Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rahul Dravid's defensive cricket costing India dear

Rahul Dravid’s Defensive Cricket – Its time he showed positive intent
Else he may have to do away with his No.3 Test Batting slot

Rahul Dravid has won the accolades from one and all over the last few days for his century as well as the 10000 test runs he completed at the just concluded first test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Madras. A lot has also been written about Rahul’s sacrifice for Indian cricket- opening the batting, donning the keeping gloves in one dayers etc.

That cannot take away some of the selfish cricket he has played in the recent past that has cost India dear.

The cricket analysts seem to have missed the plot with some of his recent performances and have continued to tag on with ‘ Dravid-The Wall- is a great player’.

That's the difference between truly successful teams and the ones not right there at the top. When you have a chance, teams like Australia play as a team giving the team the best chance to win.

When India here, thanks to Sehwag, put themselves in an advantageous position on the 3rd afternoon, Dravid did not collaborate with him in a way one would have expected a top notch winning team to have done. Dravid used Sehwag's innings to play himself in(and for much too long) and to get into form. And that slowed down things, when India could easily have scored another 75runs on day 3, with the way Sehwag was going. And again on 4th morning, Dravid waited for Sehwag to launch. And with two early wickets, he used that to his advantage by turning 'Wall' again, thus not allowing further wickets to fall!!!!!!!

If India cannot cash in from 400 for 1, one wonders as to when they would?? Australia from this position would have taken the score to another level, at least psychologically they would have won the battle. India failed even on that front and the Proteas can hold their heads high in the way they fought on in the first test. And they would be happy to hand over some of the credit to Rahul Dravid!!!!

During the four tests in Australia in the 2007-08 series, Dravid’s approach at the top of the order left a lot to be desired. Time and again during the four tests, his slow batting created a defensive mindset and gave Australia a stranglehold at the start of the Indian innings. Till the end of the series, this approach of Dravid did not change.

Agreed that the great batsman-The Wall- was not in form and had to be given room to be allowed to play himself back into form, given his great contribution to Indian cricket over the last decade.

However, one must ask the question as to how long a rope can one be given. And also the question as to whether an out of form individual can play himself in, time and again, at the cost of the team interest.

Anil Kumble, Rahul’s Karnataka team mate and the Indian captain, has backed Rahul all along over the last 3-6 months including in the post match comments after the
1st Test at Chepauk against South Africa and commended his century.

With Sehwag blasting the South African attack all around the MAC stadium on a hot and humid 3rd day on Friday, Dravid’s slow batting ensured that the damage was not complete. The entire reporting centered on Sehwag’s fastest triple. Every journalist seemed overawed at Sehwag’s performance. Most missed out on the fact that had Dravid been able to rotate the strike on day 3, it may have been a totally different tale, even by the end of day 3.

While Sehwag went at better than run a ball, Dravid scored at a miserly 1 run every 3 balls on day 3, especially on a day when the Proteas were pushed back on the defensive right from session one.

Even at 470/1, Dravid did not see fit to rotate strike on the 4th morning and scored just about 5 runs of his first 40 odd balls, once again giving South Africa a glimmer of hope which they fully capitalized after taking the wickets of Sehwag and Tendulkar.

True cricket analysts will have to start questioning Dravid’s approach and his defensive cricket, especially since he is batting at the most prestigious No. 3 slot. It is sad to see and read references(to his Chepauk century) on the lines of ‘It was a great century’, ‘fantastic effort’ etc.

Dravid’s was a selfish effort. Clearly at Chennai, he put his personal interests ahead of the team. He has recently said that the last one year has been difficult for him and that he has put in great effort to fight it out and stay in there during this difficult phase. That is understandable and one should commend his ability to have fought off a bad phase(he had also given up the captaincy during this period).

If Dravid had show positive intent on this batting beauty at Chepauk on day 3 as well as the 4th morning, the tide could easily have shifted in India’s favour. India could have gone well past 700 by the 4th afternoon had Dravid supported Sehwag better.

There are different ways world class batsmen take to get themselves out of a bad phase.Rahul's approach has been to stay in the middle and fighting it out without giving away his wicket. What he has missed and which I believe has cost India dear is rotating the strike, taking the singles and giving the aggressor at the other end more opportunities. Score books will show a century against Dravid's name against South Africa. It will show a biggish score at the end of the Aussie tour. What it will not reveal is his defensive approach to batting at the top of the order, that gave the psychological advantage to the opposition at the beginning of the Indian innings (the first 25-30 overs of the innings). And which did not allow India to take full advantage of the great Sehwag innings in Madras.

It is another matter that the Indian spinners did not have the wherewithal to put the Proteas under pressure despite Harbhajan getting a few balls to bounce and turn prodigiously. (The excuse cricketing analysts would hide behind the placidity of the Chepauk wicket and that India may not have been able to bowl out SA even if they had posted a 700+ score, but that still does not justify for Rahul's defensive approach).

Had Murali been bowling on this 5th day pitch, the story may well have been different.

Coming back to Rahul, now that he has come back into some sort of run getting form, it is time he showed positive intent at the top of the order, else very soon he will have to give away his No. 3 slot.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thiruvahindrapuram Devanathan Divya Desam

Vedantha Desigar scripted the Sampradhayam for Vadakalai Sect of Vaishnavites
Only Divya Desam where both vehicles of Vishnu brought water for the thirsty Lord

Prarthana sthalam for ‘Good Education’ and to cure ‘speechless children’
Located about 5kms West of Cuddalore Town on the way to Panruti is the Deiva Nayagan Divya Desam in Thiru Vahindrapuram. The Utsavar Murthy at this temple is called Moovaraagiya Oruvan, said to be a manifestation of Vishnu, Brahmma and Shiva and Thiru Mangai Azhvaar refers to the Lord as Moovaraagiya Oruvan in his praise in the Periya Thirumozhi.

Vahindrapuram, Historically
In centuries gone by, the location of this divya desam was identified as being 6 yojanas North of Kumbakonam, South of Kanchipuram and West of the Ocean.

Arjuna undertook penance at this temple and hence this divya desam dates back to the Mahabaratha. Another story goes that a few pieces from the Sanjeevani hill, carried by Anjaneya to Lanka fell on Oushada Giri ( the mountain here).

Defeated by the Asuras, the Devas looked up to Lord Narayana for help. Shiva who came to the rescue of the Asuras hurled his thunderbolt at Vishnu who intercepted it with ease. Vishnu then displayed his ‘Trimurthi’ form to Shiva and later returned Shiva’s weapon. On Shiva’s request, Vishnu stayed put at this place.

Sesha Theertham 
Having undertaken the battle and helped the Devas win, Lord Narayana felt thirsty. While Garuda went around to bring water for the Lord, Adhiseshan swung his tail to blow open the earth, thus bringing water instantly and helping quench his Lord’s thirst. As a mark of this event, the sacred water here is called ‘ Sesha Theertham’.

A dutiful Garuda however went all the way to Vaikuntam to bring water for the Lord from River Viraja. Garuda who went around to bring water for the Lord came across a Rishi in mid air and finding water inside the Rishi’s sacred kettle, knocked it down, thus letting the water into this place. Angered at this act of Garuda, the rishi cursed turning the water into a dirty colour. Realising his folly, Garuda explained the reason for his hasty action and apologised. To this day, one finds the water in the river dirty but once in the hand, it seems pure and clear.

Garuda Theertham
Garuda who came back late (after Adhiseshan had already helped quench the Lord’s thirst) requested the Lord to accept his water too as sacred. The Lord accepted the water on the Chariot Procession day. On this day, water from this river (Kedila) is brought and offered to the Lord. This is the only Divya Desam where both vehicles of Vishnu brought water for the Lord.
Indira’s hiding at ThiruVahindapuram
Having gained dominating powers thanks to his sincere penance, a demon attacked Indira logam and drove out Indira, who is said to have gone into hiding here. The hassled Devas went up to Vishnu who asked them to perform a Yagam at Vahindapuram. On the completion of the Yaagam, Indira is believed to have come out of his hiding. Vishnu appeared before him and presented the Vajra Yudham with the help of which Indira defeated the demon and re conquered the Indira logam.

Thirumangai Azhvaar refers to Deiva Nayakan 
In his Periya Thirumozhi verses, Thirumangai Azhvaar refers to Lord of Thiruvahindrapuram as Deiva Nayakan. In the very last verse, he refers to the Utsava deity of the temple - Moovar Aagiya Oruvan.

இருந்தண்  மா நிலம்  ஏனம் அது ஆய் 
வளை  மருப்பினில் அகத்து ஒடுக்கி 
கருந்தண் மா கடல்கண் துயின்றவன் இடம் 
கமலநல் மலர்தேறல் அருந்தி 

இன் இசை முரன்றுஎழும் அளிகுலம் 
பொதுளி அம போழிலூட 
செருந்தி நாள்மலர் சென்று அணைந்து உழிதரு 

Old Inscriptions referring to the Lord
11th century inscription at this temple shows that the ThiruVahindrapuram Lord was referred to as the Standing Vishnu. Legend has it that the Lord here is considered as the brother of Tirupathi Srinivasa.

Vedanta Desikar and the Ahindai connection
Nigamantha Desikan lived here for 40 years and scripted the Sampradayam for Vadakalai sect of Vaishnavites. Hence this temple is said to be the ‘Home to Vadakalai Sect’. Special significance is attached to the Desigan Sannidhi at this temple. Desigan who was devoted to this Lord, wrote great pieces of literature on Deiva Nayagan and Hayagriva.

Desikar got a sculpture (Thirumeni) of his done at this temple. A sculptor questioned Desikar if he could give life to this art form. When the sculptor touched the Thirumeni to get a feel of it, there was a scratch seen on it and to his shock, he found blood flowing down. Realising his mistake, the sculptor is said to have apologized to Sri Desikan.

Lakshmi HayaGriva temple
There is a Hayagriva temple atop the hill opposite the Deiva Nayagan temple. Two demons had taken away the Vedic scriptures from Brahmma. Vishnutook the form of Hayagriva and brought back the Vedic scriptures from the demons. Being the place where Lord Vishnu, in Hayagriva form, brought back the educative scriptures, he is referred to as the God of Learning. He is believed to fulfill one’s prayers relating to education and studies at this temple.
Snake Pit
In this Divya Desam, milk is not poured into the snake pit. Instead it is poured into the ‘Sesha Theertham’.

Contributions to this temple
Pandya, Chozha, Chera, Sinhala and Raya rulers contributed to the development of the temple.

Prarthana Sthalam
This is said to be a prarthana sthalam for ‘Good Education’ and to cure ‘speechless children’. 

Bhattars at Ahinthai
The priests at this temple do a very sincere job, including the 76 year old Neela Megha Bhattar. One is truly moved by the courtesy extended by the Bhattar to all the devotees.

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Deiva Nayakan East Facing Standing Posture
Thayar     : Vaikunta Nayaki - Hemambhujavalli Thaayar
Utsavar    :   Moovaraagiya Oruvan (DevaNaathan)
Azhvaar  : ThiruMangai Azhvaar- 10 Paasurams ( Periya Thirumozhi 3.1)
Time       : 630am-12noon and 4pm-930pm
Contact  : Neela Megha Bhattar (76 years old) / Narasimhan Bhattar@ 04142- 288999 or 287 277/ 94434 44778

How to reach the temple
Cuddalore is well connected by bus from all major towns and cities in Tamil Nadu. One can reach ThiruVahindrapuram in about 4 hours by bus from Madras. Daily Trains to Cuddalore on the Main Line from Madras. Chozhan Exp (Dep 8am), Karaikal Exp (Dep 10pm) and Uzhavan Exp ( 1055pm).

From Cuddalore, one can take a town bus ( route 16) to Vahindrapuram. From the bus stop (1/2 a km from the temple entrance), one may take an auto (Rs. 15) to reach the temple. An auto from Cuddalore bus stand would cost about Rs. 60 (one way). Contact cab : Venkatesan cabs @ 93676 14141

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Panguni Uthiram Festival 2008 at Srirangam

Lord Ranganatha meets his beloved in Uraiyur, while an angry and upset Goddess Ranganayaki shuts the door on Him

On Friday 21st March 2008, un-seasonal rains greeted this year’s Panguni Uthiram festival in Srirangam.

The Serthi Story
The story goes that Goddess Ranganayaki of Srirangam had learnt, through her friends, about Namperumal’s (the Utsavar deity of Lord Ranganatha) trip,earlier in the week, to Uraiyur to meet his beloved Kamalavalli Naachiyar and the presentation of his ring to her. This angered Goddess Ranganayaki and she was waiting for a chance to express her unhappiness on the Lord.

(On Tuesday 18th March 2008, NamPerumal left Srirangam on a 6 km - 7 hour trip across River Cauvery to meets Goddess Kamalavalli for ‘Kalyana Utsavam’festivities at Uraiyur. On this auspicious 5th day in the Tamil Calendar month of Panguni, the entire marriage formalities between Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Kamalavalli was enacted at the Uraiyur Divya Desam).

A couple of days after his return from Uraiyur, on the occasion of Panguni Uthiram, NamPerumal plans a visit to meet the Goddess at her Sannidhi at the Northern entrance of Srirangam temple.

NamPerumal’s Uthirai and Chithirai Veedhi Procession called off
While the normal practice is for Namperumal to go around, at 6am, the Chitrai and Uthirai streets to meet the devotees and collect money to buy a ring (so he could escape the wrath of Goddess Ranganaayaki), the unexpected rains meant that the devotees had to meet Namperumal at the Ranga Vilas Mandapam inside the temple, amidst the chanting of Divya Prabhandham.

NamPerumal denied entry into Thaayar Sannidhi

At 930am, NamPerumal reached the Thaayar Sannidhi, through the Nandavanam on the western side, to meet the Goddess. However, to his shock, Goddess Ranganayaki shut the door on the Lord and refused to allow him entry into the Sannidhi. The faster he tried to enter the Sannidhi, the quicker the door shut on him and with greater intensity each time. Adding insult to injury, the Lord was pelted with butter by the priests of the Goddess and one found smudged faces all around on the Lord’s side.

Araiyar as the mediator
The Araiyars of Srirangam were brought in to act as mediators in the war of words between Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Ranganaayaki (represented by Pandari).
(Araiyars are descendents of Nathamuni, who is said to have introduced the Araiyar Sevai. It is believed that Lord Ranganatha himself gave the Araiyars the right to perform the unique musical chanting at the temples and presented them with the cone-like red/green cap, two cymbals and the sacred garland (which they wear around their neck when they perform). Araiyars have been bestowed the special right to start as well as end the Paasurams in Vaishnavite temples through their special song and dance sequence. The Araiyars first recite the Paasuram, then explain its inner meaning and finally perform the Abhinayam, a unique art/dance performance with their hands and legs explaining the Paasurams with special musical effect).

The Araiyars recreated the debate scene, enacted the Azhvaar Paasuram and then explained its message in a simple language, which drew applause from the 1000s of devotees who had gathered inside the Thaayar Sannadhi.

During the 90 minute period on Friday morning, the Araiyars took the message from NamPerumal(waiting outside at the entrance of the Thaayar Sannidhi) and enacted it to the Panduri, who were representing the Thaayar. And the Araiyars took back Thaayar’s replies back to NamPerumal.

And they had to do this on 5 occasions before a settlement could be arrived at between the angry Thaayar and the pleading NamPerumal.

Intense Debate between NamPerumal and Ranganaayaki enacted by Araiyars

Goddess : Where did you go? Why is the Lord’s face full of Kungumam and wearing a tired look
NamPerumal : I have actually been out helping the Devas defeat the Asuras and hunting in the forest. That’s the reason for my delay

Not convinced with his reasoning, Goddess puts forth the next question (and with a lot of suspicion)

Goddess : I heard you went to Uraiyur
NamPerumal : (With a blushing face) I have neither seen nor heard Uraiyur

Goddess :But why is your face tired and worn out, like you have had a long trip. I ask you to go back and not come here. Those are inside shall remain inside my Sannidhi and those who are outside need not come in.
NamPerumal : (once again blushing) As I said, I have been out helping devotees be protected from the Asuras.

Goddess : Where is your ring then. Have you given it to someone? I do not want you inside my Sannidhi
NamPerumal : (An embarrassed look) I lost it while going behind a demon in the forest. I will search and find it

Goddess : I am not convinced with any of your answers. Please go back. Do not enter my Sannidhi
Lord : Everything I am saying is true. Whenever there is a fight and two parties do not come to an understanding, it is said that ‘Sathya Pramaanam’ (Promises) is accepted. I am willing to promise on the ocean, mountain, fire or by putting my hand inside the snake pit

Goddess : (Laughing off his promises) How difficult are these promises. These are nothing for you – you reside in the ocean (Paarkadal) and you sleep on the Snake

NamPerumal : I accept all my mistakes. Can you please stop embarrassing me in front of everyone and accept me
Goddess : I accept you as advised by NammAzhvaar- ‘Nambal NammAzhvaar Sonnapadiyaale Ungalai Etrukondom’ (Lord, I accept you and allow you inside my Sannidhi as reasoned out and directed by NammAzhvaar)


This heated debate between the Lord and the Goddess and way it ends, with Goddess accepting Lord NamPerumal again, showcases to the world the beautiful relationship between a husband and a wife, the differences of opinion, the fights and the adjustments one has to make in a relationship for it to succeed.

This event also showcases the regard one must have for elders and the role they play in our lives. This can be seen from the fact that despite being angry and upset at Lord Ranganatha’s behaviour, Goddess Ranganayaki listens to the words of NammAzhvaar and the respect she has for him makes her forgive the Lord and accept him once again. This event is a great lesson for one to follow in this fast paced world where ego seems to play a part in relationships among family members and friends.

With the settlement arrived, Lord NamPerumal entered the Thaayar Sannidhi at 11.30am and went into the ‘Serthi Mandapam’ and for the only time in the year was seen together with Ranganaayaki Thaayar.

10.30pm - Chinna Perumal night procession to Kollidam

It is a tradition that ‘Chinna Perumal’ goes on a procession to the Coloroon at 10.30pm on the Panguni Uthiram night. After Vedic Recital and distribution of sacred water, Chinna Perumal is brought to the Serthi Mandapam to be seated alongside NamPerumal and Ranganaayaki. However, with the Coloroon surprisingly running full in March, Chinna Perumal’s procession had to stop at the temple tank opposite the Paramapada Vaasal.

First time in over 35 years
NamPerumal was to have also taken a procession to the Yelakarai Mandapam on the eve of Panguni Uthiram. This too could not happen because of the rains. Priests at the temple say that this is the first time in over 35 years that this procession of Chinna Perumal to Coloroon and NamPerumal to Elakarai Mandapam has not taken place.

Recital of 16 Paasurams by Araiyar
At 3am on Saturday 22nd March 2008, Araiyar Sampath Kumar, in another pleasing performance, rendered 16 Paasurams of Naatha Muni praising Lord NamPerumal and Goddess Ranganaayaki at the Serthi Mandapam. NamPerumal’s dress was changed 18 times on the night and he was seen in different attires through the night. Special poojas were performed at the Serthi Mandapam which went on till Saturday morning.

(Araiyars are paid 2 Annas- 12 paise- for their sterling 'settlement of fight' performance on the Panguni Uthiram day. They do not take any salary from the temple and perform the ‘Araiyar Sevai’ as a service to the Lord. Quite a remarkable service!!!).

This is the only day in the year where Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Ranganayaki are seen together and hence this is a very sacred occasion. It is believed that a visit to the Srirangam temple on this day will relieve one of all sins and the Lord and Goddess are said to forgive devotees for all their wrongs.

The day after Panguni Uthiram
Early morning on Saturday 22nd March 2008, Goddess Ranganayaki went back into her Sannidhi and Lord Ranganatha bid good bye to her for another year. At 10.30am (delayed as a result of the rain), Lord NamPerumal came on a Chariot Procession through the four Uthirai streets and by evening was back in the sanctum.

The 3rd week of March culminating in Panguni Uthiram was eventful with NamPerumal crossing the Cauvery to meet his beloved Kamalavalli in Uraiyur and then returning to the Srirangam temple to find Ranganaayaki Thaayar denying him entry into her Sannidhi. Sanity was restored with the greatest of the Azhvaars, NammAzhvaar, directing Thaayar to accept the Lord. Notwithstanding the rains, this year’s Panguni Uthiram festival witnessed the biggest crowd in several years (queues ran up to Paramapada Vaasal) and devotees staying back through the night to listen to Divya Prabhandam recital and the Thirumanjanam at the Serthi Mandapam.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Thiru Ninravur Bhaktavatsala Perumal

ThiruMangai Azhvaar gives Thiru Ninravur a miss only for the Lord to follow him all the way to Kadal Mallai and Kanna Mangai in pursuit of Paasurams

Located 30 kms from Madras off the Madras- Tirupathi Highway (MTH) is the BhaktaVatsala Perumal Koil in Thiru Ninravur

Unlike NammAzhvaar who visualized different forms of Vishnu and sung praises of the Lord, ThiruMangai Azhvaar visited these Vishnu temples and sung praise of the Lord, depending on how impressed he was.

For example, ThiruMangai visited Rajagopalaswamy temple at Mannargudi ( but did not sing praise of the Lord (reasons for which are not known).

At Indhalur, in Mayavaram, (, the Lord had shut the door on ThiruMangai who threatened to leave the temple without singing praise of the Lord, only for the Lord to retract and then convince ThiruMangai Azhvaar to sing praise of him.

Something similar happened at Thiru Ninravur

Having visited ThiruVallur (to be seen shortly in this series), about 15kms west of ThiruNinravur, ThiruMangai Azhvaar comes to Thiru Ninravur and finding the Lord and Goddess relaxing and enjoying themselves, he decides to move on and gives Thiru Ninravur a miss.

ThiruMangai does not wait, moves on to ThiruVellikeni
Unhappy with Thiru Mangai Azhvaar giving ThiruNinravur a miss, Thayar asks the Lord to find Thiru Mangai and to get him to sing praise of this place. Acceding to Thayar’s wish, Lord goes to Thiruvellikeni only to find that ThiruMangai had already left. Same scenario repeats as the Lord moves on to ThiruVidanthai on the Eastern sea shore. Finally, the Lord catches up with Thiru Mangai Azhvaar at Thiru Kadal Mallai.

Finding the Lord standing in front of him and looking for praise from him, ThiruMangai Azhvaar sings:

நீண்ட வாத கருமுகிலை எம்மான் தன்னை 
நின்றவூர் நித்திலத்தொதார் சோலை 
காண்டவத்தை கனலேறிவாய் பேய்வித்தானை 
கண்டது நான் கடல் மலை தலசயனத்தே 

Lord returns to Thirunanravur with a single paasuram
Happy with this, the Lord returns to ThiruNinravur only to find the Goddess disappointed once again. Thirumangai who has sung several verses in praise of other Lords could give us only one, said the Goddess to the Lord. And forced him to follow Thirumangai a 2nd time.

Lord back in search of Thiru Mangai
On reaching Kadal Mallai, the Lord found that Thiru Mangai had moved on. Lord followed him all the way and finally tracked him down at Thiru Kanna Mangai (near Thiruvarur), south of Kadal Mallai.

With the Lord entering the place, ThiruMangai had noticed him and welcomed him thus:

ஏற்றினை மைதுலேம் மீசனை 
இமையை மறுமைக்கு மருந்தினை...... 

நின்றவூர் நின்ற நித்திலத்தொத்தினை 
காற்றினை புனலை சென்று 

நாடி கண்ணமங்கையுள் கண்டு கொண்டேன் 

The name-Thiru Ninravor
Goddess is said to have left Vaikuntam after a difference of opinion with the Lord and undertaken penance here. Hence this place is called Thiru Ninravoor- Thiru (Goddess) -Ninravur (the place where she stood).

Lord sent the King of the Ocean, Samudra Raja, on who lies Adiseshan, to search for the Goddess. Samudra Raja is believed to have come out of his home (the ocean) and found the Goddess here at Thiru Ninravoor and is said to have addressed her as ‘Ennai Petra Thaayaar’.

Kubera’s Penance
Kubera who lost his wealth is said to have offered prayers to the Goddess and regained his lost wealth at this place. Hence this place is also called Sukra Kshetram and Kubera Puram. Legend has it that King Dharamadvajan, a descendent of Surya clan, prayed here during the month of Panguni and regained his lost wealth.

A visit to this temple is said to help people recover lost wealth/glory.

The temple is under the joint administration of Tirupathi Periya Jeer and Hindu Endowment Board.

Quick Facts

Moolavar : BhaktaVatsala Perumal East facing Standing Posture
Thayar    : Ennai Petra Thaayar, Sudhavalli
Utsavar  : Bhaktar Aavi Perumal
Azhvaar : Thirumangai Azhvaar( 2 Paasurams) - Periya Thirumozhi

Temple Timing : 730am-12noon and 430pm-830pm

Priest : A.R. Manivanna Bhattar @ 044 2639 0434 / 93805 16055
Address : No. 3 South Mada Street, ThiruNinravoor 602 024

Bus route : 54A from Poonamallee, 71E from Parrys corner
Train : Thiru Ninravur station on Madras Arakkonam rail route

Saturday, March 15, 2008

108 Divya Desam- Madurai Divya Desams Help

SMILE to collect and distribute devotee contributions(non cash) to Divya Desams in the Madurai region

SMILE (Selfless Movement Improving Life Everywhere), a Chennai based voluntary services organization, along with TTD Information Center (TTD IC), Chennai had, in April 2007, launched an initiative to help Divya Desams with articles and pooja items.

C.N. Paramasivan, son of well known director Late Shri. A.P. Nagarajan and Founder, SMILE said, “Through this ‘Help the Divya Desam’ initiative, SMILE has directed devotee’s non cash contributions to over 25 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu in the last 9 months. During the first phase, we focused on Divya Desams in the Trichy-Kumbakonam region.”

A few Divya Desams helped so far:
Naachiyar Koil
ThiruNangur DivyaDesams near Seerkazhi
Kandiyur and

SMILE has also cleaned over 450 temples in Tamil Nadu including Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, Thiruparankundram Murugan temple, Thiruvannamalai temple,Srirangam Ranganatha temple and Azhagar Koil.

Says Paramasivan, “In phase 2 now, SMILE plans to focus on Divya Desams in the Madurai region. This is an ongoing process and not a one off exercise. We will continue to help Divya Desams in Trichy-Kumbakonam region. In order to make it easy for devotees to reach out to these Divya Desams, we will organize collection of the pooja articles locally in Madurai.”

What can the devotees give:
Devotees can contribute Vastrams for the Lord, Saree for the Goddess, daily pooja articles like Kungumam, turmeric powder, camphor, ghee, oil and provisions like rice, dhal. Devotees can also provide ornament sets for the Lord , cooking vessels and religious CDs/Cassettes.

SMILE does not collect or donate money. Hence, no cash, cheque, draft contribution is accepted under this initiative.

Divya Desams in the Madurai region include ThiruPullani, ThiruMeiyam, ThiruThangal, Srivilliputhur, Thiru Mogur, Azhagar Koil and ThiruKoshtiyur.

To help more Divya Desams with articles and daily pooja items, devotees are requested to call 91- 94440 40748 or email

About Divya Desams
Saint poets Azhvaars were ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu. There were 12 of them including Andal. These saint poets composed verses in Tamil and revitalized the religious spirit sparking off a renewal of devotional worship, referred to as the Bhakti movement. These Azhvaars visited temples and sung praises in the name of Vishnu. Such temples have come to be known as Divya Desams. The compilation of the verses (known as Paasurams) is the Naalayira Divya Prabandam (4000 in all).

There are 108 Divya Desams in all, out of which over 80 are in Tamil Nadu. 40 of these temples are in the Chozha region (Trichy-Thanjavur-Kumbakonam belt), over 20 are in the Kanchipuram-Chennai region and 20 are in the Pandya Kingdom- Madurai-Tirunelveli belt. Many of these temples are around 1000 years old and have a rich history attached to it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Captaincy and Turning Point of 1992 World Cup Final

English Captain pushes the field back, changes the course of the match

In cricket, quite often one talks about a change that a break brings(drinks break, tea/lunch break).

This took me back to memories of the 1992 World Cup played in Australia and New Zealand and more specifically to the finals. Though not spoken about, I believe a blunder right after the first drinks break in the World Cup final, changed the course of the match.

Wasim Akram's 2 wickets in 2 balls
Over the last 15 years, there have been several discussions and reports on Wasim Akram’s 2 beauties when Imran brought him back for a short 2nd spell to send back Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in successive balls. And the consensus has been that those two balls was the turning point of the match.

To me, the turning point came much earlier that afternoon, in fact in the 2nd hour of play and right after the first drinks break. Noted in those years as a tough, disciplined and shrewd captain, Gooch, to me, made a big blunder that turned the match.

Great start by England
Derek Pringle and Chris Lewis had got England off to a great start with a superb first spell. Rameez Raja, who was earlier caught off a No ball (England also tried to run him out when Rameez, unaware of the No ball call, made his walk back to the pavilion), did not last long.

First 10 overs went for just 25 and Pakistan had lost both its openers. Not for the first time, Imran promoted himself up the order and with Miandad, struggled to force the pace.

England were right on top. The first 17 overs cost just 34. In 9 overs, the two veterans in the team had put on just 12 runs. Pringle had possibly bowled the best new ball spell of the World cup.

First Drinks break
Once again, Imran had taken a big gamble of playing himself in. This time though he played himself in for much too long. And Pakistan had scored at just 2 runs an over in the play before drinks.

And quite inexplicably, Graham Gooch, pushed the field back (with the 15 over restriction gone) and offered Javed and Imran easy singles, which was previously (before the drinks break) not on offer.

The score card will never reveal the role captains play. And again in this one, the scores will always reflect Inzamam Ul Haq’s knock at the end of the Pak innings and Wasim’s double blow later in the evening in the middle overs of the English innings.

The Turning Point
This phase between the 18th over and the 35th over was when the English Captain released the pressure and allowed the two senior pros to ease the singles and twos and the odd boundaries. During this period, Pakistan added 80 without losing another wicket, thus setting the stage for Inzy and Wasim in the last 5-10 overs.

Sometimes in cricket, one should not be unduly disturbed by rules. In this case the ‘15 over restriction’ made Gooch think about pushing his fielders back when he possibly should have continued with the 9 men inside the circle and made Javed and Imran force the pace and take chances against the tight bowling of Philip Defrietes and Ian Botham.

Instead, Gooch gave in and soon after the mandatory field restrictions( 15 overs in those days) ended, pushed the field back.

And that to me was the turning point of 1992 World Cup Final.

Friday, March 7, 2008

ThiruVidanthai Nithya Kalyana Perumal

Belief is that unmarried people will find their life partner immediately if they visit this temple

Located on East Coast Road, about 40 kms South of Madras and 1 km North of Crocodile bank is the Nithya Kalyana Perumal Koil at Thiruvidanthai, a temple praised by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozhi verse.

Brahmachaari Lord getting married here
Lord Narayana came here as a Brahmachaari, answering the prayers of Kaalava Rishi and married 360 young daughters of the Rishi in one year. On the last day, he is said to have merged them into one and given darshan with Goddess on his left. Hence the Goddess here is called ‘Agila Valli Thaayaar’. Having married one girl a day here at this temple, the Lord is called ‘Nithya Kalyana Perumal’.

Being the place where the Lord married every day of the year, it is believed to be a very auspicious temple relating to marriage. Legend has it that unmarried people will immediately find their life partner if they visit this place and offer their prayers to Nithya Kalyana Perumal. The temple priests confirm that they have been a witness to the Lord answering instantly the prayers of unmarried men and women and their parents.

Unique Posture of the Lord
At this temple, one finds the Lord in a unique standing posture facing East. While one leg is on the ground, the other is on Adhisheshan and his wife. And he is seen balancing Goddess Agila Valli on his left thigh.

Bali's penance and Aadhi Varaha providing Darshan
Asuras wanted to take on the Devas and sought the help of Bali, son of Asura Meganathan. Bali, known for his fairness, asked them not to fight the Devas without a cause and refused to support the Asuras. Without Bali’s participation, the Asuras were soundly defeated. The Asuras surrendered to Bali and once again requested him to fight for them. Pushed by the Asuras, Bali agreed and under his leadership the Asuras won.

Bali is said to have undertaken penance here at Thiruvidanthai to atone the sin of fighting the Devas without a just cause. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Aadhi Varaaha is believed to have appeared before him and provided Moksham to him at this place.

Chozha Kings and Thiruvidanthai temple
Raja Raja Chozha celebrated a 7day festival in Aavani and a 9day festival in Panguni. He also fed a number of Brahmins here. Vijaya Rajendra Chozha  donated this entire village to the Thiruvidanthai Lord.

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar's Periya Thiru Mozhi Praise
Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thiru Mozhi verses refers to the 'daughter's' yearning for the Lord. And how she has been having sleepless nights thinking of the handsome Lord all the time. And the fact she has been uttering only the Lord's name every time she speaks.

ஓதிலும் உன் பேர் அன்றி, மற்று ஓதாள்

உருகும், நின் திரு உரு நினைந்து
காதன்மை பெரிது, கையறவு உடையள்
கயல் நெடுங் கண் துயில் மறந்தாள்

பேதையேன் பேதை பிள்ளைமை பெரிது
தெள்ளியள் வள்ளி நுண் மருங்குல்
ஏதவர் முன்னா என் நினைந்து இருந்தாய்
இடவெந்தை எந்தை பிரானே

The Name Thiru Vidanthai
This place is also called Nithya Kalyana Puri, Sri Puri and Varaaha Puri. As the Lord merged 360 girls into one and appeared with the Goddess on his left on the last day, this place is called Thiru- Idanthai (Thiru-Goddess, Idanthai-left side), which in course of time became ThiruVidanthai.

Quick Facts
Deity      : Aadhi Varaaha Perumal East Facing standing posture
Goddess : Agila Valli Naachiyar
Utsavar  : Nithya Kalyana Perumal

The temple is open from 6am to 12noon and 3pm to 8pm Contact   : Priest @ 94459 13231

How to reach

Buses ply from Madras to this temple (bus nos. 117,118,188V, 188K, 188A) on East Coast Road
By Car, one can reach the temple within 45mts from Central / Egmore Station or from Parrys Broadway. When here, also visit Thiru Kadan Mallai Divya Desam (Sthala Sayana Perumal at Maamallapuram - -15kms South of here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thiru Kadal Mallai Sthala Sayana Perumal

The Lord is seen in a sleeping posture lying on the ground
 Only Divya Desam where the Utsav deity has a Lotus flower in his hand
The birth place of BhoothathAzhvaar
Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozi refers to ships carrying Gold and Gems along the shores of Kadal Mallai

Located in the heart of Maamallapuram, about 50 kms South of Madras along the East Coast Road, is the Sthala Sayana Perumal temple in Thiru Kadal Mallai. Mahabalipuram was once a famous and a very important port town and business center with European traders dealing here through the barter system, thousands of years ago.

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozhi (1103) refers to the ships carrying gold and gems on the shores of Kadal Mallai, where the Lord is seen in a Sayana Kolam.

புலன் கொள் நிதிக் குவையோடு, புழைக் கை மா களிற்று இனமும்
நலம் கொள் நவமணிக் குவையும் சுமந்து, எங்கும் நான்று ஒசித்து

காலங்கள் இயங்கும் மல்லைகடல்மல்லைத் தலசயனம்
கலங்கொள் மனத்தார் அவரை வலங்கொள் என் மட நெஞ்சே

Today one can see several art sculpture within a km of this temple. Also near this temple are Pancha Paandava Mandapam and the chariot, the cave temples as well as the place where Arjuna is said to have undertaken penance.

Several other temples built on the sea shore have been washed away, leaving this Divya Desam temple as the only prominent one.

The Story
Pundarika Rishi wanted to place a 1008 petals of the lotus flowers at the feet of ThiruPaarkadal Lord. As he made his way in the Eastern direction towards the Lord, he found that the sea water blocked his path. Hence, he got down to putting his mind and effort every day in clearing his way by removing the water with his hand. Pleased with the effort of the Rishi, Lord Narayana came here disguised as an old hungry brahmin. Once here, he asked the Rishi to bring him some food.

Leaving aside the work of removing the water, the Rishi left behind the 1008 flowers with the old man and went to bring food for the Lord. On his return, he found, at the Mahabalipuram sea shore, Lord Vishnu lying on the ground in a sleeping posture on top of Adhiseshan, with 4 hands and having adorned himself with 1000 Lotus petals. Hence the Lord here is called Sthala Sayana Perumal.

At this temple, one finds Pundarika Rishi at the feet of Sthala Sayana Perumal offering the Lotus flowers.

All wishes of the devotees are said to be fulfilled here as the Lord is seen sleeping on the floor, on par with the devotees, who visit him.

Famous Rulers and their association with this temple
Pallavas built this temple in the 9th century AD near the sea, right at the place where Thirupaarkadal Lord is believed to given darshan in a sleeping posture to Pundarika Rishi. Later, in 14th century AD, Vijayanagara King Paraangusan shifted the temple to within the port town of Maamallapuram, fearing the destruction due to high waves of the then existing temple and built the temple that ones sees today in the traditional form with the four Mada streets around the temple. Sthala Sayana Perumal is seen lying on the ground in a sleeping posture.

In addition to the Pallava and Vijayanagara rulers, Chozhas have also contributed significantly to the temple.

King and his daily trip to ThiruVidanthai
King HariKesaVarma, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu used to visit Thiruvidanthai, another Divya Desam about 15kms North of this temple (towards Madras on East Coast Road) for his daily prayers to Nithya Kalyana Perumal. Only after he had offered his players, would he eat.

To test his devotion, one day Nithya Kalyana Perumal, disguised as an old man, intercepted the king just as he was for leaving for Thiruvidanthai and asked for food.

Put in an awkward situation, the king decided to visualize the old man as his Thiruvidanthai Lord, prayed before him and thereafter offered him food.

Pleased with his devotion, the old man gave the king darshan as Nithya Kalyana Perumal.

This is the birth place of BhoothathAzhvaar.

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Sthala Sayana Perumal East Facing Bhujanga Sayanam
Goddess  : Nila Mangai Thaayar
Utsavar   : Ulaguyya Ninraan

Azhvaar  :ThiruMangai- 26 Paasurams and BhoothathAzhvaar –1 Paasuram
Time        : 630am –12noon and 3pm-830pm

Contact : Balaji Bhattar /Gopalakrishnan Bhattar @ 044 2744 2183 / 94442 35284 / 98404 08755

Location: 50 kms South of Madras along the East Coast Road

Buses ply regularly on East Coast Road and on Old Mahabalipuram road between Madras and Maamallapuram.

By Car, one can reach the temple within an hour from Madras