Swamy Parasara bhattar replied .. I shall not trouble you with all that , for when I shall quote one authority , to which we commonly agree . The first sutra of Apastamba Dharma which says Wise practices of our wise elders are our best authority . Only after this comes Vedas .. Adiyens father Kooresa observed the sacrament in question and therefore , Adiyen does it .. Hope you to follow your Elders footsteps without doubt ..
For adiyen Means as well as end is Swamy Ramanuja ..
my end of salvation is the lotus feet of Swamy Ramanuja …forever and said ..
Satyam satyam Punah Satyam,
YathirAjO Jagath Guru…………………
When Krishna was leaving Gokula to free his biological parents and Ugrasena by vanquishing the demon Kamsa, Radharani was awaiting for Krishna on the way. Krishna’s eyes dissolves in Radharanis eyes .He asks the driver to stop the cart. Akrura surprisingly asks, Oh Lord!! “Who is she?” Krishna responds, Akrura
“Everyone is drawn to me, but I am drawn to her!”
Lord Krishna is believed to have graced him with darshan , as ‘Pandava Dhootha’, in the same way he had in the Mahabharatha episode. Having played the role of a messenger for the Pandavas, Lord Krishna, here at this temple, is known by that same name Pandava Dhootha Perumal.
KESHAVA, NARAYANA ,MADHAVA, GOVINDA, VISHNU, MADHUSUDANA TRIVIKRAMA, VAMANA, SRIDHARA, HRISHIKESHA, PADMANABHA & DAMODARA
Swamy Ananthalwan joined eternity with Lord Venkateshwara on the sacred Thiru Adi Pooram day ( July- August) .
Even today , Lord Venkateswara visits this garden and bestows honours on the Magizha Tree.
The satari at the main sanctum sanctorum is glorified as Sadagopa in remembrance of Nammazhwar.
- KANCHIPURAM, popularly known as “ Temple town” is situated 70 kms to the southwest of Chennai -30 kms from Arakkonam and about 25 kms from Sriperumbudur-the birth place of Swamy Ramanujar. It takes about 2 hours to reach this place from Guindy, Chennai (subject to traffic) and about 1 hour from Arakkonam .
Plenty of buses ply from Chennai at frequent intervals to this place. It takes about one and half hours by car from Chennai Airport. Cab charges from Arakonam to Kanchi is fixed as RS.1,200/-. whereas from Chennai Airport it is about Rs.1000/-app.
As Brahma (KA) worshipped Vishnu in this place, it is known as KANCHI.
Kancheepuram is the only mukti kshetram located in South India out of the seven mukthi kshetrams, the others being Ayodhya, Mathura , Maya, Kasi, Avanthi, Dwaraka which are located in the NOrthern India.
SRIRANGA MANGALA NIDHIM KARUNA NIVAASAM
SRI VENKATADRI SHIKARALAYA KALAMEGHAM
SRI HASTHISAILA SIKORAJWALA PARIJATHAM
SRISAN NAMAAMI YADHUSAILA DEEPAM
The above famous sloka refers to the four most important Vishnu shrines-namely Srirangam(also known as “Bhoga Mandapam”),
Venkatadri(Tirumala)( “Pushpa Mandapam”),
Srihasthisailam(Kanchi)(“Thyaga mandapam”) and
Yadhusailam(Melkote) (known as “Jnana Mandapam”).
The above Perumals were worshipped by famous devotees in the four yugas.
Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam (known as “Kovil”) was worshipped by Lord Rama who later presented HIM to Vibhishana in Treta yuga
Lord Thirunarayanan of Melkote was worshipped by Lord Krishna in Dwapara yuga,
Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati (known as “Malai”) is being worshipped by Adisesha and us in Kali yuga whereas
Lord Varadarajar in Kanchipuram (Perumal kovil) is being worshipped in all the four yugas-
by Brahma in Satya yuga,
by Mahashaantan Maharishi who asssumed the form of Gajendran in TReta yuga
by Devaguru Brihaspathi in Dwapara yuga
by Ananatazhwan(Adisesha) in Kali yuga
The sthalavaralaaru mentions that Adisesha (the serpent on which Lord Vishnu eternally resides) emerged from Patala to worship the Lord. This place is now known as “Ananta saras” pushkarini where Lord Athi Varadar resides in water. There is a snake pit(putru) near Nammazhwar sannidhi in the temple premises which is considered to be Adiseshan’s dwelling place.
Ananta saras is the only temple pushkarini in the world which has association with Lord always as HE dwells in the sacred waters of the pushkarini. In all other temples, LOrd visits the pushkarini only for theerthavari and in most of the cases it is the Sudarshana chakram which has holy dip in theerthams.
Brahma-the lotus born who emerged from Lord Vishnu’s naval at the time of creation desired to have darshan of Lord Vishnu and undertook penance. Lord appeared in the form of water at Pushkar in Rajasthan and later in the form of forest at Naimisaranyam near Lucknow. He wished to have darshan of the Lord with chathurbhujam and was advised by an asareeri to perform 100 Aswamedha yagams. AS he felt he was incompetent to perform 100 yagams, he was advised to perform one aswamedha yagam at Sathyavratha kshetram as any act done at this holy place would reap 100 times benefit.
Brahma brought athi (“Dhaaru”-a rare type of wood) known as “DHEVA UDUMBARAM” from DEvalokam on an elephant and Viswakarma -the divine architect carved out Vishnu murthi holding sankhu , chakram, gadam and right hand in abhaya hastham. He installed this murthi and started Aswamedha yagam. The speciality of this wood is it gains lustre when in contact with water unlike normal wood which gets spoilt quickly when kept in water. By placing a piece of wood in a tree trunk, the tree would start growing. This tree can be found only in two places -Athiyur(kanchi) and Gaya. (There are very few temples like Thirukovalur, Thiruvellarai, Puri and Kanchi where the Lord made of wood is worshipped which adheres to agama sastras)
This place came to be known as “Kanchi” as “KA”(Brahma) worshipped Vishnu here. He begun the yagna alone with the help of SAvitri and Gayatri (his other consorts), without his main consort Sri Saraswati.(It may be recalled that in Pushkar also, Brahma did penance without Saraswati’s presence. this can be observed in the Brahma temple. )
Angered by this negligence, Saraswati decided to stop the yaga ( A divine play by LORD) . First, she put the entire world in darkness. The Lord out of abundant compassion to Brahma appeared as Sri Deepaprakasa on Chitra Revati ( Now glorified as DeepaPraksha temple ) . Darkness was driven out. On the auspicious day in the month of Chitra(Apr- May) on Revati star day which is considered as the appearance day of Lord Deepaprakasar , Perumal along with Swami Vedanta Desikar visit Varadaraja temple .
Again when Brahma wanted to start the yagna, Saraswati sent a demon with bird and beast features to stop the yagna. Immediately, the Lord appeared with Eight arms –Sri Ashtabuja Perumal This place is in another separate Kshetram within Kanchipuram. This happened in Chitra Rohini . The demon was driven away and lord Brahma restarted the yagna . Not to rely on others to stop the yagna, then Saraswati decided to stop the yagna herself and took the form of a rushing river – Vegavati .
The Lord now took the reclining pose and as a bridge stopped the flow of the river. This happened in Vekkha and thus the Lord is Sri Yatothkari . This wonderful incident happened on Chitra Punarvasu day . Thus the Lord appeared in Three forms in the month of Chitra in Revati, Rohini and Punarvasu as Sri Deepaprakasa, Sri Ashtabuja Perumal and Sri Yatoktakari. ( One must have darshan of the Lordships in these temples which is very near to Main temple ) .
At conclusion of yaga, Lord Varadarajan emerged out of the scared fire pleased with Brahma’s devotion, in Punyakoti vimanam on the northern banks of River Vegavati.
As Perumal ( Utsava Moorthy ) appeared from fire, the marks on caused due to heat in the form of many small dots can be seen on utsavar’s Thirumugam ( divine face ) . Perumal gave darshan with chathurbhujam holding sankhu, chakram, gadam with HIS lower left hand and lower right hand in .abhaya hastam on Chithirai month chathurdashi thithi on Hastham star. “Ka” – means Brahma and “Anjitham” – means who was worshipped.
As Perumal granted all the boons of Devas, He is known as “Varadar” meaning “giver of boons”. As He is very compassionate, He is known as “Perarulalan.
As He is the master of Devas, He is Devadirajan,
as he resides at Attiyur (this place was once surrounded by Athi maram),
He is known as Attiyuran,
Hastagirinathan as He resides in Hastagiri. Airavatam-the celestial elephant on which Brahma brought the diety assumed the form of a hill to shelter the Lord. Hence , the hillock is known as Hastagiri. (Indra who was cursed by Mahalakshmi to become an elephant prayed at this place and was redeemed from curse.
As the Lord is bestower of boons to , HE is known as “Varadan“
Athivaradar carved out and worshipped by Brahma was the presiding diety whom Azhwars and Acharyars have glorified. The deity of Lord Varadarajar glorified as Athiyuran was the main deity in the Garbagraha of this temple until 15th Century. But as per the stone inscriptions in Thayar sannidhi, in 1487 , the murthi was replaced with shila murthi by Virupakshanayakan (a local king) under the rule of Narasinarayar of Vijayanagar empire.
During the Muslim invasion, in 1687 A.D.,the main deity (Lord Varadarajan) is said to have been under threat by the invaders. The mughals eyed on temples to plunder the abundant wealth kept in the temples . In order to preserve the deity and to avoid desecration of the Lordships, the elders constructed a mandapam inside the tank and placed Athivaradan (moolavar diety) secretly in a silver casket and immersed in the temple tank- Anantha saras . (As per Dr.M.A.Venkatakrishnan, the deity is placed in the tank without silver casket. ). To protect the deity from floating, statues of eight naagas considered to be Adisesha swaroopam were installed around the diety for protection.
The utsava murthi of LOrd Varadarajan and Perundevi Thayar were shifted to Udayarpalayam near Trichy. The temple was in a deserted condition for 22 years. After peace was restored, an advanced devotee named Sri. Aathan Jeeyar who was the guru for Thodamal-the army chief of Arcot king (whose statue can be seen inside Tirumala temple) arranged to restore the utsava murthis in 1711 . AS they could not trace the whereabouts about Moolavar as most of the elders had migrated from Kanchi or left the world, there was none to reveal the whereabouts . It was decided to install a new Moolavirat from a rock in Pazhaya seevaram (a small hillock)-about 15 kms from Kanchipuram. . A replica of Athivaradar was thus carved out and consecrated as per vedic injunctions which we worship today. To mark this incident , every year during Thai maasam(Jan-Feb) , the utsava murthi Varadarajan visits Pazhaya seevaram. The newly consecrated idol was being worshipped along with the utsava murthis.
(After 40 years, due to divine will , when the temple tank Ananta saras got dried up (either due to drought or for cleaning purpose), the Lord revealed HIMSELF in the pushkarini. The Lord was placed in a nearby mantapam for worship as there was already a moolavar inside the temple.
(As per stone inscriptions in the temple, Athivaradar was found in the temple tank in 1781 on July 30th on saturday dasami thithi . )
Later, Lord appeared in a temple priest’s dream commanding him to put back the Lord in the cool waters of Ananta saras as HE was still experiencing the heat generated during Brahma’s yagam. Lord conceded to the devotees’ request to give darshan once in 40 years for a period of 48 days. Thus the practice of taking out the Lord from Ananta saras approximately once in 40 years for a period of 48 days begun. (As per records, it was taken out in 1892,then after 45 years in 1937, later after 42 years in 1979 and now after 40 years in 2019.)
Lord is placed in two postures -lying posture and standing posture . (As per Dr.Venkatakrishnan, the water from the puskarini is completely drained out and on an auspicious day during JUly-Aug when there are not many utsavams, the Lord is taken out carefully from Anantasaras, given holy bath and decorated .NO preservatives are used for protecting the divine form of the Lord. The Lord is placed only to have darshan, six times pooja as per Pancharatra agamasastras are not performed.
Ananta saras is the most sacred temple tank in the whole world because of its association with the LOrd of Universe always. Sprinkling holy water from this pushkarini redeems us of all the innumerable accumulated sins . In all other temples, either the utsava murthi of Perumal or ” sataari ” is dipped in the temple puskarini during culmination of brahmotsavam usually once in a year whereas in Ananta saras, the Lord dwells eternally.
It was Lord Varadar in the form of hunter couple who saved Ilayazzhwan(Swamy Ramanujar) from Yadavaprakasa who had planned to kill him. The most compassionate Lord VAradar along with HIS consort Perundevi Thayar disguised as hunter couple accompanied Ramanujar on the dark night in the forests near Vindhya mountains when Ilayazwan had lost way. Overnight, he was transported to Kanchipuram. When Ilayazhwan went to fetch water to quench the hunter-lady;s thirst, the Lord disappeared .When the perplexed Ilayazwan enquired about the whereabouts , he was pointed towards “Punyakoti vimanam”.
Ilayazhwan realized that it was Lord Varadarajan who escorted him to this place and continued to stay here doing theertha kainkaryam. Also, Swamy Ramanujan embraced Sanyasam as per the Lord;s instructions by having a holy dip in the Ananta saras and was given orange robes by the Lord HIMSELF. Swamy Ramanujar did theertha kainkaryam to the Lord until he was ordered to shift to Srirangam to fulfill Thiruvaranga araiyar’s boon bestowed by Lord Varadar who was immensely pleased with Araiyar sevai performed by him.
Another interesting incident:-when Ramanujar ordered Kooratazhwan who became blind while trying to save him ordered him to prayto Varadar, Kooratazhwan composed VAradaraja stavam comprising of 102 slokas in praise of this Lord. When Lord asked him for a boon, he prayed that he should be given vision to see the holy form of the Lord and his acharyar only. He didn’t want to see the material world.
Like Puri Rathyatra performed 10 days prior to Aashada Ekadasi, the Annual Garuda seva performed on the third day during Vaigasi Brahmotsavam (May-June) especially attracts huge crowds from near and far. The streets are very wide like in Puri.
Another similarity between Puri and Kanchi temples is the dieties are made of wood . IN Puri Jaganath temple, once in 12 years, the moolavar dieties of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Baladeva are replaced whereas in Kanchi Varadar temple, Athivaradar-the Lord carved out from athi wood by Brahma is preserved inside the temple tank and is taken out for worship once in 40 years.
This town is sanctified with many Acharayas -Sri Thirukachinambigal, Sri Ramanujar, Sri Desikar, Sri Sankaracharyar to name a few. Also , this is the headquarters for many religious peetams like Kanchi Kamakoti peetam, Sri Mudaliandan swamy Thirumaligai, Sri Appan Swamy Thirumaligai and other associate maaligas of Sri Ramanujar’s sishyas. One of the shatberams(6 utsava murthis) was given by the LOrd HIMSELF to our acharyar-Sri Mudaliandan Thirumaligai.
VAradaraja Sthavam by Kooratazhwan, Varadaraja Panchasat by VEdanta Desikar, Devaraja Ashtakam by Thirukachi nambigal are few famous renderings on this Lord. Thyagaraja has also composed a beautiful kirtan on this Lord.
Our poorvacharyars attribute the word “amararukku athipathi ” of the first pasuram in Nammazhwar Thiruvaimozhi to this Perumal.
|MOOLAVAR||SRI VARADARAJAR, PERARULALAN, DEVADIRAJAN, DEVAPPERUMAL, ATTIYURAN|
|THEERTHAM||VEGAVATHI RIVER , ANANTH SARAS, SESHA THEERTHAM , VARAHA THEERTHAM, BRAHMA THEERTHAM|
|MANGALASAASANAM||THIRUMANGAI AZHWAR 4 PASURAMS, |
BHOODATHAZHWAR 2 PASURAMS,
PEYAZHWAR 1 PASURAM
|PRATHYEKSHAM||BRAHMA, BRIGU RISHI, NARADAR|
This temple town is dotted with many temples of which there are 14 important shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and 13 temples for Parama Shivan. The sthalapuranam for all the Vishnu temples is inter connected with Brahma’s penance. Brahma who started Aswamedha yaga without his wife SAraswathi had to face many hurdles and everytime Lord Vishnu appeared in various forms to encounter SAraswati’s obstacles until Brahma successfully completed the yaga.
The temples are located in Little Kanchi and Big Kanchi. Out of 22 divya desams in Thondai naadu, 14 are in Kanchipuram itself and another at Thiruputkuzhi, the details of which are briefly given:-
- Sri Nilathingal thundathan Perumal, (in Ekambareswarar temple)
- Sri Ulagalandha Perumal , Ooragham
- Sri Jagadeeswara Perumal, Neeragam in Ulagalandha Perumal temple prakaram
- Sri Karunakara Perumal, Kaaragam in Ulagalandha Perumal temple prakaram
- Sri Kaarvannan (Kalva) Perumal, Thirukaarvanam in Ulagalandha Perumal temple prakaram(all these temples are in Ulagalandha Perumal kovil itself)
- Sri Aadivaraha Perumal, Thirukalvanur (in Kamakshi temple)
- Sri Vaikuntanatha Perumal, Thiruparameswara vinnagaram
- Sri Pandava dhootha Perumal, Thirupadagam
- Sri Pavalavannan Perumal, Thirupavazhavannam(also,Perumal gives darshan as Pachaivarnan beside this temple)
- Sri Varadaraja Swamy temple, Thirukachi
- Sri Ashtabuja Perumal, Thiruattabuyakaram
- Sri Deepaprakasa temple, Thiruthanka
- Sri Azhagia Singar temple, ThiruVelukkai
- Sri Yathothkari temple, Thiruvekha
With Kanchipuram as base town , devotees can also have darshan of Thiruputkuzhi Divya desam (1 hour drive from Kanchi). If you start early, you can finish visiting Kanchi temples by noon. Thiruputkuzhi, Sriperumbudur, Kooram can be visited in the second half of the day.
Check out the divine pastime in the appended blog post. Click the link
Of these, Sri Varadarajar temple with its imposing towers , Sri Kamakshi temple, Sri Ekambareswar temples attract many pilgrims including foreign tourists daily.
The famous Lord Varadarajar temple wears festive look daily .
Around 280 Utsavams happen in this temple all around the year
Lord Devaraja has captivating beauty and it is said that Swami Ramanuja was totally attracted by His shoulders
Perundevi Thayar, the consort of Devadirajan does not come out of the garbagriham like SriRanganayaki. Even the utsava murthi of the Thayar is not taken out for procession beyond the four walls of the temple. Whenever Perumal is taken out in procession inside the temple, HE is accompanied by Perundevi Thayar .
The Theppam (float festival) is celebrated in Anantasaras tank. The temple pond known as Anantha Saras /Amrutha saras never dries up , the Vimanam is known as Punyakoti Vimanam.
Every Friday , Thayar comes in a procession within the 4 walls of the temple. Almost 280 utsavams are performed to Lord whole year . Brahma in Kreta Yuga, Gajendran, the elephant in Tretha yuga, Brihaspathi in Dwarpara yuga and Adiseshan in Kaliyuga offered their prayers to Lord here .
The wonderful temple is located on a 23-acre complex and has 3 outer precincts (prakaram) namely Azhwar Prakaram, Madai Palli Prakaram and Thiru Malai Prakaram. The main sanctum faces west and can be entered through a 130 feet tall, 7-tiered rajagopuram (main gateway tower).
The eastern gopuram is taller than the western gopuram, which is contrasting to large temples where the rajagopuram is the tallest one. There is a 100 pillared hall has sculptures depicting Ramayana and Mahabaratha .The main shrine of Varadarajaswamy is on a small hillock 10m tall and a fleet of 24 steps, termed “Hasthagiri..
The temple has 5 prakarams. The first prakara which is on the Hastagiri hill houses the garbagriha and the pradakshinam path. The garbagriham is known as “Vayya maligai” – earthly mansion of the Lord(Leela Vibhuti) .
A flight of steps from the lower hill, known as Varanagiri which houses Narasimhar, leads us to the garbagriha where we can have darshan the Lord in His pristine glory.
The second prakaram is known as Thirumalai pradakshinam as it runs round the hill.
The third prakara known as Madapalli prakaram/ Alavandar prakaram houses the temple kitchen, numerous shrines and mantapams for Garuda, Adisesha, Perundevi Thayar, the abhsiheka mantapam where the utsava murthis are given abhishekam, pavitrotsava mantapam where the Lord’s vaahanams are kept, the unjal mandapam etc.
The fourth prakaram known as Azhwar Thiruveedi houses the vigrahams of all Azhwars , Acharyars, Krishna, Varaha, Sri Ranganathar etc and the Anantasaras tank.
The fifth prakaram is known as “Mada veethi “ and it was here that Sri Alavandar first saw Sri Ramanujar and blessed him that he would be the foremost for propagating Vaishnavism by declaring “Aam invan mudhalvan” meaning yes, he is the foremost.
As mentioned earlier, the Garbagriham is located on top of Hastagiri hill with enclosures on all sides. However on one particular day after 15 days from Chithira Pournami, the sunrays fall directly on Moolavar’s Thirumugam . (Similarly in Vaikunta Perumal kovil(popularly known as Kallapiran) in Pandya naadu, the sunrays fall on the moolavar’s thirumugam twice in a year)
Even the stones on the compound wall are 24. The pushkarini also has 24 steps. Gayatri mantra has 24 syllables. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Lord, Who has Gayatri as His body, has everything, around number 24. Apart from this, according to Visishtadvaita philosophy, achit entities are 24. That is inanimate entities are 24. When we cross the 24 steps we land on the top floor and that is the 25th entity, Jeevatman. From this floor we have to climb some more steps to reach the garbha gruham of Lord Devaraja Perumal. We come to the corridor on the floor and we go round that. One end of the corridor is famous for two things.
One of the ancestors of Lord Rama named Asmanjhan and his wife who were cursed to become lizards were redeemed from their curse at this place by the Lord. Hence, it is believed that touching the golden and silver lizards would cure us of all ailments. Crowds throng to touch these lizards for getting rid from material ailments forgetting that the Lord of the UNiverse standing as Varadarajan saves us from this “Samsaram” and gives “MOKSHAM”
Another adjoining mandapam, Kachhikku vaithan mandapam follows the corridor . Every evening the Lord would arrives at this mandapam, and Swami Thirukacchi Nambi would start his fanning service Thirukachi nambigal, the great Vaishnavite saint had the bhaagyam of conversing with this Perumal while fanning the Lord(Alavatta kainkaryam). This is beside the “lizard mantapam”
It is believed that Brahma comes here once a year on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April-May) around mid night, for a darshan of Lord Varadarajan. On this day, it is the practice for the priests to place food inside the sanctum and to wait outside for 24 minutes. At the end of this, the food is said to smell sweeter.
It was thus decided by Elders that LORD has to be taken out from the temple tank once in 40 years and various pooja shall be performed for 48 days and then kept in the bed of the Pushkarini for the next 40 years.
The 96th Pasuram of Irandam thiruvanthathi glorifies LORD as
aththiyUrAn puLLai UrvAn * aNimaNiyin
thuththi sEr * nAgaththin mEl thuyilvAn ** –
muththI maRaiyAvAn * mAkadal nanjchuNdAn thanakkum *
iRaiyAvAn engkaL pirAn
Bhoodathazhwar addresses the Lord as “athiyooran” who is fond of garuda seva(pullai oorvan -pul =bird. Kanchi Garuda seva is world famous.
Thus Lord Athi Varadhar gives His darshan to the devotees only once in 40 years and that too for a period of 48 days.
The Rising of Athi Varadhar” happened in the years 1739, 1779, 1819, 1859, 1939, 1979 and Now in the year 2019 and fortunate are those who are having darshan .
Athi Varadar thus graces the devotees once in 40 years . Lord arrives from the Anantha saras and alights outside for public worship for a period of 48 days. This event took place last in 1979 and now in 2019 darshan has already commenced now . Lord gives darshan in reclining posture during the first 24 days and later gives darshan in standing posture for the remaining 24 days.
Vendittrellaam tarum vallal Manivannan” is how our Nammazhwar describes the Lord. Whatever we ask, the Lord is ready to give us the same and much more, however exalted be the boon we seek.
Check out the url links below on abundant mercy of the Lord of the Lords ..
He endows us with whatever we need during our mundane sojourn and once we perform Prapatti,
He takes us to his own eternal abode, never to return to the quagmire of Samsara.
And this, only Emperuman can do, say the Shastras-
”Moksham icchet, Janaardanaat”.
srIranga mangaLa nidhim karuNA nivAsam* (Srirangam for South)
*srI vEnkatAdhri sikarAlaya kALa mEkam* (Tirupathi for North)
*srI hasthisaila sikarOjvala pArijAtham* (Varadharaja perumal temple for East)
*srIsam namAmi sirasA yadhusaila dhIpam* (Melkote temple for West)
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Source: Whatsapp info/ youtube videos
Pictures/Videos Credits :
Thanks to Advanced devotees who have uploaded in social media
Azhwan submitted , ………………..
Will Lord ever forgive us for this great transgression for which he was a mute spectator…
JagathAcharyar Swamy Ramanuja happened to pass by the banks of the river .
One curious boy noticed the smiling swamin from a long distance
He informed the other kids and all wished to have Acharyas appreciation .
kummara dAsuDaina kuru varati nambi emmanna varamulella nichchina vADu ………….dommulu sEsina yeTTi tonDamAn chakkura varti
rammanna chOTiki vachchi nammina vADu ||
Srivilliputtur beautiful village turned ” town” houses two famous temples- Lord Vatapatrasayee kovil ( sri vaishnava divyadesa kovil) and Andal kovil(Godadevi’s residence).
Located in Virudhunagar District about 75 kms away from Madurai from north and about 70kms away from Tirunelveli from south ,this temple is famous for Mother Andals appearance.
The Rajagopuram of the temple has eleven tiers and 192″ height being one among the tallest towers of temples in the state. The Tamilnadu Government’s official symbol remains to be this gopuram .
This holy place is worshiped as Varaha kshetram.
Bhrigu and Markandeya maharishis were performing penance at this holy place .
The demon Kalanemi was troubling them causing hindrances in their daily rituals . Lord eliminated the demon Kalanemi using Sudarshana Chakram.
The sudarshana chakra cleansed its blood stains by taking a dip in this holy tank located inside the temple in which the rivers Ganga , Yamuna and Saraswathi reside .
Hence, this temple tank is called as Thirumukkulam tank.
Glorifying the Lordships, the Saints pleaded the LORD to reside at this holy place and out of abundant mercy Lord conceded their request and continued to reside in this place in sayana thirukkolam under a banyan tree. Hence, Lord is worshiped here as is VATAPATRASAYEE
Over a period of time this place got covered by sand dumes and then huge vegetation erupted all over .
After a long period of time this holy place got converted into a dense forest .
Due to the passing time , the deity also got submerged in the soil. Later, Villi a hunter came in search of his brother happened to take rest under a banyan tree. He heard an asareeri ( divine voice ) saying Lord is lying down under the same banyan tree.
He was instructed to clear the woods and build a temple for the Lord.
Villi rushed to the King and thus , with the help of Pandyan king, cleared the place, took out the deity , built a temple and town.
Hence, the place got the name Villiputtur. Sri was prefixed to the name after Andal ( Godha) appeared at this place .
The divine pastime is to be cherished on this auspicious appearance day of our divine mother Andal .
Vishnu chittar,( Peria Azhwar ) an amsam of Garudazhwan, was performing pushpa kainkaryam to the Lord in this place. Azhwar was offering morning ablutions and after watering the flowers and the Thulasi plants plucking the blossoms and Thiruttulai dalams was moving ahead towards the temple .
He suddenly espied at the foot of a cluster of Tulasee plant a little baby girl moon faced with curly hairs and the smile resembled the fine gentle flutter of petals of a golden lotus .
Peria azhwar was wonder stuck with the divine play .It was a feast for his eyes looking at the abundant merciful eyes of the baby girl .
He accepted her as his daughter as per the divine will and took her home .
The girl displayed extraordinary features of divine beauty and love for Azhwar .
Azhwar brought her up with utmost care and affection .
He became her mother father and protector .He named her Godha devi ( Godha = Earth )
THE GIRL WHO EMANATED FROM EARTH .
Godha displayed divine qualities . She was alike the moon and her presence was an object of decoration for the Tulasee garden and she appeared as an incarnation of beauty , wisdom and piety .
Right from her childhood Godha temperaments and attitude were different from those of the children of her age .
She appeared a philosophical genius of saintly nature almost like a girl saint always contemplating about Lord and the divine pastimes .
Always immersed in Krishna katha , she helped her father in watering the flowering plants in the garden .She used to follow her father like a shadow in all the divine services , preparing garlands for the Lord , worshiping and offering prayers .
She was always found muttering LORD’s holy names and became an angel in the lives of Azhwar and disciples .
She was seen in gentle smiles of understanding and appreciation and sat like a saint in penance always in the mood of Krishna .
One evening Azhwar went into the garden to pluck the flowers when they were about to bloom .
Each flower had a specific time when they used to bloom .
He collected all those flowers meticulously so that the fragrance is enjoyed by the SUPREME LORD .
After preparing a garland of fragrant flowers along with Tulasee he hung the garland on a wooden peg across a wooden pillar within the ashram .
He had to go to the temple after sunset and hence he took a stroll .
One day ,when he returned , he saw Godhadevi having worn the fresh garland, who was looking into the mirror imagining Lord Krishna’s presence .
Azhwar was stuck with dismay and confusion at the childish act of his daughter .
He entered the abode sad and with a troubled voice gently lamented
..My child Godha ..
What is this you have done ?
How could you choose to adorn the garland that was made for the Lord ?
This garland has now become impure and unfit to be offered it to Supreme Lord ..
It is already late and no time left to pluck the fresh flowers and prepare a new garland for Lords service. The time for temple worship has already begun .
My child ..
Today Lord will not adore a garland and this is a sin …
My child I will be committing an offense today without adorning HIM with a fresh garland……………….
Godha was cool and gentle .She never spoke a single word ..
After offering services to Lord Azhwar came back to Ashram and was upset for chiding Godha .
He did not sleep .
He recounted those days of service and pleaded forgivness to Lord .
Somehow he was filled with remorse and he woke up early to meet his daughter .
But he could not find her inside .
He raced into the garden to check ……
Godha was already there playing with someone in the garden .
Azhwar stood behind a tree and was watching patiently .
Godha was in a different mood running around the cluster of Tulasee plants trying to catch some one .She was whispering Krishna
..Not there ..Here . I found you …..and laughing …in ecstasy she ran and calling Krishna’s names ..
Azhwar quickly realised Lord was really playing with her .He was in a fix .
Should he embrace his little daughter and kiss her or should he prostrate on her little feet for her exalted piety. He walked into the Ashram and looked at the wooden peg . The garland of flowers and Tulasee appeared fresh as it did previous night .Without any hesitation he carried the garland to the temple and offered it to Lord Krishna …
He submitted with reverence Oh Lord ! Godhais my daughter that providence showered on me . Its your divine play .Please accept her garland as she is always in your thoughts .
Time passed . Both father and daughter were together in all the divine services .Godha was nourished with Lord’s kalyana gunas . Godha was now 12 years .
She acquired erudition and scholarship in Tamil and Sanskrit . All the thoughts focused on Lord Krishna .
She desired Lord to be her husband ……………………..
Mentally fixed in Lord’s anubhavas she was transcendental soul .
One day Azhwar leisurely asked ..
My dear Child ..Godha ..
You say you would marry Lord Krishna himself
But my dear ..Tell me !! How did this thought arrive ?
Goda answered !!
Father ..whatever the reason ..Only LORD KRISHNA will be my husband …
And I shall be HIS only …
she was serious …
and Azhwar could not question her decision even if it was childish .
. However he once again approached and said ..Godha
My dear child ..
I accept but tell me …
LORD KRISHNA is omnipresent and tell me how can you marry Lord in Nirakara roopam ?
Godha smiled and said …Father !! I wish to marry Archavataram which is there signifying the Omnipresent Lord ..
Azhwar continued ..Fine my child ..But …………..,
there are 108 Archavataram of Lord in Divyadesams ?
Godha was quick to respond without any hesitation .
.Only Arangan … The Lord of Lords at Srirangam … I choose my Ranganatha …
She learnt about the Kaathyayini nombu observed by the Gopikas of Vrindavan during Margasira month (Dec-Jan)….
and nurtured a desire to do similar nombu to attain Lord Krishna.
She imagined herself and her friends to be gopikas in Vrindavan, observed nombu in Margasira month by personally inviting her friends to participate in worshipping the Lord .
She composed Thiru paavai comprising of 30 pasurams to attain the Lord . Thirupavai is known as the seed of Vedas –
“Vedam annaithukkum vithu”.
In the fifth pasuram-
Maayanai mannu vada Madurai maindhanai…..,
she says “vaayinaal paadi, manathinaal sindhithu….. by doing so, our sins get burnt like a cotton which falls in fire. This is the tamil translation of Lord Varaha murthy’s advise to Bhudevi—kirtanam, smaranam,, vandanam etc. Mentioned earlier in the post.
She proceeded in her divine outpourings on the Lord further which is known as “Nachiyar Thirumozhi” comprising of 143 pasurams invoking the Lord at Thiruvenkatam, Thirumaliruncholai , Vrindavanam etc. Nachiyar Thirumozhi expresses the pangs of separation from the lover.
Our poorvacharyars comment that we get golden ornament only when it is put in fire. Likewise, the Lord out of HIS compassion on us, restrained from giving darshan as HE preferred to listen to HER hankerings for HIM. During abhishekam to Lord Srinivasa in Tirumala when the Thayar from the Lord’s vakshasthalam( chest ) is removed for a while , Swamy Ramanujar instructed Nachiyar Thirumozhi to be recited.
Her bhakti was unparalled which made Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam to appear in Periazhwar’s dream.
Lord ordered him to bring Andal dressed as a bride to Srirangam where HE would marry HER.
Azhwar was keen to undertake her wish . He thought as per Lord and Godha’s wish , he would ask her to dress in a brides attire and proceed to Srirangam .
There she would stand before the LORD and in adoration worship and pray .That micht surely afford her satisfaction to her fancy .
Azhwar announces his decision among st his disciples .Godha comes to know about her fathers decision and feels elated . The good news reaches the Pandayan king who was a disciple to Azhwar after getting to know about Azhwar greatness …
He had already seen Periazhar devotion to Lord . The Royal couple reached the Ashram of Azhwar and pleaded Azhwar to handover all the responsibilities of conducting the divine marriage by them .
During the discussions ,the chief Priest of Srirangam temple arrived at Azhwars ashram and informed Lords eagerness to meet Godha .Periaazhwar was overjoyed and thanked all of them for their concern.
The Chief Priest offered the silk clothes and ornaments of Mahalakshmi to Godha . Godha was now dressed like a bride .
Dressed in yellow colour silk profusely golden laced , the golden ornaments glittering with navaratnas and flowery decorations profusely dressed on head and plait ,
Godha was perfect bride for our LORD of LORDS our RANGANATHAR ..
She sat inside the palanquin arranged by the royal couple.
The august assembly had famous musicians , vedic pundits , dancers and several artistes .
The procession began with pomp and show the entire pathway was colorful with flower decorations .With musical bands ahead followed by Royal couple , the vedic priests , PeriaAzhwar along with his disciples the men , women and the children followed the palanquin .
Fireworks all over , the celebration was unique and the entire population followed the palanquin ..
The procession reached the Srirangam temple entrance .
Godha got down and paced towards the sanctum quickly as if she was so familiar . She walked straight into the sanctum sanctorium after crossing Garuda mantapam…
She came near the main temple … And …kept walking briskly with her anklets jingling in the background ..
The temple sanctum sanctorium where only the priest enters arrived ..
LORD who was also eager to meet Godha had a bewitching smile ……………………..
She stepped in ..and reached seshapanpu ( fourteen folds of Adhishesha ) walked over the folds of Adhishesha and reached the lotus feet twain of Lord and sat at HIS lotus feet .She touched those wonderful sacred feet with her tiny beautiful tender hands and dissolved in HIM once for all ….
Periaazhwar was watching .He was speechless . Standing motionless with tears and grief he went near the sanctum and with a quivering body and lips shivering , expressed in broken words ..
Lord !! Where is my child Godha ? Oh Ranga !! My child Godha … a small girl who was everything to me ….. and just stood like a pillow gazing at LORD …
A pin drop silence for few minutes prevailed ……………………….
A divine voice was heard by Periaazhwar asking him to be composed as the entire divine play was enacted by Lord for our upliftment ….
It may be noted , Andal is given more preference than Ubhaya nachiyars in our temples. In Srirangam, Namperumal’s garlands are offered to Ranganachiyar on Panguni Uthiram, with Kamalavalli nachiyar on Panguni Ayilyam, with Cherakulavalli Nachiyar on Maasi Punarvasu but Namperumal doesn’t accept their garlands! It is only one sided whereas Namperumal exchanges garlands with Andal. First Andal’s garlands are worn by Perumal and then Perumal’s garlands are offered to Andal.
In Kanchipuram, the processional diety Varadarajar exchanges garlands with Andal everytime before HE goes to HIS abode
In Tirupati, Swamy Ramanujar arranged Andal as Lord Govindaraja Swamy’s consort.
In Tirumala during Brahmotsavam, on Garuda vahana utsavam day , garland from Srivilliputtur is offered to Malayappa Swamy. This custom is followed in almost in all the divya desams.
Last but not the least, in Srivilliputtur, the garland worn by Andal on the previous day is taken out in a procession on the next day to Sri Vatapatrasayee temple and is decorated to the Lord.
Thiruaadipooram , the apperance day of Goddess is the most important festival celebrated in Srivilliputtur lasting for 10 days. After several years , Andaal left Her sanctum (Garbha graham ) and rushed to welcome Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja as Her elder brother for fulfilling Her pledge to offer 100 vessels of akkAra-adisil to Lord SundararAjan of ThirumAlirum ChOlai.
After that reception to AchArya RaamunjA , the ThiruppAvai Jeeyar , She never went inside Her sanctum and stays even today at the ardha manTapam . and later for Swami Desikan times
She engineered to arrive in front of the house outside Her Thiru MaaLikai Veedhi , where Her parama bhakthan was staying during his visit to Her city. Moved by that extraordinary display of Vaathsalyam and daya of Mother ANDAL , the LOka MaathA , our Kavi Simham poured forth in rapture his eulogy of Her anantha KalyANa guNams .
Thus originated the GodhA sthuthi .
Neeratam festival during the last six days of Margazhi ( Dec- Jan ) month attracts millions of devotees ..
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics : Thanking all the great devotees who have uploaded the wonderful pics in social media as a seva for the benefit of giving darshan of the deities
Special Thanks to all the painting artists who had uploaded in social media during Dhanurmaasam which adiyen has used for the benefit of readers to race their soul to SRIVILLIPUTHUR
Courtesy google images
videos : courtesy kvammayi
Swamy Mudumbai Nambee Ananthacharya was one amongst the 74 Simhadipathees nominated by Jagathacharyar Swamy Ramanuja .
Swamy Ananthacharyar belonged to the illustrious family of the great srivaishnava stalwarts Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar and Vadakku Thiruvidhi pillai . .
During 1360 , Swamy Ananthacharyar was blessed with a son who was named as Hasthagiri Ananthar Anna being ardent devotees of Lord Varadaraja . ( Lord Varadaraja has been giving darshan to the devotees at this holy place called “Hasthi giri”. ‘Hasthi’ means elephant and “giri “ means hill) .
The young boy was very attractive and devotional right from his childhood .The boy was admitted in to the school of Swamy Nayana varadacharyar , the direct descendent of Swamy Vedanta Desikar . He received the Vedic inputs from his Acharya and progressed in leaps and bounds by his sheer devotion .
During this period , a staunch Advaitin Narasimha Mishra had come to Kancheepuram . He decided to debate with the learned scholars in that area in proving the supremacy of Advaitam and thus convert the opponent and his followers into his fold .
As his mission was incomplete , he invited Swamy Nayana varadacharyar for a debate as was done during those days .The bet was announced that the one who looses will follow others faith along with his followers . Swamy Nayana varadacharyar was not keen to interact with the scholar and not able to decide how to ignore his request too . It was the last day .The young boy could see his Acharyar’s concern .
He wanted to somehow make his Acharyar happy . He understood from his senior disciples what made his Acharyar sad . He never wanted the rich heritage of Vishishtadwaitam being taken for a ride by the vedantin .It was a high time to make the world believe the glorious sampradaya Jagathacharyar Swamy Ramanuja had given us . The young boy approached his Acharya and pleaded him to be allowed to take upon the vedantin . Swamy Nayanavaradacharyar was glad that the young boy was also thinking in the same lines .Confident of his victory , he blessed the child with Sri Hayagreeva Upadesa mantra and wished him the best .
The young lad Hasthagiri Anna with the blessings of his Acharyar walked into the debate hall which had revered scholars from different places . The locals also assembled to watch the Vedantins arguments. He looked at the learned scholars and the great vedantin Narasimha Mehta . He was amused with his looks and the arrogance in his speech . The vedantin chuckled at the boys entry for his age and size . He said this boy is of no match to me .Anyway as his guru has sent him on his behalf , let me bundle him up with simple questions !! he thought .
Hasthagiri Anna looked at the vedantin and said .. Hey Vedantin .. Are you going to wage a war against me ? Why does size or stature matter to you .For a person like you I am the best match .Let me not disturb my Gurudeva ..The debate is to convince you and all these so called scholars the illustrious sampradaya of Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja is supreme .If you have any doubts , questions ask me else accept the sampradaya which will give you moksha .
The Vedantin was surprised with the boys daring words . He decided to quiz him in shastras and then take him on about the sampradaya . The outpouring of Vedic knowledge , apt recitation with intricate meanings made vedantin shocked . The debate was almost looking like a repeat of Swamy Yamunacharya debate with the Vedantin few hundred years ago and Swamy Yamunacharya was glorified as Alavandar the King…
Few onlookers rushed to their Acharyar to inform him about Hasthagiri Annas mastery in handling the vedantin with esoteric truths .The Old Acharyar walked along with his disciples to see the brave boy’s confidence . Hasthagiri Anna presented many verses in the Vedic texts to demonstrate the supreme position of Swamy Ramanuja’s Vishishitadwaitam . The debate ended with the vedantin accepting the supremacy of the sampradaya . All the scholars unitedly agreed with jubilations about the young boy defeating the arrogant vedantin in his own den.
Overjoyed the Acharyar hugged Hasthagiri Anna and said henceforth you will be called as Prathivadi bhayanakaram Anna . Meanwhile the Vedantin along with his followers rushed to Anna accepting defeat and pleaded to be taken in their fold . The Acharyar blessed both of the disciples and handed over the reins of the school for him to take over due to his old age .
Swamy Annan was carrying out the Theertha kainkaryam at Kancheepuram as done by our Jagath Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja . One day he took permission from Lord Vardaraja for having darshanam of Lord Sreenivasa at Tirumala after getting immersed in the Nammazhwar’s description of Tirumala and Lord Srinivasa in Thiruvamozhi .
Anna became associated with Swami Ananthanpillai descendants and was engaged in serving Lord Srinivasa by collecting and preparing the water required for His worship every day.
One day, while returning from Akasha Ganga after having gathered the holy water to be taken to the Lord, a devotee from Srirangam came across his path. As divine will would have it, they entered into a conversation. The devotee from Srirangam narrated the glories of the revered saint Svami Mamunigal and his extraordinary service in Srirangam. Anna was deeply moved on hearing about Swamy’s devotion to Lordships and the zeal to carry out the mantle of Jagathacharyar Swamy Ramanuja’s philosophy all over . In the process of hearing the satsangath , he completely forgot about the holy water he was supposed to deliver to the Lord.
Having exhausted with their patience, the priests from the temple came out in search of Anna and hurriedly collected the pots of holy water from him and rushed back to the temple to complete the worship according to established protocol . Anna was confused and hence rushed to the temple to inform the priests that he had not yet prepared the water by mixing in it fragrant substances, as was the norms . But as it was too late the worship had already begun and nearing completion . Anna was cursing himself for overlooking the protocol that was followed . He was dejected for not compiling with the procedures thus committing an offence . Standing all alone inside the temple Anna was seeking forgivance .
Lord Srinivasa , all compassionate Lord , broke his silence .There was a divine voice coming from the deity form, addressing him , “Oh My dear Anna! The holy water you delivered today had the best fragrance and quality. I am pleased with your service!” Don’t be dejected !!!
This was a shock to Anna, who had not added any fragrance at all that day. On pondering , Anna realized that the water must have got fragnant by the mere mention of the account of Swami Manavala Mamunigal vaibhavam .
Realizing the glory of the saint, Anna took permission from Lord Sreenivasa and left Tirumala heading towards south to srirangam to have Swami manavala maamuni’s darshanam .
On reaching Srirangam , Anna has darshan of the Lordships and goes straight to attend the discourse of Swamy Manavala mamuni which impresses him very much . He waits patiently for having Acharyar’s darshanam . Amongst all the disciples , Swamy Manavala Mamuni calls him and asks Oh! You are that srivaishnava called as Prathivadi Bhayankaran in a lighter vein .
Anna humbly offers obesiances and replies Swamy , that he is Prathivadi Bhayankaran to his opponents and a servant of servants to srivaishnavas . Swamy is pleased with his commitment in protecting our rich sampradaya and honours him with another title “SrIvaishnava dAsan”.
Later , Anna moves to Tirumala for serving Lord Srinivasa .
Swamy Manavalamamuni joins him at Tirumala and taken by the glory of Lord Srinivasa, he ordains his disciple Prathivadi Bhayankaram Anna to compose hymns on Lord Srinivasa through which Lord’s glory is well understood and enjoyed by all walks of people. Anna taking his Acharyar’s command composes hymns on LORD that shed light on the greatness of the Lord of the Seven Hills.
Annan, pens the morning song suprabhatham slokas comprising of (29 verses , stotram 11 verses , prapatti 16 verses and mangalam 14 verses)
The holy verses has four aspects Suprabhatam, which is the actual awaking of Lordships Sree and Vishnu, Stotram, which is essentially a glorifications and the last Prapatti through Sree and the beautiful Mangalam to Lordships which serves as a conclusion.
These four hymnal renditions of Anna are the hallmark of worship that are conducted in Srivaishnava parlance. The Vaishnava Agamas require the Lord to be worshipped and honoured at least as much as a king is. The Suprabhatam or wishing of an auspicious dawn is not only analogous to the service offered normally to the royalty but also an expression of Mangalasasanam. Mangalasasanam is the highest virtue recognized in Srivaishnavism.
It is It is the exalted state of devotion where the devotee is not worried about his own welfare or the welfare of others, but only about the welfare of the Lord (which automatically ensures the well being of everyone and everything else). He serves the Lord, sings His benediction and longs for His auspiciousness always and the Prapatti is another core concept of Srivaishnavism that teaches the complete resignation to the saving grace of the Lord. The final goal of a Srivaishnava is to please the Lord with one’s services. One of the most important forms of service is the service of singing the Lord’s praise. He is sthavapriya: or one who is pleased with stotrams. The Venkatesa Stotram serves this purpose. Through the four works, Anna captures the entire essence of Srivaishnavism as he sings the glory of Lord Venkatesa. The pleased Lord listens to these hymns several times every day during the course of His worship in several temples…
Swamy Manavala Mamuni then ordered his disciples , that every day except in the month of Margazhi, these four stotras must be recited at the time of opening of the temple sanctorum in the morning which is being religiously followed till date .
Thus we have an advanced Acharyar Swamy Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan of Tirupati Suprabhatam fame who was a disciple of both Swamy Vedantha Desika’s son and Swamy Manavaala Maamunigal, indicating that there was no remarkable differences in following between the two sects .
His treatises establishing the unifying nature of all of our acharyas are a treasure for several generations .
A detailed description of THIRUMANJANA SEVA at Tirumala is appended in the below linked post
Swamy Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan Thiruadigale sharanam .
Check few more divine incidents about Lord Venkateshwara in the below appended posts .
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Picture credits : Google images/antaryami.org
Video credits : Thallapaka Annamacharyulu garu / Keerthi / Baba and other devotees