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RanganAtha Temple Ceremonial Digging

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sun Mar 15 1998 - 14:52:59 PST

                                  Sri :
          
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha

                  Srimate Sri RanganAyaki sametha Sri-
                     RanganAtha Para Brahmane Namaha

                       Srimate  ShatagopAya Namaha                                    

                  Srimate  Bhagavad   RAmAnujAya  Namaha      

                  Srimate NigamAntha MahAdesikAya Namaha 

             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      
             

     Dear  bhaktAs of RanganAtha perumAL,
    
     Namo NArAyanA . kindly accept adiyen's pranAmams. 

     The BhUvarAha PoojA (Ceremonial Digging)  for the construction of Sri
RanganAtha Temple (PomonA) was performed in a grand manner on 8th March
,which was  also the thirunakshattiram of Sri Kulasekara PerumAL . Adiyen
was HIGHLY FORTUNATE to get the blessings of the Divya Dampati. Frankly
speaking , Adiyen didn't had any inclination to go to PomonA . But , Sri
Keshava PrasAd of Connecticut called just the day before & asked adiyen to
accompany him & his wife . Adiyen was filled with joy (got a ride...) &
realized  about the greatness of the mercy of bhAgavathAs & RanganAthar. 

    Thirumanjanam to Sri RanganAthar , Peria PirAti , Sri Devi & BhU Devi
was performed with great devotion by Sri Venkat KanumallA swAmi, starting
from 7.30 AM ,at his residence. PerumAL & PirAti being highly pleased with
the Abhishekam ( PanchAmrutam) , accepted the alankAram . Wonderful Flower
garlands were adorned by the Divya Dampati.              

     Since it was the thirunakshattiram of Sri Kulasekara perumAL ,
mukunda mALA was recited for the pleasure of the Divya Dampati , apart
from other hymns glorifying Sriman NArAyanA.

       After SAtrumurai ,the bhaktAs were blessed with theertam & shatAri
of the Divya Dampati. shatAri for Peria PirAti was made from 0.5 Kg Gold ,
contributed by a bhAgavathA during January. PrathistA for shatAri was done
in Ahobila Mutt , India. ( PirAti's concern(dayA) for Her shatAri is
clearly evident. She wanted it to be of top class . Our ranganAthar is
still thinking about it !! ). The blessings of the divine pAdukAs of 44th
patta Azhagiyasingar  Srivan Shatagopa Sri VedAnta Yateendra MahAdesikan
& 45th patta Azhagiyasingar (Current Jeeyar ,Ahobila Mutt) Sri Lakshmi
Nrusimha Divya pAdukA sevaka Srivan Shatagopa Sri NArAyana Yateendra
MahAdesikan & Sri pAda theertam made adiyen ecstatic . Then , the sacred &
delicious PrasAdam were distributed to the devotees . 

    RanganAthar & Peria pirAti , then left for the temple site alongwith
the priest , Sri Venkat KanumalA swAmi , Sri SrinivAs TanikellA swAmi and
other bhAgavathAs. In the temple site , proper arrangements were made .
Divya Dampati were greeted by few bhAgavathAs there . A  Rectangular fence
( made of cloth) was arranged & the top was also covered (sort of tent),
to make the stay of RanganAthar, Peria PirAti &  bhAgavathAs comfortable
during the ceremony.

        After Sthala Prokshanam ,Vishwaksena ArAdhanam was performed. 
( For the auspicious start , devotees of Sriman NArAyanA perform
Vishvaksena ArAdhanA. Those who aren't matured in true devotion , pray to
Lord GaneshA for any auspicious start)  

       The water in the kalasam was thus highly sanctified. Prokshanam of
this mantra Jalam  to all the articles to be used in the service of Sri
RanganAThar & as well as the bhAgavathAs was done. Sudarshana Homam was
duly performed to please the Divya Dampati . The blessings of PerumAL &
PirAti was there with the bhAgavathAs to perform the  BhUvarAha PoojA .
The ceremonial Digging was first done by Sri Venkat KanumallA swAmi , in
the presence of the pAdukAs of 44th & 45th Patta Azhagiyasingars.  The
first brick for the construction of the temple was laid down by Sri Venkat
swAmi , on behalf of his AchAryA. 

     Special mention has to be made about the climate. It was raining the
whole day.This clearly indicated that Sriman NArAyanA , AzhvArs &
other Nitya SoorIs , AchARyAs & other MuktAs & devAs were highly pleased
with the temple construction ceremony. The Ceremonial Digging has to be
done at a place which was at a distance from the tent. Sri Venkat swAmi ,
Priest , Sri SrinivAs swAmi & other bhAgavathA with AchArya pAdukAs went
to the site along with  other bhAgavathAs . Eventhough adiyen was with
jacket & other things , it was really shivering. But , Sri Venkat swAmi &
other bhAgavthAs involved in the ceremony  never seemed to be perturbed
because of the climate ( eventhough they were in the sAstric dress of
dhoti & uttriyam ; drenching in rain ; bare foot etc etc). 

One has to sincerely learn a lot from these bhAgavathAs regarding the
spirit of Kainkaryam. The joy arising out in  performing these Kainkaryams
which are obviously pleasing to Sriman NArAyanA , made them forget all
about their body & other materialistic things. The foot of these
bhAgavathAs were fully frozen by the time they returned to the tent ,
where Divya Dampati were present. 

     Adiyen was thinking that all the bhAgavathAs would be very happy that
the ceremony went off well. But, one bhAgavathA , Sri  AnanthaPadmanAbhan
(from New Jersey ; not adiyen) was very sad & was highly perturbed. He
couldn't tolerate the prevailing climatic conditions which were
drastically affecting the thirumeni (divine body) of the Divya Dampati. He
had a very deep concern for Lord & started to complain heavily to Sri
SrinivAsa SwAmi , that the Divya Dampati should at once be covered with
shawls to prevent them from Shivering in the cold . Sri SrinivAsa swAmi
then told that the bhaktAs would be deprived of the glorious anubhavam of
seeing the Abhaya HastA of RanganAthA. This increased the intensity of
complain from Sri AnanthaPadmanAbhan. He told that , When his dear
ranganAthar is shivering , all the other things  doesn't matter. Sri
SrinivAsa swAmy then covered the Divya Dampati with shawls & made the
bhaktA very happy ( obviously , RanganAthar must have been very very
happy) .  

        Eventhough if one learns lot of sAstrAs & is expert in telling
meanings etc etc , but doesn't have this 'love' towards Sriman NArAyanA,
ESPECIALLY FOR ARCHA AVATARAM , then he hasn't learned anything worth. The
archAvatAra Kainkaryam is the parama PurushArtam . All our AzhvArs &
AchAryAs have melted & repeatedly melted ( Urugi UrugipponArgal ) before
archAvatAram. This 'love' towards the archAvatAram is the hallmark of a
ParamaikAntin . PrapannAs , who are paramaikAntins ,having surrendered to
Sriman NArAyanA as their sole refuge , by performing Prapatti , spend
their life solely in performing almost uninterrupted & unconditional
kainkaryam to Sriman NArAyanA & their love  towards the archAvatArams will
be limitless. 

( Technically, uninterrupted & unconditional kainkaryam in the fullest
extent is possible Only at Sri Vaikuntam . Thats why , we want to get
moksham & thereby reach Sri Vaikuntam as soon as possible , ie. the
separation from NArAyanA & association with prakruti at present is
untolerable. A simple definition of kainkaryam is " That Act Which
Pleases Sriman NArAyanA & done solely for His Pleasure " ).

    But , the anubhavams of AzhvArs & AchAryAs are simply marvelous .
Sri KulasekharAzhvAr bitterly bursts out in tears & cries towards  
ThiruvengadamudayAn  & pleads that he should either be a fish , or a tree
,or a stone or a doorstep of SrinivAsar ( anything sentient / insentient
at Thirumalai ). Please read again & again the recent nectarian postings
on Sri Kulasekara PerumAL by Sri Muralidhar swAmy (a devout & learned
bhaktA. Our bahkti list is  fortunate to have his wonderful insights &
anubhavams shared), Sri NArAyanan swAmy (ie.Sri MAdhavakannan swAmy , our
favourite donor of amrutham ) & Sri Sadagopan swAmy ( needless to say ,
his writings form the the backbone of bhakti list . Adiyen is in loss of
adjectives here to glorify the writings of this most respected bhAgavathA
for his knowledge & devotion). One should atleast get a glimpse of how
much AzhvArs felt for archAvatAram .

     Our ParAsara Bhattar declared that he would be highly  ecstatic &
jump & roll all over , if he is atleast a dog in the streets of Sri
Rangam.

      Our AchArya sArvabhoumA  & KavitArkika Simhan Sri VedAnta Desikan
surpasses everyone in his deep anubhavam. As everyone knows , our thoopil
piLLai ( Sri VedAnta Desikan ) was highly devoted & madly intoxicated
by the splendor of the anantha kalyAna GunAs & divine beauty of KAnchi
VaradarAja PerumAL ( Please  read VaradarAja PanchAsat , Adaikkala Pattu ,
Atthigiri MahAtmyam, Thiruchchina mAlai etc. Tons of Tears  automatically
will pour down from one's eyes , by understanding the rich anubhavam of
SwAmi Desikan). Our Sarvatantra Svatantra SwAmi Desikan , lost himself
completely in the wonderful Uttsavams of PeraruLALan ( VaradarAjan).He
makes a Pratij~nA ( Affirms very strongly. Makes a pledge/oath , not a
mere wish ) that he would rather perform Kainkaryam to Kanchi Varadan
for eternity & would relish the various Uttsavams , rather than to perform
kainkaryam to Sriman NArAyanan at VaikuntA & affirmed that there is not an
desire EVEN for Sri Vaikuntam ( "Vaikunta vAse bhi na abhilAshaha " ).

      
      Adiyen was filled with other train of thoughts regarding our various
other  AChAryA's anubhavams with Sriman NArAyanA's archAvatArams .

    Thirukkachi Nambigal did the "fanning" (visiri)kainkaryam for KAnchi
VaradarAjan. Our AChAryA  did it with so much anubhavam that it melted the
heart of Varadan. It is well known that Varadan was speaking with our
AchAryA directly & unlike we who spend time in talking with mortals ,Sri
Thirukkachi Nambigal spent his time in  conversing with VaradarAja
PerumAL. Daily during ThiruvArAdhanam , adiyen also does "fanning" for
NArAyanA (sAlagrAma PerumAL) during alankAra Asanam.It is only for name
sake. No proper  anubhavam (even with repeated struggle) arises .An iota
of the exaltedness  of Thirukkachi Nambigal is remembered daily by adiyen.

      Who can forget our illustrious AchAryA NadAdUr AmmAL's  motherly
affection towards VaradarAjan ? Our AchAryA used to see Varadan as BAla
Krishnan ( Kutti Kannan ). Since the food prepared for varadan (BAla
Krishnan) will be very hot , he used to cool them properly to the optimum
temperature which will be relished by BAla Krishnan . Our Varadan was so
much moved by our AchAryAs pure love that He came as BAla Krishnan in
front of our AchAryA. Our AchARyA's ecstacy knew no bounds & made his
darling KrishnA drink the milk (cooled to optimum temperature)  that was
lovingly prepared by him . BAla KrishnA then called our AchAryA
affectionately as "ammA" (" mother") & had their divine conversations. The
title of "AmmAL" (respected mother) was given by Lord KrishnA Himself to
our AchAryA . Such were the pastimes of our AchAryAs.

 
         Who can forget our "Dhayaika Sindhu" ( Ocean of Mercy ) Sri
BhagavAn RAmAnujA's kainkaryam towards KAnchi VaradarAjan & other Divya
Desa PerumALs ? If at all Divya Desam exists , it is purely due to our
EmperumANAr (Sri RAmAnujar). In his times , one can count in hands the
number of VaishnavAs present in India. The whole world was filled with
ignorance , either due to the rejection of VedAs or due to the
misinterpretation  of VedAs ( which is more  suicidal than the former). It
was our emperumAnAr who freely distributed the path of surrender &
love(Prapatti/SaranAgati) towards Sriman NArAyanA , to one & all
,irrespective of caste,creed ,sex etc.

      All the perumALs in the divya desams were either left unattended or
worshiped in a way contrary to Agama sAstrAs. It was our EmperumAnAr who
brought back the glories of divya desams ( pAncharAtrA / VaikhAnasa AgamA 
worship; Uttsavams with various vAhanams ; divya Prabandham recitation  
etc etc). If we are able to meet any vaishnavA / BhAgavathA today , it
is entirely due to EmperumAnAr . If at all we hear any of the Holy Names
of Sriman NArAyanA today , its all due to EmperumAnAr only . The whole
bhakti movement in India which followed had full inspiration from our
EmperumAnAr &  vaishnavAs (not only "Sri VaishnavAs" , but also
VaishnavAs following Sri MAdhvAchAryA , Sri VallabhAchAryA , Sri Krishna
ChaitanyA & other bhAgavthAs) started to flourish like anything in India
, with the gospel of love & surrender to Sriman NArAyanA being propagated
,with slight modifications  according to the region of propagation.

  Such EmperumAnAr , who is the Unparalleled Master of VedAntA ( Sri
BhASyA & other works ) , was most happy in performing the kainkaryam of
bringing water from a well which was a few miles away from temple ,for
daily ablutions to Lord VaradarAjA ( now a days , people tend to think
that such kainkaryams are reserved for uneducated devotees etc etc . On
the contrary , it is the Parama PurushArtam ie. Ultimate Goal) 

Just think about each PerumAL in our Divya Desams :

       RanganAthar : Appeared in Krutha yugA .BrahmA gave the Lord to Manu
for worship (rather NArAyanA chose to come to earth ) , passed on to
IshvAku VamsA in threthA yugA , ArAdhanA performed by Sri Dasarathar &
Chakravarthi thirumagan Sri RAmA , passed onto VibhishanA & finally stayed
at Sri Rangam . 

      SrinivAsar : Sriman NArAyanA's avathAram of SrinivAsA is glorified
by 14 of  the 18 purAnams ( Still some fanatics dispute the presence of
NArAyanA there ) . His special avatAram for this kali yugA is well known
all over the world. 

     VaradarAjar : Appeared after being pleased by the Yaj~nA performed by
BrahmA . Adiyen doesn't know whether it was at Krutha yugA or ThrethA
yugA.

     RAmapriyar at Melkotte : Our SaranAgata Vatsalan Sri RAman did the
ArAdhanam to this perumAL in threthA yugam and was passed on till the
dwApara yugA. The princess in this lineage got married to a yAdavA in the
dvApara yugA . Since she was highly devoted towards RAmapriyar (
Affectionate to Lord RAmA) , her father sent the perumAL with her. Our
BalarAmar then got highly attracted by RAmapriyar . He started performing
ArAdhanA to the perumAL . Before going back to Sri Vaikuntam , Lord Sri
KrishnA ordered some of the yAdavAs to take RAmapriyar to the present
Melkote region & perform ArAdhanam properly ( since the whole yAdavA
dynAsty will fall down soon).  KrishnA personally gave His most
beautiful Crown for RAmapriyar ( Affectionate to Lord BalarAmA !!)  &  it
is still preserved even to this day.

      MAlolan & other forms of Lord NrusimhA at Ahobilam : The present
Ahobilam is the very place where the most wonderful incarnation of Sriman
NArAyanA as Lord NrusimhA took place ( Krutha yugA) . Lord NrusimhA
Himself ( during the Vibhava avatAram) did the prathistA for some of His
archAvatArams at Ahobilam .

   ArAvamudhan at Thirukudandhai :  Adiyen  doesn't know the exact yugA ,
when Sriman NArAyanA descended to earth with His Chariot , as ArAvamudhan
at present Kumbakonam.

     We can go on & on . All the glories of our perumAL at Divya Desams 
are beautifully narrated in the 18 purAnAs ( the mahimA of many
popular divya desams are narrated simultaneously in many purAnAs, while
for other divya desams , atleast one purAnA narrates its glory ). ABOVE
ALL , we have the most nectarian mangaLAsAsanams from our dearmost AzhvArs
& AchAryAs.      
   
    There is no doubt that Our Sri Vaishnavam is eternal. A simple thought
over our temples itself will reveal so much about our Sri Vaishnavam. This
is not a new religious movement of BhagavAn RAmAnujA , rather the oldest &
eternal. The Central & the important connecting factor for all of us is
our dearmost PerumAL in archAvatAram at Various Divya Desams .  
        
   Coming back to Celebration at PomonA , Lakshmi NArAyana PoojA was
then performed to thank the Divine Couple  for their blessings ,which was
responsible for  performing the cermony successfully. It was followed by
archanA to Sri RanganAtha PerumAL & Peria PirAti .After SAtrumurai ,
devotees were blessed with shatAri & prasAdam (fruits).

      Around 250 - 300 bhaktAs got the blessings of the Divya Dampati that
day. Sri Venkat swAmi earlier at his residence was beautifully explaining
the significance of nAchiyAr's ( Sri AndAL) instruction for us - " Unakke
nAm AatcheivOm" ( "Surrender to one & only You - Sriman NArAyanan
").Adiyen could feel the pain in his heart , regarding some Sri
VaishnavAs( by birth ) of USA worshipping all demigods blindly by going to
many temples.             

      It is well known that Sri MahALakshmi Herself told 44th pata
Azhagiyasingar ( Mukoor Azhagiyasingar) to construct the RAjagopuram at
SriRangam & to construct the RanganAthA temple here . To fulfil the divine
instructions of his AchAryA, Sri Venkat KanumallA swAmi is working day &
night , with intense devotion .Other bhAgavathAs too are highly committed
to make the temple construction come out in a big way. Adiyen was
fortunate to meet a few of them ,but unfortunately doesn't remember their
names with 100% assurance. 

        This will be the only Sri VaishnavA temple at USA for atleast
during our life time. Being a once in a life time oppurtunity , everyone
of us should eagerly participate in this great kainkaryam for NamPerumAL (
Our PerumAL ). 

        Adiyen can forever cannot forget the wonderful anubhavam adiyen
had in the sannidhi of RanganAthar . Adiyen has full confidence that each
& every one of us will sail towards the peak of our devotion by the mere
sight of our RanganAthar & other PerumALs . The sevai of VenuGopAlan is
beyond words. Adiyen IMMENSELY thank Sri Venkat swAmi & other bhAgavathAs
for their great mercy in making even a worthless wretched soul like adiyen    
get the blessings of the Divya Dampati , even when adiyen is so far away
from the punya BhArata bhUmi .



   Namo NArAyanA

   Adiyen

   Vaishnava dAsAnu dAsan

   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  


                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu