Monday, December 13, 2010

A Thank you note

Thank you Perumal Neeladhvaja Jayasekhar for generously sharing your Brahmotsavam pictures with us.

First day of Brahmotsavam

 Ankurarpanam (planting 9 grains in soil placed in earthen dishes).
Kankanadharanam (wrist band) to Utsava Muthi and priests.
Procession of Vishvaksenar (Commander-in-chief of Vishnu's army).
Mritsangrahanam- Collecting the soil for Brahmotsava Yagna(Hawan, Fire
ceremony) Peetam.
Vishvaksenar returns from procession and enters the Yaga Shaala (Place
Yagnam is conducted), where he is received with Poorna Kumbham
Pot filled with water).  He is believed to be the Pradhana Yajaman (Chief
conductor) of  this Yagnam. This is followed by Procession of Deity on
Sesha (Bid serpant) Vahanam.

The first day of the festival is known as “Dhwajarohan” whereupon the Garuda flag is hoisted near the Srivari Alaya Dhwajasthambham signalling the official start of Brahmotsavam. Garuda (Eagle), officially visits heaven (Devalokam) and invites all the Lords (Devas) to the Brahmotsavam.  God Venkateshwara on Pedda Seshavahana (Snake) is taken in a procession around the four street (maada streets) around evening time and the whole event lasts until midnight. 

Sri Ananta Sesha & Sri Garuda attending the flag hoisting ceremony

Second Day of Brahmotsavam

Chinna Sesha Vahanam
On the second day morning the Lord is taken out in a procession on Vaasuki (Serpent God) as his vehicle. In Bhagavath Geetha Lord Sri Krishna says He is Vaasuki among the serpents. Chinna Sesha Vahanam will be five headed.




 Hamsa Vahanam

On the second day evening the Lord is again taken out in a procession on Hamsa (Swan) as his vehicle. Hamsa or swan means ‘pure’. Hamsa is believed to have a high intellectual capability, and can distinguish the good from the bad.

Third Day of Brahmotsavam

On the morning of the third day, the deities are carried on the Simhavahana.
Simha (lion) is a symbol of regality and power. According to the Bhagvad Gita, the Lord is the Simha among animals (mriganamcha mrigandroham). The Lord is also called Hari (which in turn means Simha) and Hari sits on Simha. In other words, we have the phenomenon of the Lord sitting on Himself.
It is also believed that the Lord assumed the form of Narasimha (half man and half lion) to kill the demon Hiranyakasipu. Therefore, Lord Venkateswara uses the Simha as his vehicle on the third day of Brahmotsavam.
In the night, Unjal Seva is conducted. The deities then ride in the Mutayalapandiri Vahana, which is decorated with a pearl canopy. Mutyam (pearl) is a symbol of purity and royalty.

The lord came as Narasimha and killed the demon Hiranyakashyapa, the father of the mighty devotee, Prahaladha. The form of a lion is very scary and invokes fear in the hearts of wrong doers. The lion comes to protect devotees like Bhakta Prahladha from evils of the society.

The Lord with his consorts sits in the Mutyala Pallaki, or the Pearl embellished ride. Here he is killing the demon Bakasura who is in the form of a bird.

Fourth Day of Brahmotsavam

File:Malayappa in kalpavriksham vahanam.jpg

Many sages have approached the Kalpavriksha tree to seek boons. The Kalpavriksha tree is very hard to reach as it is rooted in its place. For mortals like us, it is an impossible feat to reach this sacred tree. Hence the Lord appears to us as the Kalpavriksha tree. We ask God several things and he grants it to us. But the ultimate goal is to reach the Lord himself and attain Moksha (Salvation). Accompanying the Lord are his divine consorts, Sridevi and Bhudevi.

In 2010 Brahmotsavam, we have Lord Krishna with Rukmini and Satyabhama as his divine consorts.

In the eveining the Lord appears with his divine consorts in the Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam. Sarvabhoopala means “All the guardians of the material universe." The mighty Lord visits the Ashtadikpalakas (the rulers of the Eight directions) and gives them blessings. The Ashtadikpalakas, namely Indra (East direction), Varuna (West), Kubera (North), Yama (South), Agni (SouthEast), Nirtuhi (SouthWest), Isana (North East), and Vayu (North West) will pray to the Lord and give him their offerings which will be accepted by the Lord under this floral canopy.

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Fifth Day of Brahmotsavam:

Day 5
Deity is dressed as Mohini (temptress, a form of Vishnu) and taken
in ivory pallaki (carrier).
Night procession is taken on Eagle (Garuda vahanotsavam),

The rakshasas and Devas churned the mighty sea and obtained Amrutham (Nectar for eternal life) which the devas wanted. Lord vishnu took the form of the mind blowing beauty, Mohini. She tricked the Rakshasas using her blinding beauty while helping the Devas drink up the Amrutham.

5th day of Brahmotsavam, the insanely beautiful Mohini riding the Garuda.

The fifthe day is one of the most significant days of the entire Brahmotsavam. The crowds are extensive and the temple takes responsibility to accomodate the large numbers of people in attendance. The evening parada is extremely beautiful and devotees can never get enough of watching the Lord glittering in his own aura.

Photos courtesy of Perumal Neeladhvaja Jayasekhar

Sixth Day of Brahmotsavam 2010

Hanuman The Monkey God, Carries the mighty Lord in Procession

Lord Hanuman is the most devout disciple of the Lord. The Lord himself has taught Hanuman Atma Tatva. Hanuman represents power, mightiness, strength, and most of all loyalty and unmatched devotion. There is an energy that encapsulates the whole world as the Lord rides on the strong back of Hanuman.

The mighty Lord Malayappa Swami and his divine consorts are about to ride the Great Ratha

In the evening, the Lord rides Gaja Vahana. The 'Gaja' is our untamed minds. The Lord rules our heart and controls the way it seeks materialistic things and earthly pleasures.

The Lord gets ready for his Savari, he is set out to bless the devotees.

Gajendras (Elephants) wait for the Lord to Welcome him and Salute him.

Mangalaarathi to the Lord.

The mighty Lord on the Great Gajendra is more than just a God riding the elephant. There is a profound spiritual meaning attached to this. The Elephant is a very intelligent animal. The Lord had rescued an elephant, Gajendra when a crocodile had caught it's foot. The Lord had granted Moksha to Gajendra. The Lord has devotess in all formsand he loves all of them equally. The rich and the affluent used to ride elephants as a symbolism of their wealth. The mighty Lord is the Lord of wealth and he is riding his Elephant to come to us and fulfill our wishes. He wants us to love him and think of him.

Seventh Day of Brahmotsavam 2010 Surya Vahanam and Chandra Vahanam

The Mighty Lord as the Sun, riding the Sun as his Chariot.

Purusha Sooktha describes Sun as born from the eyes of Lord SrimanNarayana (Chaksho! Suryo Ajayathah!). Sun is said to be an incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu (Surya Narayana) .

On the morning of the seventh day, the Lord rides on Suryaprabha Vahana (Sun chariot).
Surya (the Sun), the son of Aditi, is another form of Lord Vishnu (Surya Narayana).
Hindu mythology supports the heliocentric theory, and believes that Lord Vishnu is the centre of the universe (dhyassada savitrumandala madhyavarthi). To symbolise this, Lord Venkateswara uses the Suryaprabha (light of the Sun) Vahana.
The Lord before Setting out on Surya Vahana

The Lord as Sri Krishna

After the Unjal Seva in the night, the Lord is taken in the Chandraprabha Vahana (moon-shaped vehicle) around the brightly-lit streets of Tirumala.
Chandra means the Moon, which is considered cool and pleasant. According to Hindu mythology, Chandra is the commander of the mind (chandrama manaso jataha). He is also the king of aushadha (medicine).
It is believed that riding in the Chandraprabha Vahana is a soothing experience for the Lord. The Lord's contentment will bring peace to devotees' minds and result in a good crop.

The Moon God

The Lord on the Chandra Vahanam setting out in the evening procession.