Vishnupathi Punya Kaalam is a spiritual event of great importance. We have described the significance of Vishnupathi Punya Kaalam in an article in AUMzine Issue 1. Please refer to that article to refresh your memory about Vishnupathi.
The matter of interest now is the second Vishnupathi of the Pramaadhi year which occurs on Aug/17/99 and lasts from 0200 hours to 1030 hours on that day.
Please refer to pages 10 to 19 of the Aug/99 issue of Sri Agasthia Vijayam for the complete details regarding a Vishnu leela (Lord's play) that happened during the second Pramaadhi Vishnupathi in a previous era. In this article, we'll offer a condensed version of this leela.
Krishna Seeks His Sathguru's Advice
War begets loss of life. Whether one fights on the side of dharma or not, all the participants are responsible for the killing that ensues. Since killing of any sort results in the accumulation of bad karma, every one who participates in any war must atone for the killing. With this in mind, the Siddhas have prescribed expiatory rites and ceremonies that participants must perform before and after the war.
Though Lord Krishna had given His word that He will not wield any weapon during the war, He knew He was going to be present on the battlefield and thus He felt the need to perform the expiatory rites and ceremonies for the sake of everyone involved. He decided that it would be best to seek the advice of His childhood Sathguru, Sri Sandeepani. Even though the great Lord is the knower of Everything, He did this purely to set a precedent for all of humankind. He wanted to impress upon us the importance of seeking the Sathguru's advice before embarking on any endeavor.
Sri Krishna sought out Sri Sandeepani and offered him the customary obeisances that a disciple offers his Sathguru. Sandeepani warmly welcomed his divine disciple and enquired the reason for the great Lord's trip. Sri Krishna told Sandeepani that He wanted to know the best way to perform the expiatory rites and ceremonies before the start of the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
On hearing this, Sri Sandeepani smiled and said, "Krishna, I know You to be the Lord and Master of the universe. I know that You gave me the job of being Your Sathguru. And I also know that You're here now only to set an example that humans can follow for many yugas to come. I know that I'm but an actor in Your divine play."
Hearing this Sri Krishna was perturbed. "Teacher, Please do not say those words. You're my teacher and I'm your student. This relationship can not change. I came here because I know that you're the one who can give me the advice that I seek now."
The teacher smiled at his all knowing student and said, "Krishna, I know You and I know You well. Not because I deserve to know you but only because of Your grace and only because You have decided to become known to me. I know that my role is to play my part in Your play and that I'll do. I know that You and Narayana are One. All glory to Narayana. Let me now answer the question that you have posed to me. It seems to me that the ideal expiatory ceremony before this war involves the worship of Sri Narasimha which I taught You when you were a little boy. Seek out the place where Sri Naaga Booshana Narasimha shines forth with the sakthi (power) of millions of divine Naagas and worship Him there. Bring holy water from that sacred place and offer it in the field of battle. This is the appropriate ceremonial rite that You should do before this war."
Lord Krishna was overjoyed on hearing this advice. He thanked His Sathguru and immediately went in search of Sri Naaga Booshana Narasimha.
The Kaalinga Dance
After all, wasn't it His faithful worship of Narasimha as taught by His Sathguru that protected Him during the Kaalinga dance, He asked Himself. Kaalinga, the evil serpent and a personification of all that's evil, was poisoning the waters of the Yamuna river and thus causing havoc amongst the cowherds who depended on the Yamuna. The great Lord, while he was a little boy, caught hold of the venomous snake, danced on its forehead and thus convinced the evil being to leave alone the virtuous inhabitants of the Yamuna river banks. This is a classic protective play of the Lord for the sake of His devotees.
Many wondered how a little boy could control such a venomous snake. But Krishna knew the reason. His teacher had told Him that it was because of His sincere worship of Narasimha that the venom of the evil Kaalinga had no effect on Him. The little boy's sincerity had imbued Him with the strength to counteract the most lethal venom. This is the power of faith and sincerity. Krishna, the perfect Lord, was also the perfect disciple. His faith in His Sathguru was perfect. Krishna thought of this incident as he went in search of Naaga Booshana Narasimha. He marvelled at His teacher's foresight for having taught Him something in His childhood which would come in handy many years later. Think about it, the Jagadguru marvelling at His Sathguru! That's the beauty of the Sathguru-disciple relationship!
We know that Lord Krishna is the master of everyone and everything, but you see, even the great Lord doesn't take credit for anything. This is His way of showing us that we should forego the idea of doership.
Naaga Booshana Narasimha
Sri Krishna travelled far and wide from His Sathguru's residence. Finally He arrived at a place which was lit up with the radiance of many precious gems. Amidst this glow, He saw the dazzling brilliance of the great Lord Sri Naaga Booshana Narasimha. The majestic Lord was in the unique Naaga Booshana Yoga state and the sakthi (power) of millions of divine naaga (serpent) beings had found its home in the ultimate protective genius of Narasimha. Sri Krishna realized that He had found what He had come in search of. Here was the Lord who was the object of His worship. How sweet the feeling! He prostrated Himself in front of the master protector and respectfuly conveyed to Him the reason for His pilgrimage. Sri Narasimha blessed Him with success and asked Him to take holy water from that sacred place as instructed by Sri Sandeepani.
As we know, Sri Narayana incarnated as the inimitable man-lion to rid the world of the tyranny of the evil Hiranyakasipu. The ugra sakthi (aggressive energy) of the great Lord took concrete form in many places in many different manifestations like Yoga Narasimha, Ugra Narasimha, Saantha Narasimha, Lakshmi Narasimha, Prahlaada Varada Narasimha and so on. Sri Naaga Booshana Narasimha is one of these special forms in which the great Lord bestows His grace on us to this day.
This sacred place is known as Devar Malai. It's in the village of Kuruni Kulatthupatti on the route from Trichy to Kulithali in the state of Tamil Nadu in the south of India. It can also be reached from the Trichy to Paalayam route. This sacred place is special because the grace of both Sri Narasimha and Krishna can easily be gotten in this place.
There's a special sanctum for many divine naaga beings in this sacred place. These are great beings immersed in Naaga Booshana Yoga. They have the power to absolve those who are in the grips of Naaga Dosham and pithru saabam. The worship of Sri Narasimha and these naaga beings in this place is indeed special.
The worship of these naaga beings is particularly important for those who have been named after Naaga beings, for e.g., Nagaraj, Nagendra, Naga Lakshmi, Naagaratnam, Nagappa, Naaga sundaram and so on. The Siddhas say that such people should make it their life's purpose to worship the naaga beings who have been enshrined in temples, e.g., the Ashta Naaga moorthis in the Véngeesvara Temple in Vadapalani, Madras. They should select a naaga being in any temple of their choice as their ishta devata (personal deity) and worship that naaga devata for the rest of their lives. If they do this sincerely, they can easily attain mukthi. So say the Siddhas.
In this sacred place is the Padma Brahma Theertham pond (pictured below).
It is from this pond that Sri Narasimha instructed Sri Krishna to take holy water for his ceremonial rites. Sri Krishna took this holy water and performed the ceremonial rite suggested by His Sathguru on the field of battle. This He did during Chevaai (Angaaraka) horai on a carefully selected Tuesday.
The time period during which Sri Krishna saw Sri Naaga Booshana Narasimha at this sacred place, worshipped Him and got His blessings was the time period of the second Vishnupathi of the Pramaadhi year in a different era. Thus celebrating the second Vishnupathi of the Pramaadhi year at this place is indeed special.
The Worship of Naaga Booshana Narasimha
Perform abishekam using holy water from the Padma Brahma Theertham and from sacred rivers like Ganga and Kaveri.
Decorate Sri Narsimha's form with a coat of reddish seeds from pomegranate fruit.
Decorate the great Lord with red colored vestment and then gift the cloth to the poor.
Recite the 1000 names of Vishnu and hymns from the Divya Prabandham.
Offer fruits like guava, apples, grapes and others that are eaten with their skin intact as neivedyam for Lord Narasimha. (Generally fruits that are eaten without having to remove the skin are ideal neivedyam offerings for Sri Narasimha.) Distribute the fruits offered as neivedyam to the poor.
Perform a fire ceremony in honor of Narasimha and offer the above mentioned fruits as ceremonial offerings in the sacred fire.
Clean up the Padma Brahma Theertham pond and surroundings after getting permission from the temple administrators.
Perform pithru tharpanam using the holy water from the Padma Brahma Theertham during this time period.
Keep in mind that any worship (abishekam, archana, naama japam, naama keerthanam, fire ceremonies) and selfless service done during the Vishnupathi period have manifold spiritual value compared to the same performed at other times. So make use of this important time period! Put it to good use!
Those who have not discharged their debt of gratitude, those who have committed the heinous sin of biting the hand that fed them, those who have enjoyed others' possessions whether knowingly or unknowingly - these people accumulate a lot of bad karma. It's this bad karma that can be nullified during the second Pramaadhi Vishnupathi.
This Vishnupathi is also a godsend for those who suffer from diabetes. The Siddhas say that those who follow the worship procedure mentioned in the previous section will find themselves in a better position to deal with diabetes.
During the Vishnupathi hours, we must repent for the harm that we may have caused others. If possible, we must offer restitution for those we harmed. If we do this over many consecutive Vishnupathi spiritual events, Sri Maha Vishnu's grace will absolve us of the bad karma caused by the above mentioned sins. But remember that absolution can be granted only once. We should not repeat these sins after being absolved of them. Repeating these sins is like asking for the wrath of Sri Naaga Booshana Narasimha! Not a smart idea!
Please don't forget that if you miss the second Pramaadhi Vishnupathi on Aug/17/99, you'll have to wait 60 years for the same unique set of spiritual circumstances to come together again. So don't miss it!
Let's stay clear of material pursuits atleast during the Vishnupathi hours. Let's allocate the Vishnupathi hours totally for worship, selfless service and other spiritual activities.