Happy Janmashtami to all!
Let us remember some of the great temples of Krishna!
Glory to Mathura Sri Krishna! Glory to Brindavan Banke Bihari! Glory to Dwarakadish! Glory to Nathadwara Shrinathji! Glory to Puri Jagannath! Glory to Pandharpur Panduranga! Glory to Udupi Sri Krishna! Glory to Guruvayoorappan! Glory to Parthasarathi of Tirvelikeni! Glory to Muvvagopala! Glory to Rajagopala of Mannargudi! Glory to Govindaji of Manipur! Glory to Pandava-Doota-Perumal of Kanchipuram!
Add some more?
Today, September 1, is also the day Sri Ramana Maharshi came first to Tiruvannamalai. As a boy of 16, he took a morning train from Tirukkoilur and came into Tiruvannamalai. He went straight to Arunachaleshwara temple, where, as God would have it, he went straight to the sanctum, hugged Arunachaleshwara Linga, and said “Father, I am here”…..
That year (1896), Janmashtami was on Aug 31st. Young Ramana had left Madurai and was on his way to Tiruvannamalai. Morning of 31st August, he got up, hungry, in Tirukkoilur. Seeking food, he happened to get the hospitality of Muthukrishna Bhagavatar. The Bhagavatar couple were very happy to give food to this sage-looking boy, on Krishna Janmashtami. The lady of the house also gave him some sweets to take with him. Boy Ramana pledged his earrings and got some money from Muthukrishna Bhagavatar. With that he bought a train ticket the next day, Sep 1, and came, once and for all, to Arunachala!
It is indeed significant that Sri Ramana came from Tirukkoilur to Arunachala. For one, he took the same route taken by Tiru Jnanasambandar, the child Saiva saint, Nayanmar. His songs on Siva form the first three volumes of the Tirumurai, the most holy treatise of Siva Bhakti. Also, Tirukkoilur is the birthplace of Divya Prabandam, the most holy treatise of Vishnu Bhakti. It was in a narrow room of a home here, that the mudal Alwars, the first three Alwars, had the divine vision of Vishnu. So spectacular was the vision that Peyazhwar sang:
திருக்கண்டேன் பொன்மேனி கண்டேன், திகழும்
அருக்கன் அணி நிறமும் கண்டேன் – செருக் கிளரும்
பொன் ஆழி கண்டேன்,புரி சங்கம் கைக் கண்டேன்
என் ஆழி வண்ணன்பால்,இன்று
I have seen Shree! I have seen Golden form! I have seen the brilliance of the Sun! I have seen the golden discus (chakra) that churns the battlefield! I have seen the hand that holds the conch! Today, I have seen the One who is of hue of the blue ocean!
The three Azhwars sang of Vishnu in 100 verses each, and so was Divya Prabandham begun.
Thus it is that Tirukkoilur is the very fount of Bhakti. Tirukkoilur literally means ‘the town of the holy temple’.
And coming from there to Arunachala, from Bhakti kshetra to Jnana Kshetra, therefore, reminds one of what Sri Ramana has said.
When Dilip Kumar Roy, the great Krishna Bhakta, asked Ramana about the relation of Jnana and Bhakti, Ramana told him – Bhakti Jnana Mata – Bhakti is the mother of Jnana…
And yes… The great Arunachaleshwara temple of Tiruvannamalai… Right behind the sanctum-sanctorum of Arunachaleshwara, is the shrine of Venugopala!
Happy Janmashtami to all!