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From: Gopaul Lakshmanan (visnu_sri_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Wed Jan 20 1999 - 18:29:25 PST

Dear Bhakti List members:

                                  SRI:
                    SRI GOPALA DESIKA MAHADESIKAYA NAMA:

SrimAn Sadagopan and Sri Vijayaraman had written in detail about the
ThirukKalyanam for the Divya Dampathis with mantras.  Adiyen gives only 
a narration.

A brief narration of Sri ANdAL and Sri Renganatha Swamy Thirukkalyana
Utsavam at Bridgewater Temple, NJ, USA on Saturday, January 16, 1999.

        Recitation of Andal's Thiruppavai in Margazhi

Sri  ANdAL and Sri. Renganatha TirukKalyana Utsavam was celebrated on
Saturday, January 1999 at 4.15 p.m. at the Bridgewater temple premises 
in NewJersey, USA.
This is the first ThirukKalyanam after Samprokshanam of temple in June 
1998 and was a fitting conclusion to the month long recitation of 
Thiruppavai. During the month of Marghazhi, Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatham, 
Thiruppalliyezhuchi and Thiruppavai Anusanthanam were done at the "nARRa 
tuzhai mudi nARAyaNan" sannidhi starting at 5 A.M. on weekdays and at 
8:30 A.M. on weekends.  (ThiruEmpavai was also recited at Lord Siva's 
sannidhi after Suprabhatham by some devotees).  This is the 5th 
consecutive year that this Marghazhi  sampradayam is being followed in 
this temple.  One of the key
persons in starting this tradition is Sri Guruvayurappan, known to every 
one as "Guru", an ardent devotee.  

                The Priests and the Bhagavatas

Out of the four Vaishnava priests of the temple, namely Sri Lakshmana
Bhattar, Sri Sampath Kumar, Sri Dasarathy, and Sri Gopalacharya at least 
two of them were present every day for the early morning Suprabhatham 
Sevai not minding the December-January cold to which they are not 
accustomed.  Their enthusiasm and sincerity are to be appreciated.  Sri 
Vijayaraghavan(Viji) and Sri Gopinath(Gopi) were the two persons who did 
not miss a single day in Margazhi, which includes a very bad day of ice 
storms.  They took the responsibility of waking the priests and bringing 
them to the temple so Sri
Venkatesa Suprabhatham can begin exactly at 5 A.M.  (On the last day of 
Marghazhi, the roads were really bad.  When my wife and I reached the 
temple at 5:30 AM we were glad we made it safely due to HIS GRACE.  We 
were thrilled to see Viji, Gopi, Guru and the priests ready for 
Pirabhandham after waking up Perumal with Suprabhatham.  Such is their 
dedication.)

The Manager of the temple, Sri. Chalapathy Sharma was very kind enough 
to make the necessary arrangements so we can celebrate the Kalayana 
Utsavam in a traditional manner.  Sri Sharma brought the utsava idols of 
Sri Srinivasar with Sri Devi and Sri BhuDevi to the "Kalyana Kootam" so 
THEY can watch the wedding of Andal and Renganatha.  With melodious 
marriage songs in Nathaswaram flowing from the tape recorder adding to 
the reality of wedding the function started.  

                         THE PREPARATIONS

In the Bridgewater temple(I would call it 'pAlakkarai Balaji Kovil'), 
there is another tradition:To designate  a Bhagavata as "VishnuChittar".  
This Bhagavata brings the 'seer varisai' for Andal.  This year Andal's 
Kataksham fell on Sri T.R.Govindarajan.  He had the bhagyam to be 
Vishnuchittar and he brought the seer varisai comprising the pudavai, 
Veshti, fruits, and flowers.  His sahadharmini, Srimathi Sumitra 
stitched a beautiful "pavaadai"
for Sri Andal from a lovely green "pattu" cloth.  She also prepared the 
garlands for the deities assisted by adiyen's sahadharmini, Srimathi 
Geetha. Sumitra prepared most of the bakshanams.  Geetha and other 
devotees made Mysorepak, sundal etc. 

                          THE WEDDING

Sri Lakshmana Bhattar and Sri Gopalacharya were the priests who 
conducted the marriage. Lakshmana Bhattar was on the side of the 
bridegroom, WHOM he had decorated beautifully with flowers and pattu 
vasthrams.  Gopalacharya was on the side of Sri Andal whose decorations 
could only match that of Perumal.   AdiYen told the assembled devotees 
about Andal, Thiruppaavai, Her Devotion, and her wedding to the Perumal 
before the wedding. The wedding began with a procession around the main 
sannidhi with all the "seer varisai"
carried by the devotees to the accompaniment of "Melam" from the tape
recorder.   The wedding was conducted by the two priests in a nice 
manner. "Nathaswaram" was played throughout the ceremony.  It was a 
pleasure to watch "malai mARRal" with the priests moving over from 
thAyar to Perumal and back and forth, exchanging garlands. Gothra 
Pravaram for Andal and Renganathar was done by Sri. Lakshmana bhattar.    
Sri Gopalacharya narrated the events in detail in Telugu to those 
assembled. Sri. Lakshmanan bhattar relayed the feeling of Sri. 
Renganatha Perumal and Andal Kaipidithal by tying flower garland between 
fingers of the two deities.  All the devotees who sponsored the kalyanam 
held this string of flowers ("neenda malar mAlai") in their hands when 
this was 'connecting' Perumal and thAyar.  The
"mAngalyam" was passed around to all the devotees so they can touch and 
get the blessings of the Divya Dampathis.  The 'mAngalya dhAranam' took 
place with the sounds of "getti mELam" coming from the tape recorder.  
After the "thAli mudiyal" , VaranamAyiram was sung and devotees rolled 
the coconuts on the floor at that time.   The priests made two flower 
balls.  These were tossed to devotees who tossed them back to the 
priests.  Thus "poopanthattam" was in full swing and was a delight to 
watch.   Prasadams were distributed to nearly 150 guests that day which 
concluded the event with the "karunai" and "vatsalyam" of the Divine 
Dampathis.

We could not bring Andal and Sri. Ranaganatha deities on a palanquin as 
we did not make arrangement earlier. From the next year onwards, we can 
arrange to have Homams in the new temple during the Kalayana 
Utsava.deities as per the manager.

Thanks to Sri Ramagopal (and Bhakti-list itself - how quickly the
information is got!) we could get "Pravarams" for the function.   No 
account is complete without expressing our gratitude to Sriman Sadagopan 
who has always inspired us and helped in this instance with detailed 
explanations for the DIVINE WEDDING and VaraNamayiram.  We took this 
from Bhakti archives(April 1998).  Thanks are due to Mani for this.
                          NAMO NARAYANAYA
                   SARVAM SRI KRISHNARPANAMASTHU
AdiYen dAsan
Lakshmanan






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