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Reflections on the Ninth Day of the Trip: Part V/ Ashta TheerthOthsavam at MelukOte

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Tue Mar 14 2000 - 05:34:21 PST

SrimathE RaamAnujAya Nama:

Dear BhakthAs:

This will be the penultimate posting in this series
of postings prior to the epilogue tomorrow 
on the eve of Vairamudi Sevai (March 16)this year
at ThirunArAyaNapuram . That epilogue will sum up 
the highlights of this special dhivya desa Yaathrai
and the Kaimkaryam sankalpams for the rest of 
the year 2000 .

adiyEn will describe in this posting a festival that is 
unique to ThirunArAyaNan , the ASHTAKSHARA SVARUPAN .
The heart of this festival is the day long travel of 
the Lord's SatAri (Swamy NammAzhwAr) at the behest of 
the Lord  ThirunArAyaNan to His EIGHT  pushkaraNis (tanks) 
at MelukOte for avabrutha snAnam . 

This festival takes place in the holy month of 
Kaarthigai . The immersion of the Ashtakshara Moorthy's
SatAri in the sacred waters of the eight tanks 
has a lot of auspicious resonances , when one 
contemplates on the significance of this Ashta
TheerthOthsavam . 

Avabrutha snAnam is done always at 
the conclusion of a Yaagam or MahOthsavam .
After completing the Yaagam of Bhara SamarpaNam ,
which is the offering of the Lord's property 
( the athman ) back to Him as the Havis (SamarpaNam )
and seeking His sole protection with MahA VisvAsam ,
this TheerthOthsavam has a special meaning for adiyEn
after being blessed with this ParamAnugraham by 
asmath AchArya Saarvabhouman and MalOlan .


You might recall that AdiyEn's journey had two central goals :

(1)Bhara SamarpaNam at the sacred feet of asmath AachAryan,
HH Srimath Azhagiyasingar and to qualify to become His 
Thiruvadi and (2) SamarpaNam of MudaliyANDAn (Udayavar's
"SatAri" )at AchArya RaamAnujA's sannidhi at Thiru-
NaarAyaNapuram . 

The above two samarpaNams came together ,
when adiyEn reflected on the significance of Ashta
Theertha Uthsavam (avabrutha SnAnam )and the SatAri's
travel to bless the people accompanying it during
the PradhakshiNam around ThirunArAyaNan's dhivya
RaajadhAni . BTW , the Postings on PaadhukhA Sahasram
of Swamy Desikan is almost at the 180th slOkam level,
which is one sixth of this mahA Kaavyam to celebrate 
the glory of the Lord's Paadhukai(SatAri). These postings 
are accessible at http://homepage.paduka.com/ and
are the celebrations of the glories of the Lord's satAri.

The Eight sacred PushkaraNis of ThirunArAyaNapuram
****************************************************

The SuprabhAtha slOkam of ThirunArAyanan makes reference
to these eight specific PushkaraNis as : Veda , Dharba ,
Abja ( Padma) , Yaadhava , PalAsa , ParAsara, NaarAyaNa ,
and Achuyutha PaadhAkhya ( Vaikunta GangA ot Tottilamadu). 
Please note that adiyEn will be making references
to ten pushkaraNis in the posting , although 
the ceremonial dip takes place at eight pushkaraNis.

Kaarthigai Sukla Paksha Chathurdhasi  Day
******************************************

Up in the hill town of MelukOte , Kaarthigai 
is a cool month.THe VaikAnasa/PaancharAthra DhIpam
festival , the Thirunakshathram festivals for 
Thirumangai and ThiruppANar are on the horizon.
On this day, the ashta TheethOthsavam takes place.

(1)KalyANi Saras Theerthavaari
*******************************
Early in the morning , Lord Selva NaarAyaNan adorned with the fine 
jewelery presented by the previous MaharAjAs of Mysore arrives
with His ubhaya NaacchiyArs at the eastern gopuram entrance
of His temple. Lord's SatAri accompanies the dhivya dampathis
and this rich procession arrives at the first stop, the sacred
KalyANi Theertham , the main pushkaraNi of MelukOte .
There at the Mantapam on the North East corner ,
the SatAri leaves the Lord's feet with honors
( Two umbrellas ) in the hands of the Archakar
and takes a dip in the waters of the PushkaraNi
to the accompaniment of Veda manthrams. At the end of
the SatAri's avabrutha snAnam , all the assembled people
immerse themselves in the water  sanctified by 
Swamy NammAzhwAr. The Lord now bids good bye to His
dear AzhwAr and returns to the temple to wait for
Him at the end of the journey to the reamining 
seven theerthams . In most of the dhivya dEsams,
Sudarsanam of the Lord takes a dip in the pushkaraNi
or river during theerthavAris.

(2) Veda PushkaraNi SnAnam
****************************

After traveling southward to the sacred spot ,
where Lord DattAthrEya revealed the sArArthams
of the four VedAs .There is a stone here
on the banks of Veda PushkaraNI (paridhAna SilA) ,
where those entering sanyAsAsramam accept the ochre
robes. AchArya raamAnujA is said to have changed His 
white vasthram here into the Ochre robe after
arriving at ThirunArAyaNapuram from his journey from
ChOLa dEsam. A ceremonial dip in the waters of
Veda PushakaraNi is completed here by the Satari
and the people accompanying it.

(3) DhanushkOti theertham :
*****************************
This theertham s behind the Sanskrit Academy 
on a hill with breathtaking view . The satAri
makes a ceremonial stop at the Academy premises 
to bless the ongoing effoerts of the academy 
to advance the Ubhaya avedAntha sampradhAyam .
Here at DhanushkOti theerttham , Lord RaamachandrA 
is said to have struck a rock with His arrow 
to produce water for quenching the thirst of 
SitA pirAtti. One is reminded of AchArya RaamAnujA's
theertha kaimkaryam to the dhivya dampathis of
Kaanchi here ( Saalaik KiNaRu Theertha samarpaNam).

(4) Yadhava Theertha
*********************
Here, Lord KrishNA ad BalarAmA , who are 
associated with the prathishtai of ThirunArAyaNan
are said to have their snAnam and anushtAnam  .
A river flows by the side of this sacred theertham.

(5) Dharba Theertham :
**********************
Sages DattAtrEyaa and SaandiliyA are said to have collected
thUppul (Sacred DharbhA grass ) for their aunshtAnams. 
This is also considered as the site , where sage SaandilyA
released to the world the PaancharAthra Aagamas for BhagavAn's
worship .

(6) PalAsa Theertha SnAnam
****************************

The satAri travelling on a pallaaku travels
another half an hour on the mountain side to reach
the PalAsa theertham , where PalAsa trees are 
in abundance. Here , the legend is that the sons
of Sage VasishtA were freed from the ill effects of 
the curse of Sage VisvAmithrA .

(7) Padma (abja ) theertham 
****************************
There are lots of lotuses in this tank and 
Sage sanathkumAra is said to have collected
lotuses form this tank to worship the Lord .

(8) ParAsara Theertham
***********************
Dusk is setting in as the procesison reaches 
ParAsara theertham , which is in a northerly direction
to KalyANi pushkaraNi. Here, Sage ParAsarA is said to 
have taught MaitrEya , VishNupurANam.

(9) NaarAyaNa Theertham 
************************
Lord NaarAyaNA is siad to have appeared here to
grant Moksham to a devotee by the name of 
VishNuchittA.

(10) Vaikuntha Gangaa
**********************
The sacred water originating from the abhishEkam
of Lord BrahmA of BhagavAn Thrivikraman 's rising feet 
during His measurement of the Worlds is said to flow
here as Vaikunta GangA .At one place , this
pushkaraNi looks like a cradle and hence it is
also known as Thottilamadu. By the side , VirajA
river flows. MokshAnnugraham and Ishta Kaama
Siddhi ( children to the childless ) are 
the goal of those , who follow the SatAri 
and take the sacred snAnms all day long.

Taittiriya AaraNyakam
**********************
Through out this theerthAdanam , Taittiriya 
AaraNyakam is recited by the Vedic scholars.
The echo of the veda manthrams on these hills
bless those participating in this annual festival.

This uthsavam might have also taken place in the times of 
AchArya RaamAnujA's  stay.If one visualizes the procession
of the SatAri followed by AchArya RaamAnujA , His 52 temple
officials , King Vishnuvardhana and other disciples of 
the AchAryan, one's mind is filled with exquisite aanandham.

adiyEn has listed TEN theerthams. The avabrutha
snAnam takes place only at eight theerthams.adiyEn 
will let you find out the exact eight during one of
your visits to ThirunArAyaNapuram with the SatAri .

After sunset , the SatAri of the Lord reaches His
sannidhAnam and is greeted with affection by the Lord.

SWamy NammAzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
DaasOham , Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan 
  

       


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