Priya arangan adiyar,
(...to be continued)
The plan was to spend time in and around Thirunarayanapuram for two days, the 12th and 13th May.
12th May: The morning was spent drinking the beauty of Thirunarayanapuram with all the senses. A holy dip in the pushkarni followed by a visit to Thirunaranan’s abode. The children were simply thrilled at the prospect of having the sevai of Emperumaan. And when it happened, the anubhavam seemed far bigger than the imagination. The thiruvaradhanam at this sthalam is a wonder in itself. A combination of mantras, mudras, nrithyam(dance) and gaanam(singing),it is said all the 64 upacharas were once offered to Emperumaan here. We could hear the very pleasant voice of the Swamy there chanting the Aagama shlokas following it up with the beautiful rendition of stotraratna set to celestial tunes. In the light of the lamp (vilakku) on either sides of the sanctum sanctorum, with the soothing voice of the swamy there, the Emperuman unearthed by Ethirajar glittered. It was fascinating to watch the way the blue vashtram blended with streaks of orange that spread like Chinese-fan on both sides of the impregnated cloud -coloured Lord. We had glimpses of saakshat paramapadam in the midst of Thirunaranan and Selvapillai. The Thiruvaradhanam was followed by Goshti and excellent prasadams. We were ushered in to have a better sevai of Emperuman. A glance at the Thirukkangal of Thirunaranan settled the unsettling feeling of insecurity burning in our hearts. Here He was there, standing in front of us, for us and will ever be.
The children seemed more moved that us volunteers. They whispered the pasurams of Namazhwar dedicated (by Ethirajar) to this Emperuman. The words of Azhwar seemed to fit exactly to this Emperuman. Following the direction of the native swamy who accompanied us, we got down the side steps and took a pradakshinam. On the way, we entered the thayar sannidhi and prayed for the well- being of all the Kainkaryaparas of Thirunarayanapuram. Taking Her leave, our legs urged us to pace up towards the direction of Udayavar’s sannidhi. There was the Acharya, the foremost krupamatra prasannacharya, in His characteristic Anjali Hastam and Saffron robes. The SBK children ran to Him and paid their obeisance. The Vadivazhagu- varnanai (descriptive poem of beauty) on Swamy by Embar was recited. It is the habit of SBK children and other children under the tutelage of Srimaan Trust to open up their minds to Emperumanar, just as we share our thought with our parents. An acharyan is not merely to impart abstract knowledge. He should help the sishya face life and its everyday challenges with the right frame of mind. He is a counselor, a friend, a mentor. For all of us, it is Swamy Ramanuja. The panacea of all ills seemed to flow from the smile sported by the King of the Ascetics. The Srivaishnavas there chanted ‘ Prarthana Panchakam ’ composed by Engal Azhwan (one of the Acharyas appointed as Head for spreading SriBashyam and Vedantam by Emperumanar) on Emperumanar. We were informed it was in Nithya anusandhanam at this temple and only at this temple.
Having quenched the thirst of having Emperumanar’s sevai, we moved to SriPillailokachariar’s sannidhi. The magnificent thirumeni stayed in our hearts all along. The swamy looking after Emperumanar sannidhi (a descendent of Sri Vangeepuratthu Nambi, sishya of Udayavar), graciously handed us prasadams in plenty, which, the children enjoyed will utmost happiness.
Out of the temple, we headed to a number Sannidhis outside the temple and further acquainted ourselves with the ponds in Thirunarayanapuram. The children always seem to like water bodies and here, it was no exception. The akka-thangai kulam (elder-younger sister ponds) and a few others were a visual treat. But the most captivating feature was the presence of Srivaishnavas in complete vaidika swaroopam at every turn of the streets. Multi tasking is in their blood. Head to the sannidhi, they’ll be performing Thiruvaradhanam, tip-toe to the Thirumadappalli, you’ll find them preparing ksheerannam (milk and rice delicacy), creep into the gosthi, you’ll find them in the first rows reciting the pasurams flawlessly. Tired at such sudden bouts of energy, settle down to have your meal, and there ! you’ll find them serving you. They are an inspiration to do kainkaryam relentlessly. They are no different from us physically but it is the strong determination to serve the cause of Srivaishnavam that propels them to work tirelessly. The children of SBK were explained about these Srivaishnavas and advised to draw inspiration from them.
(...to be continued)