Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Periya Vachan Pillai Senganoor

Krishnapremi brings about big Transformation in Senganoor
'Vyakyana Chakravarthi' Periya Vachan Pillai, who was born here, installed the idol of Thiru Venkatamudayan over 8 Centuries ago - The temple reverberates with Divya Prabhandham recital during festivals

The story of Senganoor, a remote village 1km North of Thiru Velliyankudi Divya Desam, dates back to the period of the Saivite Saint Poets to the 7th Century AD. Thiru Gnana Sambanthar visited this place and praised Lord Chandikeswarar giving one a glimpse of the life in Senganoor during that period (to be seen in the next story).

Centuries later, Vaishnavite Acharya Periya Vachan Pillai was born here a few 100 yards South West of the place where the Srinivasa Perumal Temple is now located.There are three beautiful agraharams in his historical village.

Born to Yamunachariar and Nachiyar Ammai, Periya Vachan Pillai would accompany his father everyday to the nearby Kolavilli Rama Divya Desam in Thiru Velliyankudi (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2008/05/thiruvelliyankudi-kola-villi-raama.html), one praised by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar. During these trips, his father initiated the young boy into Nalayira Divya Prabhandham and Ramayana Slokas and got him to recite it the next day. This early episode in his life created special interest in the boy towards the 4000 sacred verses as well as the Ramayana which was to then reflect later on in his life through the extraordinary commentaries that he wrote.

On one of his trips to Thiru Velliyankudi, a learned Brahmin suggested to his father to get the young boy to Srirangam as he seemed destined to make a significant contribution to the devotional world (Years later, he would finally make that trip to Srirangam from where he was to write legendary commentaries) citing the special plantain trees amidst the huge groves as an example of this differentiated personality.

Soon he got married and as was the tradition he, along with his wife, made a trip to his Kula Deivam temple of Thiru Venkatamudayan at Tirupathi. So moved was he with the Lord there that he decided to stay there. While he was anxious at thus being away from his home town and parents, the archaka acting as a messenger of the Lord handed a Saligrama Idol of the Lord and directed him to head back to Senganoor for he was destined for bigger things. He carried the idol in his hand and reached the banks of Coloroon, a few kms North of Senganoor.

Placing the idol on the pure white sand on the river bank, the couple took a sacred bath invoking the blessings of the Lord to relieve them from any sins that they may have committed, as was the tradition.

On return, much to his dismay he found the Lord missing. However, he appeared in his dream providing darshan to him in his full form of Conch and Chakra and directed him to take along the villagers to the river banks to recover the idol. Periya Vachan Pillai installed the idol in the heart of Shenganoor much to the delight of the villagers.

In memory of his contribution to his home town, an idol of Periya Vachan Pillai was installed later inside the temple. The street where the temple is located is now named after him as Periya Vachan Street.
After the death of his parents, Periya Vachan Pillai moved to Srirangam and became a disciple of Nam Pillai. Listening to his acharya and after securing his approval, he wrote commentaries on the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham and the epic Ramayana. Of particular significance is the 24000 Padi, an analytical commentary on Nam Azhvaar’s Tiruvoimozhi.

After the demise of his acharya, he mentored his disciples Vadakku Thiru Veethai Pillai and Azhagiya Manavala Jeer, among others and clarified many of their doubts with confident ease.

பிள்ளான் நஞ்சீயர்  பெரிய வாச்சான் பிள்ளை
தெள்ளார் வடக்கு திரு வீதிப்பிள்ளை
மணவாள யோகி திருவாய்மொழியைக் காத்து
குணவாளரென்று நெஞ்சே கூறு

During that great phase in Srirangam, he wrote 100s of commentaries. However, many of these have been lost to the future generation leaving his analysis and detailed description and explanation of the Divya Prabhandham and Ramayana as his most significant contributions. He is referred to as ‘Vyakyana Chakravarthi’ for his extraordinary commentaries that have stood the test of time and have served as a benchmark in the world of explanation of the Divya Prabhandham. He also wrote commentaries on Rahasya Granthams and Strotras.

He is also one of the few to be credited with the prefix of ‘Periya’ (others being Periya Azhvaar, Periya Jeer and of course Periya Perumal of Srirangam).
Transformative Changes in Senganoor
The ‘Thiru Maligai’ where he was born and lived still exists in the ‘Krishnapremi Swamy Street’ in Senganoor.  One of the heartening features of this remote village is that there are three agraharams that continue to function, housing old style unaltered homes.

The Thiruvenkata Mudayan temple wears a fresh new look. The story of Periya Vachan Pillai is depicted atop the wall on the Western side. There is a separate Sannidhi for the Vyakyana Chakravarthy at the temple.
10day Brahmotsavam is celebrated in Thai in a grand manner
3 day Pavitrotsavam takes place in Avani
Rohini in Avani marking the birthday of Periya Vachan Pillai is a big day at the temple 

First Bank Branch/ New Hospital / A garbage less Village
Krishnapremi Swami, a descendant of Periya Vachan Pillai, has transformed this historical village over the last decade or so. The three agraharams bring refreshing memories of the village in the decades gone by. 

Just last week, the first bank came into the village with City Union Bank opening a branch here. The Government School, near the Perumal Koil has now become a Smart School thanks to the efforts of Krishnapremi. The school is equipped with modern computer systems. English medium is soon to be introduced at the school and the classes will also expand up to 12th.
Even better news awaits the residents of this village praised by Thiru Gnana Sambanthar. A new hospital , the first big one in the region, is likely to come up soon near the temple. Recently, a ‘Naama Dwaar’ has been opened where the villagers congregate every day to chant the name of the Lord.

It is refreshing to find that the entire village is totally clean and one does not find garbage anywhere on the streets. Those original inhabitants that had left the village seeking greener pastures are in the process of building homes here with the possibility of coming back to their home town in the future.

The first of that happened over the last decade when a senior citizen couple returned to perform Kainkaryam at the temple. The lady presents verses from the Divya Prabhandham every morning in front of Lord Thiru Venkatamudayan.
Senganoor is about 4kms South of Thirupananthal and North of Sholapuram off the Kumbakonam- Madras National Highway. Auto from Thirupananthal will cost Rs. 100. The Kola Villi Rama Divya Desam in Thiru Velliyankudi is just over 1km South East of the temple.

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