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Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi : part 2

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Dec 26 1998 - 17:05:30 PST

Dear BhakthAs :In this posting , we will cover 
the connection between Thitu Adhyayana Uthsavam
and Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi .

Lokan-Kantakan and Sri Vaikunta Ekaadasi

Thiru Adhyayana uthsavam starts on Dhanur maasam Sukhla 
Paksha Prathamai and continues for 21 days that are
divided into Pakal and Iraa Patthu .Sri PaancharAthra 
Aagamam explains the reason for the initiation of this 
Uthsavam .During the great deluge (PraLayam ) , Lord 
was floating on the swirling waters of deluge on the leaf
of a pupil tree as a small baby ( Vata Pathra Saayee ).
He created chathurmukha BrahmA and commanded him to engage in
the act of Creation . Soon , BrahmA forgot as to who had created 
him in the first place and was stricken with ego as he went 
about his act of creation . At that time , two asurAs with the 
names of Lokan and Kantakan emerged out of the ears of the Lord 
and jumped on Brhama with an intent to kill him for his offenses .
Brhama quickly understood the fix that he got himself into
and prayed to his father , the Lord to save him . The Lord forgave
BrahmA . The Lord also wanted to give a boon for the two asurAs for 
the services rendered and asked them as to what they would like
to have as boons . They begged the Lord to give them the boon
of battling with Him for a month and then reach His sacred feet .
The Lord  blessed them with the boon and fought with them for a
month and at the end killed them ; thereafter , our Lord transformed 
them into Nithya sUris with sankham and chakram and made them
residents of Sri Vaikuntam. 

At that time ,Lokan and Kantan addressed the Lord and said :
" Oh Sriman NaarAyaNA !We have had the blessings
of sathgathi thanks to your killing us with Your own hands 
and made it possible for us to reside in Sri Vaikuntam 
and to perform nithya kaimkaryam to You .You let us in to
Sri Vaikuntam by opening the northern gates of Your divine
citadel on this Dhanur maasa sukla Paksha EkAdasi day .
We beg you to give us another boon , which will make it
possible for all the people to remember us and this day 
as Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi.Please grant us this boon , which will
make it possible for ALL human beings , who enter the Northern
gates at all of Your consecrated temples on Earth to reach
Sri Vaikuntam , when their body falls down on this earth
at the end of their sojourn on Your earth . After reaching Your 
Kingdom of Sri Vaikuntam , they should also be blessed with
Nithya sEvA Kaimkaryam like us and all other Nithya sUris :

tathA pasyanthi yEthvAnthu namasyanthi cha yE janA :
uttara dwAra maargENa pravisanthi cha yE HarE :
tE Vaikuntamimam prApya mOdhanthAm nityasUrivath 

BhagavAn Sriman NaarAyaNA offered them that boon as well.
Fromthat day onward , Lord accepted Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi
Uthsavam and the entrance of BhakthAs through the northern
gate of His temples to reach Srivaikuntam at the end of
their earthly residence .Since  this EkAdasi is connected with 
Moksham , this uthsavam came to be known as MokshOthsavam 
from then on .

AzhwArs and Thiru AdyayanOthsvam (Moksha EkAdasi )

In Tamilnaadu , AzhwArs used Divya Prabhnadham 
( Tamil Vedam/MaRai ) to worship Sriman NaarAyaNA
and attained Moksha Siddhi . The First AzhwAr in
our tradition that served as Maarga darsi or the 
shower of the way , was " Vedam Tamizh seytha MaaRan " , 
Swami Sri NammAzhwAr . In the last centum of his 
Thiruvaimozhi , he takes leave of many archA mUrthys
with a heavy heart and describes his joyous plans 
to leave this earth at the end of his avathAra 
mission to reach the abode of his Lord , Sri Vaikuntam .
Like ANDAL , who described in grat detail Her impending
marriage to Her Lord through a dream scene (VaraNamyiram
Paasurams ) , NammAzhwAr similarly used Veda PramANams 
to describe his journey to Parama padham as revealed
to us in Brahma sUthrams and Upanishads . 

Few hundred years later , the last of the AzhwArs , 
Thirumangai , was standing in front of Sri RanganaathA
at Srirangam enjoying His divine beauty and was reflecting
on the tenth ThirumAlai Paasuram of ThondaradipoDi :
" KaatinAn Thiruvarangam Uyvhavarkku uyyum vaNNam --"
AzhwAr wondered about his own moksham . He broke out in 
a thought sequence , which took the form of the following 
paasuram passage :

 " aNiyAr pozhil Aranga naharappA ! tuNiyEn
ini ninnaraulallAthu , naNiyE , MaNi MaaNikkamE ,
MadhusoodhA ! paNiyAi yenakku uyyum vahai ParamjyOthi ". 

Our most merciful Lord of Srirangam rsponded through 
Uttama nambi , His priest and showed the way for
his salvation .

AzhwAr was thrilled with that revelation and
organized the ThirukkArthigai Uthsavam to celebrate
the immeasurable , tall Jyothi (anthar jyOthi:
kimapi yaminAm anjanam Yoga dhrushtE : , as revealed
later by Swami Sri Desikan )as Sriman NaarayaNa 
Tattvam reclining on the bed of Adhi sEshan at
Srirangam . Thirumangai understood now that was
the same "tall" jyOthi tattvam revealed by 
Sri RanganaathA to NammAzhwAr earlier . Recognizing 
this as divine indication , Thirumangai brought 
Swami Sri NammAzhwAr's archA vigraham from 
AzhwAr Thirunagari with pomp and maryAdhai to
Srirangam and placed nammAzhwAr's vigraham 
in front of Sri RanganAthan . He begged the Lord 
and requested Him to instruct he world about 
the Veda Saamyam of Thiruvaimozhi through 
the conductance of an uthsavam to highlight 
the extraordinary relevance and greatness 
of ThiruvAimozhi as Tamil MaRai . Our Lord
of Srirangam agreed and gave the orders for 
the initiation of Adhyayana Uthsavam ,which is 
also known today as MokshOthsavam as a result of 
Thirumangai Mannan's initative and the continuation of
that Kaimkaryam by our PurvAchAryas from AchArya 
Naatha Muni's time . 

Details of the 21 day Uthsavam at Srirangam
As referred to earlier ,there are 21 days of 
Thiru AdhyayaNOthsavam ( First Day for ThirunedumthANDakam ,
10 days of Pahal patthu and 10 more days of
Iraa Patthu ). Thirumangai saluted the Lord's
sacred feet as resting on his head in Thiru Nedum
ThANDakam ( yenthai TaLir Purayum Thiruvadi 
Yenn TalaimElEyE )as a rsult of the Darsana 
SoubhAgyam that he was blessed with . Therefore ,
Thiru Nedum ThANDaka Uthsavam serves as a preface 
to the pahal and Iraa Patthu celebrations following
it. MinnuruvAi Paasuram form Thiru Nedum ThANDakam
is recited on the first day and the arayars perform
Abhinayam for it on the first of the 21 days Uthsavam. 
This took place on Marghazhi 3 ( Dec 18)in 1998 .
The Pahal patthu started on Dec 19 and will conclude on 
December 28 with SatthumuRai and MaryAdhais for 
AzhwArs and AchAryAs .

On the next day ( December 29/ Margahzhi 14th ),
the First day of Iraa patthu is celebrated .
This is the Dhanur Maasa Sukla Paksha EkAdasi day 
known as Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi day .

Schedule at Srirangam for Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi Uthsavam

**December 29: 3.30 A.M (Srirangam Time & 5.30 P.M
EST /USA Time on December 28, 1998 ):
TulA lagnam ; PerumAL's puRappAdu from AasthAnam 

** paramapadha Vaasal opening : 4.30 A.M 

** Entry into Thirukkottakai : 4.45 A.M.

** SaadarA maryAdhai : 8.30 A.M.

** Arrival at ThirumAmaNi mantapam : 9.30 A.M.

** Curtain for AlankAram & NaivEdhyam: 10.15 to 10.45 A.M.

** Darsanam in RathnAngi : 10.45 A.M to 6.00 P.M .

** Arayar Sevai for all : 6.00-8.00 P.M

** ThiruppAvadai GhOshti : 8.00-9.00 P.M.

** Curtain for VeLLI champA naivEdhyam : 9.00-10.00 P.M.

** UbhayakkArar MaryAdhai : 10.30-11.00 P.M.

** Curtain for preparation for PuRappAdu: 10.30 P.M to 11.30 P.M.

** PuRappAdu from TirmAmaNi mandapam : Midnight 

** Arrival at AasthAnam to the accompaniment 
   of VeeNai Vaadhyam :1.30 A.M on December 30, 1998/
   EST 3.30 P.M. on December 29 for East Coast 
   residents of U.S.A.

The days after Sri Vaikunta EkAdasi 
During the period between Dec 30 (Second  day 
of Iraa patthu to the sixth day of Iraa patthu ,
NamperumAl leaves the AasthAnam at 12.00 Noon 
and stays at The Thousand Pillar mantapam until
9.30 P.M. and returns to AasthAnam with VeeNai 
Accompaniment at 10.45 P.M.

Seventh day of the Uthsavam is known as 
ThirukkaitthaLa Sevai and takes place between
3.00 P.M. and 12.45 P.M. NamperumAL leaves His aasthAnam
at 3.00 P.M and returs there at 12.45 P.M. HiraNya
Vadham arayar sEvai takes place on this day .

On the eighth day of IrAA patthu , Thirumangai Mannan
vEdu PaRi uthsavam is inserted .NamperumAL leaves on 
Horse Vaahanam from Santhanu mantapam at 4.45 P.M.
and has VyAALi from 5.30-6.30 P.M. He reaches 
the ThirumAmaNI mantapam at the 1000 pillared hall at 
8.00 P.M. From there , He returns to AasthAnam at 1.15 A.M. 

On the Tenth day ( January 7, 1999) , TheerthavAri at
Chandra PushkaraNi takes palce at 9.45 A.M. and our
Lord reaches the1000 Pillar Hall at 12.00 Noon.
Sri Bhattar SwamigaL's Brahma ratha Maryadai 
takes place first and is followed by Thirumanjanam
(6.30 P.M to 9.30 P.M ) .Curtain comes down for
NaivEdhyam at 9 P.M and holds until 11 P.M.

At 11.00 P.M.Aayar sevai and ThiruppAvadai GhOshti 
start and goes on until 3.00 A.M. Curtain comes down
again from 3-4 A.M for VeLLI champA amudhu naivEdhyam.
The elated PerumAL gives his subhAsraya daranam 
to the assembled Bhaktha kOtis from 4-6 A.M.
Next follows the climactic event of NammAzhwAr's
Moksham (6-7 A.M on Jannuary 8/ Marghazhi 24 ). 
The ritualastic steps of the NammAzhwAr Moksham are 
similar to the one described in the Hindu Posting that
described the happenings at ThiruvallikkENi. AzhwAr is 
clothed in white , wears dwAdasa puNDrams and TulasI maalai 
and is brought on Kaitthalam to PeriumAL's presence with 
chathra (umbrella )Saamara (Fans)  maryAdhai .
During his travel to NamperumAl's side , 
"Soozh Veesum Pani Muhil " paasuram ( Thiruvaimozhi 10.9.1)
is recited .AzhwAr is placed at the holy feet of
NamperumAL and is covered with Tulasi leaves completely .
During that time , Arayar recites the paasuram ,
" MuniyE NaanmuhanE MukkaNNappA (TVM 10.10.1) " .
The coverage by TuLasi leaves refers to the paasura 
Vaakhyam " nEsam seythu unnODu yennai uyir vERanRi 
onRAhavE koNDAi " and denotes the granting of 
Saayujya MOksham for NammAzhwAr by Sri Ranganaathan
in front of every one . This is the significance of
Meykalatthal ( uLL kalatthal ) doctrine.

After AzhwAr's Thiruvadi Thozhal , NamperumAL 
prsents the AzhwAr with His ThirumaNN, Garlands and kasthUri .
This ceremony signifies the Lord's honoring of 
the Mumkshu , who has become a resident of His Paramapadham . 
AzhwAr is then placed on Tirukkaitthalam and 
returned to his honored place with sakala MaryAdhais.

NamperumAl moves on to the four pillared mantapam  
and performs maryAdhai to all the other AzhwArs .
Archakar then utters the word " PaDippu " . 
At that time , the story of Lord RanganAthA 
arriving at Srirangam from the Milky Ocean 
is read for the benefit of the assembled BhakthAs .
SthAnikar then says with reverence " naayinthE 
RaghunAthA " and prays for the Lord's blessings 
for Uthsava sampUrNam . NamperumAl blesses the 
SthAnikar with SevA and Theertham and orders him to 
conduct the ThirukkalyANa uthsavam well . Bhattar,
Arayar Brahma Rathams take place after the Lord
leaves for AsthAnam. During the Iraa patthu uthsavam ,
Moolavar adorns Mutthangi and offers Mutthangi sEvai
to Bhaktha Kotis. At aasthAnam, IyaRppA recitation
is commenced .It continues at Santhanu MaNtapam 
next day ( january 9,1999).  

During the early morning of Jan 9 , after AarAdhanam takes
place between 2-4 A.M. , IyaRppA SaathumuRai is completed 
at mUla sthAnam between 4 -5 A.M. Thriut ThuzhAi and Theertha
PrasAdhams are presented between 5-6 A.M. and another 
Thiru AdhyayaNOthsavam comes to completion . 
NaarAyaNa, NaarAyaNa, NaarAyaNa !
Swami Sri NammAzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam,
DaasAnu Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan