Brahmotsavam Day 6 to 11 (Bhoopathy Utsavam), Thiruvarangam

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Day 6, Karpaka Vriksha Vahana and Gaja Vahanam, Bhoopathy Utsavam

In the morning in Srirangam, Namperumal leaves from the Mantapam by Karpaka vriksham and reaches Kannadi Arai after strolling through the Uthirai streets. Details about Karpaka Vriksham Karpakam refers to softness/ kindness/ prosperity. This Karpaka vriksham is a holy tree which blesses people with whatever they desire Namperumal who is benign, who fulfills the people’s just  desires  strolls throughout the day under the shade  of Karpaka vriksham. People who worship Namperumal on this day are really blessed and will be prosperous throughout life.

He would remove all the obstacles in their life. In fact, our Dayanidhi will shower his blessings on his devotees even without their asking, just like he showered great wealth on Kuchela who offered what he could, a few morsels of Aval, and could not even think of any favour to ask from the Lord. He knows that his true devotees value his Ranga Darsana more than any earthly wealth and riches acchuvai perineum venden , Arangama nagarulane.

In the pleasant morning at Srirangam our Namperumal leaves from Vahana mandapam and reaches His Aasthana Mandapam Sukra vara Thoppu, Beautiful Mandapam with Coconut tree and Banana tress and nice gardens.

At around 8 pm, Namperumal proceeds on the Yanai (elephant) vahanam. Namperumal Azagiya manavalan who is a King (Rangarajan) strolls through the Uthirai Street in Yaanai Vahanam. On seeing Namperumal walking with gambiramana oyyiara nadai (walking with pride) it brings the Azhvar paasuram to our memoirs “Neenda-ap periya-vaaya kangal ennai bedhamai sei-thanave”

Kannadi Arai is where Namperumal takes rest after days of porappadudal (processions). It is amazing that He also needs rest for one whole day, just like us humans, after days of work. Kannadi Arai has special significance because here, Embruman takes Ekantha thirumanjanam (bath) alone except for the presence of Archakas who bathe Him. Ekantha Thrimanjanam is done with lukewarm water and succeeding this, neivedhyam of milk (with Saffron / elachi / jaggery) is undertaken; finally Azagiyamanavalan is dressed in soft clothes and goes into Aanandha sayanam (tranquil state) like a new born child.

Day 7, Bhoopathy Utsavam

In the morning of this day, Azagiyamanavalan takes rest in his Mirror room where bhagawadas had his Dharshanam! Azhagiya Manavalan, Namperumal goes to Thiru Kottaram. There is a grainery here where Dhanyas are kept. As a customary practice, Azhagiya manavalan goes to the grainery to verify the produce. After this, He goes around the entire Utthra streets. As he strolls through the streets one may notice the beauty in various parts. While trying to explain the beauty of His Thirumudi (Crown), my focus suddenly moves towards His bright face. Then my eyes catch the beautiful smile on His lips. Then, moving slightly upwards, the Kasturi Thilakam on His forehead is so decorative. Then my eyes are caught by the beauty of his eyes. The beauty of his lotus petal shaped eyes are as aptly described – “Kamala Nayana”. Then on to His lips

Karpooram naarumo, kamalappoo narumo
Thiruppavala sevvaithan thiththithirukkumo

Camphor and lotus are no match for His thirumeni suganda. The mere sight of his red lips is itself sweet!

Kuzhal azhagar vaayazhagar kan azhagar , kopoozhil ezhu kamala poovazhagarâ

His locks(hair) are beautiful, mouth, eyes and the nabhi from which lotus is rising all are beautiful “ Nachiyar Thirumozhi. The Peethambaram that My focus suddenly is distracted by the He wears looks so delicate and soft on Him. No wonder Swami Desikan wanted to keep looking at the soundarya of the Lord everyday without even closing his eyelids!-

animeshair lochanair nirviseyamâ.

After the procession, He reaches Maha lakshmi sri Ranganayaki Thayar Sannidhi Thirumanjanam with ubhaya nachiyaris performed. Then finally he retires to the kannadai arai by around mid night

Day 8, Kudhirai Vahanam, Bhoopathy Utsavam

On this auspicious day’s morning, emperumal goes Processions through the uththirai streets of thiruvarangam. After the Procession in Utthra streets Azagiyamanavalan reaches the Rangavilasa Mandapam at 9:00 am,where thiruvaaraadhanai is performed with vedic chants along with Neivedyam,Ghosti with the usual pomp.

In the evening, at around 6:30pm, The Lord mounts on his vahana – thanga kuthirai ( Golden Horse ) – and then starts the procession. The importance of horse as a vahanam for Namperumal cannot be said stressed enough. Namperumal himself took the Hayagriva avatharam (with head of a Horse and body of man) to retrieve the vedas from the Daityas – Madhu & Kaitabha . So in that sense Sri Hayagriva himself represents the primeval Horse.

The sight of our Azhagiya Manavalan on top of the golden horse is magnificent and formidable. For after all, he is the king of kings, and horse is the most appropriate steed for a king. As our Namperuamal rides the golden horse, he reassures us that again he will come and protect us from the wicked and wipe out the evil and the sins that are present in this kali yuga as the lord says in sri bhagavad geeta.

Paritranaaya sadhunaam
vinaashayacha dushkrutaam,
Dharma Samsthapanaarthaaya,
Sambhavaami yuge yuge

— To protect pure souls and to wipe out evil and for the reestablishment of dharma, I will “happen” yuga after yuga —

Coming back to the purappadu, the Lord, on the top of the Golden Horse is strolling through the uththirai street and the horse appears to be very much ecstatic and excited, and appears as if he is shouting “Ranga..” , lifting its front two legs in air. But once the shadow of our Azhagiya Manavalan’s feet falls onsouth utthara street, the horse spots the heavenly charriot decorated by all the Muppattu Mukkodi Devathas waiting to carry the Lord. They very sight of the charriot makes the horse lose its senses. The very thought that Perumal would get off his back makes the horse go crazy. He loses his mind and even forgets that he is carrying the lord on his back and starts running criss cross and zig zag across the south utthara street near the charriot. This is such a wonderful site and certainly holds so much meaning in it.

It is for us, humans, to see the depth in the devotion of the horse and learn from this incident. The Lord then pacifies and controls the horse and then gets off its back once Azagiyamanavalan reaches the temple. The horse itself has several connotations. The horse itself is a symbol of Speed, Swiftness, Agility and great strength.But the horse can go in any direction if not guided by its master, by using a halter. Because, what use is of a Horse, with all of its inhuman abilities, if its not properly guided?

As Namperumal holds the reins of the horse and pacifies and controls and guides it, we are reminded of the fact that even though every human is capable of several great accomplishments and has several great abilities, unless it is guided by the light of devotion towards Namperumal, they are all futile in the path towards enlightenment.

Having done all the rounds in Sri Rangam and contorlling the horse, our Azhagiya Manavalan moves to Kannadi Arai(palace of mirror) where he has a relaxing bath (Thirumanjanam) in warm water. He adornes a very delicate yet grand garland made of, vrukshi flower and pathiri flowers from Thondaradi podi azhwar’s gardens,Madhura Kavi ahwar’s garders. Afterwards, he is offered Aravanai (similar to chakkara pongal without moong dal, made of rice, jaggery, saffron, cardamom and ghee) and Milk with sugar and saffron. Then He goes to shayanam in the kannadi arai!

Day 9, Thiruther, Bhoopathy Utsavam

Today is the day that Azhagiyamanavalan is accompanied by his consorts Shree Devi and Bhooma Devi appears in the Ther or the chariot. True to his name “Rangaraja” (The King Ranga) his majestic appearance is beyond any description.

We all know that the Chariot is an important part of all our temples. No temple festival is complete without the Ther. Indeed the Ther is the climax of all festivals.

Why such an importance for Ther ? It is because the Lord himself conferred this importance on Ther. It is the Ther which the Lord chose as the locale for his Gitopanishad. When Arjuna saw the relatives and respected elders on the opposite side of the battlefield, he was overcome by grief and requested Krishna Senayor ubhayormadhye ratham sthapaya me achyutha. In fact it is not Arjuna himself but Lord Krishna who made him say these words. He settled Arjuna Ther between the two armies between good and evil, between dharma and adharma and delivered his Gita. His chosen vehicle was the Ther which The Rajadhiraja himself drove as a Sarthy . Gitacharyan told all that we are always caught between good and evil, dharma and adharma and to choose the correct path we have to surrender to Him sarva dharman parithyaya mamekam sharanam vrajaâ. Again sitting on the chariot driver seat, He told Arjuna Bahuni me vyatheethani janmani thava ch Arjuna; Thanyahm vedmi sarvani na thvam vetha paranthapa

It is the Ther which is selected by the Lord himself as the peeta fro which he gave the Gita discourse. No wonder the Ther occupies such an important position in our temples. On this day of Ther at Booloka Vaikunta it is indeed the privileged who are blessed to to be present and receive the Katakshams of our Lord and the Ubhayanachiyars.

Day 10, Sapthaa Varnam, Bhoopathy Utsavam

On the 10th day of Thirunaal, after Theertha Vari in the holy Chandra Pushkarani, Perumal goes to Chandana Mandapam. Then, He leaves by evening and goes around the Utthra streets, listening to Divya prabandham and Vedas, without much pomp and celebration. Since He is tired because of 10 days of festival along with many musical instruments playing all the time, in order to take a break from much of this, he has just one drum playing as he marches silently, in Sapthaa Varnam, in the middle sabda prakaram on Utthra streets. Then He goes back in and has Rakshabandhana Visarjanam(the removal of the Rakshabandhanam) after which, He goes back to Moola Sthanam directly.

Day 11, Aalum Pallakku, Bhoopathy Utsavam

The 11th day of Bhoopathy thirunaal, Azagiya manvalan appears in Aalum Pallaku. This Palanquin is nothing ordinary. This palanquin is decorated with Vrkshika Or Shanbaga Flowers. The way the beautiful palanquin swings side-to-side appears as if Lord himself is dancing in happiness after a successful thirunaal!

Written by Sri Narasimha Bhattar

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