Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A STRANGER ..... - 5

Srimate ramanujaya nama:

Priya arangan adiyar,

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 "A Stranger"


The children were surprised seeing a stranger join them in their march. But they weren’t indifferent. They allowed me to have a word or two with them. A little grown up boy asked me who I was and I in return asked about him. Our conversation progressed well. I asked him to briefly explain what happened on the day of Jyesthabisekam.  He explained On this day, the gold Kavachams used by Namberumal throughout year is removed and cleaned. Certain purification rites are performed and then they are refitted to Namberumal’s tirumeni. Turmeric water is used for Thirumanjanam .Other Tirumanjana items ( Milk , curds , coconut milk etc) are used only at the sacred feet of the Lord so that these substances do not get behind the kavacham at the time of re-adornment. It is only on this day the Lord's divya tirumeni is without the golden Kavacham.” And starting from him, each child described details of every utsavam of Srirangam, though unsolicited. It was an admirable collection of information in their possession. Thus discussing the events of the day, we set forth to each sannidhi. The children, by now, dismissed their notion I was a stranger and also gave up attaching those inquisitive eyes on me. They now felt I was, after all, a harmless being seeking to enjoy their company.

This also gave the children an opportunity to display all they knew of the temple and its functions. I felt a surge of happiness when my “receptionist at the gate” & “fruit feeder” came forward to enlighten me on the “Nel-alavu” event that happened on the 7th day of some utsavam( I don’t remember which). We were now walking past that mandapam and heading our way to the thayar sannidhi. I was enjoying the second round of darsan with the children. I was learning a lot and felt happy. I decided to call him “Kutti payya” though there were a few shorter than him in the group. I named him so out of affection and not on the basis of his height. As we moved in the corridor, Kutti payyan directed and led me to the wall of the temple corridor. He placed his mouth close to a projection in the wall and shouted at the pitch of his office “Ranga!!!” The sound echoed for sometime and ended feebly. He tried it again with more energy but with the same result. Then he indicated me to repeat what he had done. I tried. Though my voice seemed like the menacing voice of some villain, I comforted myself that it was afterall Bhagavans name that I uttered. But the children were very happy to hear such a loud roar. They clapped instantly. Kutti payyan accepted their claps shaking his head as though it was his feat they acknowledged. We all paced further into Mudal Azhwar Sannidhi and then set forth to thayar sannidhi. One child reminded others to chant shlokas. They decided to chat something on Thayar. It was beautiful recitation, short yet sweet to the ears. We entered the thayar sannidhi again, took her blessings and completed two pradakshanam (I used to take one only but on the insistence of the children took two. They said it was wrong to take only one).

We worshiped the Narasimhar in the sannidhi perched on the top and descending the steps, took quick strides and found ourselves in the open air and lot of sand beneath us. Time was fast evaporating and we could afford only a humble bow to Ramar from the outside. Our steps dragged us into the sanctum of Namberumal and we were witness not to the deity but to very many rites performed. An assortment of screens hung about and we were informed the Lord was inside the last of the screens. The tirumanjanam was not for public view. So we stood outside drinking through the eyes what little view the stream of activities offered us. Finally, all the kavachams worn by the Lord were taken out and reverently placed for the bhakthas to worship. It was obvious the holy bathing of the day would rejuvenate the Lord like none other. His smile would be infectious. The garland He wore would be fresh and sparkling. We all drank the beauty of His golden kavachams with our senses. The “theertam” that touched his tirumeni-minus-kavacha was given to all and we too drank it with pleasure. I knew it would do very good to my spirituality but now it also allayed my thirst roused by the walks.

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