Friday, February 25, 2011

Nava Narasimha Ahobilam

Bharghava Narasimha

6kms from Lower Ahobilam is Bharghava Narasimha temple. One has to go through a rugged muddy road to the foot of the temple and then climb 130steps to reach the temple.

Parasurama while on his theertha yatra reached here and wanted darshan of Narasimha. Answering his prayers, Lord Narayana presented the Dasavathara display. Narasimha is seen here in his Hiranya Samhara posture.

Yoga Narasimha

On completion of Hiranya Samhara, Narasimha came here to the west of Lower Ahobilam and rested in a yogic posture. It was here that he initiated a few yogic mantras to Prahalada.

Chatravada Narasimha

Half a km East of Yoga Narasimha is Chatravada Narasimha, the most handsome of the Nava Narasimha temples. At the end of the Hiranya Samhara, Narasimha was in an angry state. In an effort to cool him down, two Gandharva musicians, Aaha and Oohoo are said to have played music. Pleased with their music, a happy Narasimha is believed to have patted on his lap tapping in to their music.
In recognition of their role, one finds their sculptures at this temple.

Pavana Narasimha
This is the most difficult of the nava narasimha temples to reach. One will have to take special jeep to reach this temple or walk through a tough 6hour trip across a rocky terrain to reach this temple.

Returning after the completion of Hiranya Samhara, an angry narasimha’s eyes fell on the beautiful Senjulakshmi of the Ahobilam hills. Lured by her beauty and wanting to marry her, he displayed his love by searching the entire hilly region to find non vegetarian food for Senjulakshmi, a resident of this place.

In memory of this event, every Saturday, the residents of this region present a hen as food to Lakshmi Narasimha at this temple.

Lakshmi Narasimha is seen in a seated posture with serpant God atop him. Lakshmi is seen sitting on his left lap.

Malola Narasimha
After Hiranya Samhara, this is the place where narasimha got back together with Lakshmi once again. He is seen with his left leg folded, his right leg hanging down with Lakshmi on his left lap.

Malola Naraimha, the utsava deity, is the processional deity of Ahobila Jeer.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Theppa Utsavam Srirangam

Fourth day of the Float Festival
Only day in the year when Namperumal takes an evening ride on the Silver Garuda Vahana

1000years ago, the float festival in Srirangam was held in the Cauvery with Namperumal alongside Nachiyars.On one such occasion, Sorcerers, using their magic powers, created a flood like scenario in the cauvery and Namperumal and Nachiyars were taken away by the floods.

Hearing this untoward event on a big occasion, Koora Narayana Jeer, a disciple of Koorathazhvaan, rushed to the place and twisting the darbha on his right finger pulled back Lord Namperumal to the banks of the Cauvery.

Given this negative turn of events, Koora Narayana Jeer, about 900years ago, created a tank to the west of the Srirangam Ranganatha temple and the float festival has since been organized here on the first day of Maasi. No more was the float festival celebrated in the Cauvery and it became a Maasi Festival.

Koora Jeer, who is credited with saving the Lord from the Sorcerers and for the continuation of this festival, is paid special respects on the last day of the festival.

Koora Jeer is also believed to have slightly turned the direction of the Cauvery away from the Srirangam temple to prevent flooding at the temple.

Krishnadeva Raya's contributionLegend has it that Vijayanagara King Krishnadeva Raya, who patronized several Vaishnavite temples and who contributed in no small measure, was the one made this into a big festival that one sees today. However, this festival has come to be referred to as the Maasi Float Festival.

Namperumal atop the Silver Garuda

On the fourth morning of the 9day festival, Lord Namperumal sitting in the comfort of a palanquin and listening the chanting of Vedas and Naalayira Divya Prabhandham takes a long 6hour processional trip to the Thathachariar Gardens on the Melur Road stopping at over 25locations on the way.

After a 5 hour rest there in the cool of the Thathachariar Gardens, during which time the devotees are treated to a sumptuous lunch by the Thathachariar family, Namperumal begins his trip back to the temple at 6pm on a Silver Garuda Vahana.

This is the only day in the year when Namperumal rides on the Silver Garuda Vahana in the evening.

He is finally back at his abode at 930pm after spending the whole day providing darshan to the devotees.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thondaradipodi's Thirupalli Ezhuchi

Its twilight time, wake up and provide darshan

சுடர் ஒளி பரந்தன சூழ் திசை எல்லாம்
துன்னிய தாரகை மின்னொளி சுருங்கிப்

படர் ஒழி பசுத்தனன் பனி மதி இவனோ
பாயிருள் அகன்றது, பைம் பொழிற் கமுகின்

மடலிடைக் கீறி வண் பாளைகள் நாற
வைகறை கூர்ந்தது மாருதம் இதுவோ

அடல் ஒளி திகழ் தரு திகிரி அம் தடக்கை
அரங்கத்தம்மா பள்ளி எழுந்தருளாயே

With the stars disappearing and the moon fading, there's twilight.
Darkness of the night is now set to give way to the brightness of the morning
that has a sweet fragrance with the cool wind of the early morning.

Setting the stage thus, Thondaradipodi requests the Lord to wake up and provide darshan to those waiting for him this morning.

Punnai Nallur Rama temple renovation

(This featured in The Hindu dated 28th January 2011)

Thondaradipodi Azhvaar's Thirumaalai Paasuram

I would deny ruling Indra's empire for the opportunity to sing praise of the Lord of Srirangam

பச்சை மா மலை போல் மேனி பவளவாய்
கமலச் செங்கண்

அச்சுதா அமரர் ஏறே, ஆயர் தம்
கொழுந்தே என்னும்

இச் சவை தவிர யான் போய்
இந்திர லோகம் ஆளும்

அச் சுவை பெறினும் வேண்டேன்
அரங்க மா நகருளானே

Thondaradipodi Azhvaar in this Thirumaalai verse says that he would not even accept the opportunity of ruling Indra's kingdom if that meant being denied the happiness of praising the Lord of Srirangam. He says further, that even if the Lord himself gave it to him, he would refuse it for there is nothing more joyful than being present in Srirangam and singing praise of the Lord of Arangam-Nagar!!!