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Editor's Note - 62 (July 1, 2013)

A Great Feast Of Divinity For The Eyes And Soul Alike

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

It was such an exhilaratingly divine experience to witness the grand festival Maha Samprokshanam at our Temple on Thursday, May 2, 2013 (Vijaya-Chiththirai-Thiruvonam). I would like to share with you some of the facets of this wonderful spectacle, even as it serves to document the event.

The following verse is my humble dedication which captures the occasion in a nutshell.

சிறப்புச் செய்யுள் (நேரிசை வெண்பா)
வென்றிபுகழ் வேங்கடவன் உடனுறையும் விரைமலராள்
அன்று திருக்கண்டுரைத்த தமிழ்த்தலைவன் – ஆரியக்கோன்
பற்றியுறை பீடுடைநன் மாமயிலைக் கோயில் பெரு
நற்றெளித்தல் நாமடை நற்பேறு.

Meaning: Lord Srinivasa of Thiruvenkatam of triumph and fame, His Consort Goddess Alarmelmanga who eternally dwells in the fragrant flower, ‘Tahmizh-Thalaivan Peyazhwar who once (in ThirukKovalur) saw the Lord of Discus and came up with a Prabandham beginning with ‘ThirukKanden’ and Swami Desika, a Monarch among Acharyas — all have as their favourite abode Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam situated in the great Kshethram of Malapore. It is an immense fortune for devotees like us that the Grand Samprokshanam is held here in this temple.

(ஆரியக்கோன் = Acharya Saarvabhouman; பெரு நல் தெளித்தல் = Maha Samprokshanam)

The famous phrase ‘Kalou Venkata Nayaka:’ hails Thiruvenkatavan as The Lord who reigns in Kali Yuga. That Lord of Thirumala willed Himself to be born in the Divyadesam called Thiru-Thanka in Thooppul Agraharam and manifested as one Venkatanatha who came to be celebrated by us all as Swami Desika, the Emperor among Acharyas. About 350 years ago, He Himself, as Vedantha Desika, took an exclusive abode and stationed Himself here in Mylapore. Then again, in 1924, The Lord chose not only to bless Swami Desika here but also to join the ‘grace’ forces with our revered Acharya and bless us all, by taking His place in the Temple along with His Consort Alarmelmanga.

Mylapore, which is referred in the legend as ‘Mayura Puri’ and ‘Manikairava Pradesam’ has many specialities to its credit. To name a few, it is the Avathara Sthalam (birth place) of Peyazhwar who is the last of the first triumvirate and the composer of ‘Moonrraam Thiruvanthaadhi’. Besides, it has received the Mangalaasaasanam of Thirumazhisai Azhwar (நீளோதம் வந்தலைக்கும் மாமயிலை) and Thirumangai Azhwar (ஒப்பவரில்லா மாதர்கள் வாழும் மாட மாமயிலை, தேனமர் சோலை மாட மாமயிலை, தென்னன் தொண்டையர் கோன் செய்த நன்மயிலை).

Here, in this momentous land of Swami Desika’s temple, lived hundreds of famed persons — scholarly, orthodox, priestly and devout — espousing the cause of Srivaishnavam. Many great seers have, over centuries, have performed Mangalaasaasanam at this temple which is perceived as the benchmark for unswerving adherence to the Agama procedures and the conducting of all festivals, be it routine or special, and the Thirunakshathrams of the Azhwars and Acharyas.

After his arrival here in 1924 and later in 1975 and 1995, Lord Srinivasa proposed to give his dwelling place a facelift and conduct Maha Samprokshanam. Baalaalayam was performed on Sunday, October 28, 2012. Extensive renovation work was planned. The Maha Samprokshanam, the Day of Consecration, was scheduled to be held in about six months.

The work was going on at full swing and the Samprokshanam Day approached. On the humble request of the Trustees of the Devasthanam, Srimath 45th and 46th Azhagiyasingars of Sri Ahobila Mutt and Srimath Andavan of Srirangam Srimath Andavan Asramam visited the temple and various sites therein and assessed the renovation work, expressed their wholehearted satisfaction and offered their approval and blessings for the Samprokshanam.

The preliminary rituals leading up to the grand event was inagurated in the auspicious presence of Srimath Azhagiyasingars four days before (Sunday, April 28), with Mruthsangrahanam, Ankuraarpanam, Homam and the chanting of the Vedas, Divya Prabandham, Granthams, etc.

Well over 200 scholars in all the four Vedas and their branches, Aruli-Cheyal and other disciplines took part in each session and the Homan concluded with Poornahuthi and Saatrumurai. The grandeur of the occasion was reminiscent to the wondrous experience expressed by Nammazhwar, like “கலியும் கெடும் கண்டுகொண்மின்…, திரியும் கலியுகம் நீங்கித் தேவர்கள் தாமும் புகுந்து, பெரிய கிதயுகம் பற்றிப் பேரின்ப வெள்ளம் பெருக…”, etc.

It would not be an exaggeration to mention that The Lord was overwhelmed with joy being witness to the exemplary Homam, the reverberating chanting of the Vedas and the superb recitation of the Divya Prabandham. The large gathering of devotees was ecstatic to be part of the divine proceedings and receive the blessings of the Lord. The temple management presented the Vedic scholars with munificent honorarium and the Veda Parayana Sabha arranged for orthodox and orderly Thadheeyaaraadhaniai.

The special features of the renovated temple that attracted the devotees very much are: The raised front Mantapam with a fair bit of extension and the beautiful pillars therein, the expanded Vaahana Mantapam, the new Vasantha Mantapam built on the southern side with its exquisite Nandavanam, the new-look four-pillar Mantapam, pictorial depiction of Swami Desika’s life on the walls of the path surrounding the shrines, renovated Mirror Hall for the Lord and the New Mirror Hall for Swami Desika.

Consecration was performed with Thirumanjanam, Santhi Homam, Poornahuthi, to Lord Nrusimha, Rama and Sudharsana during the previous days to the Maha Samprokshanam. Thirumanjanam was conducted to Moolavar Perumal and Thayar on Tuesday. Srimath Andavan paid a visit in the evening during the Homam and Parayanam and did Mangalaasaasanam. On the next day, the Special Thirumanjanam to Uthsavar Perumal, Thayar, Andal and Swami Desikan, the magnificent Kalyana Uthsavam and the rare ‘Sayanaadhi Vaasam’ held at night provided a great sense of elation soaked in devotion to one and all.

And, the day which the devotees had long been longing, finally arrived. The expectant devotees thronged the Temple. After Viswaroopam, Dhwaara Mandala Kumbha Aradhanam, Homam, Poornahuthi, Yaathraa Dhanam were held in a grand manner. Srimath Andavan had arrived prior to this and Srimath Azhagiyasingars also joined in later. Both were accorded grand temple honours with Poorna Kumbham, Kudai, chanting of the Vedas, music of Nadhaswaram and Thavil, Haaraththi, etc. on arrival. The grand spectacle of Poornahuthi was held in the august presence of Srimath Andavan.

It was a unique experience for all the devotees with such a landmark event being held with the three seers in attendance. The Lord, His Consort and Swami Desika, appeared to be relishing the occasion as they assumed a majestic gait as they proceeded towards their shrines. It was such a horripilating moment for the thousands of devotees present when the eagerly-awaited Maha Samprokshanam was performed at the appointed sacred time. That a Garuda bird, regarded as the manifestation of the Vedas, was spotted encircling in the sky right above the main Vimanam added to the ambience, got the devotees excited and made the festival even more memorable.

Then the Grand Saatrumurai of the Veda, Ithihaasa, Puraana, Grantha and Divya Prabandham was held in the divine presence of Srimath Azhagiyasingars. All the three seers were accorded the Lord’s special honours such as ThirupParivattam, garland, shawl and Sri Sataari at the appropriate times. They were all praise for the grand manner in which the Mahothsavam was conducted by the Archaka Swamis lead by Sri U. Ve. Vidwan Azhisur Srinivasacharya Swami. The wealth of Srivaishnavam in the temple and the quality of the Goshti came in for great approval from them. They blessed all the Kainkaryaparas to keep excelling in their divine service and the Temple to keep growing in stature. Special honour was accorded to the Archaka Swamis.

The grand culminating point was the Special Purappadu for the Lord and Swami Desika in the evening. As if to reaffirm the Divya Prabandha phrase “ஓண விழவில் ஒலியதிர”, fireworks was at its best on the ‘Thiruvonam’ day, even as the Lord and our beloved Acharya royally waded though the Mada streets, with newly-dedicated sets of Kudai and expansive Divya Prabandha and Veda Parayana Goshti. Then, Thayar joined the two and the inner procession drew to a close with the conclusion of Divya Prabamdham and Vedam. A sense of gratitude gripped the devotees as they received the choicest of the grace of the Divya Dhampathi and Swami Desika.

The temple authorities had made arrangements to view the event live through web streaming, which came for high praise from devotees all over the world. Those who witnessed the grandeur in person went home with an elated feeling that their day had been made.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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