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Sri KulasekarA's Birthday , Iswara Samvathsaram : Part 1

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Mar 08 1998 - 11:30:52 PST

Dear BhakthAs : It gives me great pleasure to join
on this sacred day of Sri Kulasekara AzhwAr's birth
( Maasi Punarvasu ) to pay my tribute to the great 
Saint-King from KeralA-Paandya desam . This is also 
the day in which Sri RanganAtha Swamy Temple foundation
stone is being laid at Pomona , NY following the divine 
blessings of Sri Maha Lakshmi and the 44th Jeeeyar , His 
Holiness Sri Vedantha Desika MahA Desikan , the builder
of the Southern Gopuram of Sri Ranganathan . May this effort
thrive and May the object of Sri Kukasekara AzhwAr's 
deep desire come to reside here on the Banks of Hudson
river in New York and bless us all for times to come .

A Tribute to Sri Kulasekhara
Srimans MadhavakkaNNan and MuraLi Rangaswamy
have paid wonderful tributes already this morning .
I will follow from there and focus on the deep
and profound statements of MahA Viswasam of
KulasekharA enshrined in his salutations and 
prayer to Sri VitthuvakkOttu AmmAn of MalayALa 
divya desam ( PerumAL Thirumozhi : 5th decad )

The Divya Desam of VitthuvakkOdu
The name VitthuvakkOdu comes from the 
joining of two words : VidhwAns + Kodu
or koodiya Idam ( the place of assembly ) .

Vedic Scholars , Experts in Kaavyam , Naatakam ,
Alankaara Saasthram , Tarkam , MeemAmsam and
Yogam used to assemble here as residents and 
gave the name of VitthuvakkOdu to this thiruppathi .
They were very respectful of each other and 
developed deep friendship ( Mithra BhAvam ) .
Hence , this Thiruppathi is also known as 
MitthirakkOdu , the place of assembly of
friends . 

Location of VitthuvakkOdu

This Kshethram is at a distance of 10 miles 
from ShoranUr on the GuruvAyUr-ShoranUr road .
It is on the bank of BharathappuZhA river 
and can be reached from PattAmbhi train station .
The garbha graham is semi-circular similar to 
the traditional ones of KeraLa divya desams.

The method of worship is neither VaikAnasam
or Paancha Raathram , but Taantric . There is
no chatAri usage .Only Sandal Paste and 
Tulasi leaves are given as  PrasAdam . Potti 
( pOtthi ) Brahmins perform Abhigamanam with
wet cloth and continue with the daily aarAdhanams 
devoutly as in the case of GuruvAyUr . There is a
temple for the grandson of the Lord ( Lord SivA )
infront of this temple . 

The ArchA Moorthys of VitthubvakkOdu

The Lord's name at this Thiruppathi is Uyya Vantha PerumAl .
ThAyAr's name is Thiru VitthuvakkOttu Valli .
The name for the Lord  is intriguing . Instead 
of Uyya Vaikka Vantha PerumAL , He is 
called Uyya Vantha PerumAL or the Lord ,
who came to be redeemed . Perhaps , he acknowledges
the moving SaraNAgathi paasurams of His dear
BhakthA , who deservedly earned the suffix of
PerumAL after his name of KulasekharA . Our 
predecessors have rightfully stated : " PerumALai 
aRiyAthAr PerumALai aRiyAthArE ". The meaning of
this statement is : "One who does not understand 
the Paasurams of KulasekHara PerumAL would not 
know about PerumAL ( Sri RamachandrA ) , who 
performed AarAdhanam to Periya PerumAL ,
Sri RanganaathA , during His avathAram as the 
son of DasarathA . Perhaps Sriman NaarAyaNa
who is Bhaktha Paaratantryan felt that 
he should take this name as one who came to be redeemed 
in the spirit of VaishNava Nampi of Thirukkurungudi ,
who came to attend KalakshEpams of Sri RaamAnuja 
on the banks of TamraparaNee river .

The Greatness of KulasEkharA 
Our AzhwAr  is considered as the amsam of the Kausthubham
gem adorning the chest of Sriman NaarAyaNan .
KulasekhaRA was a king of Kolli Naadu in those
days , when there was the joint kingdom of 
Keralaa and Paandya desam . He was born under
the star of Punarvasu , the same one under which
Sri RamachandrA was born as KausalyA suprajA .
Like Chakravarthi Thirumahan , he gave up his
kingdom too for dhArmic reasons .He wanted to
emulate Ilaya PerumAl and wanted to serve always
the Lord ( Bhagavad Seshathvam ). Like BharathA ,
he wanted to have Paarathanthryam and wanted
to perform PaadhukhA PattAbhishEkam . Like 
SatrugnA , KulasekharA stood for Bhagaavtha
Seshathvam celebrated in the Thiruvaimozhi
Paasurams of decad 3.7 summarized
recently by Sri MadhavakkaNNan .SatrugnA is known
as  Nithya Satrugnan : The Forever foe 
of anything that stood in his way to serve BhagavathAls
like Bharathan , his  brother . In a similar spirit ,
KulasEkarA defended BhagavathALs in his court , when they
were falsely accused of stealing the AabharaNams
of his AarAdhana Moorthy . KulasekharA put his 
hand into a pot containing Cobras to attest
to the purity of BhagavathALs and won .Such is 
the greatness of KulasekharA , who dreamed and
sung daily about his pilgrimage to Srirangam 
so that he can be near to Sri RanganAthA .

Our PurushArtham is Bhagavadh Kaimkaryam.
That is Mudal kOdu ( the first step).
The kadaisi kOdu ( the last step ) is 
CharamAvathi Bhagavatha Kaimkaryam of the kind
celebrated by NammAzhwAr in Thiruvaimozhi 3.7.10:

"--adiyAr adiyAr tammadiyAr tamakku 
adiyAr adiyAr tammadiyAr adiyOngaLE "

( Meaning ) : " Myself and mine are servants to
the servants of the servants of the servants of 
the servants of the servants of the servants of 
this lovable Lord "

He declared : " Inbamarum selvamum ivvarasum
yaan vEndEn " and spent his days in Bhagavadh/
Bhagavadha KAIMKARYAM . He followed the traditional
SaraNAgathi maargam established by the Divya Dampathis
and spent his last days at Srirangam and ascended
to Parama padam from there .

In his VitthuvakkOttu paasurams , he expressed 
his understanding and practise of the profound 
meaning of PraNavam with particular emphasis on
the letter " U" in the combination of the triad ,
A,U and M . The Letter "U " stands for AnanyArha 
Seshathvam asserting that the Jeevan is Seshan to the Lord
and the Lord alone . AzhwAr's MahA Visvaasam and
aathma SamarpaNam in the true spirit of SaraNAgathi
is etched in these verses .

I will comment on the individal paasurams 
in the subsequent posting(s) .

KulasEkhara AzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan