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Editor's Note - 61 (June 1, 2013)

End Of A Saga — A Doyen Among Seers Will Forever Be Missed

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

The grief and disbelief refuse to fade away. Srimath 45th Azhagiyasingar, a doyen among seers, attained Parama Padham at 12.05 a.m. on Sunday, May 19 (Vaikaasi-Sukla-Navami). That this happened at Srirangam as per his wish is a fitting end to a phenomenal saga, though.

Just about a fortnight ago, the Acharya-par-excellence was here, gracing the Maha Samprokshanam with his auspicious presence. He was here a few days prior to that too, inaugurating the preliminary rituals leading up to the consecration festival. Again, a week or so before that, he visited the Temple, to have a look at the construction work in progress. All this when he was not keeping good health! I cannot think of anything similar he has done during the last few years — not even in connection with the projects of Sri Ahobila Mutt.

Such was the magnitude of the special bond he had with our Temple that he once quoted உன்தன்னோடு உறவேல் நமக்கு இங்கு ஒழிக்க ஒழியாது from ThirupPaavai and elaborated that his relationship with SVDD was similar to the one Andal had with ‘Govinda’.

It was after performing his last Mangalaasaasanam here that he bid adieu to Gruhastha Asramam and left for Srirangam to assume Sannyaasa Asramam. As providence would have it, his final Mangalaasaasanam in this material world (not counting his own Swarrcha idol Lord Malola) also happened at SVDD. How prophetic his ThirupPaavai reference turned out to be!

Explaining why SVDD is close to his heart, Srimath Azhagiyasingar had this to say: "According to the Saasthras, there are certain parameters that determine the sanctity of a temple. Proper adherence to the Agamas, the intensity of chanting of the Vedas and Divya Prabandham, the quality and quantity of the offerings made to the Lord (Prasadhams), frequent worshipping of Acharyas, scholars and pious people, etc., are the crucial ones. The temple is right at the top of all these charts.”

In a lighter vein, he used to say that it was Azhwars who missed out on our Temple and not the other way round, given the fact that they were born a few millenniums earlier. He would remark that Thirumayilai Srinivasan is nearly as affluent as His predecessor Thirumalai Srinivasan.

So, it is hardly surprising that he had immense affinity towards our Temple and the Kainkaryaparas. The reverberating chanting of the sizeable Divya Prabandha Goshti and the Veda Parayana Goshti and the dedication of those rendering Sri Paadham Kainkaryam were often the objects of his special attention and generous praise. He was very particular that all those who serve at SVDD should take part in the various Thirunakshathra Mahothsavams conducted at the Selaiyur Mutt.

His eagerness to visit SVDD was child-like and he would, in fact, be waiting for a chance. One incident, which happened five years ago, readily comes to the mind. He was then camping at Kanheepuram for Vaikaasi Uthsavam. Notwithstanding his poor health, he came all the way to Mylapore just to attend the ‘Vedu Pari’ event which is a part of Kuthirai Vaahanam procession during Brahmothsavam here.

Several Kainkaryams were realised at SVDD through Srimath Azhagiyasingar and the most significant among them are the offering of Swarna Kavacham to Swami Desika in February 2009 and the generous contribution for the samprokshanam.

The profundity of his knowledge, top-draw proficiency in providing discourses, uncompromising austerity and orthodoxy, administrative acumen, precise planning and perfect execution, great finesse in whatever he did and the magnitude of his Kainkaryams to numerous temples and his achievements for the Sri Sampradayam through the 20 years at the throne are not only mind-blowing, but also legendary. Simply put, he was an epitome of excellence. Since his feats cannot be compressed into a Note of this nature, the scope of this tribute has been limited to his interaction with SVDD.

It was a fitting farewell to the great seer that thousands of disciples and devotees took part in the Charama Kainkaryam and Iyal Goshti. SVDD honours were duly sent through Archaka Swamins for both the first and final day of the Kainkaryam.

In between, Pattaabhishekam (a function to mark Ascending the Throne) for Srimath 46th Azhagiyasingar was performed on May 23. Mahaaraadhanam, Paarvana Homan, Dwaadasa Aaraadhanam were held as laid down in the Saasthras between the 10th and 12th day, respectively.

A grand Iyal Goshti and Saatrumurai with scholars in the Vedas, Divya Prabandham and Swami Desika Sri Sookthis lead by Srimath 46th Azhagiyasingar, were the highlights of the final day in which a good number of Kainkaryaparas from SVDD participated. The presence of an elephant carrying the Acharya’s photo and two camels up front added to the ambience.

I join the Trustees and the other Kainkaryaparas in paying reverential homage to the legendary pontiff. It will never be the same at SVDD without the 45th Srimath Azhagiyasingar and he will forever be missed by one and all.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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