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Sri Sastha thirukkalyanam by Villavakkam Ayyappa BHajanai Sangam

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Ramachander

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Sastha Thikalyana Manjari

By
Villivakkam Sri Ayyappa Bhajanai Sangam

Translated by
P.R.Ramachander

Introduction

Bhajanai or Hindu community prayer was brought to South India by great teachers like Bodhendraal, Sridhara Yaaval and Gopala Krishna Bhagawathar. The Bhajan sampradaya which was enunciated by these great Gurus were adopted to sing Bhajans of Lord Sastha or ayyapa both in case of Ayyappan Vilakku and Sastha Preethi by many people. Side by side with the development of the Bhajan Sampradaya , The kalyana uthsavam(Celebration of marriage) of the Goddesses like Radha, Sita and Rukmani were being celebrated by the devotees. Apart from the normal procedure of Bhajans, these also included enacting of the marriage of the Goddesses , along with an adaptation of the ceremony, with music as well as dance. Among these the most popular appears to be Radha Kalyanam. Possibly based on these, the devotees of Villivakkam of Madras who were worshipping the Kalyana Varada Sastha along with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala, under the leadership of Sri R.Viswanatha Sarma , systematized the procedure for celebrating Sastha Kalyanam or the marriage of Sastha with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala.
Lord Sastha the son of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Mohini and Lord Shiva and has been worshipped all over Tamil Nadu in the form of Sastha and Ayyanar. In both these cases, Lord Sastha was considered to be married to Poorna and Pushkala. Ayyappa or Mani Kanda , who was an Avathar of Lord Sastha and who lived as the adopted son of the pandya king of Pandalam was a Nithya Brahmachari though in Arayankav temple of Kerala , it is believed that he married Pushkala devi (Some say Prabhavathi ) of the Saurashtrian community and he is consecrated with his wives Poorna and Pushkala in Achal Kovil temple. Of Kerala. Legend says that the temples of AchanKOvil and Aryankav were consecrated by Lord Parasurama himself much before the incarnation of Lord Sastha as Ayyappa. Lord Sastha also is supposed to have a son called Sathyaka , reforred to as Chella Pillai(Darling son) . Pushkala is supposed to be the daughter of Palinja varman, who ruled over Nepal. Poorna is supposed to be the daughter of a king called Pinchaka varman who was supposed to have ruled over the Cochin kingdom of Kerala It Seems Palinja varman of Nepal wanted to sacrifice his daughter Pushkala in search of immortality for himself . When Pushkala prayed to Lord Shiva to protect her, it is believed that he sent Lord Sastha for protecting her. Lord Sastha saved her and also made king Palinja Varman leave out his ideas of getting immortality. . The king requested Sastha to marry his daughter Pushkala and he accepted that and he married her. Afterwards the king Pinchaka Varman of Cochin who went for hunting in the forest was attacked by devils and ghosts. It seems he prayed to Lord Sastha. Lord Sastha came and drove away the ghosts and devils. The king Pinchaka Varman it seems offered his daughter Poorna to lord Sastha, who married her also. When king Palinja varman knew about another marriage of Sastha , it is believed that he cursed Lord Sastha, that he would be born as a human being and would live as a Brahmachari.
. But there are differing opinions on this story. . According to Brahmanda Purana , Poorna was the sister of Upendra and got married to Lord Sastha on Chithra Pournami day. There is also a story that Poorna was the daughter of a king of Kanchipuram called Shivapala and it is believed that Lord Sastha got married to her in Kanchipuram temple. There is a temple for Lord Sastha along with Poorna and Pushkala in Kanchipuram In Aryankav it is believed that a group of Saurashtra weavers settled in Madurai were passing through the temple and at the time a girl with them called Pushkala (some say Prabhavathi) attained maturity.They entrusted the girl to the priest of Aryankav and went to do their trade. By the time they came back, it seems that girl got married to Sastha in that place. In memory of this even today the people of Saurashtra community visit the Aryankav temple and celebrate the marriage of their girl to Lord Sastha, following Saurasthra customs.
In Sankara Samhitha it has been told that Poorna and Pushkala were born from two eyes of a great sage called SAthyapoorna and they both did penance and got married to Lord Sastha.
In the Sastha kalyanam , it is assumed that Poorna and Pushkala were the consorts of Sastha and were the daughters of Palinja varman of Nepal and Pinjaka Varman of cochin.The kalyanam is performed imitating the rituals of a Tamil Brahmin wedding. The Sastha Kalyanam by the Villivakkam group of devotees is being performed for the past many years. In 1975 , they brought out a compilation of the procedure used to perform this Kalyanam along with songs , stotras as well as Marriage Manthras. A new edition of the book was brought out by them in 2006. I was given a copy of this book by my friend, Sri P.V.Ananta Narayanan. The book can be purchased from Sri Ayyappa Bhajana Sangham, 29, Vadakku Masi Veethi , Villivakkam, Madras -49..More particulars of the Villivakkam temple and its activities can be seen in About Us | Villivakkam Vishwanatha Sharma Ashta Sastha Temple Trust
I was drenched in devotion when I was translating this great work. My Ananthakoti Namaskarams to Guruswami Brahmasri Viswanatha Sarma who is the soul and spirit behind the Villivakkam group of devotees. My heartfelt thanks to Sri P.V.Anantha Narayanan , who sent me this book. Ramachander
 
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