The Lord of Seven hills is worshiped every moment in the form of one or the other seva or Utsavam (procession). Theses utsavas provide blissful experience to the devotees.
Around 1000 years ago, the famous Sri vaishnavaite, Bhagavad Ramanujacharya also visited the divine shrine and made arrangements to assist in the performance of Nithya, 15 days (Paksha), Monthly (masa), yearly (varshika) special pujas and specially the brahmotsavams, the grandeur of which not only reverberates the entire hills of Tirumala.
Adhyayana Utsavam is one such rituals that is described and detailed in Divya Prabandhas.
DivyaPrabandhas are the recitals composed in Tamil, having 4000 (Nalayira) pasurams (verses). In all SriVaishnavite temples, this DivyaPrabandhas are recited at appropriate times. The places where it is recited are treated as Divine Places (DivyaDesas). There are 108 such DivyaDesas even to this day.
All Holy men like peethadhipatis accept teertha, the sacred water, from these 108 DivyaDesas as a tradition and also this tradition is followed by other religious practices .
The day when Sri Nammalwar attained the abode of Lord, is observed as ‘AdhyayanaUtsavam’ or ‘VaikuntaUtsava’ or ‘PrasannaUtsava’ or ‘Moksha Utsava’.
At Tirumala it is named as ‘AdhyayanaUtsavam’. Every day at Tirumala Srivari temple the disciples and representatives of Sri Bhashyakara, the PeddaJeeyar Swami and as his successor ChinnaJeeyar Swami along with disciples (ekangis’) recite the divine verses of DivyaPrabandhas at a specific time.
Having 4000 ( Nalaiyaram in Tamil means ‘four thousand’) verses, these DivyaPrabandhas are divided into 4 parts as MudhalAyiram, Periya Thirumozhi, Iyarpa and Thiruvaaymozhi’. This Divya Prabandha is a complete Prabandha Parayana, (recital) towards adhyayana (dedicated study and recital) of Dravida Veda popularly known as ‘AdhyayanaUtsavam’.
AlwarTirunagari, in Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of Sri Nammalwar. Tirumangaialwar installed a statue of Nammalwar and also carried the same to Srirangam in a pallaki. At Sri RanganthaSwamivari temple, starting from VaikuntaEkadasi the first part of DivyaPrabandham, theThiruvaaymozhi is recited.
The recitation of Thiruvaaymozhi indicates the beginning of ‘AdhyayanaUtsavam’ as a customary tradition. At the end of the ‘AdhyayanaUtsavam’ the Nammalwar is placed at the lotus feet of the Utsava Murthy at certain divyadesams such as Srirangam and GovindarajaSwamy temples.
Nammalwar is once again sent back for the purpose of the well-being of this eternal world. Later with the blessings of Nammalwar, the disciples re-procured the Nalayiram and conduct the Utsavam for 22 days. This tradition has continued till date and the recital of all the 4000 verses.
For the first ten days before VaikuntaEkadasi, two thousand verses are recited and next ten days following Ekadasi , the remaining verses are recited during night time (Irappatthu).
At 21st day RamanujaNootrandadi, UpadesaRathnamala followed by Sathumurai and next day conducting ThirupallanduThodakkam completes the 4000 verses i.e., ‘AdhyayanaUtsavam’.
At Tirumala Srivari temple during AdhyayanaUtsavam on the 22nd day ‘Kanninun Siruthambu’ that is praising Lord Krishna as everything is conducted, on 24th day Sathumurai at Srivari temple and on 25th day ThaneerAmudu that is a descendant of Thozhappa Chary brings water from a holy spring called Akasa Ganga with temple honours.
Abhishekam is conducted to the feet of the Lord Venkateswara by the Vaikhanasa Archaka and this ritual of AdhyayanaUtsavam concludes with fervour.
During this period, starting from Karthikapournami ending with Koorathalwan’s ThiruNakshatram (birthday) that is in these two months the DivyaPrabandhas recitation is restricted, but during these two months the equivalent of Thiruvaaymozhi having 120 pasurams, ThiruvaaymozhiNootrandadi is recited as a tradition.
This commemorates the incident of TirumangaiAlwar inviting Nammalwar to Srirangam during these two months.
Vaishnavites thus decided that DivyaPrabandhaAdhyayana (study and recital of the sacred hymns) has to be conducted every day regularly, if not possible, at least once in a year for a period of 22 days DivyaPrabandha Adhyayana is a must.
In the Beginning
At Sri Venkateswara swami vari temple at Tirumala, the AdhyayanaUtsavam, in the beginning, was performed by TirumangaiAlwar and continued by Nadhamunis. This was further propagated by Bhagavad Ramanuja Acharya. As an evidence, there is an inscription dated 1253 in temple premises that indicate the performing of a partial DivyaPrabandhaAdhyayana.
By the year 1360 complete DivyaPrabandhas AdhyayanaUtsavam was started and performed. Another inscription of the year 1440 A.D clearly states in Brahmotsavam as performed to, Thirumozhi was conducted.
Procedure of AdhyayanaUtsavam at Srivari Temple, Tirumala
After conducting and completing regular rituals of the day, the processional deity as UtsavaMurti is seated upon a vahanam and in another vahanam opposite to UtsavaMurthi, the Alwar’s Murthi is placed which is carried from Srivari temple up to Dwajasthambam in a Pradakshinam.
In between these two vahanams in two rows all Nadhamunis join. The priests of the temple perform various Upacharas to theUtsavaMurtis and Alwars. Later, the sacred cloth (parivattam) is tied around the head to Sthanacharyas as a mark of respect which is followed by Veda Vinnapam.
DivyaPrabandhas are recited, further Satari is offered to all Nadhamunis. The vahanam is then carried inside the temple into Sanctum Sanctorum.
Finally, both the vahanams are placed opposite each other and this completes the Adhyayana Utsavam for the day. Naivedyam, satumurai, distributing theertham, prasadam is conducted in an orderly manner.
On the final day, at Tirumala, Nammalwar paramapada utsavam concludes the AdhyayanaUtsavam successfully. Lord Malayappa on Garuda Vahanam is taken out in a procession along with Alwars, in the four mada streets.
All the disciples are blessed after the Vahanaseva. VadadiVyapam and final recitation of Thirumozhi are done after entering the temple. Alwars are placed at the Lotus Feet of the Lord along with Thulasi and Harathi is performed. Thirumanjanam and decoration are performed for Alwars. Pongal is offered as Naivedyam.
Later Sathumorai is offered to Lord Venkateswara. Finally, the Stanaacharyas’ are given appropriate Sathkaras along with Theertha, Prasadam. Then Theertham and Prasadam will be distributed to all the devotees.
Author: Amt N.Kalpana (Saptagiri Magazine)