Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sriperumbudur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sriperumbudur is a town panchayat in Tamil Nadu located 40 kilometers southwest of the city of Chennai. It is known for being the birthplace of Sri Ramanuja, one of the most prominent Hindu Vaishnava saints. 

 

 

 

Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE) was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete, born in a Tamil family at Sriperumbudur. Vaishnavites see him one of the most important acharya (teacher) of their tradition and as the leading expounder of Vishishtadvaita, one of the classical interpretations of the Vedic philosophy. 

 

 

 

There is a lot of historical importance attached to this place. The Sriperumbudur Sri Adikesava Perumal Temple is 500 years old and is dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu who is worshipped as AdiKesava and his consort Lakshmi as Amirtagadavalli.  The divine mother is known as “Sri Yatirajanathavalli Thayar” meaning she is the consort of the master to Yathiraja i.e. Ramanuja. This is the only temple where Goddess Lakshmi has a name attributed to a devotee of the Lord. 

 

 

 

The east-facing temple has a golden vimana (dome over the sanctum) with Sri Ramanuja’s image etched on it. This is the first golden vimana and was installed in 1912. To the right of the sanctum is the shrine of Saint Ramanuja, the philosopher-teacher of Vaishnavism. At the back of the temple is the water body called Anantha Sarasu or Pushkarini. 

 

 

 

Thaan Ugantha Thirumeni (image sanctified by Ramanuja himself) is at Sriperumbudur while Thaan Ana Thirumeni (the original body of Saint Ramanuja) is still preserved in his samadhi (tomb) at Srirangam. 

 

 

 

The Ramanuja Vigraha (icon) was made when the Acharya was living. It is said that Ramanuja hugged it and passed on all his powers to this Vigraha which is known as ‘Than Ugantha Thirumeni’, the body touched by him. It is said that when the Sthapathi (master sculptor) opened the eye of the image with his chisel, blood came out of the eyes of Ramanuja who was then living in Srirangam, many miles away. When asked why the eye bled, he explained that the icon was ‘himself’. After the vigraham in Sriperumbudur was sanctified, Ramanujar became weak and passed away after a fortnight. This is interpreted as his prana (life) abiding in the vigraha at Sriperumbudur. 

 

 

 

 

 

Legends

 

 

 

 

 

The Boodha Ganas – an army-like division of Lord Shiva’s empire – approached Lord Vishnu for relief from a curse spelt on them by Lord Shiva.  Lord Vishnu created a spring here through his divine serpent Anantha (Anantha Saras Theertham), gave darshan to the Bhoodas from its bank and relieved them of the curse.  As a token of their gratitude, the Bhoodha Ganas erected this temple for Lord Vishnu.  Hence, the place is called Bhoodhapuri. 

 

 

 

As per another legend, a king tried to kill a tiger that was trying to attack a cow. In spite of his efforts, the cow was killed by the tiger and the king incurred the curse of the cow. To expiate himself from the sin, he did penance at his place. Adi Kesava is believed to have appeared for the king and relieved his curse.

 

 

 

The Specialty of this Temple and Vigraham is Eravadai Theertham (Sacred water). The water left over from the daily ablutions and the cloth worn by the deities is squeezed and given as prasadam (blessing) to devotees. This water is said to cure skin diseases and bless childless couples with children. It is believed that when devotees take a bath in the temple tank and light a ghee lamp, it will rid them of Rahu Kethu Dosham (snake planets evil effects). 

 

 

 

Various festivals are celebrated in the temple, with the Chitirai Brahmotsavam, Masi Pooram festival during February - March and Panguni Uthiram festival during March - April being the most prominent. During the 10 day Chithirai festival during April-May, Acharya graces from this mandap.  On birth star day of saint Ramanuja, he is placed in a cradle as a child and fed with milk in a conch.  During this festival, the Parivattam - turban linen – is brought from 36 Vaishnava shrines-Divya Desas – as a courtesy to the Acharya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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