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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."