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tiru-k-kuRaL-appan (1 of 2)
Date: Fri Sep 08 2000 - 11:09:17 PDT

SRIRANGAM tiru-k-kuRaL-appan (Sri vAmana:)

~~ written by tirumanjanam Sundara Rajan.

(1 of 2).

NOTE:  The write-up is more or less based on the 
Tamil booklet written by myself, and released by 
Srirangam paunDarIka-puram Srimad ANDavan svAmi, 
on November 25 1998 when  the 'utsava' icon of Sri-
tAta-dESikan was consecrated in the 
tiru-k-kuRaL-appan sannidhi in Srirangam.  
(The 'moola' images of Sri-tAta-dESikan and his 
'ammangAr' are said to have been installed about 
30 years back by Sri Venkata-tAtam.)


Sri vAmana-jayanti  falls on Sunday, September 10, 2000,
corresponding to  SravaNa-nakshatra dvAdaSee in the
month AvaNi (=simha) of the current year vikrama, as per 
the Srirangam kOyil vAkya panchAngam.

This be the precious time to visit  the 'sannidhi' (=shrine) of  tiru-k-kuRaL-appan (Sri vAmana-p-perumAL) in SRIRANGAM.  This is situated just a few paces to the
north of the city's Southern Gate marked by the massive
rAja-gOpuram, consecrated in 1987 and rising over the
16th century edifice of the Vijayanagara ruler Achyuta 
Raya.   The 'sannidhi' is administered by the group of 
six 'kOTi-kannikA-dAnam tAtAchArya' families.


For those who do not know Srirangam's topography
and history, it is important to note that till about the
time of Sri Ramanuja (1017-1137), the southern division
of river kAvEri flowed by where the rAja-gOpuram
presently stands.   (The canal tirumanjana-k-kAvEri
which flows a furlong to the south of the gOpuram
must have constituted the southern fringe of the 
original course of the river.)   The proximity of the 
river caused regular inundation during seasonal 
spate.   Accordingly, in a brilliant and determined 
project of river engineering for flood management,
the many-splendoured koora-nArAyaNa-jeeyar, 
Sri Ramanuja's  younger contemporary (who later
became the first Sriranga Narayana Jeeyar), 
executed the diversion of  the course of the river  
nearly a mile and a half farther to the south and 
secured the embankments with granite-stone.

Thus, prior to koora-nArAyaNa-jeeyar's diversion,
the river flowed by lapping the grove where the 
tiru-k-kuRaL-appan sannidhi stood at the portals of
Srirangam.   This was the arrival station for pilgrims
from the south, and presumably also constituted the
"viSrama-sthalee" (= 'polivooTTu iDam' = rest area) 
for the travellers before they entered the city 
to proceed  to Lord Sriranga-nAtha's  Great Temple 
('periya kOyil').   

ANDAL's mangaL/ASAsanam for 'appan':

The location of  'appan-sannidhi'  suggests itself as 
the sacred spot where ANDAL, escorted by her father 
periyAzhvAr and uttama-nambi, alighted from her  
barge at the end of her passionate journey from 

The spot where the blessed pilgrim crew finally
set down the palanquin of kOdai-nAcchiAr and 
made camp is where the King Srivallabha later put up 
the shrine of  ANDAL on the southern end of the 
western arm of aDAiya-vaLaindAn enclosure 
in Srirangam, just two furlongs from appan-sannidhi.   

The Great Temple chronicle 'kOyil ozhuku' says 
appan-sannidhi was the "sandhyA-maTham" 
(the community spot of dawn and twilight oblations), 
and that it was ‘always there’ ("anAdi"), that is, 
ever since Srirangam's history was being perceived.
It is evident that ANDAL's party alighted near the
appan-sannidhi, rested themselves, and worshipped
'appan' before reaching their camp-site.   ANDAL
visualises Sri Ranganatha as tiru-k-kuRaL appan
himself,  hymning them together  ~

"pollA-k-kuRaL uruvAi-p- poR-kaiyil neer ERRu
ellA ulakum aLndu-koNDa em-perumAn
nallArkaL vAzhum naLir-aranga-nAg/aNaiyAn
illAdOm kai-p-poruLum eiduvAn ottuLanE !"
                                           [nAcchiAr 11-5]

== "He turned up as the sly young acolyte, 
and accepted in his golden palm the spout of 
water (for the gift of mahA-bali) and, lo, He 
(shot through the outermost heavens and)
spanned to appropriate the worlds entire !  
Here I am without any wherewithal;   but
He may yet go for even the trifle that I possess!   
The folks are gentle here in this enchanted island 
of Srirangam, and He the one that reclines on the 
serpent couch !) " ==

tiru-manGai AzhvAr and 'appan':

The appan sannidhi is doubly sanctified.  When
tiru-manGai-AzhvAr secured Sri Ranganatha's
direction to celebrate the tiru-adhyayana-utsavam
(celebration of psalmody) to recite the scripture
tiru-vAi-mozhi, he chose this place as provisional
camp for svAmi nammAzhvAr's archA image 
he brought over from AzhvAr-tiru-nagari for 
presiding over the psalmody of tiru-vAi-mozhi
tiru-nAL.   This luminous festival has continued 
to be celebrated year after year, ever since 
tiru-manGai started it. 

Following in the sacred footsteps of ANDAL,
tirumanGai AzhvAr also visualises Sriranganatha
as SrivAmana ~

"paNDu iv-vAiyam aLappAn SenRu mAvali kaiyil neer
koNDa, Azhi-t-taDak-kai-k- kuRaLan iDam enbarAl,
vaNDu-pADum madhu-vAr-punal vandizhi kAviri
aNDa-nARum pozhil Soozhndu azhakAr ten-arangamE."
                    (periya tirumozhi 5:4:3)

'Sri kaliyan' and 'parakAlan' were the very appropriate
honorofics of tirumanGai-mannan.   And, why not?
considering how decisively his scripture served to
silence a cynic of another faith:

"oru kuRaLAi iru-nilam moovaDi maN-vENDi
ulakanAittum eeraDiyAl oDukki, onRum
taruga enA mAvaliyAi-c-chirAiyil vAitta
tADALan tAL aNAiveer !  takka-keerti
aru-mARaiyin tiraL nAnkum vELvi Aindum
angangaL avai ARum iSaikaL Ezhum
teruvil-mali vizhA-vaLamum SiRakkum kAzhi-c-
cheerAma-viN-NagarE SErmin-neerE !"
          (periya tirumozhi 3:4:1)  


In the State of Kerala, the festival of ONam is
observed in all pageantry recalling Sri vAmana's
visit to mahA-bali.   The festivity starts on simha-
hastam day and concludes on vAmana-jayanti.
The festival has participation from the followers 
of all religions to-day, almost as a secular event.   

Two Sri-vAmana-kshEtram have been identified
in the 'sampradAyam'.  The first is tiru-k-kurun-kuDi
in the pANDya zone (to-day's district Tirunelveli) in
Tamil region, and the other is tiru-k-kAT-karai in
Kerala.   Even though the appan sannidhi in
Srirangam is, in the nature of things, not identified
as a distinct 'divya-dESam', it has a place in the
purANa lore, says  the kOyil-ozhuku.


The Sri-rAmAyaNam bonds Sriranganatha and
Lord Sri Rama and the devotee par excellent,
Sri vibheeshaNa AzhvAn.   Sriranganatha as 
the household deity figures in the verses 

== "saha patnyA viSAlAkshyA 
        nArAyaNam upAgamat"
(accompanied by his doe-eyed wife, 
he repaired to the household shrine of nArAyaNa
~ this when his coronation was initially announced),

== "ikshvAku-kula-dhanam lab.dhvA
        lankAm prAyAt vibheeshaNa:"
(receiving the heirloom ~ Sriranganatha ~ of the
ikshvAku dynasty, vibheeshaNa made it home to
lankA ~ at the conclusion of SrirAma's coronation.)

The 'daSAdhyAyI' work of Sriranga-mAhAt.myam
gives a detailed account of Sri vibheeshaNa's
installation of Sriranganatha on the island of
river kAvEri.   periyAzhvAr makes a pointed
reference to this service rendered by Sri vibheeshaNa,

"mann.uDaiya vibheeDaNaRka 
matiL ilankai diSai nOkki malar kaN vaitta
ennuDaiya tiru-varangaRku anRiyum
maRRoruvarkku ALAvarE ?"

Sri vibheeshaNa's reaching of Sriranganatha to 
Srirangam is commemorated in FIVE sculptures, 
as under:-

1. Tiruchirappalli Rock (northern pillar of the
     sixteen-pillar manDapam, facing the rock-cut
     shrine of mahEndra-pallava, on the climb 
     to the top from the tAyumAnavar shrine). 
     Sculpture shows vibheeshaNa wearing a crown 
     and holding the Sriranga-vimAnam with periya
     perumAL in reclension.

 2. One of northwestern pillars of the SEsha-rAya
     maNDapam on fifth (a-kaLankan) prAkAram.

     Sculpture of vibheeshaNa holding the vimAnam
     with nam-perumAL alone.

 3.  Great Temple, fourth (Ali-nADan) prAkAram,
     pillar of manDapam at entrance to Sri-bhanDAram.

     Sculpture with VibheeshaNa holding the vimAnam
     with Sri para-vAsu-dEva on the dome.

 4.  Great Temple, third (kula-SEkharan) prAkAram,
      two pillars of long colonnaded 'walk' to the north
      of tiru-p-pavitra manDapam.

      Sculpture on two pillars each as in 3.

The accounts in SrirAmAyaNam and daSAdhyAyee
are enriched by the padma-purANam (First Book, 
sr.shTi-khaNDam) episodes of further interaction
between SrirAma and Sri vibheeshaNa, quite a while
after they had settled down in their respective 
                             /- to continue.

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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