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Trip to India..Part 2

vasan_at_lexmark.com
Date: Tue Jan 05 1999 - 19:08:45 PST

Dear Bhakti Members,
     Please accept adiyen's pranamams. This is a continuation, and covers the
second half of my trip to India.

On November 26, alongwith my parents and my nephew, we went to Thirupati and
Thirumalai. At tiruchanoor, our dear Thayar had come out to greet us and blessed
us by catching glimpses of her thirukalyanam. It was amazing to be just a few
feet from the Utsavars, that the thought did cross my mind of reaching and
touching their feet. I know it will be a big no-no or sin, but will definitely
be a sin worth the satisfaction. Having restrained my mind and thoughts, we went
ahead and paid respects to Venugopalan and Sundarajan.  We followed this with
visiting Sri. Varadaraja perumal koil. Unfortunately, Bhashyakara's sannidhi was
closed, but got a nice darshan in all other sannidhis. Alongwith my nephew
Srisaran (12years), we climbed the holy hills of tirumalai. We did this on bare
feet, and was a nice experience. For some strange reaso, I managed to climb,
with no more than a half-glass of water, and was neither tired nor thirsty at
the end.

     Nov.27: Rushed to the angapradakshanam queue around 1:30am. (It is always
interesting to see how people react to the chill breeze in the morning.) Since,
it was a friday, the angapradakshnam started at about suprabatham time, around
3:15am. The crowd was relatively small, about 60 bhagavathas. On fridays, since
Abhishekam follows the Suprabatham, we never got to see Perumal, even from a
distance. All of us felt terribly let down. Angapradakshanam (circumabulating
around the prakaram) has the advantage of getting to see perumal, without having
to go thru long queues. Feeling let down, I made my way to Sri Varaha Swamis
sannithi. Since, it was about 3:45am, the only other soul other than the bhattar
was adiyen. I recited my standard set of prabhandhams and Sookthams, and was
filled with joy when adiyen realized that adiyen had the privilege of getting
the  first theertham, atleast among non-bhattars or kainkaryapaalas. Perumal
does have a way of satisfying us, and i am strictly refering to SriVarahar. It
does not come as surprise that HE allowed Thiruvenkatamudaiyan to seek
refuge/shelter in his humble dwelling. HE is always my favorite. Smiling and
literally laughing, i made my way back to the cottage, and went alongwith my
folks for the Archana and thomala Seva. We were a little sluggish in getting to
the Perumal sannithi (since my mom is closer to 70, and her legs are not doing
too good), we were literally in the last row. The thing that bothered me the
most was the pushing and shoving. Irrespective of the age/sex, people were
literally pushing the weaklings or the quiet ones, just to get a good place to
sit. From where we were sitting, the only thing one could see was the ceiling,
and adiyen was very furious. The only nice part was to hear the sweet recitation
of Thirumadal. It was a bit comforting, when we got to walk closer to the
Moolavar, and adiyen was more than happy to convey about the lack of
satisfaction from the visit, and how adiyen was happy to be at Sri Varaha Swamis
sannithi.

Following the sevai was Sarrumurai sevai. Adiyen wishes to thank (very very
sincerely) Sri. Mani and Sri.Dileepan for providing information regarding this
sevai, even at an extremely short notice, no amount of words can do justice. As
we were getting near Udayavars sannithi, one of the bhattars who saw the Sankhu
and chakram of my samashrayanam, gave me a handful of manjil that was used in
the Thirumanajanam, and adiyen felt extremely ashamed to have been too
materialistic in complaining about the previous happenings. He also guided me
towards the sarrumaurai queue. Once again there was a lot of pushing, but was
overshadowed by the fact that here i was, in tirumalai, being a part of the
sarrumurai ghoshti. Kind of a Dream come true. One again thanx to Shri. Dileepan
and Mani. Following the sarrumurai, alongwith my nephew we hiked down the Holy
Hills. Along the foot path is a small shrine for Sri.Lakshmi Narasimhar. As luck
would have it, HE was having HIS thirumanajanam done, and the two of us were
very Happy to witness this. Tears literally came to my eyes. Someone Somewhere
must have heard my grievances.

     Nov.29/30: As Srirangam was the temple that adiyen had not visited, took
the Rockfort express to Srirangam. Reached the koil by 8:30am. Made my way to
Udayavars sannithi. Divya prabhandham was being recited and adiyen was very
happy to join the ghoshti and recite the bits and pieces that adiyen know.
Following the sarrumurai, and prasadham, adiyen settled in acorner and began
reciting Gadya trayam, and was very promptly stopped by a bhattar. Feeling
uncomfortable, adiyen walked up and requested for an archanai for Udayavar.
Folloing this, attempted to recite Ramanujan Nootranthathi, and once again, the
same bhattar walked up and asked me to quit reciting. This time I was asked to
sit outside and recite, if i really wished too. To be frank, i was totally
disheartened, and all the more since this happened in our Paramacharya's
sannithi. Following this, dejectedly i made my way to Perumal's sannithi, and on
the way i realized that it was (kausika?) ekadesi, and is considered a very
auspicious day. Once again, the same bhattar showed up, and indirectly conveyed
his feelings. Utsavar meanwhile had arrived from Thayar sannithi, and was as
beautiful as once can imagine, but thru the sad eyes, HE was only nice. Visited
all the sannithis, except Chakrathazhwar's (was closed by 11am), and realized
that once again the favorite sannithi of adiyen;'s was the dasavatharam
sannithi, for two reasons. The first being the presence of all Azhwars by the
ParamapathaNathan, and secondly the Bhattar here is so involved when it comes to
performing archanai both for Perumal and for Andal, that it brings tears to ones
eyes.
Having rushed thru all the sannithis, visited Kattu azhagiya Singar Koil, and
got to witness the peaceful SriLakshmiNarasimhar, who was fresh from his
Thirumanjanam. Got a handful of Manjil, and for a change adiyen was brimming
with joy, and unable to control the same.

It is possible that i may have wrongly referred to certain sannithis or Perumal
or Thayars name, and i would be more than happy if someone could correct me.

I sincerely apologize for the lengthy note and will try to keep my notes short.

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