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Editor's Note - 8 (January 1, 2009)

The Charms Of Being A 'Virtual Divyadesam'

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

"Maasaanaam Maargaseershoham" (I am Margazhi amongst the months) declared Lord Krishna in His Gita. As if taking a cue, Andal made the month her own through her matchless masterpiece ThirupPavai, singing the glory of the Lord while highlighting the importance of observing the Dhanurmaasa Vrathaas. Swami Desika, not one to be left behind, followed suit with his Godha Sthuthi, an exquisite hymn steeped in devotion and soaked in the enigmatic romance that epitomises Andal's association with Lord Ranganatha.

Add to this the unmistakable seasonal weather and snowy start to the day (although it is less chilly this year in Chennai, possibly due to an extended monsoon!), the fervent pre-dawn chanting of ThirupPalli Ezhuchchi, ThirupPavai and Godha Sthuthi, the Satrumurai Goshti and Pongal Prasaadham, Bhajanai troupes in the semi-darkness, dhoti-clad kids wandering about ahead of their morning classes, constant rushing in and out of the Temple by devotees, apparently to keep time with Upanyasams either through television or at Sabhaas or temples, or catch an earful of their favourite musician (December season) and so on... You have a heady mix, a compelling buzz in and around the Temple here.

Compelling too it is, for me, to substantiate the views of one Chettipunyam Srinivasan from California, who has termed the Temple a "great virtual Divyadesam" in his feedback (check Valued Views). His observation is spot on. It is heartening that someone who lives about 14,000 kilometres away is able to enjoy the activities at the Temple, through svdd.com. Truly, a tribute to technology!

Coming to the point of Divyadesam, there is not an iota of doubt in my mind that if the Temple was in existence during the Azhwars' times, there wouldn't be the need for the prefix 'virtual'. Such is the beauty and grace, benevolence and bestowing nature of Lord Srinivasa and His Consort here that they couldn't have been bypassed. At least three of them who toured these parts Peyazhwar (Avathara Sthalam, in the first place), Thirumazhisai Azhwar and Kaliyan would have performed Mangalaasaasanam here. Let me assure you that this notion was not born out of home affinity but is a logical conclusion.

No regrets though. What if it's merely 'virtual'. Apparent handicaps could, in certain cases, be turned into strengths. Those who have witnessed the Navarathri festival here would vouch for it. The Lords of Divyadesams cannot but be their respective selves. But our Srinivasa is not bound by such limitations.

What Poigai Azhwar has said is a perfect fit here;

தமருகந்தது எவ்வுருவம் அவ்வுருவம் தானே
தமர் உகந்தது எப்பேர் மற்றெப்பேர் - தமருகந்து
எவ்வண்ணம் சிந்தித்து இமையாதிருப்பரே
அவ்வண்ணம் ஆழியானாம்.
(முதல் திருவந்தாதி - 44)

"Devotees get to see the Lord in the forms they wish to see Him fondly. He readily takes the names they want to call Him by. He is of the nature they meditate dearly in their minds. He, of course, is the discus-wielding one (Vishnu)".

As if to illustrate the above paasuram, the Lord here presents Himself as Arangan, Amudhan, Varadan, Veeraraghavan, Devanathan, Thiruvenkatamudaiyan, and so on during the nine-day festival, for the sake of devotees. And what's more! Swami Desika leads us all in enjoying Him in different ThirukKolams (Navarathri and Desikan Vaarshika Uthsavam normally occur parallelly). Also, the daily routines and Uthsavams alike are all conducted as diligently as in any renowned Divyadesam.

As for the present, the Adhyayana Uthsavam has begun, and even as Margazhi ripens, we have Vaikunta Ekadasi, Bhogi ThirukKalyanam and Sankranthi Uthsavam all lined up along the way. So, keep your date with divinity.

On behalf of svdd.com, I wish you all a happy Sankranthi and ever growing divine experience.

First 'top scorer' for each quiz

As you all know, the quiz (Trail Our Glorious Sampradaya) is open from the 1st to 25th of every month. Such a long time frame has been decided upon keeping in mind the need to provide participants ample opportunity to learn as much as possible in matters related to our Sampradaya.

A noticeable tendency has crept in among the participants to hold over the entry till the last dates. Sometimes, due to various reasons, it may not be possible to send in the entry (for instance, last month's Internet cable problem). That's why it is better to send the entry as early as possible.

On the other hand, there are participants who do quick work and come up with early entries (all correct). It is felt that they deserve some encouragement and recognition. Therefore it has been decided to acknowledge the first top scorer (practically, sender of the first all-correct entry) along with the results of the quiz, on the first of the following month. However, there is no change in the prize-pattern. But what has to be kept in mind is accuracy should not be sacrificed for urgency.

A list of such a feat since the start of the quiz has already been uploaded, which will be updated every month. We hope this would even out the imbalance to some extent. For the record, Vijay Srinivas of Tempe, Arizona, has achieved the feat five times so far. Congratulations to him.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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