SVDD Renovation — An Appeal To Participate In The Kainkaryam
Our temple Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam (SVDD) is presently under extensive renovation and the Deities have duly taken abode in Balalayam since October 28. The Maha Samprokshanam is scheduled to be held in a few months time.
The total cost of renovation is estimated at Rs. 3.5 crore. It is a privilege for me to make a call to you all through this Note to participate in this Divine Kainkaryam by contributing liberally and receive the blessings of the Divya Dhampathi and Swami Desikan.
Cheques may be drawn in favour of “Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam Thiruppani Account”. It may be noted that exemption under section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, is available.
An appeal from the Trustees of the temple is available here. The Temple Office may be contacted at +91 44 24953799. The address is: Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam, No. 4, K. P. Sannathi Street, Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004.
I take this opportunity to reflect on a few key factors that have put the stamp of eminence on the temple and made it one of the most renowned in our Sampradaya.
Our’s is among the premier Srivaishnava temples in Chennai, with a history of over three centuries. The presiding deity of the temple is Srinivasa. The Lord, along with His Consort Sri Alarmel Manga and Sri Vedantha Desika — an Acharya-par-excellence in the lineage of Srivaishnava Gurus — forever showers the devotees with His choicest of grace.
Swami Desika, as the Acharya is reverentially referred to, is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Venkatesa of Thirumala. No wonder it is, hence, that the genius that he was, authored more than 120 works of varied nature espousing the cause of the Visishtaadvaita philosophy.
In fact, it is for Swami Desika that the temple was constructed nearly 400 years ago. Lord Srinivasa was installed later. It is well known that Azhwars and Acharayas travelled throughout the country extolling the beauty and grace of Sriman Narayana. However, in the case of Mylapore, it would appear that the Lord and the Acharya Swami Desika switched roles as the Divya Dampathi (Lord Srinivasa and Alarmel Manga Thayar) perhaps willed to grace the abode of His most favourite devotee (Swami Desika) and relish his company.
Therefore, with justifiable pride, one may assert that this temple of eminence for Swami Desika is steeped in tradition.
Besides Perumal, Thayar and Swami Desika, the temple has Sannidhis for deities such as Lakshmi Narasimha, Rama, Lakshmi Hayagriva, Sudharsana/Yoga Narasimha, Andal, Garuda, Anjaneya, Sri Ramanuja, Azhwars and other Acharyas. There is a separate shrine for Peyazhwar whose Avathara Sthalam happens to be Mylapore.
The Pujas and rituals of the temple comply with Sri Pancharathra Aagamas, that is, the practice of Kumbham, Mandalam, Bimbham and Yaagam. Pancha Murthy form of idol worship is followed; the Murthys being Dhruva Bera (Moolavar), Kousthubha Bera, Uthsava Bera, Yaaga Bera and Sayana Bera.
Numerous festivals are celebrated in the temple round the year. Of these, the Brahmothsavam (10 days), Swami Desikan Avathara Uthsavam (10), Navarathri Uthsavam (10), Pavithra Uthsavam (7), Adhyayana Uthsavam (22), Panchami Theertha Uthsavam for Thayar (9), Peyazhwar Uthsavam (10), Andal Uthsavam (10), Kaliyan Uthsavam (10), Sri Bhashyakara Uthsavam (10), ThirupPaavadai Uthsavam, Lakshaarchana for Hayagriva are among the most prominent ones. In all, Uthsavams are held on more than 230 days in a year.
A number of illustrious Srivaishnava Acharyas have time and again visited and performed Mangalaasaasanam here over generations and added value to the temple’s hoary tradition and glory. This includes H.H. Jeeyars of Sri Ahobila Mutt, Andavan Asramam, Parakala Mutt, besides a galaxy of other great scholars.
It is believed that devotion and committed service of the Kainkaryaparas, conducting of the daily rituals and Uthsavams as laid down in the Aagama Saasthras, chanting of the Vedas, reciting of Divya Prabandham and Desika Prabandhams, worshipping by great sages and savants, etc. augment the Lord’s aura and splendour, and accentuate the sanctity of a temple. It is a matter of pride and gratitude that SVDD is a shining example among such special temples.
Some of the pioneering activities of the Temple and its affiliated organisations are:
- The Vedaparayana Sabha, which was established in 1905, has been in the unstinted service of the Temple and Bhagavathas/scholars for over a century now. It has been undertaking and sponsoring Thadheeyaaradhana and Sambhavana for the annual Brahmothsavam and Swami Desika Vaarshika Uthsavam. The Sabha, an integral part of the Temple's activities, completed 100 years of dedicated and distinguished service in March 2005 when a grand Centenary Celebration, commemorating the occasion and befitting the magnitude of the event, was held.
- Sri Vaishnava Sripadham Kainkarya Association, which was formed in 1946, has been an exclusive group of Srivaishnavas engaged in the service of carrying the Lord during processions in all festivals of the Temple. This organisation has proved to be a role model for many a temple in this significant Kainkaryam.
- Popularising the Visishtaadvaitha philosophy by conducting a number of Vidwath Sadases and Upanyasams through various endowment trusts all through the year. The annual ThirupPavai discourse, sponsored by The Vedaparayana Sabha, is a famous and prestigious event.
- Conducting organised classes in the Vedas and Divya Prabandham under the auspices of The Vedaparayana Sabha since 1996. Scores of children have emerged fully qualified under the scheme. Imparting of training in these disciplines was there even before, albeit, in the form of private classes.
- Creating awareness among children about Swami Desika’s hymns and Prabandhams by conducting competitions in them during the Acharya’s Vaarshika Uthsavam.
- Maintaining the temple’s website www.svdd.com (launched in December 2006) which has emerged as one of the leading Srivaishnava portals with global viewership and participation.
By the grace of the Divya Dhampathi and our beloved Acharya, may these Kainkaryams continue for eternity!
Meet you in the next Note.
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