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More srirangam news

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Wed Oct 30 1996 - 11:12:53 PST

News about Navaratri in Srirangam from our
friends Keshava Dasan and Bhakti Devi.

--


 Navaratri  festival  has  begun  here  in  Sri  Rangam.  We  went  on
 Sunday  night  to Thayar  Sannidhi which  is a  large complex  in the
 north  of  the  Ranganath  Temple  complex.  Goddess  Ranga  nachiyar
 (MahaLaksmi)  came out  on a  silver palaquin  wearing many beautiful
 neclaces  of pearls,   diamonds,  etc.   Her hands  were covered with
 diamond  kavacas.  She looked very beautiful.  The palaquin was taken
 around  her temple  inside a  large covered  colonade,  and  then she
 rested  in a mandapa and was shown her image in a large mirror mounted
 on  the wall.   At that  time the Sri  Rangam Jeer  Swamiji and other
 hereditary  Vaishnavas accepted prasadams and tirtha (caranamrta) and
 had  the Goddess's setari (shoes) placed  on their shoulders and head
 as  a sign of  benediction.  She never leaves  her own temple complex
 like  a  chaste  wife who  never  leaves the  husband's  house.  Lord
 Ranganath  comes on one  day a year  the star of  Uttiram in Phalguni
 month.   However there is also small deities of Sri devi and Bhu devi
 in the main sanctum with Lord Ranganatha.  Afterwards she goes inside
 to  the Golu Mandapam and  the devotees crowd in  to take darshan and
 prasadams.   Later everyone  goes outside  to a  huge covered mandapa
 where  the temple elephant  Andal wearing big  ankle bells and golden
 head-dress takes 9 three legged hops while playing a harmonica in her
 trunk.   She also waves a silver handled chamari (yak tail whisk fan) 
 with  her trunk in the direction of  the Goddess inside the shrine.  
 Beside  her  are  large  white  Kodai  (umbrellas)  and  a  group  of 
 nadesvaram  and drum players.  The  whole atmosphere is very festive. 
  
                                                                       
 More later.  
                                                                  
        
 Keshava das                                                       
      
 
 To: mani@best.com
 Date:          Sun, 27 Oct 1996 10:55:57 IST+530
 Subject:       Tiruvalli Sevai
 Priority: normal
 X-mailer: Pegasus Mail v3.22
 
 During the Navaratri Celebrations here there is a special seva in 
 which Goddess Ranga Nayaki is dressed in such a way that her feet may 
 be seen. This special alankara is performed only once a year and is a 
 special blessing on the devotees present. My wife and I were 
 especially carefull not to miss out on this special occasion. After 
 the usual procession with the deity around the inner courtyard of the 
 Thayar sannidhi. The palaquin stopped in a small mandapa so that 
 devotees could receive prasadams, tirtha and setari. At this time I 
 was standing next to a very learned looking vaishnava who asked about 
 our native place, etc. He turned out to be Mr. Eillaiyavilli 
 Satakopan Bhu Varahan, an Acharya purusha, whose family hails from 
 Alvar Tirunagari. He now resides in Bangalore and is giving regular 
 classes on Bhagavat Visayam.
 
 On Sarasvati puja day there was a big tirumanjanam of Goddess 
 Mahalaksmi in the evening to mark the end of the Navaratri 
 Celebrations. Over 100 silver pots of fragrant water was poured over 
 the deity while hundreds of devotees sat watching in the Golu mandapa.
 
 Vijay Dasami day commences with Lord Ranganatha heading out of the 
 temple at 8am through the eastern gate. His palaquin stops for 
 offering of breakfast naivedyam at a small mandapa just opposite our 
 house. My wife distributed pan, bananas and daksina to the brahmins 
 accompanying the procession. After offering of naivedyam the 
 procession moves on to the Singha Perumal Koil Temple. Here the Lord 
 rests in a mandapa until early evening when he mounts his golden 
 horse vahana for a hunting festival. A demon has assumed the form of 
 a tree in the temple grounds. The Lord with the aid of an archaka 
 shoots arrows from his bow and pierces the tree, thus killing the 
 demon. After this the procession heads back via sattara vidhi to the 
 temple, stopping only at the train crossing as a train is passing at 
 just this moment.
 
 NEWS FLASH:
 Vijay Dasami, HH Alagiya Singha Swamiji (45th Jeer) of Sri Ahobila 
 Math was visiting Sri Rangam. My wife and I met with the Swamiji and 
 received his blessings along with darshan of Malola Nrsimha and 
 Dasaavataras. The Swamiji also invited us to attend his 70 th 
 birthday celbrations at Tirumala a few days from now.
 
 
 NEWS FLASH:
 The President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma arrived today in Sri 
 Rangam (26th Oct). He along with several Tamil Nadu ministers 
 including the ministers for food, and charitable endowments 
 officially opened the new Sri Andvan Arts and Sciences College. The 
 college is situated near to the train crossing on Gandhi Rd, Sri 
 Rangam. The function was held in a huge specially constructed pandal 
 in NE Uttara St just outside the Sanskrit College. Most of the 
 speeches were in English. In his speech the president said that it 
 was up to the educators of today to inculcate the values espoused by 
 Saint Ramanuja in the youth. He also spoke of the role of Sri 
 Ramanuja as reformer and champion of the lower classes. The Alvars he 
 said stood out as an example of supreme devotion to God not being the 
 sole right of any one class in society.