Tuesday January 23, 2018
Home India A tale of Fai...

A tale of Faith and Sacrifice: Devotee Srivaishnava Acharyas of Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu

Iyppasi sravana is celebrated during the month of October and November as a mark of respect for Acharyar Pillailokacharya’s sacrifice

1
//
792
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in srirangam. Image source: www.destinationinfinity.org
Republish
Reprint
  • The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati in the south is the abode of  Lord Ranganatha,  the reclining form of Lord Vishnu
  • The historical accounts from the 14th to 17th centuries tell one particular tale about the sacrifice and unwavering devotion of the Sri Vaishnavas
  • About 800 years ago, when the temple was under attack, Swami Pillai Lokacharya led a team to protect the deity and carry the Lord to a safe destination

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati in the south of India, is the abode of  Lord Ranganatha, the reclining form of Lord Vishnu. The Tamil month which occurs during March and April (Panguni) is considered sacred, as it is the time when Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Sri Ranganayaki Thayar appears. “Adi Brahmotsavam”, the major festival which lasts for 10 days of this month and culminates on the day of Panguni Uthiram.

The temple town which is situated on the ethereal island of Srirangam in Trichy, Tamil Nadu has many tales to tell. The historical accounts from the 14th to 17th centuries tell one particular tale about the sacrifice and unwavering devotion of the Sri Vaishnavas.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

About 800 years ago, at the banks of the river Kollidam, a huge gathering of devotees lined up to seek the blessings of their lord, Lord Ranganatha. The stage was set; the atmosphere was brimming with devotion; Vedic chants and prayers echoed all the way into everyone’s hearts. Among the most revered Acharyas, priests and devotees was Jagath Acharyar Swami Pillai Lokacharya.

As the worship and proceedings were being carried out, a man came to the old  Acharyar. He informed him that a large battalion of men with weapons was marching towards their land. The great Acharyar, after hearing this walked majestically towards the deity and prostrated before the lord. He asked the man to continue watching the movement of the invaders and assured him that the lord would take care of them.

Jaganmohana Ranganatha at Shivanasamudra Image Source : Wikipedia Commons
Jaganmohana Ranganatha at Shivanasamudra Image Source : Wikipedia Commons

Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar, Swamy Desikar, Swamy Sudarshana Suri and other Acharyas had a meeting and formulated  a plan to safeguard the Lord and his people from the invaders led by  Ulugh Khan, the army commander sent by Tuglak. They decided to secretly carry the Lordships to the temple without the regular Abhisheka. Their aim was to not confront the enemy but to ensure that their moola virat was not desecrated. Three groups were formed. The one headed by Swamy Pillai Lokachariya was to carry Lord Ranganatha and his concerts securely and proceed southward.  Swamy Sudarshana Suri and team was to erect a stone wall in front of the main sanctorum to  misguide the invaders and the third team was to provide cover for the first team.

To also protect their rich culture and holy knowledge from being oblivious to the next generation, they decided to pass on their manuscripts and texts to Swami Desika who was the youngest among the Acharyas. He was to go with the third party and save himself to protect and preserve Vaishnavism and the teachings of Jagatha Acharya Shri Ramanuja. Also, a work called  Shrutaprakashika, which  was made out of generations of learning’s from Acharyas  and an elaborate commentary on Jagatha Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja’s Sri Bhasyam was also entrusted to him.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

The plight of Srirangam after the invaders marched inside was devastating. The invaders left the place after shedding the blood of 12,000 Sri Vaishnavas. By then, the old Acharyar dutifully carried the Lord’s deity for days until he reached a village called Jyothishkudi.

Surrounded by the Annamalai mountains and covered with dense forests, the place seemed right to rest. The Acharyar realised that it was time for him to leave the mortal world.  Such was his greatness that before he departed, the Acharyar touched all of the ants beside him, for the reason that they also could reach Vaikuntam along with him . (It is believed that any living being touched by the hands of a Sri Vaishnava is assured salvation.)

Swamy Pillai Lokacharya's magnum opus “Sri Vachana Bhushanam” is an ornament of divine outpourings from our revered Poorvavacharyas. Image Source: kmkvaradhan.files.wordpress.com
Swamy Pillai Lokacharya’s magnum opus “Sri Vachana Bhushanam” is an ornament of divine outpourings from our revered Poorvavacharyas. Image Source: kmkvaradhan.files.wordpress.com

The disciples performed his last rites and continued their journey along with Lord Ranganatha towards the south.  It took 48 years for the deity to be restored in the temple. By the time, Kambanna of Vijayanagara Kingdom restored the Lord to the Srirangam temple, the idol had criss-crossed the south, passing through Madurai, Ettayapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Melkote, Mysore, Satyamangalam forests and Tirumala, in  a place now known as Ranga Mantapam.

Iyppasi sravana is celebrated during the month of October and November as a mark of respect for Acharyar Pillailokacharya’s sacrifice.

– by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

READ ALSO:

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Falcon

    12000 Sri Vaishnavas, I think the eternal HELL is referred and applicable to these moronic moslem uneducated invaders

Next Story

All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

0
//
11
banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.