Thiruvisanallur also called as Thiruvisallur, a small village on the beds of river Cauvery,which is about 10 kms from Kumbakonam is my native place. My grandfather's(dad's dad) sister called Macham (macha paati) was living there in her alone.
I had gone to Thiruvisanallur in my child hood days to Macha patti's house but I very strangely remember those days and what I did. For many years then I never went there and so were my parents.
Here comes the best part about this small village. This village is very famous for the Ayyaval Madam(Mutt). Ayyaval was the Second Guru in the Bhajanai Sampradayam. His full name was Sri Sridhara Ayyaval. He was a great follower of Lord Shiva and has composed numerous slogas and songs.It is believed that through his prayers and singing he brought the River Ganga into his house's well.That well is still there.This madam(his house earlier) is just opposite to Macha patti's house. I just remember that once when I had gone in my childhood time, this madam was not having proper shelter and its a vast open ground with only some part covered where the Bhagavathas sit and perform. All the Bhagavathas love to come and sing and perform in front of Ayyaval. This is happening even now.
But now the madam has developed so vast that it has got a proper building,a big hall for the performers, a big hall for taking rest, rooms for Bhagavathas , a big hall for taking food,clean toilets and so on.
Every year to celebrate the auspicious day of when Ayyaval brought Ganges into his well, there is a 10 days Uthsavam called Gangaakarshana Mahotsavam.It comes in the Tamil month of Karthigai and the day when Ganges was believed to have come in to the well is Karthigai month Ammavasai day. So the 10 days Uthsavam would start before this Ammavasi day and would complete on that day.
Now after my childhood, for the past 5 years I ve been going to my native place for this Uthsavam. Every time we receive the invitation as the madam has got a very unique feature that once if you had donated some money be it even Rs 25/-, you will surely receive the invite every year. I had never felt before the last 5 years that I should go to my native place if not for this Uthsavam.It was really blessed in disguise that I got an interest to go to this Uthsavam.
Now comes the next special thing about this Thiruvisanallur.
A person at this modern days, has these following qualities:
- Never drinks a spoon of water also outside
- Can do Bhajanai non stop throughout the night
- Never sees books for any songs
- Has an enormous amount of memory to keep all the song's lyrics
- Extermely talented in Sampradhaya Bhajans but never has come out to become fame
- Never expects fame,so humble
- Never omits any charanam in any songs he sings( Need to mention as in the modern days due to time limitation many bhagavathas are not able to sing all the charanams of a song in a Bhajanai)
- And many more as I have realized only these in the last 5 years
All these are some of the qualities of Brahmasri Ramakrishna(RK) Baghavathar (I call him as Anna). When I type his name really there is something that I feel proud and not able to explain actually.He stays in this madam for the past 18 years and also has been coming to this madam since he was 6 years(this part I knew only when I went this time - one month back). It is really impossible to see a person like him and to live like him. I am very proud that I live in that same age as he has also lives, that I ve met him and I ve spoke to him.
It is after Ayyaval, Thiruvisanallur is famous for Ramakrishna Bhagavathar.In the field of Bhajans I would say he is a King,who can never be defeated till the Bhajans exist. There is nothing that he does not know. Many Bhagavathas and people who write books on Bhajans come to him for rectifying their mistakes in the language and in the lyrics. Anything he does, he will do it whole heartedly and completely. There would be no one in Bhajanai field who does not know him.
It was for my dad(Ramani), he got his job only after coming to Thiruvisnallur once. And I also got a break thru in my career after coming here once for Krishna Jayanthi.It did not stop with that,one of my friend who is accompanying me for the last two years,also got a job after coming here.So it doesnt mean the unemployed lot should run into this place to get a job.... Jokes apart.I mean this place is so powerful and this power for this place has come only throughpeople like Ramakrishnan Anna and his predecessors of this madam.
It is because of this friend,whom i mentioned above I started getting an interest towards Bhajanai and started going with him to many Bhajanai that happens during the weekends in Chennai.And when he came with me to my native place,he started getting interest seeing and hearing Anna's bhajans.
The Divyanamam which is the way of lighting a lamp in the middle and gents dance surrounding the lamp considering the lamp as god Krishna and the dancers as Gopikas. Anna's Divyanamams are very famous that it he will sing for the whole night without any break and taking even a sip of water. And the songs that he sings are very ancient ones which nobody even knows these days or even if they know nobody sings them.But Anna's knowledge is like a Ocean and these songs are just some droplets from that Ocean.Than writings great songs,it is greatest who reach that to people.
This year's Uthsavam started on Nov 26th and ended on Dec 5th. Since this year had two Weekends I planned well in advance to go for both the weekends but my wish is to stay for the entire 10 days of Uthsavam.So as planned I went on Nov 26th (taking leave to office as it was Thanksgiving day Friday In US,not much of work was there in offfice). This time I was able to actively participate in helping in the Operations work to post the Prasadam to the bhakthas. Though I had gone for the last 5 years only this year it reached my mind that Y dont I too help when so many people are doing such a good work. Usually I go listen to bhajans, sometimes help in serving food. But only this time I felt I was doing some good work to certain extent. Though I was not able to be there for all ten days and serve,which is my wish and motto.While doing some of the work,one of the person passed a comment to Anna saying that we all are doing all this work and service only for Anna and not for Ayyaval. really I was feeling the same but I was not able to express but that guy did it-hats off to him. I like Anna a lot and respect him a lot but that respect many a times gets converted as fear and I dont talk to Anna as I have much fear. But this time to certain extent I did speak to Anna and I was very happy about it.Though it might sound very funny or childish to the readers.But this is the fact and can be felt only in person and not through reading this.
I also went the next weekend Dec 3rd.Actual plan was my whole family parents,sister,aunt and her husband were to accompany me to the native place but sudden demise of one of my aunt Laitha Athi,who was suffering with Brain Tumour for almost a year made only me and my sister to travel for Dec 3rd weekend.My sister has come to this madam before but has not stayed for couple of days like this time.She too enjoyed all the happenings there as it was new to her.
The Ammavasai Day:
On Dec 5th this year was the auspicious day of the Ganges coming to the well.Usually I make it a point that I dont sleep the previous night as usually Anna's divyanamam will be there. But this time it was Sethalapthi Soundararaja Bhagavathar,who is also a Stalwart in Bhajans but an elderly person.And also I slept for a couple of hours and suddenly one of my friend there woke me up at around 5 o clock.All were ready to go to take snanam(snan) in Cauvery. And so was I with half sleep joined Anna and the crowd to Cauvery. There Anna recited many prayers but I was not able to enjoy them as it was shivering cold and I was also half sleeping.After the prayers then with all the people and Anna again came back to madam and then there was some pooja to Ayyaval which Anna did. Then comes the Ganga snan and the Ganga pooja. After Ayyaval's pooja Anna came with specs and the prayers written on a paper covered with plastic folder as it was raining to the well.He has prepared this putting it in a plastic folder last night itself.When Anna was doing Ayyaval pooja itself I came near the well as there was lot of crowd.
Anna started reciting the slokas which we should repeat after him.I seriously did not understand the slokas as I dont know Sanskrit and also not that great to understand the meaning of slokas.But those slokas which Anna recited with so much of importance to pronunciations and stresses on words,suddenly I got a feeling that "Did really Ganges came for Ayyaval in the past" or the "Ganges is coming now for Ramakrishna Anna"-for reciting those slokas so well with so much of passion. Seriously tears started pouring from my eyes seeing and hearing those slokas from him. It is all said that Ayyaval brought Ganges to his well..... But we have not seen it..... it is just followed as belief..... But i really felt Ganges came to that well when Anna recited these prayers on Dec 5th.
I still would say Ganga would have come for Ayyaval on those days.... but to show that in Kali yug, Ayyaval has sent Anna in his form to make people realize and to get the blessings. May all those people who has patience reading this blog get Anna's and Ayyavals blessings.
But I m very sure Anna would really scold me and mistake me to have made this blog on him.He is that humble and Down to earth person,very difficult to meet a person like this. I just started to create this blog on the highlights of Thiruvisanallur (also had a different title before) but happened to explain Thiruvisanallur where Anna is living.Sorry Anna.