Showing posts with label Guruvayurappan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guruvayurappan. Show all posts

Saturday, December 19, 2015



There were three great Mahatmas in South India who initially showed the path of Bhagavatha Dharma. Even though this path was propounded by the Lord himself, “Bhagavatha Proktam Bhagavatham”, many a Mahatmas came down in the age of Kali to show the beautiful path of bhakti. Bhagavatha Dharma and Bhakti are no different. People do not comprehend the term ‘bhakti’ and have a wrong notion that they might not develop bhakti and that is why we call it as Bhagavatha Dharma because dharma is something that everyone can follow. Many Mahatmas showed the path of bhakti from time immemorial. But if we were to pick the proponents of bhakti from South India, they were three Mahatmas – Sri Bhagawan Nama Bodendral Swamigal, Sri Shridhara Ayyaval Swamigal and Sri Sadguru Swamigal. Sri Bodendra was an ascetic who showed the greatness of Rama Nama. His life was a standing example depicting the greatness of chanting the divine names of the Lord. We see from his life history [charithra] that a deaf and dumb boy when he consumed Bodendral’s food remnants [the leftover food that was consumed by Sri Bodendral] immediately started chanting the divine names of Lord Rama. Shri Shridhara Venkatesa Swamigal fondly called as Shri.Shridhara Ayyaval was born in Karnataka and later migrated to Thiruvisainallur, a place that housed many great scholars and was a feet of intelligence. In Karnataka, he was serving the Karnataka royal family and relinquished his royal honor and settled in Thiruvisainallur purely out of bhakti and devotion to Lord Shiva. He was incessantly chanting the divine names of Lord Shiva – “Srikantam Iva Bhasvantham Shiva Nama Parayanam”. He was a householder but only led the life of an ascetic akin to the drop of water on a lotus leaf. The drop of water would not have any contact with the lotus leaf and will happily flow down when pushed away from the lotus leaf. Being a staunch follower of dharma, he performed all his duties as a house-holder including all the religious activities like shrhada, which one does to their fore-fathers once a year. Shardha is usually performed after sunrise during the mid-day. One day, Sri Shridhara was getting ready for the Shradha and went to take bath in Cauvery River and was returning back to home. It is believed that on the day of Shradha, the ancestors come down and par-take the food that was offered by the householders. They get immensely pleased by the hospitality of these householders and bless the householder and his family abundantly. Special dishes are normally cooked and offered to the ancestors. When Sri Sridhara was returning from the river, he spotted a man who was starving and hadn’t eaten any food for many days and was on the verge of death. All scriptures describe compassion as the first good quality of a Bhagavatha. A thought struck Sri Sridhara – “What is the use of serving the fore-fathers when one of my brothers is on the brink of death”. He brought the beggar home and sumptuously fed him. The Pandits who were supposed to be performing for the Shradha came to know of this and were enraged by Sri Sridhara’s act and they walked away. They also made sure that no other Pandits steps their foot at the residence of Sri.Shridhara. When the Pandits questioned his act, he pleaded guilty for his act from the Shastras perspective and requested the Pandits to complete the ceremony. Even though he pleaded with all humility, the Pandits did not listen to him. Ayyaval then requested them to advice on the atonement for the sin that he committed. They then consulted each other for the expiation and advised Ayyaval to perform the ceremony after taking a dip in the Ganges River in Varanasi. It is a fact that one’s sins get absolved after taking a dip in Ganga. Ayyaval was glad to hear the remedy [prayaschitha], however it was not possible to go to Varanasi and return the same day. The ceremony had to be performed that very day and pleaded with the Pandits to finish off the Shraddha and that he will certainly make a trip to Varanasi and take a dip in holy Ganges. They however did not budge and so Ayyaval told them that he cannot go to Varanasi that very moment and that he can have Ganga come over to Thiruvisainallur. Saying so, he went to the well at the back of his house, and started chanting the divine names of Lord Shiva – “Gangadhara Gangadhara”. The very moment he started chanting the divine names of Lord Shiva, the well began springing up with water, which was verily the water from Ganges. It started springing with so much water that the well began to overflow and soon flooded Ayyaval’s home and all the streets in Thiruvisainallur. In the beginning, the denizens of Thiruvisainallur did not believe that it was verily Ganges that was flowing in the streets. The people who had earlier talked bad about Ayyaval went and hid themselves in their houses and were afraid that Ayyaval would curse them. Only a chosen few who realized that it was Ganga Devi who visited them in their village took a dip in the waters and got themselves purified. This incident happened on an Ammavasya day in the Kartika month and it is believed that every year since then, on the Kartika Ammavsya day, Ganges does come to this well in Ayyaval’s home and people take a dip in river Ganges. The whole incident is celebrated till day as “Ganga Karshanam – attracting Ganga to one’s own house”, which purely comes by the merit of Ayyaval’s bhakti which was verily generated out of his love for the divine names of Lord Shiva.

The Lord takes so many Avatars in this earth and each of these Avatars [descension] coming down tis verily due to his compaasion. When he comes down, he is at a very high level and descends [irangi varadhu in Tamil]. When the Lord comes down it is Irakam in Tamil, which also connotes compassion. He comes down to shower his grace on everyone. Our Guru Maharaj always cites a beautiful example to substantiate this descent. A normal householder one day decides to clean the road behind his house. The next day he is all clad in dirty rags and cleans the road with his friends. Inspite of this being a good act by responsible citizens, it however does not hit the media headlines. On the other hand, if the same act was done by the President of a country, it is the important news in the media. Why? A President is not expected to do that and his position and stature in the society doesn’t merit his coming down to such a dirty place and cleaning it. This is verily descent. He lowers his level and mingles with all the jivas, does all the work and in turn cleanses the jivas. So when the Lord descends he definitely demands the attention of Brahma and other Devas, which are akin to the media and press in the mundane world. He might descend down in a unique creature like half man half lion and this incarnation might not require lot of compassion since it is indeed an unique manifestation. He came down as a Kshatriya king as Rama and it merited lot of attention because he was a normal mortal and did all the activities of a normal living-being all throughout his incarnation even though he was born in royal family. People were afraid to approach Rama because of his stature. It was Rama who went behind Guha to embrace him even though Guha didn’t expect this out of Rama. He made friends with monkeys out of sheer compassion. The Lord however was not satisfied with his incarnation as Rama because of his demeanor and decided to incarnate as a mere cow-herd and merged with the normal mortals. Even though Lord Krishna enacted myriad of divine plays during his incarnation, the stealing of butter episode captivated everyone the most. It is verily the “Makh and Chor Krishna” that people worship in their homes even today. He always resides as a little naughty kid inside everyone. Even though we can find such a Krishna in so many different places across our country, the Lord in Guruvayoor stands out and has enticed everyone the most. The beautiful stature of Lord Guruvayoor attracts the devotees to come and hug the Lord. Guruvayoor is located in Trichur district in Southern India. Sri Narayana Bhattatri composed the beautiful Narayaneeyam, containing thousand slokas. He starts off on the first sloka with the term, ‘Hantha – Alas’. He looked at the compassion of the Lord and his own fortune – “hantha bhagyam jananam” and hence said ‘Alas’. One may ponder as to why he is fortunate. Bhatadri beautifully says, that very beautiful form of the Lord filled with compassion and incarnated after shedding all his qualities. Some opine that the Lord cannot be understood [aspashtam], but through his divine incarnation as Lord Krishna, everyone can understand the Lord with ease. Some say that Lord is “Nirmuktam”, the one who is completely free from all bondages. But in his manifestation as Lord Krishna, he has completely given himself to the strings of mother Yashoda. It is a fact that the Lord can never be bounded [nithyamuktam], but today the Lord gives himself to anyone who visits Guruvayoor today. The devotees are enraptured by the beauty of Lord Guruvayoorappan and place the Lord tightly in their hearts.

“Sandranandavabodatmakamanupamitam kaladeshavadibyam

Nirmuktam nithyamuktam nigamashatashasrena nirbhasyamanam|

Asphastam drushtamatrae punarurupurushartaathmakam brahma thatvam

Thatvadhbhato sakshaat gurupavanapurae hanta bhagyam jananam||”

Bhattathri conveys the fact that even though one may have a strong intellect and that the mind always tries to find a logical reason for every act and always questions each and every thing. One cannot be satisfied with things that don’t have logic and use the sense organs to question everything. Finally, at the end of questioning, is one satisfied with the answers? No. If one is satisfied, then he will not have any questions. Bhattathri says that there is an easy way to find answers to the questions of the intellect. The easiest way is to engage the sense organs with something else. When the eyes are busy admiring a form which is more attracting than finding the answers to the intellectual questions, when the ears are busy hearing to some music which is more enchanting than finding answers to the questions, then one need not take any effort to find the answers. The best form of answers to the questions is to realize that these questions don’t matter to us and that the form of Lord Krishna is more impactful than all these questions and answers. That state is verily an exalted state and Bhattathri extols the glory of bhakti in the second Dashakam, where he says that Guruvayurappan can bestow one with answers to these questions and that there will be no questions any more. The little Krishna has been in Guruvayur for ages and Puranas goes to say that this Krishna was verily the form whom Vasudeva worshipped in the purana of Mathura. The holy town of Mathura has the presence [Sannidhya] of Lord Sri Hari always. Srimad Bhagavatam hails Matura as ‘nithyam san nihito harihi’ and it was the abode of Vasudeva and Devaki. They used to perform Pooja to Lord Krishna in Adikeshava Perumal temple. This Krishna who is now in Guruvayur was in Adikeshava temple before coming to Guruvayur. It is verily the Pooja performed to this Krishna that Lord Krishna was born to Vasudeva and Devaki. In other words, the Guruvayur Krishna bestowed us with Lord Sri Krishna and Srimad Bhagavatam. Even after Lord Krishna was born, Vasudeva continued to do his poojs to Krishna in Adikeshava temple. Since Jarasandha started to torment the denizens of Mathura, Lord Krishna vacated Mathura and settled in Dwaraka. Vasudeva couldn’t part with Adikeshava Perumal and so he took him along to Dwaraka and established a temple. When Lord Sri Krishna was about to depart from his earthly sojourn, he presaged to his dear friend that Dwaraka would be submerged in the sea soon after his departure and instructed him to perform Pooja to Adikeshava Krishna. As per Krishna’s ordinance, Uddhava was performing pooja and also read Bhagavatam to Adikeshava Krishna. That is verily the reason why the Lord in Guruvayur is a connoisseur of Srimad Bhagavatam. He soon moved to Bhadrikashrama and as Dwaraka was getting submerged in the waters, two Devas namely Brishaspathi [Guru] and Lord Vayu [the wind god] wanted to keep this Krishna alive and brought Krishna down south by air. They were looking for a perfect place to install the Lord and spotted a place in Western Ghats that had a lot of Lord Shiva’s divine presence [sannidhya]. Srimad Bhagavatam speaks a lot about Prachetas. The children of Practeas went to meditate on the Lord and Lord Shiva appeared in front of them. He gave them an advice on how to meditate on Lord Krishna. He advised them to go and meditate in Narayana Saras, which has the full presence of Lord Shiva.

“Jitam thae atma vithurya swasthayae swasthirasthumae”

“Bhavatha rada saarathman sarvasvayai athmanae namaha”

Guru and Vayu brought the idol of Krishna to Narayana Saras and Lord Shiva is residing in a temple. On seeing the little Krishna, it is said that Lord Shiva moved out of the temple and shifted to a place called Mammiyoor. So Lord Shiva gave his own place to Lord Krishna and that is verily where Guru and Vayu consecrated Krishna. The little Krishna stands there as “Guruvayurappa” even today. Lord Shiva’s temple in Mammiyoor is about a kilometer away from the Guruvayur temple. It is believed that Lord Shiva looks at Lord Krishna and is doing penance in Mammiyoor. The place originally belonged to Lord Shiva. It was verily the staunch devotees of the Guruvayurappan who made the temple very popular – “Guru prakashae deeman”. It is verily the devotees of the Guru, who make the Guru renowned to the world. Akin to how the devotees of the Lord ranged from a disfigured person [trivakra] and all the way to an elephant, ant, crab and eagle, the Lord in Guruvayur also had many such devotees. There was an elephant called Keshavan, who was a staunch devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan. When we ponder on the devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan, the first one who comes to everyone’s mind is Sri Narayana Bhattathri. HE was afflicted by a disease known as paralysis and composed Narayaneeyam, which contains one thousand slokas. Narayeenam is an essence of Srimad Bhagavatam, not missing any divine play of Lord Krishna. Whatever is mentioned in Bhagavatam is given in essence by Bhattathri in Narayananeeyam. As we all know, Bhagavatam is a dialogue between King Parikshit and Sage Suka, where Sage Suka speaks about the glory of the Lord. The interesting precept to note in Narayaneeyam, is that Bhattathri speaks to the Lord and in turn composed Naryananeeyam. He says – “Oh ! My little Guruvayurappa, weren’t you the one who came out of the pillar, when Hiranyakashipu smashed it?, weren’t you the one who churned the milky ocean, weren’t you the one who came as a midget and who eventually grew up in size to subdue the ego of King Mahabali? It is beautiful to note that the Lord replied to Bhattathri that it was verily he who enacted all these divine plays and also enacted the same in front of Bhattathri. He enacted all the divine plays to confirm that Bhatthari’s imaginations were indeed true. The place where the Lord enacted all the divine plays and the place where Bhattathri composed “Narayananeeyam” still exist. At the end of Narayananeeyam, Bhattathri was cured of his paralysis and was bestowed with the divine darshan of Lord Krishna.

“Agrae pashyami thaejo nibidatharakalaavali lobhaneeyam

Peeyushaplavithoham thadanu thadhutharae divyakaishoravesham | “

“Tharunyaa ramba ramyam paramasuka rasaasvadaro maanchithangai

Raavitham naradhadyai vilasadhupani shath sundari mandalaicha ||” [Srimad Narayaneeyam 100:1]

“Neelambham kunchithagram Ganamamalatharam samyatam charubhangyaa

Rathnothamsabiram valayitha mudhayach chandrakaihi pinchajalaihi |”

“Mandaara sangranivitham thava prithukabarrr bhara maalokayeham

Snigdashwethodhva pundramapi cha sulalithim phalabalaebdhuvithim ||” [Srimad Narayaneeyam 100:2]

In the last ten slokas of Narayaneeyam, Bhattathri extolled the beautiful form of Lord Krishna from head to toe, when the Lord appeared in front of Bhattathri. Bhatthri enjoys the form of the Lord in front of him and says that he is bathing in nectar and that he develops goose bumps all over the body seeing the form of the Lord who is in his youth.

“Manjarim manjunadairiva padabhajanam sheya yithyalapantham

PaDagram Branthi majath pranatha janamano mandarodhAra koormama |”

“Utthungaa thamRa jannakara himakarajyothsnaya chashrithanamam

Santhapadhwantha hanthrim thathimanukalaye mangalam angulinam ||” [Srimad Narayaneeyam 100.9]

Bhattathri admires the anklets in the Lord’s feet that the sounds that emanate from the anklets are forever ringing in his ears and that the Lord’s feet is akin to the tortoise lifting the devotees from the transmigration of life and death.

“Yogindranam tvadangaeshavadika sumaduram muktibhaajAm nivAsO”

Bhaktanam Kamavarshadh dutharakisalayam nAthatae pada moolam |”

Nithyam chithasthitam mae pavanapurapathae kRishna kArunyasindho

Hruthva nishshaesha thaapan pradishath paramananda sandhoha lakshmIm ||” [Srimad Narayaneeyam 100.10]

Bhattathri then admires the holy feet of the Lord. He says “Oh Lord, your feet is the most sacred to the Yogis and it can bestow liberation to everyone.” It can grant whatever one desires and finally declares that the Lord’s feet is the most admirable part in the Lord’s whole body and that all Yogis’ yearn to have the darshan of the Lord’s feet.

Bhagavatam says –“Akamo sarvakamo va moksha kamo udharathihi” The holy feet can bestow one all way from an ordinary mundane desire to liberation. It is not a Kalpataru but indeed a leaf from the Kaplataru.

And finally Bhattathri prays to that beautiful form of the Lord standing in front of him to reside in his heart forever. He finally concluded with the prayer that the feet that was cause of happiness for Goddess Lakshmi be the cause for his happiness. The Lord also bestowed Bhattathri with that wish. It is ok to turn to the Lord for desires as long as the desire ends in desire for bhakti and liberation.

The greatness of Lord Guruvayurappan and the reminisced his divine plays.

When Sri Suka describes the birth of Lord Krishna, it was a dark prison cell where Vasudeva and Devaki were imprisoned. There was an observer in the prison and it was none other than Sage Sukha. When Vasudeva and Devaki were admiring Little Krishna, Sage Suka was looking at Vasdeva and explains as to what Vasudeva really saw. He perceived the child to be a form of the Lord who has stunning lotus like eyes and four arms. The Lord was holding a conch [sanka], discus and maze [gadha] in his three arms. Lord Vasudeva did not see what the Lord was carrying in his fourth arm. It was Devaki who noticed that the Lord was holding a lotus in his fourth arm and she prayed to the Lord and requested him to become a child with two arms. It is verily this child-like form of the Lord that is seen in Guruvayur even today. Vasudeva earlier worshipped the same form of the Lord in Adhikesava temple before Lord Krishna was born and do Vasudeva only saw that very form of the Lord in front of his eyes. It was indeed a great form of the Lord since it was worshipped by Vasudeva and Uddhava and Lord Shiva himself gave his place requesting Guru and Vayu to consecrate the Lord in his abode which is called Guruvayur today. The form of the Lord is so great since everyone can see that form of the Lord even today.

We all know that Srimad Bhagavatam is a conversation between Sake Suka and King Parikshit, whereas Narayaneeyam is a conversation between Bhattathiri and the Lord. He addresses everything to Guruvayurappa. In one of his conversation with the Lord, Bhattathiri fondly recalled the incarnation of Lord Varaha and says, “Oh My Guruvayurappa, Hiranyaksha came down and hid the whole world under the waters. You know what you did, you took even a smaller form and came out from the nose of Lord Brahma and you eventually grew in size of a big mountain to become a boar”. Bhattathiri beautifully admires how the Lord became a boar and how he sailed through the air and jumped right into the ocean with the nose pointing down akin to a wild boar, and picked mother earth on his teeth which were curved above. Bhattathiri admired the teeth that were curved above which was sparkling white and earth which was in blue color, looked like third day moon that a little curve and streak on top. You were so happily grunting. Hiranyaksha came out to look for Lord Hari and enquired the Lord’s whereabouts with Sage Narada, who asked him to go to the forests. On seeing the Lord in the guise of a boar, Hiranyaksha started abusing the boar form of the Lord. The Lord accepted all the abuses by Hiranyaksha as a beautiful lotus garland around the neck and still bestowed him with Moksha. Bhattathiri was all awe on the Lord’s immense compassion on Hiranyaksha. This is verily an instance of how Bhattathiri showers his love on the Lord in form of Narayaneeyam. He was unable to imagine the little innocent Guruvayurappan who came down in the form of a half human and half lion form and tore Hiranyakashipu apart and so he questioned the Lord – “Oh Guruvayurappa, were you the one who came down as Lord Narasimha who tore Hiranyakashipu’s intestines apart and wore them as a garland around your neck?”. Guruvayurappan then enacted the whole Prahalada charitra in front of Bhattathiri . Such is the greatness of Bhattathiri ’s works. When Gajendra shouted “Narayana Akila Guro Bhagawan Namaste”, the Lord came in Garuda and bestowed him with liberation [moksha], the greatest of the greatest. Suddenly Bhattathiri had a doubt on the Lord’s form. The Lord had four hands and in one hand he was holding the conch [sankha], in the other hand he had the discus [chakra], mace [gada] in the third hand and lotus in the fourth hand. He was cognizant of the first three items namely the conch, discus and mace which are verily the Lord’s sporting goods in Vaikuntam and Shirabdhi. He was unsure about the lotus in the Lord’s fourth hand and so he enquired about the lotus and the Lord replied that it was verily this lotus that was offered to the Lord’s holy feet by Gajendra. He offered a lotus from the pond when the Lord saved him. It is a fact that the Lord holds whatever that is offered by a devotee very close to his heart.

Out of hundred dashakams In Narayaneeyam, about seventy to eighty dashakams are dedicated to Lord Krishna’s divine plays. He delineated all the divine plays of the Lord in Narayaneeyam. During Kaliya Nardhanam, he was unable to believe that Guruvayurappan danced on the head of Kaliya, the thousand headed snake. He jumped from the branch of Kadamba tree right on the snake and touched the tail first. Kaliya soon entwined Lord Krishna with his tail and took him inside the waters. Lord Krishna was inside the waters for couple of minutes as if caught by the snake. Gopas and Gopis, who were standing on the banks of river Yamuna, started crying since they were not able to see him and thought that they had lost him. The Lord wanted to play a prank on the Gopas and Gopis and so hid himself in the waters. They were unable to comprehend this and started weeping. The Lord then realized that it was not the right time to play pranks and so he immediately came out of the waters and jumped right on Kaliya’s head and started to dance.

atha vaariNi ghOorataraM phANinaM prativaarayituM kRihtadhiirbhagavan |
druthamaaritha tIraga nIpataruM viShamaarutashOShita parNachayam || [Narayaneeyam 55.1]

atha dikshuvidikshu parikshubhita bhramithOdara vaari ninaadabharaiH |
udakaadudagaaduragaadhipati-stvadupAntamashAntaruShAndhamanAH || [Naryanaeeyam 55.4]

The cadence in which Bhattathiri described Kaliya Nardhanam was in the same meter in which the Lord danced on Kaliya and the reason Bhattathiri was able to portray the divine play in such a visual manner was verily because the Lord performed the leela in front of Bhattathiri. Even today there are lots of inscriptions on Lord Krishna’s divine plays on the temple pillars in Guruvayur, which stands as a testimony to the precept that Lord Krishna himself had played the leelas there. Dashakam means a set of ten slokas. After every dasakam, he cries out to the Lord – “Oh! My Lord Guruvayurappa, you have bestowed your grace on everyone, won’t you not bestow your grace on me?” He was suffering from paralysis [vAtharogam] and cried out to the Lord that only he can cure him of that disease. The Lord wanted to extract Narayaneeyam from Bhattathiri and that was verily the reason he was afflicted with paralysis. When Bhadrachalam Ramadas was imprisoned, he thought it was a good time to sing kirtans on Lord Rama. He was least bothered by the problems inside the prison in Golkonda fort and he was only thinking about Lord Rama. Even today one can see the gory place where Bhadrachalam Ramadas was imprisoned.

If we take the life-history of Bhakta Meera, she was in absolute peace with her Giridhari when she was tortured by King Rana. Brindavan was in her heart and she did not want to go anywhere – “Brindavaname un manamae”. It was only when Rana banished her, she moved to Brindavan. When Mahans undergo more and more sufferings, it only makes them more and more aligned to the Lord.

The Lord listened to Narayaneeyam to the fullest and cured his disease and finally came in front of him. He was standing not with four hands as seen by Vasudeva but in the form of a beautiful Krishna with two arms holding a flute. When the Lord came in front of Mahans, they normally perform a “Padadi kaesha Varnanam” or “KeshAdi pAda varnanam”, where the former means a stuthi starting from the feet all the way to the head of the Lord while, the latter means a stuthi starting from the head of the Lord all the way to the Lord’s feet. Here Bhhathari starts from the head. The reason why Mahans don’t start from the feet is because the Lord’s feet are so beautiful and alluring that they cannot go beyond the holy feet. Thirumangai Azhwar describes how Mother Sita admired the beautiful countenance of Lord Rama, starting from the knot on the Lord’s head with tuft of hair and finally ends at the Lord’s feet – “Adiyum ahhde!”. Bhattathiri described the form of the Lord just as how he saw the Lord in front of him and he finally prostrated unto to the holy feet of the Lord which was so soft and tender. He ended Narayaneeyam with a very auspicious word, Lakshmi Sandoha Lakshmi. One will be bestowed with devotion to the Lord [Bhakti] which is verily the greatest of all Lakshmis, when one reads Narayananeeyam. Such was the life of Bhattathiri. The Lord showered his grace to many devotees around Guruvayur. There was a devotee called Poonthanam. Narayana Bhattathiri was a great Sanskrit scholar and knew all the six Angas of the Vedas –Shikshya, kalpam, Vyakaranam, Nirukta, Chandas. Poonthanam was a novice in Sanskrit. He used to sing praises of the Lord in Malayalam which was his mother tongue. He was one reciting Vishnu Shahasarnamam and instead of reciting the Nama as “Amara Prabhuhu” he recited it as “Mara Prabhuhu”. Amara connotes Devas and Amara Prabhuhu means the ‘Lord of all Devas’.

Bhattathiri who was passing by heard Poonthanam reciting the nama as Mara Prabhuhu. The next day, Poonthanam again recited the name as Mara Prabhuhu. Bhattathiri became really mad hearing Poonthanam’s recital of Vishnu Shasarnamam and asked him not to chant Vishnu Shasarnamam since he had not learnt it properly. That very night, the Lord came in Bhattathiri’s dreams and told him that he was pleased with Poonthanam’s bhakti more than Bhattathiri’s scholarliness. He also clarified that he is indeed “Mara Prabhu” which connotes “Lord of all human beings, plants and animals”. The very next day, Bhattathiri prostrated unto Poonthanam and that “Amara Prabhuhu” and “Mara Prabhuhu” are indeed correct and requested him to continue chanting the nama verse as “Mara Prabhuhu”. It was indeed a divine play of the Lord to show that he was indeed “Mara Prabhuhu”. There was once a devotee of Poonthanam who would string garlands to little Guruvayurappan. She would offer the garland to the Lord every evening. One day she was running a little late as she had some chores to complete. By the time she reached the temple, Dolotsav was already done and the temple was closed. There was no one else in the temple and she saw Poonthanam, who was the last person to come out of the temple. She prostrated unto Poonthanam and told him that she was not able to get the garland on time and hence she was not able to offer it to Lord Krishna. There is a tree called “Manjulal” outside the Guruvayurappan temple. One would first have the darshan of the tree before entering the temple. Since the Lord was “Mara Prabhuhu” who is the Lord of trees [Mara], Poonthanam requested the girl to offer the garland to the tree. She implicitly obeyed Poonthanam and offered the garland to Manjulal. The next morning, when all the Pandits opened the temple to wake up the Lord, they saw the same garland around the Lord’s neck. Such was the Lord’s compassion on that little girl who verbatim obeyed her Guru’s words. The Lord was so fond of Bhagavatam and so Poonthanam used to read Bhagavatam all the time in his house. One day he had some guests at home and was not able to do Bhagavata Parayanam. So he went to the back of his house since he did not want to ill-treat the guests and started reading Bhagavatam. He was reading third canto to be more specific the 14th and 15th chapters, the incarnation Varaha Avatar, where the Devas went to meet Lord Brahma and they are consoled by Lord Brahma and in the fifteenth chapter, Lord Brahma describes the Sanatkumaras voyage to Vaikuntam, and the fifteenth chapter in third canto describes Vaikunta in fine detail. bhringAdhipe harikathAm iva gAyamAne. The bees continuously buzz the names of Lord Hari and all the birds and animals chant the divine names and sign his divine glories. Poonthandam immediately goes into a bhava where he himself goes to Vaikuntam and there he sees two people prostrating unto him. He immediately enquired about them and they who were Devas replied that they were two plantain trees in Poonthanam’s backyard and they got liberated by listening to Bhagavatam. Poonthanam saw the greatness of Bhagavatam. They very listening of Bhagavatam bestow one with Vainkunta. It need not be a human tree and in this case it was a tree that was bestowed with liberation by listening to Bhagavatam, verily because the Lord is “Mara Prabhuhu”.

There was another old devotee called KruramAa who was an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan, who promptly came to have the darshan of the Lord in the morning and in the evening every day. One night as she was returning back home after the Sriveli procession, where the Lord is taken around in a procession on an elephant and then put to sleep, it started raining and she lost her way. She had to cross couple of forests en route to her home and in those days, there were no lights on the road and she lost her way. As she was walking in the forest she was continuously chanting the divine names of Lord Guruvayurappan and suddenly a small boy appeared in front of her and enquired with KruramAa as to how she got lost. She narrated how she got lost and then the boy lead KruramAa to her home. As they both walked, both of them got drenched in the rains. As they reached KruramAa’s house, she thanked the boy for taking her safely to her home and asked his name. The boy replied that his name was Gopala. She wanted to give the boy something as gratitude and when she asked the boy, he asked her for a piece of cloth. He was only clad in a loin cloth on his hip and since he got wet in the rains, he wanted to change his loin cloth. KruramAa looked around and she spotted a red saree. She tore apart some portion of the saree and gave it to the boy. He happily changed his loin cloth and went away. The next morning, when the Pandits opened the temple,to wake the Lord up, they were surprised to behold the beautiful form of the Lord in a red loin cloth. The form of the Lord was so enticing that from that day, the Lord was dressed with only red loin cloth in the night. KruramAa came to have the darshan of the Lord the next day and felt so extremely happy to see the Lord clad in red loin cloth. She was so happy and kept on relishing to herself the divine play and how the Lord showered his grace on her.