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Re: Melkote Ramapriyan& Bibi NaacchiyAr: Some reflections

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Dec 14 2000 - 16:32:18 PST

Dear Sri Mani Varadarajan:

Thanks for sharing excerpts from the scholarly
article of Sri M.R.SampatkumAran (MRS).

MahA lakshmi At the ThiruppAdhams of the Lord at Melukote
There is a small image of MahA Lakshmi ( not Bibi NaacchiyAr)
between the two feet of ThirunArAyaNan . It is " carved  "
in stone and is part of the Moolavar ThirumEni. It is of
small in size. You can have the darshanam ,when the Bhattars 
do KarpUrArathti.MahA Lakshmi's height comes upto
the ankle aabharaNams of ThirunArAyanan. 

There is also MahA Lakshmi at the feet of  
Uthsava BhEram , Sampath KumArar.Often ,
the Aabharanams and the garlands hide 
MahA Lakshmi at the Paadham of Chella PiLlai.
The chihnams are of MahA Lakshmi.

The traditional Vire and posisble Way out
Sriman A.N.Srinivasa Iyengar in his article
in "Melukote thru ages" edited by Dr.Lakshmi
Tatachar writes in page 33 :

" Another important feature observed in Melukote 
is the installation of Bibi NaacchiyAr ( princess Sultanate
of Delhi) at the feet of SampathkumAran ".

The author then describes the visit of RaamAnujA 
to Delhi and the recovery of Raama Priyan ( Selva
PiLlai ) from the harem .

Did AchArya RaamAnujA Visit Delhi?

We must remember that AchArya RamAnujA was 82 
years old , when He came to Melukote and
left for Srirangam from there , when He was 94.
The alluded journey must have taken place during 
this period. I am not sure that the depth of kaimkaryams
performed by AchArya RaamAnujA at Melukote would have 
permitted Him to leave MelukOte for extended periods of 
time on a most strenous journey North . He had ofcourse
excellent and competent sishyAs , who supervised a lot
of kaimkaryams .

ThirukkulatthAr's and their access to the temple 
ThirukkulatthArs helped Him excavate the Mula BhEram
from an ant hill , where He was resting and the special
nmaryAdai for them during BrahmOthsavam might have
originated from that occasion and not because of
help to protect him (AchArya RaamAnujA) during his
trip back with Chella PiLlai.

A Moslem Ruler Versus Delhi Sultan

There was the presence of the Iran based Muslim(Safir? )
dynasty in Deccan before the Delhi SultAnates (?).
I think Naadir Shah and the stolen peacock throne come to my
mind in this context .Here my memory may not be correct.
They did come via the Arabic sea from West as opposed to 
the Delhi SultAns , who came from Central Asia. 
It is possible like Sri RaamAnujA might have brought back 
the idol of "SampathkumAran " from a Muslim ruler of Deccan
rather than from the one at Delhi, who came to power later.
Some one , who is more familiar with the history of
Deccan can help here.

AchArya RaamAnujar's vijaya Yaathrai to Poori Jagannath
and Northern sites like Pushkaram might have taken place
as a part of His visit to KashmIr, much earlier than 
the twelve years spent at Melukkote.

The household ballads at KranatkA celebrate
the story of Bibi NaacchiyAr. We  must also place
the time of Tulukka Naacchiyar at Srirangam /UrayUr
in a similar context .

>From p. 58:>
>   [...]

>   The story may have this much of historical truth in it -- 
>   that Ramanuja acquired the idol somewhere in the north.  The
>   revolutionary reform of permitting the Panchamas [untouchables]
>   to enter the temple at Melkote for three days during the
>   annual Brahmotsava and te honorific name of Tirukkulattar
>   (persons of blessed families) given to them clearly point 
>   to someone like Ramanuja at work, with overriding authority
>   in religious and social matters.  And the Tirukkulattar owe
>   their new privileges to having formed Ramanuja's bodyguard
>   when he recovered the idol of Sampatkumara.  Later chroniclers
>   must have assumed from the conditions in their times that 
>   Moslem rule must have prevailed in the north even much earlier.

Hope these points only add more items to ponder.

RaamAnuja Daasan ,V.SaTakOpan

P.S : I have copied Sriman Alwar , my partner in
the AchArya RaamAnujA CD ROM and a native of
Melukote to comment further.

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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