7th, 8th and 9th day of Ira-Pathu at Srirangam

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7th day of Ira-Pathu

Our Namperumal starts from Moolasthanam at 3 pm and reaches Thirumamani mandapam through paramapada vaasal at 6 pm.

A special thing to be noted here is that our Namperumal, while passing through our Nachiyar’s Sannidhi, lifts himself up a little as if signalling thaayr that he is passing through. After this, Thirukaithala sevai takes place with Nammaazhwar presents in Nachiyaar thirukkolam.

After alankaram and neivaedyam Araiyar sevai takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Vellisamba neivaedyam from 10 pm to 10.30 pm.
After offering darsanam to adiyaars till 11.30 pm, Namperumal leaves mandapam and reaches moolasthanam at about 12.45 am.

During porappudu, our Nammazhwar waits eagerly for our Azagiyamanavalan to come through the paramapada vassal in Nachiyar Thirukolam. Till now we have experienced the exquisite and divine beauty of our Azagiyamanavalan in different alankarams, but today it seems that our Nammazhwar’s Nachiyar Thirukolam alankaram presents a beauty and divinity that can only be excelled by our Azahiya Manavalan himself! Such a divine sight that evokes devotion and spirituality.

Swamy Nammazhwar is eagerly waiting for our Lord and he definitely seems restless in his quest to attain Moksham and reach the feet of our Lord as soon as possible and is waiting for an answer of when that is going to happen. As soon as our Namperumal comes through, he immediately looks around to see Swamy Nammazhwar as if to signal and re-assure him that his Sarangadhi and attainment of vainkuntam is imminent in 3 more days!.

Thirukaithala Sevai– Nammalwar Parangusa Nayakiyana Thirukolathil

Today’s pasuram:-

kangulum pagalum kan thuyi latiyaak
kannanneer kaikalaal iraikkum,
changu chakkarangal enrukai kooppum
`thaamaraik kan’ enru thalarum,
`engane tharikke nnunnaivittu’ ennum
irunnilam kaithuzaa virukkum,
chengayal paaynneerth thiruvarangkaththaay!
ivaLthirath thencheyki raaye?

Meaning:– She doesn’t sleep during the day or night She never sleeps at all, always thinking of the Lord. Thinking of Him, she weeps so much that she has to use both her hands to ‘bail out’ the tears as if one would bail out water from a boat using a bucket..She out of immense devotion and mad love, thinks that she sees the changgu and chakkaram in front of her and involuntarily folds her hands in respect.She is overwhelmed with the beauty of the Lord’s lotus like eyes that makes her lose control and is about to fall.)How can I be without you?’, she laments. So saying, she gropes all over the floor. She searches for Him as if she is in the dark Oh! Lord, who lives in thiru aranggam, where fish jumps in the flowing water what are you planning to do with her?Nayaki’s mother is so concerned about her daughter who is madly in love with the Lord and has totally lost control. The mother has tried to console her daughter but could not. Seeing the intense pangs of suffering endured by parankusa nayaki due to her great urge to be conjoined with emperuman, her mother takes her before Lord Periya perumal. The mother questions the nAyakan of her daughter to explain how He intends to go about her daughter’s raksanam

NayikA bhavam gives the intimacy to Azhvar-s where they can take liberty with Him to embrace Him, to chide Him, to fight with Him, etc., and thus enjoy Him in many different ways. Azhwar had become very emotional and loudly called at the Lord for having still being detained in the world. The emotion culminated into extreme devotion, emotion and ecstasy and the pangs of separation transformed Azhwar into a state of not comprehending the difference between day and night, a state of crying, sleeplessness, worshpping, mohippadhu–> love becoming madness for the Lord, lamenting, stillness, mumbling and so on and so forth. These are but various explicit display of love and affection . “Asai, sindhai, ninaivu, mayakkam, peasudhal, azhudhal, moham, vyadhi, pithu, sadhal” are various facets of extreme love.

Same bhava is seen in Thiru virutham 62nd pAsuram –

“iraio irakkinum Engor pen pal….muraiyo,
aravanai meale palli konda mugilvannanea”.

Oh!Lord, You to rescue people out of Your grace, after approaching them and saving them. Here, it is topsy turvy. Even after AzhwAr has surrendered You have not turned eyes on him and lO! see her state of affairs. Is it fair? Is it appropriate? You seemed to be enjoying Your rest on Your bed when Azhwar is being tormented. Is it correct. muraiyo?

Sri Aandal chides Namperumal as “ pennin varuththam ariyaatha Peruman” – the Lord who cannot understand the pangs of a girl.

Like Nammazhwar Andal also takes the role of the mother and describes the girl’s state as

“ullae urugi naivaenai, ulalo ilalo ennaatha”

Kaliyan also takes the same bhava

“aer vanna en paethai en sol kaelaal
Emperumaan thyiruvarangam engaae ennum
Neer vannan neer malaikae povaen ennum
Ethuvanro nirai azhinthaar nirkumaarae”

One can wonder how dare anyone question the Lord about a small girl’s plight.

Aalavandaar answers eloquently

‘vasI vadaanyo gunavaan rju: suci:
mrudu: dayaalu: madhura: stira: sama: |
kruthi krutajn~a: tvam asi svabhaavata:
samasta kalyaana guna amruta uadhi: |

Meaning: You are, by Your own nature, submissive to the will of those that take refuge in You, bountiful, graciously accommodating to the inferior, guileless and reliable, pure, tender, merciful, blissful, firm, free from all self-regarding duties, ever mindful of the services of the devotees and a nectar-ocean of all auspicious attributes.

It is obvious that with such sowlabyam our Lord is easily approchable by all his adiyaars.

na dharma nishtoasmi na ca atmavedi
na bhaktimaan tvaccaraNaaravinde |
akincan:oananya gati: saranya!
tvat paada mulam saranam prapadye ||

Meaning: Oh You worthy of being sought as refuge! I am not one established in Dharma, nor am I a know er of the self. I have no fervent devotion to Your Lotus-feet. Utterly destitute as I am, and having none else for resort, I take refuge under Your feet.

Let us pray to Nammaazhwar that he guide us in realizing that He is the only the Parama Purushan and we are all nayakis only.

8th day of Ira -Pathu of Utthsavam

Today is also Known as “Vedu Puree” day when a divine play is enacted where Thirumangai Mannan alwar’s life and subsequent enlightment is beautifully explained.

The story of ‘Thief’ Thirumangai Azhvaar way laying Lord Namperumal and trying to steal his jewels was enacted on the eighth day of the Ira Pathu Festival at the Srirangam Ranganatha temple

The last of the Azhvaars- Thirumangai Azhvaar – made a significant contribution, visiting and singing praise of Lord Vishnu in over 85 temples (Divya Desams). While all other Azhvaars got things done by showing love and devotion to the Lord, Thirumangai Azhvaar alone was different.

The only Azhvaar with a spear in his hand, he was forceful, even threatening in his interactions with the Lord, who sometimes had to come down a step to please Thirumangai and to get the Azhvaar to sing praise of him- a couple of cases in point being Thiru Indhalur and Thiru Ninravur Divya Desams.

Thirumangai turns Thief

Born in Thiru Kuraiyulur, 2kms from the Thiruvali-ThiruNagari Divya Desam near Sirkazhi, Thirumangai Mannan (King), who belonged to the Kallar Community, fell in love with the beautiful Kumudavalli of Annan Koil.

She was keen to get him initiated into Vaishnavism and devoted to Lord Vishnu. To lead him into this path, she laid down ‘wedding’ conditions, one of which was to feed 1008 Vaishnavites every day. The story goes that Thirumangai Mannan, in this attempt, lost a lot of his wealth. To fulfil the conditions, he turned a thief and resorted to ‘stealing’.

One night, Thirumangai saw a newly married couple, decked with jewellery, coming his way. It was Lord Ranganatha of Thirunagari taking along with him Amruthavalli Thayar of Thiruvali. In that darkness, in Vedarajapuram (the village between Thiruvali and Thirunagari), Thirumangai way laid the disguised Lord Ranganatha and threatened him by lashing out his spear. With all his might, he also tried to bite and remove the Perumal’s ring.

Ranganatha initiates Ashtachara Mandiram

THIRU MANGAI MANNAN DURING VEDU PUREE

Having picked up the jewellery and packed it into a sack, Thirumangai found the bag far too heavy. Despite repeated attempts, he could not lift the bag making him wonder if the person in front of him had a magic mantra. It was then that the disguised Lord Ranganatha initiated the ‘Astachara Mandiram’ by whispering into the ears of Thirumangai and displayed his true form and appeared before Thirumangai in a Kalyana Kolam along with Amruthavalli Thayar.

It was after this initiation that Thirumangai Mannan became Thirumangai Azhvaar.

Prabhandham Festival in Margazhi

THIRU MANGAI AS AZHVAAR AFTER VEADUPUREE

Thirumangai Azhvaar wanted the Margazhi Festival to be a Tamil Divya Prabhandham festival as against just the Vedic recital that existed before his time. The 10 day ‘Era Pathu’ festival called ‘Thiruvoimozhi Thirunaal’ was specially created for the Lord to listen to the beautiful Tamil composition of Nammazhvaar.

VEDUUPUREE Utsavam

At the Ranganatha temple in Srirangam, the story of ‘Vedu Puree’ is enacted every year as part of the eighth day celebrations of the Era Pathu festival. This day is dedicated to Thirumangai in recognition of his contribution to the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham.

Kona Vaiyali

Lord Namperumal had an early evening out on the Vedu Pari day coming out of the Santhana Mandapam at 430pm. Atop a Golden Horse Vahanam, the Pearl Pandyan Kondai adorned Namperumal was seen with a sword, javelin and arrows – his left hand holding the horse.

A speciality seen on this Vedu Puree evening was the performance of Kona Vaiyali inside the temple in the Manal Veli (Sand Bank) on the Eastern side of the temple. On other occasions, Kona Vaiyali is seen outside the temple during street processions.

Two fast up and down ‘straight runs’ of about 100meters was followed by a 20meter dash sideways, a circling of Lord Namperumal and another run sideways. This was repeated thrice. At the end of this acrobatic display, Namperumal seemed to be smiling and showering his blessings on the devotees who had gathered in several hundreds.

Having just witnessed the Kona Vaiyali and appreciated with a loud round of applause, the devotees were taken aback by a sudden commotion on the Northern side as they watched several young lads running onto the Manal Veli with long sticks.

It was the people from the ‘Kallar’ community, who currently reside on the banks of the Melur Road Theppakulam, who had come there to enact the Vedu puree event – that of way laying Lord Namperumal at the Manal Veli and trying to take away his possessions. At the end of this enactment, every member of the Kallar community was accorded special honours and darshan of Lord Namperumal.

Thirumangai, who earlier in the evening walked in as the king (Mannan) with a bow and arrow in hand, was seen in a completely different form at the end of the Vedu Puree , dressed as Azhwaar, who had just received the initiation of the Ashtachar Mandhiram.

List of Jewels read out

Following the enactment of Vedu Puree, the entire list of jewels of Lord Namperumal was read out to confirm that all the jewels of the Lord were intact. It is an opportunity for the devotees to listen in to the different kinds of jewels worn by the Lord. This is the only day in the year when the list of jewels is read out.

Araiyar Sevai

Beginning 10.15pm, five Araiyars presented the Thiruvoimozhi pasurams for about one and a half hours at the 1000 Pillar mandapam. Through their Abhinayam and Vyakyanam of ‘ the Araiyars delivered an important message that just being united with and serving the devotees of the Lord is a bigger service than even ruling the three worlds.

Todays Pasuram is about “Nedumarkadimai” the 8th pathu of Thiruvaimozhi .

nedumarkadimai seyven pol * avanaik karudha vanjchiththu *
thadumarra thIkkathigaL * murrum thavirndha sadhir ninaindhal **
koduma vinaiyen avan adiyar adiye * kUdum idhu allal *
vidumarenbathen? andho! * viyan muvulagu perinume

In this pasuram our Nammazhwar expresses the same thing that Lord Krishna has himself expained in Bhagavad Gita thus..

“Mama mad bhakta bhakteshu prIti: abyadhika bhavet
tasmat mad bhakta bhaktascha poojaneeya viseshata:”

Here the Lord Sri Krishna exemplifies the importance of the Devotees and service TO the the devotees in no uncertain terms.
“I have a very great liking and love for my devotees or my bhaktas, but i adore those who service my own devotees even more!!”

A similar sentiment is expressed by Swamy Nammazhwar in todays pasuram pathu he extends the kainkaryam to a devotee to the
same extent of kainkaryam to devotees.

Our Nammazhwar illustrates many different kind of devoteess andtheir mahatmyam like

a. Those who are doing kainkaryam to emperumAn by being with Him always.
b. Those who do kainkaryam though not in His presence as they are always immersed in his beauty and divinity (bhagwadhas)
c. Those who do kainkaryam to those bhAgwadhAs themselves!

Veena Ekantham at 12.45am

Well past 1am and having been out for almost 9hours providing special darshan to the devotees at the Manal Veli and later at the 1000 pillar mandapam, it was time for Namperumal to return to his sanctum for a good night’s sleep. The events of this annual Vedu Pari Utsavam came to an end with Veena Ekantham, a unique and one of a kind Veena presentation. Srirangam is the only Divya Desam where this Yaazh Isai tradition is followed.

After a very noisy evening, Namperumal listened in peace for almost an hour, in pin drop silence (quite a rare occurrence at the Srirangam temple), to the sweet tunes of the four member Sathya Kootam Veena Vidwans (Srinivasan, Ramanujam, Govindan and Gopalakrishnan) and their presentation of Thirumangai Azhvaar’s pasurams.

(During the 10 day Ira Pathu festival, they present Yaazh Isai for about an hour every evening. Interestingly, while the daily morning and evening recitals are solo performances presented in a sitting posture, Veenai Ekantham during the Era Pathu Thiruvoimozhi festival is presented in a group in a standing posture with the Veena tied to their shoulder. In all, they present around 250 pasurams during this Tamil Prabandham festival)

One could almost visualise the Lord nodding in happiness when they presented the first song of Thirumangai Azhvaar after he identified the disguised Lord Ranganatha during the Vedu Pari (Thirumangai in this Pasuram expresses his wilting mind and wavering thoughts and how he finally found that chanting the Narayana Mantra gives one the peace of mind in life).

Their final song on the Vedu Puree night – a Vijaya Ranga Sokka Nathar’s composition) puts Namperumal to sleep after a long and tiring evening with the Lord entering his sanctum at around 1.00am.

Irra-patthu 9th Day of Utthsavam

Continuing the routine, Namperumal starts from Moolasthanam at 11 am and reaches Thirumamani mandapam through Paramapada vassal at 1.30 pm.

He offers darsanam for devotees from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. Araiyar sevai is from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
Vellisamba neivedyam from 7 pm to 7.30 pm.
After darsanam Namperumal starts back at 8.30 pm and reaches Moolasthanam at 10 pm.

Our Azagiya manavalan sarangathi is difficult to attain. But even the process of working towards this goal is enough to get this absolute grace of our azagiya manvalan which cleanses our sins and purifies our soul!

Today’s Arayar Pasuram is “Maalai nnannith” ..

Today is the 9th day of Ira pattu. The Araiyar Swamy pasuram is –

Maalai nnannith* thozuthezumino vinaiketa*
kaalaimaalai* kamalamalar ittu neer*
vElaimothum mathilchooz* thirukkannapuraththu*
aalinmelaal_ amarnnthaan* adi_inaigalr (2) 9.10.1

Our Lord is gracefully presenting Himself at ThirukkaNNapuram where the huge waves of Oceans lap at the temple walls. He is the One who had the entire universe in His stomach and was lying on the leaf of a great banyan tree as a Child, incomparable, during pralayam at kalpantharam. You should pay obeisance to such Swami both in the morning and in the evening by reaching His Lotus Feet at this sthalam and offering Lotus flowers at His Feet. All your sins will disappear.

The following ten pasurams exhort adiyars to do saranaagathi at Thirukkannapuram and attain Moksham.

Thirukkannapuram is the abode of Sri Neelamega Perumal. Some interesting information about this divyadesam:-
• Perumal married the princes “Padmavathi” of the fisherman crew. Utsavar Sowriraaja perumal is in a pose of seeking hands for marriage..Yearly once a special pooja is conducted to this perumal by all the fisherman of this area.
• During Aazhwar’s time this temple was near the seashore- vElaimOthum mathiLchooz . But now the sea has drifted back about 10 Kilometers.
• Thirumangai Alwar was given Ashtakshara upadesam from the Lord Neelamega perumal.
• Once there was a great devotee named “Munnayatharayar”. He one night asked his wife to cook ‘Pongal’ (a rice dish) and took it to the temple. But as it was very late the temple doors were closed. Hence he stood outside of the temple and mentally submitted the pongal to the Lord Neelamega perumal. As a honor of acceptance, bells in the Moolavar Sannadhi started ringing and the whole campus was filled with the fragrance of fresh ghee and pongal.
• So from that day, each night during the last pooja perumal takes pongal which is named “Munitharam” pongal after “Munnayatharayar”.
• On every Masi Magam, the lord goes to the seashore and blesses all his devotees there
• Moolavar has Varadha Hastham similar to Kanchi Varadharaja perumal. Also, he has the Prayoga Chakaram similar to that of Ranganatha perumal of SriRangam

The cool January air inside the Sri Rangam Temple is filled with the soft melodious sounds of the Veena. As the day comes to close, Namperumal makes his way back to his inner sanctum under the peaceful strings of the Veena Ekantham

Write up from Narasimha Bhattar

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