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From: P.B.Anand (
Date: Fri May 15 1998 - 05:25:05 PDT

Dear Bhagavathas

I just returned from India after spending nearly 6 weeks in Chennai, 
mostly on my research work. I am writing this to share a few reflections 
from this trip, specially on three bhagyams that we have received during 
this trip.

a. Ramayana

The first one is the bhagyam of being able to attend Ramayana kalakshepam 
by Sriman U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan for nine days as part of Sri Rama 
Navami celebrations. As it was arranged for people from all walks of 
life, Sri Krishnan swamy presented the Ramayana with ample and 
appropriate quotations from the works of alwars. The audience were simply 
spellbound. To add to that bhagyam, on the last day of the discourses, 
His Holiness 45th Jeear of Ahobila Mutt graced the function and conducted 
the sattumurai and also dolotsavam. On that day, the entire ground of 
that school was packed with devotees.

b. Panguni Uttiram at Srirangam

The second bhagyam was to attend the Panguni Uttiram festival in 
Srirangam. In the forenoon was the purappadu of Namberumal's beautiful 
pallaku accompanied by gaja, vrishabha, turagadi senai and  bhakta koti. 
Thereafter, His eagerness to arrive at Thayar's sannidhi was reflected in 
the way the Lord proceeded in the path through the garden (connecting 
Chakrathalwar's sannidhi and thayar sannidhi) -- everyone was running as 
fast as one could yet one could not simply keep pace with the Lord's 
pallaku. Then was the 'mattayadi' as the doors to the Thayar sannidhi 
were shut each time the Lord tries to enter. This process was repeated 
four times and each time butter, butter milk, chandanam etc. were thrown 
(meant for the Lord but mostly it was on a few bhaktas who were so very 
fortunate). Finally, the Arayar swamy arrives in the Tayar Sannidhi and 
presents the Lord's version (Perumal arulicheyada prakaram) : The essence 
is that the Lord asks that when he has come after going around blessing 
all the bhaktas (and in the process getting delayed and also physically 
tired) whether Thayar can subject Him to such 'Avamanam' (insult). The 
Arayar Swamy's voice was vibrating with emotion and in fact when he 
uttered the word avamanam every one in the ghosti could feel the pain. 
Thereafter, on behalf of the 'bhandaris', who represent the Thayar, 
questions are posed to the Lord why his tiruman has been disturbed and 
whether he has been busy blessing bhaktas or whether he was busy at 
Uraiyur (a place near Srirangam where the Lord of Srirangam is considered 
to be the son in law). On hearing these questions, Araiyar swamy goes to 
the Lord (who is still not allowed into the Thayar sannidhi) and 
describes the repartee and comes back with Perumal's reply. This process 
continued four times and the fourth time, Thayar agreed to allow the Lord 
in 'because our Nammalwar has so recommended' (nambal ayya ana Nammalwar 
sonnapadiyale ungalai ettrukondom). Thereafter, Perumal and Thayar 
proceed to the Panguni Uttira Mandapam (which is adjacent to the Thayar's 
sanctum sanctorum) and they give darshan to us as the Punya Dampathis for 
several hours. The queue to visit the Lord and Thayar on this unique day 
was only increasing as the time passed by. 

There after,  around 11 pm, Gadya trayam was chanted by the ghosti in one 
voice. Bhagavad Ramanuja's anugraham is so much that besides the Gadyatrayam 
which is  'karnamritam' -- nectar to the ears -- theertham and prasadam 
are distributed to the ghosti in the udaivar's sannidhi. By the time one 
returns to the Panguni Uttira mandapam, preparations were afoot to 
conduct the 18 thirumanjanams to the Lord each time with 6 kalasams (6*18 
= 108). The thirumanjanam continued till some after sunrise. The next day 
the Lord happily presents Himself to us in Rathotsavam.

c. Parthasarathy utsavam :

As we returned to Chennai, Parthasarathy perumal's chittirai brahmotsavam 
commenced. Due to 'lowkika chintanai' and pressures of work I could not 
attend on most days but was able to witness the 'patti ulatal' before the 
Lord proceeded to Hanumantha Vahanam. I was able to take a few 
photographs and talked to a few of the blessed people who are doing the 
kaimkaryam to the Lord. One Mr. Vasan told me of a person from 'America' 
who is also taking pictures everyday. (I presume that would be our 
beloved and respectful Viji Triplicane and we may hear a more detailed 
and informed description of Parthasarathy brahmotsavam from him). 
Parthasarthy's rathotsavam is beyond words to describe. There were a few 
anctious moments as the Ratha touched the parapet walls while turning 
from T.P. Koil street to the Northern side, but the collective will of 
everyone who was pulling the Ratha was so strong that it was overcome 
without any hastle. 

d. Malayappa and Thiruvengadamudaiyan.

In the Ramayana discourses, Krishnan swamy described Kulasekharalwar's 
bhakti towards Srinivasa when he says ' Padiyai kidanthu appavalwai 
kanbene'. The meaning of this pasuram keeps coming to the mind during 
every second of one's presence in the divine place of Tirumalai. On 4th 
May as we reached Thirumalai we were told that Malayappa is in the 
'garden' as part of Padmavathi kalyana utsavam which is celebrated over 
three days at this time of the year. Of course He is the lord of 'nityo 
utsava, pakshotsava, masotsava..'. We could not believe that we would be 
so fortunate to be able to get Malayappa's darshan within a few minutes 
of arriving in Tirumalai. Malayappa with ubhaya nachiyars on a pallaku 
proceeding through the very gardens in which once Anathalwar chased a man 
and a women only to find the man escaping leaving the women behind (none 
but our Thayar), was an experience beyond description. Hence I will 
conclude this bit by completing the Ananthalawar story. Ananthalwar was 
doing pushpa kainkaryam to the Lord everyday and one night on hearing 
some sound he came to the garden and finding a man and a women doing 
sancharam there, he tries to chase them away (as every flower blossoming 
on thirumalai is meant only for the Lord). On finding the lady, 
Ananthalawar arrested her with the view that the man can be caught now 
that his wife is here. Next morning as the Bhattachars open the sannidhi 
thayar was found missing and they soon realise what must have happened 
and proceed to ananthalwar to explain the situation. Then Ananthalwar 
brings back Thayar along with the flowers and presents to the Lord. With 
this incidence, Ananthalawar also attains the position of father in law 
to the Lord. It seems to commemorate this incident, on the eleventh day 
of the Brahmotsavams in Tirumalai, the Lord's procession is taken in 
apradakshina called 'back savari'. 

e. Ramanuja Jayanthi

Also during this time, Vadayathi festival is going on for Bhagavad 
Ramanuja. I could not attend Sriperumbudur function this year but 
attended some discourses arranged in Chennai.

The reason I have described this rather elaborately is that I feel that 
belonging to this group was a bhagyam by itself and was the main reason 
for my getting the above said bhagyams. Had I not belonged to this list, 
I am sure my mind would have been preoccupied by things material that I 
would have not thought of these utsavams of the Lord.

Many many thanks to all the learned members of this list for lighting a 
jignasa in completely ignorant persons like me.

Adiyen Srivaishnava dasan
P.B. Anand