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Melkote Yatrai: Eighth day of Nvaaham / February 12 , 2000

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Mon Mar 06 2000 - 13:01:08 PST

SRimathE RaamAnujAya Nama:

( Continuation of our reports of our Yatrai on the 7th day ) :

After having the darsan of Lord Lakshmi Varaha, and after 
visiting the shrine of Lakshmi Narayana having three shrines 
known as Trikoota Acahala(this is a unique feature of 
all Hoysala temples where the main deity is directly 
visible from the main entrance, and there will be 
two other deities on either side, and by standing in 
the middle of the "Nava-ranga" mantapa, one can have 
the darsan of all the dieties simultaneously) 
at Hosa-Holalu, we returned to Melkote.

During the visit to these places, we had the previlege of 
having the esteemed company of Sri U.Ve. Kottamangalam 
Varadacharya Swami, who is a walking encyclopeadia 
in the real sense of all our Sastras, and all the Darsanas. 
He has an experience of 60 years in these fileds, 
and was the premier-most sishya of the legendary 
Sri Abhinava Ranganatha Brahma Tantra Parakala Swamy, 
the potiff of the Parakala Mutt.  Under this revered AchAryan , 
three Varadacharya-s (popularly known as "Varada-traya") 
studied simultaneously ; they were Sri UVE SMS Varadacharya, 
SRI UVE ES Varadacharya, and the present Swami. 
They were most proficient in Vyakarana(known as Pada Shaastra), 
Mimamsa(known as Vaakya Shaastra) and Nyaya/Tarka Sastra
(known as Pramana Shaastra), and Visistadwaita Vedanta 
was the common specialisation of each of them.  Of the three, 
ES Varadacharya, is no more.  Under the feet of 
the above mentioned SRi Sri Parakala Swamy, 
the three VaradhAs  used to study as follows :

A particular Adhikarana from the Brahma Sutra/Sri Bhashya 
would be given as a topic beforehand.  All the three 
Varadacharyas were to make extensive studies about that 
Adhikarana not only from the point of view of their 
own Sastras, but also from the view-point of the Advaitins 
and the Dwaitins.  Then under the Swami, after the introductory 
discourse by the Swami Himself, the three Varadacharyas 
had to present the views of different points of view 
expressed in different texts pertaining to different 
authors owing allegiance to different systems of philosophy.  
Then extensive and intensive debate would take place 
and ultimately the Parakala Swamy would announce 
the result of the delibarations.  This continuously happened 
for about 25 years, and this in itself is a pointer to 
the great scholarship of these great Varadacharya-s.  
Of these three Sri U.Ve. Kottamangalam Varadacharya Swami 
accompanied us, and enlightened us about the burning issues 
of today in the fileds of philosophy, religion, society etc ,
which had to be solved in a way that is true to the path 
followed by our Poorva Acharyas.  This meeting with
a living legend too is one of the most memorable 
highlights of our visit. Sriman M.A.Alwar has the bhAgyam
of receiving instructions on the fine points of
Our SampradhAyam from this MahAn .

Later, we arrived back at Melkote, and since we were 
extremly tired, cancelled a visit to the temple, 
and meanwhile held discussions about future Multimedia 
CD Rom Projects on our Sampradayam, like the one on 
Bhagavan Ramanuja that has reached many of you.
Both the TennAchArya and Vadakalai version of
Bhagavath RaamAnujA CD ROM is still available 
for those , who wish to acquire them for their
private libraries. 

The Ratha Sapthami day at Melkote
**********************************
The next day, the 12th of Feb, was "Ratha Saptami" ,
a great "Parva" day, the day when the Sun-God is said 
to have made his first appearnce.  According to our Sastras, 
Surya-Bhagavan is none other than Surya-Narayana, 
and to commemorate this auspicious day, 
Lord Selvappillai mounts the "Surya-Mandala-Vahana", 
or the mount of the Surya, with Aruna, 
the charioteer of Surya and his horses placed in front, 
as if leading the Surya.  The procession in the Mada-Veedhis
was exquisite and it is difficult for Bhagavatas to forget 
such a beautiful and divine sight.  We also visited 
the temple once again and had a close darsan of all 
the dieties at the temple.  

After finalising our discussions with 
Sriman UVE Lakshmi Thathachar, the Director of 
the Academy of Sanskrit Research(a separate note on 
this will be written shortly), an organisation devoted to 
the presevration of our rich cultural heritage, 
especailly pertaining to Srivaishvava / Visistadwaita, 
we had Phala-Ahararam and left for Thondanur, 
where Bhagavan Ramanuja arrived first before 
visiting Melkote.  

There , we visited first the "Moti-Talab", 
a breathtakingly big tank said to have been built at 
the niyamanam of Bhagavan Ramanuja Himself.  
Thereafter , we visited the shrine of Nambi Narayana, 
a big temple, renovated recently and well maintained.  
Here , the speciality is that Nambi Naryana has 
the Chakra in his left hand the Sankha in the right
as in ThirukkOyilUr , and this is said to be so, 
since he had to do Samashrayanam to "Thondanur Nambi" 
a contemporary and later disciple of Bhagavan Ramanuja 
when he visited that place.  Also present in that temple 
is a beautiful stone "PeeTha" where Bhagavan Ramanuja 
used to sit while delivering Kalakshepams.  Later, we visited 
the Krishna Temple which is adjacent to the Nambi Temple.  
Here we had the darsan ofthe most beautiful Krishna 
(both Mulavar and Utsavar) . The speciality of this Krishna 
is that while other Krishna-s every where have their 
right foot forward, this Krishna has his left foot forward.  
The temple too is well renovated and maintained, 
and in the adjoining mantaps, different classes for 
children are held. It is cool and serene and ideal for eductaion, 
and it brought us visions of how Gurukula 
would have been in ancient times.  After having 
the darsan at these two shines, we proceeded to 
Sriranga Patna to have the darsan of Lord Ranganatha. 
We had to skip another shrine i.e. that of Lakshmi Nrusimha 
and Bhagavan Ramanuja, where Bhagavan Ramanuja is said
to have answered thousands of Jains simultaneously by 
having thousand mouths in the form of Adishesha .
It is a pity that the presssures of time 
would not permit such a visit. We arrived next at 
Sriranga Patna on this Ratha Sapthami day .

At Sriranaga Patna, which is known as "Aadi Ranga",
we had the darsan of the most beautiful Ranganatha 
with Kaveri Thayar at his feet.  The beauty of this 
Ranganatha is beyond  description , and can be only 
experienced by those who have the darsan of 
the Lord, who is all splendour.

It was a major festival day at Srirangapatnam . Huge crowds
were at the sannidhis . Outside , the vendors were selling
ripe banana fruits into which strands of fragrant
Marukkozhunthu were inserted . The young people were
showing off by throwing these " banana missiles "
at the target of the kumbham of the ratham in which
Uthsavar was resting after the Ratha Sapthami Journey .
The Kumbham was at a pretty high level and 
most of the people missed hitting the Kumbham.
The folklore is that any one , who hits the Kumbham
on this day with the banana missiles  will be blessed
with great Isvaryam . Uthsavar was well protected with 
screens so that no errant missile came His way. It was 
a scene of great joy with people of all ages mingling
and having  a good time on this sacred day of uthsavam . 

We dropped Dr.M.A.Alwar at Mysore . One can not thank 
him and his family enough for the warmth of their
reception and hospitality during this visit to
Melkote and environs . It was a great bhAgyam to
be with this well known AchArya PurushA Family 
belonging to AnandANpiLLai Vamsam , celebrated
for its pushpa Kamkaryam to Lord Srinivaasan
of Thirumalai at the request of AchArya RaamAnujA .

After saying good bye to Dr.Alwar ,we arrived at
the Mysore Railway Station to catch the ShatAbdhi
Express for our trip back to Chennai . 

Thus ended the eighth day of NavAham , which was 
one of the three days spent in Karnataka offering
worship at places associated with the digh vijayam
of Achaarya RaamAnuja some 900 years ago.

Azhagiya Singar ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Daasan Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan   




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