Sri Goverdhana Puja and Annakoot Utsavam in Vrindavan

Deepavali has special significance for all hindus in common .

On the fourth day of the five day Diwali festival Sri Goverdhana Puja and Annakoot Utsavam is celebrated in Vrindavan  amidst chanting of “Giriraj Dharan ki Jai”

(Glory to the lord who lifted Goverdhan on his  little  finger) reverberates .


 There is very interesting pastime of Shri Giri govardhan raj connected with  bhaktha hanumanjee.  

When Lord Rama along with the vanaras were  building the bridge to Lanka in the Ram lila,..


Hanuman  made an attempt to pick up Govardhan to use him in the noble service .  Govardhan was so happy to be engaged in the service of the Lord but just as he was about to lift him, a voice from the sky said “the bridge is finished”.


  Therefore Hanuman did not  use the service of Sri Giri rAJ Govardhan.  Giri Govardhan was sad.  

When Lord Ram was returning from Lanka with  Mother Sita he stopped here and spoke to GiriRaj Govardhan saying  …My dera child ..

“do not worry, the next time I appear, ……

I will personally pick you up and personally engage you that happened in the Krishna avatar.


As per Srimad Bhagwatam Lord was lifting the huge Sri Goverdhan Parvat for seven days  continuously prior to Diwali,  and rested him back  on earth & asked the citizens to worship the  holy mountain Sri Sri GiriRaj …


Lord Krishna , then appeared in two forms.

One as Sri Goverdhan hillock itself, i.e., deity to be worshiped and second as resident to offer food to  GIRIRAJ .


Thus on this day, the devotees offer their gratitude to Lord Krishna for his blessings in making their lives complete. 


This holy hill Goverdhanagiri , more popularly addressed as “GIRIRAJ GOVERDHAN” is located in the middle of the town Goverdhan which is 24 kms from Vrindavan and approximately 26 kms west of Mathura.


The routes to Vrindavan and Goverdhan from Mathura are different . Many buses and share autos ply to Goverdhanagiri from Mathura and Vrindavan round the clock.

Radha Kund, Shyam Kund and Manasi Ganga are in the precints of the hill.

This  HOLY DHAAM  is considered as the most sacred place in  Vrindavan.

Goverdhana hill is formed in the shape of a peacock.

Radha Kund and Shyam Kund are the eyes.

Dan Ghati is its long neck.

Mukharavinda is the mouth and punchari is its back and tail feathers.

As the hill is very sacred , pilgrims are prohibited from climbing  the hill. There is a fencing all around the Goverdhana hill .

Goverdhana giri is the most blessed devotee as it had  Lord Sri Krishna sambandham everyday during Krishnaavataaram which even Himalayas did not have.

Lord Krishna Himself chose Goverdhana giri for HIS various pastimes.

Of all the devotees , Goverdhana Hill is the best because it supplies Krishna and Balarama with all types of necessities.


In Srimad Bhagavatham, Lord mentions that HE and Goverdhanagiri are identical.


As per the scriptures, Krishna used to go to Goverdhanagiri from Vrindavan for gazing cows and would visit the nearby forests with HIS friends.

 Lord Krishna at such an young age ,  used to walk 50 kms to and fro everyday from Vrindavan to Goverdhan without footwear .


This makes us  recollect Periazhwar’s pasurams in Yasodha bhaavam

“Naalai thottu kandrin pin pogale kolam seiyudhu enge iru….” .,

Peria azhwar’s feelings when he expresses mother’s anguish to see her child returning from forest without slippers and umbrella.) .


It was customary for the gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja to perform yaagam to please Indra, the king of devas and give their offerings as they felt that Indra was responsible for rains. Krishna ,who was just 7 years old convinced elders that Indra was only doing duties assigned to him and there was no necessity to worship demigods.

The Lord added that Goverdhanagiri was providing with their daily requirements including enough grass to the cows which in turn yielded good milk resulting in their prosperity. The Supreme suggested that instead of Indra, Brahmins, cows and Goverdhanagiri have to be worshipped to which the elders agreed.

On the day of pooja, all the gopas and gopikas performed GOW-pooja (pooja for cows), offered dakshinai to Brahmins, circumbulated the hill and offered huge quantities of various food items to the hill.


On  Lord Krishna’s order, everyone closed their eyes while food was being offered. Lord Krishna assumed a great transcendental form like that of the mountain, declaring that HE was Goverdhana Hill and accepted all their offerings while little Krishna stood with his relatives and offered prayers to the mountain which was HIMSELF .

HE announced that Goverdhana Hill is non-different from HIM. Later when the gopas were asked to open their eyes, they were surprised to see the palates empty and were convinced by Krishna that the mountain had accepted their offerings.


The gopas returned happily. The identity of Sri Krishna with Goverdhana Hill is still honoured and devotees take goverdhana shila (-small  impressions  from Goverdhana Hill and place it in the altar and worship. (In order to preserve the hill, devotees are now restrained from taking them) .


As  Lord Krishna Himself did parikrama to the hill and as He mentioned that both are identical, devotees in huge numbers perform parikrama ( pradikshana ) to this sacred hill with sincerity and devotion even today .


To commemorate the above incident, Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha constructed a temple for the Lord. .

The residents of Vrindavan, Goverdhan and the devotees of the Lord do parikrama around Goverdhana hill and offer huge quantities of 56 varieties food preparations (chappan bhog) .

All the devotees are sumptuously fed with the mahaprasad offered to the Lord and Giriaj. ) As the Lord protected the cows and the people in Goverdhan, He got the name “GOVINDA” .

Jai Jai Girigovardhan ki ………………..

Jai Jai

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Photos : Courtesy ..Google images

As per Lord’s divine command ..Adishesha who appeared as Swamy Ramanuja once again appeared as Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar…..

Lord Sriman Narayana incarnated in different avatharas in this world, for spreading the message of the liberation for the jeevatma from this material bondage .

Anathya swaroopam
Anathya swaroopam

Unsatisfied , LORD summoned His serpent couch, the nitya-soori (eternally free soul) .


Adisesha, and instructed,

My dear Adishesha !

“Go down to the mortal world and live there for 200 years, and through

your exhortations, empower the people with knowledge about their true nature and make them come to..

My world, so that they enjoy “eternal bliss” forever …….



Accordingly, Adishesha appeared as “Swamy Ramanuja” in the age of Kali, where Adharma was in the forefront due to the karmic vasanas .


Swamy Ramanuja followed LORD;s directives by spreading the divine message of Azhwars and the true knowledge to seek Lord’s mercy and disappeared at the age of 120.


The Lord was not satisfied with the developments and felt the mission was incomplete Hence he once again advised Swamy Ramanuja to complete the original assignment of remaining in this material world for complete 200 years and uplift the jivatmaas .


With implicit obedience, Adishesha who appeared as Swamy Ramanuja once again appeared as Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar at Sikkil Kidaaram .


In his early years he was trained by his father Tigazhaakkidanthan on Vedas and the Divya Prabhandam .

He moved from Sikkil Kidaaram to Azhvar Thirunagari to become the disciple of the revered Acharyar Thiruvaimozhipillai who was the disciple of Loka Acharyar Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar .

Thus our Saint Vara Vara Muni was the last of the poorvacharyas amongst the grand galaxy of preceptors of Srivaishnavam.

Check the appended blog post for more details

” Thiruvaaimozhi pillai vaibhavam ” Parama guru of Lord Ranganathar…. …. Swamy Manavala Mamuni attributing everything to the lotus feet of his legendary Acharyar… ( Yendhai Thiruvaimozhi Pillai Inn arulaal..)”


It is believed , AdisEsha, in his previous incarnation as Swamy Ramanuja, was very much attracted to Nammazhvars’ s appearance and his divine outpouring (thiruvAimozhi), and hence, earned the appellation “mAran adipaNindhu Uynthavan”.



In keeping with this overwhelming love for Swamy Nammazhvar, the second time AdisEsha selected Azhvar Thirunagari as the place most suited for his appearance and thus Swamy appeared in the month of Aipassi under the star Moola which falls on November 1st 2019 , and was named “Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr by his parents .


This was an year after Swami Desikar ascended to Srivaikuntam

Swami Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr excelled as the disciple of Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai .


One day Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai while meditating on the great qualities of saint Ramanuja, pondered over those stanzas of Thiruvarangath-amudanar………….
depicting Swamy Ramanuja as a staunch devotee of Saint Nammazhvar proclaiming to the inhabitants of this wide world, end to end, the great glory of the Azhvar’s hymns.


Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai ( Srisailesar) decided for raising a fitting memorial for Swamy Ramanuja, right at the appearance place of Swamy Nammazhvar (Azhvar Thirunagari). This took concrete shape soon thereafter.

nammalvar 1

Tiruvaimozhi pillai with the support of the villagers after clearing the wild vegetation at Azhvar-thirunagari took all initiatives in bringing back the sacred deity which was lost during invasions .


Swamy thus had erected a temple at Azhvar-thirunagari for Swami Ramanuja and installed Sri Ramanuja’s deity ( Swamy Ramanuja’s Bhavishyad Acharaya vigraha ) which had been presented to Sri Madhurakavi Azhvar that lay buried at the foot of the famous Tamarind tree few hundred years back .


The surrounding streets were named as Sri Ramanuja Chaturvedi Mangalam and were permanently inhabited, exclusively by the ardent worshippers of Swamy Ramanuja.


The zealous disciple, Azhakiya Manavala Nayanar, was called upon by Srisailesar to stay in this new colony and look after the daily routine of the temple.


Nayanar s extra-ordinary devotion to this great cause earned the unstinting approbation of his Acharyar


Srisailesar, who started calling him a Yateendra Pravanar signifying the enormous love and devotion borne by him for Swamy Ramanuja, the Prince of ascetics a name which became immortal .



Over a period of time , Swamy Tiruvaimozhi pillai ordered his ardent disciple Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr who had learnt all sastras , to propagate the divya prabandham ( azhvar’s 4000 hymns and their commentaries) to the world.


He wished that living in Sri Rangam and propagating the true tenets of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya as given in the hoary aruLiccheyal (divya prabandham) was the need of the hour. Hence advised him to proceed .


The devoted disciple that he was, Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr did act according to the commandments of his Acharyar Thus Azhakiya maNavALapperumAL nAyanAr spent his time in giving divine discourses at Srirangam .


Once during this period , few relatives passed a message about some asowcham ( impurity ) which was coming in the way of service to the Lordships .

Not being able to be kept out of service even for few days, Nayanar decided to take up sanyasam and requested LORD’S permission.


After accepting sanyasa, Nayanar offered benedictions to namperumal for uninterrupted services forever . Pleased with nAyanar, NamperumAl blessed him with theertham, thirumAlai, thiruparivattam, and Sri sadagopam and gave him a honorable name


Thus the bonding between LORD and his disciple became closer and closer .


Lord Ranganathar ( Peria Perumal ) had a desire to be accomplished through Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyer in Srirangam.


He seized the golden opportunity and ordered him to give a public discourse on the Eedu (36000 padi), the super-commentary of Swami Nampillai on Thiruvaimozhi along with other commentaries, in alluring style for having the good fortune of being trained by the esteemed Acharyar Thiruvaimozhip pillai .( Srisailer )


In order to accommodate unhindered conduct for the divine discourses all festivities of the temple was kept in abeyance . History reveals that for a whole year, Namperumal had enjoined cessation of all festivals which proves the dedication of the disciple and the Acharyar .


On the final day of the discourse , and uplifting event occurred , which was interestingly, by the “Ani thiru-moola” star.

And hence the Sri Vaishnava-world attaches equal importance to this Ani moola star auspicious day also, in a manner akin to the day of Acharyar’s “Aippasi Thirumoola” appearance day.



Lord appeared amidst the august assembly of Acharyar and galaxy of sri vaishnavas, in the guise of an archakar’s (priest) son by the name Aranga Naayakam and brushing aside the opposition getting into proximate presence to Swami mAmunikaL’s seat

recited the following stanza in

His inimitable, majestic voice resembling the thunder of a rumbling cloud……………


“SriSailEsha dayA pAthram dheeibhakthyAdi guNarnavam
Yetheendra pravaNam vandE ramyajA mAtharam munim”


LORD in the guise of an archakar’s (priest) a small boy ( kept a palm leaf containing the above sloka on a golden plate full of flowers, fruits, coconuts and other sacred paraphernalia of guru dakshiNa (token of appreciation) and after offering it at the holy feet of Swami mAmunikaL, walked towards the sanctum & disappeared.

To add to this magnificent miracle, Periya Perumal, the Lord Ranganatha Himself, immediately ordered through the archaka……….


let this slOka be recited at the beginning of all divya prabhanda recitations just as a Vedic recital begins and ends with the sacred


so also all recitals of the tamil veda, the divya prabhandam, shall commence and end with

srI SailESa dayA pAtram’.

adiyArgaL vAzha arangka nagar vAzha
sadakOpan thaNdamizh nUl vAzha * –

kadal sUzhndha mannulagam vAzha *
maNavALa mAmuniyE * innum oru nURRANdirum *

These holy verses extols Swamys contributions to continued existence and prosperity of Sri Vaishnavaism, the followers, their holy temples, scriptures, traditions, and the well being of the whole world, and concludes with the prayer, that the great saint Swamy Manavalamaamuni live for another hundred years for fulfilling that purpose.

Swami mAmunikaL’s life was punctuated by many events that demonstrated that he was no ordinary person. In fact, authentic accounts of Sri Vaishnava literature and lineage, position Swami maNavALa mAmunikaL at the very pinnacle of the orthodox lineage of Sri Vaishnava AchAryas (called `OrAn vazhi’) and with the above divine incident , identify him as the Acharya (guru) for Lord RanganAtha himself!!

The apparent conflict between 100 years and perpetuity is resolved, when one understands the key link of devoted Sri Vaishnava devotees, their ongoing practice of the prayer and traditions as a “Vaazhaydi Vaazhai”, for the perpetuation of the faith.


Thus the 100 and more number of years down the line there will be faithful chanting of the divine prayers for the same for the infinite future.

Among several disciples the foremost eight disciples were very special . They are glorified as as “Ashta Dhig Gajams” or the mighty elephants guarding the eight directions of earth who are as below

(1) VaanamAmalai Jeeyar

(2) BhattarpirAn Jeeyar

(3) ThiruvEnkata RaamAnuja Jeeyar

(4) Koil aNNan

(5) PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram aNNan

(6) ErumpiappA

(7) aAppiLLai and

(8) AppiLLAr .


Swamy Erumbiappa, one of the astadiggajas glorified 100 verses adorning the divine qualities of Swamy Manavalamamuni .

In Srivaishnava sampradayam, Azhvar it indicates to only nammAzhvar, the term swamy refers only to Swamy Ramanuja and Jeeyer is a special term indicating Periya Jeeyer, our Sri Vara Vara Muni.

The verses of Swamy erumbiappa are called as Vara Vara Muni sathakam .

Swamy prathivAdi bayankaram annan had also glorified the divine qualities of his Acharyar .

Swamy Maamuni had the highest regard for Swami Desikan and used to refer him with great affection as ” ABHIYUKTHAR ” OR THE REVERED ONE likewise Swami Desikar had the highest regard for the Achaarya of Swamy Maamuni’s own Achaarya, Swamy Pillai LokAcharyar.


Swamy has been glorified with several names like Varavaramuni, Periya Jeer, Vichatavak Shikhamani , Sowmyajamatrumuni, ramyajamatra muni, Sowmyopayanthrumuni, Sundarajamatrumuni, , YatheendraPravanar .


Upadesa Ratinamala” is a wonderful work composed by Swamy Mamunigal which has 73 verses that gives the details of Azhwars and Acharyas appearance & their divine works.

Swamy Erumbiappa composed the 74 th verse and pleaded Lord Ranganathar requesting LORD to accept them and hence as a result of Lord’s command, the following verse was included in Upadesa Ratinamala.

The verse goes like

“mannuyir_kAL ingE maNavALa mAmunivan *

senkamalappOthukaLai * –

unnis siraththAlE theeNdil

amAnavanum nammai *

karaththAlE theeNdal kadan “

The Meaning of the above verse ………….

“Oh my dear devotees who desire for Moksha seeking Swamy Mamunigal’s lotus Feet listen ….

taking refugee at the Lotus feet of Swamy Mamunigal will definitely lead us to the blessings of “Amanavan” who allows us at the entrance into Sri Vaikuntam” as we are Swamy Manavala mamuni’s disciples …


Swami Manavala Mamunikal is compared favorably with the kind of divinity exuded by Swami Ramanuja. After all, they were both the incarnation of our Lord’s dear serpent servant Adi sEsha.

. Fortunate are the devotees who are at Srirangam and Azhwar Thirunagari celebrating the grand festival of Aani Thirumoolam

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Swamy Manavala maamunigaley thiruadigaley sharanam


Pictures credits : Advanced devotees serving Lord

videos : At Sri MudaliAndaans swamy Thirumaligai