SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavaramunayE nama:
Transformed herself as vEgavathi, an irate saraswathi, fuming and livid, was fast approaching with the intent of ruining brahmA’s vELvi.
The river raced down accompanied by the flooding waters of sukthikA, kanakA, sruprA, kampA, pEyA, manjuLA and chandavEgA (the seven branches of vEgavathi). It is believed that the river has earned the name vEgavathi because the speed of its flow exceeds that of gangA.
All were worried and scared, unable to decide on the next course of action. Unable to guess what might follow, they stayed terrified, their eyes betraying fear.
vEgavathi is going to swallow “manimAdangal sUzhnthazhagAya kachchi” – the beautiful city of kAnchi adorned by mansions and palaces. This was the thought filling the minds of everyone. Rubbing their hands in dejection, they stood helplessly with no asylum or saviour.
brahmA was quizzing those close to Him about how distant saraswathi was and how fast she was approaching and the like.
The velocity of the flow was accurately arrived at and the same communicated to brahmA.
vEgavathi was 10 yOjanAs (90 miles approximately) away and rushing.
Grinned brahmA and said “By the time you calculated and conveyed to me, the river has crossed 4 yOjanAs and is fast approaching.
It is beyond our means to gauge her speed while beneath bIjagiri.
Misled and enticed by asuras,
“sayanjasAlam sapuramsanAgAsala gAnanam|
sadhEva rishi gandharvam kshEthram sathyavrathApitham |
vEgEna srOthasO gruhya pUrvAbdhim pravichAmyaham||”
vEgavathi was tearing forward determined to drown yAgASAlA, the locals, city, mountain m forest, dhEvas, rishis, gandharvas and the rest and wash them to the sea.
brahmA solicited the mercy of God. Accustomed to granting to His devotee, delight and joy, Lord again made up His mind to safeguard the vELvi.
To the west of hasthigiri, below bIjagiri lay the Almighty in the sleeping pose to arrest and stop the river like a dam, with His head and toe pointing to south and north respectively.
His revered name is sayanEsan which means God in the posture of lying down, i.e., paLLikoNdAn.
Surprisingly, the town also bears the same name. The inhabitation below bIjagiri is known as paLLikondA (lying in sleeping pose).
vEgavathi galloping like a forest river, did not waver or dither even at the sight of God on the way as a dam. But her arrogance and anger seemed to have receded, for sure.
In fact on seeing God, as a dam, across the path, she felt pacified and soothed a bit. vEgavathi surged forward hopping to caress the feet of the one adorned by cool thuLasi, remind a calf seeking the mother cow.
“kshIyanthE sAsya karmANi thasmin dhrushtE parAvarE” (muNdakha upanishadh).
All our sins and vices disappear for certain, the moment we have the glimpse of (become aware of) the Lord who dwells within everybody.
saraswathi too was pacified to some extent. Desiring to touch not only His feet, but the entire body of the supreme Being, who lay as a dam on the way to block her flow, mounted her speed.
Smilingly, paLLikondAn lay in wait for her to get close to Him.
Even today, He exhibits Himself as ranganAthan in this renowned holy place. God showers his grace on us in this acclaimed venue where pAdhiri tree is the favoured (sthala vruksham) tree of the locale.
In this exalted place, God made Himself visible to ambarIsha. The holy tank here is known by the name vyAsa pushkariNi.
Decorated in sAlagrAmam, lies God in the sleeping pose that is captivating and engrossing.
saraswathi went hurriedly past dam like God. Though He was lying as a barricade, she did not mind nor did she yield to His authority. She ignored Him, moistened Him and rushed past Him . But He did not get provoked.
On the contrary, He smiled gently sensing her desire. She is trying hard to earn supremacy over gangA. gangA is glorified and referred as “Divine River”, though she has chance to contact His venerable feet only.
But I have the distinction of bathing Him, head to foot. So, I am superior. She thought and became ecstatic. She took a revered glance of God who lay behind.
Due to Her speedy rushing, ornaments and garlands decorating His body turned untidy, messy and was not perceptible. But still the charm and beauty stayed with Him.
Goddess of words wanted to feel His touch for one more time.
Just a while earlier, she was pleased at heart that she had the honour of bathing totally whereas Ganges could only stroke His holy feet. Then why this urge again to have His physical contact again?
Justifiable query! saraswathi had this in mind. It is true that she was earlier provoked by the jealousy of gangA and wanted to contest her, by touching him. But once you offer prayers to Him, an intense longing to sing His praise again overcomes you. She was kindled by an intense desire to touch (worship) Him unmindful of any other reward and caress Him just for the pleasure of it, taking the experience itself as the reward, she gained the awareness and realisation that contact with Him itself was the fruit of the act.
Again God rested as a dam on the place “thiruppARkadal” near kAvErippAkkam of the present day.
(Even today, we can witness Him there in sleeping posture. It is here that He disclosed Himself to puNdarIka maharishi. And we have puNdarIka pushkariNi here.)
vEgavathi was blessed again to touch Him. She slowed down a bit. She was delighted and feeling over the moon thinking of her blessed fortune. Just then, she had a flash in her mind and as a result, she damned herself.
In both places namely paLLikondA and thiruppARkadal, she had bowed to Him but had not offered prayers. She lamented over this.
She implored “yAsyAmi sAlAm dhEvEcha thathra me dhEhi dharSanam” – that she be granted vision of God. Having sensed her mind, God too opted to grant her wish.
Shall we wait?
adiyen thOthAdri thirumalai rAmAnuja dAsan