Tag Archives: Tamil Nadu

UnCrushed Leaves – Srirangam (Temple Town)

History is an integral part of this town, no matter how much we resist, we need to talk some more of it. More so, we have complied it by hearing it from the people who praise this city and preserve its culture. So here we go, admiring the work of men.

 

Eternally together, We stand
Eternally together, We stand

Incidentally, Sri Rangam is the only place which all, the 12 Vaishanava saints, (a.k.a Arzhvars in Tamil) have praised in their hymns. These hymns are popularly known as the 4000 Divya Prabandha.

In one of the works of Andal, a Saint, she records her dream of marrying Sri Ranganath of Sri Rangam in a form of poem called Vaaranam Ayiram. Later she claims in her work that this dream became reality and she married Sri Ranganatha and became one with the lord. Interestingly, the wedding rituals of Sri Vaishnavas are based on this format and practiced even to this day.

Heard on the Street:
The story of the temple as per some of the above mentioned records goes like this: The very idol of Sri Ranganatha at Srirangam was handed down to Rama from his ancestors, who worshiped this form. This was gifted by Rama to Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. Then Sri Ranganatha chose to remain at Sri Rangam and face southwards, where Vibhishana could pay his daily salutations from far south Sri Lanka.

Aging with the beautiful Sunlight, still young for generations to come
Aging with the beautiful Sunlight, still young for generations to come


Around 10 century A.C.E
:
At a later point in history, around 10th A.C.E this place was even more enriched by Sri Ramanujacharya, who proposed the Vishishtadvaitha School of Vedantha Philosophy. He made Srirangam as the head quarters for the school. He developed and implemented integrated systems for protecting the Vedic/Tamil literature, carving spiritual paths through self empowerment, by creating employment,
businesses, learning, teaching, debating, composing opportunities etc.; everything being Sri Ranganatha centric.

Sri Ramanujacharya lived at Sri Rangam initially for brief period before going to Melkote in Karnataka. Then after 12 years he returned back to SriRangam and lived for 60 years until he attained samadhi. One can find the Idol of Sri Ramanujacharya inside this temple, which is believed to be the self manifestation from his samadhi state.

The Silent Wait
The Silent Wait

Trivia
Srirangam is refered to as ‘Kovil’ meaning ‘The Temple’ within the community for its uniqueness. As a testimonial to this one could see the businesses, residential quarters do exist inside the temple even to this day.

One could see living tradition being transferred generations after generations since the time of Sri Ramanujacharya to this day. Some of the literary accounts claim that during the life time of Sri Ramanujacharya, when he use to go on the walk, 800 spiritual aspirants would follow him wherever he went and gave discourses on philosophy.

Am I not magnificent?
Am I not magnificent?

Another interesting place inside the temple is the mandapam where Kamba Ramayanam, a Tamil Ramayanam composed based on Valmiki Ramayana was presented. As a sign of approval for the scholarly work of the poet Kamban, Lord Ugra Narasimha appears as though laughing and enjoying the literature instead of his usual posture of being angry while killing HiranyaKashipu.

At this juncture we would like to thank Mr. Arun Koushik, who shared his understanding of history of the place. When we meet in the next post we shall share about life at Srirangam &  more…….

By ‘dod’ Rangers

 

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UnCrushed Leaves – Srirangam (Living History)

The Thought:
We have embarked on the Journey of “UnCrushed Leaves“. In this endeavor of ours we tend to bring to our patrons a glimpse of unseen parts of India. Places which mesmerize and journey that’s fulfilling. Our first destination is a small town nestled in the lap of river Kaveri, in south of India (Tamil Nadu)

Srirangam – Where Time, Tradition and Tranquility come together

Srirangam - The beauty of a Temple Town
Srirangam – The beauty of a Temple Town


Srirangam – Location:
River Kaveri, one of the seven important rivers in India, takes origin at Talakaveri in Karnataka and flows through the midland of Tamil Nadu to reach Bay of Bengal at Poombukar. Enroute, it flows around three important islands which can never escape from the attention of someone who is on a quest, may be religious, spiritual, architectural, historical or simply a traveller.

Srirangam – The Timeless History:
All these three islands formed by the river Kaveri have an interesting theme in common – they host a temple for Sri Ranganatha, one of the forms of Vishnu, where Vishnu rests on the bed of the “Anantha Shesha” the  Serpent.

– The first one is at Srirangapattana (a.k.a Adi-Ranga),
– Second at Shivanasamudra (a.k.a Madhya-Ranga) and
– Third one at Srirangam (a.k.a Anthya-Ranga).

Unphased by Time, I still full of ColorsUnphased by Time, still full of Colors

Among the three, Srirangam holds a special place. It is an important center for the Sri Vaishnava School of Vishishadwaitha Vedantha. Historical records of India were documented in an integrated form such as poetic references, songs of folklore, literary references, stone inscriptions etc.

In relatively recent times, this temple has been renovated time and again by every dynasty that ruled South India. Tamil literature has a large number of accounts that have praised the glories of this Temple.

One of the distinctions being that the temple architecture is a replica of Vaikunta, the eternal abode of Vishnu.

Timeless Pillars - Many Years have passed through the roof on my Shoulders
Timeless Pillars – Many Years have passed through the roof on my Shoulders

The  journey of Srirangam shall continue with “UnCrushed Leaves”……

By ‘dod’ Rangers

 

‘dod’ Tram Story: The King Makers

Two men traveling in a tram. It is a hot & humid Kolkata summer. They got into a debate. Getting into a debate is not uncommon in this part of India, it is rather an opportunity to flex intellectual muscle, but with ongoing election fever, any debate other than politics, shall raise eyebrows.

Mr. Das, looking out of the window of slow moving tram, said, “fourteen years have gone dod_Tramby and yet the things have not changed.”

Mr. Saha, wiping the sweat on his forehead remarked, “What are you talking about, CPM (Communist Party) is no longer in power, it is DiDi now. (Didi, referred to head of ruling TMC in West Bengal)

Das, smirked, “Saha, let me tell you, National Parties in India are just rubber stamps. They over last 14 years could not make government on their own.”

Saha for a while could not get head or tails of it, but he did not let his Bengali spirit cow down so easily.  He said, “Sauti (true), but you need to have evidence for same.”

Das was now in full spirit, ignoring the beautiful Victoria Memorial and some cool breeze that gushes along on this stretch of tram ride. He straightened and said, “You know for all these years no matter who was at the center, the state parties where the ones who ruled.”

Knowing that he had Saha grappling to grasp, he continued, “Saha as per past stats, state parties have cornered 28% of seats in national elections, which leaves the national parties to no alternative but seek their support to have 51% majority”. He added, “Worst is that this gives state parties unusual say on national issues and corner key portfolios in the central government. Remember, this is without them having any say in any other part of India.”

Saha understood that Das has got a one up on him, but he still probed further, “Do you have the stats handy?”

Das was now enjoying the breeze as tram moved forward on signal turning green. “Yes, of course, I have the proof. Here you go.”

With this Das showed Saha a piece of paper and it read as follows:

Seats won in the year           2009         2004         1999

National Parties                         376              364         369

State Parties                                146              159         158

Unrecognized Parties              12                 15           10

Independents                               09                 05           06

Total                                                 543             543         543

State Party Seats/Total          26%        29%          29%

Saha knew today Das had come prepared. He acknowledged it and added, “Yes, that is what makes Didi in West bengal, Amma in Tamil Nadu and Bhenji in Uttar Pradesh, key to this elections”.

Das remarked, “Sauti (True), if stats have it’s way they have key to 28% of seats and are the kingmakers.” They both laughed together and got ready to get off the tram.

By ‘dod’ Rangers