Garuda and Vishwakshena, The Event Organisers of Brahmotsavam!
Event organisation is a high-end popular profession these days. They structure the event to enhance the joy of celebration. Brahmotsavam, is also a birthday event (in simple terms)! But, whose birthday is it? It is the birthday celebration of the presiding Deity in a temple.
You may be thinking – Why will birthdays apply to God? He has no birth or death.
True. It is the day when such omnipresent God accepted the request of Vedic scholars, priests, and devotees to be them and shower His grace in a Deity form. The temple community therefore celebrates Brahmotsavam (Brahma = big, Utsavam = celebration) to honour, serve, and remember the day on which the supreme power came accessible to the world as the presiding Deity.
Now, who organises these Brahmotsavams? It is Garuda and Vishwaksena. Garuda takes the responsibility of inviting, hosting the guests (devathas, devotees, and everyone) and ensuring they all can happily enjoy the glory of God through the celebration. Vishwaksena takes the responsibility of all necessary internal arrangements, the materials, the process and manages the people assigned to conduct the event. He takes a tour along with his forces to examine the arrangements as a final check on the eve of Brahmotsavam.
Garuda represents Vedas. He indicates how God’s gamanam (His conduct) is all in accordance to the Vedas. Garuda is the foremost one who readily executes the services for God at any given point in time.
Vishwaksena represents God’s power. He is the chief commander of all the forces who guard the creation. He indicates how God’s power controls the governance.
Priests perform various samskaras (acts of sanctification as defined in agama scriptures) to Garuda patam (a drawing representation of Garuda) and place him in honour atop the Dhwaja sthambham (the divine pillar representing Vedas at the entrance of the temple) on the first day of Brahmostsavam. He oversees all the happenings by keeping an eye from the top of the Dhwaja sthambham!
Did you know that Garuda and Adi Sesha once fought over who gets to serve God (as His vehicle)?
God solved this fight by splitting the times of service between the two. When God is stationary position, it is Adi Sesha who becomes His asana, the divine seat in honour. When God travels, it is Garuda who becomes His vahana, the divine vehicle in honour.
Adi Sesha experiences the pain of separation when God is travelling outside. Knowing this pain, scriptures allow Adi Sesha vahana as the first vahana on which God is taken on a tour of the temple surroundings in Brahmotsavam. After this, any other tour of God is served by Garuda.
Notice that the vehicles we talk about here are actual jeevas [one or other species such as snake (Adi Sesha) or an eagle (Garuda) or a tree (ponna) or a monkey(Hanuman)]. The vahana sevas represent how God’s presence is the base of survival for each species. Their bodies and their experiences are driven by their karma.
But, when we realise that God is driving us and we surrender to Him, our life will manifest into a God-driven tool rather than karma-driven life!
(Adi Sesha, Garuda, Vishwaksena are all nitya suris who have never parted Lord and therefore we are given the chance to feel inspired by them during the Brahmotsavam)
Coming to the centre of attraction of the event, the moola virat (the stationary Deity) in the temple is the birthday boy 😊. However, since He is in a stationary form at the sanctum sanctorum, He accepts other forms to enable us in serving Him during this event. Some such forms are snapana bera, seyana bera, yaga bera, karma bera, uthsava bera, bali bera / yatra bera. The Yaga bera murthi accepts the chanting the divine scriptures as a service carried out in the form of Chathushtana archana. It begins with lighting fire (bala:gni) through churning of a carefully procured fire word. Agni devatha is the recommended means through whom God accepts certain services in Deity form.
One must not miss participating in Brahmotsavam with joy and sharing the knowledge and experience with near and dear.After all, isn’t this celebration the root of all celebrations?
– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji – 12th May 2019 – Sri Rama Chandra Swami, Sri Ranganatha Swami, Sri VykuntaNatha Swami – 10th Brahmotsavam,Divya Saketham
Audience awed at the way the event was held, here are the elements that every single one admired: the authentic decoration of the yagasala, the glorious Vedic hymns chanted by the students learning Vedas at the gurukulam in the asram, the majestic beauty of God dressed up with love by the temple priests, the erudite scholars overseeing the event and guiding the teams, above all the compassionate and graceful Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji giving away His whole life for the service of God while showering the pearls of wisdom to all those interested!
Come, join the celebration. Everyone is invited! Jai Srimannarayana…