http://www.achalam.com/bhajanasampradaayam/sampradaayam.htm Even though chanting or singing the Lord's name without following any order of performance will suffice (Deveotional Songs), systematic performance will always benefit. Even for our worldly activities, we list out the steps to be followed to achieve anything. A Samprdaayam is the established practice or custom or method of doing any act in a prescribed manner Thus came the Sampradaayam in Bhajan also.
Our Gurus have evolved a method for doing Bhajan, which we have to follow meticulously, if we have to derive the benefit. The Songs, Lyrics, Raagaas and the method of singing them etc. should be strictly followed as each of these elements have a definite meaning and purpose. The Raagaas chosen have a direct relationship with the lyrics and the lyrics have a definite meaning, which is in praise of the Lord or will be a prayer from the Bhaktha to the Lord. If we try to change the lyrics or raagaas, the entire purpose or objective of the songs is lost. Moreover, we are not competent to correct or change what is given by our Gurus, who have prepared them with self-experience and after going through the Bhava Rasa. Moreover, the Sampradaayam was evolved to the shape what it is today by our Gurus after a great amount of reasearch and analysis and the present Sampradaayam is a comprehensive system encompassing various practices followed by many bhakthaas in all over India. Our Gurus have travelled throughout India and collected the great works of Bhakthaas and Sanths and have given a well codified systematic Sampradaayam, which we have no right to alter.
For different topics, please click on the above links and read them as you choose. For knowing about different Paddhathis, please click on the links given below and go to the respective sections. May you flourish in Bhakthi by following the Sampradaayam strictly as given by our Gurus.
As there are Trinities in Carnatic Music (Thyaagaraaja Swamigal, Muthuswami Deekshithar & Shyama Sasthrigal), so also in Dakshina Bhajan Sampradaayam field, there are three Gurus (Govindapuram Bodhendra Swamigal, Thiruvisanallur Shridhara Venkateswara Iyyavaal and Marudaanallur Sadguru Swamigal), who have prescribed Naama Japam and Bhajan as the only source for Mukthi in Kaliyuga. They knew that in Kaliyuga people will not be able to engage themselves in Dhyana, Yaaga, Yajna, Tapas, Pooja etc. etc. as done in Krita, Thretha and Dwapara Yugaas, which are too time consuming and needs more spending. They have evolved a method which is so easy to follow and is definite in results.
Bodhendra Swaamigal was the 59th Pontiff of the Kanchi Kaaamakoti Peettam, who came in the lineage of Aadi Sankara Bhagawat Paada. He propagated RAAMA NAAMA Japam as the way to achieve salvation. Being a Sanyasi, he had to restrict himself by giving out upadesa. He preached that Naama is superior to Naami, i.e. the name is first and then the roopam. The name Raama has an origin prior to the birth of Raama and was selected by Rishi Vasista. The sanctity of RAAMA Naama is that when we utter "RAA", the mouth opens which allows all our sins to go out and when we utter "MA", the mouth closes so that no more evil speech or though will enter into us. He stated that the name Raama denotes "always in Bliss", which is not pleasure that we enjoy at our Body, Mind and Intellectual level.
Shreedhara Venkateswara Iyyavaa was a contemporary to Sri Bodhendra Swamigal, was a Siva Bhaktha and he has rendered many kritis in praise of Siva as also in praise of Krishna. He was propagating Siva Bhakthi through his Naama Prachaarams. Shreedhara Iyyavaal was a Gruhastha and moved, leaving his wealth and belongings, from one place to another with his mother and wife, but following his Nithya Karma as a Bhagavatha (including daily Bhajans and Unchavruthi). Finally he settled in the village Thiruvisanallur. He is said to be the incarnation of Siva
Once, while performing Shraadha for his father, Shreedhara Iyyavaal offered the food prepared for the Brahmins to a Bhikshaka, who was hungry and who was an outcaste. This shows that Shree Sridhara Iyyaaval was so deep rooted in Bhakthi and compassion towards the sufferings of others irrespective of what comes to him, even a sin. At the behest of the Purohits assembled there, he was to take bath in ganges and re-prepare the food and do shradha again. Though to show his devotion and spiritual power, it is said that through his song, composed and sung by him with deep rooted Bhakthi, he could bring Ganges into the well at his residence, which occasion is being celebrated even today once in a year.
The Priests and Bhagawathaas in the village complained to the King that Shreedhara Iyyavaal is converting everyone sas Shaivites and wanted to punich him. While the procession of Sri Krishna was taken out in the village and when it came to the door steps of the house of Shreedhara Iyyaval, he came out and offered prasaadam to Lord and took Aarati. Thus he proved that there is no diffrerence in Shivites and Vaishnavites and both Gods are the same. He has composed songs in various gods, which are being sung today in our Sampradaayams. It is the Maruthanallur Satguru Swamigal who gave us the original Sampradaayam, which is being followed by the present day Bhajanists, though with additions made by later Bhagavathaas.
arudaanallur Sri Sadguru Swamigal, born to Venkata- subramania dampathis after about 100 years of Bodhendra Swamigal's Samaadhi and originally named as Venkata- ramana, was said to be the re-incarnation of Sri Raama. He was duly initiated into Brahmacharya and Gruhastha Ashramaas, being married to Janaki.
Sadguru Swamigal was engaged in Bhakthi Maarga by singing the names of God. He was the one who identified the Samaadhisthal of Bhagavan Naama Bodhendra Swamigal in the Cauveri river bed in Govindhapuram (Kumbakonam), which was earlier washed away by flood waters and people did not care for it. Ordained by fate, he decided to discover the Samaadhi by tying his legs (nay he may stamp on the samaadhi) and rolling on the river bed. He heard the chanting of "Raama Raama" at one particular location and decided that it should be the samaadhisthal of Sri Bodhendraal, which he wished to re-build surrounded by a beautiful Brindaavan. However, Sadguru Swamigal, being a gruhastha with no financial backing, approached the then Maratta King Sri Sarabhoji Mahaaraja (the ardent disciple of Samartha Raamadaas - a Raama Bhaktha), who financed the project of diverting the flow of the river a little away and to build an Adhishtaanam at the spot where he Samaadhi was found.
Sri Sadguru Swamigal followed the Bhagavatha Dharmaanushtanam meticulously and travelled throughout India and observed and collected the songs composed and sung regularly by various Bhakthaas/Sants in their own languages such as Hindi, Maratti, Thelugu, Kannada, Tamizh,Malayalam and Sanskrit, the Saptha Bhaasha. The Bhakthaas who have rendered/sung songs/slokaas can be classified as: Thukkaraam, Naamdev, Gorakkumbha, Santh Gnaneswar, Gnaanaabai, etc. in Maharashtra; Purandaradas, Kanakadas etc. in Karnataka; Meerabai in Rajasthan; Kabirdas, Thulsidas etc.in Uttar Pradesh; Jayadevar in Orissa, Chaithanya Mahaa Prabhu in Bengal; Raamadas, Annamaacharyar, Narayana Theerthar etc. in Andhra; Sri Narsi Mehta in Gujarath; Aazhvaargal, Naayanmaargal, Bondhendraal, Sridhara Ayyavaal,Sadhasiva Brahmendral, Thyaagaraaja, Gopalakrishna Bharathi etc.in Thamil Naadu, and many others.
He felt that to involve people in Bhakthi Marga, there must be unity and he compiled the songs sung by the above Bhakthaas in various languages, codified them into a Paddhathi and made it his daily routine. What a herculean task! This brings out the theory of Unity in Diversity. What a best method of National Integration. Marudaaanallur Sadguru Swaamigal was the one who provided us the basic Dakshina Sampradaaya Bhajan paddhathi by incorporating songs in different languages, which came to stay as the basic Paddhathi Krama that are in use today.The Sampradaayam prescribed by Sadguru Swaamigal is found in original Ola Chuvadi in the Mattam and at Bodhendral Mattam and about 60 years ago it was publshed in Grandhaksharam by Thillai Sthanam Narasimha Bhagavathar under the title : BHAJANOTHSAVA PADDHATHI. Later, in Chennai Sri Kothandarama Swamigal published an elaborate Paddhathi in Thelugu. Again, Thiruvayaar Nagaraja Bhagavathar brought out a short publication of this in Thamizh for the first time. Later Udumalaipettai Ramakrishna Bhagavathar has brought out a somewhat elaborate Paddhathi in Thamizh, which used to be followed widely all over India.
Thus, Sri Maruthanallur Satguru Swamigal is the one who has given us the Basic Bhajana Sampradaaya Paddhathi, though added and developed by the later Bhagavathaas as said above. Even today, there is his Mattam in Maruthanallur Village, which is administered by his lineage, who are spreading the fame of Satguru Swamigal.
Even today, to show our indebtedness to these Bhajan Trinities, we sing in praise of these three Gurus (a must) at the beginning of our Bhajan Paddhathi (Guru Keethanam). Normally, the Guru Keerthanams should be in praise of these Gurus and not the songs sung by them. However, if such keerthans in praise of them are not available or not known to us, it is perfect if we sing the songs rendered by them in Guru Keethanam.
Pudukkottai Sri Gopalakrishna Bhagavatha Swamy, born on Friday 04.10.1892 (Nandana Varuzham Purattasi Maadham 30th day Krishna Paksha Navami in Aashlesha Nakshathram) to Smt.Meenakshi Ammal and Sri Sundaresa Ayya staying in Vallavari Village (Aranthangi Taluka, Trichy Dist., Tamil Nadu) and he was named as Venkata Gopalakrishnan. In his early age itself he learnt Thelugu, Sankrit, Thamizh languages, Music and had Manthropadesam from his brother-in-law. He attained the Lord's feet on Friday, 30/04/1971 Virodikruthu Varzham Chithirai month 17th day).
Appa strictly followed the Bhagavatha Dharma literally by doing Nithyavrutthi, Raama Naama Japam, Unchavrutthi, Bhajan and Dolothsavam on a daily basis.. He was a staunch Narasimhopaasaka & was conducting till his niryaana, Narasimha Jyanthi every year in Pudukkottai, which he chose as his abode. His compassion, Daya, Daakshinya, Egoless status, Samabhaava, Santha Swabhaava etc. established him as a real Santh.
After Sri Maruthanallur Satguru Swamigal, in recent times, Pudukkottai Sri Gopalakrishna Bhagavatha Swamy (fondly known as Appa) has done an yeoman service to the world of Bhajan by addiding to and propagating the original Sampradaayam prescribed by the trinities of Bhajan. He used to visit various bhajan programmes of learned Bhagavathaas of his time and got involved in it. Later he travelled all over India and participated in many Bhajans.
The additions and changes made by him to the original Pddhathi is praiseworthy. He added more songs composed by Bhagavathaas & Sanths of his time all over India in various languages and expanded the original Paddhathi. A few Kruthis of Oothukkadu Venkatasubbayyar, which are famous for their bhava & Bhakthi were added as they are also best suited for Abhinaya. Sri He excelled in these activities through total involvent with Bhaava and Bhakthi and with Dance and Abhinaya in the Bharata Naatya method, which he had learnt. This has attraced many Bhakthaas and followers towards him, because even those who are not able to follow the verses sung or not knowing the meaning of them could involve themselves fully while attending his Bhajans. Because of his total involvement and Bhakthi/ Bhaava, his abhinaya conveyed the meanings of these songs. Today, visual education is easier than vocal and this method is followed in almost all walks of life. Sri Appa achieved this objective very efficiently in his Bhajans. His eyes had a tremendous Vasya (attraction) power, which poured anugraha to Bhakthaas. After Kanchi Mahaa Periyavaal and Sri Ramana Maharshi, I have seen the powerful eyes only with Sri Appa. As he followed the Bhagavatha Dharma, he imbided certian occult powers(Tapo Phalam) which he never propagated. But those blessed ones who are destined to be cured/blessed by Sri Appa, automatically got it.
Sri Appa has revolutionised the Dolothsava Paddhathi of Saint Thyaagaraaja by adding important and apt songs from Pawwalimbu Uthsavam to it, in order to enjoy the essense of it on a daily basis, instead of on Kalyaanams or after finishing 24 Ashtapadi songs. Many of the songs from Pawwalimbu do fit in well in the Dolotsavam,. Knowing the import of these songs, and the Bhakthirasam in them, he enacted it and enjoyed the essence of it in the philosophical sense. This is indeed a treasure for bhakthaas who excel in Bhakthi and enjoy the essence of Lord's Leela. He had initiated a few deserving Bhajnists into Suthropadesam and I am one of those lucky ones.
Today there are a few Bhajana Sampradaayams in existence, like (Bodhendra) Madatthu Sampradayam Thiruvisa Nallur Sampradaayam, Marudaanallur Sampradaayam, Pudukkottai Sampradaayam, Krishna Premi Sampradaayam etc. Though there are slight differences in these Sampradayams, all of them have the same main theme as provided by Sri Sadguru Swamigal. Whichever Sampradaayam we follow, we should do justification by following the tenets prescribed by that Sampradaayam. We should not indulge in grading these Sampradaayams. The authors of these Sampradaayams were following them strictly as per rules on a daily basis. In my opinion, a real Bhagawatha has to perform, apart from his Nithyavrutthis, the Unchavrutthi, Paddhathi Bhajan and, Dolothsavam on a daily basis. The entire Bhajana Sampradaayam is grouped into various Paddhathis. However, in the present day situation, due to time factor and lack of knowledge, the full paddhathi could not be/are not being followed in toto but parts of which are performed at different times. Based on the present state of affairs, the various parts can be grouped under two major Groups: I have based the following Padhdhathi mainly based on Sri Appa's Paddhathi.
PADDHATHI BHAJAN:(Basic) THODAYA MANGALAM Ist Part GURUDHYAANAM ) GEETHA GOVINDAM ) 2nd part THARANGINI ) OTHER GURUS ) POOJOPACHAARAM 3rd part DHYAANAM 4th part
SPECIAL BHAJAN: DIVYANAAMAM 5th Part DOLOTHSAVAM 6th Part UNCHAVRUTTHI ) KALYAANA UTHSAVAM ) VASANTHOTHSAVAM ) 7th Part Poorna Ashtapathi Paddhathi is prescribed to be peformed before Kalyana Utsavam.
Significance of Sampradaayam: Our Hindu culture prescribes Seven main Samskaaraas: Jasthakaranam & Jaathakaranam, Chowlam, Upanayanam, Marriage, Seemantham, Shashtiabhdha Poorthy, Sathabhishekam. although the Samskaraas prescribed by Sanatana Dharma vary from 16, 24 or 42 etc. as per various schools of thoughts. Even in our marriages, there is an Angam as SAPTHAPADI", which is the proof of marriage, apart from Kanyaka Daanam and Panigrahanam. (Unless Sapthapadi is conducted, it is not considered as a valid marriage even by the Hindu Law). Spiritual evolution (if proper spiritual evolution is considered to be taking place) should pass through these stages: Baalyam, Kawmaaram, Brahmacharyam, Gruhastham, Vaanaprastham, Sanyaasam, Samaadhi, which in Kaliyuga, is not attainable, as the Dharmaas in each stage cannot be observed and the samskaaraas are not being followed stictly. Namasamkeerthana is said to be the Maarga for salvation in Kaliyuga, which is simple to follow, easy to observe and definite in its result. What is required is sincereity in approach, concntration and Bhakthi Bhaava, total surrender to the Lord without Ego and with minimum Nithya Karmaanushtaanams prescribed for Kaliyuga Dharma. As there are seven main samskaras (minimum), so also I view the Sampradaaya Bhajan Paddhathi grouped into seven parts as above, for attaining salvation. This sampradaayam is a conglomoration of Slokams & Keethanams composed ands ung by various Bhakthaas/Sanths/Bhagavathaas with a definite meaning and purpose. If we want to follow them, naturally we have to adhere to the rules set therein.
Vedantic view of of the Paddhathi:
As I see it, having perfected ourselves with Sathwic Vichaar, enabled by the Pooja Paddhathi & Dhyaanam, we qualify for a vision of the Lord. By performing Deepa Pradakshinam, we get the vision of the Lord, go close to the Lord by enacting His leelaas and by being in company with Him through Bhakthi Bhaava. Through Gopikaa Geetham, we enjoy the Madhura Bhaava, suffer the pangs of separation due to our Ego, practice Bhakthi and total surrender and get the knowledge that Jeevaathma and Paramaathma are one and without Paramaathma, nothing exists. Through Dolothsavam, we merge with the Lord in the form of Nidhidhyaasan and get established in the Paramaathma Tathwa. This is possible only if we grasp the Philosophical meaning of these paddhathis and put them into practice. Let me hasten to add that while externally we may, through singing/abhinaya/dance, depict the various bhaavaas, inwardly we should be able to keep the above Vedantic stature for a full experience of spiritual anubhavam.
While we cannot avoid doing work to earn our livelihood and do our Dharma as a Gruhastha, we should always bear in mind that our(Jeevaathmaas') origin is Paramaathma Thathwa and we should always aim at spiritual evolution by doing our karma in the world with pure mind, unattached, without Ego, with Daya towards others, serving humanity in whatever way we can and singing in praise of God always, lead a pious and simple life, so that our real AIM is ever shining in our mind and we try to achieve it before casting away this body in this birth. The only way for this is NAAMA SANKEERTHANAM as prescribed by elders.
The Sampradaayam was propagated in the 19th/20th centuries by a few Bhagavathaas like Maruthanallur Venkatrama Bhagavathar, Pudukkottai Gopalakrishna Bhagavathar (lovingly known as APPA by his followers), T.V.Narayana Sasthri, T.M.Ramakrishna Iyengar, Abhedananda etc., to mention only a few, who have published Sampradaaya Bhajan Padhathi books with a few additions of songs rendered by other Bhaagavathaas of their time, according to the time change. These Bhagavathaas followed the Bhagavatha Dharma strictly. They have spread Sampradaaya Bhajans throughout India. Late Sri Pudukkottai Sanjeevi Bhagavathar (son of Sri Gopaala Krishna Bhagavathar), followed his father's footsteps in spreading Nama Sankeerthan with daily Upaasana till the end of his lifetime. Sri Haridas Giri also strived to spread the Bhajana Sampradaayam by his Bhajans and Upanyaasams in India & Abroad during his lifetime. He established various samajams called "Gnananada Samaajams".
Apart from the above Bhagavathaas, there are many Bhagavathaas and Samajams, who are propagating the Dakshina Sampradaaya Bhajan Paddhathi in the present days. I would like to name a few of them with whom I have come in contact with. Delhi Subbarama Bhagavathar, Bhopal A.L. Krishnamoorthy Bhagavathar, Sethu Madhava Rao, Kanpur Mahadeva Bhagavathar, Sathalapathy Govindaraaja Bhagavathar, Thiruvisanallur Ramakrishna Bhagavathar, Naamananda Giri, Sri O.S.Sundar, Erode Rajamani, Odayalur Kalyaana Raaman,Thanjavur Thyaagaraajan, Srivanchiyam Murali, Kovai Jayaraman are engaged in the promotion of Sampradaaya Bhajan thoroughout India or/and abroad. Sri Manjapra Mohan, Melarkodu Vaithy , Jayan & Vijayan and a few others are spreading devotion through their Naamasankeerthanams. Sri Jaikrishna Dikshithar Avargal is promoting Nama Sankeerthan through his discourses on Bhaktha Vijayam and Bhajans.Sri Thukaraam Ganapathy Avargal is spreading Naama Bhakthi through his Abhang songs with Upanyaasam on Bhakta Vijayam.
In Mumbai, Sri Nurani Chuppamani Avargal (instrumental in spreading Deepa Pradakshinam in Mumbay), Late Sri Rangnathan Avargal of Hariharaputhra Bhajan Samaj, Bombay Hari Avargal, BorivliI Srinivasan Avargal, Bombay Murthy,Late Kalina Ramamurthy, Mulund Bhajan Samaj, Sri Pudukkottai Narasimha Jayanthi Kainkarya Samithi, Gnanananda Mandali, SriSri Anna Bhajana Mandalis, Gharodianagar Bhajan Samaj, to mention a few, have been involved in spreading Sampradaaya Bhajan. Nama Sankeerthana Sangh (Chandran & Party) is striving to spread Naama Sankeerthana through their devotional songs programms. Abhang Ratna Sri Ganesh Kumar Avargal of Mumbai is engaged in Naama sankeethana prachaaram through his Abhang Bhajans. Late Kalyan Krishnamoorthy Avargal had strived to unite many samaajams and individuals in spreadding the Pudukkottai Paddhathi. There are many other samaajams conducting regular Bhajans in their Samajam premises.
Sri Krishna Premi Maharaj's (lovingly called ANNA), contribution to the propagation of Bhajans Sampradaayam through his Bhagavatam discourses and Bhajans, Deepa Pradakshinams and Raadha Kalyaanams embracing all the Sampradaayams need a special mention. The books written by him on our culture are innumerable, the translations provided for many Grandhaas are immeasurable, the Bhajana songs composed by him in different languages are uncountable and the discourses rendered by him are incalculable. He has composed innumerable books on Puranic/Philosophical topics and has brought out a Unique Bhajan Paddhathi followed by his followers today, mainly in Sanskrit. He is engaged in Puranuddhaaranam work of Govindapuram, Thiruvisanallur and Marudanallur mattams, which have been neglected and are in a bad shape. He has also collected books containing Raamanaamas writen by devotees and have deposited in the Raama Naama Banks at Nasik, Pandarpur, Brindawan, Chitrakud, Govindapuram etc., which goes into Crores of Raama Naamas. He has recently - in April 2003 - found out the Adhishtaanam of Sri Vijayagopaala Swamigal, who sung various songs in divyanaama sankeerthanam and particularly the song "Devesa gana Araadhitha divyaambhuja paadhaa" in thodaya mangalam. It exists in Polagam, which is a small village in Nagapattinam Taluk near Thirupugazhur and ThiruKannapuram. It is gathered that fifty years back the Aradhana of Sri Vijaya Gopala swamy used to take place in Polagam and the Adhishtanam used to exist in the banks of river Thirumalrayan in Polagam. Really a great achievement in a life time of Sri Sri Anna. Thus he is rendering yeoman service to the Bhajana Sampradaaya and Naama Prachaara.
There are many others, who are not left out purposely but with whom I have not been directly associated with and/or about whom I do not have full details or direct knowledge and hence not listed individually. I acknowledge all such individuals and Samajams for their service in spreading the Sampradaayam/Naama Sankeerthanam.
The Paddhathi Bhajan:
From the Paddhathi Kramam given in the Sampradaaya Bhajan section, we notice that though the entire sampradaaya is included in the above Paddhathi Krama, we normally refer to Paddathi (Basic) as the Paddhathi Bhajan and Divyanaamam onwards as Special Bhajan Paddhathis. This is because Poorna Ashtapadi, Deepa Pradakshinam, Unchavrutthi, Kalyaanams, Vasanthothsavam etc. necessarily are preceded by Thodaya Mangalam, Guru Keerthans and Daasarvaal Krithis (including Ashtapadi and Tharangam ). Hence this has stayed as PADDATHI BHAJAN.. Dhyaana Bhajan may be performed without the Paddathi Bhajan (Basic). Importance of PADDHATHI BHAJAN (Basic):
Why Paddhathi and what is the importance of performing Bhajan in the given order? Every activity is preceded by a planning of the objective, how to approach the goal, the method, the steps to go through, etc. There is a discipline to be followed in each of such activities. Even in serving food or the method of intake, there is a step by step process - what to serve first, what next and what last etc. The taste of food, if all the dishes are mixed together and taken, is different from tasting each dish separately. We enjoy more by tasting each dish separately. Are we not following these in our daily life? What do we do when we want some great personality to visit us? First we praise him and invite him to our house. He may not agree as we are strangers. So we go through someone best known to both of us, who prevails upon him to accept the invitation. When he comes, we receive him with pomp and show and make him comfortable. After washing his feet, we make him seated and host him by offering fruits and other eatables and something to drink or eat. Then we mix with him and chat, be friendly with him, enjoying his company. We pray to him for his blessings/seek from him what we want. Then we make him rest for a while and wake him up and then he leaves. When we seek someone's favour, we have to go through these formalities to please him first.Similarly, in Bhajan Sampradaaya, we have an order of performance for proper enjoyment.
First we think of God by praising his qualities and gunaas and do vandanam (Thodaya Mangalam). To get him with us, we seek the grace and help of Guru for which we sing in praise of Guru (Guru Keerthanam). Guru preaches the attainments of Daasarvaals like Jayadeva, Naaraayana Theertha, Badraachala Ramadaas, Purandaradasa etc. etc. who have got the grace of God through Naama Sankeerthanam and we follow their method by singing their keerthans (Daasarvaal Keerthanams). This is because, it is easy to approach God through the footsteps of Gurus and Bhakthaas. Then, we invite him to come to us and on his appearance, we perform Pooja and Archana (Pooja Paddhathi and Upachaara Keerthanam). We cannot stand the site of formless, nameless, omnipotent and omniscient God and we need Divya Chakshus to visualise the vision of God. Our Guru teaches us as to how to prepare for it. He prepares us to do meditation on Swaroopa Dhyaana (seeing God in different roopaas). As we fondle a child by bedecking it with different costumes and make-ups and enjoy its varied appearances, so we venture to get God's vision in the form of Ganapathy, Saraswathi, Subramanya, Ayyappa, Siva, Parvathy, Rama, Krishna, Vittal, Govinda, Hanumaan etc. etc. by singing in praise of them (Dhyaanaam). This is because Swaroopa Dhyaana is easier compared to Aroopa Dhyaanam (formless). Paddhathi Bhajan thus is the first stepping stone for spiritual evolution through Bhakthi Marga.
Paddhathi Bhajan can be equated to Swaroopa Dhyaanam of the Vedantic method, since through Paddhathi Bhajan, we are meditating on various forms of God (Swaroopa Dhyaanam) through songs, which give us more opportunity to go near the God. Paddhathi Bhajan, if performed well, with the right bent of mind, following the given order, will lead to perfection and higher heights in Bhakthi marga.
Though the songs to be taken up in this padhathi are not given in full, an attavanai, containing the title of the songs to be taken up and the order of performance has been given in separate attavanais in downloadable PDF formats, so that it may be handy for those who would like to use the same. Click here to go to the Attavanai section.
:SAMASTHA SANMANGALAANI SANTHU :
DEEPA PRADAKSHINA PADDHATHI
DEEPA PRADAKSHINA PADDHATHI
The Process of Deepa Pradakshinam:
Deepa Pradakshinam is widely spoken as Divyanaamam. As the entire Paddhathi is full of Lord's Divya Naamam, it is preferable to call this Paddhathi as Deepa Pradakshinam instead of Divyanaamam. Therefore, wherever the word Divyanaamam appers hereafter, please read it as Deepa Pradakshinam. Once we have the vision of God (through Paddhathi Bhajan), our philosophical knowledge gets ripened and then we are able to go near God and make friendship by dancing in ecstasy, enacting God's Leela and be in his company (Deepa Pradakshinam). Once we are fixed thus in our Bhakthi, we forget our worldly self and enjoy full bliss but our Ego does not get annihilated. It only gets converted from Rajasic Ego (based on our materialistic attachments) to Saathwic Ego (possessiveness of God - based on our philosophical attachment). Now God helps us to cast away this Positive Ego also by disappearing for a while to make us realise the importance of His presence. Then when we lament, realising the truth (Gopikaa Geetham), and totally surrender to Him (Saranaagathi song), Lord appears and mingles with us in (Raasa Kreeda songs), whereby he makes us realise that God is present in every human being unattached and unbound and He again shines separately as the center of activity. Finally we try to merge with God (Dolothsavam).The process prescribed by our scriptures for attaianing this is beautifully brought out by the following sloka:
The process of repeatedly hearing the deeds of God (SRAVANAM), doing Japam or singing in praise of HIM (KEERTHANAM), dwelling in His Leelaas (SMARANAM) Pouring Bhakthi onto His feet and serving him (PAADA SEVANAM), performing pooja (ARCHANAM), prostrating before him (VANDANAM), Serving him without Ego (DAASYAM), gaining his friendship (SAKHYAM), surrendering totally unto HIM (AATHMA NIVEDANAM) is aimed at the culmination of human evolution (Mukthi).
While in Paddhathi Bhajan, Bhagavathaas sit and sing the bhajan , in Deepa Pradakshinam, there is also an additional element, where Bhakthaas dance (Nrithya) and enact the leelaas of the Lord (Abhinaya) around the lit Brass lamp (five faceted). In the present day situations, Deepa Pradakshinam is performed on Saturdays, special occasions like Saturdays of Purattasi month, Gokulashtami, Ramanavami etc. The Lord from Sanctum is brought to the lamp in the form of Jyothi (by Aavaahana Manthram). We do Deepa Pooja and place the lamp in the center of the hall and sing in praise of Him. Bhakthaas, along with the songs, enact the leelaas of God by dancing around the Pancha Mukha Deepam (placed in the center of the hall), in tune with the meaning of the song. This is to enable one to concentrate on the theme and forget one's self during Deepa Pradkshinam and try to tune up with the Godly principle. It is also necessary to precede special Bhajan with Paddhathi Bhajan, which is the basic Paddhathi for all other systems. DEEPA PRADAKSHINAM, compared to Paddhathi Bhajan, gives more chance for participation by one and all either in singing, dancing, abhinaya etc. , wherein we forget ourselves and feel the presence of the Lord amongst us and prepares us to have Samabhaavana as we are able to mix up with other Bhakthaas/Bhagavathaas without ego.
Importance of Panchmukha Deepam:
The lamp (made of brass) used for Deepa Pradakshinam contains a great thathwa. Symbolically the round bowl shaped top portion of the lamp (Agal) represents our Mind, the five facets with five pairs of Wicks represent our Indriyaas (5 Gnaanendriyaas and 5 Karmendriyaas), the Ghee poured in the bowl represents our Bhakthi, the stoopa shaped short portion (Naaraayam) pointing upwards and emanating from the center of the bowl represents Guru. The bowl is supported by a stand with artistic moulds (Body) and this stand gets the support of a big round shaped bottom plate (World), holding the body and the top portion. Guru shows the way UP for salvation. Finally when we light the lamp on all five facets, the Jyothi representing God is considered as the object of meditation. How?
All thoughts are emanating in the mind and the thoughts are generated by the Vishayaas that are brought by Gnaanendriyaas from the world outside. The thought process culminates in directions addressed to the Karmendriyaas, which perform the actions in the world outside. Each action depends on the quality of our thoughts and the results again on the quality of our actions. So if the thoughts are pure and Saathwic, the actions are also Saathwic and vice-a-versa . Our Indriyaas (away from worldly thoughts - vishayaaspathi) are directed inwards and get Knowledge through Bhakthi due to constant vision of God in Jyothi swaroopa. Thus, our mind becomes thoughtless, is purified and is empty to receive the Grace of God.
Origin of Deepa Pradakshinam:
The Deepa Pradakshinam was introduced first by Bhadrachala Raamadaas. There is another story behind it: Thaalappakkam Chinnayya, a devotee of Lord Venkateswara, used to go round the Thirupathi hills on Saturdays and have Darshan of the Lord in the evening after which only he used to take food. Due to old age, he was unable one day to do Giri Pradakshinam and could not climb the hills for the Lord's Darshan. He lamented and went without food that night. Lord Venkateswara came in his dream and pacified him saying that he need not feel sorry for his inability to do the Giri Pradakshinam and come to the hills for His darsan. The Lord explained further that If he places a Pancha Mukha Deepam (a lamp lit on five sides with Ghee as the fuel) and comes around it, chanting/singing in praise of Him, it amounts to Bhoo Pradakshinam and the Lord would give him Darshan in the Bhaktaa's house itself. Chinnayya did so on every Saturday and could have Lord's Darshan there. This happened in Purattasi month. Thus, came the importance of Deepa Pradakshinam Bhajan on Saturdays and particularly on Purattasi month.
Deepa Pradakshina Mahima:
In the Pudukkottai Paddhathi, the slokaas before the Abhang: DHANYA DHANYA HO PRADAKSHINA, explain the importance of doing Deepa Pradakshinam: (In other Paddhathis, these slokaas precede Krishna Raama Govinda Hare and which do not have this Abhang).
Through the above sloka, the Lord declares to the Bhakthaas thus: "I safeguard all the Kulam of that Bhaktha who, discarding Lajja (shyness) fixes his undivided attention on me and chants (sings) my fame".
What is the value of doing Bhajan: As a Brahmin attains Brahmathwa by his Nithyakarmaanushtaanam, so also the one who sings and dances in praise of God attains the same stage.
KAALAKSHEPO NA KARTHAVYA: KSHEENAM AAYUHU KSHANE KSHANE YAMASYA KARUNAA NAATHI: KARTHAVYAM HARI KEERTHANAM
Do not waste your life by involving in daily (material) activities alone. Do perform Hari Bhajan/Keerthan, for Yamah (the God of death) will not have any compassion towards you once your lifespan ends - he will have to take you away.
One may have a doubt. How are we sure that if we do Bhajan, God will see it and reward us. The lord has made an unshakable statement to Naarada, who is the embodiment of Pure Bhakthi, thus:
Hey Naarada ! I do not reside (only) in Vaikunta Loka, nor in the hearts of the Great Rishis (Tapaswins), but I am ever present at the place where my Bhakthaas are singing my names with Bhakthi. God says he would rather prefer to be present in a Bhajan than in other places. If God comes to us when we sing, are we not elevated, are we not becoming Mukthaas?
The importance of doing Divyanaama Bhajan is well brought out in the Daasa Charanu portion of the Paddhathi, thus:
When bhakthaas as a group in unity & Bhakthi sings in praise of me and dances around a Deepam kept in the center, which is adorned with flame, it amounts to coming round the earth and they are rewarded with punya equal to the punya gained by those going around the earth. The Lord is promising this adding "Don't doubt about this". (By going round the earth we come across many temples & punya kshethras and get the opportunity to have a darshan of great Mahaathmaas and thus gain punya. This is called Kshethraadanam).
In Deepa Pradakshinam we sing the songs rendered by Sri Bhadraachala Ramadas, Purandaradaas, Vijaya Gopaalar, Naraayana Theerthar, Sri Thyaaga Raaja, Brahmendraal, Kabirdas, Meerabai, Thukkaram, Uthukkadu etc., followed by GOPIKAA GEETHAM, which is dealt with in deatil in a separate article, in view of its philosophical importance.
Gopikaa Geetham is followed by Kolaattam, Snake Dance, Siddhar Songs, Abhang, Shivan, Dasaavathaara Krithi: "DARO JAGANNATHA DARO HARE" etc. Then Naamaghoshams like:
"KIMTHATHA VEDAGAMA SASTHRA VISTHARAI:" onwards are made.
At the end of every religious work, there is a Phalasruthi given, explaining the benefits that will be derived by the doers. This is like a promise given by the authors. There is an important sloka at the end of Divya Naama Sankeerthanam as Bhalasruti :
This explains that Lord Parameswara, along with his Ganaas and Naarada, do dance in Kailasam by carrying the Paadadhooli of Hari Bhakthaas who daily sing the naama of Raama and Krishna and dance with prema Bhakthi and aananda bhaspam. This brings out the value of Bhakthi. Even Lord Parameswara is bound by Bhakthi and Bhaktha Paada Dhooli has that much importance as Parameswara himself is dancing, carrying.
What other pramaanaas are required or promises are looked at by us for the fine results of doing Bhajan with para Bhakthi? The God Himself has given promises and statements as above to his devotees at one time or other, which have been taught to us. Why not we practice and try for the promised results instead of arguing about the authenticity of these statements. Every scientific theory is put to action before proving its efficacy. If it is so, is it not prudent to act according to the Sastras to reap the benefit. What are we going to get by arguing and challenging the statements without trying to prove or disprove it by involving ourselves into the actions, as prescribed by Sastras?
This is followed by the song "GAJAANANA PAAHI PAARVATHI BAALA HEY", when Bhakthaas do angapradakshinam around the Deepam and hug each other with the stanza : "PREMA AALINGANA", indicating that God is in everyone and all are one.
Then Deepa Avarohana Pooja with the song : "KSHEERA SAAGARAANTHA", and song explaining Hari Paada Theertha mahima: "HARI PAADA THEERTHAMU JEDILO MANCHI".This is followed by Slokam: "VASANTHE VAASANTHI" and Ashtapadi song "LALITHA LAVANGA LATHAA PARISEELANA" (in Aananda Bhairavi), when the same person who brought the lit lamp from the sanctum takes it back (dancing) to the Sanctum . With the Song: "DEHI MANGALAM VAIDEHI MANGALAM", someone lights camphor from this Deepam and takes haarathi to the Lord at the Sanctum and the Deepam is then placed back at its original place at Sanctum. Sumnolically the Lord is taken back to his original place (Sanctum Sanctorium). Thus we attain the Knowledge of Self and thereafter we remain in Adwaitha Bhaava.
Finally, Prarthana Song : "RATNA JADITHA SIMHAASANA" is sung. If not followed by Dolothsavam (which is optional), Poorna Mangalam song and slokams are recited and concluded with Pundareekams.
In view of the elaborate description required, the Gopikaa Geetham (though part of Deepa Pradakshinam) and also Dolothsavam are explained separately.
Though the songs to be taken up in this padhathi are not given in full, an attavanai, containing the title of the songs to be taken up and the order of performance has been given in separate attavanais in downloadable PDF formats, so that it may be handy for those who would like to use the same. Click here to go to the Attavanai section.
: SAMPOORNAMASTHU :
GOPIKAA GEETHAM PADDHATHI
GOPIKAA GEETHAM PADDHATHI
Gopikaa Geetham is the celestial song sung by Vruja Gopis in praise of Lord Krishna. This projects the depth of Viraha Thaapam suffered by Gopis when Krishna diappears and their pure Prema Bhakthi and the highest spiritual heights attained by them. This song also brings out the Sringaara Rasam of Gopis with Krishna. This finds its place in the midst of DEEPA PRADKSHINAM, .The same tathwa is given in the form of RAASAKREEDA in the Tenth Skantham(middle) of Bhaagavatham. This is to be sung with devotion, in rapt attention and reverence without any Thaala or sounds. Tears should flow from the eyes in Bhakthi. Normally this is sung in CHENCHURUTTI & PUNNAGAVARAALI raagaas which are so touching and denotes devotion.
The mythological story goes like this:- Gopis who enthralled in the presence of Krishna with ecstasy during the Raasa Leela, thoughtless about their worldly duties, relations and existence and always longed for Krishna's company, had developed an EGO, i.e. each Gopi claiming that Krishna is hers and hers alone and He likes/loves her only. This possessiveness is Saathwic Ego as it relates to Possessiveness towards Lord. Krishna considers it the right time to help Gopis caste away this EGO too and give them the Knowledge (i.e. make them realise the real nature). He disappears temporarily from there midst and made Himself not reachable by them. At this time, Gopis felt loneliness and could not concentrate on their work and grieved over the absence of Krishna. They realised that without Krishna, nothing moves, nor is it possible to do anything. And it is the presence of Krishna that made them happy and active. Even Living became a torture without Krishna. Having realised this, they started wandering in the Kaalindhi River bank, where they used to be in the company of Krishna and craved for his appearance by admitting all their ignorance and egotism. The opening sloka brings out the import:
THANMANASKAA:THADAALAAPAA: THATVICHESHTAA: THADAATHMIKAA: THADGUNAAN EVA GAAYANTHYA: NA AATHMAAKAARAANI SASMARU PUNA: PULINAM AAGATHYA KAALINDYAA: KRISHNA BHAAVANAA: SAMAVETHA JAGU: KRISHNAM THADAAGAMANA KAANSHITHAA: Meaning: Thinking about THAT, Singing about the Gunaas of THAT, Remembering about the Leelaas (Playfulness) of THAT, Concentrating on THAT, Singing in praise of THAT, without a bit of self-feeling (loss of EGO), (Gopis) kept on visiting Kaalindhi river banks again and again (repeatedly) always in the memory of Krishna and finding in every Sthaavara Jangama Vasthus Krishna's figure only, longing for the return (appearance) of Krishna, of course by singing the Gopikaa Geetham song. The word 'THAT' used here refers to Paramaathma Thathwa, i.e. in the form of KRISHNA here.
The Song : JAYATHI THEDIKAM KRISHNA JANMANAA VRUJA: is to be sung in full, in raaga Chenchurutti & Punnagavaraali by sitting around the Deepam. Despite their cry, Krishna did not appear.
Then Gopikaas sung the song of Saranaagathi (total surrender) - (to be sung in raaga Sinhendra Mahyamam):
THWAM EVA MAMA SARANAM KRISHNA THWAAM VINAA ANYAM NA JAANE Philosophical Import of Gopikaa Geetham:
Though Mythology projected Gopikaa Geetham as the song sung by Gopis, there is a message for all of us. Gopis are the embodiment of Bhakthi towards Krishna.All of us, the Jeevaathmaas, must become Gopis to attain Paramaathma (Krishna). Jeevaathma is a spark coming out of the Paramaatma (self-willed leela of Paramaathma) but having got entangled in the Samsaara Chakra by Maaya, forgot about the real nature and is sunk in the materialistic pleasures which are impermanent. Jeevathma should realise the real nature and try to attain Mukthi, i.e. the knowledge of the Brahman and ultimately should reach the abode of Paramaathma. This should be our aim while singing Gopikaa Geetham. The Poorva Sloka before Gopikaa Geetham is full of philosophical import and conveys as to how the Bhaktha should address the Lord and what Bhaava one should have while singing Gopikaa Geetham.
Every human being entangled by the worldly pleasures possesses Ego, a basic negative quality, which hinders the human evolutionary process. A Bhaktha may cast away all worldly pleasures and relationship with the materialistic world and live an ascetic life but cannot discard the EGO, which the Lord alone can help to discard. The Gopikaa Geetham song is the way by which God helps Gopis (Jeevaathma) to cast away the EGO. The Lord helps Bhakthaas only when they, in total surrender, calls for His help, without AATHMA ABHIMAANA, i.e. without identification with Deha, Manas, Chittham, Buddhi, Ahamkaar.
Pleased with the Bhakthi and total surrender of Gopis, Krishna appears before them.The following slokas, detail the reappearance of the Lord:
When Gopis lamented thus by singing in praise of Him in touching raaga and laya, without Ego and in total surrender, they visualised the Lord, who appeared before them with a most beautiful figure, with a smiling face, wearing Peethambaram, conquering Manmattha (the Lord of Love) in beauty.
THAM VILOKYA AAGATHAM PRESHTTAM PREETHUTHPHULLA DHRUSO ABALAA: UTTHASTTHU: YUGAPATH SARVAA: THANWA: PRAANAM IVAAGATHAM Meaning:,p> On getting the darshan of the Lord, who appeared before them (Self-willed), the Gopis got up in a jerk as if their bodies were inert (dead) and suddenly as though the Praana entered their body again.
Looking at the beauty of Krishna's face and the moving eyes in smile, they enjoyed the scene again and again, as though they are ever unsatisfied and wanted more and more of it. They never wanted to come out of that Ecstasy and remained in His presence in total BLISS.
Then Krishna through Raasakreeda, makes them realise that each one is of Krishna Swaroopa, i.e. He is in every one and also stays alone (in Fullness) as unattached and unbound. This is clearly brought out in the song after Gopikaa Geetham:
ANGANAAM ANGANAAM ANDHARE MAADHAVA: MAADHAVAM MAADHAVAM CHA ANDHARENA ANGANAA ITTHAM AAKALPITHE MANDALE MADHYAGA: SANJAGOW VENUNAA DEVAKI NANDANA: This is the description of RAASAKREEDA Scene in Brindhaavan wherein Krishna formed a circle by placing in between two Gopis (Anganaam) One Krishna and in between two Krishnaas one Gopi (Angana) and finally in the Center of the circle Krishna again and made them all feel the one-ness and enjoy total BLISS. This shows that Paramaathma is present (unattached and unbound) in every Jeevaathma and at the same time the Paramaathma, in fullness, is also in the center of all activities. This is the greatest Philosophical Thathwa we should learn from this celestial song. In our scriptures, there is a mantra, bringing out this theory clearly:
POORNAMATHA: POORNAMIDAM POORNAATH POORNAM UTHASCHYATHE POORNASYA POORNAM AADAAYA POORNAMEVA AVASISHYATHE Brahman, the Poorna Swaroopa is here and there (but unbound and unattached) in Poornathwa and when thus divided, the divisions are all Poornam and what is left behind also remains as Poornam. Meaning: God is everywhere in fullness (unbound and unattached) and also stays as the center of activities in fullness.
The songs that follow are all explained in Deepa Pradakshina Paddhathi, which is concluded with the other sampradaaya songs.
Then we perform Dolothsavam, the Union with God (Aatma Nivedhanam). Full description of Dolothsavam is handled in a separate article. The Divyanaamam Attavanai (in PDF format) given as downloadable in Divyanaamam Section, contains the slokas and songs to be taken up for Gopika Geetham.
As Gopika Geetham is part of Deepa Pradakishinam, separate attvanai is not given. It is already included in Deepa Pradakshinam Attavanai.
: SWASTHIRASTHU :
DOLOTHSAVA BHAJAN PADDHATHI
Dola means Cradle/OOnjal. Dolothsavam, literally means keeping God in the Cradle/Oonjal and swinging it. If we consider Sri Raama as a child, then Dola has the meaning of Cradle. We imagine putting Sri Raama (in the form of a child) in the Cradle and make him sleep. Sri Thyaagaraja Swamigal has rendered a set of songs for this Uthsavam wherein he used to invite Sri Raama to come to his house with Seetha, Lakshmana, Bharatha, Sathrugna and Hanumaan and stay in the Mani Mandapam placed in his house so that he can have His darshan and perform pooja to Him. Through his songs he imagined that Raama has thus come and he did Paada Prushtaalanam and made him seat on the peettam and offered Milk, Fruits, various Madhura Palahaarams etc. etc. and Betal Leaves and Nut. He did haarathi to Him and requested sri Raama to go to Sayanam with Seetha Piraatti. While They thus were in Sayana Gruham, Thyaagaraja Swaamigal rendered songs to please them and to make them comfortable. Next day he used to wake up early and sing Prabhodhana Song in Bhoopaalam to wake up the couple in the Pooja room. This was his daily practice. That shows his nearness to God and the depth of his Bhakthi.
In Dhakshina Sampradaaya Bhajan, The Dolothsavam got little widened with more songs added by Sri Appa (Pudukkottai Gopalakrishna Bhagavatha Swami), who added important and befitting songs from Pawwalimbu. While the theme is same as in Sri Thyaagaraja Swamigal's Dollotsavam, here there are more opportunities to involve oneself more deeply and by enacting the entire episode according to one's own understanding. As in Pooja Paddhathi, here also, through the set songs, we receive God, do Pooja and pray to him for our upliftment. Normally, this is interpreted as making newly wed dampathis (God with Goddess) enter Sayana Gruha in seclusion and enjoy themselves. This is the worldly way of seeing it and is the materialistic way of perception. Let us look at it with a philosophical bent of mind:
It has been stated earlier hereinabove that Jeevaathma, having realised the origin remains in Adwaitha Bhaava. To remain permanently in Sachidhaananda, we must practice Nidhidhyaasanam. Even in the Dhyaana state, there is coming back into the world periodically, since with the body we have to perform certain natural duties and till we caste away the body, we have to live in the world. To go into Dhyaanam we have to purify our mind, arrest the activities of the Dasendriyaas, and never entertain Ego and be always in the smarana of the Lord. This requires Bhakthi & total Surrender to the Lord within. Then we can receive the Lord within our pure Mind in the lotus shaped Peettam, offer Him Milk, Fruits, Madhura Palahaarams, Thaamboolam (Betal Leaves wand betal nut) etc. This indicates that we pour all our material possessions, pleasures and pains unto the Lord (Casting away our materialistic pursuits and making ourselves Saathwic like the colour of the Milk). The meaning of offering Thaamboolam is that we surrender to the one to whom it is offered. Then we do Mangala Haarathi to indicate our readiness to be one with Him.
The first song,: "HECCHAREEKA RAA RAA RAA", is the invocation song praying to Lord to come into ourselves. This is the preparatory stage for our evolution.
The next song "AARAKIMBAVE PAAL" is offering our purified mind (Saatwic state indicated by the whiteness of the milk) as a Peettam for Him to be seated. as also all our materialistic pursuits, pleasure and pains in the form of Maddhura Palahaarams and request Him to accept them as though they are offered by Seetha Devi.
By the song "VIDAMU SAAYAVE", we offer Thaamboolam along with Jaathikkai, Elakkai, Jaapathri etc. to make the thaamboolam more digestive. Here I would like to state an interesting explanation given by Sri Embaar Vijayaraghavchariyar in his Harikatha. Through this song, he explained: fearing that Lord may leave early before blessing him, he rushed into the sampradaya of Nischithaamboolam - exchanging fruits, flowers, Betal leaves and nuts, Kismiss, Kalkandu etc. - as a mark of mutual agreement (not to leave one another). This gives us the importance of this song and the manobhaava we should possess at this time. In our Hindu sampradayam there is a customs where the bride gives thamboolam to the groom, whereby the groom is said to be attracted by the bride and he becomes hers totally. Whatever be the bhaava, the Bhaktha here shows his wish to possess God with him always.
The song :
SADAA YENNA HRUDAYADALLI VAASAMAADO SRIHARE
is a prayer requesting the Lord to always stay in the Hrudaya of the Bhaktha, filled with pure knowledge and Bhakthi, which is the pure seat offered by the Bhaktha. At this time, a mangala Haarathi, depicting Bhakthi and purity, is taken to the Lord. The stanza:
NINNA NAANU BIDUVANALLA YENNA NEENU BIDALUBALLI
indicates the steadfastness of Bhaktha and total surrender state. The Bhaktha affirms that he will not leave him at all and He should also not think of leaving the Bhaktha. One has to experience this state and cannot be explained in words.
The following songs:
SEETHA KALYAANA VAIBHAVAME
RAA RAA RAAJAKUMAARA are the Nalangu songs, showing the Bhaava of the Bhaktha (Seetha) doing everything the beloved would do to Her partner. This is the state where Jeevaathma enjoys through beautification of Lord and serving Him in many ways. The pathyam:
SARANAMBU KARIRAAJA PARIRAKSHNODDHARA
praising about the Lord's daya to His Bhakthaas like the Elephant caught by the Crocodile, Prahlaada, Akroora etc. etc. and seeking similar Daya towards the Bhaktha, is to offer Betal Leaves with Betal Nut, meaning total surrender.
Then comes the Poopandu Vilayaattu(a bundle of flowers):
POOLA CHENDLADENE SRI RAAMUDU PUSHPA CHENDLADENE
One Bhaktha puts the bundle on each audience who should immediately put back the bundle to the Bhaktha. Literally, It is indicating the Pooppandu Vilayaattu of Lord and Devi. This reiterates the importance of madhura bhava (sneha) during this time. Looking at it with a philosophical view, this indicates that the Jeevaathma (Flower Bundle) is sent back by the Lord to Bhooloka again and again and the Jeevaathma bounces back to God again and again saying, "whatever number of births and deaths I have, I must always be in your company and come back to you after every Jeeva Kaala." The Bhaktha has to be so stead-fast that every time he takes birth, his aim will be to reach God ultimately and he should always work for this aim. This attitude should be maintained while playhing Poochendu. and not throw it with force on others. Hence, the Pooppandu sent from one Bhaktha to another should reach the first Bhaktha only and not thrown into the crowd.
Then the Oonchal: "GODDHOOLI DHOOSARITHA" etc. and Laali song : "LAALI LAALI YENI" depict the upachaaram to God by the Bhaktha keeping Him in the Oonchal.
The next "NEELA GHANA NEELA JO JO" and "JO JO JO RAAMA" etc. are Thaalaattu songs describing the Dasa Avathaaram of the Lord, exclaiming the deeds done by Him during each of the Ten Avathaarams.
The songs "ENTHALETHU VAIBHAVAMBU", pleading to the Lord to go for Sayanam and "KAASU KONNAADATHU GO", requesting Devi to do Panividai to the Lord in sayanagruha, and "POOLA PANPU MAINI BHAGA" detailing sayanopachaaram to be sung.
Then the song : SHOBHANE and JAYA MANGALAM with Haarathi to the Lord and Devi in Sayana Gruha. Then, the Praarthana Slokams :'VANDE SHOWNAKA", "MAJJENMA", "SANKARASYA" etc. prayaing for His Paadaaravinda Bhakthi in all Jenmaas and to become the Daasaanu Daasan of the Lord (Adiyaarkku Adiyaarkku Adiyaan), to serve the Bhaktas' Bhaktas' Bhakta of the Lord.
A Pattu or Koti Vasthram is held as therai in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum by singing the song : "DHRISHTI THAAKU MAAYAYYAKU", to show that the Sayanagruha door is closed. This is followed by the song MANJUTHARA KUNJATALA KELI SADANEpleading to Raadha Devi to enter the sayana Griha. The song: "ANTHA KOYAM NEELA KALEBARA" depicts the anthapura Raadha Madhava sallapam, imagined by the Bhaktha.
Then Sayanarasam slokaas like: "SACHITHA SAAYEE", "DWARAKAA NAGARAVARE", "ANGANAA MANIBHARANA", "SANAKAADHI MUNIDHEYA", "BHUJAGESA THALPAVARA", "VITHURUNDINIKI POYI" etc. are sung pleading to Lord to take rest.
Then by the song: SAMAYAME ME SWAMI SAMAYAME, the Bhaktha is trying to enquire and make sure from those paricharakaas who are nearer the sayana gruha than him, about how the Lord is taking rest and whether everything is OK.
Now comes the Praakaara Rakshanam, where literally speaking we are trying to close the four Gopura Doors with the four songs, requesting the guards, in the four doorsteps, to ensure that Lord's Ekaanthatha in his YOGA NIDRA is not hindered and no one enters to disturb him. We request the people in praakaara to observe full silence. The wrong interpretation that Lord and Devi are sleeping should be avoided. They never sleep, if so the word will come to an end. They go into YOGA NIDRA, meaning they are in MEDITATION. That is the Bhava one should have.
KAAVERI THEERE KAMANEEYA GEHE
INDU BIMBATHARA SUNDARA VADANA
SANAKAATI YOGEENDRA THUMBURU NAARADA
KUMKUMA CHANDANA PANKILA HRUDAYA If we view this philosophically, it is nothing but our preparation for Nidhidhyaasanam. i.e. We should dwell deep in Bhakthi (Raadha), in total faith and surrender, so that Lord will accept us. For this, first of all we should purify our Mind with Saathwic Bhaavanaas by blocking the four doors called Manas, Chittam, Budhi and Ahamkaara, through which we receive and respond to the stimuli from the world outside. This is a stupendous task for which we have to have strong & experienced guards. We are praying to Bhakthaas like Jaya, Vijaya, Chanda, Prachanda, Sanaka, Sananthana, Kumuda, Kumudekshana, Prahlaada, Dhruva, Bhala Prbhalaadya to help us in guarding against these Vishaaspathis by giving their grace to safeguard against these vishayaaspathi, so that we can dwell in the Sachithaananda state for ever. As stated earlier, it is easy to reach Lord through the grace & help of experienced Gurus/Bhakthaas and hence this request to those Bhakthaas who are always remaining at the abode of the Lord. Philosophically speaking, we go in the One-ness with the Lord. This is called athmanivedhanam. Once we have lost our worldly knowledge, we dwell in Satchidaananda state.
One Bhaktha, ringing the handbell, goes round the Mandapam to warn everybody that the Lord is in YOGA NIDRA with Devi and all should keep silence and pray for the well being and do Raama Japa/sing Prarthana Abhang.
Through the songs :
KOUSALYA SUPRAJA RAAMA and
RANGA NAYAKA RAJEEVA LOCHANA
etc. we are literally waking up the Lord with Piraatti. Then conclusion with Mangala Haarathi with the praarthana song: "POORAYA MAMA KAAMAM".
This can be equatted to remaining in the awakened state of Sachidaananda. To sum-up, JEEVAATHMA PARAMAATHMA AIYKYAM is the ultimate aim of all of us and we should follow the path of Pure Bhakthi in total surrender to the Paramaatma by grooming ourselves like Gopis (embodiment of Pure Bhakthi).
Though the songs to be taken up in this padhathi are not given in full, an attavanai, containing the title of the songs to be taken up and the order of performance has been given in separate attavanais in downloadable PDF formats, so that it may be handy for those who would like to use the same. Click here to go to the Attavanai section.
Ashtapthi is the divya Kaavyam: "GEETHA GOVINDAM", which describes the Raadha Maadhava Sallapam with Sringaara Rasam. I use the word Ashtapathi everywhere since this has come to stay among the Bhagavathaas and is understood in that term easily. The Bhagawatham in 10th skandam describes Raasa Kreeda,where at one place, it only states that Sri Krishna enjoys with one particular Gopi in seclusion to all other Gopis and this Gopi becomes too Egoistic and to bring her ego down Sri Krishna goes away from her and mingles with all other Gopis. Then this Gopi gets angry and blames Krishna for such acts.Her sakkhi pacifies her and unites them through her advice to both. The Bhaagavatham never states about Raadhika. No other puranam explains about Raadhika, except the Brahma Vaivartha Puraanam. In the 10th Skandam, there is a description about Golokam where the Lord in the form of Maadhava ever exists with Raadhika Devi as his consort.Due to a curse from Sudhaama, one of the body guards of Sri Maadhava (Sri Krishna), Sri Raadhika Devi had to take birth in the Bhoolokam as a girl. Sri Krishna assures Raadhika that He would take birth as Krishna in Bhoolokam, where she would take birth as the girl child of Vrushabhanu Maharaaja and then both can enjoy the life in Bhoolokam. This is the basic story of Raadha Krishna Jananam.
The poorva slokaas of Ashtapathi paddhathi starting with "Meghair Medhuram Ambaram"is nothing but the Kalyaana Choornikai in a summary form. This describes the scenerey where Nanda Gopa, carrying the child Krishna to the carttle's gracing field, finds the sky becoming dark with clouds and the arrival of thunder storm and rain. He feels that the child may get afraid and searches for someone to fetch him home. There comes Sri Raadhika Devi, who is handed over with the child when Nanda Gopa asks her to take Krishna Home. She fondly hugs the child and goes. Sri Krishna Bhagawan thought it the right time to remind Radhika Devi about her status and wishes to show her their earlier abode, i.e. Golokam. He brings before her the scenery of Golokam which reminds her of her original nature and all of a sudden in ectasy she tries to hug the Lord (seen in Golakam) with both her hands open wide and she rushes towards Madhava (Krishna in Bhoolakam).At that time, the child disappears and Krishna thought that before accepting Radhika, the usual Vivaaha Karma should be performed and as the eagerness of Raadhika cannot be controlled he orders Sri Brahma Deva to perform the marriage, which he does with Pravaram, Lagnashtakam, Kanyaka Daanam, Panigrahanam, Laja Homam etc. Raadha Kalyaanam is said to have taken place in Brahma Muhurtham, that around 3.30 a.m. or so. This is the meaning of this slokam which is elaborately stated in Raadha Kalyaanam as Choornikai. This shows that performing Poorna Ashtapadi is equal to performing Raadha Kalyaanam.
The theme in Ashtapathi and the Author: The Ashtapathi songs are called "GEETHA GOVINDA MAHAA KAAVYAM", which is said to be the ancient form of Sringaara Kaavyams. These are full of Sringaara Rasapravaaham. In short, These songs describe the celestial love between Raadhika Devi and Krishna, The Egoistic nature of Raadhika, Her Anger towards Krishna, Her viraha thaapam (sorrow in separation), reunion and their Sallapam. This Kaavyam is composed by Sri Jayadeva Swamigal, from self experience of the Godly principle within. Sri Jayadeva was said to be living in the 12th century in the village "Kindu Bilwam" near Puri Jagannath in the present Orissa State, born to the saahtwic brahmin couple known as Sri Narayana Sashtri (also called Bhojadevan) and Smt.Kamala Devi (also called Radha Devi). In his early age Sri Jayadeva lost his parents and was staying in a Kutir in the forest, composing songs and singing them with music in praise of Sri Krishna. Sri Jayadeva is said to be the avathar of Sri Puri Jagannath.
Padmaavathi was born to a devoute Brahmin Deva Sarma, who,during his prayers longed for a child and promised to present the child after growth to the Lord Jagannath Himself. When she became of marriageable age, Sri Deva Sarma, in fulfilment of his promise, offered her to Lord Jagannath, who ordered the chief priest in his dreams to take the child to Sri Jayadeva and get her married to him. Lord Jagannath informed the priest that Jayadeva is none other than Himself. Thus, the girl was left at the Kutir of Sri Jayadeva, against his wish, who refused to enter into Gruhasthaasrama. Due to the stead fastness of Padmaavathi & her Bhakthi and service to him, he considered it as God's will and ultimately married her in the normal way. Sri Jayadeva enacted the scenes of this Kaavyam while composing it along with Padmavathi dancing to the tunes. Thus, this Kaavyam is a living monument of Srigaara Rasa Bhaava.
The summary of contents of Ashtapathi:
Like Bhagawatham describing Krishna Leela and Raasakreeda in 12 Skandams, Ashtapathi also has 12 Sargams, containing 24 Ashtapathi songs. Each song comprises mostly of Eight stanzaas with the exception ofone or two Ashtapadis which are less or more than 8 stanzaas. (This kaavyam was placed before the Raja Sadas and this has been named as Ashtap0adi by the Pandits and Raja. The contents of Sargams, in short, are:
1. Picturisation of Dasaavathaarams of Krishna and the prabhaavams of the Lord in various avathaars are described in priase of Lord in the first two Ashtapadis. The third & fourth Ashtapadis are the description of Vasantha Kaala Varnanai & Raasa Leela of Krishna with other Gopis in Brindaavan described by the Sakkhi.(1 to 4 Ashtapadis- 1st Sargam called: "Samoda Damodarah")
2. Raadhikaa's grief as Krishna is enjoying with other Gopis, ignoring her totally and getting herself annoyed, being too possessive of Krishna and staying alone in the kutir made of plants and requesting Sakkhi to go and explain to Krishna Her plight and to fetch him to Her to accept Her. (5th and 6th Ashtapadi - 2nd Sargam called: "Aklesa Kesavah").
3. Krishna's realisation of his mistake of ignoring Raadhika & spending his time with other Gopis.(7th Ashtapadi-3rd Sargam called: "Mugddha Madhusudhanah"). 4. Sakkhi explaining the Viraha Thaapam suffered by Raadhika and pleading to God to please Raadhika by His presence before Her.(8th & 9th Ashtapadi - 4th Sargam called: "Snigddha Madhusudhanah").
5. Sri Krishna asking Sakkhi to pacify Raadhika & fetch Her to Him. (10th & 11th Ashtapadis - 5th Sargam called: "Abhisaarikaa Varnane Saakaamksha Pundareekakshah").
6. Sakkhi explaining the aweful condition of Raadhika due to Viraha Thaapam and Her inability to move & requesting Lord to go to Her.(12th Ashtapadi - 6th Sargam called: "Sothkkhantta Vaikunttah").
7. Shri Raadhika's plight of suffering due to Viraha Thaapam and started blabbering like a mad person in imagination of Krishna being in company of other Gopis.(13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Ashtapadis - 7th Sargam called: "Vipralabhdha Varnane Naagareeka Naaraayana").
8. In the dawn Sri Krishna arriving at Raadhika's Kutir and Raadhika, in anger, drives away Krishna saying 'YAAHI MAADHAVA".(17th Ashtapadi - 8th Sargam called:"Kkhanditha Varnane Vilaksha Lakshmipadi:"). 9. Sakkhi, criticising about Raadhika's angry mood which mades Krishna disappear. The Sakkhi advices Her to behave well when He comes next. Raadhika realises Her faults and repents.(18th Ashtapadi - 9th Sargam called:"Kalahaantharitha Varnane Mugddha Mukundah").
10. Sri Krishna reappearing before Raadhika and pacifying Her with His sweet words like: you are my Jeeva, you are my ornament, you are my Pearl etc. and pleads for Her forgiveness and goes away.(19th Ashtapadi - 10th Sargam called : "Radha Varnane Mugddha Maadhavah").
11. Sakkhi, pointing out to Raadhika about the kindness of Krishna and His behaviour and that She should now go to Krishna's place and unite with Him & please Him. Raadhika visits Krishna Mandir(where Krishna was waiting to receive Her) and gets thrilled in his darshan. (20th, 21st and 22nd Ashtapadis - 11th Sargam called: "Saanada Govindah").
12. Both enter the house & become united.Krishna does alankaaram to Raadhika, whose dresses were crumbled and displaced during the Union.Thus ends the Sringaara Rasa Kaavyam.(23rd and 24th Ashtapadis - 12th Sargam called: "Swadheena Barthrukaa Varnane Supreetha Peethaambarah"). The sanctity of Ashtapathi:
It is said that the Ashtapathi Kaavyam of Sri Jayadeva has been blessed by the Lord Himself, about which the 19th Ashtapthi vouchsafes. In this 19th Ashtapathi, in the seventh stanza, he wrote as if Lord has suffered from Kaamam (passion) & only Raadhikaa's feet kept on His head will bring down the Thaapam and the Lord pleading to Raadhika to place Her feet onto His head. Suddently, Jayadeva realises his mistake and feels how he could think of a lady's feet being kept on the Lord. He repented and erased the stanza and tried to re-write it. Having no ideas to pour he thought he could do later and gave the Kaavyam to Padmavathi to keep it safe and that he would go for oilbath. After some time, he came and called to Padmaavathi to bring the Kaavyam as he had some good idea and wanted to fill up where he left the song. With the oil soaked hand he wrote some lines and gave back the Kaavyam to her and went for bath. After meals while taking rest, he opned the Kaavyam and saw, to his surprise, the seventh stanza having got filled up with what ever he originally wrote. He got wild and scolded Padvaavathy for being negligent, for someone else has come and written what he did not want to write. Padmaavathy in sheer surprise, narrated what happened when he went for bath. Jayadeva realised that God has come in Jayadeva's form and filled up the unfinished stanza with the same idea that occured to him originally. This means that Lord himself has accepted the stanza, and finally the Kaavyam itself.After this, the final Charanam of some Ashtapadis are all ending with "Jayathu Padmaavathi Ramana Jayadeva Kavi" because Jayadeva considered her as the blessed Bhaktha of the Lord & he wanted to be known through her, since Padmaavathy got the Darshana of Lord and not Jayadeva. Thus, this Ashtapadi has its acceptance by the Lord Himself. The 22nd Ashtapadi is said to be the Kalyaana Ashtapadi, since it is here that Raadhika comes to Krishna and Krishna accepts her and makes her happy. To indicate the reunion, this is called Kalyaana Ashtapadi.
Philosophical Improt of Ashtrapathi:
Our scriptures declare that for every Manthra/Sloka/Song, there is an inner import, which should be taken up as the guide by evey Jeeva. Our seers have all given the Brahma Thathwaas in the form of prayer songs,slokaas,Puraanaas, scriptures, Srutis, Smritis and various bashyams for them. Everything relates to the behaviour of human beings, their relations with nature and God. They prescribe various methods to regain our lost status, i.e. reunion with the Ultimate Truth. For instance, take tha Puranam: Raamaayana. What is the moral we have to learn from there?
Let us consider Krishnavathaaram. What is conveyed through Bhaagawatham & Bhaaratham? DHARMA PARIPAALANAM, SHARING WITH OTHERS, SARANAAGATHI THATWAM, AHANKAARA DAMANAM, KARMA YOGAM, BHAKTHI YOGAM, GNANA YOGAM, HATA YOGAM, BHAKTHA LAKSHNAM, BHAGAVATH KRUPA, DUSHTA NIGRAHAM, SISHTA PARIPAALANAM, JEEVAATHA PARAMAATHMA BANDHAM, MAAYA, STUDY OF NATURE, UNITY IN DIVERSITY etc. etc.
We have learnt the principles one should adopt in leading a Dharmic life. We are handed over with the practices one should adopt in leading a Saahtwic life. We are also taught that we have the right to work and the result is left to the Super Power, which is already fixed according to the equations pre-determined depending on the quality and characteristics of each action. We call this as VIDHI. Similarly,through Ashtapathi songs and slokaas,we have been shown practically
( 1) the value of relationships,
( 2) the falsehood of Ahamkaar and Mamaakar,
( 3) the existence of Truth in all forms,
( 4) Jeevaathma Paramaathma relationship,
( 5) God's Krupa towards Bhakthaas,
( 6) Secrets and purpose of Avathaars,
( 7) Bhaktha Lakshnam,
( 8) one-ness of all,
( 9) Principles of Bhakthi Maarga for salvation,
(10) Guru Sishya Bhaavam,
(11) Paraa Bhakthi,
(12) community living principles,
(13) strength of Unity,
(14) value of collective prayer,
(15) limitations of wordly relationships,
(16) Godly principle etc. etc.
Instead of the Sringaara Rasa in Ashtapathi, we must see Bhakthi Laya Bhava in this Kaavyam. Raadhika representing all the Jeevaathmaas, Sri Krishna the Paramaathma and Sakkhi the Guru. All of us (Jeevaas), having separated from the Paramaathma, have come to this world of matter & got ourselves entangled in Maaya (Ignorance) and forgot about our origin - the Permanant Bliss form of ours, we must feel the pangs of separation as suffered by Raadhika,we must follow the advice of our Gurus, we must curse our status, we must cast away our Ego, we must crave for the presence of Lord and ultimately reunite with the Paramaathma, we should realise the beauty and power of Nature, we must enjoy the happiness within and not outside,we must enact the Leelaas of God like Jayadeva and Padmaavathi did and follow the principles therein, we must be aware of the Bhagawath Krupa when it flows and keep ourselves fit for receiving it. All the Puraanaas and Kaavyaas are trying to project the way of life one should lead in order to get re-united with the God.
The essence, thus, of this Amara Kaavyam is the sorry state of affairs of Jeevathmaas and the way to re-unite with Paramaathma through Prema Bhakthi & total surrender to Lord as adviced by Sakkhi (who has played the role of a Guru). The best bhaava we should possess while doing Ashtapathi is "NAAYIKA NAAYAKA BHAAVAM" or "GOPIKAA BHAAVAM",which depicts the Bhakthi Layam.We have stated earlier that Raadhakalyaanam took place in Brahma Muhoortham. As per the Vendanthic explanations, the best time for Dhyaanam is Brahma Muhoortham. Thus, Raadhakalyaanam is the Union of Jeevaathma with Paramaathma & the best time for it, is the Brahma Muhoortham. Performing Poorna Ashtapathi Bhajan is considered equivalent to having performed Radha Kalyaanam.
The Paddhathi: Before a Kalyaana Paddhathi, it is customary to sing all the Ashtapathis,which itself form a special Paddhathi called "POORNA ASHTAPATHI PADDHATHI".The paddhathi starts with RaamaNaama, Hari Naaraayana Song,Thodaya Mangalam, Guru Keerthanams and then the three Poorva Slokams of Ashtapadi:
The third one is normally sung in Poorvi Kalyaani Raagam as it is followed by a song "PADMAAVATHI RAMANAM - JAYA DEVA KAVI RAAJA" in the same raagam, giving short history of Jayadeva and Padmavathi & about the origin of this Kaavyam. Then the slokams:- "Meghair Medhuram Ambaram", "Vaakdevatha Charitha Chithritha Chittha Sadma", "Yathi Harismarane Sarasam Mana:" etc.
are sung. Now starts first Ashtapadi with poorva sloka "Vaacha:pallava Yathyumaapathidhara:"
. Both Poorva Slokaas and Uthara Slokaas of each Ashtapasi must be sung. Naamavali may be taken up, time permitting, after each Ashtapasi (after Uthara sloka) or atleast at the end of each Sargam.
After the 24th Ashtapathi, Paartha Saarathi Geetham "Bhajatha Prema Krupaanidhi Maadhavam" in Thodi to be sung after the slokam: "Nakkhaniyamida Khandoon". This is followed by:-
If Poorna Ashtapadi is done before Kalyaanam, then you can stop at any end of Sargam, as per time permitting and continue the balance during Paddhathi Bhajan, Dolothsavam and 22nd, 23rd and 24th on Kalyaanam day.In such case, the Parthasaarathi Geetham and Kalyaana Tharangam should be sung after the Maangalya Dhaaranam, but before Anjaneya. After Poorna Ashtapathi, it is customary to recite the first starting sloka at the end, to indicate that this is a continuous process and does not end with this programme.
There is a practice of offering different palahaarams (total 24) at the end of each Ashtapadi. This is possible only for some people. However, two Kela Fruits and Betal Leaves & nut Nivedhyam is a must after each Ashtapadi.
Conclusion: As the entire Ashtapathi has to be sung without leaving any sloka or song, I have not given the Attavanai for this as given for other paddhathis. However, if anyone wants the Sankrit version of the Ashtapathi songs, slokaas etc., they may contact me with a request and I shall forward by email the same along with the necessary fonts to read them.
Ashtapathi has been dealt with in the main book in detai and the order in which to be taken up, As there is no question of shortening this paddhathi, no separate Attavanai is given. Follow the book.
As the basic padhdhathi for all Kalyaanams is same except some of the slokaas or songs, I would like to dwell upon the Kalyana Utsavam in common, bringing out the differences of each Kalyanam at appropriate places. The following structure is common in all kalyaanams with, of course, the variations stated at different stages. There may be some difference in some parts of this Utsavam handled by different Bhagavathaas or at different places, depending on the customs prevailing there and/or based on the school of bhajan to which a bhagavatha belongs. We should not criticise any padhdhathi followed by any Bhagawatha, for it is nothing but the Bhaava and customs which decide the type of padhdhathi followed. However, I must reinterate that on the whole the following is the general padhdhathi every one adopts with necessary variations.
As a continuation of Dakshina Sampradaaya Bhajan, which has various sections like Thodaya Mangalam, Gurudhyaanams, Ashapathi, Dasarvaal Kritis, Poojopachaaram, Dhyanam, Deepa Pradakshinam and Dolotsavam, Kalyanotsavams like Radha Kalyanam, Rukmini Kalyaanam and Seetha Kalyanam, are widely spread in all over South India. Though there are other Kalyana padhathis like Meenakshi Kalyanam, Ayyappa Kalyanam, Ganapathy Kalyanam, Valli Kalyanam etc. in vogue, the above three are commonly and widely conducted as they are the traditional ones. All the Bhajan gurus having come from Telugu desam, have given us these Kalyana Padhathis according to the Telugu customs and with telugu songs. Bhakthaas are enacting the Kalyanoysavams of Lord Krishna and Raama to prepare themselves towards Bhagavat Darsan. Customs have diluted it to certain extent as some deviations are practiced to suit the local customs and, therefore from place to place and from Bhagavatha to Bhagavatha some changes may be seen in the paddhathi. However, the theme behind these Utsavams is the same. Here more than tradition, bhava is important. We should feel that Krishna and Rama are our children and they are being united with their better halves. There should be no pomp and show but only Bhakthi and Bhava that should prevail while conducting these Kalyanams. Just like the Bhajana Padhdhathis, Kalyanams are to be conducted in the traditional manner according to the procedure laid down by our Gurus.
I would like to share with you my view about these Kalyanotsavams. This is nothing but the Jeevatma longing to join with Paramatma. For this, we must first be pure at heart, clear in thoughts, unassuming in nature and with pure Bhakthi Bhava and complete surrender to the Lord perform this utsavam in the traditional method given to us by our gurus. We are offering ourselves unto Him in the form of a bride, since the bride is supposed to be loyal, service minded with full faith on Him and with total surrender unto Him who approaches Him for union with Him. Only with unselfish service and pure Bhakthi one can go near God, who will cut asunder the last trace of Maya Bandan, i.e. positive Ego in us and relieve us of our worldly duties and obligations and take us unto Him. The Bliss that we enjoy during the Kalyanotsavam is immeasureable and unexplainable. It has to be felt.
Radha Kalyanam is performed throughout the year but Margazhi month is the right season to perform Radhakalyanam as it coincides with Andaal's Vrutham, who is the embodiment of Goddess in the human form and who through pure Bhakthi and determination approaches the Lord and gets united. What other apt example can be sighted for the Bhakthi Bhava. Rukmini Kalyanam is conducted during Gokulashtami and Seetha Kalyanam during Ram Navami. The Paddhathi for all are same except, the Choornikai, Pravaram and Mangalasshtaka slokams, which vary according to the Kulam, Gothram and Ancestral followings of the Brides and Bridegrooms. Normally, in Seetha Kalyaanam and Rukmini Kalyanam, Nischithamboolam song is sung and the Vang Nischaya (Nischithamboolam) function is performed while in Radha Kalyanam, it is omitted as it is believed that on Sri Krishna's instructions, Sri Brahma conducted the marriage proceedings in a hurry without anyone on both sides. It is believed that Radha Kalyanam represents the union of Jeevatma with Paramatma and has no paraphernalias that are attached to a marriage function. Radha is considered to be the embodiment of Bhakthi and Krishna the Paramatma. Radhakalyanam shows the way to the Jeevas to get united with the Lord throgh Bhakthi Marga. The other Kalyanams, though represents the same theme, are considered to be lowkeekam. To me, what is required is Pure Bhakthi and total surrender to Lord and if one has this Bhava, there is no difference in these three marriages. Also Radha Kalyanam used to be performed and has to be, in Brahma Muhurtham, i.e. 3.30 am and should be over before dawn. This shows that it is not a normal Kalyanam but it is the way for Jeeva Brahma Iykyam, since Brahma Muhurtham is the auspicious time for Meditation. Secondly, Radha has come to the world from her original from as Radhika from Golokam and Krishna has taken avatar from his original position as Madhava in Golokam. The details are dealt with in Radha Kalyanam section. And Radha has come to the world bnefore Krishna and whe was the maid servant - and the mosgt liked Gopi by Krishna = of Krishna and she was rearing him up. Thus, this is nothing but a re-union of Radhika with Madhava and we should really name it as Radha Madhava Kalyanam.
Let me now try to enumerate the procedure followed in these Kalyanotsavams:
It is customary to hold full-fledged Ashtapathi padhdhathi before the Kalyanotsavam. This will be followed by Dasarvaal Krithis, Poojopacharam, Dhyanam, Deepa Pradakshinam and Dolotsavam. Normally these will be held a day prior to the Kalyanam day. Some do conduct divyanaamam after the marriage or prior to the marriage on the same day. These are variations that have crept in recently.The idea in conducting these padhdhathis prior to Kalyanam is to fully prepare onself mentally for the occasion. Through these padhdhathis, one gets immersed in para bhakthi and looses one's individuality and is ready with Satwic Vicharams to perform the function. On the marriage day, usually the function starts with Unchavruththi, followed by 22nd Ashtapathi, which is considered as the Kalyana Ashtapathi. When Full-fleged Ashtapathi precedes the Kalyanotsavam, it is customary to sing upto 19 ashtapathis, whereas the 20th is sung during Padhdhathi Bhajan at night and the 21st during Dolotsavam. In that case, on Kalyanam day the 22nd, 23rd and 24th Ashtapathis are sung before entering into Kalyana padhdhathi so as to complete the Ashtapathi Padhdhathi. If all 24 ashtapathis were taken up during Ashtapathi Bhajan, then only 22nd ashtapathi is to be sung during Kalyanotsava Padhdhathi. This is followed by Kalyana Azhaippu Song, i.e.
Gowri Kalyaana Vaibhogame, Radha Kalyaana Vaibhogame, Seetha Kalyaana Vaibhogame Though, Kalyaana Padhdhathi usually is preceded with Thodaya Malgalam, Guru Keerthanam, as the function is continuous and as these are already taken up in Unchavruththi, Kalyanam can be started with one invocation song and one guru keethanam and then directly go to Gowri Kalyaanam song.
Except in Radhakalyanam, The Nischithaamboolam (Vangnischayam) function is held. There is a special song and little Vaideekam method also is added, in which Vigneswara Pooja and Nischithaamboola Sangalpam is performed and the two sides respect each other by exchanging Chandan, Kumkum, Panneer, Flower, Fruits, Palahaarams, Parupputhengai kutty, with some Dakshinai. There is a special "Chollukkattu" where the details of the two sides and Vadhu Varan are given and a Kalyana Azhaippu is given to Boy's side by Girl's side.just like what is done in our normal marriages. In Radhakalyanam this need not be done because of its special nature explained in the Radhkalyanam section. Even if it is done, there is nothing wrong so far as you do it with Bhakthi Bhaava,/
Maalai Matruthal, Oonjal and Pachchappidi:
In the books no special songs are given. But I have composed songs for these functions, wherein the idol of Lord is brought from boy's house with Bhajan after performing there Vigneswara Pooja and Mahasankalpam by the Boy's side immediately after the Ashtapathis and Devi idol is brought from the sanctum sanctorium. Maalai Maatral, Oonjal and Pachchappidi Chuthal are performed. Usually pachchappidi chuthal is performed by elderly ladies in the customary style. Then the two idols are brought to the roshtrum and placed together. This is purely a lowkeeka function performed to enable ladies also to participate. This need not be performed in Radha Kalyanam for obvious reaswons.
Kotnotsavam (Muthukkuthal and Muthu Samarpanam):
It is believed that as the Kalyanams are composed by Telegu Gurus, they have prescribed the usual method followed in normal Telugu Kalyaanams, where this Muthukkuthal and Muthu samarpanam are performed. In Telugu sampradaayam, Akshathai is put on Ural and with Ulakkai it is crushed and the nice power sprinkled on the couple and then they were given oil bath. Then they are bedecked with dresses and ornaments. Here, as it is the Lord and Goddess, it is presumed that Muthu, Vairam, Vaidooryam etc. are put in ural and crushed with ulakkai and the nice power is sprinkled on the couple. Then Thalandu Shobhanam (oil bath) given and alankaram. Akshathai is poured into the Ural by five Kanyakaas upto the age of 10 and Bhagavathaas and then crushed with Ulakkai to the tune of appropriate songs composed by our gurus. Then the akshathai (supposed to be powdered) is collected from ural into a thaambaalam and covered with another thambaalam and pattu with the manhjal thengai and ulakkai kept inside and taken to roshtrum and poured into another thaambalam there to the tune of speific songs.
There are two opinions about the need for Kotnotsavam. Some opine that it is done in other kalyanams and not in Radhakalyanam as it is said to be a Gandharva Vivaaham or performed only by Brahma and that too in Brahma muhoortham. Others say that it is to be performed in all kalyanams as the main part. Some Bhagavathaas from South do not perform this. It is after all the custom that counts and we cannot lay any hard and fast rule. Everything depends upon the custom prevailing at a given place.There is nothing wrong in performing Kotnotsavam in all Kalyanams. According to me, it is required, since I attach philosophical importance to this function, i.e.
Philosophical import in Kotnotsavam:
To realise God we have to do meditation, in which process the mind has to subside. For the mind to subside, the Gnanendriyas should stop bringing out stimuli from world outside and the Kalrmendriyas should stop performing worldly activities guided by intellect. And the intellect should stop analysing things in the materialistic fashion. Thus, there should be a co-ordination between these organs in us. The Ural is considered to be the Mind; the five kanyakaas are symbolic of the five Gnanendriyaas and the five bhagavathaas are considered to be the Kalmendriyaas, thus involving the Mind, and Dasa Indriyas in the process of meditation. The akshthai (normally with dusk) is poured into the Ural by the Kanyakaas (Gnanedriyas). This shows that Gnanendriyaas are co-operating by depositing the Jeeva into the Mind. The Bhagawathaas (Karmendriyaas) are performing Karma by crushing the Jeeva into the mind with the help of Ulakkai (Omkaara Naadam). Then, the crushed akshthai is sieved to remove the covering (Umi) supposed to be Maya and make the Jeeva pure with white colour (here it is Mangalaakshthai) and pour unto the God's feet. This is called Samarpanam (I call it Atma Samarpanam). This Bhava should be maintained while performing Kotnotsavam. Then we will anot argue that it is required in one Kalyanam and not in another etc. This is normally done thrice - three Muthukkuthal and 3 Muthu Samarpanam with special songs for it. (Even if three kuthal and one samarpanam is enough if time does not permit). Then as it is considered to be Jeeva having surrendered to the Lord and merged with, there is not separate entity and to mark this, a Harathi is taken with "Chithajuni Kannayaku Jaya Mangalam" song.
Bhakthaas holding the Ulakkai dance to the tune of Ashtapathi being sung. This is symbolic of the Jeevatma having merged with Paramaatma, there is no separate entity as Jeeva, Brahma, Omkara etc. and all have become one. Hence, to show that Omkara and Jeeva have become one with the Brahman, Bhagavathaas perform this dance.
This is a descriptive slokams describing the Kalyana Mandapam, who have all come, what are all there in the sannidhi, how the Vadhu and Varan are dressed, description of the scene etc. etc. This is so in Seetha Kalyanam and Rukmini Kalyanam. But in Radha Kalyanam, the Choornikai explains the Goloka vruthantham and the scene created by Krishna to invoke Radha to her real Swaroppa and bringing out the scene of Golokam before her and Radha trying to rush and unite with Krishna, when Krishna calls Brahma to perform the reunion as a marriage with all normal Kalyana chadangu.
Just as we perform in our marriages, there is Pravaram, describing the three-layer lineage of the Varan and Vadhu with Kulam, Gothram, Soothram,Shakha, Pravara bhagam, great-grand father, grand father and father and finally the names of the Vadhu and Varan are spoken three times with the concluding words "Vruneemahe".
Kanyakaa Dhaanam & Paanigrahanam:
This is a most important part of all marriages. The Vadhu's father hands-over the hand of Vashu to the Varan with specific Manthraas symbolically with a Manjal Thengai, Beter Leaves and Nut and Dakshina kept in the hand of Vadhu which is handed over to Varan (including her hand) with the girl's mother pouring continuously theertham into the hands and Varan holds her hand and leads her to the roshtrum. Here, as it is Lords marriage, Girl's side representative holds the manjal thengai with other things on hand and the boy's representative receives them and places them on the roshtrum. This is also called "Dharavaarthu Kodukkal". This is the Muhurtha Thengai, which is considered to be auspicious and mangalakaram and taken and kept in pooja room and pooja performed every day. This does not get rotton as in the usal case. This is my experience. I have the Muhurtha thengai given to me in one Kalyaanam 14 years' back which is still decorating my pooja room without getting rotton. It still retains the Kudumi and has no cracks. This is a wonder one should see and experience. This function is performed with usual Kanyakaa Dhanam and Panigrahana Manthraas as in the normal case.
Eight slokaas sung in eight raagaas, invoking the nature to be calm and quite and to give aplenty to the Lord during the marriage, praying to all Mountains, Rivers, Sthavara Jangama Vashthus to help nature perform its duties, praying to Tapaswins, Rivers, Pathivruthaas etc. to offer unto the Lord all their Tapa Bhalaas to make it mangalakaram for Lord, seeking the blessings of Navagrahaas to be placed in exhalted positions and do all good effects to the couple, beholding all Ashtadik Paalakaas and Devathaas to perform their duties for the good of the mankind etc. There are different slokaas composed for different kalyaanams and the sloaakaas may vary from once place to another and from one Bhagavatha to another. The theme in all is the same that during the marriage of the Lord, let the nature perform well and confer aplenty for the people and let all Tapaswings, and Bhakthaas pray for the world peace. At the end of each of the eight slokaas, the mangalaakshthai is offered into the Therai that is kept in front of the roshtrum by elders with these prayers and collected and distributed after the Kalyaanam to the audience as prasaadam. This is offered to the public symbolically the aasheervam of Lord and Goddess to the audience for peace and happiness.
Some schools used to take up the Mangalaashtakams before Pravaram or Choornikai. This is due to the customs and nothing to criticise. Praying for well-being during marraige of Lord can be done any time.
Here as well as in our Lowkeeka Kalyaanams, this is purely a Lowkeeka function, not in scriptures. This has come into custom by practice. This is a licence to the Vadhu, declaring her as married and a sign in her neck so that others seeing it will understand that she is already married. Pravaram, Kanyaka Dhaanam & Panigrahanam are a must but this is only an additional mark in Kalyanams. The Varan is tying the Mangala Suthram around the neck of the Vadhu with these words:
I am tying my life in the form of this Mangala Suthram tied in a thread around your neck. May you live with it for hundrends of years.
This shows that fall or rise of man is in the hands of his lady. A Lady can make or mar a life. Our scriptures declare that the lady is the Shakthi and the Man is Purusha and only when the Pursha and Shakthi are together generations will flourish. The union of Purusha and Shakthi alone will produce materialistic pleasures.
The Bhaktha now rejoices with the union of Purusha and Shakthi or otherwise Jeevaatma with Paramaatma, after which he remains in the One-ness BLISS SUPREME. This is the culmination of hyuman evolution. After this it is nothing but Bliss supreme. Symbolically, the Bhaktha dances in pure Bliss around the roshtrum to the tune of the special song.
If Poorna Ashtapathi was performed, it is customary to end it with Kalyana Tharangam and as the Poorna Ashtapathi gets concluded only in Kalyanam here as said earlier, the Tharangam is taken up here titled "Aaalokaye Rukmini Kalyana Vaibhogam". If all 24 Ashtapathis were sung and concluded before Kalyanam, then this song would be sung there itself.
Some groups perform Poojopachaaram and some others feel it is not required. Only perform naivedhyam and take Mangala Harathi as a sign of rejoicing. Either way it is fine.
In our marriages, we have an item called Nalangu. This is just to make the Vadhu bedeck her husband with all ornaments, haarams, scents, tilak etc. etc. and enjoy the presence of her beloved and play Poo Pandu, Oonjal, Laali etc. This is to show the ecstacy of the Vadhu having united with her beloved. Finally she takes Harathi to her Husband and shows her surrender to him through Namaskaaram.
Paartha Saarathy Geetham:
If Poorna Ashtapathy gets concluded with Kalyanam as said above, then Paartha Saarathy Geetham "Bhajatha Prema Krupaanidhi Maadhavam" is sung. If all 24 Ashtapathis were concluded prior to Kalyaanam, then this song is taken up then itself.
Obviously, it is essential to think and thank the Bhakthaas like Pundaleeka, Thukkaram, Eknath and other Sanths and Saadhus, with whose blessings only we could reach this stage of union with the Almighty. An abhang or songs in praise of or sung by such Bhakthaas are taken up here as a part of thanks-giving (Kruthaarthatha).
Aanjaneya being parama Bhaktha is now remembered by a song on him. It is customary to end any Bhajana Utsavam with "Aanjaneya Utsavam", normally done elaborately in the evening of the Kalyanam day. Here after the usual invocation song, sangraha Thodaya Mangalam, Gurukeerthanam, and Ganesaadhi Dhyaanams, the Slokam "Hey Vaayu Nandana......" is sung followed by five Keerthanaas in five languages and suitable Naamaavalis, where someone plays the part of Aanjaneya. Due to time constraint in Kalyanam, it is customary to sing atleast one or two songs, if separate Aanjaneya Utsavam is not performed in the night.
Konangi is a parama Bhaktha, who comes for the Darsan of Lord and Devi in Kalyaana Kolam and in ectasy dances with the Vasantha Maadhava Kumbam on head and sprinkles it all over and pulls out the Pandal to mark the end of the Utsavam. If Vasantha Kelikkai and Pavvalimbu Utsavam is performed in the evening, this is avoided now. This is the concluding session of the Utsavam.
Vasantha Kelikkai and Pavvalimbu:
Kalyaanam is to be concluded by Vasantha Kelikkai and Pavvalimbu Utsavam in the evening. Starting with Invocation song, sangraha Thodaya Mangalam, Guru Keerthanam, the Vasantha Kelikkai Songs are taken up, wherein Alamelu Mangaal feels the absence of Venkateswara and sends her maid to fetch him. She prepares for his welcome by collecting various types of flowers from the garden, keeps scents, chandanam, kumkum etc. ready to receive him. Maid brings the Lord to her and in ectasy she spinkles the flowers and scents on to him and does upachaaram and joins him. Then 24 Pavvalimbu Songs are taken up one by one with 24 different Naivedhyams. Here Alamelu Mangal and Venkateswara enjoy the preasence of each other in various ways and they are taken to Sayana Gruham. Most of the present day Dolotsava Songs are taken up from here and added in Dolotsavam by Pudukkottai Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar to enjoy the essence of these songs every day in his Dolotsavam. Finally, a bhaktha called Konagi comes for the darsan of Lord and Devi and Lord gives Darshan to him first while coming out of Sayana Gruham. Then Konagi dances in joy and pulls out the Pandal and disappears. This marks the conclusion of the entire Utsavam.
If the function concludes without evening functions as stated above, then only the final mangala song titled "Pavamaana Sudhathu Pattupaadha aravindhamulaku" is sung and with Mangala Slokams "Nithyotsavo Bhavedh Theshaam Nithya Shree Nithya Mangalam" is sung and with Pundareekams the entire Utsavam concludes.
View and Download links of Attavanais for three Kalyanams given below. You need Acrobat Reader Version 5 or above for reading the Attavanais which are in PDF form (zip).
Radhakalyanam View Downloads Rukminikalyanam Under preparation Seethakalyanam Under preparation ELLORUM NANDRAI IRUKKAVENDUM ATHARKKU ESAN GANESAN ARULAL VENDUM
OM SHANTHI! SHANTHI! SHANTHI!
-: FOREWORD :-
This Attavanai is shaped up by me, at the instance of some of my very close Bhajan friends, to provide amateur Bhaagavathaas/Bhaktas with a systematic method of doing Saturday Bhajans with time constraint, so that this will lead to proper co-ordination and time management by all Bhagavathaas attending the Bhajans. The attavanais are based on the padhathi krama followed invariably by most of the Bhajanists. There may be slight variations in the order in which they are taken up according to certain schools. I do not claim that this is the only way in which the padhathis are to be handled. For instance, Ayyappa is taken up after Murugan in Kerala whereas Tamil Nadu Bhagavathas have now added this but at the end. Pudukkottai Padhathi has an additional Narasimha and Lakshmi Dhyanams before Rama. Marutha Nallur, Thiruvidamaruthur, Thiruvisanallur, Madathu Padhathi etc. may take up Guru Keerthans very elaborately by adding Dakshina Murthy, Sankaracharya, Daththreya and so on. Time permitting, any additions can be done. The attavanai aims at providing the minimum necessary songs and the order in which they should be taken up particularly with a time constraint. I appeal to all Bhagavathas to advise me if they find any need to improve upon this, so that other Bhajan groups can take this as a guide.
Links to four Attavanais view and downloads given below. Attavanai download is in PDF format (ZIP). Click the View link to see or click Download link to directly download the attavanais. Even from the the attvanai itself while on view, you can download it . Then click on the downloaded file to open it. You need an Acrobat Reader Version 5 or above and Winzip software for reading the Attavanai files. No separate attvanai is given for Poorna Ashtapathi as it is to be taken up in full. Refer the book for the order. No separate attavanai is given for Gopika Geetham as it is part of Deepa Pradakshinam and covered in DS attvanai.
These Attavanais are based mainly on the Paddhathi Krama given by my guru Pudukkottai Brahmashree Gopalakrishna Bhagawatha Swamy, though time constraint is taken in view.