Author of three other Bhavan's books. Pilgrimage to Sabari and Temple & Legends of Kerala and Sri Krishna, The lord of Guruvayur Divine. Experience K.R. Vaidyanathan retried from the Indian Railways after four decades of service. Since then he has been writing for various newspapers and journals and has also authored a book on railway humour an 150 Glorious Years of Indian.
Mr. Vaidyananthan gives a comprehensive account of the temple its origin the architecture and the legends about it, daily rites the festivals around the year and a variety of other details the devotees are hungry to know.
Free Press Journal
Mr. Vaidyanathan's effort brings within a handy volume all the answers that every visitor to Guruvayur seeks.
The Times of India
In this information book brings author has provide what everyone would like to know about this shrine.
. Writes with felling and sincerity
The book is treat for millions of Guruvayur worshippers.
Evening News of India
Lilas of Guruvayurappan from the longest chapter and easily the most engrossing part of the book
Free Press Bulletin
The book is exceedingly well written.
Written with great fervour
The book is bound to arouse a new awakening.
The Economic Times
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan -that Institute of Indian Culture in Bombay needed a book a Book University a series of books which, if read would serve the purpose of providing higher education. Particular emphasis however was to be put on such literature as revealed the deeper impulsions of India. As a first step it was decided to bring out in English 100 books, 50 of which were to be taken in hand almost at once.
It is our intention to publish the books we select not only in English but also in the following Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali. Gujarati Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
This scheme involving the publication of 900 volumes requires ample funds and an all-india organisation. The Bhavan is exerting its utmost to supply them.
The objects for which the Bhavan stands are the reintegration of the Indian culture in the light of modern knowledge and to suit our present day needs and the resuscitation of its fundamental values in their pristine vigour.
Let me make our goal more explicit:
We seek the dignity of man, which necessarily implies the creation of social conditions which would allow him freedom to evolve along the lines of his own temperament and capacities: we seek the harmony of individual effort and social relations, not in any makeshift way but within the frame-work of the Moral Order; we seek the creative art of life by the alchemy of which human limitations are progressively transmuted so that man may become the instrument of God and is able to see him in all and all in him.
The world we feel is too much with us Nothing would uplift or inspire us so much as the beauty and aspiration, which such books can teach.
In this series therefore the literature of India ancient and modern will be published in a from easily accessible to all. Books in other literatures of the world if they illustrate the principles we stand for, will also be included.
This common pool of literature, it is hoped will enable the reader eastern or western to understand and appreciate currents of world thought as also the movements of the mind in India which though they flow through different linguistic channels have a common urge and aspiration.
Fittingly the book University's first venture is the Mahabharata summarized by one of the greatest living Indians, C. Rajaopalachari the second work is on a section of it the Gita by H.V.Divatia an eminent jurist and a student of philosophy. Centuries ago, it was proclaimed of the Mahabharata: "What is not in it, is nowhere After twenty five centuries we can use the same words about it. He who knows it not knows it not knows not the heights and depths of the soul; he misses the trials and tragedy and the beauty and grandeur of life.
The Mahabharata is not a mere epic it is a romance telling the table of heroic men and women and of same who were divine it is a whole literature in itself containing a code of life, a philosophy of social and ethical relations and speculative thought on human problems that is hard to rival but above all, it has for its core the Gita which is as the world is beginning to find out the noblest of scriptures and the grandest of sages in which the climax is reached in the wonders Apocalypse in the Eleventh canto.
Through such books alone the harmonies underlying true culture, I am convinced will one day reconcile the disorders of modern life.
I thank all those who have to make this new branch of the Bhavan's activity successful.
The purpose of temple going and making votive offerings to deities is not merely to find an answer to the problems of day-to-day life. It has the higher aim of instilling in man devotional love for the Lord; this is bhakti acclaimad by the wise as the easiest path to realize God in this degenerate age of Kali.
Nowhere else do you see bhakti demonstrated more feelingly than at Guruvayur the abode of Lord Krishna or Guruvayurappan as the deity is popularly known. Like Tirupati or Guruvayur has in recent times emerged as a pilgrim center of all-India fame.
No comprehensive account of the temple is available in English, particularly for the benefit of devotes from outside Kerala. An attempt has been made in this book to fill this gap.
I have collected and collated material from a number of sources. These have been acknowledge at appropriate places by way of foot-notes, Special mention must however be made of same: (1) the articles entitled "The Glory of Guruvayur" by well-known historian the late Prof. K V Krishna Ayyar, which were serialized in the 1964 issues of the Kalyana Kalpaturu and his research papers on the history of Guruvayur; (II) Sri Guruvayurappan Sankeertana Trust Guruvayur; (III) Narayaniyam (The Gopal of Guruvayur) of poet-saint Meppattur Narayana Bhattatiri with an English commentary by Shri P.N. Menon published by Educational Supply Depot Palghat Kerala (iv) Narayaniyam translated by Swami Tapasyananda and published by Shri Ramakrishna Math Madras (v) Sree Guruvayurappan Temple Renovation Souvenir, 1974; (vi) Bhakatapriya, a spiritual monthly both published by Guruvayur Devaswom; (vii) The arts and Crafts of Kerala, Paico Published House, Cochin and (viii) Temples of South Indian. I am grateful of the authours/editors of these publications.
I had also consulted that great savant and devotee of Guruvayurappan the late Shri K K Menon who was special officer and secretary, Guruvayur Temple Renovation Committee. I owe a dept of gratitude to him as well as to the Administrator, Guruvayur Devaswom who readily supplied information regarding puja routine offerings amenities to pilgrims etc. for inclusion in the Appendix.
R. G. K. former Assistant Editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India and a popular columnist guided me throughout and offered valuable suggestions by going through the manuscript critically. I am ever grateful to him for giving me freely of his time.
I offer my respectful obeisance to Jagdguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitham who Graciously blessed my humble effort by granting a Sri Mukham (Benedictory messages).
Sri Krishna took birth in the city of Mathura on the banks of the Yamuna, probably three thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The purpose of his avatara or descent to earth was to destroy adharma and to reveal to the world the splendour of God. He is called Purnavatara of Vishnu, that is the full manifestation of the Lord Supreme as contrasted with the other incarnations which were only partial revelations of the God-head.
Even as a boy, Sri Krishna performed many marvellous deeds that testified to his being God incarnate on the earth. The destruction of the demoness Putana, the revelation of His cosmic-form, Viswarupa, as He opened his mouth to his foster mother Yasoda the lifting up the mountain Govardhana, the overcoming of Kaliya the serpent who fouled the waters of the Yamuna the devouring of the forest conflagration and to crow it all, His amorous dalliance with the Gopis are some of the wondrous acts of his early boyhood acts that indicated how He combined human and divine traits.
In later years, He Proved Himself a dauntless a dauntless warrior an unsurpassed statesman and a world teacher. He slew Kasma and many other wicked demons. As Arjuna's charioteer he took a leading part in the great battle of Kurushetra where he delivered His eternal message of the Bhagaved Gita. He proved his statesmanship by acting as peace-maker between the Kauravas and the Pandavas and by founding the city Dwaraka and being its wise. Lastly as spiritual guide and preceptor, he taught the supreme truths of Yoga Bhakti and Jnana to Arjuna and Uddhava and through to all mankind.
What happened to the Lord when he departed after fulfilling the purpose of his avatara? That beauteous from with all the auspicious marks in which He manifested Himself in flesh and blood to the people of his time is preserved for all time in the sanctified idols of our temples. Among the more famous of these shrines is Guruvayur, known as Bhoolka Vaikuntha", where the lord reveals himself to his devotes in the same majestic from in which he Welcomes them in Vaikuntha his celestial abode.
The glory of Guruvayur was revealed by sage Dattatreya to King Janamejaya the son of Parikshit. According to the sage the image of Guruvayur was originally worshiped by Narayana. He narrated how it came to be worshiped by Krishna Himself at Dwaraka, how it was rescued from the great deluge and finally installed at Guruvayur to protect mankind form the evils of Kaliyuga. The story is narrated in detail in chapter II.
This is how the 16th century savant and poet Mepattur Narayana Bhattatiri describes the greatness of the Lord of Guruvayur in the opening stanza, Sanndranandaava-bodhaatmakam
of his immortal work Narayaniyam "oh! Blessed indeed is mankind for in the temple of Guruvayur there shines in all its effulgence the Supreme Brahman itself, which is the ultimate goal of all human endeavour; which shines through a hundred thousand scriptures and yet remains indistinct; which is ever free; which is devoid of the limits of time and space which is incomparable and which is the crystallized essence of Bliss and knowledge."
The glory of the image which is said to be not of earthly origin is revealed in order slokas too wherein is mentioned that Lord infused his own glory into the image to help his devotes in their devotion to raise from the wordly miseries of the iron age, to cure the afflicted of their maladies and bless them with sound health and prosperity."
Legend has it that King Janamejaya become a victim of leprosy. He performed austerities at Guruvayur at the instance of sage Dattatreya and was cured. There are many other accounts that testify to the days of skepticism about cures effected by the grace of Guruvayurappan or favours granted by Him. Saints and savants through the ages, like Adi Sankaracharya Nambudiri and Vilvamangalam Swamiyar have added to the sanctity of the spot by offering worship to Guruvayurappan.
The glory of Guruvayur the place has also come to be justly known as the Dwaraka of the south-Thus rests on the divinity of the idol installed there which represents the full manifestation of the Lord Mahavishnu as was revealed to Vasudeva and Devaki at the time of Krishnavatara; it is that attractive world-enchanting form of Sri Krishna endowed with the four lotus. Adoring Himself with the divine tulasi garland and pearl necklaces the lord here appears in all radiance. His eyes stream forth the milk of compassion and kindness.
The very atmosphere of the elevates one's soul. As Kulapati Munshiji recorded the memories of his visit to holy Guruvayur in one of his letters in the Bhavan's Journal; "one could hear nothing but the chanting of the name of the Lord from the innermost recesses of the heart of the devotes. As I went round the Prakaras, I could see no idlers and gossipmongers. Groups of persons went round the different minor shrines in a business-like manner. A couple of men were reciting the Narayaniyam. At the portico I could see devotes fulfilling their vows with coconuts plantains etc. on one side young couples were giving their children the first official food-annaprasana. Yet at another many people young and old was lining up for fulfillment of Thulabharam vows. What a faith
This then is the picture of Guruvayur. In terms of the devotion it evokes and the offering in cash and kind it receives, it ranks next only to Tirupati. It may not boast of any architectural grandeur or of great historical importance. But in divinity sanctity and cleanliness this small unpretentious shrine has hardly any equal.
Set amid the swaying coconut palms, Guruvayur had the scenic beauty characteristic of Kerala. The city dweller can combine holiday and devotion here. The place is administered drinking water clean roads sanitation and hospitals. A few day's stay in this of holies will prove invigoration both physically and spiritually and help us to forget the cares of the work-a-day world.
How does one reach Guruvayur? The place is 29 km west of Thrissur (Trichur) on the Madras-Kochi line of the Southern Railway. With the construction of the Thrissur-Guruvayur railway line Guruvayur has come on the railway map. To those who come from the north side of Kerala (from Mangalore etc.) Kuttipuram is the nearest rail head.
The nearest international airport is Nedumbassery, 87km away.
There are bus services connecting Guruvayur with all important towns in Kerala and the neighboring Karnatake and Tamil Nadu. The vehicles terminate in the vicinity of either the eastern or western gate of the temple. The Kerala state Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus station is about 200 meters from the western goouram while the private bus station is close by Majulal on eastern side. One will have therefore no difficulty in locating the shrine.
Even otherwise one always hears the full throated cries of Hare Krishna", Narayana "Guruvayur" from the surging mass of devotess and the visitor becomes one among the eager to step into the temple to have the electrifying vision of the Lord of all Gods who is always ready to come to the succour of his bhaktas.
All round the temple there are ever so many lodges and hotels where the pilgrims can put up at moderate cost. The Guruvayur Devaswom also provides several amenities to pilgrims.
For booking and any other information about the temple one may contact the Administrator Guruvayur Devaswom, Guruvayur-680 101 Trichur District Kerala.
Phone: 0487- 2556280 (Temple)
Office: 0487- 255635
Fax: 0487- 2554844
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