A Temple For The Acharya with A Stature Of Its Own
It was a wonderful and ennobling experience as we celebrated Swami Desika’s Vaarshika Mahothsavam with verve and vitality at our temple and those who have had first-hand experience would have had their share of fill for sure.
The rare occurrence of two Thirunakshathram days (Purattaasi-Sravanam) made it even more special this year as the tone for the grand finale was set even on the first Sravanam day (19th September). It was a fitting tribute to the great Acharya as a 108-Kalasa Thirumanjanam was performed in the morning and a special procession to Desika Vidya Bhavanam was carried out in the evening and the Veda, Divya Prabandha Parayanam and Satrumurai made it a sumptuous feast for the mind.
But, the stomach would not allow itself to be outdone though, as is the case often at the temple, and in fact, on this occasion, nearly succeeded in stealing a march over the mind, as surfeit of the Lord’s and Acharya’s Prasadhams – a whopping 23 in number – were on offer on different occasions of the day. This could well vie for the ‘classic example of embarrassment of riches’.
Add to all this the presence of Srimath Andavan at the Bhavanam during the evening procession and his mini-Upannyasam on the Sloka “Vede Sanjaathakhethe…” on Swami Desika which was replete with his characteristic humour and tongue-in-cheek quips supplementing the substance. A memorable evening it was for the hundreds of devotees who had assembled there. The pontiff again took part in the Thirunakshathram celebrations, that is, during the Paththi Ulaaththal on the grand Saatrumurai day.
The 10-day annual festival of our Swami which culminates in the grand Thirunakshathram is a famous event and this year it was no different. Just to recapitulate, the highlights of the Uthsavam which has Pallakku procession in the mornings and other Vahanams in the evenings for our Acharya are: Garuda Sevai (for the Lord) on the third day morning, Hayagriva Aradhanam on the seventh evening, Yaanai Vahanam with Esal on the eighth evening, Thiru-Ther on the ninth morning and the grand Mangalaasaasanam in the morning and Saatrumurai in the evening on the final day.
The special events on the day of grand finale (16th October) began with Swami Desika’s Mangalaasaasanam of all the deities in the temple as well as Divyadesams, Azhwars and Acharyas, with chanting of Slokas/Paasurams composed solely by the Acharya and then the Saranaagathi Gadhyam of Sri Ramanuja. This was followed by the morning Saatrumural, procession to Palathope and Thirumanjanam in the afternoon.
The evening session got off with Sevakalam for ThirupPaavai Saatrumurai, Paththi Ulaaththal (a special one this time with Perumal and Thayar also gracing the occasion as Maha Navami coincided), the famed Oyaali to Swami Desika, ThirupPaavai Saatrumurai, Swami Desika’s procession on Mangalagiri, Thiruvoymozhi Sevakalam, all leading up to the grand Saatrumurai in the wee hours of the following morning.
In between the two Sravanams, the seven-day Pavithrothsavam beginning on Purattaasi-Pournami was performed. This festival in our temple enjoys pride of place because of a uniqueness – that is, devotees can circumambulate the deities, Yaaga Saala, Divya Prabandha, Veda Parayana Ghoshtis and all the Sannidhis in one go. Srimath Azhagiyasingar – the 46th, graced the occasion during the evening Homam on the final day (29th September) and stayed till Poornaahuthi. He expressed his admiration for the Ubhaya Veda, Grantha Parayana Ghoshti that has now become a hallmark of the temple.
The pontiffs' fondness and appreciation for the temple are best exemplified by their frequent visits for mangalaasaasanam which not only are a great source of encouragement to the management, Kainkaryaparas and devotees alike, but also a fair index of the stature of the temple.
Our temple is no Divyadesam, but to be talked in the same breath as Thooppul, Thiruvaheendra Puram on the subject of Swami Desika’s Uthsavam, is certainly a matter of great pride. The range and grandeur of other Uthsavams – which are conducted strictly in adherence to the Aagamas – also draw comparison with the best of Divyadesams.
Let me sign off with two significant uniqueness of the temple. Firstly, this is one place where the Divya Dampathis willed to grace the abode of the Acharya and joined him later to relish his company. And then, the temple is the pioneer of the Srivishnava movement in undertaking all processions exclusively by themselves (Sripadha Kainkaryam).
Let me sign off placing on record a few significant uniqueness of the temple.
- This is one place where the Divya Dampathis willed to grace the abode of Swami Desika and joined him to relish his company.
- The renowned Vedaparayana Sabha, which is an affiliated organisation of the temple, has a history of 105 years now and it has been carrying on the Kainkaryam of sponsoring the Thadheeyaaraadhana and Sambhavana for the scholars participating in the annual Brahmothsavam and Swami Desika’s Uthsavam, ever since its inception.
- Another allied unit of the temple Srivaishnava Sripatham Kainkaryam Association is the pioneer of the Srivaishnava movement in undertaking all processions exclusively by themselves and has been carrying on the service with distinction since 1946.
I wish you all a very happy Deepavali, by invoking the grace of the Divya Dampathis and Swami Desika.
Meet you in the next Note.
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