Sri Vivekollasini Sabha,Melkottai..

Sri Vivekollasini Sabha is an institution that is devoted exclusively to render services to Sri Ramanuja and carry out his commandments.  Established in 1879 by Sri U Ve Alwar Swamy, a direct descendant of Tirumalai Anandalwan, who was the direct disciple of Sri Ramanuja, this Sabha has been rendering yeoman services to Sri Ramanuja for the last 128 years.

The Annual 10 days celebrations culminating on Sri Ramanuja’s Tirunakshatra (Birthday) is very special for the Sabha as it takes a leading role in each and every aspect of the celebration. 

For the first five days, during morning, Sri Ramanuja is taken in procession on Vahana’s like Ashwa, Gaja, Hamsa and so on.  In the evening, the procession of Sri Ramanuja seated in a Pallakki is held.  The sixth day is dedicated to ‘Mudi-Utsava’ where Sri Ramanuja is adorned with a beautiful crown laden with precious gems like emeralds, diamonds and rubies.  On the eight day, Utsava Moorthi “Shelvappillai” along with Thaayar’s and Sri Ramanuja arrive at the Sabha premises in all their splendor.  The Lord is welcomed with all honours and chanting of hyms.
The ninth day is the day of the Rathotsava.  On this day, Sri Ramanuja is taken on the Ratha in a ceremonial procession accompanied by the chanting of Vedic hymns and  completes the circular path around the town. 

The tenth and final day is the actual day of appearance of Sri Ramanuja and marks the grand finale to the whole celebrations.  The 24 hour celebration starts as early as 6:00 AM with Samara-Bhupala vahana followed by Tirumanjana of Sri Ramanuja along with Dwadasa-Aradhana which is unique.  After Sattumurai, Ramanuja is adorned in an unique attire that is made up of sandal-wood alone sprinkled with saffron, proceeds to the Seetha-Aranya shrine.  He then proceeds to the shrines of Vedantha Desika and Vara-vara-muni to bless them with his benign grace.

By late evening, Sri Ramanuja proceeds to the main gate of the temple to witness the great and unique ‘Dasha-Avatara’ by Lord Shelvappillai revealing the 10 avarata’s of Lord Vishnu.  For the Kalki Avathara, the Sabha takes special interest in providing the floral arrangements to decorate Lord Shelvappillai with flowers signifying that Lord at Melukote himself is the Kalki Avathara.  The celebrations continue till daybreak.  Those who witness this celebrations cannot but have a sense of fulfillment.

Why Melukote ?

Melukote is said to be the ‘Vijaya-sthana’ of Sri Ramanuja.  It was here that Sri Ramanuja achieved comprehensive victory over all the evil forces that resided in various locations of South India and established the Vedic path to realization and fulfillment.  It is also at Melukote that the divine icon of Sri Ramanuja exists.  It is said that Sri Ramanuja answered all the queries of his devotees from this icon and thus proved his divine presence even if physically not present.  Thus, the icon of Sri Ramanuja at Melukote is very significant.  Worshipping Sri Ramanuja at Melukote is said to be of great significance to attain fulfillment both in this world and the world yonder.
Another important aspect is that Sri Ramanuja is the designated king of Melukote.  Lord Sampathkumara or Shelvappillai as the Lord is popularly known is the ‘Yuva-raja’.  It is Lord Shelvappillai who is adorned with the world famous ‘Vaira-mudi’ (crown of diamonds) and many beautiful crowns and enjoys the prime of place.  However, the place of Sri Ramanuja is no less than that of Lord Shelvappillai in this exalted shrine. 

Role of the Sabha :

Until the inception of this Sabha, the annual Tirunakshatra Celebrations of Sri Ramanuja were not performed with the grandeur.  Noting this lapse, Sri Alwar Swamy assembled all his disciples who were dedicated to him and explained the aims of the Sabha he proposed to start.  He also explained to them that the Tirunakshatram Celebrations should be held in a manner befitting the status of the King of the shrine.  The devotees readily agreed and pledged their complete support to him.  The result was the commencement of a pompous and splendrous celebration that have continued from then onwards to this day, at Melukote.

Different delicious dishes are specially made and offered to Sri Ramanuja every day.  The Vahana’s, Pallakki and Rathotsava processions are arranged fully by the Sabha.   On the final day, special ‘Laddus’ are offered to the Lord and distributed by the Sabha to the devotees present in the temple during the celebrations and to all the donors.  These works of the Sabha have been successfully conducted without any hitch or gap for the last 128 years, solely by the grace of Sri Ramanuja Himself.   

Besides organizing the Utsavams during Thirunakshatra and Vaira-Mudi, the Sabha in its own premises arranges for lunch and dinner for the devotees who come from distant places to participate in the celebrations of the Lord.


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