In2-MeC

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ISKCON Salem, Tamil Nadu, India
10 March 2004

This morning at 6:00 AM Martanda, Dharmasetu and Rocana Prabhus boarded a bus with me and we all rode from Salem to the magnificent temple town of Sri Rangam, a trip that took some three and a half hours. We had the blissful darsana of Lord Ranganatha Swami, who is Lord Narayana with two hands only. The temple brahmanas were very accomodating. With a torch they illuminated the Lord's glistening black form that reclines on Sesanaga, where He is served by Goddess Sri, so that we could see Him to our full satisfaction. (They asked us repeatedly: "Are you satisfied?") This wonderful Deity was gifted in ancient times by Lord Ramacandra to Bibisana, the devotee-brother of the asura Ravana. Ranganatha Swami was worshiped by Sripad Ramanujacarya, the Founder-acarya of the Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya. We paid homage to Ramanuja's samadhi, beholding the large murti which is nondifferent from the great acarya himself.
 

 

 

We also had darsana of the very mystical deity of Sri Sudarsana. And we offered obeisances within the shrine of Andal (or Godadevi) who, among the Alvars--the twelve nitya-siddha saints of ancient South Indian Vaisnavism--is the one female devotee. Just as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu merged into the body of the Tota Gopinatha Deity at Jagannatha Puri, Andal merged into the form of Lord Ranganatha. Her devotional sentiments were those of a confidential Vraja-gopi.
 

 

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