The form of the Lord that we are enjoying is Rasomaya roopam. Bhattathiri enjoys the form of Lord Guruvayurappan, and says that he is the one who is most attractive of all.
yatttrailOkyhamahiiyasOapi mahitaM sammOhanaM mOhanAth
In the following verse, he admires the Lord’s gait, countenance, his gunas and divine plays and beautifully tells that one does not get cloyed by the Lord’s beauty and by listening to his divine glories again and again.
kaantaM kaantinidhaanatOapi madhuraM mAdhuryadhuryAdapi
saundaryOTaratOapi sundarataraM tvadrUpamAshcharyatOa
In the age of Kali, the Lord descends on the earth in the form of Archa Avatars in temples. Certain temples are called as ‘Divyadesams or Divyakshetrams’. Divyadesams are the 108 Temples of Lord Vishnu on which the 12 Azhwars have sung praises in their divine work called Nalayira Divya Prabhdandam. A true definition of a Dhivyakshetram is where the Lord’s presence [Sannidhya] is complete. Mahans come down only where the Lord’s sanctity is complete. Gurvayur is one such place where the temple is filled with the Lord’s divine presence. The temple reverberates with the divine names of Lord Narayana all throughout the day. The Lord resides in these temples not only to shower his grace on all the normal mortals, but also to meet Mahans and ardent devotees who sing praises on the Lord’s divine plays. The Lord also enacted his divine plays only to Mahatmas. All the 12 Azhwars came to have the darshan of Lord Ranganatha and have sung praises on him. The Lord waits to meet Mahatmas in Divyakshetrams and this goes to show the greatness of Mahatmas. Bhagvatam glorifies Mahatmas.
“nahyam mahyAni thErthani na deva mruthshilamayaA”
“tae punam tyurugAalena darshandheva sadhavaha”
One may or might not find the Lord either in the waters or in the idol made of stone, but one can certainly find the Lord in Sadhus. One can certainly have the darshan of the Lord, by being in an association with a Sadhu. Out Guru Maharaj, in one of his latest kirtans, sings just like how a devotee of the Lord will always adhere to the Lord’s words, the Lord will also listen to his ardent devotee’s words.
“Bhaktan solvadai bhagawan kaetpan Bhagawan solvadai Bhaktan ketpan”.
Once Adi Shankara was travelling [akAsha marga] and was arguing about his Advaita philosphy that the Lord is omnipresent and that the divine form of the Lord cannot be abstracted and placed in an idol. As he was arguing about his Advaita philosophy, he was passing by Malabar region and he slipped and fell down. The place where he fell down was inside the Guruvayur temple, right next to little Krishna. He immediately prostrated unto Lord Guruvayurappan, realizing his mistake and the inaccuracy of his words and stayed there for a while. He realized that it was Lord Krishna who had taught him a lesson. Even today, the place where Adi Shankara fell is dented in the floor in Guruvayur temple. It was he who established the guidelines for performing Pooja in Guruvayur temple. It was indeed a divine play of the Lord since the Lord wanted to have the darshan of Adi Shankara who was a proponent in Advaita philosophy. The Lord performed divine plays not just on Adi Shankara but on numerous other devotees like Bhhatathiri, Poonthanam and Krurama to name a few.
Poonthanam and Krurama were contemporaries. Once a devotee who was afflicted with a grave illness, approached Poonthanam and wanted to know if he will be cured from his illness. Poonthanam replied that he will ask Guruvyurappan and get back. That night, Poonthanam asked the Lord whether that devotee will be cured and Guruvayurappan replied that he won’t be cured of his illness. The next day, Poonthanam conveyed the Lord’s verdict to that devotee. He was in tears when he heard the decree of the Lord. On his way, he met Krurama and she was unable to see the forlorn devotee crying. After hearing the sequence of events that had happened, she assured him that Lord Guruvayurappan is bounded to his devotees and that he will alleviate the illness for sure. The next morning she told him that Guruvayurappan had advised him to chant the mantra “Achutha Anantha Govindha” and that the illness will be cured by incessant chanting of this mantra.
Achyutanada Govinda Namocharana bheshajah|
nasyanthi sakalA roga satyam satyam vadamyaham||
The mere recitation of “Achyutha, Anandha and Govindha” is a wholesome medicine for all types of illness and this precept is indeed true. Kururama advised him to chant the mantra every day and also asked him to have a pot of water containing Tulsi leaves in front of him. He followed her advice verbatim and was soon cured of his illness. After some days later, the devotee went and met Poonthanam and narrated what had happened. Hearing this Poonthanam became sad that Guruvayurappan had not been truthful to him and hence did not go to the temple that day. That night Lord Guruvayurappan met Poonthanam and enquired the reason for his absence. The Lord confided in him that he missed all his Jnanapanna and “Mara Prabhu” recitations. Poonthanam told the Lord that he will not come to the temple anymore and that he was unhappy with the contrary verdict that the Lord had given to him and Krurama regarding the devotee who was afflicted with the grave disease.
Hearing this, the Lord told Poonthanam the following – “Oh Poonthanam, you asked me if the devotee will be cured or not and I replied no because as per the devotee’s fate he wouldn’t be cured of the disease.” But KururAmma didn’t ask me this question and instead said “Oh my dear Lord, there is nothing in this world that is beyond your control. My dear brother is afflicted with this grave disease and I am sure that you have the cure for it“. The Lord then continued and told Poonthanam that he gave the cure since KururAmma asked for it. The precept from this dialogue is that one should pose the right questions in the right way to the Lord for him to shower his grace on all endeavors.
There was once a farmer who planted numerous coconut saplings in his grove. He promised to offer the first cocounts from the trees to Lord Guruvayurappan. When the trees began yielding coconuts, he took the first coconuts from each tree and embarked on his journey to Lord Guruvayurappan’s temple. He was stopped by some thieves en route to the temple and they asked him to part with the coconuts. The farmer mentioned that coconuts were indeed very special since they belonged to Lord Guruvayurappan. The thieves didn’t believe what he said and scornfully remarked at the villager “Are these coconuts special? Do they have horns?” With a huge gaffe they opened the bags and to their utter surprise, they found that the coconuts had horns. The coconuts with horns are displayed near the entrance in Guruvayurappan temple even today.
There once lived a little boy who used to par take the food only after offering to Lord Guruvayurappan. If he had only a banana to eat, he would offer half of it to the Lord and par take the remaining half. Such was his devotion to Lord Guruvayurappan. One day he couldn’t find a morsel of rice to eat and since he was starving, he stole a banana from a nearby shop and was eventually caught red-handed and everyone reprimanded him severely. They also wanted to punish him and ordered him to go around the temple for certain number of times. As the boy was going around the temple, the priest of the temple was able to perceive that Lord Guruvayurappan was also going around the temple along with the boy. When he asked him for the reason, the Lord replied that he wanted to share the punishment since he had par taken the boy’s food.
Our Guru Maharaj holds all the temples with equanimity in his heart. He however holds one scripture [Grantha] very special to his heart. It is verily Srimad Bhagavatam. Guruvayurappan loves Bhagavatam the most and hence our Guru Maharaj loves Guruvayurappan very much. He would urge his devotees to visit Guruvayur and seek the Lord’s grace. He has also performed numerous Bhagavatam Saptaham at the temple. All the Saptahams normally take place in a big hall close to the temple. During one such Saptaham, our Guru Maharaj wanted to have the darshan on Lord Guruvayurappan. When he visited the sanctum sanctorum of Guruvyurappan, it was flocked by numerous devotees. Our Guru Maharaj and couple of his devotees were standing just outside the sanctum sanctorum. His close associates checked with him to see if they can enquire with the temple management to see if they can purchase any special tickets in order to get the Lord’s darshan. Our Guru Maharaj humbly turned down these requests and was patiently waiting for some time. Sri Swamiji also assured his close associates that Gurvayurappan is very cognizant of his bhakti for the Lord. Suddenly a person approached our Guru Maharaj and asked him if he had the darshan of the Lord. Even before waiting for a response from our Guru Maharaj, he accompanied Sri Swamiji right into the Lord’s sanctum sanctorum and the Lord thus had the darshan of Sri Swamiji.
Couple of years ago, there was a Bhagavata SApthaham done inside the Guruvayur temple premises itself under the divine presence of Sri Swamiji. The Lord enacted his divine plays in front of Sri Swamiji, akin to how he did with Bhhatathiri. The Bhavas with which Sri Swamiji expounded on Srimad Bhagavatam captivated all the devotees. One would even ponder if Bhagavatam can be perceived in so many different dimensions and it was verily the direct consequence of the Lord enacting his divine plays then and there as Sri Swamiji was delineating on Srimad Bhagavatam. Guru Maharaj has conducted many Bhagavata Saptahams in Guruvayur.
Sri Swamiji always celebrates the Jayanathi Mahotsva of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal, fondly called as “Mahaperiva” in a very grand manner. It is celebrated in different dimensions every year. One year it was “Vakyartha Sathas” – honoring all the Vedic pandits, the other year it was celebrated with a grand procession on Mahaperiva’s holy Padukas. In the year 2000, our Guru Maharaj, had a strong desire to commemorate Mahaperiva’s Jayanthi with a grand Srimad Bhagavata Spataham Sathakruthu in Guruvayur. The term ‘Sathakruthu’ connotes rendering Srimad Bhagavatam with 108 Bhagavathas for seven days. It was such an amazing event since all the events there took place based on three things – Kaala, desha and vyakti. Kaala – the time of Paramacharya’s Jayanthi, Desha being Guruvayur and Vyakti is none but Lord Guruvayurappan himself and hence this Saptaham was indeed great and unique in all these dimensions. Paramacharya’s Jayanthi normally falls on Vishaka star in the Vaikasi month [normally in April –May]. Since it was summer, the whole of Trichur district was suffering from several days of scorching heat. Our satsang coordinators were taking all efforts for the Sapthaham. They went and approached the Guruvayur temple management regarding the sapatham. Theuy turned down the request since they had no rains and would not be able to supply water for the event. This message was taken to Sri Swamiji. He ordained that the Saptaham will take place and so they went back and convinced the temple authorities for the Saptaham for which they eventually gave the nod. The Saptaham was all set to take place in “Brahamana Samoogam”. Since the hall was not quite big to hold many people, a tent was put in a vacant land next to Brahamana samoogam. The stage was beautifully decorated with 108 pictures of Lord Guruvayur in various different poses. It was to be given to all the Bhagavatas who recited Bhagavatam on all the seven days. By Sri Swamiji’s immense grace the Saptaham went very well. Krishna Jananam took place on an Ekadasi day and Rukmini Kalyanam and Sumagali Pooja was commemorated on the Dwadasi day. On the seventh day all the Bhagavatas were getting ready for “Avabruda Snanam” – a bathing ceremony after any big event. The plan was to perform the Avabruda Snanam in Narayana Saras, the holy pond of Lord Guruvayurappan temple. During a Saptham, every Bhagavatha is given a place to keep their belongings. Instructions were given to all the Bhagavatas that they would follow Sri Swamiji in a procession to Narayana Saras and that they will take their respective positions after the bath to get their Prasad and Sambhavana from Sri Swamiji.
As everyone was getting ready for the procession for Avabruda Snama, Sri Swamiji totally changed the plan for the day. He ordained that they will first receive the prasadam and Sambhavana and were asked to pack all their belongings and then get ready for Avabruda Snanam. After receiving the Prasad and sambhavana, the procession started to Narayana Saras with Sri Swamiji carrying the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan. All the devotees were in a state of ecstasy and they travelled along the streets with Nama on their lips. As they headed the marketplace, dark clouds appeared from nowhere and started raining heavily. All the devotees were drenched in the rain and continued chanting the divine names of Lord Narayana en route to Narayana Saras without an iota of worry about the rain. The rains were none but showers of Lord’s divine grace acknowledging the Bhagavata Sapathaham. The Lord of rain, Varuna bestowed all the devotees with Avabruda Snanam all the way to Narayana Saras. The procession reached Narayana Saras and everyone took a dip in Narayana Saras. The rain immediately stopped after their bath in temple’s river and there was no sign of any more rains. The temple management was very thankful for this Bhagavata Saptaham as it quenched the water scarcity in Guruvayur. It is very surprising to note that it rained for few couple of hours only around Guruvayur area and the surrounding places did not receive any rain at all. Everyone went to Brahamana sammogam and saw that the roof [Pandal] that was laid for the Saptaham was totally torn apart in the rains. Everyone thanked Sri Swamiji for showering his grace on all the devotees and making sure that the Saptaham completed without any obstacles.
In the evening, three elephants that belonged to the temple came down and one of them carried Mahaperiva’s divine Padhukas, the other one carried the picture of Sri Madhuri Sakhi Sametha Sri Premika Varadan while the other carried the picture of Lord Guruvayurappa in a grand procession around Guruvayur city.
A picture of Guruvayur’s Saptaha Satakaruthu can be found in the dining hall in Madhurapuri Ashram even today.
The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.