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Sri Dhanurmasam

                                                                             श्री गोदारंगमन्नार दिव्यदम्पतीभ्याम् नमः
                                                                                        श्री मते रामानुजाय नमः
                                                                                       श्री मते रंगदेशिकाय नमः 

Dhanurmasa Utsav celebrations in Shri Rangji Temple Vrindavan (16th Dec-14th January) 

Lord Krishna asserts in Srimadbhagwadgita : Maasanaam Margashirshoham (मासानां मार्गशीर्षोऽहम् ) - Among the months, I am the month of Margashirsha. This month is therefore highly sacred for Lord Vishnu devotees and is spent getting up early morning during Brahma Muhurtha, taking bath and going to the temple or performing puja at home. 

Bhoomadevi, the consort of Lord Vishnu took avataar as Andal (also known as Goda) in the house of the great Tamil saint Shri Vishnuchitta ( विष्णुचित्त) (also known as Periazhwar in Tamil) who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu in the holy temple town of Srivilliputtur, Tamil Nadu (about 80 kms from Madurai). Shri  Vishnuchitta had a beautiful garden from which he used to pluck fragrant flowers and offer them to Lord Vatapatrashayee (वटपत्रशायी), the Principal Deity of the Temple-by making beautiful garlands. Goda too joined this holy service as she grew up. Taking a liking to the beauty of the garlands being offered to the Lord, she developed this habit of  trying the garland on herself before they were offered to Lord. Shri Vishnuchitta, hitherto oblivious, noticed one day, this act of Goda and felt very sad. He then offered a new garland to the Lord. That night, Lord appeared in his dreams and said that He would only accept the garland made and worn by Goda. Such is the relationship between the all-compassionate Lord and His true devotees🙏🙏. Reminds me of how Lord Ram smilingly and compassionately accepted the partially tasted Ber ( Jujube) from Shabari underlying the Hindi saying “प्रभु तो भाव के भूखे हैं”।

Goda was completely soaked in the devotion of Lord Krishna  and her craving to get united with Lord increased more and more with time. The month of Margashirsha ( Dhanurmaas) arrived. She started keeping fast for whole month in order to please Lord to unite with Himself and accept her as His wife ( akin to Katyayani Vrat observed by the Gopis of Nandgram and Gokul to please Krishna to accept them as His wife).  She considered the town of Srivilliputtur as Nandgram, the Temple as Nandbaba’s palace, the Vigraha of Lord Vatapayrashayee (वटपत्रशायी) as Krishna Himself and her friends as Gopas and Gopis of Nandgram She would remember all the leelas played by Lord Krishna along with His Gopas and Gopis in the holy town of Vrindavan and imagine herself as one of the gopis. She would get up very early in the morning (before Brahma Muhurta) and exhort her friends to leave laziness, get up early morning and offer themselves to the service of the Lord. As a result, 30 hymns/songs ( Pasurams) (one for each day of the month) attributable to Goda came into being. Collection of these 30 Pasurams is famously known as Tiruppavai ( तिरूप्पावै). So starting from day 1 of Dhanurmas (17th December this year) each day one Pasuram of Goda Devi is recited in all South Indian Vishnu temples pre-dawn. 

In essence, Goda (Andal)’s thirty songs contain the cardinal principles of SriVaishnavaism. She assumes the guise of a cowherd girl in these 30 verses and appears intent upon performing a particular religious vow to marry Vishnu ( as Krishna) and remain in His everlasting company, inviting all her friends to join her to serve Him with her.

The first 5 Pasurams provide an introduction to the main theme, its principle and purpose exhorting devotees to give up luxuries during this season and devote their time in  prayers to the Lord that would bring abundant harvest and prosperity. Offering Krishna fresh flowers would expiate sins committed earlier and those that may be committed in future.

In the next 10 Pasurams, she describes the importance of community participation inviting  her friends to gather flowers for offering. She essays the ambience at her village, the chirping of birds, colorful blossoms, the musical sound of butter-churning, herds of cattle with tinkling bells, the sounding of the conch from the temple. She visits each household and awakens all her friends to join her for a bath in a nearby pond. She also praises the incarnations of the deity.

The next 5 Pasurams describe her visit to the temple accompanied by her friends. She desires to render a suprabhatam gently to wake up the Deity. The group appeases the temple guards, enters the temple and recites prayers extolling the parents of Krishna and begging them to wake up Krishna and Balarama. Then they approach Niladevi, the consort of the Deity.

The last 9 Pasurams are on the glories of the Deity. On receiving His Blessings, Goda lists her demands from Krishna, the leader of Gopas/Gopis; milk for the vrata, white conch, lamps, flowers, big drums and rich costume and jewellery, plenty of ghee and butter to enable them to honour Him and enjoy singing His Glory. 

The Last concluding Pasuram is an envoie identifying Goda as the daughter of Vishnucitthar (Periyalvar) who made this garland of 30 pasurams and says those who recite with devotion will have Krishna's blessings.
As Goda was nearing the end of her Fast ( end of Dhanurmasa), the main priest of SriRangam Temple ( the foremost among all Shri Vishnu Temples and known as Bhooloka Vaikuntham got an instruction from Lord in his dreams to go and bring Goda, His ardent devotee from the town of Srivilliputtur dressed as bride to His Sanctum Sanctorum. Instructions were promptly complied. 
Goda was brought to SriRangam with full honors and as she entered the abode of Lord Ranganatha, instantly her soul merged into the Almighty signaling her wedding to Lord Krishna. 

This wedding will take place in temple premises on 14th January, 2024, the last day of Dhanurmasa. Sun enters Makara on 15th).   

Shri Rangdeshika Swamiji who was the founder and main architect of Shri Rangji Temple at Vrindavan ensured that Goda Devi ji’s wish of being in the land of Lord Krishna is fulfilled by getting this magnificent temple constructed in the holy town and envisaging Lord Ranganatha ( Lord Vishnu- with reclining pose) as Rangamannar (रंगमन्नार)( Dulha Raja) in a standing pose along with Andal (Goda) and Garudji as the Principal Deity. 

Let us soak ourselves in the devotion of Lord GodaRangamannar (गोदारंगमन्नार) over next one month starting from tomorrow(17/12/2023). 

ॐ नमो नारायणाय

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