[Advaita-l] Ganga graces the devotee

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Nov 18 07:48:40 EST 2017

Kartika Amavasya, is an important date in the South Indian Smarta brahmana
calendar. Sridhara Venkatesha Dikshitar also known as Sridhara
Venkateshaadhwari or Sridhara Ayyaavaal, a Telugu Smarta brahmana who lived
in Tamilnadu brought the mighty Ganga in his house in Tiruvisainallur,
Tanjavur District by invoking Her.

"Once, overcome by compassion, he fed the food prepared for shraaddha to a
chandaala dying of hunger. Coming to know of this incident, other brahmins
in the village, conemned him and refused to take part in the shraaddha
ceremonies. Sri Ayyaval, though convinced that he had done no wrong, did
not wish to disrespect the brahmins. He asked them to suggest a
`praayashchitta' for his sin, and was told that a bath in the holy Ganges
was the only way. Sri Ayyaval's physical health would not allow him such a
long journey, and hence, he decided to invite the Ganges to where he was.
He composed the 'Gangaashtakam' and devoutly prayed mother Ganga to appear
and relieve him of his trouble. In response to his prayers, Ganga appeared
in his well, and started flooding the streets of Tiruvisalur. The brahmins,
realising their vanity and the greatness of Sri Ayyaval, prostrated before
him and asked for forgiveness, requesting him to send back the Ganges, or
atleast, keep her confined to his well. Sri Ayyaval then prayed to the
Ganga thus –
भगीरथमनोभीष्टसिद्धये भुवनाश्रिते । ब्राह्मणानां मनःपूर्त्यै मम कूपे स्थिरा
भव ॥
Ganges withdrew and stayed in the well at Sri Ayyaval's house. This
incident happened on the Amavasya in Kartikai month. Even today, people
come in large numbers on this auspicious day every year, and take a bath in
this holy water. The 'Gangaavatarana-mahotsavam' is celebrated for ten days
by the mutt every year. " -- http://sriayyaval.org/lsdetail.html.

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