Mannargudi Sri Rajagopalaswamy

Mysterious are the ways of God.. How else to describe these. Our Artist friend Prasad decides to sketch an idol and he searches on the net. He lands on a splendid photograph and is so inspired by the beauty that he renders a divine painting/sketch to compliment it. Later when i shared it with our Photographer friend Ashok, find that it is his commission. Not stopping at that and keeping the beauty of the Idol and sketch in mind and to compliment them – i sought the help of two distinguished friends for a description. Sri Seshadri ( Father of Sri Gokul – or rather now Author of Rajakesarai Novel by Palaniappa Brothers Gokul) and Sri Dev Raj. Both of them turned in wonderful renditions – so here i am having the joy of mixing an Idol, a Photo, a sketch, an english and a tamil description – thanks to all.

Sri Seshadri lists a few things that are nearer to his heart.

If we allow our minds to wander on the wonderful deities that our eyes have feasted on and touched our inner souls, I venture to list them:

1. our own Azhahiya ManavaLan of srirangam ( he is a resident of Srirangam)
2. The Tirumalai Deivam (moolamoorthy)
3. Ramabiran of Thillaivilaham and
4. The Gopalaswamy of Rajamannargudi.

The list is of course endless.

Ashok’s amazing capture

The slightly leaning stance of the lord at mannargudi with the bewitching smile readily captures the heart. The only vasthram that cowherds adorn on their body knee high shows him at once as a simple kovalan who can be touched upon ,talked to and quarrelled with. The azhwars esp. Periazwar goes into raptures on the leelas of lord krishna imagining himself as the mother, yasodha. The endless chestithams(kurumbuhaL) are narrated at great length in those pasurams. His adorning the earring in one ear enhances his beauty.

Prasad’s splendid sketch

The cow and the two calves yearn to have his attention and are blessed to be with him always 24 hours a day and see their eyes and their radiance proudly proclaiming their proximity to him! It is hence not strange that His touch has made them VALLAL PERUM PASUKKAL and only the availability of utensils is the limit for their supply of the nector milk. I learn that the stick in his hand is called sendu and not saattai as some have stated in the websites. The sendu is a lengthy stick in the hands of cowherds which is used to bring down the branches green with leaves to be fed to the cattle. It helps to lower the bough to be used by the cattle but will survive as the branch is not completely broken. iyer has narrated this in en charitram i presume. Can any one ever imagine, saattai in His hand, as it is a punishing stick and the Paahan who touched fed and treated the wounds of horses in the midst of battlefield in Bharata yuddam will he touch it at all?

During the month of panguni vennaiththazhi uthsavam i saw in the t.v. as to how the Lord (and perforce the archahar) are flooded with vennai by all and sundry and He is not satisfied and seems to want more! I could feel that those who throw the navaneetham transform at that moment into the very gopalars and mannargudi transforms itself into ayarpadi. How fortunate they are?

Reg the flute that was used by Him there are references to it in many places and an entire paththu is devoted by Periazwar for this 3-6 thirumozhi–starting with Navalam. Kulasekarar better known for the cryptic summary of ramayana in his PerumaL Thirumozhi has talked about the agony of Devaki who laments on the luck of yasodha and her own ill luck not to savour the leelas of the Lord. (devahi pulambal). The ectasy experienced by the girls of ayarpadi, the women, the celestial beauties, thumburu, naradha, the kinnarars famous for dance and music, gandarvar, the gods who are offered havis for their food,the birds, the cattle, the deer,the trees and their branches was beyond measure. ) there is ref to ‘ seviyuL navin suvai kondu mahizhndu” which brings to our mind the famous kuraL ” sevikkunavillatha…eeyappadum”..

For a sculputural appreciation one may visit the front mandapam of chakkrathazwar koil at srirangam where the cattle,the birds, the reptiles and the trees are shown spell bound as they are by the melody of that music. It is a pity that the sculpture is not too well executed but the suggestion is there for everyone to see. (But how many have the aptitude?)

kodhai (godha in sanskrit) of course is a class apart but i feel that srirangam and thirumalai are places that captures her heart and soul. Pity she has not thought of the mannargudi temple.