Kankroli Dwarka (near Nathdwara)
8) Prabhasa Theertha (Veravel near Somnath)
9) Dakore Dwarka (near Ahmedabad)
Dwaraka is one of the four important dhams(holy places). The other three dhams are Puri, Badrinath and Rameswaram.
Dwaraka is counted as one of the seven “MUKTHI THARUM KSHETRAMS” ( MOKSHA STHAL ). The other six are Mathura, Ayodhya, Kasi, Gaya, Kanchi, Ujjain.
Sri Adisankaracharyar established mutts at 4 places- at Dwaraka, Puri, Sringeri and Joshimutt. As long as Lord Krishna was there, the sea could not exceed its limits. But soon after the departure of Lord Sri Krishna and due to Gandhari and Saptha rishis’ curse (which was nothing but LORD’s divine play (Thiruvullam), the city got submerged into the sea and the whole Yadu vamsam perished.
In the Srimad Bhagavatham it is mentioned that even as Arjuna (who had come to escort the women who were alive to Hastinapura) was seeing, the sea entered the city and swayed the whole city. Within seconds, the beautiful palaces of Lord Sri Krishna collapsed and got drowned in the sea.
Before this incident could take place, Lord Sri Krishna summoned Vayu and Guru to carry away from Dwaraka the deity which was worshipped by Lord Himself . This deity is our famous GURUVAYOORAPPAN in Kerala as told by elders .
Latest excavations also have revealed about the city of Dwaraka. In fact, the Central Govt. has plans to construct a underwater Museum (the first of its kind and I believe this work has already been started.
As part of our Sri Krishna Anu Yatirai ( piligrimage )which we had undertaken , after having darshan of the important places in Mathura, Gokulam, Vrindavanam, we proceeded to Dwaraka for having NAVA DWARAKA DARSHANAM .
This was our second visit to Dwaraka . Way back in 2000 during our pilgrimage to Dwaraka, we visited only 4 Dwarakas -Gomti Dwaraka(the main temple), Bhet Dwaraka, Rukmini Dwaraka (all these are around Dwaraka) and Dakore Dwaraka near Ahmedabad. This pilgrimage was very special to us as we were able to have darshan of all the important places which had association of LORD KRISHNA .
The experiences at Mathura , Vrindavan and Nandagaon ( gokulam ) shall be posted separately as Sri Krishna Anubhava yatra )
Nathdwara is a small town in Mavli-Udiapur route. WE had taken a train from Mathura to Udaipur to visit Nathdwara. The co-passengers however advised us to get down at Mauvli as it is nearer to Nathdwara. A 40 minutes drive took us to Nathdwara from Mauvli . We refreshed ourselves in a nearby rest house Lakshmi Lodge, one of the hotels opposite car parking(a big open ground) on the way to temple. For one hour, we paid nominal amount of Rs.100/- for the same. It was 10 A.M. by the time we finished and proceeded to the temple .
A five minute walk along the narrow streets led to the temple. This reminded us of Pandirpur Divya Kshetram in Maharashtra .
Here LORD gives darshan with HIS left hand raised upwards with little finger pointing upwards, HIS right hand closed in a fist rests on HIS hip. HIS eyes glance downward affectionately at HIS devotees. Lord Shrinathji is very special and attractive diety. There is a diamond stone on the chin of the Lord. This deity is swayambhu (self manifested and not carved by anyone). As the Lord is the combined form of Radharani and Gopala, HE is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI”.( “SHRI” indicates Thayar ).
The Lord is also affectionately called as “Banke Bhihari”. The LORD was earlier in Vrindavan near Goverdhana giri and is related to one of Sri Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan lifting Goverdhana hill. To briefly recapitulate, Nanda Maharaja after consulting the other elderly gopas, decided to do pooja and give offerings to Indra, the king of devas , as they thought that Indra was responsible for timely rains and good yield of their crops.
When the discussion was thus going on, child Sri Krishna , who was only 7 years old , intervened saying that Indra was not responsible for the cattle prosperity and it was Goverdhana giri which was responsible for the same as it provides the necessary grass to cattle, and crops to the gopas. Krishna suggested that they should therefore give their offerings to Goverdhana giri and all the gopas including Nanda Maharaj accepted to this proposal. An auspicious day was selected and all the gopas assembled in front of Goverdhana giri with heaps of offerings. Krishna advised them to close their eyes and everyone obeyed.
Then Krishna assumed a huge form and with wide opened mouth, He consumed the entire offering without leaving anything for others. (Our poorvacharyars point out that Lord Krishna consumed the entire offering which was given to Goverdhana giri because HE didn’t want HIS devotees to partake the offering made to demi gods. We are supposed to consume only what is offered to Lord Krishna). When it was finished, Krishna resumed HIS original child form and joined the gopis. The gopis were pleased to see that their offerings were accepted and happily returned home. Indra was naturally upset that no offering was made and decided to punish the gopis by sending torrential rains accompanied by thunder storms. Not knowing what to do, all the vraj vasis( gopis) approached Sri Krishna for help with their cattle and children.
The child Krishna assured them and to their astonishment, lifted the Goverdhana giri with HIS left hand little finger and all the residents of Vrindavan along with their cattle took shelter under the hill .
(recollected Nammazhwar’s pasuram”
” KUNDRAM ENDHI KULIR MAZHAI KAATHAVAN”
LORD Krishna thus stood braving for 7 days. Indra thus humbled realized HIS folly and surrendered at Lord Krishna’s Lotus feet for forgiveness. Repenting for not realizing who Krishna was, he prayed to Krishna for forgiveness which is known as Govinda Stuthi. Krishna came to be known as “GOVINDA”- the protector of cows.
Indra did Govinda pattabhishekam to Krishna with Kamadhenu , the divine cow and left the place. The devotees of Lord Krishna recite this Govinda stuti while offering abhishekam to the Lord.
To mark this incident, King Vajranabha constructed a temple at the foot of the hill. Due to passage of time, this deity disappeared and the whereabouts remained unknown for many years.
After many years, LORD appeared as Gopala in Madhavendra Puri’s dream, informed him about HIS whereabouts and subsequently, a temple was constructed in Goverdhanagiri
When Aurangzeb invaded Mathura and Vrindavan, the deity disappeared into the hill and could not be traced out.
One night, the all compassionate Lord appeared in Vallabhacharyar’s dream who was a great devotee and ordered him to take HIM away from Goverdhan to Mewar.
When Sri Vallabacharyar reached Goverdhanagiri, the idol emerged out by itself . (This reminds me the of the incident connected to Melkote Selva Narayana Perumal. Melkote is a small village near Mysore on the banks of Kalyani Pushkarini .
When Swamy Ramanujar arrived here, there was no temple. The Lord of the Universe chose to be hidden under sand dunes awaiting Swamy Ramanujar’s arrival. Perumal appeared in his dream and informed HIS whereabouts .
With the help of the local king and devotees, Swamy Ramanujar dug the place and traced out Perumal. The pathway to the hill which was filled with bushes and thorns were cleared and a temple was constructed in which the moolavar Thirunarayanan was placed in the sanctum sanctorum according to vedic rituals. As there was no utsavar, Udayavar prayed to Perumal for disclosing HIS whereabouts .
The utsava murthi appeared in Sri Ramanujar’s dream informing that HE was presently with Sultan of Delhi. At the ripe age , Swamy Ramanujar undertook the journey to Delhi and requested the king to return the idol. As there were many such idols which the king brought by looting various temples, he asked our acharyar to locate the idol. Ramanujar was taken to a storeroom where many idols were heaped. But as none matched with his divine vision of the Lord, acharyar was disheartened.
Then he heard that there was an idol with the princess with whom she played with. With the king’s permission, Ramanujar went to the palace to see the vigraham and LO , the vigraham jumped up from the place and suddenly moved towards Sri Ramanujar and sat on his lap. Hence the Lord is known a “CHELLA PILLAI” and also as “Yathiraja Sampath Kumaran (son of the king of ascetics).
As the princess was obsessed with the idol, she secretely followed our acharyar and finally Lord accepted her at HIS thiruvadi. At melkote, the utsava vigraham of Sri Ramanujar has Chella Pillai on his shoulders with the princess near the Lord’s thiruvadi )
Vallabacharyar arranged a cart for Perumal and left for Mewar. Rana Raja Singh of Mewar helped Vallabhacharyar . After 2 months, the cart reached the present Nathdwara enroute to Mewar in the 17th century.
But on the way to Mewar, the cart stopped suddenly at this place and did not move an inch. Vallabacharyar heard a divine voice say that Perumal wished to stay in this place itself as it was the place where HIS dear devotee, Meera bhai stayed. ( The story of Meera bhai is well known to all of us. To briefly recapitulate, Mira bhai was fondly attached to Krishna’s idol given by her father. As a child, she always used to play with the , dress Him up and sing songs in praise of the and considered Krishna to be her spouse. She exhibited bhakti like the gopis of Vrindavan.
The king of Mewar impressed with her bhakti married her despite having many queens. Though she was the queen of Mewar, she was totally disinterested in material comforts and always used to be in service of the Lord. In fact with every passing day, her bhakti enhanced and she was totally immersed in Krishna Bhakti. She was unmindful of all the hardships and tortures implicated on her by the annoyed king and her co-sisters.
They tried to kill her in many ways by even giving her poisoned milk. Mira offered the milk to her Lord and drank it. Krishna’s Thirumeni turned blue as HE consumed the poison but nothing happened to her. The king realized HIS folly and begged for forgiveness . Mira felt that it was not fit for her to remain there and left the palace and stayed in this place. )
Swamy Vallabhacharyar with the help of Mewar king constructed a beautiful temple for the Lord . Vallabhacharyar used to please the Lord with his kirtans which was later followed by his disciples. (Similarly, the original Dwarkadeesh idol left Dwaraka out of HIS own free will to stay at his devotee’s place in Dakore near Ahmedabad -this incident would be mentioned while narrating about Dakore Dwaraka)
OUR TRAVEL DETAILS
Situated in the heart of the town, SHRINATHJI temple is the main attraction with thousands of devotees thronging to the temple daily. This is the second richest temple in India, first being Tirumala temple. Opposite to the temple is the information centre who guide the pilgrims for prashad, timings etc. Near the entrance of the temple, we can find many vendors selling varieties of vegetables and fruits. .
There is a unique practice followed in this temple. Usually we find vendors selling coconuts,tulasi and flowers in front of the temple. But here vendors sell varieties of fruits,vegetables,milk etc which would be used for Lords (Perumal’s) bhog (neivedyam-food offering). Devotees can offer milk, varieties of fruits,vegetables which would be used for Perumal’s bhog (neivedyam-food offering).
Milk is to be given at a different place and vegetables , fruits in another place. It is customary for the local devotees to pray to the Lord for fulfilling their wish and when it gets fulfilled, people offer to change the flag on Gopuram ( Temple top )
The temple has 5 kainkaryapaars( serve the Lord) who are authorized to change the flag which is a hereditary right for them. While the flag is being changed, the assembled devotees continuously sing in praise of the Lord .
As we were waiting near the entrance, an elderly person came forward and offered to guide us . He gave us information about the temple which we could not get any where . He took us to the first floor of the temple where kirtan was going on while the temple flag was being changed. He informed that it was customary for the local devotees to pray to the Lord for fulfilling their wish and when it was fulfilled, people offer to change the flag. The temple has 5 persons who are authorized to change the flag.
This is hereditary right for them. While the flag is being changed, the assembled devotees continuously sing in praise of the Lord . He then took us to a room where a big photograph of Perumal “SHRI SHRINATHJI” was hung and pointed out to the nose ring worn by Perumal and a diamond stone studded on Perumal’s chin.
It was for taking this diamond that Aurangzeb invaded Mathura but HIS attempts became futile because disappeared from that place. He said that in the garbagriham, Perumal gives darshan as Krishna-Radha rani together and hence is known as “SHRI SHRINATHJI”.
The pandit ushered us to a room where the cart in which the Lord arrived is kept. This event is commemorated every year. A new cart is made and is rested on the cart. In the adjacent room, there are 2 mortars- one made of gold and the other made of silver. Once in eight days, chandan(sandal paste ) for the LORD is ground using these mortars. Aurangzeb who invaded Vrindavan for taking away the precious diamond from the Lord returned empty handed. We offered our obeisances and reached the entrance of the main sannidhi. In front of the sannidhi, the guide showed us a place where sets of 5 coconuts were tied to a string and hung.
In east of the temple, the photographs of Sri Vallabhacharyar along with his descendants are displayed. Bhog is offered to Perumal on behalf of Sri Vallabhacharyar.
It was a typical Gokulam scene –serene atmosphere with vendors doing their business as god’s seva without any competition and cows moving around freely inside and outside the temple. Like in Puri dhaam , the pandas have hereditary right for their share in temple prashad daily and they in turn sell it to the devotees . Another similarity is like in Jagannath Puri, here many varieties of food are offered to the Lord…..
To have the next darshan at 11.30 A.M. , devotees had already gathered in large numbers in front of the big closed doors. WE handed over the 11 varieties of fruits and 11 varieties of vegetables and 2 pots of milk which we had purchased earlier at the respective kitchens ( we wished we could have bought some rice , cereals, sugar , jaggery, dry fruits for the offering.) and started reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam while waiting outside. When we completed , the doors sprang open and the devotees thronged inside to have darshan of the LORD .
There is a separate queue for ladies and gents. It is a common practice in North India to have darshan of the Lord when the doors are opened and aarthi is given . Hence the hall in front of the sannidhi is constructed in such a way so as to accommodate few hundreds of devotees at a time. All the devotees can have darshan of the Lord during haarthi and the devotees themselves can offer prasadam- sweets/dry fruits to the Lord. As they consider the “Lord of Universe” as a small “child”- the Lord is “NANDHA LAALA”- the darling of Nanda maharaja, the darshan is allowed only for fifteen minutes because the child has to take rest.
Again after an hour, the altar is opened for darshan. EVerytime, neivedyam is offered to the Lord. AFter darshan, the devotees who are immersed in the beautiful form of the Lord leave the place half-heartedly continuously gazing at the divya mangala swaroopam of the most enchanting CHILD of the Universe until they are gently ushered out. The LORD is dressed like a small cowherd boy of 7 years . The haarthi had just begun and shodasa upacharams (16 types of upacharam) were offered to the Lord while chanting slokas and singing songs. Lord was dressed in “Parrot green coloured “cloth round HIS waist like a typical cowherd boy and was adorned with varieties of flowers. Adiyen recollected Periazwar’s pasurams describing the Lord’s return to HIS home after gazing the cows.
Amidst loudly uttering “KANNAIYA LAL KI JAI” and singing of haarthi songs, we could experience the unalloyed vatsalya bhaavam of the devotees present. Like the gopis of Vrindavan , the devotees were unaware of their surroundings with their whole concentration on the LORD alone.
The enchanting beautiful divya mangala swaroopam of the LORD can only be described by sages ,pure devotees like azhwars and acharyars. WE mortals can only satisfy ourselves that our eyesight has been put to correct use only now. As Tiruppanzhwar says in Amalanadhipiran, “Unn Kangalai kanda kangal mattru ondraiyum kaanome “(The eyes which has seen the Lotus eyes of the Lord should not see anything else in this world!) The LORD is very very attractive with HIS left hand raised up with HIS little finger lifted up and HIS right hand closed in a fist and placed on HIS waist.
A small stick is placed in front of Him which is used while gazing cows. We were being squeezed out in the rush but were unmindful of the pushing . The devotees were competing with each other to have a very close darshan. Fortunately, we had darshan to our heart’s content. We just couldn’t take our eyes off from the Lords Thirumeni. Every part is so attractive that we felt that one darshan is not enough. A person standing on a higher platform in the hall was touching the devotees head with a stick which is considered to be a blessing.
As they say, it is
NOT THE DARSHAN WHAT WE SEEK, IT IS THE DARSHAN WHAT HE GIVES”.
After darshan, we had to come out through another door in front of which there is a small sannidhi where charanamruth (theertham/ holy water) is distributed. Beside this, there is a counter from which the devotees can purchase sweets, laddus etc by paying money. This counter also would be open only for limited time. As instructed by the panda who offered us prashad, we were sitting in front of the main door recollecting Perumal’s divya mangala swaroopam. After some time, my wife went in search of the Panda, and brought the prashad in two plates which was carried by panda’s attendant..
As having prashad in the temple premises is strictly prohibited, the attendant showed us a dharmashaala where we could have the prashad. Like in Jagannath Puri, many varieties of prasadam are offered to the Lord and are distributed to all the pandas. So it is better to purchase prasadam through two or three pandas because we would be able to partake the various prasadams. After having prashad, we proceeded to another Dwaraka glorified as Kankroli Dwarka which is about 12 kms from Nathdwara.
is one of the 9 Dwarakas located in Kankroli ( the leading exporter of marbles ) and just 12 kms away from Nathdwara on Mavli-Udaipur route- 30 kms from Mavli and 65 kms from Udaipur. One can visit the Rajsamund Lake near Kankroli- famous for its dam and architecture ,Chathur Bhuj temple of Maha Vishnu and Ekaling temple ( A huge lingam made from a single rock) All the above places can be visited within a day. We can straight away drive to Nathdwara, check in in any hotel or ashram for refreshing and finish visiting the above places and go back to Udaipur for boarding train/ flight. Udaipur is well connected to major cities and hence it is advisable to go back to Udaipur. Nathdwara is considered to be one of the Nava dwarakas and the presiding diety here is SHRI SHRINATHJI .
6 sevas are performed daily. A flight of steps led us to the main shrine. We participated in the the afternoon aarthi known as “Uthappana seva” .Perumal’s thirunaamam is Dwarakadeesh. Lordships are with full of compassion and is very attractive. Perumal is seen with chathurbhuj(4 hands) holding the divya ayudhangal. (weapons).
Two pujaris were offering 16 types of upacharams to the Lord . We had darshan to our heart’s content. Offered the dry fruits which we had brought with us as neivedyam to the Lord. On the left side of the main sannidhi, there is a separate sannidhi where child Krishna is placed on a cradle and the pujaris were performing jhoola seva. In a small vessel filled with water, varieties of scented flowers were kept. Varieties of flowers and fruits were placed in front of the Lord.
We reached Udaipur from Kankroli at 9.00 P.M and boarded Udaipur-Gwalior express . The schedule departure of the train was at 2220 hours but the train started at 0000 hours. Though it was the starting point, as no clearance was given, the train was delayed which is very common in the northern region . Thanking profusely LORD for HIS darshan we proceeded to the remaining Dwarakas in Gujarat state .
It is well known that Jarasandha, the father-in-law of the wicked Kamsa wanted to avenge his son-in-law’s death in the hands of Sri Krishna . To pacify his 2 widowed daughters, he marched with his army on Mathura many times where Krishna was residing with his parents. Every time Jarasandha attacked Mathura, Krishna and Balarama used to defeat his army but let him go without killing as Krishna wanted to reduce the earth’s burden by killing wicked people and Jarasandha was destined to be killed later by Bhima .On one such occasion, Krishna escaped from the battlefield with Balarama and started running away. Jarasandha chased them but could not catch hold of them as they climbed on a mountain top and disappeared from his sight.
Jarasandha presumed that they had died and returned to his kingdom. In order to protect His citizens from the frequent enemy attacks, Krishna arrived at this place and summoned Viswakarma, the deva-loka architect to construct a palace in the sea. The sea –God offered land to Krishna for construction of city. Thus Dwaraka was constructed overnight and all the yadavas were transported safely to this place. With His divine powers, ensured that the sea never crossed its limits and Dwarka was well protected thus ensuring that His people were safe whenever He went for battle. As this was the place where put His foot first, this is known as
When arrived here, ParamaShivan, Brahma and other devas offered prayers to the LORD here. There is a very old well near to the temple where Lord Krishna had His holy bath. Even during severe drought, this well doesn’t get dried up.
We reached the temple at 7.00 P.M.-20 minutes before evening aarthi. We recited Vishnu Sahasranamam thanking LORD . The temple is maintained hereditarily by priests who reside with their families near the temple.
This place was very calm and serene and best place for meditation. The main diety is Dwarakadeesh and there are small sannidhis for Sri Radha- Krishna, Sri Sita-Rama , Lakshmi-Narayan and few more small temples of Saraswathi,Gayatri, Ganapathi, Subramanya Swami, Dakshinamurthy, Shiva-Parvathi. We participated in the aarthi, offered the prasadam which we took with us . The car driver whom we affectionately called Kaka took us to a nearby well saying that Krishna had His holy bath here. A board is displayed describing this incident. A steep flight of steps leads us to the well. As it was dark, we did not get down the steps. There was another sannidhi for Shiva’s family. Cows keep moving about freely. After praying to the Lord, we left the place. As per our plan, we decided to stay one day in Veraval and reach Dwaraka the next day . But as finished visiting all the places in and around Veravel and were near Dwarka, we decided to reach Dwaraka on same day itself. We tried to contact ISKCON , Dwarka about our preponement but could not do so as there was no response when we called them over phone. We later learnt that their phone was out of order. Kaka said that it would take 90 mintues for us to reach Dwarka. So, relaxing in the car , we started our evening bhajans and kaka also joined us.
On the way, he took us to a temple dedicated to Bhavani (Harsiddhi maatha) and narrated the incidents connected with King Krishnadevaraya. As the king’s name is famous for “Vikram-Bhetal stories”(how he used to carry ghost on his back, ghost narrating a story, asking him to reply and used to leave him once he gave the correct answer…… -the stories which we used to read in our childhood days) , out of inquisitiveness, decided to visit this temple. Near the entrance, there are sannidhis for Bhaktha Hanuman and Ganapathi. Few steps led us to the main shrine. Beside the main sannidhi, on the left, there is a jhoola with the diety’ s photo. Kaka said that King Krishnadevaraya meditated at this place on Ambal for 12 years and when Goddess appeared before him and conferred a boon, he asked her to accompany him to Ujjain . Goddess consented to his request and left the place. A replica of the goddess was kept here. Kaka told us that every evening when aarthi is given to the goddess at Ujjain, this jhoola would automatically move to and fro and after this movement stops, aarthi is given to this goddess. Such is the power of this diety. He showed us the place where King Krishnadevaraya did penance. The roads were dark with no street lights but somehow managed to reach Dwaraka at 10.30 P.M. Locating ISKCON was easy. Luckily, the prabhus were awake and a room was allotted in the first floor.
In order to protect His people from the frequent enemy attacks, Krishna summoned Viswakarma and ordered him to construct Dwarka in the Arabian Sea. The Sea God was instructed to give land in the middle of the sea which was always protected by Krishna’s divine power. This is known as Gomti Dwaraka as it is on the banks of River Gomti.
Due to divine will, the city was constructed overnight and all the Yadavas were transported from Mathura to Dwarka and lived happily. The palaces were made of gold. It was the wealthiest city as the Goddess of Fortune Herself resided here.
As mentioned earlier, the place where LORD first placed His foot is Moola Dwaraka. Lord Krishna with His 16,108 consorts lived here like a typical Gruhasta and in many occasions showed how a Gruhasta should live . Perumal ruled over the Universe from this place. Lord Krishna married Rukmini, Satyabhama, Nappinai, Jambavathi, and so on and all of them are glorified as Astha Mahishis. By killing Narakasura, Krishna rescued 16,000 captivated girls at whose request HE married all of them. He took 16000 forms and married all the girls at the same time.When Draupadi surrendered to Krishna for protection, she addressed Krishna as “Dwarakanilai achyuta”-one who resides in Dwaraka.When Sage Narada was curious to know how Krishna managed with so many consorts, he was astonished to see the Lord with each of His consort performing various activities at the same time. Everyday, all the forms of Krishna used to leave the respective palaces but while entering the court, all the forms used to get merged with Him.It was in Dwarka that the exhibited his fondness to Sudama ( Kuchelan ) It was here that Lord exhibited that the gopis attachment to the LORD was much superior than even His consorts’ devotion.
Thus there are innumerable incidents connected with Sri Krishna’s life here. Dwarka was to be submerged into the sea within 7 days of Krishna’s departure . Before leaving for Prayag, Krishna ordered the sea to leave 12 yojnas of land from drowning.The original temple was constructed by Krishna’s great grandson, Vajranabha (son of Aniruddha) with the help of Viswakarma as per Vaastu Shastra . The structure of the temple is like that of Sri Chakram. The height of the temple known as “Jagat Mandir” is 150 feet.There are 2 entrances to the temple-Swarg Dwar and Mukti Dwar. The flag on the spire of the temple declares that Dwarkadeesh is the ruler.
The flag measures 40 feet -52 gaj (a unit of measurement) .The number 52 signifes the 27 stars, 12 rashis, 9 Navagrahas and the 4 main directions-north, south, east, west. The flag is stitched in a specific design. As part of their offering , devotees usually undertake a vow to change the flag when their wish is fulfilled.The holy flag is changed thrice daily. Morning between 8 A.M. and 11 A.M., second time between 11A.M. AND 12.30 P.M. and in the evening between 5 P.M. and 6.30 P.M.
Booking for this has to be done atleast 3 months in advance. The flag would be taken round the temple streets ceremoniously before offering in the temple. Only authorized persons can go to the top of the temple and change the flag.This is hereditary. Being on the sea shore, heavy winds keep blowing but these persons do not wear any safety belt. Lord Dwarkadeesh saves them for this unbelievable feat .From the cloth used as a flag, the priests and other service providers of the temple stitch shirts. A must have darshan .
Lord Dwarkadeesh gives darshan holding Sankhu, Chakram, Gadam and Padmam with an enchanting bewitching smile.
The temple priest informed that Lord wears wresting belt , has a black snake round HIS waist, Bhakti and Mukti are at HIS feet, wears Kaustabham and Vanamaala. The Lord holds a stick and a flute .
The Lord is dressed in various forms-like a child, like a ruler as per the legendry customs etc.During summer, in the nights, the LORD is dressed with jasmine flowers (like Pulangi seva in Tirumala. Usually in South Indian temples, the Lord is adorned with various types of flower maalas(strung with the thread) and placed round Lord’s shoulder. But here, the dress itself is stitched with flowers artistically. It is difficult to make out that it is a floral dress. It resembles like dress made of pearls.
The Chappan bhog (56 items of varieties of food) are offered as Raj Bhog to the Lord daily . Every day 6 aarthis are performed to the Lord . On Sri Krishna Janmashtami, the Lord is given special aarthi at the stroke of 12 in midnight. Thousands of devotees throng to the temple to have HIS darshan.
Inside the garbagriham, we find the utsava murthis of Rukmini and Krishna, Radha and Krishna. The colours of clothes adorned by the Lord are also pre-determined as per the days. On Sunday, the Lord wears Red colour, Monday-Pink, Tuesday-Yellow,Wednesday-Green, Thursday-orange, Frinday-white and Saturday-Blue. All the temple kainkarya kaarars(service providers) including the priests wear the same colour dress. We can have a advance notice of LORD attire observing the service devotees ..
Exactly opposite to the shrine of Dwarkadeesh is Devaki’s shrine. Near the entrance on the right side, we find a small shrine for Lord Balaraman. Lord Balaraman is in the form of Adiseshan. There are separate shrines for the Ashta mahishis of Lord Krishna, Radha- Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy, Madhavji .. 25 years ago, it was in front of Madhavji temple, Prana prathistha for the deities of Radha-Dwarkadeesh at ISKCON was conducted and Srila Prabhupada officiated for 5 days. The deities were earlier taken around Dwarka temple before this ritual. The deities were later shifted to ISKCON Dwarka. On the seventh day after the departure of the Lord to His heavenly abode, Dwarka was submerged into the sea. In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that Sri Krishna propounded Udhava Gita and ordered Uddhava to take the elderly, children and women from Dwarka to Hastinapur as the city would be submerged into the sea. The idol form of Narayana which was worshipped by Krishna Himself was carried by Guru and Vayu and placed at present Guruvayur in Kerala. Archeological Department of India have found out that few thousands of precious metals lie submerged in the sea. Even today the remains of the palaces can be found in the adjoining Gomti river known as “Gomti Chakram”. This is considered as Lakshmi swaroopam and is treated at par with our Saalagrama shilas.We can also find vendors selling different types of stones (nava rathinams) here.
The temple was first constructed by Krishna’s grandson and later by other kings. Devotees were lined up in a queue to have darshan of the Lord. Perumal was beautifully dressed up like a typical cowherd boy holding Sankhu, Chakram, Gadam,Lotus. A small stick used for grazing cows and a flute are also placed. The idol is beautifully carved as it was done by GOD HIMSELF. Opposite to Perumal’s sannidhi, is the sannidhi of Devaki, mother of Krishna. The sannidhis for the 8 chief consorts of the Lord , sannidhi for Radha- Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy , Balaram sannidhi are in the outer precincts of the garbagriham. Pilgrims were singing some Gujarati songs .The devotees were exhibiting their unalloyed bhakti in many ways – by singing, by raising slogans”Ranchor Raya Ki jai” etc. as for our turn, we were reciting few divya prabhandha pasurams which we knew by heart and singing the bhajans……………………..
“GOVINDA MADHAVA GOPALA KESAVA,…,
GOVINDA HARI HARI GOPALA HARI HARI RADHA RAMANA HARI HARI…..,
we had darshan to our heart’s content. Resolved to visit the temple in the evening along with children and participate in night aarthi too. After doing a pradakshinam, we left the temple and reached ISKCON. On the way back to our guest house, we passed by Gomti river which was already crowded with devotees for having bath and passed by Prema bhikshu Prahbu’s bhajan kutir where 24 hours non-stop kirtan of the holy mantra ” SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM ” is being sung continously for the past 40 years. We recollected having seen this ashram at Verval near Gita Mandir. We proceeded to Rukmini Dwarka which is about 7-10 kms from the main temple.
This happens to be the place where Krishna wedded Rukmini . Rukmini, the chief of 16,108 consorts of Krishna was very devoted to the Lord. Born as a Vidarbha princess , she used to listen to various pastimes of Krishna and developed an intense love for Krishna and decided to marry HIM or else end her life.Though her parents were interested in getting her married to Krishna, her brother, Rukmi was against it and wanted her to marry Sisupalan, Krishna’s cousin and made all arrangements for the same.
She communicated Her desire thru a Brahmin to be conveyed to the Lord and requested to be kidnapped from her palace and also mentioned that she would be visiting ambal’s temple before marriage ceremony and it would be easy for Krishna to kidnap her from that place. Krishna also expressed HIS desire to the Brahmin and left for Vidarbha immediately and reached the next morning. When the Brahmin informed Rukmini about Lord’s arrival, she thanked the Brahmin and prostrated at his feet as SHE , the Lokamatha thought that prostration was the only befitting gift to the Brahmin.
When Rukmini was returning from Ambal temple, Krishnaappeared like a lightning and effortlessly kidnapped Rukmini Devi like a lion which snatches its food amonst wolves. When the assembled kings including Jarasandhan and Sisupalan fought with Krishna, Krishna and Balarama defeated the entire army. Rukmi was humbled by Krishna but was saved due to Balaraman’s intervention. The celestial wedding of Krishna and Rukmini took place grandly at Dwarka. She was very dedicated and derived immense pleasure in performing all types of services to the Lord like massaging His Holy feet and personally offering various kainkaryams to the Lord . She demonstrated how a devotee irrespective of his/her position should serve the Lord.
Gradually, She nurtured a feeling that She was more dearer to the Lord than other consorts. Whenever a devotee entertains the thought that he is dearer to the Lord and becomes possessive, Perumal immediately enacts some drama and make them realize their folly. (In Vrindavan during Rasakreedai, when the Gopis including Radha Rani, thought that they were dearer to Krishna as He was dancing with them, the immediately disappeared. The gopikas were crying piteously and their outpour for the union with the is the famous “Gopika Geetham”. They were so captivated with the form of Krishna that even when Krishna appeared as Narayana with 4 arms, they were not content. They only wanted their form of Krishna.
Krishna appeared and pacified them that they were very dear to them and He disappeared only to increase their Bhakti ) does this out of pure compassion towards the devotee. In this case, Lord wanted to correct Rukmini and hence created an opportunity to enact His Leela. Krishna accompanied by Rukmini went to sage Durvasar’s hermitage and invited him for lunch.
A chariot was brought forth for the sage to be seated. However the sage said that he could not sit in a chariot driven by horses and if it was driven by them ,he was prepared to visit them. The Lord of the Universe unhesitatingly agreed for the same. The Lord along with Rukmini Thayar drove the chariot. Due to the scorching heat and tiresomeness, Rukmini felt thirsty and expressed the desire to quench Her thirst. Krishna pressed HIS toe on the ground and water sprouted out.
As she was desperately thirsty, Rukmini forgot the decorum to take the rishi’s permission for quenching HER thirst and drank the water. This infuriated the rishi who cursed Her to live separately from HER Lord Krishna as the pride that She was more dearer to Krishna made her behave in this way. He also cursed that the entire area would be bereft of drinking water. Rukmini realized HER mistake and fell prostrate at the sage’s feet and asked for forgiveness. The rishi said that She has to live separately for 12 years and then join the Lord. (Mother Sita had to live in Rama’s separation for 12 months and Rukmini Devi had to live alone for 12 years).
Thus Rukmini’s pride was subdued . However, Krishna assured her that He would visit her daily. As She stayed here for 12 years, this place came to be known as “Rukmini Dwaraka”. (Some say that Rukmini got married to Krishna at this place.) One gets only half the punyam if he visits only Gomti (Main) Dwaraka. Dwaraka yaatrai is deemed to be complete only after visiting Rukmini Dwaraka . Even today , there is no drinkable water around this area and the residents have to get water from far off places . Hence, in this place “jhala dhaanam” (water dhanam) done gives 1000 times benefit.
When we reached the temple, curtains were drawn as bhog(neivedyam) was being offered to the Lordship . The assembled devotees were asked to sit in front of the garbagriham and a panda narrated the above incident. Pointing to a big picture on the right side, the panda started narrating the above incident that it gives 1000 times benefit. We then proceeded to BHET DWARAKA
This holy dhaam is located 15-20 KMS from main Dwarka temple and situated near Okha Port- the last tip of the west coast The presiding deity Lord Dwarakadeesh gives darshan here . There are separate sannidhis for His consorts and mother Devaki. There are separate sannidhis for Perumal,HIS mother Devaki, His 8 chief consorts, Purushotham, Lakshmi Narayan, Dhauji(Balaraman),Radha_ Krishna, Satyanarayana Swamy ,Madhava Perumal, Garuda.
“Bhet” in Gujarati means island. As this is situated in an island, it is named so. This was the pleasure spot for the Lord with HIS consorts. Legend says that Lord Krishna used to spend time with HIS consorts in this place. There is a temple situated on top of a hillock. This is considered as one of the 9 Dwarakas.
As per the locals devotees, this place was part of Krishna’s palace and when the original Dwarka was submerged into the sea, this holy place remained intact. Thus they claim this to be the original Dwarka.
From Rukmini Dwaraka, we proceeded to Bhet Dwarka which is situated on an island. Reached Okha port and after parking our vehicle in a nearby place, we proceeded to take a boat.
The boat in which we travelled was over crowded as it was 11 .A.M. and probably the last trip to the temple for morning darshan. It took nearly 15 minutes for us to reach the other shore. Alighted from the boat and took the narrow path towards the temple. Chanting Mahamantra, we had good darshan of Dwarkadeesh. Opposite to Perumal’s sannidhi is Mother Devaki’s sannidhi. In Perumal temples, opposite to the garbagriham, we usually find Peria Thiruvadi(Garudan)’s sannidhi but in Dwaraka, we find Devaki’s sannidhi. After offering neivedyam and circumbulating the temple , we left the temple at 12 noon to take the return boat to the mainland.
Offering dakshina in Dwarka is very important. Donated some money for”Go Samrakshana” protection of cows. From this point, we can clearly see Pakistan border across the sea and the Pakistani navy posted there. Kaka was referring to the recent 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks adding that from the Pakistan border, the terrorists took a boat to Porbandhar which is also a sea coast and then shifted to an Indian ship. He also pointed out to some wrecks stating that it was due to the earthquake which occurred in 2001(Khuj earthquake). We recollected having seen the structures before the quake in 2000. Luckily, we got place to sit in the boat in our return journey. From Bhet Dwarka, we went to Gopi Talab, a very sacred place to Krishna’s devotees.
GOPI TALAB , a holy tank and an adjacent temple was the sacred well from where Gopi Chandan is collected (used by ISKCON, Gaudiya and madhava Sampradhaya Vaishnavas), and a small temple dedicated to Radha- Krishna temple
There are 2 incidents which may be recollected in connection with Gopis. This refers to one of the pastimes of the Lord when He wanted to prove that the gopika bhakti was superior to that of His consorts. The consorts of Lord Krishna developed superiority complex that they were very dear to the Lord and the best devotees of the Lord . In order to check their ego, Lord enacted a drama. He pretended as HE was suffering from severe headache. The best of physicians were called and best treatment was given to the but the headache would not subside.
Sage Narada arrived in Dwarka to have Perumal’s darshan. The perplexed mahishis (wives) of the Lord informed the rishi about Lord’s illness. Narada who understood Perumal’s play suggested that if some dust from devotee’s feet is rubbed on Perumal’s forehead , the headache would subside. The shocked wives backed out because they felt that it was not proper to place their dust on Perumal’s forehead. The news spread about everywhere. When the gopis of Vrindavan heard this, they immediately rushed to see the Lord and filled up carts full of their paadha dhooli (dust from their feet) to be applied on ’s forehead. They did not even think that they would be committing a serious offence by this petty act. They were only concerned about their Krishna’s well being and so were prepared to even go to hell for the sin they were committing. The moment the paadah dhooli of the gopikas were applied on HIS head, the Lord was relieved from the pain.. Thus the Lord showed that the gopis unalloyed prema bhakti was the best among all. After spending few days with Krishna , the gopis had to leave for Vrindavan. Unable to bear the pangs of separation from Krishna , on the way, they jumped into a well at this place to end up their lives. They were turned into chandan by Krishna’s grace. Krishna pleased with their devotion declared that the place has become very sacred and Himself would smear the chandan from that place.
Hence, this place is considered to be very sacred and whoever visits this place would be bestowed with unalloyed bhakti towards the Lord . Even after thousands of years, we are able to get chandan from this inexhaustible well. While ascending to Sree Vaikuntam, Lord Krishna ordered Arjuna to take care of all the women folk and children and leave them at Hastinapur. On the way, unable to bear the pangs of separation from Sri Krishna, the gopis jumped into this well and ended their lives. The fact that the gopis out of separation jumped into this well and thinking of the Lord attained the Highest Bliss –moksham in this place is common in both the incidents. Gopi chandan collected from this place is considered to be very sacred. We decided to have samudra snaanam the next day . We recollected Sowmyanarayanan mama’s words that the sea at Dwarka is known as “Arasethu “ and bath can be had at any time here which is an exception. Usually, samudra snanam has to be done only on specific days but samudra snanam at Sethukarai- Thirupullani(Rameswaram) and Dwarka can be had at any time. So, we had bath in the sea and also at the confluence of the Gomti river with the sea .
is located near Ahmedabad .The archa-vigraha as described in Naalayira Divya prabhandam is not to be found. There is an interesting story about the present Lordships . There lived a Brahmin near Ahmedabad who was a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. Every year , he used to visit Dwaraka and it used to take 6 months for him to reach Dwaraka. He would plant a small Tulasi plant and water it daily and used to carry the same along with other offerings in his bullock cart. Lord was very much impressed with the sincere devotion of the Brahmin. As the Brahmin was getting old, it was becoming very difficult for him to go the Dwaraka. Once when the Brahmin reached Dwaraka and offered neivedyam to the Lord, the Lord ordered the Brahmin to take Him to his house saying that as there was no sincere bhakta, He did not wish to stay there. Due to God’s will, the temple doors opened in the midnight and the Lord got Himself placed in the bullock cart and drove the cart. Within a span of 3 to 4 hours, the Lord along with the Brahmin reached the present DAKORE DWARAKA.(As already mentioned, it used to take 6 months to reach the place but due to Perumal’s sankalpam, the Brahmin reached his town within 3 hours. The people at Dwaraka were shocked to see the archa-vigraha missing. They suspected the poor Brahmin whom they had heard speaking to the archa-vigraha previously. Accordingly, all of them went in search of the old man and it took months for them to reach the place. They turned violent when they saw their archa-vigraha with the old Brahmin. They did not pay heed to the words of the Brahmin and started abusing the Brahmin. At that time, an aseeriri was heard by everyone which clearly said that whoever offers gold equal to the weight of the Lord, could take the vigraham. The residents of Dwaraka accumulated all their wealth and placed it in the thulabhaaram but the weight was not equal. At that time, the Brahmin and his wife offered prayers to Perumal and the lady placed her “nose ring” and the balance was equal. As Perumal was not interested to stay where there was no sincere bhakti, Perumal had moved to this place out of His own will.. This place came to be known as Dakore Dwaraka as the archa-vigraha was brought by the old man whom they considered to be a Daaku (thief). [ In Gujarat, Perumal is lovingly called as RANCHOR RAYA ( Even today we can see the TULABHARAM inside the temple premises.
The people of Dwaraka repented for their folly and pleaded with Perumal to forgive their mistake. Perumal ordered them to make another archa-vigraha and said that they should not open the room in which the archa-vigraha was kept for 6 months. The people made an archa-vigraha and kept in a room and locked it . But out of curiosity, even before the specified time was over, they opened the doors of the room. They found to their dismay that the eyes of the Lord were closed. An asareeri was once again heard which said that as they did not obey Lord’s command, the eyes were closed. The people realized their blunder and apologized for their unpardonable mistake. Hence, the present archa-vigraha in Dwaraka is seen with closed eyes. Unless we are told about this, we cannot make out as the vigraham is well decorated. Lord Dwarakadeesan is seen holding Sankhu, Chakram, Padmam. He is dressed 4 times daily. Every day, like in Guruvayoor, Perumal is dressed lika a child, boy, youth, old man We were told that during winter, Perumal would be dressed in woolen clothes and in summer, He is dressed in light clothes. Every day, aarthi is given 4 times.and bhogam is offered 17 times. Different eatables like Misri Bhog, chakarai pongal, milk, curd, fruits etc are continuously offered to Perumal.
The story of Sudama , also known as Kuchelan is well known even to children .Elders narrate this bedtime story to children and inculcate the habit of offering to Lord right from childhood. Kuchelan (Sudama) and Sri Krishna were childhood friends and studied under the same guru, Sandipani.
Once when Krishna and Sudama went into the forest for collecting wood, it started raining and they had to take shelter under a tree. At that time , both of them were hungry. Sudama , without offering to Krishna munched puffed rice (Avul in tamil) without sharing with Krishna and when Krishna asked him he denied. When Krishna punched his stomach, he spit the avul. This was a childish prank played at that time. After completion of their studies, both of them parted their ways. Since Sudama did not offer to , in due course, he became poor and having married, was overburdened with 27 children. There was no food to eat.
Being a Brahmin he did not even know any other profession and did not make any effort to earn his livelihood. Being a matured devotee, he was only seeking salvation and was not interested in material pursuits. He was constantly thinking of the and was nurturing the desire to see Krishna . His wife, Susheela suggested that he should meet his friend, Krishna who was now the king of Dwarka for financial help as she could no longer see their children starving. Sudama was delighted at the proposal because he could meet his friend after many years but was not interested in asking for material benefits. As stated in scriptures that something has to be offered while meeting a king/elderly/sick person, he wanted to take something with him to be offered to the .
Susheela borrowed some puffed rice from the neighbours, tied it in a worn out cloth and gave it to Sudama. It took 2 months for Sudama to reach Dwarka from Porbandhar and 4 months to locate Sri Krishna’s palace. Sudama informed the dwarapalakas that he was Krishna’s friend and wanted to meet him. The dwarapalakas did not believe him and asked him to move out of the place. At that time, Sri Krishna came running and affectionately hugged Sudama and took him to His palace. Sri Krishna along with His eight principal consorts served Sudama with the best of everything.
The of the Universe along with Thayar Rukmini did paada puja(pooja to his feet) to Sudama while the other consorts were helping in offering shodasa upacharams to the great bhakta. After sumptuously feeding Sudama with varieties of food, Krishna asked what he brought for HIM.. Sudama was feeling very shy to offer the avul and was trying to hide the bundle but Sri Krishna snatched it from him and put a fistful of it in His mouth with great relish. When the Lord was trying to take it for the second time, Rukmini Devi refrained Him saying that one fistful was more than sufficient. Sudama did not understand this and returned home. All the way, he was constantly thinking about his friend and contemplating on HIM . When he reached his village, he could not locate his thatched hut and in that place, he found a palatial building. While he was worrying about the whereabouts of his family, a lady bedecked with jewellery and dressed like a queen appeared before him and fell prostrate at his feet. Sudama could not recognize his wife. Susheela narrated how overnight the hut turned into a palace and about the wealth bestowed on them due to Sri Krishna’s grace. He could not recognize his own children who were looking like royal princes. Sudama understood that Krishna showered HIS mercy by eating a handful of puffed rice and bestowed all the riches on him. This incident only enhanced Sudama’s bhakti and with detachment and pure devotion , he attained the Lotus feet of the Lord..
Near to Porbhandar , the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi , this holy place is located . SUDAMAPURI” written on an arc in the entrance welcomed us . With trees and plants abundantly planted, it was more like a garden. On the way to the temple, Kaka our sarathy ( car driver ) who accompanied us , showed us a small stone layout with narrow paths and many twisting lanes saying that the way to Dwarka was similar to this . He said that when Sudama set out for Dwarka to meet Sri Krishna, he wandered thru the streets and took 4 months to meet Sri Krishna. He was searching for the entrance and asked DWAAR KAHAN .. which now got corrupted as DWARAKA .An old devotee who was sitting there was doing some kirtan and suggested to pass through the layout. It is customary for visitors to go thru the layout and if they successfully come out , they would achieve their goal of meeting the and their bhakti would be enhanced. Only one foot can be placed in the narrow pathway . Holding the prashad (Dry fruits) above our head and amidst chanting of Hare Krishna Maha mantra (kaka was encouraging us ), all four of us successfully completed the task and came out. The devotee was pleased when we gave some dakshinai to him. He blessed and advised us never ever ignore your Parents and Elders . We then went inside the temple. In the sannidhi, there are small vigrahams of Krishna, Rukmini, Sudama and Susheela.
is located at Main Dwaraka itself . It may be recalled that when Lord Sri Krishna decided to complete His incarnation, He relaxed under a tree.
PRABHASA THEERTHA AT VERAVAL
Lord Sri 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, the Yadus (people belonging to His clan) became proud and arrogant. Sri Krishna who wanted to reduce the burden of Mother Earth decided to put an end to the Yadavas too and masterminded a plan . As it was Lord’s will, he made Gandhari and the sapta rishis utter the curse of annihilation of Yadavas.
It so happened that Krishna’s son was dressed up like a pregnant woman and along with his friends approached some rishis to find out the gender of the child which would be born to the pregnant woman. 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 Balarama for a solution. Balarama ordered them to powder it into pieces and throw them away in the sea at Dwarka . The yadus acted accordingly and returned to their palace. A big iron piece which could not be powdered was thrown away into the sea which was swallowed by a fish.
When this fish was caught and cut open by hunter, Jara, he found a big iron piece which he fixed to his arrow with which he hit Krishna later. 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. When the Yadus who were fully intoxicated came to this place arguing with each other, they totally lost their mental balance and started hitting each other with the grass and got themselves killed. 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. The place where he disappeared can be seen even today. Over a period of time, this place has turned into mass of land due to reduction in the water level. 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 SriRama) , mistook Perumal’s thiruvadi to be a deer and shot an arrow from a distance of 1 kilometre. The hunter who came in search of his prey was shocked to see the Lord and begged for forgiveness. The Lord convinced that it was as per His 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. This shows Lord’s compassion to persons who try to kill 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.
At that time, a hunter , Jara, who was Vali in his previous birth, hit the Lord with an arrow. The repentant hunter apologized for his folly and at that time Lord enlightened him about his previous birth.
At that time, Lord Brahma, Shiva and other Devas came to offer prayers to the Lord . Lord Sri Krishna exhibited His divine form with 4 hands and Thayar seated on His right breast. At that time, Lord Brahma and others addressed the Lord as the one bearing the bow, indicating Sri Ramaavataaram.
The Divine spirit ascended to the Heavens piercing the Solar Orb. Then the spirit appeared to Brahma and the others as a stone image and simultaneously a voice from the Heavens proclaimed that He would appear on earth in that shape , which while appearing to be stony and lifeless would possess considerable spiritual power, that He would remain on earth thereafter till the end of Kaliyugam and that Brahma and the Devas should continue their worship there.
This incident happened at the end of Dwapara Yuga. ( This story is depicted in Chapter V of Mausala Parva of Sri Mahabharatha ) In the beginning of Kaliyuga, Lord manifested Himself at Thiruvengadam ..
This Lord is our Thiruvengadamudayan and our Tirumala is Kaliyuga Vaikuntam. Even today, all the devas headed by Lord Brahma come to Thiruvengadam and offer worship to the Lord. Hence, every night after EKANTA SEVA, the archakars in the Tirumalai temple fill all the pancha paatrams with water for the devas to perform pooja and leave the place.
This sripadatheertham is offered to devotees who participate in the next day “SUPRABHATA SEVA”.
Jai Jai Dwarakadeesh
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images
Credits SVBC channel and many advanced devotees who have uploaded in social media
Swamy Parasara Bhattar had a new disciple .
The disciple wanted to know how to identify a srivaishnava ? Swamy sent his new disciple from Srirangam to Tirumala to ascertain from the great devotee Ananthazhwan as what was the quality of a srivaishnava .
The disciple though bit amused with his Gurus instructions proceeded to Tirumala which took him almost a week to reach the holy place .
Being too hungry he reached the ashram of Sri Anantazhwan and expected some good hospitality from the intimates there .
The Ashram was full of bhagavathas who were having the prasadam .
He did not have a proper place to sit along with the guests in honoring the prasadam. He had to wait until everyone finished their prasad which almost took a long time as there were a good number of pilgrims who had come to honor the prasadam.
After some time , Ananthazhwan noticed the new person standing far away . On enquiring from his disciples , he understood he did not have prasad . He felt sorry that he had not partaken the prasad though he was coming from a very long distance .
Ananthazhwan went near him and enquired about his coming from Srirangam .
The disciple promptly replied that his Acharyar had sent him to ascertain the qualities of a srivaishnava from his holiness and he was waiting for his audience .
Ananthazhwan briefly replied that a srivaishnava must be like
a crane ,
like a hen ,
like salt and
finally like a disciple like him .
( Kokkaippol iruppaan, Kozhiyaippol iruppan, Uppaippol iruppaan, Ummaippol iruppaan”.)
The disciple honored the prasad and politely went into the chambers of Swamy’s Ashram .
He pleaded to know the inner meanings of the statement…
Swamy Ananthazhwan out of compassion answers the following
A crane lives along with the aquatic creatures near a lake . Though the river has plenty of fishes , the crane picks up only that creature which fits its mouth and leaves that which doesn’t suit her . Similarly a srivaishnava must pick up the quality of a crane .
There can be several truths in our great works that are intended for our deliverance .
A sri vaishnava will concentrate only on those truths which belongs to his faith and those which can be adopted and followed by him
The Hen while moving around heaps of food will pick up the food which is needed , which is the essence and rejects the ones which is not worth .
Similarly a srivaishnava will pick up that is essential truths that takes him to Atmagynam and upliftment from this samsara.
Salt retains the same taste both externally and internally . Similarly a srivaishnava is connected with the LORD both internally and externally Hence must have qualities of a pure devotee .
The external signs alone for a vaishnava that decieves the people are dangerous to ones own upliftment and unfit to be srivaishnava . Tilak , kantmala and attire may project a person as a srivaishnava but if it lacks devotion it will doom him .
A true Vaishnava would be self effacing while imparting flavor to the lives of others.
The last quality was like the disciple himself , which means the vaishnava who had come from Srirangam did not show any disrespect to the bhagavathaas or publizise his personnel closeness to Bhattar and demanded his authority etc .
Instead he was patiently waiting for his turn for prasad and exhibited humility .
This is a special quality a srivaishnava that keeps his ego out of reach.
The entire incident reveals that one must reflect on philosophical truths followed by our revered Poorva Acharyas and always remain devoted to Acharyar and the LORD.
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images
Goverdhan, a small yet developed town forms part of Braj bhoomi which is spread over 42 kosas on each side. Braj bhoomi comprises of Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokulam, Nandgaon, Barsana , Goverdhan and surrounding forests. The nearest railway station is Mathura enroute to Delhi.
Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is situated in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura. The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Autos charge app. Rs 300/-to go to Goverdhan from Vrindavan. Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock. Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill. This is considered as the most sacred place like Vrindavan .
Among the 108 vaishnava divyadesams, Vrindavan and VAda Mathura comprising of Mathura city, Gokulam, Goverdhan are in Braj bhoomi. Periazhwar has dedicated 11 pasurams on Goverdhana giri Pasuram 3(5) in Periazhwar Thirumozhi ending with ‘Goverdhanum enrum kotrai kudai” ( umbrella) while doing mangalasaasana to Vadamathura divya desam. Nammazhwar has glorified the Lord of Tirumala, Srinivasar as “KUNDRUM ENDHI KULIRMAZHAI KAATHAVAN…..” in Thiruvaimozhi 3.3.(the one who lifted Goverdhana hill and protected from torrential rains)
APPEARANCE OF GOVERDHAN HILL :- In Satya yugam, the first yugam , Pulastya Muni approached Vindhya Hills, the king of mountains to give his son Goverdhana to him. The rishi desired to take the mountain to Kashi and do meditation sitting on it. When the mountain was reluctant, the sage was annoyed and was about to curse it. At that time, his son Goverdhana intervened and expressed his willingness to accompany the rishi on the condition that the rishi should not put him down until he reaches the destination and in case the rishi, for any reason, places him down, he would not move from that place. The sage agreed to this condition and with his spiritual powers carried the hill from Vindhyas. When it was dusk, the rishi placed the hill to offer evening oblations. After finishing his rituals, when the rishi tried to lift the hill, he could not do so. Goverdhana reminded him of the condition and said that it would continue to be in the same place. The annoyed rishi cursed the hill that it would shrink by the size of a mustard seed every day. As per the scriptures, 5000 years ago during Krishna avataram, Goverdhana hill was about 29 km high, 115 kms long and 72 kms wide. Now the hill is only 80 feet high at its highest point and at some places it is in the ground level. The circumference is 25 km.
IMPORTANCE OF GOVERDHANA GIRI(GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN):-
Goverdhana giri is considered superior to even Himalayas because it has Krishna’s association as the Lord chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes. Because of this, the hill earned the name as “GIRIRAJ”-king of mountains though it is very small compared to Himalayas .
Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities. In Srimad Bhagavatham, the Lord mentions that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical. Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends. (I wonder how Krishna walked 50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear . This makes me recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam “Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale ,kolam seidhu ingey iru….” ., azhwar’s feelings when he expresses mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.) .
Krishna and Goverdhana shilas are identical and devotees used to bring these shilas for worship. However, in order to preserve the hill which is diminishing in size due to Pulastya rishi’s curse(mentioned in the sthalapuranam below), fencing around the hill is done and devotees are requested to refrain from taking the shilas. However, we are told that in case anyone who is desperate to have the shila in the altar must donate equal weight of gold to the Brajvasis and after offering sincere prayers, take the shila. As per scriptures, the hill doesn’t like to leave the holy dhaam and it is better not to commit any bhagavatha apacharam by distancing the sacred hill from Lord’s services .
As Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today . On Ekadashis and during the months of Sravana and Karthika, devotees throng to do pradakshinam. Many devotees do “Dandavat pranams” around the hill!!!!
KRISHNA AND GOVERDHAN PUJA:-
It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains. Little Krishna ,who was 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods. The Lord added that Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity. Chinni Krishna suggested that instead of Indra, brahmins, cows and Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed. On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas performed GOPUJA (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill. On Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered. Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain,declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood beside his parents and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF . HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced by Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings. The gopas returned happily.
Indra was furious and could not tolerate this humility. There was heavy downpour of rain followed by thunder and storm. The gopas approached Krishna for help. The Lord who is Bhakta vatsalan- lifted the Goverdhana Hill with HIS little finger on HIS left hand like an umbrella and all the gopas with their cattle took shelter of the . The inhabitants of Vrindavana along with their animals remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst or any other discomfort.
Seeing the extraordinary powers of Krishna, Indra was baffled in his determination and was humbled. He approached the Lord with Surabhi cow, begged for forgiveness for his ignorance and performed milk abhishekam to the Lord .
He praised the Lord as “GOVINDA”- the protector of cows and did Govindabhishekam. The water poured over Krishna for abhishekam got collected in a nearby pond which is known as Govind Kund.
As Goverdhanagiri had the fortune to be held by the Lord , the hill is known as “Giriraj”- the king of all mountains.
To commemorate the above incident, Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord.
Even today, on the following day after Deepavali, Annakoota festival is celebrated at Goverdhanagiri and at Nathdwara. Devotees throng from far and wide to participate in this puja along with the local devotees who gather from the neighbouring villages. Vehicular traffic is stopped during this time. It is customary to make very huge offerings of various types of food (usually chappan bhog comprising of 56 items) , do puja to Giriraj and distribute the prashadam to the assembled devotees. Devotees bring carts load of food items to be offered to Giriraj .
Our Car driver, Shri.Vishnu who is a Brajvasi, pointed out to a dried cow dung human figure and informed about the prevailing custom.
Those who are not able to make it to the actual place, assemble in their respective villages and make a huge human figure of Giriraj from dried cowdung and fill it with various delicacies. Puja is performed. Chapan bhog is offered to Giriraj. Milk is poured in the navel and the most eligible marriageable bachelor is forcibly dipped into the navel. RElatives surround him and make fun of him. It is their belief that the boy would get married immediately.
Some of the important holy places around Giriraj Goverdhan Hill which we come across are Manasi Ganga, Brahma Kunda, Haridev temple, Manasi Devi temple, Chakra theertha, Sanatana Goswami’s bhajan kuitr, Chakleswar Mahadev temple, Kusum Sarovar, Asoka Tala, Uddhava temple, Dhan gati, Narada vanam, Mukharavinda, Shyam Kutir , Govinda Kunda, Aniyora, Nipa Kunda, Radha Govinda temple, Indra Tila, Gopala temple, Surabhi Van, Julan Shila, Doka Dauji, Apsara Kunda, Navala Kunda Narasimha Temple, Rasa Stali, Sutalavana forest, Punchari Ka Lautha Baba temple, Kadambha Van, Indra Kunda, Airavata Kunda, Rudra Kunda, Jeti Pura, Vilasa Vana , Vilachu Kunda, Sakhi Vana, Sakhi Sthali, Uddhava Kunda, Siva Khari, Malayahari KUnda, ISKCON, Goverdhan etc.
Many of these places are not on the parikrama path but located around Goverdhan. These temples can be visited in a day by taking a vehicle and the parikrama around the path can be done by walk separately.
To visit all these places would take 3days. If one does parikrama in the night, he may not be able to visit few temples as it would be closed.
Details of Goverdhana giri and the surrounding places would be shared in the forthcoming posts.
GIRIRAJ MAHARAJ KI JAI
adiyen ramanuja dasan
Deepavalee has special significance for all hindus in common .
On the fourth day of the five day Diwali festival Sri Goverdhana Puja and Annakoot Utsavam is celebrated in Vrindavan amidst chanting of “Giriraj Dharan ki Jai”
(Glory to the lord who lifted Goverdhan on his little finger) reverberates .
There is very interesting pastime of Shri Giri govardhan raj connected with bhaktha hanumanjee. When Lord Rama along with the vanaras were building the bridge to Lanka in the Ram lila,..
Hanuman made an attempt to pick up Govardhan to use him in the noble service . Govardhan was so happy to be engaged in the service of the Lord but just as he was about to lift him, a voice from the sky said “the bridge is finished”.
Therefore Hanuman did not lift Govardhan.
Giri Govardhan was sad.
When Lord Ram was returning from Lanka with Mother Sita he stopped here and spoke to GiriRaj Govardhan saying “do not worry, the next time I appear, ……
I will personally pick you up and personally engage you that happened in the Krishna avatar.
As per Srimad Bhagwatam Lord was lifting the huge Sri Goverdhan Parvat for seven days continuously prior to Diwali, and rested him back on earth & asked the citizens to worship the holy mountain.
Lord Krishna , then appeared in two forms.
One as Sri Goverdhan hillock itself, i.e., deity to be worshiped and second as resident to offer food to GIRIRAJ .
Thus on this day, the devotees offer their gratitude to Lord Krishna for his blessings in making their lives complete.
This holy hill Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is located in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura.
The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock.
Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill.
This HOLY DHAAM is considered as the most sacred place in Vrindavan.
DESCRIPTION OF THE HOLY GOVERDHAN
Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock.
Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes.
Dan Ghati is its long neck.
Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers.
As the hill is very sacred , pilgrims are prohibited from climbing the hill. There is a fencing all around the Goverdhana hill .
Goverdhana giri is the most blessed devotee as it had Lord Sri Krishna sambandham everyday during Krishnaavataaram which even Himalayas did not have.
Lord Krishna Himself chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes.
Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities.
In Srimad Bhagavatham, Lord mentions that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical.
As per the scriptures, Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends.
Lord Krishna at such an young age , used to walk 50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear .
This makes us recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam “Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale kolam seiyudhu enge iru….” .,
Peria azhwar’s feelings when he expresses mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.) .
It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains. Krishna ,who was just 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods.
The Lord added that Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity. The Supreme suggested that instead of Indra, Brahmins, cows and Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed.
On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas performed GOW-pooja (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill.
On Lord Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered. Lord Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain, declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood with his relatives and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF .
HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced by Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings.
The gopas returned happily. The identity of Sri Krishna with Goverdhana Hill is still honoured and devotees take goverdhana shila (-small impressions from Goverdhana Hill and place it in the altar and worship. (In order to preserve the hill, devotees are now restrained from taking them) .
As Lord Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today .
To commemorate the above incident, Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord. .
The residents of Vrindavan, Goverdhan and the devotees of the Lord do parikrama around Goverdhana hill and offer huge quantities of 56 varieties food preparations (chappan bhog) . All the devotees are sumptuously fed with the mahaprasad offered to the Lord and Giriaj. ) As the Lord protected the cows and the people in Goverdhan, He got the name “GOVINDA” .
Jai Jai Girigovardhan ki ………………..Jai .Jai
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Photos : Courtesy ..Google
THE DEVOTEE WHO PLAYED DICE WITH LORD VENKATESHWARA
Yadavaprakasha one of the great vedantee of Kancheepuram was childhood Guru for Swami Ramanuja .
After the unfortunate incident that took place on the way to kashi ( Yadava Prakasa made a plot to kill Swamy Ramanuja on a pilgrimage tour and Sri Ramanuja escaped by slipping out into the forest as per his cousin sri Embaars advise ) ,
LORD VARADAR rescued Swamy Ramanuja in reaching Kancheepuram safely .
( Refer to the below linked post about this divine pastime )
Swamy Ramanuja serving the Lordships attracted many disciples for his philosophical thoughts and beliefs Swamy Ramanujas objective was to reconcile the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita with the Tamil Divya Prabandha. This new school of thought attracted many of them .
Yadavaprakasha was upset with the turn of events . Once it so happened Yadava Prakasa’s mother came to have darshan of Lord Varadaraja. She saw Swamy Ramanuja coming along his disciples inside the huge temple . Impressed with his divine thejas she offered obeisance’s instantly . She strongly wanted her son to take shelter of Swami Ramanuja and be of some use to the great personality .Praying Lord profusely she marched home to advise her son . She told her frank opinion of Swamy Ramanuja’s greatness and wanted him to become his disciple for his own up liftment .
Yadava Prakasa bluntly refused and told his mother that it was not possible for him to become disciple of his very own disciple who was much younger to him in all ways . He felt it was below his dignity to accept him as is guru as swamy Ramanuja himself was his disciple for a long time. Though he refused his mother’s suggestion initially , Yadava Prakasa became restless .
He was forced to recollect the incidents how Ramanuja used to contradict him when his definitions were wrong to some of the scriptures. ( Many occasions arose when the he used to clash with Swamy Ramanuja on vedantic statements. Swamy Ramanuja used to fearlessly point out the errors and corrected him. The ego in him was slowly shying away .
He also remembered that only Swamy Ramanuja was successful in curing the princess and driving away the evil spirit. His heart agreed to his mothers advise . But the mind was rigid . He was in a dilemma and was not sure what to do. He rushed to meet the great devotee Swamy Thirukachi Nambikal and solicited his advice. Thirukachi Nambikal advised him to to accept Swamy Ramanuja as his guru for he would progress spiritually to higher levels very soon . The tussel between his mind and heart went on . Yet Yadava Prakasa was not convinced.
That night he had a dream in which a saint appeared and told him to follow the advice of Thirukachi Nambikal for his own good. Next morning Yadava Prakasa decided to listen to his heart . He went to the mutt where Swamy Ramanuja was staying.
Swamy was very much pleased to see his guru and offered him a seat with great reverence. Observing the kashaya robes , the Urdhvapundram on his forehead , the shanku charka mudras on his shoulders swamy Ramanuja was glowing with divine thejas . Yadava Prakasa’s ego got shattered and he looked at Ramanuja with total surrender and admiration. Yet his mind wanted to clarify some of his doubts.
He asked Swamy Ramanuja whether there was any convincing evidence in sastras for wearing the Urdhvapundram and for initiating the insignia of sanku chakram at the shoulders. Swamy Ramanuja turned to Kurathazhvar one of his disciple and advised him to answer Yadava Prakasa’s question. Kurathazhvar replied to Yadava Prakasa, “ Sama veda is supposed to be the best of the Chatur Vedas. Even Lord Krishna announces that among Vedas he is Samaveda!
It is depicted in Sama Veda that Brahmins should initiate Thirushanku and Thiruchakram on the shoulders other than wearing sacred thread. They would attain Brahma lok through the blessings of Brahma.
In Urdhvapundram (Thiruman kappu) the thiruman symbolize the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu and the red Srisurnam symbolizes Goddess Laksmi. Lord Sriman Narayan showers His Blessings on those who surrender to him and He is the one who could give moksha to all who surrender to Him.”
Swamy further elucidates the importance of the scriptures in the subject Kurathazhvar explanations makes Yadava Prakasa spell bound. Instantly he submits to the revered saint apologising for his foolish acts . He falls at the lotus feet of Swamy Ramanuja and pleads him to forgive him for all the sins he had committed.
He pleads him to accept him as his disciple and uplift him the right path.
Swamy Ramanuja with abundant compassion gives a warm hug and with affection initiates him to Sanyasa ashram after performing the Pancha samskaras . He rechristens his name as Govinda Jeeyar .
Swamy Ramanuja advises him to write a book on the subject , “The duty of sanyasis.” Becoming his disciple and following the guidelines of Swamy Ramanuja Govinda Jeeyar at the age of eighty Yadava submitted a book “ Yathi Dharma Samuchayam,” and dedicated it at the feet of Swamy Ramanuja.
It was really a cherish able event as a Guru became a disciple ..
All glories to Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Advanced devotees of Lord posted in google images
Swami Ramanujacharya’s very first Guru was his own father swami Somayaji. The lessons started from a very young age. Unfortunately as his father passed away when he was just sixteen the lessons came to an abrupt end.
By that time Ramanuja had been married and the family along with his widowed mother had moved over to Kancheepuram. Ramanuja was in search of a good teacher. The only person available was Yadavaprakasa who was originally a part of the Advaita movement .
Later he broke away from the group and started teaching on his own. He openly declared that he was not happy with the Great Shankara’s commentary on Brahmasutra and was attempting to write his own commentary.
Yadavaprakasa could not tolerate any criticism. He was egotistic, eccentric and positively cantankerous. But he was well versed in Vedas and Shastras. He was an authority on magic, spells and evil spirits. There was no other teacher at that time around Kancheepuram. Naturally a number of students flocked to Yadavaprakasa.
Ramanuja was one of them. The Guru and the disciple were polar opposites. Yadavaprakasa was particularly notorious for his distorted explanation of the Vedic texts. One day when the Master was explaining the words ‘satyam, gnanam anantham brahma’ Ramanuja stood up in his place.
Do you have any doubts in my interpretation?” Young Ramanuja was as fearless as he was humble. “I don’t have any doubts, Acharya, that your explanation is wrong.”
“Come on. You explain.” Ramanuja explained the words. Yadavaprakasa wanted to find fault with Ramanuja’s interpretation. He tried hard but he could not. He just grunted and dismissed the class. One of the senior students took Ramanuja aside and told him to be careful with the old man.
When Ramanuja repeatedly asked that student whether his explanation was in any way wrong the latter could not answer. The Senior explained that their Guru was offended. If Ramanuja did that again he was sure to be hurt one way or the other.
After all the Master was well-versed in magic spells and evil spirits. From that day onwards the Yadavaprakasa was hell-bent on victimizing Ramanuja. He would ask Ramanuja to explain something and then make sarcastic comments on his words. Ramanuja respected his Guru as if he were a living God. While he was fearless in the class he was humble and submissive when it came to serving his Guru. He would willingly do all the chores in the Guru’s house.
And then came that defining moment. It was a Saturday. Yadavaprakasa had decided to take his weekly oil bath late in the morning. Ramanuja was applying oil on his Master’s head and massaging it gently. Another student was massaging the master’s back while yet another was applying oil on his legs. The wicked Guru started explaining a verse from Chandokya Upanishad.
The exact words which he took up for a detailed explanation was ‘kapyaasam pundarikaksham’ The words refer to the beautiful eyes of the Lord. The problem came with the use of the metaphor. Yadavaprakasa did not have any reference books with him and he just blurted out, “This upanishadic verse says that the Lord has eyes as beautiful as a monkey’s buttocks.” Ramanuja was shocked. Oh My God! How can this man use that expression to describe the world’s most beautiful thing, the lotus eyes of the Lord? If this is not blasphemy what else is?
Ramanuja would have shrieked. But then the senior student signalled him to be quiet. Ramanuja was not afraid. But at the same time he did not want to confront his guru or offend the senior student. He took Herculean efforts to keep his mouth closed. His mouth obeyed his mind; but not his eyes. Ramanuja was a natural devotee. His love for God was so great that he could not bear to hear the insults heaped upon the Loving Being.
“What happened Ramanuja? Why are you crying?”
“I’m sorry, Acharya. I heard your explanation. I could not control my tears.”
“Oh, so you are our Lord’s Lawyer, right? Come, come in front of me.” Ramanuja obeyed.
Hot Tears were now flowing with greater force. Ramanuja had to take enormous efforts to muffle his sobs. “But you idiot, this is the only way the words could be interpreted. When the scripture says kapyaasam.. it means kapi + aasam. Kapi means a monkey and aasam means its buttocks. Haven’t you seen a monkey’s back-side? It will be really beautiful..”
“STOP IT ACHARYA”
“Oh, the scholar has become angry. Come on tell me Most Revered Sir, what is your interpretation for that line?” The sarcasm in Yadavaprakasa’s words was intolerable. Ramanuja’s answer was firm yet humble.
“Please forgive me, Gurudeva. The Upanishad is to be read with the heart of a devotee and the eyes of a poet. You are reading it like a legal document.” “How can you read a different meaning into those words, you fool?” “Gurudeva, kapi refers to the sun.” “How do you say that?”
“kam means darkness. The sun drinks the darkness.
Kam pipathi ithi kapihi is the rule of grammar. The next word aasam means that which has been made to blossom. So kapyaasam pundarikaksham means
that the Lords eyes are like the lotus flower which has been made to blossom by the Sun.”
The students engaged in various chores around them involuntarily clapped their hands. Whatever interpretation that Ramanuja gave to those words at a young age of 16 stands even today. The Guru stood up with anger. “So you are wiser than your Master. You are more learned than your Guru.
Right? Get the hell out of here, you arrogant fool. A student who does not know how to respect his teacher would never prosper in life. Life will teach this bitter lesson to you. Now get out of my sight before my anger gets the better of me.” Ramanuja walked away from the Gurukulam with a heavy heart.
He ran to the Kanchi temple and stood crying before the Perarulala Perumal.
“My Dear Lord, have I committed a sin? Probably.
I have offended my Guru who is to be respected like God. Put me in hell ,my Lord, for what I have done. But I beg of you, please don’t make me hear such nasty things once again. Being roasted in hell fire is a far better option than hearing such words.”
Ramanuja could not sleep that night. Nor could Yadavaprakasa.
He had now found out that any day Ramanuja was a better teacher than him. One day Ramanuja was going to teach a number of disciples and even lead a great movement.
And that he would eclipse the fame of Yadavaprakasa. If Ramanuja grew in stature then Yadavaprakasa’s dream of founding a philosophy in competition with Shankara would be shattered. Something should be done. A week later Yadavaprakasa had hatched a perfect plan to eliminate Ramanuja from the scene. He convened a meeting of a few of his trusted disciples. “I am not concerned about me. I am concerned about our movement. Ramanuja’s growth will be a hindrance to us. In the name of God, in the name of religion and in the name of our movement, we should do something to finish off Ramanuja.”
“Do you mean to say, we should kill him Gurudeva?” “Never use that vulgar word.” “Then..”
“You should all go to Ramanuja. Tell him that I have gone from bad to worse and ask him to re-join the Gurukulam.”
“We will all go to Varanasi as a group.”
“Then..” “Suppose Ramanuja is “accidentally” drowned in the mighty Ganges place ..our reputation will be intact, Ramanuja will go to heaven. We are actually doing a service to him.” Yadavaprakasa talked for the whole day and brainwashed his students.
Ramanuja listened to the affectionate pleas from his fellow students and came back to the Gurukulam. Yadavaprakasa sought an apology from Ramanuja. Ramanuja fell at his Guru’s feet and thanked him profusely for his large heartedness.
Three weeks later. “My dear students, now that we have finished one round of learning why don’t we all go to place Varanasi I don’t want anybody to be left out. All of you should come. We’ll leave on the New Moon day which is the day after tomorrow.” Ramanuja took leave of his wife and mother. The group started on the appointed day. The conspiracy to kill Ramanuja was perfect but for one major flaw.
Ramanuja’s cousin – his mother’s sister’s son – Govindan was a student in the same Gurukulam. One of the students had leaked out the plan to him. He was now looking for an opportunity to caution Ramanuja. The conspirators realized their mistake and spared no pains to ensure that Ramanuja and Govinda were never left alone. The group walked continuously for fifteen days and was camping in a thick forest in Vindya Hills. They rested in a clearing in the middle of the forest. As they had been walking all day they soon fell asleep. All except one person – Ramanuja’s cousin Govindan who was anxious to alert the unsuspecting victim.
Around 1 AM he woke up without making any noise and went in search of Ramanuja. They had made Ramanuja sleep far away from his cousin so that there could be no communication between them. Govinda woke up Ramanuja. He signaled to him not to say anything there but to follow him.
He led Ramanuja away from the group and then told him in a trembling voice.
“Anna, they are planning to kill you. I heard that they will make you drown in . So please run away from here. Don’t ever come back.” Ramanuja looked puzzled. If Govindan were to go with him at least they could find a way out of the forest together.
How could he manage to go all by himself? Govinda read his thoughts.
“Anna, if they find both of us missing, then the entire group will come looking for us. Sooner or later they’d find us out. Now that we know their plans they are sure to kill us both.
“You go away. I’ll somehow manage those people. Please, Anna. You need to do this for your mother and your wife. Please.”
Ramanuja hesitantly walked away from his cousin. Govinda went to his place and slept as if nothing had happened. When Yadavaprakasa woke up and found that Ramanuja was missing he suspected Govinda. “What happened to Ramanuja?”
Govinda knew that his life as well as that of Ramanuja depended on his answer.
“I don’t know, Gurudeva. But I saw a wild boar going near the place where he was sleeping. I heard someone running fast and the boar chasing him. I was too afraid to wake up.”
Yadavaprakasa and his disciples were quite relieved. After all whatever they had planned to do in Varanasi had happened in the forest itself. Now no one would suspect them. Yadavaprakasa made a big fuss of searching for Ramanuja here and there. Their mission having been accomplished midway the group started walking happily towards Varanasi. Ramanuja was left all alone in the midst of a wild jungle.
He could hear the noises made by all kinds of wild animals. He continued to walk in the narrow path. The darkness was total. He could not see the stones lying in the way. They hurt his feet. He was bleeding, tired, hungry, exhausted, afraid and helpless. He was constantly chanting the Lord’s name.
After a while when he felt he could not walk any further he sat down beneath a large tree.
“Oh My Lord, I have been such a fool all along!
Why should I fear? Why should I grieve? When I was in my mother’s womb absolutely helpless did you not feed me? Did you not take care of me and my mother?
“Did you not convert the food my mother ate into my nutrition?
At that time I did not even know who you are and how to ask for anything from you. When you are so loving and so caring, what’s the point in my being afraid or sad?
“And if you decide that my body should be made food for the animals of this forest, so be it, Narayana. It’s your body. It’s your forest. It’s your animals. It’s your life. I don’t own anything, my Lord. Give me rest in your golden feet, my Lord.” Ramanuja almost fainted.
Of course the Loving Presence was taking extraordinary care to see that Ramanuja was not harmed in any way. And now the same Presence decided that its existence be made known to the young man whose heart was full of love.
When Ramanuja woke up a little later he could see a hunter and his wife coming at a distance. Near the tree there was a large clearing.
Ramanuja could see the forms clearly in the bright moonlight. He was relieved to have some human company. Little did he know about the identity of the nocturnal visitors. The hunter-couple came near Ramanuja. Ramanuja’s eyes suddenly started shedding tears. First he saw the hunter. The hunter was unusually tall, unusually dark and unusually handsome. He was clad in some animal skin. There was an unmistakable majesty in his bearing. When Ramanuja saw his eyes… Oh My God! … he felt like sobbing in love. Then he turned to see the hunter’s wife. Unlike her husband she was of golden colour.
The love in her face… she could not be the mother of just one or two children. She should be the mother for the whole world. The Jaganmatha Herself. When the couple came near him suddenly Ramanuja felt refreshed. His hunger, thirst and fatigue had all vanished without a trace. They sat under the tree on the either side of Ramanuja. When the hunter spoke Ramanuja felt that his words gently held him in a warm hug. Ramanuja’s eyes had not stopped shedding tears. “Boy, looks like you are caught alone in the forest.”
“Not anymore.” Ramanuja blurted trying hard to muffle a sob. “Smart answer.” The hunter’s wife told these words and looked at her husband with pride as if to say, ‘See my son. How intelligent he is!’
Ramanuja then asked the hunter in a trembling voice, “Where are you nice men from?”
“We are from a place called Siddhasramam. We are on a pilgrimage to Sathya Vratha Kshetram which is just outside this forest.”
Ramanuja stood up and folded his hands towards the couple. “I don’t know who you are. But seeing you two my heart is overflowing with love. And my eyes won’t stop crying. Will you please grant me a favour ?
“What do you want?” The hunter asked.
“Whatever it is, consider it done.” His wife snapped.
The hunter looked at his wife with an understanding smile. Any day he cannot compete with her in the matter of loving her devotees. “I am sort of lost in this forest. Will you please let me walk with you till the end of the forest?” “You are most welcome, my child.” The hunter’s wife answered hurriedly before the hunter could say anything. “My son, this forest is a dangerous place. But I know this place like the palm of my hand. I will hold my wife’s hand and walk before you. You follow us.”
“As you wish, Sir.” A young Brahman like Ramanuja need not address a hunter as ‘Sir’ but he could not think of any other way. In fact he wanted to call him ‘My Lord.’ The threesome procession started. The hunter and his wife walked a few feet ahead of Ramanuja. Ramanuja did not have any difficulty in following them. For there was a kind of luminous glow on the way the hunter-couple walked. The sun rose in the east and the forest was filled with the light of the sun.
Every now and then the hunter or his wife would turn back to see whether Ramanuja was following them. Ramanuja’s eyes would meet with their eyes. They would smile. Ramanuja would feel as if he was melting and running away like water. This time no stone or thorn dared to hurt Ramanuja. He did not feel hungry or tired. When the sun set for the day they had reached a large banyan tree.
The hunter decided that they should rest there for the night and resume their journey from the next morning. The hunter’s wife told her husband that she was very thirsty. The hunter told her that she had to wait till next day as he knew for sure that there was a well nearby. “Can I go and see if I can find some water nearby?”“No need, my son. We’ll think about it tomorrow.” Early next morning the hunter woke up Ramanuja. “Can you please do me a favour, my son? My wife is very thirsty.
So am I. You see over there.. yes, that’s a big town. And there is a large well. Its water used to be very sweet. I know that. I have stayed in this town. Can you please some bring water for us?” Bringing water for them.. If they had asked for his life Ramanuja would have given it happily. “I would love to do it my Lord, sorry, Sir. But you see I don’t have any vessel with me.
Nor can I find anything to hold water. So..” “So what, my son? Why don’t you bring it with your own hands?” The hunter who was forever residing in the midst of the ocean of milk, the hunter who could have created a million oceans all full with the sweetest of nectars in a millionth of a second, was longing to drink water directly from the hands of his most loving devotee.
The Holy Mother also seconded her dear husband’s proposal. Ramanuja ran like a mad man towards the well.
He filled up his hands with water and started running towards the hunter couple all the while chanting the name of the Lord.
Sriman Naryana charanau sharanam prapathye.
Srimathe Naraayanaaya Namaha. …
Sriman Naryana charanau sharanam prapathye.
Srimathe Naraayanaaya Namaha.
The hunter and his most beautiful wife were waiting for Ramanuja.
They drank the water from Ramanuja’s hand as if it were the sweetest life-giving elixir. They could not have enough of Ramanuja’s love. They sent him again for water. Ramanuja brought water for them three times.
On the third time after they had drunk the water the couple sprinkled the remaining water in their hands on Ramanuja. They did it together. When the cold water touched Ramanuja’s body it shivered in uncontainable happiness. “Please don’t be angry with us, my son. But we do need some more water.” Ramanuja ran for the fourth time with even more devotion and love than he had during the first time. When he returned they were not there.
Only then could the young Ramanuja knew clearly the identities of his fellow travellers. “Oh My God, do you have to come yourself to save me? And you came with the Holy Mother too! When you have a billion angels to do your command you took the trouble yourself! Whatever I do will not even be equal to a millionth of what you have done to me! “I don’t want anything from you except that love.
Make me love you.
Make me love my fellow beings.
Make me discover a religion of love!”
Ramanuja was sobbing still holding the water in his hands.
Did he see the images of the hunter-couple in the crystal clear water?
He was not sure.
Sriman Naryana charanau sharanam prapathye. Srimathe Naraayanaaya Namaha.
He chanted the mantra again and then drank the water with all the love in the world. The water was really blessed and it was that water which ensured that Ramanuja lived till he was 120 years old and gave him enough spiritual strength to found a religion based on nothing but love. After a long time Ramanuja composed himself and went into that town. He approached the first man he saw and asked him softly, “Sir, I am kind of lost. I don’t know the name of this place.
I belong to Kancheepuram.
Can you please tell me which path should I take to reach my place?” The man laughed as if he had heard a big joke.
“Look up, young man. What do you see? Yes, it’s the Gopuram. Of Sri Varadaraja Perumal.
Yes, you are right in the centre of Kancheepuram.” The man could not understand for his life why the nice looking young guy should cry like a mad man on hearing his humorous words…..
“My dear Lord! I know that it is your favourite well.
From now on the water for your abishekam will come from that well. And I will myself carry that water.” Ramanuja was doing that service till he left Kanchipuram to take over the mutt in Srirangam.
Ramanujasya charanau sharanam prapathye”
“Ramanujasya charanau sharanam prapathye”
“Ramanujasya charanau sharanam prapathye”
Srimathey Ramanujaya namah :
“I seek refuge in the feet of Sri Ramanuja.”
Few years later wisdom engulfs Yadavaprakasa and he becomes disciple to Swamy Ramanuja .Read the wonderful pastime in the below appended post
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan ..
Credits : Adapted and Inspired from the post shared by Sriman Varalotti Rangaswamy
Adiyen offers humble obeisances to all the great bhagavathas for taking time to read this wonderful pastime of JagathAcharyar Swami Ramanuja ……
Photos and videos :
Courtesy great devotees of LORD who uploaded in google pics and you tube .
Garudalwar has been affectionately glorified as Peria Thiruvadi , Pakshiraja, Vainateya, Suparna, Garuthman, Vinatasuta, Vishnuvahana, Nagantaka and Kashyapeya by devotees Garudalwar is always engaged in eternal service to Lord Sriman Narayana .
As a result, of his SharaNagati to Lord Sriman Narayana (Narayana Sayujyam). Garudalwar enjoys the benefit of Sameepyam (constantly being beside the Lord), SarUpyam (Shuddha Satvam) and SalOkyam (residence in Vishnu Lokam).
Garudalwar serves as the eternal chariot of Lord Vishnu. Consequently, Garuda received the name Periya Tiruvadi as against the divine role played by Hanumanjee as the Vahana for Lord Rama. Hence, Hanumanjee received the title Siriya Tiruvadi.
Those who have had the mercy of the darsanam of the 11 Garuda seva at ThirunAngUr dhivya desams at ThirunAngUr are truly blessed . Their fortune is comparable to those who had witnessed the Garuda Sevai at Kanchi ( VaikAsi and Aadi ThiruvONam ), SrIrangam ( Thai , Maasi, Panguni and Chitthirai) , NaacchiyAr Koil , AzhwAr Thirunagari and the famous Nava Garuda seva ( “Nine Garuda Sevais”) at Thirukurungoor with Swamy NammAzhwAr vaibhavam enacted .
Garudaalwar is worshipped as Veda Moorthy .His appearance star is SvAthi , which is the same as for Lord Narasimhar. Garudalwar incarnated as PeriyAzhwAr at SrI VilliputthUr and became the Father-in-Law of Lord RanganAthan and had the privilege of having his daughter and son-in-law live at his home in SrI VilliputthUr, which is known today as NaacchiyAr ThirumALigai.
At TheruzhunDUr dhivya desam , Garudalwar stands next to Aaamuruviyappan (GhOsakhan) awaiting His Lord’s command . At AhObilam, Garudalwar performed penance for the darsanam of Lord Narasimhan as He appeared before PrahlAdhan and the Lord responded to his tapas by giving darsanam to Garudalwart as “JwAlA Narasimhar”. Hence one of the names for AhObilam is GarudAdhri.
At Vadanadu Divya desam , Badarikashramam , Garudalwar is blessing the devotees with his darsanam in the assembly of of Nara-NaarAyana.
At ThiruveLLiyangudi dhivya dEsam , Garudalwar graces in PerumAL Sannidhi with Sankham and Chakram as a Nithya Soori. At ThiruvallikkENi Garudalwar gives the darsanam with Lord GajEndra Varadhan , in a separate Sannidhi.
Nachiyar Koil is a srivaishnava Divya desam is located in Tirunaraiyur en-route to Tanjavur from Kumbakonam. Since importance is given to Nachiyaar in this temple, it is called Nachiyaar Koyil.
The moola virat Lord Tirunaraiyur Nambi worshipped as Vasudevar graces us in the Kalyana kolam with Vanchulavalli Thayar in the sanctum sanctorium . The Theertham is Manimuktha pushkarini and the Vimanam Srinivasa Hema Vimanam. Legend has it that Lakshmi appeared as Vanchulavalli and MahaVishnu manifested himself in the Pancha Vyuha forms and married Vanchulavalli.
In the sanctum one finds the sculptures of the deities Sankarshana in the east, Pradyumna in the south, Anirudha in the west, Purushottaman in the north and Vasudeva in the center. There is no separate shrine for Thayar. There are shrines for Yoga Narasimhar, Ramar, Hanuman and Chakrapani.
Kal garudan is of special significance at this temple. The Garudalwar gives darshan with nine serpents and is believed to have the powers to remove the Navagraha dhosham.
It is understood from elders that a sculptor was making this deity of Garuda with utmost devotion . On completion, he suddenly found the deity flying after he had made Garuda’s wings.
Excited and simultaneously confused at this sudden action, the sculptor prayed Garudalwar for his mercy .
Garudalwar pleased with his dedication and prayers decided to settle here at this place and bless the devotees. ( Kal in tamil means stone ).
A huge and well built Garudalwar gives darshan to all the devotees coming to this Srivaishnava Divya desam . During the Tamil month of Aadi, the temple Lordships Thiru Naraiyur Nambi makes a visit to this Garuda’alwars Sannidhi.
A magical event happens during Garuda Sevai . Garudalwar increases his weight manifold . Science has not been able to explain the mystery underlying the fact that when the Salagrama deity of Garudalwan is taken out for procession, he is so light that he is carried by just 4 persons.
As the palanquin bearers (Srimaan taangigaL) , cross the outer enclosures one by one, Garudalwar becomes progressively heavier and needs 8, 16 and 32 men to carry the palanquin after each enclosure. Finally, when the Lord is taken outside the temple, Garudalwar increases in weight so much that 128 devotees assemble to carry the Lordships .
Similarly, after the outing procession (PurappaaDu), when Garudalwan enters the sanctum, he keeps loosing weight so that it need progressively lesser number of men to hold it from 32 to 16 to 8 and finally just 4 and in that order.
Another unique feature of this grand festival is that one can see Garudalwar sweating profusely as he makes his way out for the procession.
Thirumangai Azhwar, Periya Azhwar, Poigai Azhwar etc have done their Mangalasasanams to Garudalwar.
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan..
Photos credits : google images
video credits : ramyagiri , mighty garuda and advanced devotees
Once near the holy dham Pandharipur lived a daasi by name Shyama in the town of Mangalvedha .This place is about fourteen miles from Pandharipur. Shyama had a beautiful daughter by name Kanhopatra. She was so beautiful that there was no match to her beauty in this world. While she was young she learned the art of singing and dancing. Shyama, asked her daughter to come with her to see the king so that he would give some money and ornaments to her.
Kanhopatra then said that she would not come to the kings durbar to praise a human being .She was always in the mood of KRISHNA BHAKTHI .One day a group of pilgrims who were going to Pandhari were passing by singing the praise of LORD KRISHNA . When Kanhopatra saw them she made a namskar to them and asked them where they were going, the pilgrims then replied to her that they were going to Pandhari to have darshan of Lord Vitthal. She was excited and pleaded her parents to join the sant group. Taking a vina in her hand, she joined the pilgrims in singing the praise of Lord and reached Pandhari. She had the darshan of Vitthal and decided to be in Pandhari. She would always remain in the great door of the temple and sing his praise always swooning into LORDS KRISHNA LEELA. One man who had come from Bedar saw her and went and told the king about her and her beauty. On hearing this, the Mohamedian king sent his guards to go get Kanhopatra from the temple of Pandharpur.
The guards arrived at the temple gates and told Kanhopatra the king’s orders and that if she failed to listen to them, they would have to take her forcefully. She then told them that she would visit Vitthal for one last time and come back with them to the king. She went in and prayed to Lord Vitthal and told him that if he abandons her now the whole world will blame him for this. she cried profusely with abhang meaning ..
O Narayana, you call yourself savior of the fallen…
My caste is impure I lack loving faith
my nature and actions are vile.Fallen Kanhopatra
offers herself to your feet, a challenge to your claims of mercy
If you call yourself the Lord of the fallen, why do O Lord not lift me up?
When I say I am yours alone, who is to blame but yourself
if I am taken by another man. When a jackal takes the share of the lion,
it is the great, who is put to shame.Kanhopatra says, I offer my body at your feet, protect it, at least for your title.
As she pleaded with Vitthal, lord accepted her soul and united it with him. He took Kanhopatra in his lap and she left her body on his lap. Vitthal then asked the priest to bury her body at the southern gate of the temple. As soon as they buried her a tarati tree sprang up immediately in that place and everyone were surprised.
We can till date see this tree in Vitthal Rukmani temple in Pandharpur. Meanwhile the king’s guards who were sitting in the main gate of the temple asked the priest what happened to Kanhopatra. They told them that she now got united with Vitthal and is no more. The guards then asked them to show her corpse to which the priest told them that it has changed in to a tree.
The guards did not believe what they said and arrested the priest and took him to king. The priest then offered coconut and bukka from the temple to the king as Prasad and told him what happened. When the king took the coconut he saw a hair in the coconut and asked the priest how this came in the coconut offered to god.
The priest was afraid and confused how it had come. He then decided to tell the king that it was Vitthal’s hair. The king dint believe this and asked him if it was true. The priest then told him to come to Pandhari and see it for himself and also gave it in writing.
The king then decided to come to Pandharpur and visit the god to check if what they described about him was true. He entered the temple paid his respects to the god and went to god’s bed chamber and looked at the god. He then saw god’s brilliant crown, beautiful curly hair, his lotus eyes, his crocodile ear rings and the kaustubh around his neck.
The moment the king saw this he became repentant and told the priest that he had seen the lord just the way they had described him. He then prostrated before the god and embraced his feet and said that Kanhopatra’s fortune is supreme in getting united with Vitthal…
Kanhopatra wrote Marathi abhanga poetry telling of her devotion to Vithoba and her struggle to balance her piety with her profession. In her poetry, she implores Vithoba to be her saviour and release her from the clutches of her profession. About thirty of her abhangas have survived, and continue to be sung today. She is the only female Varkari saint to have attained sainthood based solely on her devotion
All glories to Kanhopatra
All glories to the sants of Maharashtra
All glories to LORD VITTALA
Please check our Travel diary to Pandharapur
Adapted from Bhaktha Vijayam
The month of ( March – April ) in tamil (Panguni ) is sacred as it is the appearance month of – Lord Ranganatha on Panguni Revathi and Goddess Sri Ranganayaki Thayar on Panguni Uthiram both occur during this month.
. This is the only day on which the Divya Dampatis of Srirangam are seen together in Utsavam. The Utsavam takes place at the royal court located at the western entrance of the great Temple of Lord Ranganatha. Interestingly, this is the only entrance which does not have a Rajagopuram.
Incredibly Swamy Ramanuja chose this blessed day for reciting the wonderful hymns the Gadya Trayam- Saranagathi gadyam,Sriranga gadyam and Vaikunta gadyam, unambiguously outlining the doctrine of Surrender .
(SharaNagati-which is atma Vivaham) wedding of the jivAtma to the paramAtma.
On this day Panguni Uttaram , Swamy Ramanuja gathered his disciples and approached the great Temple of Lord Ranganatha. Our Paramacharya was greatly moved by the majestic sight of the Divya Dampatis beautifully decorated in Utsavam at the Royal Court of Lord Ranganatha.
As a result of this Anubhavam, Swamy Ramanuja poured out his heart in an extremely soulful, highly intimate, and deeply intense SharaNagati ( TOTAL SURRENDER ) in the Sharanagati Gadyam and the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam.
The most important and the oldest Brahmotsavam called as “Adi Brahmotsavam” is performed during this month for 10 days and culminates on the next day of Panguni Uthiram.
During this brahmotsavam, Lord Ranganatha marries Kamalavalli Nachiyar of Uraiyur divyadesam.
Many devotees make it a point to have darshanam of Lordships on this day specially to have kataksham by Divine Parents .
Only on this day, Perumal gives darshan with Kamalavalli at Uraiyur for one full day. Incidentally this is the place where the great Thiruppan Azhwar appeared .
On the 9th day of Brahmotsavam, the serthi (divine union) takes place at Srirangam.
On this day alone, Namperumal gives darshan along with Ranganayaki Thayar.
An interesting event cherished as ” Pranaya Kalagam Uthsavam ” takes place on Panguni Uthiram day morning and in the night , Gadyathrayam(threee gadyams) are recited in front of the Lordships which is followed by Thirumanjanam (Holy abhishekam) to Namperumal and Ranganayaki Thayar .
Thirumanjanam is performed for 18 times reminding us of Swamy Ramanujar’s visits to Thirugoshtiyur. which are sequel to this sweet visit. Our Mother Sr Ranganayaki comes to know of LORDs visit to Uraiyur nachiyar and gets upset.
The dramatic events on the Panguni Uthiram day unfold as Sri Ranganachiyar vents her Pranaya Kobam on Lord Namperumal and how Lord pacifies her and how in the end the divya dampathis join together to bless the devotees makes this festival a feast to the soul .
In the morning hours , Lord aware of Goddess mood goes around the four mada streets without any musical instrument being played ( Nadaswaram ) to collect kanikai ( gifts ) from devotees and thus gives darsanam to everyone .
The devotees are given an opportunity to serve Rajadhirajan(Lord of the Universe) with some money. He stops at every house asking His devotees to support Him when He faces the queen Goddess Sri Ranga Nachiyar.
With the temple elephant (Andal) leading the way followed by the vedic pundits reciting dhivya prabhandha goshti LORD enters the temple and walks towards the sanctorium (sannidhi) of Goddess (Thayar) after literally moving around for three hours around the prakarams.
When Sri Ranga Nachiyar sees Lord Ranganatha coming towards Her, the temple doors are shut. For the next couple of hours, Pranaya Kalagam Uthsavam (household quarrel between the Lord and His consort) takes place that is wonderfully enacted by Arayar swamy..
The conversations between Namperumal and Ranganayaki Thayar are communicated through Arayar swami (for Namperumal) and through Pandari swami (for Ranganayaki Thayar) and they never face each other during this kalagam Utsavam .
The Lord pleads innocence and tries to appease the goddess in many ways but all his submission is outrightly rejected . Few questions asked by Goddess make this utsavam very interesting …
Goddess questions Lord about his scratch marks on His Thirukkazuthu (neck) and reason for His Thirukkangal (eyes) becoming so red. She also asks why His Thiruman kappu ( Tilak ) and His Thirukkuzal (hair) are all messed up.
She also goes on to ask Him why His Thiruvadharam (lips) are white and why He has kungumappoo (Saffron powder) all over his Thirumeni (body), His ThiruvadigaL (lotus feet) are red. Hence, She says that She was very unhappy because of HIS indifference to her .
The Lord out of divine love responds back to each question.
Being the protector of the universe (Jagadhrakshakan), riding the horse in the night and fighting against all evil forces to protect His devotees and thus the eyes were red.
Hair locks are messed up because of the fierce winds while galloping on the horse.
His Thiruman kappu had dissolved because of the harsh sun rays.
His lips were white because He had to fight against the asuras (demons) to protect the the devathas.
His neck was all scratched by thorns while He was riding through thick forests to fight the Asuras.
He continues further , that His legs were red because He had to ride the horse with His feet in the stirrup and finally….
He has kungumappoo all over His body because the Devathas praised Him after His victorious campaign by showering Him with flowers.
Thus, He submits that He was late because of all the battles He had to wage with the Asuras and due to this calamity lost the ring in the river Kollidam while returning.
He had to get a new ring and some flowers before he meets Her.
This caused Him to be late.
Goddess is still not convinced and refuses all His gifts and flowers and commands him to never come inside and return back to Uraiyur where HE had been a couple of days ago.
Lord Namperumal with a very innocent look replies saying that He doesn’t know the place called Uraiyur and has never been there. Ranganayaki Thayaar asks the Lord to prove His statements.
To prove his innocence Lord offers to put His hands in a vessel full of snakes ,
cross any ocean of Goddess choice ,
and offered to promise on His devotees that He has never seen Uraiyur.
Sri Ranga Nachiyar rebukes HIS explanations. He, the one who sleeps on a bed of Adhi Sesha ( Serpent bed ) would never be harmed by any snakes. He, the one who lies in the great milk ocean (ThiruppArkadal) and for whom the river Yamuna parted to let Him through as baby Krishna will have no problem crossing any ocean. Also, HE, whose lotus feet are sought after by all His devotees would never be betrayed by them. Unmindful , she exhibits her annoyance of Pranayakalpa by throwing milk, curd, butter and flowers on Him .
Lord Ranganatha now pleads innocently then says that He has come to meet Her after going through such difficulties and She is not letting Him in. He says He feels very depressed and embarrassed as She shut the door in His face. The Lord says – “andha avamanam umakku andri yamakku illai” meaning “this embarrassment is not for me but for you.”
Seeing the Lord is feeling very sad, our great Nammazwaar, acts as the mediator and approaches mother Sri Ranganayaki and says that if the supreme Lord and Goddess are upset against each other, then that would be the end of all known universe (Pralayam).
He requests Mother and prays that the Lord is for all and She has to understand that He is sought after by all and so She should be able to let Her Azhagiya MaNavalan go to His devotees too as well for granting their prayers and uplift them finally So, He humbly requests that Sriranganachiyar forgive the Lord and allow Him to enter Her premises.
Goddess Ranganayaki understands Nammazwars reasoning and commands Her assistants to let Her Lord enter inside. Lord Ranganatha and Ranganayaki come together and exchange garlands, Kasturi Thilakam, turmeric and necklaces making a benchmark of a divine couple .
As soon as the door is opened, Lord Azhagiya Manavalan is delighted and rushes in to be with His consort. A beautiful scene transpires here. The Lord does not go immediately to our Sri Ranganayaki sannidhi . But rather goes to the mudhal mandapam and stands there, as if to ascertain whether our Thayar has really accepted and forgiven him. Lord sends his vastram across to Thayar, which is accepted by the Thayar.
After this the Lord then directly heads towards and Thayar Sannidhi and then he seats directly across Sri Ranganayaki Thayar. Now our Aranganathan looks at our Lokamatha Thayar’s eyes directly as if to ask “why did you make me go through this struggle” and Thayar in turn asks him “Why did you go away without telling me”.
At this point of time other than the Sri Ranganayaki’s Archakas and our Sriranganathan’s Archakas, no one is allowed to be present. Thus sweet conversation takes place between our Lord Aranganthan and Ranganyaki Thayar as it would take place between any husband and wife. After they have talked for a long time, our Azagiya manavalan asks Thayars permission to go and complete the Panguni uthram thirunal as several devotees are waiting.
Thayar replies that how can she let him without having performed any upacharam. She then gets delicious and sumptuous “Akkara adasil” ( Sweet pudding ) prepared for him, with copious amount of milk, rice, dhal ( lentils ) , jaggery and lots pure ghee. Both our Lordships now grace together and have the delicious “Akara adisil” !
The happiness of the Lord and Thayar can be seen in the eyes of lord who cannot take his eyes away from the Thayar! After this beautiful sight, the lord then decides to head towards the beautifully renovated Panguni Uthram mandapam. As soon as our Azagiya manavalan reaches the mandapam in the afternoon, our Thayar immediately, but silently and surreptitiously enters the mandapam as if she doesnt want anybody to talk about or ask her about what had happened .
After this the Lord and Ranganayaki Thayar give darsanam to several devotees who have thronged to see them. It has to be mentioned that here only the Thayar is adorned with a garland and not then Lord himself! Also, Namperumal doesn’t face the audience but looks uninterruptedly at Thayar.
The recitation of the Gadhya Thrayam begins at about 11 P.M. . Those heavenly chants fill the air with beatitude and immense happiness.
At this time the whole srirangam is very festive and people make sweets and savories as if there is a marriage in their own house.After all, it is a happy and beautiful unification between the Royal couple! The Gadhya Thrayam starts with the chant of “Vaikunta Gadhyam” and then proceeds with the “Sri RangaGadhyam” and at last ends with the beautiful chant of the “Sarangadhi gadhyam”!
Lord Namperumal (Sri Ranganathar) and Peria pirattlar (Sriranga nachiar) are seated together. Lord (naMperumAL) is standing majestically as usual and more beautiful and graceful today due to the compassionate looking pirAtti and is enjoying the beauty of Her Lord without taking Her eyes off Him even for a second This was the right opportunity for LokaAcharyar Swami Ramanuja to ask for favors from our DIVINE PARENTS.
He submits to the LOTUS FEET through his divine outpourings Gadyatrayam. Swamy Ramanuja worshipping them, submits his deep fear of samsara (association with the body in a cycle of births) and begs the Lord to save him.
Swamy Ramanuja surrendered his all to the Lord and begged Him to be his sole savior. In the Three Gadyaas, Swamy Ramanuja’s prayed swamies innermost feelings of deep devotion to the Lord break all restrictions and flow freely towards the Lord and His consort.
These are prima facie a spontaneous outburst of devotional experience and not coldly labored compositions. The inner voice of the devotee addresses Sri and the Lord and they do reply clearly through the same inner voice.
In the Saranagati gadya, Swamy Ramanuja first addresses Sri as the mother of the Universe, as his own mother, and as the loving consort of his Lord, and seeks her intercession on his behalf. This is itself a saranagati addressed to the mother.
Happy at being addressed this, Sri replies ‘So be it’;
“let your prapathi bear the proper fruit of being accepted as a devoted servant” …
The commentators have it that this assurance is not only for the Acharya but for all his spiritual progeny.
The boon that Lord granted to Swamy Ramanuja applies to his spiritual heirs. It is worth noting that once he gets the assurance from Sri of her sure mediation, he addresses himself directly to the Lord seeking Him as the sole savior.
The LokAcharya then addresses the Lord speaking of His incomparable glory, “His immense wealth, His power, His retinue, His divine weapons, His beautiful ornaments, His loving consorts, of His infinite compassion and other admirable qualities words which are a rhapsody of devout fervor which can come only from the very depth of a realized soul. Swamy Ramanuja holds out prapathi as the highest message he had for his followers.The Sriranga gadyam is a shorter piece and is essentially the same as the Saranagati gadyam.
It is addressed directly to Sriranganatha. ” Sriranganatha! mama natha! namostu te” are the words of the acharya. To the seeker of salvation who has taken to the path of Prapathi, it is essential that he should spend his time in devoted service of the lord; in serving his devotees; by meditating on Him and singing His praise; by repeatedly uttering the Dvaya mantra (this is an enjoyable and sweet pastime).
The acharya gives expression to all these, briefly, in confidence to the lord at Srirangam. His intention is that this short text may be repeated easily in the presence of the Lord by devotees intent on the fruit prayed for.
Immensely pleased , Lord assures Swamy Ramanuja that He and all his disciples will be surely uplifted for attaining the paramaporul Moksha for sure .
Later, Thirumanjanam to Namperumal and Thayar are performed for 18 times. This signifies Sri Ramanujar’s visit to Thirugoshtiyur to learn the dwayam mantra artham. All the upacharams are performed for 18 times.
Later, saatrumarai goshti is done at Udayavar (Ramanujar’s )sannidhi in the early hours. At about 7 A.M. the next day, Perumal reluctantly leaves thayar and goes back on Goratham.
After all this, the Lord then requests Thayar’s permission to go and complete the remaining procession.
At this request, our Ranganayaki thayar’s face drops and looks downcast, which indicates her reluctance to part with the Lord at this point of time. But , thayar then mentions that First she will leave and return back to her Moolasthanam after which the Lord can start.
This shows the patience, forbearance and the humility of our beloved Thayar. The Lord then starts to leave towards the “Goratham (Chariot), before which he peeps into Sri Ranganyaki Thayrs sannidhi, as if to take a glimpse of his beloved wife and say “Bye” before proceeding . After this the Lord starts for the procession. Anywhere in the world a woman has to undergo lot of troubles and hardships and still put up a smile to make everyone in her family happy.
On Panguni Uthiram day, only Thayar sannidhi is kept open and it is not possible to have Sri Ranganathar(moolavar) darsanam on that day.
All adiyars know that the Lord and Thayar are above all such domestic quarrels taking place in our lives all the time. We also know that He is the fountainhead of all things in the universe and there is nothing like He should be going after several women etc. when He himself is paramporul ( The ultimate ) . Secondly the big question will Thayar ever quarrel with the Lord? So what is the significance ??
Elders clarify that the significance of all this drama is that Namperumal and Thayar are doing a play act to demonstrate to ordinary mortals like us how to run the household with harmony in the face of upsets.
They also show the deep love , mercy and compassion true ladies have and why we have to give the ladies great respect and exalted position in our society.
Azhwar describes Srirangam as the abode of the supreme Lord who had sixteen thousand devi’s (as he married all of them in His Krishnavataram by their deep devotion and request ).
When he has already taken sixteen thousand consorts which Sri Rukmini Devi whole heartedly accepted, where is the question of getting upset about one Kamalavalli nachiyar? of Uraiyur .
Our Perumal is Paramatma and the jivatmas represented by Thayar are all wedded to Paramatma with Thayar doing the purushakaaram(bridge between Perumal and the fallen souls)
Andal nachiyar explains:-
“Peyyu ma mukil pol vanna, un pechum seikaium engalai
Maiyal erri mayakka un mukam maya mandiram than kolo”
Hey, dark skinned Lord, your words, acts and your innocent looking face are all designed to cast a spell over us. The Lord will always cast his spell over His devotees to protect them. And Maya Jagan Mohini Thayar always assists Him in his spell!
When the Lord knows that Nachityar is upset with him, He is planning to pacify her indicating thereby that all of us should try earnestly to take care of the ladies’ concerns.
In this entire drama, what stands out is the “Paraspara Anyonyam” of the Divya Dampathis.
When Thayar is angry Lord understands and adopts a seemingly submissive posture. And Thayar relents when overlooking the fact that it is the only day in a year she is with Him and He has been to another nachiyar. She sets an example of kindness and forgiveness for all the womenfolk.
When Thayar allows Lord to enter Her Sannadhi, He at first stops at first mantapam and sends His Vastram to her. He does not rush in all the way. Thayar also understands His intention and accepts the vastram. She knows He will be hungry and gets a sumptuous Akkara Adisil ( sweet pudding) prepared for Him. In these days of hurried life when both the partners sometime go to work, can you imagine such understandings .
Later She silently follows Him so that the devotees do not smell any difference between them! It is truly amazing that Divya Dhampathis had set examples which are relevant even today………
Let Lord Ranganatha protect us Let Shri Ranganachiyar bless us always …
Sri Ranga MangaLa nidhim karuna nivAsam
Sri Venkatadhri SikharAlaya KaaLamegham
Sri Hastigiri Siksrojvala Paarijatham
Sreesam namAmi Sirasa yadhusaila dheepam
Seeking the Lotus feet of Narayana
Kaveri Viraja Seyam Vaikuntam Rangamandiram,
Sri Vasudevo Rangesaha, Prathyaksham paramam patham
Vimanam Pranavakaram, Vedasrungam mahadbhutham
SriRangasayi bhagavan pranavaartha prakasakaha!
May the Lord and Thayar bless all devotees with such anyonyam.
Let the eyes which have seen the Supreme Lord who ate plenty of butter and who has conquered my heart view nothing else.
Adiyen must have committed apacharas in expressing this wonderful utsavam which is due to adiyens mandha budhee and seeks forgivance to all the bhagavathas who are reading this ..
Vachaka Dhosham Kashamikkavaum………….
Adapted from U.Ve. Sriman Narasimha bhattar swamy’s article ..
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan