Ekantha Seva at TIRUMALA.. ‘Tallapaka vari Lali, Tarigondavari Harathi’


At Tirumala , ………………………….

 

Lord Sri Venkateshwara’   awakes with Annamayya’s melukolupu, and follows the day’s rituals, ends with the great saint poetess  Vengamamba’s Mutyala Harathi

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Mutyala Harathi’,  is the last ritual performed during ‘Ekantha Seva’  to   Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala .

This seva  is symbolic  gesture of the Lord’s love for His devotees.

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The ritual was started by saint-poetess Tarigonda Vengamamba and for almost  the last three centuries is being performed on par with ‘Lalipata’, ( Lullaby)  introduced by  another great devotee Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya.

 

Performing both the rituals during ‘Ekantha Seva’  to  the Lord is remembering these great devotees who had surrendered to Lord . The speciality of   Ekantha seva  is  glorified  as…..

‘Tallapaka vari Lali, Tarigondavari Harathi’ among the  devotees.

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The song goes like this ….

JAYA MANGALAM  NITYA SHUBA MANGALAM..

JAYA MANGALAM ..NITYA SHUBHA MANGALAM……..

also  called as Jaya Mangala Geetam .

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The meaning  of one verse of  the song  in English goes like this ..

To HIM who dwells on the Top of the Pannagadri Hills

To HIM who dispels the darkness of sin…

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To that LORD and to our dear Alamelu Mangamma ( the goddess)  who is ever present with HIM

To the LORD par excellence  who grants boons to all those who seek refuge in HIM to Alamelu Mangamma who constantly reminds HIM to bless the devotees

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The song  has around 12 verses glorifying our Lordships to bestow his grace on devotees

Along with this  mangala haarathi ,  the lullaby song composed by another great devotee Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya   is sung  which is relished by the LORD before he goes into Yoga Nidra ..

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 The great devotee Tarigonda Vengamamba  appeared at a place near chittoor  around the year  1750 and  was  serving   Lord Tarigonda Narasimha Swamy   . 

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Their parents  admired her faith in Lord but had their own doubts about her future.Days rolled to months and months added to years. The parents had mixed feelings of joy and fear in such situations as her devotion was going in leaps and bounds .

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Due to divine will  Vengamamba   became a child-widow. But   with her strong upbringing and spiritual outlook , she  considered  Lord Venkateswara as her husband and  refused to part with the customary beliefs  of a married woman (Punya stree ).  

 

With the blessings of Lord Narasimha of Tarigonda , she ascends  the  Tirumala  Hills and  starts  serving the Lordships with utmost devotion .

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She stabilised  her stay at Tirumala and continued  with her divine service to Lord in solitude in the evenings . As per temple legend, on the divine instructions of Goddess Padamavathi Devi, the then In-charge of Hathiramji Mutt, Mahant Sri Atmaramdasji  offered a small thatched hut in the present Rambhageecha gardens to Vengamamba.  

 

The Saint Poetess used to perform penance under a tamarind tree present opposite her hut.

 

During every Nrisimha Jayanthi (which usually falls in the month of May) she used to serve mahaprasad to  scores of pilgrims who visited Tirumala during this period in the premises of her residence for ten days.

 

Seeing her charitable activity some devotees  donated  her “Dana Patras” (donations) between 1785 AD to 1812 AD with which she carried out her Annaprasada Vitarana till her last breath. Since then she became popular with the title “Matrusri” since she took care of the visiting pilgrims as a mother.

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 When she entered Tirumala  she initially  stayed at Gogarbha Teertham  and meditated on Lord .

But as flow of people  disturbed her spiritual practices ,  she shifted to Tumbura Teertham and continued her austerity. With constant attention on her devotional practices she moved to Tirumala.

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 She used to collect flowers  and make them as a garland and present it to Lord venkateswara every day .

One day as she offered Tulasimala to the deity  she  was criticized for her offerings by the main priest there (as a widow is not allowed to worship the temple deity  those days).

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 The Priest removes the garland away. But   Vengamamba could have darshan  of Lord  appearing wearing her tulasimala . 

With all humility she starts   composing poems and literary essays on Lords divine leela .

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Moved by her devotion, it is told that Lord  allowed her to enter the temple after temple hours to listen to  her poems and songs.

Vengamamba  used to recite  poems in presence of the LORD  and  offered ‘harati’ to  the Lord each night along with  pearls as a mark of devotion .

 

Observing  the pearls in the sanctum sanctorum   over a period of time, the temple  priests were agitated . They politely informed that  Vengamamba must not be allowed to enter the temple .

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She was under  exile in  a cave  at  Tumburakona near Tirumala .

The legend  reveals that LORD out of his love to his devotee  created a  secret pathway from the cave to the temple which was used by Vengamamba to continue her devotional service in private .

The practice of  night harati continued for 6 years.

 

Eventually, the priests realized their folly and recognized Vengamamba’s devotion and dedication, and  pleaded  her to return and  allowed to participate in Ekanta seva .

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 However , the divine services to LORD was generally offered by Mahants and  Priests inside the temple . All of them felt  that though  she was a great devotee ,  a widow who was excommunicated by her community who doesn’t follow tenants of customs must not be allowed to continue such divine service  along with them which  is a serious  offense .

They told her sternly about their unhappiness and polluting the temple .

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Vengamamba accepted their decision and continued to serve the LORDSHIPS at her house located in the Mada streets beside Sri Tallapaka Annamacharyas  descendant’s  house .

The next day happened to be the day of the car festival .

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In all the splendor and glory the temple car with the LORDSHIPS moved .

 

However as soon as it reached Vengamambas house it stopped suddenly and any effort to pull the cart  was  becoming difficult . It was getting delayed .

govindaaaaa-10The Chief Priest understood the main motive of the Lord to ignore their plea . All of them rushed into Vengamambas house and begged repentance for their offence . They requested her to pray LORD for HIS approval .

Vengamamba rushed out with tears and all humility offered camphor harathi with devotion .

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The temple car started moving slowly from then .

This camphor offering which was started by Vengamamba has come to be known as Tarigondavari Haarati OR Mutyaala Harathi which is continued even today .

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A silver idol of Tarigonda Nrusimha Swami , fixed in a plate made out of an alloy of five metals is decorated with one of the ten incarnations of Mahavishnu with perals mixed with vermillon and rice powder .

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A small vessel placed at the middle of the plate with camphor is lighted and offered to the LORD everyday which becomes the last ritual of the day .

Every Car festival the camphor waving would be offered duly that comes as a token of remembrance of the great  devotee Tarigonda Vengamamba .

All Glories to Mother Vengamaba.

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

video credits : Shri Ramyagiri, Ravichander Iyer

Photos credits : Google images , Advanced devotee friends

 

THE DEVOTED SRIVAISHNAVA ACHARYAS AT SRIRANGAM


May be our LORD wanted to see himself being protected by his devotees and glorify our respectful Acharyas who had done everything as HIS kainkaryam ..Who or How else can we explain the need to “save” our Lord!!! who is beyond every thing .

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The month of  ( March – April )   in tamil (Panguni )  is sacred  as it is the appearance month of –  Lord Ranganatha  on Revathi  star and Goddess  Sri Ranganayaki Thayar on Uthiram star  both occur during the same  month. The most important and the oldest festival called as “Adi Brahmotsavam” is performed during this month for 10 days and culminates on the  day of Panguni Uthiram .  About 800 years ago an unusual incident occurred which has remained as one of the most cherished brave effort by our Acharyas for protecting and leaving us the  legacy  of our great srivaishnava sampradaya and our Lordships…

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  Almost 800 years ago , the festive mood was vibrating with splendor. At the banks of Kollidam river preparations were being made for  Lord’s arrival with pomp and show . The stage was decorated with wonderful flowers and   the best decorative lamps . A huge golden throne decked with diamonds and costly jewels, attracted the venue. …

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Ahamanna Mahamanna Mahamannam ………Ahamannadohamannaado hamannaadah


Liberation of the soul means bringing the being to him and experiencing the happiness with him ………………..

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Ahamanna Mahamanna Mahamannam ………Ahamannadohamannaado hamann………………….

The Taittiriya Upanishad forms the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of the Taittiriya Aranyaka of the Krishna Yajur Veda.

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The above verse is taken from  Taitriya Upanishad .

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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 .

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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  .

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Liberation  is both Jivatma and…

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Swamy Pillai Lokachariar …. The most revered Acharyar of Universe …..


 Manarppakkathu Nambi   was an ardent devotee of  Lord Devaraja Perumal  of  Kancheepuram.  Nambi  was  residing  near the temple   and was   performing several  divine services daily  .  

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For his unstinted devotion and service ,  Lord of Kanchi   Devaraja Perumal out of abundant mercy  taught him  few  esoteric truths  in his dream and  commanded Nambi,   My child  !! “Now that you have absorbed esoteric subjects from   me,  please  go to the  holy land between two rivers and await for the rest ……  

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  (iraNdAtthukku naDuvilE centru kEtkkalAm)” 

 you  shall get the rest from there       .    

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  Manarpakkam Nambi  was overjoyed with Lord’s  abundant  grace . He  faithfully  moved to           Srirangam and with the locals support built a small temple  for  Lord Varadarajar . As done earlier he  quietly lived there worshiping  the LORD    reflecting on the esoteric  meanings revealed by  Lord .

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One day ,  Swamy Pillai  Lokacharya   the most respected Acharyar  along with disciples visited  the small  temple for having darshan of LORD   . Acharyar  was very pleased to see the ambiance around . Offering his obeisance’s  to LORD VARADARAJA  he felt like spending some more time inside the temple .

Observing   the quiet nature of the place  he began teaching his disciples   few  meanings of  esoteric truths .  Nambi  who was serving the Lordships  inside  the sanctum  was listening to  the discourse . He noticed Acharyas command in the subject  and related  the  meanings  quoted were  almost the same as revealed  by Lord Varadar in his dream .

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Overjoyed ,  he rushed to the dais  amongst the advanced devotees and  bowing at  Swamy Pillai  Lokacharya’s  lotus feet, offered obeisance’s   and asked him…

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Swamin !!

    avarO nIr?! avarO nIr?!      

(are you him? Are you the one?)……………………

To that    Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar  replied smilingly

    AAm.       seyvathu En?        

Yes, my child !!  and why do you ask?”. Manarpakkam Nambi  submitted  his dream to him. .

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Pillai Lokacharya  was glad to note about his  unstinted devotion to Lord . He showered his blessings at the young devotee  and took him as his disciple.  Swamy  advised him to join the assembled group of devotees and  taught  him the meanings  in detail .  

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 The entire summary of these esoteric truths turned  out to become  ” Sri Vachana Bhushanam  ”  the most  important book  for all the  srivaishnavas .

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“however  lower in caste one is born doesn’t matter for me, if he is a bhAgavathOththaman,  he is my swAmi”. Having these meanings in mind the  divine outpourings are summed up …..

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Pillai Lokacharya’s primary disciples were Koorakuloththama Dasa, Manarpakkam Nambi, Kollikavala Dasa , Kotturilanar and Vilanjsolai  Pillai.

Pillai Lokacharya authored several works including the eighteen rahasya granthas known together as Ashtadasa  Rahasya and Gadyatraya Vyakhyanam.

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Pillai Lokacharya  expresses in his works , that  LORD  sees this sorry state of affairs of  jivatmas  and thinks of  simple  ways and means of correcting  them who have strayed  in the wrong path.  Lord’s abundant  mercy  blesses them  to seek salvation by making them understand the real purpose of life . They seek a good  teacher  in understanding the esoteric truths and start serving LORD  .The dangers  of this life with its temporary pleasures but permanent derailment in taking repeated births  makes them  worried . They realize that life in this world is comparable to the life of a helpless frog caught in the mouth of a snake . A doe caught in a forest fire running hither and thither not knowing where safety lies. Realising  their fate is none better than that of a helpless ant caught between the two ends of a burning stick and  torn  by the five senses seek refuge ..Swamy Pillai Lokacharya wrote 18 rahasyas books expounding the fundamental vaishnavite philosophy and shastras. The Archiradhi is one such rahasya   .Swamy  Pillai Lokacharya’s magnum opus  “Sri Vachana Bhushanam”  is  an ornament of  divine outpourings from  our revered Poorvavacharyas. This great work consists of  almost 465 aphorisms which all sri vaishnavas must strive to follow by Acharyars  krupai and revelation .The master piece of the work discusses in detail about Lord , Goddess, bhakthi and   Prappathi   ,  service to Acharya and Acharyar as a means to obtain the  goal , the greatness of the ones who follow the above path , the great ones who are scholars in the scriptures and their joy in attaining the desired goal.

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Lokacharyar Sri Pillai Lokachariar was instrumental in saving our rich legacy of darisanam by  taking the most privileged service of bringing  Namperumal safely out of Srirangam during the  tyrant Malik Kafur  invasion during the year 1323.

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Lokacharyar along with many disciples went through the rough terrains, forests, and so on, carrying our LORD safely  .

When they reached Jyothiskudi, near to  Madurai , Swamy Pillai Lokachariar realized that he cannot carry on any more, so he decided to stay in Jyothishkudi itself serving the LORD incognito . He  advised  his  disciples  to  remain devoted to LORD always . Lokaacharyan was rightly glorified as ulagAriyan – ( teacher of the universe).

While Swamy was about to leave this world and reach  Acharyan’s Lotus feet, he started touching the ants and other such insects near  to him with compassion … ( as all  such living beings  will get to reach Sri Vaikunta if they have got that service  done by a Sri Vaishnava).

Such was Sri Pillai Lokacharya’s Karunya towards the living beings.

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Lokaachaarya gurave krSHNapaadhasya soonave |
samsaarabhogi sandhaSHta jeeva jeevathave namaha ||

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Courtesy Google images

 

Lord Aaraamudha perumal ….. Elixir which can never ever produce satiety”


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Once  , Thirumisai Azhwar came to have a darsanam  of Lord  Aaraamudha perumal   near Kumbakonam at Tamilnadu.    Azhwar  was very much impressed by  Lord’s  beauty .

He instantaneously recited ..

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Nadanda kalgal nondhavo nadunga gnala menamai

Idanthamei kulungavo vilangumaal varaichuram

Kadanda kaal parandha kavirikarai kudanthaiul

Kidanthava yezhundirundu pesu vazhi kesane

Meaning O lord !  your lotus  feet must be  feeling the pain walking  the worlds  covered  with  mountains,   thorns etc  .

Your lotus feet are very soft that even Mother Lakshmee  feels her  service may hurt  LORD if she touches them. 

AzhwAr then realizes that  as LORD  went to the pAtALa lOka to rescue Mother during varAha avatAra, perhaps  due to this   LORD  should be relaxing in this pose .

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While Azhwar was enquiring ,  Lord casually  lifted up His head to get up and reply to  AzhwAr  as he said said ‘pESu’ in his divine verse  ( speak my LORD ) ..

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  Azhwar did not  want  to disturb his yoganidra  and hence  prayed LORD   to remain in the same posture so as to bless each devotee  coming  to HIM praying  .

The Azhwar  thus requested  LORD  to remain in the reclining position as this posture of  LORD looked very attractive .

 

 The  divine pose of  LORD Aara Amudhan is called as Uthra Sayanam and he is thus called as Uthanasai. 

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Lord Aramudhan like Sonnavanam saitha Perumaal of Thiruvekha Divya Desam  at Kancheepuram has also received credit for obeying His dear devotee Thirumisai Azhwar.

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 Due to the above reason  LORD  is  glorified  as Aramudha Azhwan  and the Azhwar as Thirumahizai Piran.

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The word Piran means Lord.

As Thirumahizai Azhwar asked Perumaal to get up from His  serpent bed, Azhwar was given the title of “Piran” by  LORD .

 

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Aramudhan took the title “Azhwan” to show us HIS  love  towards  Azhwar.  Lord’s sparkling  darshanam  of his cheeks (so chubby )  pulls our soul to  just be there for ever .

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 Lord’s coral lips   invites HIS devotee which has a   half-smile (“Punmuruval”) indicating  HIS mercy and  pleasure  seeing us.  Lord’s  broad forehead is adorned by a sparkling green gem, triangular in shape .

 Lord’s long thighs and then  legs, resembles  the trunk of a magnificent tusker,  encased in soft and supple silk, while the broad and beautiful chest sports several strands of gold and pearl necklaces ,  with goddess  Mahalakshmi.

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Mother Sri Devi and Bhoodevi  grace us  on either side of the Lord, in postures of devotion.   As noticed in Thiruvellarai Divyadesam , similar  feature of this beautiful temple is that the sanctum sanctorum has two entrances, each with nine steps-one used during Dakshinaayanam and the other during Uttaraaayanam.

 Everything about the Lord  here is elixir .

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None  of the devotees will exclaim  “I have had enough of this Lord”, the desire to see Him and be with Him increases  with every  darshan .

Among the Azhwars seven  out of twelve have immersed there divine thoughts and glorified the boundless beauty of  Lord Aaraavamudan and devoted around 51 nectarine verses  in the DivyaPrabhandam .

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This nectarine Lord is sweet not only to our external senses like the eye, ear and the nose, but provides an incomparably pleasurable sensation all over, inside and out and in the soul too-

 Aaraavamudaai adiyen aavi agame tittippaai”

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When we relish  something very sweet  we become sick eating the same  recipe  repeatedly . This is true for all material  and  worldly enjoyment all through in our lifestyle.  But once we engage  our senses towards the omnipotent LORD  we find that we can  relish HIM   continuously without  any hindrances and  not getting  bored.

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 Once we follow the Nava Vidhi Bhakthi  as advised by Elders viz:   Shravanam  , Kirtanam  Smaranam ,  Pada sevanam , Archanam , Vandanam  Dasyam ,  Sakhyam and finally   Atma Nivedhanam  the purpose of our Life is realised . The more we  start enjoying  the nectar that is LORD HIMSELF , the more we want to continue enjoying this nectar as our desire for this nectar becomes insatiable .

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 Aaramudhan means  “the pure nectar which can never produce satiety”.  NammAzhwar glorifies LORD as  “Ara Amude” and  expresses Oh Lord !! ,

‘When I  have your divine darshan !  my body melts in the love  and the separation from your divineself  means  am washed out   with a  torrent force of a  flood away .  

Oh Lord!  such  overflowing emotions……..  grace me  because of your  abundant mercy you have for me.

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Lord Aramuda Perumaal compassion on HIS devotees is unlimited .  When all of us celebrate Diwali in our houses , LORD  performed last rites for one of His  ardent devotees.

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 The divine pastime goes like this .

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There lived a devotee  named ” Lakshmi Narayana ”  in this holy place . Narayana spent his entire life doing  services to Lord Aramudhan. He was  the one who built the Rajagopuram  which is app  44-m tall, 11-tiered tower by collecting  small small donations from devotees and strived hard to finish the task  . 

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He had surrendered all his wealth and everything in the noble service .Narayana swamy  who became old   ,passed away, on  a  Deepavali Amavasya day .The  devotees  were worried about performing his last rites as he had no progeny and neither he adopted any one .  His entire life was serving the LORDSHIPS  with total surrender .

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When the  Priest  entered the sanctum  sanctorium of Lord Aramudhan he noticed that  Lord  was wearing the yagnopavithram in the direction worn while performing last rites. The Priest  thought that he had made a mistake while decorating LORD  on the previous day.

Therefore he corrected the direction of the yagnopavithram but to his utter amazement found that the yagnopavithram switched direction again. The Priest  realized that it was  Lord’s  way of saying that He was going to perform the last rite for his devotee  Narayana .

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 And ever mindful of His duties, He continues to perform the annual shraaddham for this sincere  devotee , to this day.  Narayana’s  sculpture with folded hands adorns one of the pillars in the pradikshina marga .

 Lord performed the last rite for Jatayu during Rama Avataram and as  Lord Aaramudhan performed the rites for  his devotee Narayanaswamy.

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Pics : Credits  Google images ( Thanks to all the devotees who uploaded them )

 

LORD KRISHNA AND THE THIEF


…………… I manifest only for those who surrender to ME.”………………..

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A Brahman, whose profession was singing the glories of the Lord, was once reciting  Srimad Bhagavatham in the house of a patron. A thief broke into the house where the recital was going on and hid himself in the deep corner .

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Perforce, he had to listen to Srimad Bhagavatham. The singer was now  describing the ornaments worn by  little Krishna which was adorned by Yashoda . He described the various ornaments Yasodha  decorated  on  little  Krishna before sending Him out with the cows. The thief  was  excited and thought that he should meet that lad  and rob all the ornaments at one stroke instead of struggling every day with petty stealing. He waited till the entire chapter of Srimadbhagavatam was recited and left the place. The thief wanted to know where this boy was. He, therefore, followed the Brahmin and waylaid him. The Brahmin was frightened and feared…

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LORD VARADARAJA ARRIVES WITH AN UMBRELLA FOR HIS DEVOTEE SWAMI THIRUKACHINAMBI


The Lord Himself, unable to bear the thought of swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi getting wet by the rain, had accompanied him to his home. Not only that, He waited there so that He could accompany swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi back to the temple!

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Swami Thiru-kachchi Nambi occupies a very unique position, both as an Acharyar, and as an advanced  devotee. Swamy Nambi  is one of the very few devotees with whom the Lord Himself conversed regularly.

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Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi appeared  in a place called poo irunda valli (currently called poonamallee, near Chennai). He moved to kAnchIpuram, and started performing  devotional service to LORD Varadaraja at Kancheepuram temple. His service was to fan the Lord of Kanchi, Swami Varadaraja, everyday in the late morning-early afternoon, and in the night before Lord takes rest . While doing the service (called thiru-Ala-vatta Kainkaryam in tamil), Lord Varadaraja used to talk to Swami thiru-k-kachchi nambi about the happenings of the world. The topics used to be anything from how the temple was being run, to the happenings in the city of Kanchipuram and esoteric topics about philosophy. The Lord considered swami thiru-k- kachchi nambi as His closest…

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Swamy Ramanuja’s Eighteen glorious visits to Thirukoshtiyur


  Swamy Ramanuja  went to meet  Acharyar  Peria Nambi    .

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With all humility he prostrated himself  and apologized for  any  offense he had  committed in falling short of having the darshan of  “His Holiness  Acharyar Swamy Yamunacharyar”.

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 Swamy Ramanuja expressed his misfortune in not being able to serve the legendary Acharyar Swamy Yamunacharyar and missing his elderly counsel in a whisper  .

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Gurudeva !  said Ramanuja  I need that knowledge  !!

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With great delight  the  Acharyar replied

  My child ,

The essence of  our Holy faith is embedded in the Dwayam  Mantra  !!

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The  power and the purifying meritorious  essence is  absolute healing ..

My dear child !  Remember  !! 

There is but One God  and He is All merciful  and is therefore   is our only  way  .

He is all knowing and All mighty and is there for our sake   .

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The souls destination  and aim is therefore uplifting ourselves in the  living service at his lotus feet forever . 

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My child ,

Anathya swaroopam

I wish you personally meet the great Acharyar Thirugoshtiyur Nambee  for knowing the eternal meaning of the Dwayam mantram along with the significance  of the  great  Eight syllabled   Thirumantra   . 

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  May all auspiciousness be with you .

Ramanuja was overwhelmed with his Acharya’s advise .

He decided to immediately leave to Thirugoshtiyur to have Acharyar Tirukkottiyur Nambi’s  lessons .

Anathya swaroopam

Thirukoshtiyur can be reached  from Srirangam about  two hours by a vehicle .  But in those days one had to walk about 150 miles distance to reach the holy place.  Thirukoshtiyur is  worshipped as the srivaishnava divya desam of Lord Sowmya Narayana Perumal  .  

 

The place  name is  derived from its nativity  Thiru-kotiyur. (Repeatedly attacked by the demon Hiranyakashipu  during Kritha yuga the  devatas , Saptharishis along with  Brahma and Paramashivan  met at one place to discuss about the future and submitting to Lord SrimanNarayana .

All unanimously chose Thirukotiyur as the meeting place ) As  all  of them met at this place  name came to be glorified  as Thirukoshtiyur, koshti means in group or as a team. Since this was the place where the Lord decided to  appear ,  

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Peria Azhwar sings in his very first pasuram of 4000 Divyaprabhandam  that this was the holy  place of  Lord Krishna appeared ……  and hence becomes the very first Srivaishnava Divyadesam as Azhwar begins  glorifying the Lord   from Thirukoshtiyur Divya desam.

 

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The  magnificent temple revered as the southern Badrinath has a  Lord Santhana Krishnan deity  in the main sanctum ..

 The deities can be worshipped in all three postures -standing, sitting and relaxing . In Ground floor  Lord Krishna graces us  in dancing posture –depicting Bhoolokam.

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In the next level  LORD  is in Sayana Thirukolam a posture resting on Adhisesha – depicting Devalogam. Directly above this the Lord is in Iruntha Kolam – depicting Indralogam.

And top most level in standing posture as Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal – depicting  Sri Vaikuntam”.  Swamy Thirukoshtiyur Nambi lived at this holy place serving Lord Sowmya Narayana Perumal.

Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Kovil
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Ramanuja  reached  Thirukoshtiyur. The village was vibrating with   a serene atmosphere with  peace everywhere . He  offered his obesiances to the temple gopuram………

and finding few passer-by’s   around he asked them , 

I am Ramanuja from Srirangam ,

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please guide me to the place where the revered  Acharyar Thirukoshtiyur Nambee lives .

The villagers were surprised to hear this name . They knew there was vedic chanting  regularly being heard from the street besides the temple …

They said ,

Acharyar Thirukoshtiyur Nambee   !..

for some time they were pondering  .

Suddenly one said ! Oh yeah the learned one where we hear the vedic chants

Oh yes !.

There that Swamin  lives in that small  hut.

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 Swamy Ramanuja immediately falls like an uprooted tree looking at the hut offering his obesiances .

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It is told by our elders , swamy ramanuja did not walk , instead prostrated  offering obesiances  ( dandaavats)  until   he reached the acharyans residence .

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The villagers were surprised to note that they were living amongst a great personality and never knew his opulence for his mere  simplicity  .

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Eager to meet the Acharyar , Swamy Ramanuja waits for His permission at the entrance of the hut  .

There is silence .

Ramanuja calls ,  Acharya  !!  Acharya  !! 

Swamy Mahapurnar sent me here ….

Acharyar Nambi walks to find out who the person was as he had referred Swamy Mahapurnars name…  

  He gets a reply ……

who is that ???

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  Ramanuja offers obesiances and  replies 

Acharya !  I am Ramanuja .

My Acharyar Mahapurnar  has sent me to learn the esoteric truths of Dwayam and Thirumantram .

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Acharyar  Nambi looks at Ramanuja and in order to test the strength of Ramanuja’s  steadfastness  tells him in a different tone..

Swamin !   

What I have to tell and to whom ? and thus gave no countenance  .

  Ramanuja never spoke  another word either way  .

He just prostrated  Acharyar   and returned to Srirangam .

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Few days later , Thirukoshtiyur Nambi had to attend the temple festival at Srirangam .

He came to Srirangam and paid obeisance’s to the Lord  and was honored by the temple priests .

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Lord Ranganathar commanded through the officiating priest  …

Acharya Nambee ..

” Do reveal all the divine knowledge to Ramanuja  who seeks  it in all the occult love of faith …..

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. Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi  with all humility submits

Oh Lord !  It is your divine instructions to share the transcendental knowledge only to the deserving  and  am just carrying your instructions ….

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I am just waiting to test Ramanuja for his dedication and absolute surrender to your lotus feet .

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Not so in his case my dear Nambi ,  

commanded Lord Ranganatha as he is fully qualified according to the requirement of the text by body  and  mind  .

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Looking at Ramanuja    who was serving the Lordships  ,

Acharyar spoke ..

Come to my place  soon  Ramanuja ….  and thus he  left Srirangam with due honours .

Ramanuja thanking the Lordships once again leaves to Tirukoshtiyur … .

……………..But ………he is for a surprise ……

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No !!  Not this time Ramanuja ,

Can you go and come again  my child . 

Thirukoshtiyur Nambi replies ……………….

Ramanuja never ever imagined of a protest or felt irritated but simply reflected on the truth and calmly went back .

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This happened for  almost 18 visits .

Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi was testing Ramanuja’s faith and the zeal in a ordeal of probation to see if his spirit was strong and capable of overcoming  the turbulent mind .

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Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi  felt that  the occult truths are for the deserving and not for the ones who are waylaid by the material instincts . 

Ramanuja returned for the 18th time now. 

He had tears at the futility of his repeated efforts and was found deeply revolving in his mind as what was stopping Acharyar to reveal the knowledge .

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He was inside the temple in  the mood of surrender for  Lord to somehow grace him  in seeking the revered Acharyars Thirukoshtiyur Nambi’s blessings .

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All of a sudden he found a disciple of Thirukoshtiyur Nambi had come to Srirangam to attend the temple festival .

  Ramanuja enquired about  Acharyara Thirukoshtiyur Nambis welfare and requested the disciple to reveal the eligibility to seek Acharyar’s  good will and audience .

The disciple was calm . He prayed Lord for Ramanuja’s prayer to be answered as he saw in close quarters Ramanujas sincerity  . 

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The disciple left to Tirokoshtiyur  and explained  Acharyar  about Ramanuja’s steadfastness to seek the esoteric truths .

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 Thirukoshtiyur Nambi was pleased . 

He said …

Oh !!  Has he such keen appetite !!

Then I must feed him immediately .

He instructed his disciple to immediately leave to Srirangam and inform Ramanuja to appear along with his staff and pennant .

Ramanuja was delighted .

He  along with Dasarathi and Kooresa  swiftly left to Thirukoshtiyur . 

All the three fell at the  lotus feet of Thirukoshtiyur Nambi   ..

Nambi was surprised to see Dasarathi and Kooresa along with Ramanuja. 

Ramanuja understood .

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He  said ! Holy Sire !

Am just following your commands  .

“Staff and Penant was your order”  .

Dasarathi ( MudaliAndaan ) is my staff and Kooresa is my pennant .

I am never without them.

Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi was pleased with Ramanuja’s  exemplary conduct .

The Acharya said , the one who has the direct blessings of  Lord Ranga himself revealed in his dream is bound to be given the sacred truths now . 

He took Ramanuja to a secret  chamber of his hut and revealed the truths of the Thirumantra .

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He said        …. Ramanuja !!

  This mantra is the granter of every boon , promoter of devotion and dispassion .This is the mantra all sages and saints constantly recite and bestower of eternal bliss .

 

He then gave him the inner meanings of Dwayam Mantra in detail .

Ramanuja was reverently receiving the divine teaching for which he had made 18 visits .

Ramanuja could not contain the truths to himself though it was imparted under the pledge of secrecy .

He pondered Why these truths are so secret and guarded ?

If LORD is not for sinners ! who will uplift them ?

and how can they be uplifted without knowing the method .

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He was concerned about his fellow jivas .

How and when will all of them reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead  .

Compassion and love for them burned in his heart . He was under  a fix . What If this transcendental knowledge is shared to so many jivas .

Will all of them not be uplifted ?

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Will LORD not be pleased to see so many jivas uplifted ..

There were also few doubts ! what will  Acharyar feel ?

Will I not be punished for overlooking the secrecy . 

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He recollected Azhwar’s soothing   verse 

” Kulam Tharum Selvam Thanthidum

Adiyar Padu Thuyar Ayinavellam

Nilam taram seyyum Neel Visumbhu arulum

Arulodu Perunilam alikkum

Valam Tharum Marrum Thanthidum

Petra Thayinum Ayina Seyyum

Nalam Tharum Sollai Naan Kandukondein

NARAYANA ennum Namam

    Ramanuja finally decided he will go with his heart .

The next day he entered a big hall and invited all  the   interested people to assemble near the temple  . Glad to see the people his heart flowed to them in turbulence revealing the  transcendental nectar for their souls  to nourish which was soothing .

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He discussed the truths for the spirit to get uplifted following the guided procedures tuning the mind , body for the souls emancipation .

The celebration of revealing and uplifting them made Ramanuja in bliss praying all the Acharyas and Lordships to uplift every jiva in this material world .

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The news reached Thirukoshtiyur Nambi’s chamber .

Upset , he commanded Ramanuja to immediately report to him  and asked in tone of anger  Why did he overstep his instructions in revealing the noble truths of religion to the undeserved .

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Ramanuja obediently replied……………….

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Holy Sire ! I confess I am guilty of disobedience !

But……

I  revealed the truths to glorify  your authority  and the transcendental teachings

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Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi was not satisfied .

He angrily said …….

Do you know the punishment for disobedience ?

Ramanuja replied Disobedience surely deserves me Hell .

I must be sent ,

No doubt at all………..

But  Master !! May I submit that it is a little sacrifice for one sinner to make in as much as it brings salvation to many .

It was compassion for the mankind that made me blind ! I seek forgiveness !

Please do whatever you wish   I deserve .

Am here just before with remorse …..

I surrender  to  your lotus feet  now …

 Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi was dumbstruck .

His heart moved looking at Ramanuja’s concern for the humankind .

His face said it all .

This thought never came to my crippled heart  he thought .

He could now understand  why   Ramanuja  was the favorite  child of Lord .

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My heart never thought of this  he said .

I never felt that all love is  for mankind.

Thus vehemently forth new and strange emotions he rushed towards Ramanuja   and embraced  him .

You are EMBERUMANAR !!   truly  my   Yatiraja !!!!  my child !!!!

He had tears watching his magnanimity for the love for the fellow beings .   

   My child !! 

Henceforth these teachings will be glorified as   ” Emberumanar teachings” .

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Ramanuja  replied  , Master! I am not to lay down low of you ..

Had I in the least thought that there were yet other secrets , I would have restrained but somehow the compassion for the human mankind gave me  into this pious act  .

I hold my peace .

It is for your holiness to decide what more I deserve to be taught .

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Thirukoshtiyur  Nambi continued with emotion filled heart …..

My child  let that be deferred now !!

Come again Sure !! But Mind it !!

Come alone ……

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Ramanuja fell at Nambis feet like an uprooted tree seeking forgivance and mercy repeatedly and proceeded to Srirangam .

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Some time later Ramanuja came back to meet Thirukoshtiyur Nambi and humbled himself before the holy sire . 

Nambi clasping Ramanuja’s hands lovingly took him to a sequestered spot and adopting every precaution that no one may disturb them said ….

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Listen …….

My dear Arjuna !! the secret of secrets I say it is good for you and as my dear friend and devotee It is the last word of the spiritual science

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Give up entirely all other ways

Choose ME alone as the way

Thee from all sins I will absolve

No more than shalt thou mourn

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My  child  !! Reveal not these holy truths to the undeserving , un serving , haters of Lord .Nambi continued,

 Ramanuja   If you value these truths then let not atheists and heretics hear them .

Guard them against such .

These  noble truths are to be shared only with the qualified and the deserving  .

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Thirukoshtiyur Nambi summed up the full meaning of the eight syllable mantra and the other noble truths hidden in the other Rahasya mantras .

The short meaningful sentences offered by Nambi are very useful commandments for all srivaishnavas. 

The gist of the teachings are the pre requisites to be qualified to be eligible for the Thirumantra and Dwayam   teachings . 

A true  Vaishnava  is one who develops detachment being amongst  the family . Its similar to  a worm which lives in the dirty filth but not attached to the surroundings .

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Wisdom engulfs the realized who knows this .

Over indulgence and  developing attachment to the body and people related through this body defeats the purpose of self awakening .

 Feeling depressed when others are seen happy takes us to a futile decision .

Surrender all the evil qualities ..

Dont develop Ego , Attachment , Craving , Arrogance , Pride etc  the qualities which will shatter your purpose of life .

 Avoid sensual pleasures that ruins your self.

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Kill that I in you .

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The I which identifies the world around you by calling I , Mine etc .. pulls you to bottomless pit of miseries slowly and invisibly .

My name , My caste , My wealth My love all goes on well till your body exists . Realise  always  , you are not this body but the self .

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The name remains only with the body . We are a component of the divine spark always remaining in bliss . There are No likes or dislikes ….

Taking birth as a brahmin doesn’t qualify one’s birthright to become srivaishnava .

One needs to aspire to  become a Srivaishnava who  sees LORD in all the beings .

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A Srivaishnava is not identified with his appearance with his Tilak ( Thiruman) nor the tulasimala .

He just lives for helping others .

Sri Vaishnavam is not a caste,  a group or association, with which one has to associate to reach HIM. It is open to one and all independent of caste, creed, gender and scholarship of the individual.

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Our Sri Vaishnava siddhantam is as old as Veda itself.  All the vedas, upanishads, ithihasa puraanas and the Pancharatra and Vaikanasa Vaishnava agamas undoubtedly establish the supremacy of Lord Sriman Narayana, who is worshipped through the Ashtakshari Mantra .

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 The moment you identify that you are a srivaishnava you get satvaguna by default . Azhwars have always preached the glory of Namasankeertana and seva.

Once you are in this mood ,  You reach the satwic  state  both by words and actions .

Slowly out of respect to Poorvacharyas and Azhwars you become humble , follow dharma and become a srivaishnava in all aspects .

You will slowly have attraction to the Holy name  and turn to devotion by  absolute surrender.

You will slowly realise being a devotee means you  must follow the dharmic principles ,  and due to that you start loving the devotees .

You will seek them , love them and be amongst them always .

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The only job will be to discuss , recite and celebrate Lords glories and remain in this blissfull state always .

Nothing becomes important except HIS service and HIS devotees service .

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Once you start developing these spiritual means in your daily life , Lord descends to be with you .

Lord out of his causeless mercy lives with you in every moment As the devotee has attained this blissful state , he prays LORD that this state remains forever .

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Thus he is always in the devotees association . With this , the devotee decides to remain a servant to the LORD in all aspects just serving HIM with sheer love and depend on HIM for even the breath he inhales ..

The devotee slowly identifies his purpose of life and gradually lives seeking it by total surrender .

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Once you reach this state,  the esoteric truths  learnt will become clear and the  mantra works in your favour  and then the emancipation happens automatically .

 Ramanuja felt to himself that as Lord Krishna preached eighteen chapters to Arjuna before revealing the final word , in order to test Arjuna’s mind  the eighteen trips imposed upon me by  Acharyar  was to  condition my  spirit in seeking the nectar of instructions .

Swamy Ramanuja’s is glorified at various holy places by the following names….

 

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SriRangam                                      Koil Udayavar

ThiruAllikeni                                 Lakshmana Muni

Tirumala                                           Bhashyakaar

Melkote                                             Pesum Yathirajar

Madhurantakam                            Thiruppavai Jeeyar

Sriperambadoor                              Bhuthapuri Elayaazhwar

Thirukostiyoor                                  Goshtipuram Emperumanar

Thiruvaali Thirunagari                   Godagrajar

Srivalliputhur                                      Koil Annan

Azhwar Thirunagari                          Bhavishyad Acharyar

Thondanoor ( Karnataka)                 Sri Ramanujar Sheshavataram

jai jai

Video credits : The Healthy 2010,  Hariprasad , RamyaGiri , Ammaskrishna

Pictures : Google images uploaded by several  advanced devotees /

Thanks to  Sri Varavara muni/Geethacharyan

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan