Sri Vivekollasini Sabha

Click on the image to enlarge

Sri Vivekollasini Sabha is an institution that is devoted exclusively to render services to Sri Ramanuja and carry out his commandments. Established in 1879 by Sri U Ve Alwar Swamy, a direct descendant of Tirumalai Anandalwan, who was the direct disciple of Sri Ramanuja, this Sabha has been rendering yeoman services to Sri Ramanuja for the last 130 years.

Why Melukote?

Melukote is said to be the ‘Vijaya-sthana’ of Sri Ramanuja. It was here that Sri Ramanuja achieved comprehensive victory over all the evil forces that resided in various locations of South India and established the Vedic path to realization and fulfillment. It is also at Melukote that the divine icon of Sri Ramanuja exists. It is said that Sri Ramanuja answered all the queries of his devotees from this icon and thus proved his divine presence even if physically not present. Thus, the icon of Sri Ramanuja at Melukote is very significant. Worshipping Sri Ramanuja at Melukote is said to be of great significance to attain fulfillment both in this world and the world yonder.

Another important aspect is that Sri Ramanuja is the designated king of Melukote. Lord Sampathkumara or Shelvappillai as the Lord is popularly known is the ‘Yuva-raja’. It is Lord Shelvappillai who is adorned with the world famous ‘Vaira-mudi’ (crown of diamonds) and many beautiful crowns and enjoys the prime of place. However, the place of Sri Ramanuja is no less than that of Lord Shelvappillai in this exalted shrine.

1. Uniqueness:

The Annual 10 days celebrations culminating on Sri Ramanuja’s Tirunakshatra (Birthday) are very special for the Sabha as it takes a leading role in each and every aspect of the celebration.

What makes this 10 day celebrations so unique?

This is the only “BRAMHOTSAVAM CELEBRATION” to Sri Ramanuja. Nowhere is the country is such a celebration ever conducted. On all the 10 days, during morning, Sri Ramanuja is taken in procession around the temple town on Vahana’s starting with Samarabhupala, Hamsa, Chandramandala, Ashwa, Gaja and so on. In the evenings, the procession of Sri Ramanuja seated in a Golden Pallakki is held for the first 4 days. On the 5th day, Sri Ramanuja seated on a “Pushpa Pallakki” is taken around the temple town.

The 6th day is dedicated to ‘Mudi-Utsava’ where Sri Ramanuja is adorned with a beautiful crown laden with precious gems like emeralds, diamonds and rubies. On the eight day, Utsava Moorthi “Shelvappillai” along with Thaayar’s and Sri Ramanuja arrive at the Sabha premises in all their splendor. The Lord is welcomed with all honours and chanting of hyms.

On the ninth day is Rathotsava. On this day, Sri Ramanuja is taken on the Ratha in a ceremonial procession accompanied by the chanting of Vedic hymns and completes the circular path around the town. The tenth and final day is the actual day of appearance of Sri Ramanuja on this earth and marks the grand finale to the whole celebrations. The 24 hour celebration starts as early as 6:00 AM with Samara-Bhupala vahana followed by Tirumanjana of Sri Ramanuja along with Dwadasa-Aradhana which is unique. After Sattumurai, Ramanuja is adorned in an unique attire that is made up of sandal-wood paste sprinkled with saffron, proceeds to the Seetha- Aranya shrine. He then proceeds to the shrines of Vedantha Desika and Vara-vara-muni to bless them with his benign grace.

By late evening, Sri Ramanuja proceeds to the main gate of the temple to witness the great and unique ‘Dasha-Avatara’ by Lord Shelvappillai revealing the 10 avarata’s of Lord Vishnu.

Soon after, the Sabha arranges to decorate Lord Shelvappillai with flowers full of aroma.

The celebrations continue till daybreak. Those who witness these celebrations cannot but have a sense of fulfillment.

2. Role of the Sabha:

After the inception of this Sabha in the year 1879, the annual Tirunakshatra Celebrations of Sri Ramanuja is being performed with great devotion and dedication. Sri Alwar Swamy, who started the Sabha was an outstanding scholar of his times and a multifaceted personality. He belonged to the lineage of Sri Anandalwan, a direct disciple of Sri Ramanuja. He assembled all his disciples who were dedicated to him and explained the aims of the Sabha he proposed to start. He also explained to them that the Tirunakshatram Celebrations should be held in a manner befitting the status of the King of the town of Melukote. The devotees readily agreed and pledged their complete support to him.

The result was the commencement of a devoted celebrations that have continued from then onwards to this day at Melukote.

Different delicious dishes are specially made and offered to Sri Ramanuja every day and distributed to all the devotees present at the temple. Devotees and Shishya’s of Sri Ramanuja have been augmenting the Sabha’s efforts to accomplish the above task by either donating liberally in cash or kind. Ingredients required for preparation of the dishes can also be supplied by the devotees. Items like ghee, mom, cloves, rice, dhals, copra (dry coconut) etc. can be donated to the Sabha for preparation of these dishes. On the final day, special ‘Laddus’ are offered to the Lord and distributed by the Sabha to the devotees present in the temple during the celebrations and to all the donors. These works of the Sabha have been successfully conducted for the last 130 years without any break, solely by the grace of Sri Ramanuja himself.

3. Activities of the Sabha:

Besides organizing the Utsavams during Thirunakshatra and Vaira-Mudi, the Sabha in its own premises arranges for lunch and dinner for the devotees who come from distant places to participate in the celebrations of the Lord. In order to facilitate all devotees who want to render service to the Lord, the Sabha has taken a conscious decision of including Philantrophists for services like Anna-dhana or contribute for Pushpa-Alankara or any other services of their choice.

4. Facilities at the Sabha Premises:

Devotees coming from across the country and abroad were finding it difficult to have a decent place to stay at Melukote, given its relatively poor infrastructure. Realizing this problem that was hindering the visiting of devotees, about 20 years ago, the Sabha constructed a new building very near to the temple. This building offers rooms to stay for devotees who come from far and wide. Devotees desirous of visiting Melukote may intimate the Sabha beforehand and book their accommodation beforehand and offer worship at the temple at Melukote without any hindrance.

Presently, the Sabha solicits munificent contributions in cash and kind from philantrophists.