Archive | February 2018

408. Shri Vyasaraja

vyaasaraja

Sri Vysaraja  is believed to be an avatar of Prahlada.  He was one of the main pillars of Madhwa Sidhantha.  He was the prince of the dialecticians  of  Dvaitha.  He carried forward the distinguished work of his predecessors Sri Madhwacharya and Sri Jayatheertha. The logical skill and depth of acute dislectical thinking shown by Sri Vyasaraja  stands almost unrivaled.   His three great works – the Nyayamrutha, Chandrika and Tarka Thandava are remembered by all scholars.

There were a elderly couple  Ramacharya and Lakshmidevi who was living in Bannur village and they were praying to God to give them the blessings for a child. For several years they did not had child and they were also becoming old. However they did not lost their faith and they kept praying to God.

The couple met a saint named  Brahmanya Theerthar and asked him to bless them.  The saint told that they will have a child and they have to give the  child to him.  After some years they had a boy baby and named him as Yathiraja.  After his upanayanam, he was handed over to Brahmanya Theerthar.  Yathiraja learnt all the slokas, vyakarna, kavya and nataka. Then, he  was sent  to Sri Padarayar Gurukula and he learnt all the skills.   During gurukula days, Lord Krishna danced to his song in the puja room.

The saint  Brahmanya Theerthar was impressed by the wide range of the boy’s intellect, his great eloquence, his graceful form and his commanding personality. He gave him Sanyasahram with the name Sri Vyasa Thirtha. One day while he was doing Moola Rama pooja, his enemies tried to poison him.  But, the poison did not produce any effect on his body.

He was sent to the court of Saluva Narasimha of Chandragiri. He performed pooja for Lord Srinivasa at Tirumala hills,for 12 years. Later he went to the court of Vijayanagar.  Sri Krishnadevaraya was the king who looked upon him as his kulaguru and was always ready to carry out his wishes. Due to previous sins that the king made, he had a severe Dosha and this dosha will affect King on a certain amavasya day when he is sitting on the throne. In order to save the King,  Vyasa Rajar became the king for one day and he destroyed the dosha & saved the King.
He strengthened and adorned the Madwa school of thought and brought it in to the highest pinnacle of temporal recognition.  Sri Vyasaraja consecrated 732 idols of Hanuman throughout our bharatha desha. Vyasa Rajar went into brindavan near Nava brindavana which is being visited by several devotees.

 

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407. Ugadhi

Ugadhi is the New Year day for Kannada people. People undertake new ventures during Ugadhi as it is considered to be an auspicious time for doing so.  Legend says that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on the Ugadhi day. He then went on to create days, weeks, months, and years in order to keep track of time. Thus, Ugadhi is believed to be the first day of the creation of the universe.  One of the names of Lord Vishnu is Yugaadikrit, which means the creator of the Yugas or ages. He is worshipped on this day for this reason.

People prepare for this festive occasion by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. When the day dawns, they decorate their houses with mango leaves and rangolis.  Family members take an oil bath and wear new clothes.  Fresh flowers and incense sticks adorn the altar in the households.Then, they perform the ritualistic worship to pray for good health and prosperity in the coming year.  They do puja for the new Panchangam. The Ugadhi Pachchadi is the typical dish associated with the festival. This dish is prepared with jaggery and  neem flowers.

One of the main events of Ugadi is predicting the future. Since this day marks the beginning of a new year, people are too eager to know what’s in store for them. As such, they assemble at the temples to hear to the calendar of events. This event is also known as panchangasravanam.

Happy Ugadhi.

 

406. Vazhaith thandu karamani kootu

vazhai thandu karamani kootu

We  all  know the importance of including fibre in our diet regularly. It helps to keep the digestive system healthy, prevents constipation helps to lower cholesterol levels, controls level of blood sugar and protect against some form of cancer. Plantain stem or vazhaithandu  is a rich source of fibre. We have to take it atleast once in a week.

Ingredients required :

Pasi paruppu – 1/2 cup

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Gingerly oil – 1/4 tsp

Vazhaith thandu – 1 small piece

White Karamani – 2 tsp

Jeera – 1/2 tsp

Red chilly – 4

Coconut grated – 2 tbs

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp

Cooking oil – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – One bunch

Method of preparation :

First, we have to pressure cook pasi paruppu with a punch of turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp of gingerly oil.   Also, we have to cook karamani with little water separately. Then, we have to remove the outer covering of the stem and cut it into rounds removing the thread like fibres with our index finger .Then we have to  chop it into small thin pieces and keep it in diluted buttermilk to prevent discolouration.

In a kadai, we have to put cooking oil and do seasoning with mustard seeds and asafoetida. Then, we can add chopped vazhaith thandu and cook well for 10 minutes.  After grinding red chilly, coconut and jeera, we have to add this mixture in the kadai. Then, we can add cooked pasi paruppu and karamani.  We can add salt and cook for 5 minutes  so that everything get mixed well. Finally, we have to put curry leaves and switch off gas.

This vazhaith thandu karamani kootu can be used with rice or as a side dish for chapathi/puri.

 

405. Chakka Pradhaman(My style)

chakka pradhaman

I prepared Jackfruit payasam which is popularly known as Chakka Pradhaman in my own style. The taste was good and so, I am sharing the recipe with you.

Ingredients required : 

Ripe Jackfruit  pieces(sulai) – 10

Jaggery – 100 gm

Elaichi powder – 1/2 tsp

Ghee – 1 tsp

Grated Coconut – – 100 gm

Cashew – 5

Dried grapes – 10

Milk – 1/2 cup

Method of preparation :

Boil jackfruit pieces with water for 10 minutes and grind it  coarsely.  Take coconut milk 3 times with grated coconut.  Dissolve jaggery in water and  filter it. Keep a kadai and put ghee. Fry cashew and dried grapes & keep aside. In the ghee, now put jackfruit paste and fry for 2 minutes. Then, add jaggery water and elaichi powder. First put 3rd cocunut milk, then 2nd and finally first.  When everything get mixed well, put milk and boil for 2 minutes. Finally, put roased cashew and grapes. Aha, now the tasty chakka pradhaman is ready.

404. Our visit to temples near Villupuram – III

 

On 14th Feb 2018, we started by 6 AM from sister-in-law’s house at Villupuram. First we went to Thirukovilur Ragothamaswamy Brindavanam.  Ragothama swamy is one of the famous saints of madhwa prampara.   It is popular belief that Sri Raghuttama Theertha is a great healer. He was the 14th pontiff during the period of 1537-1596 AD. Thousands of devotees who throng to his Brindavana are standing proof of his divine power and a kind heart to bless his devotees. He has made a dumb speak, mad to be intelligent , childless to beget progeny. We reached ther by 7 AM. We made 12 pradhikshana namaskara   and offered our prayers to Him.

Once Shri Raghuvarya Teertharu of Uttaradhi mutt visited Swarnavata village in the Nizam State. The Zamindar of the village Shri Subba Bhatta and his wife Ganga Bai invited Shri Raghuvarya Teertharu for “Bhiksha” in their house but Swamiji refused their offer because they were childless. After repeated requests made by the couple, Shri Raguvarya Teertharu accepted to receive their Bhiksha provided their first born male child should be handed over to the Mutt. The blessed couple accepted to do so.

Swamiji performed the pooja of Shri Moola Rama and Seetha and received the Bhiksha in their house and gave Phala Mantrakshate to the couple. Some time later, Smt. Ganga Bai, the wife of the Zamindar conceived and Shri Swamiji was informed accordingly. He returend to the village expecting the birth of the child. A big gold plate was sent to the Zamindar’s house from the Mutt with an instruction to receive the child directly in the golden plate without allowing the child to touch the earth.

The child was received in the golden plate and brought to the Mutt. He was named after Shri Ramachandra by his Holiness and brought up at the Mutt itself and was fed only with the Abhishekha milk of the Vyasa Kurma Saligram of the Mutt. When Shri Ramchandra became a boy of seven years he had his Upanayanam at the Mutt and the very next year he was ordained as a sanyasi and named as Shri Raghuttama Teertharu. Sri Raghuttama Teertha was on throne of Uttaradhi mutt for 39 years.

Shri Raghuttama Teertharu desired to enter the Brindavana at Thirukovilur. This place is also known as “Pancha Krishnaranya Kshetra”. Shri Swamiji ordered a Zamindar of Tiruvanamalai in the latter’s dream to construct his Brindavana at a specified place. Shri Raghuttama Teertharu entered Brindavana in 1595 AD on the day of Vaikunta Ekadashi. This place has become a holy seat of pilgrimage and a vast number of devotees belonging to all castes and creeds perform SEVA even today. Shri Raghuttama Teertharu is known to save all souls, all those devotees who had taken refuge in him. None of his devotees seem to have returned in disappointment.

Next, we went to Ulagalandha Permal temple, which is about 1 KM from the Ragothama Swamy Brindavanam. This is one of the 108 Diva Desas of Perumal. Presiding deity of Perumal is made of Tharu wood. Lord Krishna made of Saligrama stone is gracing the devotees  from a separate  shrine.  The thaayar is known as “Poongothai“.

Then, we went to Aadi Thiruvarangam.  Lord Ranganatha is seen in a gigantic east facing sleeping posture and measures over 15 feet, not seen in any Divya Desam.  Lying in a sleeping posture from South to North, Lord Ranganatha has his head on the lap of Sri Devi-on his left, while his left leg is stretched towards Bhoo Devi seen at his feet. To his right is Garuda ever ready to be of service to the Lord.  There is a separate sannidhi for “Ranganayaki Thaayar”. 

Our final visit was to temple at Rishivandhyam.  Here, the presiding deity is Ardhanareeswa swamy (Linga roopam) and  the presiding goddess is  Muthambika.  The baanam ( the lingam ) is swayambhu and is very special as it houses both Lord Shiva and Lordess Parvathi, however one cannot see Parvathi Devi normally. Indra Deva was performing pooja to Lord Shiva on a daily basis with Milk abhishekam, however he would leave without taking dasrshan of Devi Parvathi ! Being offended by the act of Indra Deva, Sri Parvathi devi complained to Lord Shiva, who in turn offered his Left side to Parvathi Devi. While DeveIndra was performing abhiseka,  he saw Parvathi Devi in the left part of the Lingam. Having realized his ignorance,  lord indra sought forgiveness from Devi Parvathi and went to his Loka. Until today one can see Devi parvathi in the Lingam while Honey abhiseka is performed.

We  started our journey back to home,  after visiting many temples surrounding Villupuram.

 

 

 

403. Our visit to temples near Villupuram – II

3 narasimars

On  12–2-2018 evening, we visited Sri Raghavendraswamy Mrithika Brindavanam at Panampattu, Villupuram.  We had very good darshan and  His blessings filled our heart with happiness and contentment.

As per the advice of my sister-in-law and her husband, the next  day, we planned to visit three Narasimha temples on the same day. They also accompanied us and explained all the important facts about these temples, which helped us to have a  pleasant darshan.

The first Narasimha temple we  visited   was at Singirikudi. Legends say that Prahalada  had worshipped Lord Narasimha swamy at Singirikudi.  Prahalada is believed to have come North to Singiri Kudi to invoke the blessings of the Ugra Narasimha Swamy at this Kshetra. The temple is replete with puranic lore.  The presiding deity is Ughra Narasimha with 16 hands.

Nimi Chakravarthy belonging to the solar race was endowed with sharp intellect. A devout person he conducted many yagnas and secured many boons from the Devas. He wanted to perform Indra Yagna for the welfare of mankind. Thus the king approached his guru Vasishta and informed him about the yagna and also requested Vasishta to conduct the yagna. Since Vasishta was reluctant to perform yagna for Indra he expressed his inability to perform but assured that he would visit him the following day.
The king however decided to go ahead with the yagna with help of Sage Koushika, After conducting the yagna successfully he wanted to take rest and retired to his palace. He ordered his guards not to allow anyone to visit him. At this juncture Sage Vasishta wanted to have a rendez vous with the king and asked the guards to allow him into the palace. The guards refused permission. Enraged at this act the Sage cursed the king to loose his identity and wander in the atmosphere without a body. The king knew about the Incident and for his part cursed the Sage like wise. The king felt that it is not proper for a Sage to curse anyone while he is asleep. Thus the sage and the king were roaming in the atmosphere without a body aimlessly. All sages assembled and wished to perform a yagna to redeem them of the curse. But the king did not want to assume his normal self instead he wanted to worship God through eyes of mankind.
Sage Vasishta approached his father Brahma and sought his guidance. The four headed Brahma at once asked him to proceed to Singarkudi and do tapas propitiating Narasimha. As suggested by his father the sage went to Singarkudi and attained salvation through penance. The God pleased with his devotion gave darshan to him. This place is called Singarkudi as the presiding deity is Singaperumal or Narasimha.  The Lord’s birth star Swathi is celebrated on a grand scale. This is a prarthana sthala.

The Goddess Mahalakshmi resides here with the name “Kanakavalli Thaayar” blesses all the devotees with Her kindness.

Next, we went to Poovarasankuppam. This temple is approximately 1200 years old. This is a spot where he is said to have given darshan to the seven rishis along with his consort. Lord Narasimhar took an instant incarnation as human-lion God, answering the prayers of his bhaktha – Prahalada to slay the demon king – Hiranyakasibu. After slaying the king, his anger did not subside and he roamed all over India. On the Northern shore of the river South Pennai in SouthIndia known as Dakhshin Pinnakini, the “Saptha Rishi’ or Seven rishis prayed to the Lord to have his darshan.

However, the rishis could not bear the intensity of heat emitting from the Lord and requested his consort to calm him down. Goddess Amirthavalli, obliged and sat on the Lord’s lap and looked at him with one eye and the rishis with the other. This act of the Goddess Lakshmi brought a soothing and tranquil effect on the Lord. To this day, it is only at this temple in the whole world does the Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar appear in such a pose. This pose where the Goddess, looks at the bhakthas and her Lord simultaneously is believed to be having a conversation with the Lord presenting the bhaktha’s petitions to him.

Finally, we came to Parikkal.  As per a legend, a king, Vasantharaja by name was a strong devotee of Lord Narasimha and wanted to build a temple for his Lord.  He organized necessary Yagnas for three nights headed by his Guru Sage Vamadeva.  Many kings responded to his invitation and gathered there.  When the Yagnas were about to begin, demon Parikalasuran came with his army to destroy the proceedings.  The Guru immediately prepared a talisman with the Mantras, Arakshara and Amirthakshara, tied in the hands of the king and hid him in a bush.  Yet the demon attacked the king with his battle axe.

Rising to rescue his devotee, Lord Narasimha destroyed Parikalasuran with all flaming fury. As the Lord destroyed Parikalasuran here, the place is called Parikkal. King Vasantharaja begged the Lord to be ever calm to grace the devotees approaching his feet.  Lord obliged.  Divine Sculptor Vishwakarma made the idol which Sage Vamadeva installed here.  Lord, with Mother grace the devotees.

Then, we returned to  my sister-in-law’s house at Villupuram.

402. Our visit to temples near Villupuram – I

 

We(Me and my husband)  started on Monday, the  12th February 2018 by 5.40 AM from our house by car.  The horrified thing on our journey are frequent toll charges  and bad roads, indeed. We could reach Sri Mushnam by 11 AM.

The temple is dedicated to  Bhu Varaha Swamy, the boar- avatar of the god  Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi as Ambujavalli Thayar.  Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Chariot festival, celebrated during the tamil month of Vaikasi (April–May), being the most prominent. The festival also symbolises Hindu-Muslim unity in the region – the flag of the chariot is provided by Muslims; they take offerings from the temple and present to Allah in the mosques.

As per the legend, The demon king Hiranyaksha stole the earth and took it to his realm of the netherworld. The earth-goddess Bhudevi prayed to Vishnu to rescue her. Pleased, Vishnu appeared here in the form of Varaha, a boar, killed the demon. The sweat of the demon king dropped here, creating the temple tank. In his dying wish, the demon king asked Vishnu to turn towards his direction; Vishnu obliged. The central icon faces towards the demon in the South, while his human body faces the devotees in the West. The festival icon, Yagya Varahaswamy, as requested by Bhudevi displays the regular features of Vishnu with his conch and Chakra in his hands. The temple is considered one of the eight Sywayambu Kshetras of Vishnu where presiding deity is believed to have manifested on its own.

The towering ‘Ashwatha tree‘, houses a famous 850 years old powerful Ashwatha Narayanaswamy Temple with Lord Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy as its primary deity.  Lord Sri Hari is in the form of Aswatha Tree.  The tree will look like the shape of Lord Sri Bhu Varaha by itself. It is said Lord while taking the avatara as Varaha was first appeared in this sacred tree then he sat at the temple.  If a person goes round this tree  with sincere bhakthi, his sins will get removed completely. If Unmarried then he/she will get married, If couple don’t have children will get beautiful child, if there is a loss in business/professional life will become wealthy. All will come only when he/she goes around and prays Lord Sri Narayana(Bhu Varaha). All kind of navagraha doshas will get parihara if one goes around this sacred tree. It is the truth and there is no doubt in that.

After visiting this temple, we reached my sister-in-law’s house at Villupuram by 2.30 PM.  I will  talk more in my next blog.

400. Lunar eclipse 2018

lunar eclipse 2018

Total lunar eclipses are  sometimes called Bluemoons because of the reddish orange glow of the moon takes on during the eclipse.  A total lunar eclipse occured on January 31, 2018.  The moon was near its perigee on January 30 and so may be described as a  Supermoon.  It is a second fullmoon in the calender month of 2018. Lunar eclipse 2018 was more special because for the first time in 152 years, a supermoon (when the moon is unusually closer to earth), a blue moon (a second full moon in a calendar month) and a blood moon (a moment during an eclipse when the moon turns red)  coincides.

On that day, a total eclipse of the Moon was visible from eastern Europe, eastern Africa, Asia,   Australia, the Pacific Ocean and North America. During this lunar eclipse, the full Moon  passed through the Earth’s shadow (or umbra) lasting around 5 hours and 10 minutes from beginning to end. The Moon  slowly turned from its familiar pearly white color to a reddish colour then back to its original colour all over a period of around five hours.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) broadcasted live images of the Super Blue Blood Moon 2018 phenomena, on NASA TV. The moon  not only appeared red in colour, but was slightly bigger and brighter than usual during the eclipse.

It is believed that eating foods during the lunar eclipse may have harmful effects on the body. One must have light foods that are easy to digest. On this day, our body has a cooling effect, which in turn makes our digestive system slow and produces lesser digestive juices. So,  it is  recommended that we shouldn’t be eating too many heavy foods. Moon is water and our body has 72 percent water; which means the change in the moon will also bring a change in the brain and body. During this day, people go through emotional changes too. We must practice meditation and deep breathing exercises to ensure the day goes by easily.

 

 

399. Mudakathan Keerai(Balloon Vine Plant) Chutney

mudakathan keerai chutney

Nowadays, many people suffer with joint pain.  The best remedy for this problem is taking mudakathan keerai, atleast weekly once in our diet.  Mudakathan keerai also treats all cold and cough related problems. This is a very safe herb that can be used even for treating children’s cough & cold. It can also be used to treat ear pain, menstrual cramps, general tiredness and sluggishness.

I tried a simple dish using mudakathan keerai and it was good. So, I wish to share the recipe with you.

Ingredients required for mudakathan keerai chutney :

Mudakathan keerai –  One bunch

Channa dal – 1/2 tsp

Urud dal – 1/2 tsp

Red chilly – 4

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Cooking Oil – 1/2 tsp

Mustard Oil – 1/2 tsp

Method of preparation :

In a kadai,  put 1/4 tsp cooking oil and roast channa dal, urud dal and  red chilly.  Remove  the ingredients from the kadai. Put a little of cooking oil again and  add mudakathan keerai.  After five minutes, remove it from the kadai. Grind roasted dals and keerai with salt. Season mustard seeds  and add to the chutney.  This chutney can be used as a side dish for tiffin items as well as with curd rice.