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Seetha Kalyanam and Thirumanjanam, Denver Sept.25
Date: Sat Oct 02 1999 - 12:20:32 PDT

Sri Lakshmi nrisimha parabrahmaNE nama:
Sri Lakshmi nrisimha divya paduka sevaka
srivan satakopa sri narayana yatindra mahadesikaya nama:

Namo Narayana

I would like to apologize for the delay in sending this note, in addition to
making this a tad too-long a note.

As part of an effort to raise money for Sri Ranganatha Temple, Smt.Nagu Satyan,
along with Sri Mohan Sagar and Sri Varadhan helped organize the Seetha Kalyanam
on Sept.25, (Saturday), followed by Thirumanjanam for Ramar family, which in
turn was followed by Sathyanarayana pooja. Sri. Venkat Kanumalla Swamin did a
remarkable job in performing all the functions, and left most of us in tears
(literally), and some  of us are yet to recover from this experience.

This was my first meeting with Sri Venkat Kanumalla. Frankly, i was not
expecting to see what i saw. From the moment he stepped out of the Satyan's van,
to his taking leave of us, i was mesmerized.

To briefly describe the celebration, the utsavar vigrahams of Ramar, Lakshmanar,
Seetha and Anjaneya were welcomed by the Veda goshti of Srimans Ramesh, Mohan,
Krishna, Varadhan and self, to the recitation of Sri Sooktham. Following this,
Sri Venkat and Ramesh recited the Sri Hayagreeva stothram. Sri. Venkat was
captivated by the various forms of Lord Krishna in the background (the function
was at the ISKCON temple), and begged us to recite Gopala Vimsati. This indeed
brought joy to me, since this is one of my favorites. This was followed by a
brief discourse on Seetha Kalyanam by Sri Venkat. The audience of about 100
remained captivated through the discourse, and stayed that way thru the
Kalyanam. Several aspects of the vedic weddings were hi-lited, and i wish i
remembered every single one (yes, my brain cells are either dead or are decaying
faster than expected !). Some of these were the importance of having a daughter,
the kanya dhanam, panigrahanam, the groom giving dowry to bride ( i was not too
happy about this :-(  etc. Sri Venkat quoted repeatedly from several texts like
the bhagavatham, and related all these with our day-to-day life, thereby making
even a worthless person like me understand. The Kalyanam for the divya dampathis
literally brought tears. Several people commented that the Kalyanam performed by
Srimans Venkat and Varadhan were better than the Kalyanam utsavam in thirumalai.
I am sure i do not have to expand any further. Following the Sattrumurai, all
bhagavathas had prasadam. Sri Venkat took it on himself to make sure that all
bhagavathas had prasadam to their heart/stomachs content (reminded me of Sri
Ramanuja's philosophy that never let any bhagavatha go empty-stomach or
unsatisfied. Proud to know that there are some who practice what they preach).

On Sept. 26, we had Thirumanjanam performed for the Ramar family. Essentially we
invited the Utsavar moorthis in, with the recitation of Sri Sooktham. Following
the recitation of Sri Sookthi, Sri Hayagreeva stothram and Gopala Vimsathi, the
thirumanjanam was carried out with the recitation of the Pancha Sooktham,
Taitriyopanishat (Sheekshavali), and Shanthi sooktham/panchakam (?), followed by
Periyalawars passurams, Amalandipiraan, Kanninunsiruthambhu. This was followed
by Sathyanarayana pooja. Sri. Venkats discourse on the 5 chapters of
Sathyanarayan pooja brought in a whole new meaning to this. He quoted repeatedly
from Bhagavatham, Bhagavad geetha, and the various Upanishads, with meanings in
lay-man terms, which made it easier to understand this concept. In a very unique
manner, he entwined the entire two-day celebrations with the concept of Prapathi
and surrender to an Acharayan. The key words in his discourses of both days were
Maha-Vishvasam, Prapathi, Saranagathi, and the belief in Perumal, if one seeks
moksham and nothing less than moksham. He made it clear more than once that
devotion to other gods may give a chance to stay in other lokams, but eventually
result in Samsaram.

In the past several weeks we have discussed/argued.. on the concept of Kalais.
Maybe Perumal wanted to send a message, or it was purely coincidental that both
Kalais performed the Kalyanam and Thirumanjanam. Sri Varadhan did an excellent
job keeping up with Sri Venkat, and the two performed as if they were in unison.
Yes, they were wearing different ThiruMans, but that stayed as an external
symbol, while they were both deeply engrossed in the beauty and kainkaryam to
Perumal and Thayar.

Ever since i saw Sri Venkat, i thought i had seen this face somewhere. After a
lot of thinking, it hit me that for some strange reason, Sri Venkats face
reminds me of the Moolavar archai of Sri Ramanuja in Thiruvarangam. I know its
strange, and i know i may be crossing the line on this, but i am prepared to
accept the consequences. This resemblance is in a way bad, since, i kept looking
at him, rather than Perumal/Thayar through the two days.

Finally, thanks to the Satyans (B.G.Satyan and Nagu mami), Sagars (Mohan and
Madhuri), Varadhan, Ramesh and Krishna(s) for making the function a grand
success. Although, i do know the amount we collected (several thousands), i will
leave the actuals unsaid here.

Azhagiya Singar Thiruvadigale Saranam

adiyen, Ramanuja Dasan