On the 12 th of March all of us Srirangamvasis were excited. Why? Because NamPerumal would be adorning the abharanams(ornaments) offered by Venkatadari swami. “I got His darshan in less than half an hour one devotee remarked.Another remarked I purchased a Rs.50 ticket and got His sevai easily. ” Usually the crowds are big and getting darshan takes quite some time. But it being examination time we get darshan quite easily in the month of Maasi. As we enjoyed NamPerumal’s Pandian kondai and gem-studded Makarakundalams and series of necklaces against His red-velvet dress we were wondering who the mahanubhava was who gave so much.
The next day when we met friends who have lived in Srirangam since childhood told us that they had seen NamPerumal decked with much more ornaments and NamPerumal would wear flower garland like Tiruvenkatamudaiyan. Being curious to know about this swami we asked old timers and they told us that swami was a sanyasi from Andhra Pradesh who had offered a lot of jewels for Ranganatha and on the day of his paramaprapthi Ranganatha and Ranganachiar adorn the ornaments offered by swami. When we visited the temple we saw groups of bhaghavathas singing bhajans outside Thayar sannidhi , near paramapada vasal with one devotee playing a small sized tambura ,wearing salangai (bells) around his ankles.
That same evening we got an invitation to attend a musical programme in 101 East Chitra Veedhi. We were surprised to see the picture(a painting) of Venkatadari swami with a beautiful garland and kashayam (saffron cloth) offering. Then we listened to a musical kutcheri by Koviladi Madhva Prasad of AIR repute. Then another kutcheri by Smt. Mythili Jaganathan was scheduled.
We could not connect how this swami’s photo landed in their house.So we visit ed them today 14th evening to talk to the family living there. Jambakalaksmi mami told us that she knew that this utsavam has been on for atleast 65 years. Her father-law was given this photo by a neighbour to be preserved with respect and this must have been about 85 years. Till date mami organises music offerings as a tribute to swami who was a music composer at par with Annamacharya swami. The family of Veena Rangarajan(Veena Srinivasan) offers veena offering as a tribute and Koviladi Madhva Prasad sings swami’s compositions . No one expects any sambavanai and the musical offerings are voluntary. Mr Srinivasan their neighbour talked about how three neighbours got together to celebrate swami’s aradhana in a grand scale. It was his father who entrusted the photo to this family.
Lakshmi mami then told us about the Pandian kondai and how it could be dismantled. She told us how a unchivrithi sanyasi offered priceless jewels like an emperor, how he would sleep in different houses.It left us amazed as we realized that Perumal decides from whom He will accept offerings. All we can do is offer our pranams to such mahans.
Writeup & video : Vyjayanthi & Sundararajan