Nachiyar Thirukolam-Soundarya Nayaki-Shri.Dr.S.Sundar Rajan Swamikal..

Nammazhwar – Parankusa – is called Parankusanayaki when he adopts the role of a
love lorn maiden or her friend or her mother.
The awe inspiring Thirumangaiazhwar – Parakalan – is named Parakalanayaki in a
similar role.
Sri Vedanta Desika became Venkatanayaki when he felt the pangs of separation
from the Lord of Thiruahindrapura, Devanatha.
So what should one call Azhagiya Manavalan, Namperumal, when He dons the
“Nachiyar Thirukolam” on the ninth day of Pagal Patthu, Adhyayana Utsava? She is
incorrectly called Mohini by the many headed – the masses. SriRanganayaki? No,
that cant be. In all the possible domains there can be only one SriRanganayaki
who graces us from Her sanctum near the north tower in the SriRanganathaswamy
No doubt Namperumal is bewitching in this get up but we cant accept the name
Mohini. Mohini incited rajoguna in the asuras and Shiva whereas what we see here
is suddha sattva in the form of a lovely seated woman. No, Mohini with all the
images the name conjures, simply wont do.
This year the crowd is thin. Muttangi sevai of Periya Perumal will last for 20
days. Unheard of! As we run to get in, to witness “Nachiyar Thirukolam” we are
pleasantly surprised to note that access to the western corridor of the second
thiruchuttru is easy. A good omen!
On the 16th of December 2010, the first day of the month Margazhi, Mrigashirsa,
at about 6.00am a lovely vision came down the six steps on the west side of the
sanctum of Sri Ranganatha. The steps and the long north to south western
corridor was jam packed with people. Devotees of Ayyappa who make a brief halt
here in transit in their southward journey were there in large numbers.
The tireless “semanthaangis” palanquin bearers, carefully and gently bring the
lovely lady down the steps as cries of Govinda! Govinda! rent the air.
It appears as if She is looking up to the inclined mirror directly in front and
checking Her coiffure as women are wont to do. She has truly long hair in a
braid in which “elakkai” – cardamom – garland is intertwined along with sweet
smelling rare flowers. The extraordinary plait is extended backwards over the
“thindu” – cylindrical bolster placed behind, the envy of all women gathered
there! This can be best appreciated when She passes us and we are graced with
the vision of her “pin azaghu” posterior beauty, so to say.
Over the years it is this smell of cardamom that brings to us the vision of
Namperumal in “Nachiyar Thirukolam”. It is unique, this combination of vision
and scent. Even when She has long gone the aroma lingers in the circumambulatory
corridor. It can be best percieved in the morning. Her hair style is reminiscent
of the lovely Andal, with a bun to the left. Her hair can be seen from above the
“kasturi nama” and is adorned with ornaments of different shapes and materials
which no male can possibly enumerate or describe!
Talking of men, three men on their respective litters wait to the south side of
the stairs. This triumvirate is the most awesome one imaginable. In the middle
and ahead of others is our saviour, Sri Nammazhwar. On either sides, as his body
guards are Sri Ramanuja to the east and Sri Thirumangaiazhwar to the west. Sri
Ramanuja has the “tridanda” and Sri Thirumangaiazhwar has a sword and shield in
his hands. Words are insufficient to describe the glories of this awsome
threesome. One can but imagine what they must be thinking.
Udayavar, who in flesh, established the protocol for this festival must be
thinking of all the possible problems and their solutions as the “purapada”
peregrination of our Lord begins.
Sri Thirumangaiazhwar who first requested Sri Ranganatha to lend His ears to the
recitation of Sri Nammazhwar’s compositions must be overwhelmed with gratitude.
One can well imagine that he must be savoring the lovely role play of
Namperumal. This “Nachiyar Thirukolam” must remind him of his very own “Nachiyar
Thirukolam” as the redoubtable Parakalanayaki. What to say of Sri Nammazhwar? As
is his wont, he must be on the verge of swooning, overpowered by his deep love
for our Lord, especially this beautiful vision as Nachiyar. He too will be
reminded of his own feminine role as the emotive Parankusanayaki. A role which
he will adopt a few days later, when “Thirukaithala seva” takes place in the
thousand pillared hall. The three of them will be completely undone as they
contemplate on the sheer affability “saulabhya” of Purushottama as He becomes a
One cant help but spare a thought for the first “sarvatantra svatantra” of our
“sampradaya” the one and only Sri Parasara Bhatta, biological son of Sri
Kurattazhvan, who is supposed to have been brought up by Sri Ranganatha and Sri
Ranganayaki. It is said that he was made to sleep in a “dhuli” a cloth cradle
tied to the twin “thirumana thoon” huge columns within the sanctum sanctorum.
Sri Ranganayaki used to take him unto Her lap. Sri Ranganatha piqued by the fact
that Bhatta was always partial to Sri Ranganayaki once put on this feminine
“vesha” role and asked for his opinion. Bhatta gave a conditional
approval,ending with a “but…” Our Lord was eager to get to the bottom of the
“but…” and got the fearless reply that howsoever lovely He looked, He could
never get the soft look of compassion in His eyes like Sri Ranganayaki. This
praise of His
consort actually filled our Lord with glee, so goes the story! If people still
do not resort to such a merciful Divine Couple “Divya Dampathi” what can one
say? She is seated in the most relaxed way possible.The way She is seated points
to the fact that it is He and not She! No nachiyar will ever sit like that in
public. The right leg is bent at the knee and the foot is flat on a cushion of
jasmine flowers. The other thigh and leg is bent similarly but at a lower level.
Both of Her lovely feet are visible and are supported by pads of jasmine. She
wears two anklets on each ankle, one with small golden round bells. She has
rings on Her toes. Between Her feet can be seen the heavy pendants of the long
necklaces She wears, lots of them! She is dressed in white and this year the
border was green, last year it was red. Needless to say zari – the gold brocade,
is broad and heavy. Her left wrist rests on Her left knee. The golden bejeweled
hand with long tapering fingers is pointing downwards, to Her feet, the means
and goal of all “mumukshus” – those desiring liberation. The left upper limb is
covered in dark purple almost black, velvet and She has bangles and armbands,
four in number.
In Her right hand She holds a gold perch on which is present a lovely bird with
a dark precious stone in its beak. This parrot is leaning towards her mistress
as if whispering to her.
Behind this most fortunate bird are the garlands with the classical Srirangam
garland being the most prominent.
From the chin to Her thighs She wears necklaces. A large circular dollar with
many circles of stones adorns Her breast. A single “mangala sutra”
“thirumangalyam” can be seen prominently, especially in the evening as She
graces the devotees in front of the colorful humongous Garuda, in the Garuda
The view from the back is bewitching and can be appreciated when She is on the
move. Her walk is more graceful than the mythical “annams” swans and a other
worldly scent pervades the surroundings. Her long hair with rare flowers and
cardamom floors all men and women alike. She has three or four ornaments at the
back of Her head one of them semi lunar in shape and all of them studded with
precious stones. Her lower posterior aspect is covered with two golden circular
discs. Her “pin azaghu” posterior beauty, is more beautiful than Her “munn
azhagu” anterior beauty.
Well, coming back to the original query, what to name Her?
Ramya vadhu, azhagiya mannapennu?
Adiyen had the good fortune of asking HH Sri Paravakottai Srimath Andavan Sri
Gopaladesika Mahadesikan of Srirangam Sri Poundrikapuram Srimath Andavan
Ashramam as to by what name can Nam Perumal be hailed when He dons the “Nachiyar
Tirukolam”. HH graciously replied – Soundarya Nayaki. HH feels that this is the
apt name as our Lord graces us with a vision of immense beauty in “Nachiyar
Tirukolam”. Nothing needs to be said after this.
Adiyen Dasan Dr.S.Sundar Rajan MS ortho, Trichy

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