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sri varadharAjar's garuda sEvai

From: Vijay Triplicane (vijayt_at_acuson.com)
Date: Mon Mar 17 1997 - 23:58:14 PST

In his excellent post on sri varadhrAjar's garuda sEvai, Sri Varadhan Writes:
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On any garuda sEvai, there normally are atleast 3 or 4 jeeyars
representing different madams. Varadhaaraajar comes out of the
vaahana mandapam (around 4:00 in the morning), the gOshti starts
with sreesailEsa dayaapaatram & starts reciting thiruppallaandu..
This is followed by a pradhakshinam on the aazhwaar praakaaram,
with mariyaadai being done to nammaazhwaar, maNavaaLA maamunigaL,
and emperumaanaar. Then, there is the gOpura darshanam, just
before the Lord leaves the temple for gangai kondaan mandapam
that is about 6 km away. 
The incredible beauty of varadharaajar on the garudan is experienced by
thousands of people during every garuda sEvai. This incredible
sight is matched by the sweet sound of thiruppallaandu being
recited by the gOshti.
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I had the greatest bhAgyam to experience the immense beauty of this perumAL 
on a garuda sEvai day. I can never forget that. The huge temple, in that early morning, will reverberate with the sweet recital of n^AlAyiram. We are so 
blessed to have these indhriyAs through which we sample the immeasurable beauty and the unending grace of the perumAL. The sonorous n^AlAyiram, the striking 
beauty of the perumAL, the very pleasant smell of perumAL with His garlands and His vasthram.....I am at loss of words to describe Him. One can see a good number of thiruvallikkENi'ites over there as if they are actively participating in a family function. 

	When the perumAL leaves the temple, right at the entrance, the dhoddAchAr sEvai will be performed. Sri dhoddAchAr swami who lived in shoLingar used to attend the garuda sEvai every year. he used to walk all the way upto kAnchi for this. he grew very old and for that year's garuda sEvai he couldn't attend. He was so exhausted of his old age and missed the sEvai very much. 
(In his 10 paasurams on badrinath, Sri thirumaN^gai AzhwAr explains very beautifully how when one gets old, he will go thro all kinds of problems and advises us to visit badri while young. I will post those 10 some time soon)
SO our swamy goes to the local temple pond at shoLingar and prays to the Lord at kAnchi and cries about his inability to be there at kAnchi for the uthsavam. 
Right then, immediately, the perumAL who is enjoying the uthsavam with thousands of bhAgavathAs around decides to offer dharshan to our swamy. HE vanishes for a few moments at kAnchi leaving the thousands of bhAgavathAs in a stunning silence to appear before  the swamy. This moment and the episode is observed even now at kAnchi right at the entrance which is called the dhoddAchAr sEvai. when the perumAL crosses the entrance, for a few moments, He will be covered by a vasthram to re-enact the episode. 
(This is what i have heard, if there are any mistakes/suggestions, i welcome any correction.)

Then perumAL will go upto the gaN^gai koNdAn maNdapam aboout 6 Kms away. Once he comes back and just before he retires to the prAhAram, one has to enjoy the n^adai azhagu. He will slowly, very slowly walk backwards and suddenly with a twist, he will bend down and get behind the curtain. The n^adai azhagu has to be seen by every one of us. It is sOOO beautiuful. 

In one of the uthsavams, (Varadhaa, u could help me here) He will be very very simply decorated. There will be just 1 or 2 aaparaNams, He will just be wearing an oththai vasthram (single piece of cloth), a slim garland (thuLasi?) and thats it. He will look so very beautiful,... i am running out of adjectives here....It is very true that the AparaNams get their beauty when they are on the perumAL. 
(AparaNaththukku azhagu seyyum perumAL)

My sincere thanks to Varadhan, Partha and Sri SadakOpan who started this thread 
for giving me this greatest pleasure of experiencing His beauty. 
Like the parents who always think about and care more for their son in a far away land, perumAL also showers more grace on us who are physically far away from the dhivyadhEsams and care more for us - my maamaa used to say. 
isn't it very nice ....

AzhwAr empermAnAr jeeyar thiruvadigaLE charaNam
-Viji