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Friday, March 8, 2013

THE STORY OF SRIRANGAM TEMPLE. As told by Mahaperiava. Dheyvaththin Kural-----Volume 7. PART 1.

Dheyvaththin Kural-----Volume 7.



On the banks of river Kaveri, there are not as many Vishnu temples as there are Shiva temples; however, Lord Ganesha has given Kaveri an unique fame involving Vaishnava connection. What is that?

Saivaites place the temple of Chithambaram (Lord Nataraja) first among all Shiva temples; that is not on the banks of Kaveri. Similarly, Vaishnavites place Srirangam temple first among all Vishnu temples and it is situated in the lively midst of Kaveri river. The temple is surrounded on either side by Kaveri ( called உபய காவேரி.) and Lord Vishnu is famously called ‘KAVERI RANGAN’ here.

How did that Rangaraja come there? Lord Vigneshwara was instrumental to this. It is because of His ‘Leela Vinotham’.

Sri Ramachandramurthy, gave away Sri Ranganatha’s Vigraha, the ancestral pooja vigraha of Ikshvaku dynasty , to Vibeeshana. That gift was ample proof to Lord Rama’s two great qualities of ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Gratitude’. All the monkeys and rakshasas were about to return to their places after attending the Coronation of Sri Rama in Ayodhya. At that time, Sri Rama gave away plenty of gold and other articles of value to every one of them as a way of showing His gratitude for their valuable help. As a matter of fact it was their ‘Bagyam’ and a big gift, to have served Him in His noble cause; Because of Him only, Vibeeshana and Sugreeva could become kings; but Sri Rama felt obliged towards them ( for all their help in the war against Ravana) and gave them plenty of gifts in the form of gold and gems.

But, that gift was not enough for Vibeeshana, Sri Rama felt. He wanted to give him something bigger and more valuable than mere gold and gems; because, Vibeeshana sacrificed his family ( meaning his brother Ravana), and totally surrendered to Sri Rama. Vibeeshana’s surrender is cited as the best example of ‘Total Surrender’. A big difference exists between Vibeeshana and Sugreeva. While Sugreeva surrendered to Sri Rama with the whole purpose of getting back his kingdom and wife, Vibeeshana surrendered to Him without expecting anything in return from Sri Rama. Sri Rama pronounced His Promise as savior of all those who surrender to Him, only due to Vibeeshana. Although Vibeeshana came to Sri Rama for total surrender, all including Angathan and Sugreeva, except Hanuman raised doubts about his true intention. Sri Rama became emotional as He felt their doubts were misplaced, and due this, He declared, “ If any one comes to me saying ‘I belong to you’, I shall protect him from any fear or evil; This be my life’s promise”

ஸக்ருதேவ ப்ரபந்நாய தவாஸ்மீதி யாசதே!
அபயம் சர்வபூதேப்யோ ததாம்யேதத்---வ்ரதம் மம!!

(valmiki Ramayanam----Yudhdha kaandam 18.33—4)

Therefore, Sri Rama, after Coronation, decided to give him something really big and invaluable. As only a true ‘THYAGI’ would do, He gifted the Sri Rangaraja Vigraham along with the Vimanam, which has been in the Ikshvaaku dynasty for ages, and which has been considered the ‘Family Deity’ and daily poojas performed upon, by all the kings till then. With that he sent him away to Lanka.

Taking the Sri Rangaraja Vigraham with him, Vibeeshana started towards South and reached the ‘Ubaya Kaveri’, almost near the southern tip.

Seeing all these events without interfering, Lord Vigneshwara decided to interevene. “ How can I allow this Perumal (Vigraha) to leave this Kaveri region, this Tamil Dhaesam and Bharatham?”-----He thought. He then played a game of mystery (MAAYAA) and ensured that the Rangaraja Vigraham was permanently installed there itself. How did He do it?

Sri Rama had warned Vibeeshana that the Vigrahas and Vimanas should not be placed on the ground lest they will permanently be installed there and therefore they should be taken to SriLanka directly and kept.

What Vigneshwara did was: He induced a desire in Vibeeshana to have a bath in river Kaveri, which was so looking so beautiful with its waves and plenty of water. He took the form of a Brahmachari boy and went and stood there. He gave an impression of an innocent and well-behaved boy!

Vibeeshana requested the ‘boy’ “My dear child! Will you hold these for me, without putting them down on the earth, till I come back after having my bath?”

Vigneshwara replied, “ I will do it, but suppose, I feel it is too heavy after some time, what should I do? I shall call you three times; if you do not return by then, I will put them down!”

Vibeeshana readily agreed for this condition.

When Vibeeshana went into the river very far from the bank, attracted by its beauty, Vigneshwara called him three times repeatedly. He could not return to the bank by then!

“ I called you three times as agreed by us, but you have not come back; this has become too heavy for me; so I am putting them down” saying thus, Vigneshwara put the Vigraha and the Vimana on the elevated ground, in the centre of Ubaya Kaveri!

The Vigraham got permanently installed there!



It would seem from the above, that the Vigraha and the Vimana together must have been only ( laughing, Periava says “of portable size!”) as heavy as a strong boy could carry them. It must be so (small in size) because, the kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty were having them in their home for them to perform the pooja. After coming to the banks of Kaveri only, Perumal, must have felt happy at the sight of the big river ----although it cannot be compared to His ‘Ksheera Sagara’------ and so must have assumed a bigger form and so also the Vimana must have become the temple ‘Sannidhi’.

Finishing his bath quickly, Vibeeshana rushed to the bank; what he saw left him totally disappointed and angry. “‘They should not be kept on the ground’ was the condition, but the ‘boy’ had kept them down on the ground; What would have happened to them?” worried Vibeeshana and tried to take them away from the ground. Try however much he did, the Vigraham couldn’t even be shaken; it had rooted itself deep into the ground!. He got extremely furious with the Brahmachari ‘boy’!

He approached him with his closed fist, in order to punch him on his head. Vigneshwara started running, and Vibeeshana chased him. After reaching the top of RockFort, Vigneshwara took pity on Vibeeshana and gave Himself up. Bagavan can be ‘caught’ ( by us ) only out of His own will and not by our strength. Bhagavatham says that even Yashodha tried to tie up the mischievous Balakrishnamurthy to the stone grinder, but any amount of rope was not enough; and when she sweated it out and became really tired, Bagavan took pity on her and allowed Himself to be tied to the stone.

So, Vigneshwara, not only allowed Himself to be caught by Vibeeshana , but showed His head also for him to punch! He who makes all of us to punch the sides of our forehead ( குட்டுப் போட்டுக்கொள்வது), was Himself showing His head for Vibeeshana to punch Him!

Immediately, He discarded His ‘boy’ disguise and assumed His original form. And with that Dharsan, half of the disappointment and anger went away from Vibeeshana. The remaining half also faded away from him when Vigneshwara told him, “ Do not be perturbed that I stopped you from taking Perumal to Lanka with you. I have kept Him in such a way, that He will bless you in Lanka from here itself. Although installing Perumal looking towards South has never been the custom, I have done it so here.”

To be continued…….



Vigneshwara’s father Sri Parameswara faces towards south when He takes the forms of Dhakshinamurthy and
Nataraja. Now He has installed His uncle also facing south! Dhakshinamurthy sits in deep meditation oblivious
to the whole world. Nataraja, on the other hand conducts the whole business of the world as a dance drama,
and dances gloriously! Perumal, as a ‘sleeping’ God, is in the same state of meditation as Dhakshinamurthy.
But Perumal’s is not called ‘Samaadhi’ but is called as ‘Nidhra’ (sleep). Why? He plays all sorts of illusory
games, which we do not understand, is it not? Therefore, remaining in the state of ‘sleep’, He performs the job of
Creation of Prapancha and Life, as His own imagination, as we perform a lot of jobs in our dream! Therefore
this was considered as His Dream. Dream will occur in sleep only, is it not? Therefore His ‘Samaadhi’ is called
‘Nidhra’ or Sleep. Another reason for saying this is that He, instead of sitting and ‘dreaming’, lies down fully.
But His ‘Nidhra’ is not like our ‘Sleep’ and so it is named as ‘Yoga Nidhra’. Unlike our awarenessless sleep, He
sleeps with awareness and conducts the business of Creation. Hence that sleep is aptly named அறிதுயில் in
Tamil. அரி செய்வது அறிதுயில்!

When father’s job of ‘Deep Meditation’ ( Dhakshinamurthy) and the job of conducting the world
(Nataraja) are both done, facing south, uncle, who does both the jobs, should also face
south, is it not? Vigneshwara might have thought in these lines! So now when He confiscated
the Rangaraja Vigraham from Vibeeshana ( Periava laughs and says, “like customs officials
confiscate some items to prevent them from being taken abroad”), in order not to deprive him of the
Anugraham, He decided to install It facing south, simultaneously satisfying His own wish of installing His uncle the
same way like His father faces. It seems so!


The special power of His hand and the good intention of ‘ what holds good for Parameshwara shall be for Perumal also’, both put together installed Rangaraja and that temple has become the King of all Perumal temples. That place of the Raja came to be called as Srirangam or Thiruvarangam in Tamil.

It is the other way; it is not correct to say that the place came to be called ‘Rangam’ because ‘Rangaraja’ was there; The place already was known as Rangam and because he was installed there, He became known as ‘Rangaraja’. As long as the kings of Ikshvaku dynasty were performing poojas to that ‘Vigraham’, it must have been known as ‘Narayanan’, ‘Vishnu’ or as He was lying on the bed of snake ‘Aadhisesha’ must have been known as ‘Seshasaayee’ or ‘Ananthasaayee’. When Vigneshwara established a place for Him at Rangam in the midst of ‘Ubayakaveri’, He must have become known as ‘Rangaraja’.

What is this ‘Rangam’?

Rangam ( or Arangam in Tamil) refers to the podium where dances and dramas are performed, including the hall in the front, where people sit and watch them. Either the stage only or the whole theatre itself is called ‘Rangam’. The great Dramatiser who conducts all the dramas of the Prapancha as the imagination of His dream, should do that in ‘Rangam’ only, is it not? The place where the same drama is conducted as Parameshwara as a dance (Thandavam) in Chidhambaram , is called ‘Sabai’; or ‘Chithsabai’; People call it ‘Kanakasabai’; Here the meaning of ‘Sabai’ is the same as ‘Rangam’; meaning ‘drama hall’ or ‘dance hall’. (laughing) Even now, the places where music concerts and dance performances are conducted are known as ‘Sabha’, is it not? The very first performance of an artiste here is called ‘arangetram’.

Vigneshwara must have thought ‘when there is a ‘Sabai’ for His father Parameshwara to do His Cosmic Dance, then there should be a similar place for His uncle also who does the same in His dream; and although the principle (Thathvam) is the same in both the cases, the places where they are done shall be known by different names’ and named the place (Sannidhi) where He installed the Vigraha, as ‘Rangam.

To be continued………
« Thread Started on Feb 22, 2013, 9:30pm »



I do not remember what is mentioned in the Temple’s history (
ஸ்தல புராணம்) about this. May be it is mentioned that from the very beginning, the Deity had the name of ‘Rangarajan’ and the place also had the name of ‘Srirangam’ But I remember one thing, that because it is a Vaishnava temple, Vigneshwara’s name and what He did is not mentioned there. The Chola king, by name Dharmavarma, who was ruling Chola region, during the time of Sri Rama, ( the first ‘Prakaram’ after the Sanctum Sanctoram is called ‘Dharmavarman Prakaram’) was doing ‘Thapas’ (penance), that the family deity of Ikshvaku dynasty should come to his country; When Vibeeshana came here with the Vigraham, he placed it down while taking some rest and thus it got installed there. I remember that this is how it is mentioned in the Temple’s history.

But the story that became famous in the world is the one that says the Vigraham got installed there due to Vigneshwara’s ‘Leela’. Since this version joins the hands of Vaishnavam and Saivam, the two great divisions of our religion , it is soothing to the mind. The way the story goes further also shows the Truthfulness of the story.

How did the story go? Vigneshwara ran away to the top of the Rockfort and Vibeeshana chased Him, and finally punched His head with his fist. To indicate this, the Pillaiyar statue in the Rockfort temple top, has a mark on its head. It is rare to see Vigneshwara on top of any hill; therefore it fits in here that Vigneshwara ran away to the top of the hill to escape from Vibeeshana and stayed put there.

There is one more correlation in the connection of Vigneshwara with SriRanganathar. Kaveri who was closed up by Agasthya inside his Kamandalu, was also released and allowed to flow into a river by Vigneshwara only. He came in the disguise of a crow and tipped the Kamandalu. Sage Agasthya chased the crow and the crow became a Brahmachari. In the story of Vibeeshana also we have seen that Vigneshwara became a Brahmachari. Agasthyar also went after the Brahmachari with closed fist to punch him on his head. Before the sage could do it, the Brahmachari took His original form ( that of Vigneshwara). The sage regretted saying , “ Oh! Was I going to punch you? For this sin, I have to punch my own head” and with his two fists punched his own head on the two temples. He made that as a form of prayer for all the people, while praying before Vigneshwara.

As a crowning glory to the similarity between these two stories and the way they compliment each other, there is one more aspect connecting Mahavishnu, Kaveri and Vigneshwara. The place where sage Agasthya’s Kamandalu was tipped and Kaveri was released, is the foot of a gooseberry (
நெல்லிக் காய் மரம்) tree, in a place called Sahyadhri, in the western ghats. This is the place of origin for river Kaveri. That gooseberry tree is none other than Mahavishnu! Perumal only stands there as a tree. A part of Vishnu Maya became Lobamudhra, and married Sage Agasthya, and became the river Kaveri, which became sage Agasthya’s Kamandalu Theertham.

When she flowed from the lotus feet of Bagavaan, He told her affectionately, “ Ganga also flows from my feet only. You are more dear to me than her and so while she also got the contact of my feet, I shall bless you to get the contact of my whole body. When you started you journey from my feet, you got the contact of my feet. When you start flowing as a big river, you will divide yourself into two parts and then join again later. At that time you will embrace me with both your hands.”

Beginning was made for the fulfillment of the above boon, by Vigneshwara with His act of tipping the sage’s Kamandalu. Therefore, in order to fulfill the boon completely, He installed ‘Rangaraja’ in the space between the two hands of river Kaveri in Srirangam. This looks very apt, is it not? ( in Tamil Periava says,
புலவர்கள் பாஷையில் ( laughs) சாலப் பொருத்தம்தானே?).

Another correlation is leveling up Saivam and Vaishnavam. I will explain. While Vibeeshana got the Vigraham of Vishnu after the destruction of Ravana, that Ravana also got the ‘Aathma Lingam’ from Parameshwaran. When he was taking it to Lanka, Sri Parameshwara had warned him that he should not keep it on the ground. That time also Pillaiyar only played a trick and saw to it that the ‘Aathma Lingam’ did not go out of Bharatha Dhesam. The place where the Lingam got installed is Gokarnam; it is situated below Goa, on the western seashore of Karnataka. It is an isle like Rameshwaram. Swami is called Mahabaleshwarar there. When Pillaiyar induced Ravana to place the Lingam on the ground with His trick, Ravana with all his strength (
ராக்ஷச பலம்) tried to take it out but could not. As Swami’s shakthi overwhelmed Ravana’s. Swami is called Mahabaleshwarar. He who did not allow the elder brother to take the Lingam out of Bharatha Dhesam, would not allow the younger brother also to take Rangaraja out of the country, is it not? That is why our story is proved to be ‘Sathyam’!

To b continued……


Ok! Why did Pillaiyar decide that Vigrahams should not leave Bharatha Dhesam? Is it correct? Justifiable?

If we want to water a tree, will we pour it on the leaves, flowers or fruits? No, we will pour the water in the roots, is it not? The water poured in the roots go to the leaves and flowers and fruits, correct? Like wise, for the big tree called the ‘World’, our Bharatha Dhesam happens to be the root. If we sprinkle water on the leaves or flowers, they will become brighter, but the leaves and flowers will get the sap only if we pour water in the roots. In the same way, if poojas are performed in other countries, there will be some effect (palan) but only if we do them here in Bharatha Dhesam, those countries also will get the benefits.

Bagavan in His creation has made different things available in different places, e.g good climate only in some places, good flora and fauna in some other places, gold silver and other minerals in yet other places. Some countries are bitterly cold and some others very hot; some places do not have any greens or mineral wealth or water. Fertile countries export their items to other places which are not fertile; That way for all things Divine, Bharatha Dhesam is the Power house. Like the whole town is lighted from a single source, this country gives Divinity to all other places. In our body, He has made the heart to supply blood to all parts of the body. Like wise He has made this country the heart for the whole world, to supply all things Divine, Dharma, Athma Shakthi, and Jeeva Shakthi.

This does not mean that prayers and poojas are not necessary in other countries. Like we apply medicine to individual parts of the body to protect them, just as we spray pesticides on the leaves and other parts of a plant to protect them from pests, poojas and prayers must be performed in those countries also to protect their divinity. Just as any part of the body is cured only through the blood supplied from the heart, poojas , prayers and yagnas performed here will only give benefit to other countries

Manthra Shakthi gives full benefit only in this Bharatha Dhesam, called the ‘Karma Bhoomi’ In such a ‘Karma Bhoomi’ only, Athma Lingam or Rangaraja Vigraham must stay. Then only all other places including Lanka will get the benefits. That is why Vigneshwara acted out all the drama as described in the story, and ensured that they did not go out of the country.

Thus, the Rangaraja Vigraham which He installed in the midst of Ubaya Kaveri became the number one temple among all Vaishnava temples and also the connecting link between all Siva---Vishnu temples.

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