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Trip to India

vasan_at_lexmark.com
Date: Sat Dec 19 1998 - 15:56:45 PST

Dear Bhakti Members,
     Please accept adiyen's pranamams. Recently, i had gone home on a short
(14day) vacation and thought I will share some of my experiences from this trip.
     I reached Madras on Nov.21, and had the fortune of visiting the
ever-smiling and peaceful, Sri. LakshmiVarahar perumal of Thiruvidavendhai, (
Nov.22). I am particularly fond of Temples where, the Perumal accepts you with
an open-hand, and lets u enjoy HIM to the maximum.

I do have a question for the learned members of this group, something that has
always puzzled me. If I am not mistaken, Vinayakar (Ganesha) did not perform
prapatti and hence is not a nityasuri. However, there is a relatively big icon
engraved on the outer wall of the sactum sanctorum. (Is this purely to attract
the non-srivaishanavas, or is their a reason for this as evidenced by the
sthalapuranam ?).

Although, this was my third visit to enjoy this perumal, I had not seen the
second moolavar (he kind of sits in the corner, near the entrance), who was used
during the Moslem invasion, to keep the primary primary in tact.

     Nov.23: I made my traditional visit/hike up Periya malai to enjoy the
ever-calm and peaceful Yoganarasimhar in Sholingur (Thirugatikai), thayar and
ofcourse, Hanumar with the shankhu and chakram. I have this (bad, that's how my
family perceives it) habit of not eating/drinking anything when I am on my way
to Perumal koil. I did not realize that I was running on Empty, by the time I
had darshan of Sri.Yoganarasimhar, and this was around 3pm. Strange, that it
took me just about 20minutes to climb Periyamalai. But never really felt hungry
or thirsty, was it that having seen Perumal was equivalent to having a nice
meal?? I have always had some interesting episode during my visit to this divya
desam.

     Nov.24: One of the most important days of my life. After troubling
Sri.Sadagopan several times, and confirming with Sri.Ahobila Matam, I decided to
have my samashrayanam performed under Srimad Azhagiya Singar. The day also
happens  to be my birthday, and thought what better day could exist to start
life-afresh. Sri.Sadagopan and Sri.Mani's advice was extremely helpful, and I
sincerely appreciate their help and guidance. [ Sri.Sadgopan's parents were
extremely perceptive and named their son after Nammalwar. I consider
Sri.Sadagopan as my Prathama acharya, and I always consider him Nam-Acharya. I
am sorry if I am putting Sri.Sadagopan in a spot, but I consider it a true
blessing on my part to have had the privilege of knowing him. There are several
others who qualify under this category, but I will stop with one for the
present.]
 There were about 7 of us who had our Samashrayanam and Mantropadesam performed
by HH Sri.Azhagiya Singar. The Mantropadesam was done at the same time for all
of us. As i  understand, usually it is more Private, but since HH and others
were busy, it was carried out as a group/team effort. During HH's kalakshepam,
he digressed and lost his train of thought, and asked where he had gotten off
the track, and the Room was so quiet/silent that one could heard a straw of hay
drop. This reminded me of Sri.Vedanta Desikar's episode with Sri.Nadathur Ammal,
and spent the rest of time recollecting the episode.
That evening, along with my parents and family members, we stopped first at Sri
Varadarajar koil in Poonamalee (poovirunthavalli). Poonamallee is about 20kms
from Madras, and is the mid-way point between Madras and sriPerumbudhur.
Recently, Mani has been saluting Tirukacci Nambigal, in his postings, brought a
smile to my face, and have stayed with ever-since :-)
 Sri.Thirukacci Nambigal used to perform Kainkaryam to Lord Varadaraja, in
Poonamalee, and asked Perumal if he can surrender to HIM. Perumal, in turn
directed Sri.Tirukacci Nambi to Sri.Periya Nambi and Sri. Tirukacci Nambi went
on to do kainkarya seva to Sri.Periya Nambi. This temple is not a divya desam,
but has sannidhis for Sri Alavandar and Sri.Tirukacci Nambi.apart from sannithis
for Ranganathan, Krishnan, Andal and Srinivasan.  I have been a regular visitor
to this temple, since 1981. Very quiet and beautiful. The thayar is
Poovirunthavalli thayar. It being, Karthigai,  Thayar (utsavar) had come out
from the garbha graha to give darshan to her bhakthas, and fortunately for me,
they were performing Laksharchana for HER. She was her usual self, Very Kind,
beautiful and giving u the impression that SHE is UR mother.
Having been blessed by both Thayar and Perumal (the bhattar knows us well, and
made an exception of opening Perumal sannithi). We then went on to one of my
favorite koils, again not a divya desam, Sri Perumbudhur. Here I was more than
ecstatic to see and have the darshan of our favorite, Sri.Ramanuja. For the
first time, we had darshan of HIS Thirumeni, probably, because the Bhattar saw
the Sankhu and Chakram embossed on my shoulders. I am not sure if tears rolled
down, but it was the BEST part of my trip. We also had the fortune of paying our
respects to  Jeeyar Swami (from a distance). As planned, I recited Nootrandhadi
and Gadya trayam. In short, one of the happiest day of my life.

Nov.25: I visited Vedantha desikar hall, and enjoyed the thiruvaradhanam of Sri
Malolan. For some reason, I am scared when i am facing HH Srimad Azhagiya
Singar, a feeling that I have never had to this extent. But, i did convey all
the Pranamams that several bhakthas had asked to convey, and in paritcular
Sri.Sadagopan, and asked if I could carry some Prasadam 9akshathai) for all the
US bhagavathas, and spread my uthiriam, with my head bowed. As HH heard the
initial part, he smiled, but then I remember standing there for atleast half a
minute. My first thought was I messed up real bad, and started cursing myself.
but then, he gave me the akshathai. Little, did i realise that HH truly blessed
the prasadam, and I was brimming with joy, everafter.  that evening, I had the
privilrege of meeting Sri.Sadagopan's sister, Srimathi.Padma Veeraraghavan.
(Like Brother, Like Sister). She gave me a vigraham of Sri Lakshmi Hayagreevar,
and I almost broke down. In a way, i think Perumal is cruel. Why does HE have to
put all good people in one family? Why not distribute them around, so that all
of us can benefit.

My request was granted, when Srimathi.Padma Veeraraghavan introduced me to her
achrayan, Sri Agnihottram Ramanuja Thathachar. My respect for Sri Sadgopan
increased several folds when I heard Sri. Agnihottram swami praise Sri Sadagopan
(Sri. Sadagopan is truly Nam-acharaya). He was very pleased to see me take the
step towards saranagathi, and I sat there mesmerized at his mini-discourse. He
blessed all the Bhagavathas annd handed me the prasadam from the Sowmya Yagam
that he performed recently. If possible, I would request members of this group
to add a note on this Yagnam. The one thing that typically characterizes this
mahan is his Smile. Its captivating and I was actually reminded of Sri Tirupaan
alwars prabhandham "Yen amudhinai kanda kanngal....kanave", and was relating the
same to his smile. I would strongly recommend fellow bhagavathas to get this
Acharyan's blessings. He was amused at the NAMA newsletter bearing Vadagalai and
Thengalai thiruman's side-by-side.

Srimathi.Nagu Satyan has agreed to carry some of the Prasadam (akshathai and
ashes from the sowmya Yagnam) to the NAMA conference. If u are not planning to
attend this conference, please feel free to send me ur home-address, and i will
be more than happy to mail u some of the prasadam that i have retained for this
purpose. (my e-mail is : vasan@lexmark.com)


As this note is turning out to be more than what I initially planned, i will
continue this in the next posting.

Sri Andal thiruvadigale saranam
Acharyan thiruvadigale saranam
adiyen, ramanuja dasan
(srinivasan)