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Friday, October 25, 2013

Sri Sankaracharya on Thirumalai-Thirupathi temple

(Translation of an article  by Indira Soundaraarajan in the
Periodical, “ Deepam “)
                                         Vengrai Parthasarathy

It happened that Sri KVJagannathan, well-known  speaker, poet and writer  met  Sri Sankaracharya  and  spoke to the Periyavar ion a  subject of interest..
The saint wanted to know Sri KVJ’s views on  ‘whether the holy Tirumalai-Tirupathi is a Vaishnava Srinivasa shrine or a Saivite Murugan shrine’.

‘KVJ said that there is basis for both  view points of view..

How? Asked the Periyavar.

People of the North refer to the deity as Balaji ; ‘Bala’ in which denotes youth and only Murugan is the young one. Even today the vilva leaf is is used for Archana in Tirumalai. Further Murugan is the chief of Mountains  He is the God of Kurinji land, said KVJ..

.So what is your view? asked the saint

.K.V.J replied :”In ancient days both Vishnu and Murugan shrines may have existed.. As the popularity of the Thirumal temple kept growing , the Murugan temple may have receded in importance..
Sri Sankaracharya said:
“ I have read in some PuraaNa that there are two sakthi-s. One is Kaumaari and the other one is VaishNavi. That is why there is the Lion  Vahana on the wall there. If it was a Thirumal Temple the Garuda vahana would have been there. And if it was Murugan’s temple a peacock vahana would have been there.. Only Sakthi has the Lion as the Vahana., 
What we see there in Thondai Mandalam Sakthi shrine is  only the Lion.. Once Thirupathi was
a part of Tamil Nadu. But due to political necessities Thirumalai became a part of Andhra Pradesh..

Then the .saint asked an employee to bring the parivattam (head-sash) given to honor him  in Thirupathi. He gave it to KVJ  and asked him to measure it.. KVJ was enchanted to have even touched  it..That was because the head-sash was presented to the saint after it had adorned the Thirupathi deity..( With such a holy and hoary  behind it,  it,cannot but vibrate and thrilll any one who touches it)

KVJ measured it. And found that it measured 36 cubits.. it was learnt that such head-sashes were weaved  exclusively for Thirupathi devasthanam. There was a  village whose speciality was weaving
these sashes. For generations they woven only sashes of  36 cubits. 

KVJ understood the significance of it. At the same time  the question arose why, if that were so, the Thirupathi temple attained eminence  and dominance as Thirumal’s temple and not as Murugan’s.

‘Even today the two Sakthi-s  are manifest. Kaumari is associated with Muruga and  Vaishnavi with Thirumal. In both cases the uncle-nephew relationship is there. Since the uncle is the elder of the two
It is to be assumed that the nephew  has become  imbedded in the uncle.

Thirumal is the first of the lords when it  comes to  a question of protecting and nurturing the devotees.
As the adage goes” Sarvam vishNu mayam Jagath”--.As per Vaishnava-sidhantha” Vishnu is everything and everything is contained in Him. He is enshrined in the seventh hill—which encompasses Six--the six buds in which Arumugan had flowered.
This brings out many invaluable  nuggets of  information and thoughts. It was not the intention of the Saint to foster differences  among the faithful ; nor is it his intention to start a controversy.Sri KVJ is deeply learned in Tamil with vast experience in research in the fields of Itihasas and Puraanas…The idea behind these discussions was to  enhance  and benefit  everyone by discussions

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