Srivaishnavas, during the month of Purattasi (Mid-September/Mid October) on a Saturday, light a lamp to the Supreme God Thirumalai Appan. Normally, this is done on any one of the Saturdays, on the first, third or fifth Saturday of Purattasi Tamil month. Mainly, this is done when there is No Utsavam and Dwajarohanam going on in the Tirupati Hill Temple. It is a form of Dheepa Poojai practiced by some families devoted to Lord VenkatEsa as the immortal lamp on top of the seven hills.
During Every Saturday of the Purattasi month, it is said Lord Sri Venkatesa expecting His devotees to come closer to his consort hills. And for those who could not afford to travel at length, he beams himself through the light of this specific ViLakku. Thus, a devotee getting His Lord’s Darshan without climbing the seven hills of Thirumalai Tirupati. Also, the carbon emanated through the mixture of rice flour and cow’s ghee is said to remove all the ill radiations and negative vibrations from one’s home and that too when one recites aloud the name of the Lord God when the lighted cotton soak goes off. To make it worthy, devotees used to recite the Lord Gods name several times.
On this day, the Govinda Nama sankeerthanam reverberates on the hills of Venkatam as the sevArthees meditate on the dheepam and climb the hills to have the sevai of this eternal dheepam. Azhwars call it Nanada Vilakke.
AzhwAr’s anubhavam of this JyOthi
The three Mudhal AzhwArs lit their own lamps in the first verses Of their respective ThiruvanthAdhis and had a cosmic vision of The Lord with His Devi.
Poygai AzhwarAr , the first of the three Mudhal AzhwArs is the PaanchajanyAmsar. This AzhwAr lit a Cosmic Lamp for the Lord with the gigantic Earth asthe container vessel/bowl (ahal) to hold the surrounding seas serving as the fuel for the lamp and lit the lamp with the hot rayed Sun as the light (Villaku) to ban the darkness of ajn~Anam:
” Vyaam TahaLiyA Vaar kadalE neyyAha
veyyak–kathirOn viLakkAha —Seyya
SudarAzhiyAnukke SootinEn sonn maalai
IdarAzhi neenguhavEyenRu “
When Poygai AzhwAr spoke with the dawning of JN~Anam that the Lord is the Supreme Master (Sarva Seshi) , the next of the Mudhal AzhwArs, BhUtham used His Bhakti as the ahal to for the Lord and His intense desire to visualize / experiencethe Lord as the ghee/fuel for that lamp. The wick in that lampwas His heart that was racing in anticipation of the bliss of enjoying the Lord’s presence :
AnbE tahaLiyA aarvamE neyyAha
inbhuruhu sinthai idu thiriA –nanpuruhi
JN~Anacchudar viLkkERRinEn NaaraNaRkku
Jn~Anat-Tamizh purintha naann
pEy AzhwAr with the benefit of Para Jn~Anam joined the other two AzhwArs to have ParipoorNa SaakshAthkAram of the Lord in the light (glow) of the lamp lit by the other two and described that anubhavam of enjoying the Lord with His divine consort and His weapons:
“ThirukkaNDEn ponn mEni KaNDEn–Thihazhum
arukkanaNi niRamum kaNDEn –seruuliLarum
ponnAzhi kaNDEn purisankam kai kaNDEn
yennAzhi VaNNan paalinRu”
In the third Paasuram of the MoonRAm ThiruvanthAdhis , PeYAzhwAr described the Lord as the permanent cure for the illness of SamsAram( varu naraham theerkkum marunthu)and identifies Him with residences in the Milky Ocean, the breast region of MahA Lakshmi and his heart lotus:
” ManatthuLLAn Maakadal neeruLLAn–MalarAL
tanatthuLLAn TaNN thuzhAi Maarbhan —–
varu naraham theerkkum marunthu “
PeyAzhwAr declares further that he visualized the Lord’s Sacred feet and announces that he clung to them tight as the refuge to destroy forever the cycles of future births . AzhwAr explains in the next Paasuram that the dhivya jyOthi of the Lord’s feet are our means for the liberarion from the terrors of SamsAram and they should be goal and the Supreme object of enjoyment (Marunthum poruLum amuthamum thAnE). The same JyOthi (Kaarthikai dheepam) was seen by Thirumangai Mannan at SrIrangam and Utthama Nambi explained that as the means , goal and the perrenial , insatiable enjoyment (aarAvamudhu) for us . May the divine JyOthi of the Purattasi Saturday dheepam shining on the ahal of Maa ViLakku chase away our darkness of ajn~Anam and Vipareetha Jn~Anam and offer us the comforting place in His Parama Padham at the end of our earthly existence!
Maa ViLakku Recipe
- Raw Rice – 1 cups
- Jaggery – ½ cup
- Cardamom – 4nos
- benzoine known as Pacchaikarpooram a pinch
- Grated coconut – 2 table spoons
- Ghee – 2 table spoons
- Wick – 4 inch length
- Wash and soak the rice for 15minutes.
- Drain well and spread on a white cloth.
- Grind the rice in a heavy duty mixer a little at a time and sieve.
- When all the rice is ground, mix with powdered jaggery’, grated coconut, Pachaikarporam and cardamom
- On a silver plate shape this dough in to the shape of a lamp or ViLakku. Pour ghee and place a wick.
- Light the lamp and wait until it completes burning.
- Chant slokas and Govinda Nama.
- When the lamp is about to go off, do offerings, neivedhyam of Milk or Fruits. Afterwards, remove the burnt wick, mix the dough properly, and distribute the prasadam.
Source: Sadhanas Kitchen