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From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Fri Apr 17 1998 - 19:15:55 PDT
Dear Sri RanganAtha PrEmis : Today is Friday , the auspicious Sukra Vaaram . We will cover the next stages of the great marriage at Sri VillipputthUr . Maangalya DhAraNam , PaaNigrahaNam & the 7 steps around the Fire ****************************************************************** The Varan ( Sri RanganAthA ) and the VadhU ( Sri ANDAL ) arrived at the KalyANa mantapam . The high point of the vivAha MahOthsavam is about to take place . ANDAL describes this scene in two paasurams of 10.6 : matthaLam kotta vari sangham ninrUtha mutthudaitthAmam nirai thAzhntha pantharkkeezh maitthunan nambi MadhusUdhan venthennaik kaitthalam paRRak kanAk kantEn ThOzhI naan --NTM:10.6.6 vaai nallAr nalla maRai Othi manthiratthAL paasilai nANal padutthup parithi vaitthuk kAicchina mAkaLRannAn yenn kaippaRRit theevalam seyyak kanAk kantEn ThOzhi naan --NTM: 10.6.7 This is the time of Subha MUhUrtham ; MangaLa vAdhyams are playing . Over those sounds arose a Veda Manthram : mAngalyam tanthunAnEna mama jeevana ( loka rakshaNa ) hEthunA I kaNtE bhadhnAmi subaghE sanjeeva saradha: satham ( tava mE sukham ) II Sri RanganAthan tied the auspicious knots around the neck of ANDAL to the sound of ghetti mELam and said : " Oh ANDAL ! This is the Mangala sUthram . I tie this Mangala sUthram around Your neck for enhancing my good fortune .You are the light and purpose of my life . Oh , SoubhAgyavathi ! May Thou be with Me eternally and grant the most glorious boons to our BhakthAs and protect them from any and every mishap " . ( I have changed the meanings some what , because praying for the life of 100 years as for us mortals does not make sense for the Lord . If we use the words Mama Jeevana hethunA , it is even more poignant ). PAANI GRAHAAM CEREMONY ********************** After Maangalya DhAraNam , Sri RanganAthA recited the four manthrAs for PaaNigrahaNam under " the tutorship " of His purOhithA , Chathurmukha BrahmA . During this occasion , He lifted His right hand and held inside it the right hand of ANDAL , which had been folded together like a kumudhA flower . This mudrA of ANDAL's hand is called " kuvintha Kumudham " or the lotus that had folded its petals into the form of a tight bud . This mudhrai refers to Her heart lotus. Sri RanganAthA ( and the modern day bridegroom ) implied that Your heart has now become my possession/responsibility . From here on , I will protect it with all the care and cherish it. This is the inner meaning of PaaNigrahaNam .The four Veda manthrams salute the soubhAghyams arising from that ceremony of PaaNigrahaNam and praise the glories of the new queen of the house. The first of the four manthrams recited during this occasion is famous : grubhNAmi thE soubhagthvAya hastham mayA pathyA jaradashtir yathAsa: I BhagO AryamA SavithA puramdhir mahyam tvAdhur gArhapathyAya dEvA : II--Rg Vedam X.85.36 ( Meaning ) : Oh My dear One ! I accept Your hand for good fortune ! I pray that You attain old age with Me as Your husband . Our Bhagaa( Lord of Grace ) , AryamA ( Lord of Cosmic orders ) , savithA-puramdhi ( Lord of creation and wisdom ) have given You to Me so that I may be the master of the Household . The second manthram starting with " thE ha purvE janAsO--" is another salutation to the Lord of DevAs , who presented the bride to the groom .Reference here is to Bahgan, Agni and SUryan . The manthram suggests that the best among them gave the bride to the groom . The third manthram starts with a prayer to Sarasvathi by the groom on behalf of the couple to protect their marriage . The fourth manthram is a salutation to Vaayu BhagavAN and starts with the words :" ya yEthi prathisas sarvA disAnu pavamAna:" and ends with " hiraNya hastha iyrammas sa tvA manmanasam gruNOthu " . In this prayer , the groom prays to PavamAnan ( Vaayu bhagavAn ) , who thru his passage purifies every nook and corner . The manthram visualizes Vaayu as having Gold in his hand and being associated with Agni dEvan. The groom prays here to the all powerful Vaayu and seeks his intercession to bless the bride to be devoted to him always . Undiminishing love and affection is prayed for here . ANDAL fondly recalls this scene in Her sixth paasuram of NaacchiyAr Thirumozhi ( MatthaLam kotta --) . She hears the auspicious sounds of MattaLams , She experiences the purifying , sacrd sound of Vari Sankhus ( praNava Naadham ).Under the wedding canopy bent with the load of flowers decorating it , She (ANDAL ) recalls the scene of the Lord ( MadhusUdhana nambi) lifting her hand and covering it with the palm of His hand . THE SEVEN STEPS AROUND THE SACRED FIRE *************************************** IN THE SEVENTH PAASURAM , ANDAL RECALLS THE SEVEN STEPS SHE TOOK AROUND THE SACRED WEDDING FIRE ( Vaai nallAr --theevalam seyya kanAk kantEn ---) . The groom lifts the bride from the "silk mat/ MaNai ) " she was sitting on by holding her right hand with his right hand tightly . Then , the groom walks to the right side of the sacred fire and lifts gently the right foot of the bride with his right hand and helps her take a step . The bride makes seven steps ( Saptha Pathi ) with the help of her husband . This is the Agni Saakshi for the wedding . With each of the seven steps , a particular manthram is recited . Let us examine these manthrams : First Step : " yEkamishE VishNus tvAnvEthu " is the first manthram . This says : " O Dear girl ! O ANDAL ! You made the first step as my wife. May Lord VishNu (Myself will)follow your step to make sure that you have undiminishing food all your life ( prayer for subhishtam, Akshaya paathram )" . Second Step : " dhvE UrjE " . Here the groom prays once again to Lord VishNu . he says : " O Dear girl ! You have now taken the second step with me as my wife . May Lord VishNu ( Myself will ) follow your step and bless you with pushti (strength ) in your body ( a prayer for disease-free life ) " . Third Step : " thrINi vrathAya " . Here again , the prayer is for Lord VishNu to follow GodhA's third step and to grant the boon of vrathAnushtAnam ( performance of yaj~nams assigned to GruhasthAs as Dharma pathnee ) to her during her married life . Fourth Step : " ChatvAri MaayObhavaaya " . This prayer once again is to MahA VishNu ( Himself ) to follow her during her fourth step and grant her the boon of conjugal happiness . Fifth Step : " pancha pasubhya : " .The prayer is : " may Lord VishNu follow your fifth step with me and grow your wealth of cattle ( cows , Horses , Elephants and Isvaryams related to the four-footed )". Sixth Step : " Shat ruthubhya : " . Here MahA VishNu is beseeched to follow her sixth step ( be behind her and support her ) for all auspicious ruthus (six seasons ) during her married life .Sri RanganAthA hints that He is going to be right next to Her and make sure that Vasantha Ruthu , Ghreeshma Ruthu and all the other four are going to make Her days with Him plesant . Seventh Step : This is the last of the seven steps . The prayer is : " saptha sapthabhyO hOthrAbhyO VishNus tvAn vethu " .The Lord said : " aNi puthuvai paimkamalt thaNteriyal Bhattar pirAn GOdhE ! When you recited the seventh manthram and took the seventh step , I , MahA vishNu , the former resident of Srirangam will follow You to help You perform OupAsanai , Agni HOthram and other Gruhastha Homams and Yaj~nams without deficiencies . You are the NaacchiyAr of My house now. Sri VilliputthUr is your MaaLikai ( Palace ) . This is your place of birth . Therefore , You have more power than me here . I will hence follow You and bless You to have all SoubhAgyams by moving over to Your birth place and stay in my father-in-law's place , Your house . We guess that PeriyAzhwAr was mighty pleased with the decision of his Son-in-law so that he could have the aanandham of seeing his daughter and the Lord , Her husband right there in Sri VilliputthUr nest to him .Even today , we see RangamannAr , ANDAL and PeriyAzhwAr ( Garudan ) on One peetam at Sri VilliputthUr . After sapthathi ceremony ************************* Sapthathi was followed by Agni PrathakshiNam . Then , the bridegroom looked at his new bride and recited three manthrams , whose meanings are as follows : My dear one! With these seven steps that you took , You have become my dearest friend . We have cemented our friendship firmly with these seven steps . I seek closeness with you as my dearest beloved one . I will not stray away from this friendship ever . Please do not diminish the depth of your affection for me . Let us stay united always . Let us pledge to do together , what we have to follow as duties .May we have deep love ,May we do things which please one another ,May we have good intentions towards each other and enjoy food and strength in equal measure and partake of life's blessings equally together . Let our thoughts converge . Let us perform the sanctioned vrathams in unison . May our desires be united and not pull apart . I will be Saaman ; Let Thou be Rg rk . I will be the upper lokam ( Dhyou , the region between sky and earth ); May Thou be the earth ( pruthvee ) . I will be the suklam ; May Thou be the bearer of Suklam .I will be the mind ; Let Thou be vaak ( speech ) . I will be Saaman ; Let Thou be Rg rks. May Thou follow Me ! O my dear One of sweet speech going to bless me with wealth and progeny ! Please come ( --manOsmi Vaak tvam , saamaahamasmi rg tvam , saa maa manuvrathA bhava , pumsE puthrAya vEthtavai ; sriyai puthrAya vEthtavA ; Yehi sUnruthE ) ". PradhAna HOmam and its sixteen manthrams ***************************************** After the seven steps and Agni pradhakshiNam , PradhAna Homam took place .Ammi mithitthal ( stepping on the grinding stone ) , Laaja Homam ( placing parched rice into the fire ), Graha PravEsam , Pravisya Homam , Sesha Homam , the holding of the child in the wife's lap , giving fruits to that child ,Dhruvan-Arundhati nakshathra darsanams , PrAyscchittha Homams took place . I will cover them in the concluding posting on Sri ANDAL-Sri RanganAtha ThirukkalyANam series over this weekend . Daasan , Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan Jayathu Sri RanganAtha :! Jayathu Sri RanganAyaki ! P.S : This is the point in time after my posting for the day that I remind you to take part in our Universal parent's wedding and facilitate their graha PravEsam.. Please do not forget your sambhAvanAs and forward them to Sri RanganAthA Temple , P.O. Box 120 , Pomona , NY 10970 ( This address of our parents , I should know now by heart ) . Please look up the wonderful home page set up by Sri P.Dileepan for their new home at Pomona : http://www.geocities.com/~ahobilam/ranga.html Subhamasthu ; Sarva MangaLAni santhu .