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Traditions in Tirumalai - 1

From: PB ANAND (
Date: Fri Sep 18 1998 - 12:24:16 PDT

Dear Brothers and Sisters

In response to my earlier posting re. Prathivadi 
Bhayankaram Annan, i.e., the moolapurusha of PB family 
and the suprabhatham, I am encouraged by a few members to 
share some little bits of information that I have on the 
traditions in Tirumalai. I propose to do this over a few 
postings, rather than in one go. 

These details have been collected from a few 
sources :
a. HH Srimannarayana Jeear Swamy vari speeches and 
writings in Bhaktinivedana and other publications;
b. TTD publications under the Alwar Divyaprabndha 
Project; in particular material written by Sriman U.Ve. 
T.A. Krishnamacharya swamy;
c. Sriman U.Ve. Velukkudi Varadacharya swamy's discourses 
in 1990-91;
d. Sriman U.Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan Swamy's discourses in 
e. Hearsay (spell?) from elder members of family.

Adiyen is solely responsible  for any mistakes that may 
crop up. 

1. Reciting of suprabhatam in Tirumalai :

Since the discussions started with Srivari suprabhatam, 
during the visit of Manvala Mamuni to Tirumalai, PB 
Annan, at his acharya’s sankalpam,  recited the 
suprabhatham (29 verses), stotram (11 verses),  prapatti 
(16 verses), and mangalam (13 + 1 = 14 verses). Manavala 
Mamuni then ordered that every day except in the month 
of Margazhi, these four stotras be recited at the time 
of opening of the temple in the morning.  There has been 
a tradition of rendering Alvar’s hymns at the temple 
(even before Bhagavad Ramanuja’s visit ) and in line 
with that tradition, in the month of Margazhi, 
Thiruppalliezhichi is recited instead of Suprabhatham.

2. Thomala Seva :
There are different opinions on the origin of this 
expression - one school of thought attributes this to 
general exuberance of flowers in Tirumalai - 
hence the name 'thota' or garden for the place. Probably, 
again, this term is a tribute to the great kainkaryam by 
Ananthalvan. (I am sure everyone heard of the great 
mahatma Ananthalvan who used to pushpa kainkaryam at 
Tirumalai. One evening he chases away a young couple - 
Lord and piraatti in disguise...the young man escapes and 
leaves behind piratti. Alvan arrests her and awaits the 
young man....Next morning, when the temple was opened, 
the bhattachar was aghas to find that piratti is absent 
and at that instance he realises what must have happened. 
Anantalvan then presents piratti along with the flowers. 
by this incident, Anantalvan becomes father in law to the 
Lord - hence as a mark of respect, on rathotsavam day 
during brahmotsavam, Lord accepts veshti and uttariyam 
from members of Anantalvan's family. Apologies for the 
digression.). The other school of thought is that at the 
end of thiruvaradhana, a garland is offered to the Lord 
placing it on His shoulders ('thol' in tamil). 

During morning thomalaseva -  Thippalliezhichi and 
Tiruppavai are recited; in the evening thomala seva 
(which is slightly longer) 15 decads are recited, namely :
 Periyalwar : poochudal, kappidal, senniyongu, 
 Andal 	    : vinneela melappu, 
 Tirumangai : Taye tandai, vadamarudidai, ezhai ethalan
 Nammalwar  : Ozhivil kalam, ulagamundaperuvaya, Kangulum 
              pagalum, and azhiezha
 Tiruppani  : Amalanadipiran
 Madurakavi : Kanninun chiruttambu.

(To be continues in the next post).

PB Anand