I would like to narrate one real life incident that happened during one of the saastha preethi celebrations organised at the very small lawns of my residenceMessage 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2009View Source
I would like to narrate one real life incident that happened during one of the saastha preethi celebrations organised at the very small lawns of my residence at SHYAMALI(C7 HSL COLONY)DORANDA RANCHI.
My ISHTA DEVATHA was Lord Karthik as I was introduced to the bhajans in my childhood days to Thiruppugazh and right from Alankaram to Neyvedhyam used to be singing THIPPUGAZH songs unlike those sung in SAMPRADHAYA BHAJANS(of which too I got familiarisation later on). I used to attend the saturday bhajans organised at Late Sri D V KRISHNASWAMY IYER"s residence (in fact I was the organiser so to say in the sense I dragged in the best singers from my friends circle and at my two bed room apartments at NEPAL KOTI I had half a dozen batchelors with me ).
My friend (and later on my GURUSWAMY) Sri PR GOPALAN, now President of
Brahmins association at VADALUR, started the first SAASTHAA PREETHI at RANCHI at HSL Colony and he had his MESS (Eatery shop)opposite to LORETTO CONVENT and knowing my interest in Bhajans desired my presence too in the Saasthaa Preethi function. Somehow I had come to know that Lord Ayyappa comes on some devotee and this was something I was damn afraid of to witness, though I do not know why. I had seen virulent forms of SWAMY coming in Murugan Temples as a child and I used to keep a distance there too. Since I boycotted the Saastha Preethi Shri Goalan used to stop me on my way to office,and pull me up by my collar and demand an explanation. In fact I used to take a circuituous route
to avoid him but then on another day i get caught.
I used to tell him that as I do not know any songs on Lord Ayyappa I had refrained from attending etc.
Then next year Mr SS SHARMA of HEC conducted the Saastha Preethi at HEC in a very big scale and a Grand manner as he had mobilised funds from foreigners who wanted to see the FIREWALK by Ayyappa devotees
specially brought from Kerala. SAASTHA SAMOOHAM BHAJAN GROUP from
CALCUTTA had come for the first time to Ranchi to conduct the Bhajan.
It was a big gathering and I too had the courage to go and attend!!!
Of course it is a different story that though everything was nicely organised by Mr SARMA last minute supervision and coordination on function day was totally missing, possibly some entrusted with their tasks let him down badly.The FIRW WALK group from Kerala refused to walk saying the FIRE HAD become impure etc as some other devotees had run on it before them.So the foreigners were disappointed!!!
All the devotees sat for food together and the cooked rice quantity
fell short and people could neither get up in middle nor wait for long
I am just mentioning the facts/events as it happened with no intention
of down playing the herculian tasks of Sri SARMA(KONNAKKOL SARMA)He had brough PANCHA VADHYAM Party too from Kerala. A real mobiliser of funds!!!
A big VESSEL full of KHEER/PAYASAM was not served at all and was offered to the elephants brought there the next day!!!
The next year my another best friend Shri T S Rajamani took the initiative to organise the Saastha Preethi at HSL Colony itself so as to bring it back to HSL COLONY,( after he found out that that year's puja was not performed in time,) under the Presidentship of
Sri R Srinivasan(EX Director/NLC)and I was the treasurer of the Puja Committee.I shall narrate more on this function in another message some time later.Then the next year both President and Secretary got transfered from Ranchi and just before departure to Durgapur Steel Plant Mr Rajamani conducted that years Puja in a simple manner at his residence lawns donating two bags of rice etc which he had planned to donate to Samayapuram Ambal.It was hurriedly organised and a smaller group with Bhajans by local groups who had by then learnt few important songs on Ayyappa.
The next year too there was none to conduct the puja and after few months had passed beyond the usual month, all of a sudden while a Tamil Film was being shown by Ranchi Tamil Sangham at HSL Community
Centre Hall , Mr Sarma caught hold of me and enquired why I should not
take over and conduct the Puja since both President and Secretary were not there and as ex treasurer I should do it at my place. I told him
that the space at my house is very small and insufficient for the people who may attend. Mr Sarma said if that was all my worry I need not bother and taking my consent for granted just made an announcement
during the interval time of the film that the next saturday SaasthaPreethi would be conducted at the lawns/residence of TRC and all should attend.I was simply shocked at his announcement and also that he expected me to organise everything within the next seven days!!!!
That night I had no sleep and all night I was wondering what to do.
The next morning I called upon Mr P R Gopalan and told him to get all the provisions required for the function giving him the required money drawn from my personal savings account pending mobilisation of funds.
THESE DETAILS TOO I SHALL NARRATE LATER ON IN ANOTHER MESSAGE .
The above narration has already become too big than what I intended and the main theme I was wanting to say has not even been brought up so far.
The Saastha Preethi had thus come to be held at the lawns of my residence and the Bhajans were conducted by SAASTHA SAMOOHAM of Calcutta under the leadership of Mr BALU, Mr CHIDAMBARAM, Mr SETHIA MANI, METRO GOPAL,etc(beg to be excused for not mentioning one and all). While the cooking would start right from dawn,the vegetable cutting would have gone through whole night,in the KOTTAI ADUPPU
or temperory make shift arrangements with few bricks to serve as individual cooking spots of fire stoves using fire wood to cook,
one cooking spot/oven used to be decorated and kept unlighted till the Bhajans start. once the Bhjan starts that oven would also be lighted with camphor and in this oven only the COCONUT MILK PAYASAM would be cooked.By the time the Bhajans come to nearby closure the Payasam also should be ready to be brought to the pandal/Bhajan place alongwith other preparations to be offered to Lord Ayyappa.In the Calcutta group
invariably one Mr ALANKAR MANI used to be present. Right about an hour before the end of Bhajan he used to become restless and move to the backyard kitchen side to enquire whether the coconut milk Payasam/Kheer is ready. As soon as it gets ready and that information is passed on to Mr Alankar Mani he immediately goes into a TRANCE and
in sitting posture from one end of the pandal he would hop to the front and many a times the wooden plank offered to him for seating
would get broken because of his hitting it forcefully with his bare hands.After he is garlanded and showered with Rose water etc and pacified by certain devotional songs he would pickup the bundle of plantain leaves and hand over as a green signal to start the serving of foods. He would then distruibute the sacred ash/vibhuthi to all devotees and some times speak to one or two who are nearby or who seek his blessings.Though I had by then become emboldened to stand beside
some of my friends who used to go into trance and have extra ordinary force of power I still used to wonder as to how in the case of Mr Mani
the TRANS takes place immediately after he comes to know the Payasam is ready for offering to the Lord and whether it was real or not!!!
This doubt of mine was got clarified from the Veda pundit and purohit/Vadhyar Late Mankombu Venkatrama Sastrigal who was our
Vadhyar for the puja to do Ganapathy Homam and Rudram Chamakam Abhishekam etc. Two days after one Saastha Preethi was over I just casually mentioned to our Sastrigal about Mr Mani gettiong into a trans after knowing about the readiness of Payasam. as soon as i mentioned the Vadhyar said ABACHARAM ABHACHARAM and said that I who has been so faithfully organising the function for the past few years should not have such a basic doubt. He said it was LORD DHARMA SAASTHA himself who had been blessing the function and as a proof he narrated what happened to him in the puja held two days back. He said that as soon as Mr Alankar Mani came to the front side of the Puja Pandal and as soon as the Deeparadhana was over he caught hold of the hands of the Vadhyar and asked why had he not yet sent the MUDRAI(coconut filled with ghee and sealed and carried by ayyappa devotees on their sabarimala trips)as agreed/advised to him. The Vadhyar thereupon sought his forgiveness and promised to send it this year without fail.
The Vadhyar then went on to say that during the previous year in some other Ayyappa Puja another devotee under TRANS asked the vadhyar to pay a visit to SABARI hills and the Vadhyar told that he is not fortunate enough to do so as he has a big family to support and he depends upon his daily income and as such he is unable to undertake a visit to SABARI Hills. Thereupon the devotee under TRANS told him to send a MUTHRAI COCONUT which is considered equivalent enough of ones trip to the sacred hills. To this the Vadhyar gkladly agreed. But then it so happened that the person,(Mr Natarajan, our chief cook for all Pujas!!)to whom he had given the money to carry a MUTHRAI COCONUT on his behalf had returned back the money since that year he lost his father and had to abandon his trip half way through. So the Vadhyar asked me how could Mr Alankar Mani know about what transpired between him and Lord Ayyappa (under TRANCE) in some other Puja the previous year and the fact that the MUTHRAI ultimately did not as yet reach the Temple at Sabari Hill etc .So he confirmed that it was only LORD DHARMA SAASTHAA who had come and as such I should dispel from my mind totally any such misgivings.
THIS WAS AN EYE OPENER FOR ME.
Later on when I made enquiries from Calcutta Group they told me that almost each one of them would get the TRANCE but they specifically avoid getting into that situation by avoiding direct look into the eyes of LORED AYYAPPA in the photo and that Alankar Mani was known to
get into TRANCE always and at very short interval and as the organisers always expect the Lord to come in TRANCE and hand over the
Plantain leaves they take Mr Mani in their group.
Let me SAY SWAMIYE SARANAM AYYAPA and take leave for the present.
Beg to be excused for testing all your patience.