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Jayathu Sri Ranganayaki SamEtha Sri Ranganayaka : --Part 7

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Apr 13 1998 - 19:47:13 PDT

Dear Sri Ranganatha PrEmis :

Historical Srirangam ( Continued ) 

The divya dEsam of Srirangam  is a 600 acre 
island town . The town of TiruchirAppaLLi 
located 5 kms from Srirangam has been the citadel of 
the Early ChOLAs .It fell into the hands of PallavAs ,
who ruled from their capital of Kanchi .The PallavAs 
could not however retain control of this strategic 
city of TiruchirAppaLLi and the temple town of Srirangam .
They ( the PallavAs ) lost them to the PaandyAs , who 
ruled from their nearby capital of Mathurai .The later ChOLA
kings asserted their power around the 10th century and drove
out the PaandyA kings .They ( ChOLAs ) held Tirucchi , MalaikkOttai 
( 83 meter high rock fort ) and Srirangam until the time of
the peak period of Vijayanagara Kings .

Post-Vijayanagaram period

The Vijayanagar empire collapsed in 1565 A.D and 
the ensuing weakness of the power of those kings led to 
the control of the town of TirucchirAppaLLI and Srirangam 
divya desam under a succession of rulers such as 
the Nayaks of Mathurai ,the MarAthAs , the Nawabs of Carnatic , 
the French and finally the British . Our Lord RanganathA 
has watched all of these empires come and go across milleneums .
Countless kings have served Him and have been blessed
by Him . A precious line of AchAryAs have surrendered to
Him and spread His message . It is that queue , where we 
stand as we wish to offer " THE BRICK KIAMKARYAM " FOR

The many Gopurams of Srirangam Temple

There are no less than 22 gOpurams here built over the 
centuries by the Kings , AzhwAr and AchAryAs . The tallest 
of them is the 13-tiered Southern Gopuram (72 Meters high )
built in 1987 by the 44th AhObila Mutt Jeeyar of blessed memory .
He built that southern gOpuram eleven years ago and involved 
movie stars ( ILayaRaajA ) , The two Andavans , Kanchi 
KaamakOti peetam AchArya , Sri VaishNavaas and BhakthAs 
of Sri RanganAthA from every corner of India . Sri RanganAthA
appeared in the dream of the AchAryA and commanded him to 
complete the south gOpuram , which was a mottai gOpuram 
until then . It was only at the foundation level without 
any tier . The blessed name of this AhObila Matam Jeeyar
is SrivaNN SatakOpa Sri VedAntha Desika Yatheendhra 
MahA Desikan .He involved every one in this Gopura 
nirmANa Kaimkaryam irrespective of their darsanam 
or AchArya Paramparai or status in society . The response
to his call was universal .They poured in 108 lakhs of 
rupees to complete this kiamkaryam . Three thousand tons
of concrete , 52 tons of iron bar and 115 lakhs of bricks
were used to realize this tallest tower in the whole of 
India to proclaim the glory of Sri RanganAthA . What was 
left incomplete by Achyutha DevarAya of Vijayanagaram line
was completed by the 44th Jeeyar of AhObila Mutt .

The PrANa prathishtai for the Sri RanganAtha Vigraham

The mahAn from MukkUr , the 44th Jeeyar of blessed memory
performed the life inculcation ( PrANa prathishtai ) to
the Sri RanganAtha and Sri MahA Lakshmi Vigrahams 
that are going to take their homes in the new temple
at Pomona  This Prathishtai was done by him ,
two years after completing the construction 
of the Southern Gopuram for Sri RanganathA at Srirangam .
Such is the origin of the power of these ArchA mUrthys ,
which have been worshipped by the great soul and then
sent our way to North America . 

Naathamuni , ALavanthAr and RaamAnujA"s time 

Sri RanganAtha Muni from KaatumannAr Koil 
(Circa 824-924 A.D )had NammAzhwAr as his 
spiritual Guru ; his sishyA was UyyakkondAr 
( 826-931 A.D)  the great dialectician ; 
his sishyA was MaNakkAl Nambi ( 832-937 A.D ) 
and YaamunAchAryA alias ALavanthAr (916-1041 A.D)
became the disciple of ManakkAl Nambi .
All of these AchAryAs had their residences in and around
Srirangam and spent a significant portion of their 
lives serving Sri RanganAthA and refining the ArAdhana
Kramams for the Lord .

Sri RamAnujA ( 1017-1137 A.D ) was born near Kaanchipuram
and was a great devotee of Sri VaradarAjan . After his sanyAsam ,
he settled down in Srirangam except for the times 
he was away in KarnAtakA , ThiruveLLarai and Digh Vijayam 
in North India .His devotion to Sri RanganAthA  had no match .
He made many reforms in the temple administration . NazhI
kEttAn Vaasal ( where the  clock run by the flow of water 
was used to mark the time for the various rituals of 
the temple ) , Dhanvanthri temple was created by 
AchArya RaamAnuja . He converted the method of worship
from VykAnasa to PaancharAthra Aagamam .KurEsA(1010-1116 A.D ),
KurukEsA ( ThirukkurukaipirAn PiLLAn ) , the author of 
the 6000-Padi , Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr ( author of 
RaamAnusa NooRanthAthi ) , NadAdUr ALvAn ( Sister's son
and pupil of RaamAnuja ) and the rest of 
the 74 simhAsanaadhipathis appointed by 
AchArya RaamAnujA lived at Srirangam 
and enriched the devotional service to 
Sri RanganAthA and Sri RanganAyaki immensely . 

Paraasara Bhattar ( born 1074 A.D ) became the chief priest 
of the temple after (during )RaamAnujA's time . His brother , 
VedavyAsa Bhattar took over the post of PurOhithar of 
Sri RanganAthA and read Saathvika PurANAs in the temple .
Nanjeeyar ( born 1054 A.D ),the author of the 9000 -padi ,
NampiLLai , Vadakku Thiruveethi PiLLai , Periya VaacchAN piLLai , 
MeganAdha Soori , Azhaiya MaNavALa Jeeyar
( Pupil of Periya VaacchAn PiLLai ) , PiLLai 
LOkAcchAr ( Srivachana BhUshaNam , Artha Panchakam 
fame ) , Sudarsana Soori lived at Srirangam and 
thrived from offering their service to the Divya-
Dampathis of Srirangam . 

Swami Desikan's time ( 1268-1369 A.D )and Sri Rangam

Swami Desikan spent a significant portion of his 
life at Srirangam .His disciple and son , NayinAchArya
( 1316-1401A.D ) , the other well known disciple ,
Brahmatanntra Svatantra Parakaala Yathi I ( 1286-1386 A.D ),
ANNan ( PrathivAdhibhayankaram ) (1300-1410 A.D ) ,
the disciple of NayinAchAryA alternated between 
Srirangam and Kaanchipuram .

ManavAla Maamuni ( 1370-1444 A.D ) was born an year after 
Swami Desiakn ascended to paramapadham . He was an
ardent devotee of SriranganAthA and was honored with
a Taniyan by Sri RanganAtha for his pravachanam
on Bhagavadh Vishayam . He lived a lot of his life
in Srirangam .Wherever we look in Srirangam ,
we find the imprints of the holy feet of the above 
AchAryAs and their paramparai on the sacred soil of 
Srirangam , the home of Azhagiya MaNavALan .The great
Utthama Nambi and his generations have served the Lord
in an unbroken chain .That tradition will carry
over to Pomona , New York , when the divya dampathis
take up their residence in the temple built by
their BhakthA sikhAmaNis.

The Many Sannidhis at Srirangam 
The big sannidhis in the big temple are that of
Periya PerumAL and Sri RanganAyaki ThAyAr . There is 
a VilvA tree inside the ThAyAr sannidhi .

The other sannidhis are : KooratthAzhwAr Sannidhi , 
the small sannidhi for Sri Lakshmi Nrusimhan near by ,
and Naathamuni AzhwAr sannadhi to the left . Next to 
this sannidhi is the uLL AndAL sannidhi to differentiate 
it from the VeLi AndAL Sannidhi near the KavEri bank . 
The mUlavars at the uLL AndAL sannidhi are Rama , SitA 
and LakshmaNA . Uthsavars are AndAL in a seated post 
looking eastward , Her father , PeriyAzhwAr and 
RaamAnujA ( GOdhAgrajar ) . ANDAL is in bridal dress .

Vaahana Mandapa VeNugopalan and RukmiNi , KaaLinga
nathana KrishNA , Amritha Kalasa Garudan  have their 
own sannidhis . Inside the Amritha Kalasa Garudan
sannidhi , we have the darsanam of Thirumanjana 
ThirumEni Lakshmi Narasimhan .

To the right of the Ranga VilAsa Mantapam ,
we have the Veera HanumAn ( Moolavar with
the head of hanumAn and the body of BhimA )
and ThiruppANAzhwAr Sannidhi .Thondardipodi 
AzhwAr and Vittal KrishNa sannidhi are nearby .

Near ChokkapAnai HanumAn Sannidhi , we find 
the ChakkaratthAzhwAr Sannidhi .Moolavr has 16
arms and the uthsavar 8 arms . Lord NarasimhA 
is behind the mUrtham of ChakkaratthAzhwAr .
The arch around the ChakkaratthAzhwAr bears 
108 aksharams sacred to that mUrthy .Saturday 
is a special day of worship of this sacred
Sudarsana-Narasimhan .

There is a Sannidhi for Sri RaamAnujA .During
the adhyayanam festival , his uthsava mUrthy is 
taken in procession inside the temple . Nearby
are the sannidhis for ParthasArathy and one
for PiLLai LokAcchAr . 

Garuda Mantapam housing the very tall mUlavar
of painted Garudan in sitting poisture is the place of
visit for Sri RanganAthA during Mohini alankAram
in Vaikunta EkAdasi day . 

Separate saniidhis for PattAbhi Raaman , 
Mudhal AzhwArs, Theerthakarai VaasudEvar , 
Dhanvanthri are also present in the Srirangam
temple . Dhnavanthri sannidhi is near ThAyAr
sannidhi and lak ( arakku ) is seen in the hand
of Dhanvanthri symbolizing the use of Arakku in 
medicinal treatment in the olden days . 

Before we enter the ThAyAr sannidhi , we come across
the five pits and the three entrances . Desikar 
Sannidhi is opposite the ThAyAr Sannidhi and
Mettu Azhagiya Singhar Sannidhi is opposite
Kambhan Mantapam , where the poet read his Kambha 
RaamAyaNam and got the approval of the eight handed
Ugra Narasimhan. He is seated on top of twenty steps
and has gotten the name of Mettu Azhagiyasingar .
Nearby is the small and beautiful Chandra Pushkarini 
and on its side is the KOdhanda Raaman Sannidhi .
Parama Padha Naathan sannadhi is nearby .Additional 
sannidhis for NammAzhwAr , Thirumangai
and Mathurakavi are housed in one unit. 

ArAdhanam and NaivEdhyam for Sri RanganAthA

Periya perumAl wakes up in the early
morning to the sound of sacred VeeNA 
music and Thondardipodi's paasurams .
At 8.30 AM , butter and milk are offered 
to the Lord . It is followed by VeNN pongal , 
Dosai , Sukku , Vellam , Kariamudhu , Lime 
pickle ,and Thirumal Vadai . 

During the mid day pUjA , 18 padis of cooked rice ,
Saathamudhu , Kariamudhu , ThirukkaNNamudhu , Athirasam ,
are presented . During the evening ArAdhanam ,
KshirAnnam ,milk pongal ,Vadai , appam ,
thEnkuzhal , kariyamudhu , DadhiyOdhanam  are 
offered to the Lord .The night NaivEdhyam consists of
Vadisil ( plain rice ) , satti aravanai kariamudhu . 
This is around 9 Pm . Between 9.15 and 9.30 pm ,
milk with camphor , saffron ,cardamom and
brown sugar ( naattu chakkarai ) are presented 
and then the Lord rests for the night . 

This Vaibhavam of the Lord , His Sannidhis , His 
ArAdhanam , His NaivEdhyam are going to be celebrated
here at PomonA Temple . May I conclude this posting
on the last day of the Isvara Year and request you 
all to come forward  and support the temple construction 
Kaimkaryam for the Lord and His Divine consort 
and the AzhwArs and the AchAryAs and receive the blessings
of the Divya dampathis of Srirangam .

Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan