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Five glorious days at Ahobilam

From: Anand Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 26 1998 - 12:09:15 PST

                                           Sri:
      SrimatE Sri Lakshminrusimha parabrahmane namaha
                SrimatE Bhagavad rAmAnujAya namaha
            SrimatE nigamAntha mahAdEsikAya namaha
 Sri AdivaNN ShatakOpa Yateendra mahAdEsikAya namaha
 SrImatE Sri Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrivaNN -
  SatakOpa Sri nArAyaNa yateendra mahA desikAya namaha

 Dear devotees,
namO nArAyaNA. pranAmams.

Following is an article called "Five Glorious Days at AhObilam"
published
in the recent issue of Sri  Nrusimha Priya. This is a  summary of the
recent 6th centenary celebrations of Sri Ahobila muth that was held at
Sri Ahobilam itself. Certainly , everyone who attended that great
celebration
were in loss of words to describe the bAghyam they had to witness it in
their life times. Many told that this grand celebration gave utmost
fulfilment to
their senses like eyes, ears etc, this being the actual use of the
senses they had.

Though this report is very short , it atleast gives an idea of how the
celebration
 would have been .

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
ananthapadmanAbha dAsan
krishNArpaNam
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      "FIVE GLORIOUS DAYS AT AHOBILAM.
SIXTH CENTENARY OF THE AHOBILA MUTT CELEBRATED IN
 REVERENTIAL   GRATITUDE TO LORD LAKSHMEE NRUSIMHA

Yes! October 21 to 25th, 1998 were golden days in the history of Sree
Ahobila Mutt and also a beacon light in the religious history of India.
Thousands of people came from North, East, West and South.  They
attended the daily prayers at the Mutt and at Lord PrahalAdhavaradhan
Temple.  They visited the Nava Nrisimha Sannidhis in the Ahobilam
complex and returned with a sense of fulfillment.  There was heavy rain
in the Kurnool area in September and October.  We were very apprehensive

if the inclement weather would interfere with the scheduled functions.
Fortunately the rain stopped on 20th October and resumed only after 26th

October.  That truly was an act of God.  There was bright sunshine and
the weather was pleasant throughout.  Devotees were graceful enough to
adjust to the circumstances and the environment in which this function
was held and displayed an enormous sense of fellowship and goodwill.
Observers estimate that the devotees who attended this event could be
anything between 25,000 and 40,000.  It was a well disciplined assembly
of devout pilgrims whose only aim was to pay their obeisance to the Lord

and the leader His Holiness the Azhagiyasingar.  The organisers were
highly complimented for the enormous care they took to accommodate the
pilgrims and for doing everything possible to ensure their creature
comforts.  More than 15,000 people were fed in the conventional
way-ThadheeyArAdhanai and thousands of others were fed round the clock
both at the Mutt and the Temple.  It is a matter of great satisfaction
to the organisers that there were no visible complaints from the
pilgrims in general and by and large, everyone who came truly enjoyed
participating in the functions and expressed their happiness in their
own way in many ways.  That is how Lord Lakshmee Nrisimha Himself hosted

his devotees in His kshethra-AhObilam.  We could see the hand of God in
everything that went on at this function which was so orderly and
peaceful and truly divine.

Let me record for your benefit the principle schedule of events that
marked the occasion.
1.  His Holiness the Azhagiyasingar adorned Lord PrahalAdavaradhan and
his Consorts with Kavachams weighing more than 8 kilograms in gold.  He
also clothed Dhivya Dhampathis at Lord PrahalAdhavaradhan Sannidhi with
fresh set of expensive clothes in silk, every day.  You could see the
Dhivya Moorthis come alive in darsan to the devotees.  The jubilant
manner in which they were presented to the people was truly a
once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon to be cherished forever.

2.  Homam
There were 12 Homakundams devoted to Nava NrishimhAs, Lord
PrahalAdhavaradhan, ThAyAr MahAlakshmee and Sudharsana BhagavAn.  Homam
was conducted morning and evening on all the 5 days.  Besides His
Holiness, the Azhagiyasingar, the function was attended by His Holiness
from the ParakAla Mutt, Sree RangapriyA Swamy and the MatAdhipathi of
VyAsarAya Mutt.  A homam of this magnitude had never been done before in

known memory, at AhObilam.

3.  VedhapArAyanam
Over 350 pandits recited RigvEdha, Krishna YajurvEdha, Sukla YajurvEdha,

SAma vEdha, and Atharvana vEdha.  These Vedhic pandits ewre complemented

by nearly 100 AdhyApakaswamis who chanted the full course of Dhivya
Prabandham.  They were supported by 50 pandits who read Sreemath
RAmAyanam, Sreemath Bhagavath Geetha, Sree BAshyam and Sree
RahasyathrayasAram.  It was a unique sight to watch so many pandits
gather at one place and recite our wide variety of knowledge system.  It

was also a rare spectacle of Sree Vaishnavites of both sects, SmArthAs
and Madhvas hailing from Tamil NAdu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh
coming together to celebrate a significant milestone in our religious
history.

4. Vidhvath Sadhas
Presided over by Sreemath Azaghiyasingar, over 100 vidvans professing
Adhvaita, Visishtadvaita adn Dvaitha systems of philosophy and immensly
benefited from the resulting discussions.  The participants were so
absorbed in the topics that they attended in full strength morning and
evening on all the 5 days and emerged profoundly refreshed in body and
mind.

5. Thirumanjanam and KalyAna Uthsavam
On Friday, the 23rd October an elaborate Thirumanjanam was performed to
Lord PrahlAdhavaradhan, Lord Amrithavalli ThAyAr, SreedhEvi and
BhoodhEvi.  It was followed by KalyAna Uthsavam to Lord
PrahlAdhavaradhan and Amrithavalli ThAyAr.  These two functions were
sponsored by a grouup of ladies under the leadership of Smt. Radha
Krishnaswamy and Smt. Indira Rajamani.  They presented to the Lord a
gold necklace weighing 10.5 sovereigns.  This was followed by a very
impressive Garuda VAhana Uthsavam on Saturday, the 25th October.

6.  Garuda VAhana Uthsavam
It was a grand sight to watch Garuda Vahanam procession preceded by a
huge AdhyApakaghOshti and followed by hundreds of VehdapArAyana pandits
who chanted all the four vedhas.  It was reminiscent of the Garuda
VAhana procession one has seen in his childhood in Kancheepuram or
Thirukkudanthai.

7. Homage to Sree AnnamAchArya
The foremost among Sreemath Adhivan SatakOpa Yatheendhra MahA Desika's
sishyas was Sree AnnamAcharya.  His Dhivya Moorthi had been brought from

Thiruppathi and was honoured by a special procession and prayer on this
occasion.

8.  Distribution of Manjal Kumkumam
It was exhilarating to observe the ladies group take a prominent part in

the celebrationns of this event.  Apart from sponsoring the
Thirumanjanam and KalyAna Uthsavam described above, a group of ladies
led by Dr Smt. Vasundhara Seshadri collected a sum of Rs 5,000/- on the
spot and distributed Manjal, Kumkumam and fruitts to all the visiting
Sumangalis.  The enthusiasm of the lady devotees and the devout nature
of their participation in the even were truly a notable highlight of
this occasion.

9.  Music concerts
The cultural programme was embellished by personalities such as Smt.
Mani Krishnaswamy, Smt. R. Vedhavalli, Smt. Radha Padmanabhan, Kadiri
Sree Gopalnath and party, Thiruchoor Sree V. Ramachandran and party,
Sree Balakrishna Prasad and Sree D. Raghavachari, Vanamalika Group and
Kumari S. Ramya in the afternoons and evenings.  All these concerts were

very well attended.

In conclusion I would like to pay my personal tribute to the following
personalities who made this event an outstanding success.

1. Sreemath Azaghiyasingar's staff in the Mutt did an outstanding job
maintaining pooja and prayer schedules.  Every member of the Mutt staff
deserves our high appreciation and admiration in the way they served and

endeared the devotees to make the function highly memorable.  As usual,
food preparations were of a very high order and quality.  Sree Appu, the

Head cook and his assistants deserve high praise for the hard work and
unrelenting service.

2.  Sree V.R. Rajamani who was in charge of organising and distribution
of food was on his feet literally 18 hours a day for 5 days.  Without
his meticulous attention to this aspect of the function we could have
failed miserably.

3. On the organisational side the team was led by Sree D.P. PadmanAbhan
who was assisted by Sree. D.P. Devnath, Sree Srinivasan, K. Swamy, Sree
T.S. Venkatesan, Sree R. Rajagopalan, Sree K. Venugopalan, Sree S.
Sampath, Sree K.G. Krishnan, Sree N. Sreenivasan, Sree K. Devanathan and

a host of others.  Everyone of them had a wireless walkie talkie in his
hand and directed the entire function from all segments of the complex.
A large number of lady volunteers were also at work taking care of the
needs and conveniences of the woman devotees who had come in large
numbers.

4. Many officials of the Andhra Pradhesh Government were particularly
helpful.  The Collector of the Kurnool District, HR&CE Commissioner and
many others came and supervised the on-going functions.  They also paid
their obeisance to His Holiness.  A large number of policemen had been
deployed and the police officials were available to ensure peaceful
conduct of the celebrative functions.

5.  Doordarsan and AIR from Hyderabad had come to cover the event.  Many

newspaper reporters had come and interviewed the organisers.  We had 3
STD-cum-telephone lines in operation at the festival complex for the
convenience of the visitors.  Electricity gensets were at strategic
locations to ensure continuous power supply.  Water storage tanks with
pipelines were kept at different locations.  The temple tank was full
and a large number of devotees bathed and did their ablutions in it.

All in all, it was a grand occasion well organised and delivered with
grace and gaiety.  As a community we can be proud of the way we
conducted this function.  Most important of all: Lord Lakshmee Nrisimha
and His Holiness, the Azhagiyasingar, were extremely happy with the way
we paid obeisance to them and expressed our gratitude in the most humble

manner we could.  We have made complete video coverage of the event.  We

should soon be able to make copies of it available for the benefit of
those who could not physically participate in this festival.

Finally, I am grateful to everyone who came to Ahobilam and made this
occasion a memorable success. I thank everyonefor the enormous
understanding they showed for the difficulties experienced by the
organisers in serving the pilgrims to the full satisfaction and thank
them most sincerely for all the trouble they took to participate, to be
a part of those most memorable days in our lives.

Let me hasten to add that we have only covered the first phase of our
task in celebrating the Sixth Centenary of the Ahobila Mutt.  The
programme of projects and events detailed in the Ani issue of Sree
Nrusimha Priya will all be taken up and completed by the middle of 1999.

You should therefore continue to watch for more events and news in the
continued celebration of the Sixth Centenary for a full year.  More
important, please continue to help us to complete the task we have set
for ourselves.

                                                    R.K. Swamy
                                                      Chairman
                        Sixth Centenary Celebrations Committee."