SAPTHAGIRI - June 2003
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Pavitrotsavam (or) Tiruppavitra Tirunal

These words literally mean "The festival of Purity". An article, the use of which produces an effect of purity would be called Pavitram. Thus all Hindus use the Darbha Pavitram and the Darbha grass itself as a preliminary to attain a state of mental and moral purityfor the performance of some religious function or for meditation. In a temple, the Pavitrotsavam is celebrated every year for maintaining at a high level the spiritual atmosphere of the place. The Festival of the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is held in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Churches and which commemorates the presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple is similar to this. When a boy of the twice-born caste among Hindus, is invested with the sacred Thread or Pavitra Aropahanam (Upanayanam) he is, considered to have become pavitram or pure.

The Pavitrotsavam is different in character from the Samprokshana or purificatory ceremony which is usually performed in temples to remove the evil effects of acts of defilement or pollution committed within the consecrated area of the temple proper and the space enclosed by the spots where Bali is offered before the commencement of a Brahmotsavam. In the language of modern science Samprokshana may be described as an electric battery supplying energy to cleanse evils. The temple itself is an Accumulator which stores up high voltage spiritual power. The pavitrotsavam is a Dynamo which helps to maintain that voltage by making good periodically the leakage that takes place due to causes over which our control is imperfect. During Pavitrotsavam the Deity Himself acts as the dynamo generating power by the recitation of Mantras, the Vedas and the Puranas. The festival is thoroughly puritan in character. Its celebration in Tirumalai is mentioned for the first time in an inscription of the year 1464 A.D. This inscription says that a village named Elambakkam was endowed and that two spring channels were excavated for the irrigation of the temple lands in Elamandiyam and Vikramaditya-mangalam and that the annual income derived thereby was endowed to the temple of Tiruvengadamudaiyan for certain daily and occasional food offerings and for the annual celebration of the Pavitrotsavam for five days in the month of Avani. The Tamil wording of the inscription does not make it clear whether the festival was instituted only in 1464 A.D. or whether the donor, Sriman Mahamandaleswara Medinimisara-ganda Kattari Saluva Mallayadeva Maharaja merely caused the festival to be celebrated in his name.

It is clear that at any rate from 1464 A.D. the festival came to be celebrated. It assumes a thoroughly vedic character. Excluding the day of Ankurarpanam, or the sowing of the nine kinds of seeds or Navadhanyam, on the night of Sukla Dasami in Avani month, the festival lasted for five days. The fifth day was on Avani Paurnimi (Sravana Paurnimi) a day which is sacred for the twice born. Others also observe the day or the preceding Dvadasi as Raksha bandhanam Day. On this day the members of the twice born castes usually wear a new yagno-pavit(r)am or sacred thread; and commence the recitation of the Vedas in due form with homam. On the Ekadasi day the Utsava Murti is placed in the Tirumamani Mantapam. On the Dvadasi day, He is invested with the Tiruppavitram (garlands of yarn around the head, the neck and the wrist) and taken in procession through the streets along with the Nachchimars. The Sukla Dvadasi day in the month of Avani has always been known as the day of "Vishnu Pavitraropanam". He is invested with Yagnopavitram also on that day. The cotton used for those is that from plants grown on unpolluted soil specially reserved in the backyard of every house along with that reserved for the cultivation of Tulasi. The yarn is usually spun by Brahmins with taklis. The articles required for the festival and their cost in panams are stated in the inscription. The Soma Kumbham (water pot), the Pratima (small image of deity) and Yagnopavitram for Malaikuniyaninra Perumal cost 103 panams. The ornaments for the hands and ears (hasta matra and karna matra) of the Acharya who officiates cost 10 panams, Dakshina (money gifts), pasu danam (gift of cow) and Svarna danam (gold gift) cost 12 panams; the bedding made of five materials (pancha Sayanam) namely, Ratnakambali (woollen carpet), Mettai (soft padded cotton bed), Mayiliraku (pea-cock feathers), Krishnajinam (deer skin) and pattuchchelai (silk sheet) cost 40 panams. The Bhattars reading the Puranas and the people chanting the Vedic texts were paid 5 panams each as honorarium and 10 panams in Dakshina. Twenty palams of silk thread and two hundred palams of white cotton yarn were required for the Pavitram which was dyed in four colours besides white. viz. black, red, green and yellow. The five colours black, white, blue, red and yellow are collectively known as Matrix among dyers. The dyers were paid 3 panams. The potters and the achari who prepared the parvatham (hill) in wood and the traditional makara-toranam as Prabha were paid for their work. The cost of all the above came to 198 4 6/3 panams. Large quantities of paddy were used for the seed sowing (Ankurarpanam) and for spreading beneath kalasam pots. Honey, milk, curds, ghee and gingelly seeds also play a prominent part.

The Deity would be decorated with the pavitram garlands which were dyed in five colours and made to look like a garland of beads by knotting the yarn with the silk thread.

The continuous chanting of the Vedic hymns and the reading of the Puranas side by side with the homams performed each day created a halo round the entire area of the temple. There was an air of austerity about the festival.

There was, however, the inevitable food offerings, morning and evening, on each day. It is noteworthy that no part of the endowment was devoted for making payments to reciters of the Tamil Prabandhams which goes to show that, in the Tirumala temple, the Tamil Prabandham did not till 1464 A.D. gain a status of equality with the Sanskrit Vedas. Nor was there provision for making payments to temple pipers, the dancing girls or Emperumanadiyars; the makers of flower garlands, the temple cooks and other servants, who usually were paid additional remuneration for extra work.

The festival continued to be celebrated till about 1562 A.D. and endowments were made from time to time during this period for additonal food offerings. It cannot be definitely stated when it became defunct and why. The loss of the villages endowed as the result of political changes might have been the cause. But considering the great sanctity attached to the Sravana Sukla Dvadasi as the day of Vishnu Pavitraropanam, the festival deserved to be revived.

Pavitrotsavam has been resuscitated in the temple in recent years from 1962 onwards and is now conducted for four days starting four sravana sudha Dasami.

(4) & (5) Tiru-Dvadasi and Kaisika Dvadasi

These two Dvadasis have been days of special festivals in Tirumalai and in Tirupati from very ancient times. Of the two, the Tiru Dvadasi is more so. Excepting the Purattasi Brahmotsavam all the other festivals are of later date. The antiquity of these two festivals is marked by the fact that on these two festival days, the food offerings are made in the name of the Deity Venkataturaivar or Ugra Srinivasa and not Malai kuniya ninra-Perumal who appeared on the scene only in about 1339 A.D. In more ancient times, Venkatatturaivar appears to have played the role of Utsava Murti. So on the two dvadasis mentioned above, Venkataturaivar continues to take His share in the Festival.

(4) Tiru Dvadasi

This occurs in the Tamil month of Margali in Sukla Paksha. According to the chandramana recko-ning, it occurs on Sukla Dvadasi in Pushya month. The Ekadasi is called Putrada Ekadasi or Mukkoti Ekadasi or Vaikuntha Ekadasi. The next day is the Tiru Dvadasi also known as Kurma Dvadasi. Both days are sacred in Tirumala. We have seen that Saamvai instituted in 966 A.D. a seven days' Brahmotsavam so as to make the Tirudvadasi day, the Tirthavari day of the festival. On that day Chakrattalvar sanctified the waters of the Swami pushkarini by taking a bath therein when all devotees took their bath along with Him. Although the Brahmotsavam became defunct, Chakratalwar goes in procession starts the holy bath just in front of the temple of Sri Varahaswami. Numerous are the endowments for food offerings on this day. The previous day is not called Tiru Ekadasi, but Mukkoti Ekadasi or Vaikunta Ekadasi. The legend is that on the night of this day all the three crores of sacred waters contribute their quota into the Swami Pushkkarini so as to make the bath on the morning of the Dvadasi day the holiest in India.

In what manner the Ekadasi day was celebrated after the festival instituted by Samavai became defunct, it is not possible to find out. But in our days the festival is celebrated by the Utsava Murti being decorated with Vajra Kavacham and taken in procession in the enclosure called Mukkoti Pradakshinam, which surrounds the Garbha Griham on three sides. This space remains closed to the public on all the days of the year except on the day of this Ekadasi. But in ancient times the Pradakshinam was obviously kept open on all the days of the year. The numerous inscriptions on the inner side of its walls, all dating before 1245 A.D. could not have been inscribed if it had remained closed. More about this has already been written in Chapter VIII.

(5) Kaisika Dvadasi

Just as the name Tiru Dvadasi was given to Kurma Dvadasi by Sri Vaishnavas so also prabodhotsava or Uttana Dvadasi was called Kaisika Dvadasi. The Ekadasi associated with it is called Bodhana or Prabodhini Ekadasi. On the Uttana Davdasi day preparation is said to be made for waking Vishnu, who went to sleep on Ashada Sukla Ekadasi (Vishnu Sayana Ekadasi) and turned on his side on Bhadrapada Sukla Ekadasi (Vishnu Parivartana Ekadasi). On the Uttana Dvadasi day the chaturmasya Vrita commences. Among Sri Vaishnavas, this dvadasi is known as Kaisika dvadasi and the word Kaisika has a moral tale to tell. It was the ragam of the last song in praise of Sri Vishnu which the chandala Bhakta Nambaduvan sang before returning to the Rakshasa (a learned Brahmin who was by curse turned a Rakshasa for his sins) to offer his body to be devoured as food by the hungry Rakshasa. The story has been already narrated in chapter III. The moral inculcated is that a truthful and devout chandala occupies in the spiritual ladder a higher status and has the inherent power to offer salvation to an erring Brahmin, however, learned he may be. This is one of the cardinal points in the philosophy of Sri Nammalwar.

According to Nammalvar, a truthful and devout chandala Bhakta is really his Guru.

So Kaisika Dvadasi derives its name from the ragam of a song and is considered a very holy day.

The reading of the Kaisika Puranam, which is specially composed in a dialect which is a mixture (manipravalam) of Sanskrit and Tamil or Telugu interspersed with Sanskrit quotations and vernacular explanations is the special feature of the early hours of the morning before day break.

Kaisika Dvadasi is first mentioned in an inscription of 1308 A.D. (Kilaka year) which records an endowment for a number of festivals of which this is one. It is again mentioned in inscriptions of the year 1429 and 1433 as Uttana Dvadasi. The name Kaisika Dvadasi occurs again in an inscription of 1494 A.D. when two accountants of the Tirumala Temple made provision for food offerings on the Uttana Dvadasi Day after the reading of the Kaisika Puranam during Chaturmasyam. Other endowments are in II-91 (1490 A.D.); V-40 (1545); IV-6 (1530 A.D.); IV-46 (1530 A.D.) Kaisika Puranam day; IV-59 (1535); IV-81, 82, 83, 86, (1537); IV-152, 153 (1540) and VI-5 (1583).

(6) Vasantotsavam

This festival although more ancient than the Kodai Tirunal and the Tiruppalli-odam is allied to them and often they were celebrated at the same time. The first mention of this festival is in an inscription of the year 1360 A.D. (I. 113) which says that one Erramanchi Periya Pemma Nayakkar, one of the generals of the Vijayanagar king who fought against the Sultan of Mathurai attended the celebration of the festival in Tirumala. Definite mention of a Vasantotsavam festival lasting for five days is however made only in an inscription of the year 1511 A.D. (III. 18). There are later inscriptions (7-4-1511, IV. 6. 31-10-1530) which show that in Tirupati also the festival was celebrated for Sri Govindaraja. An inscription of 1494 A.D. (II 127, 5-6-1494) states that Vasantotsavam was celebrated for Sri Govindaraja in Tirupati for three days in Chittirai month commencing from the day of asterism Chitta. The festival in Tirumala is described in greater detail in an inscription of the 1547 A.D. (V. 93, 8-6-1547) which gives details of an endowment of three villages with an annual income of 200 Rekhai Pon. The festival commenced with the usual Ankurarpanam in Visakha nakshatram in the month of Masi. The Sattumurai fell on Sravana Nakshatra so that the festival lasted for 7 days. The donor was one Pendli koduku Timmaraja. Another Vasantotsavam in Tirumala is mentioned in an inscription of 1561 A.D. The donor in this case is Aravidu Bukkaraja Rangaraja Tirumalaraya who built at the same time the famous Tirumalarayan mantapam which is situated to the right of the Dhavajastambham in Tirumala. He constructed also an unjal mantapam. The Vasanta Tirunal which Saluva Narasimharaya instituted in 1468 A.D. was improved into a grander festival by Tirumalaraya. On the first day the procession was on Seshavahanam and on the succeeding days Hamsavahanam, Garuda vahanam,

Vaikuntha vahanam and Yanai Nambiran (elephant) vahanam. Prasadams were offered on a large scale on these days. (In fact the endowment included food offering on all the important festivals and Visesha Divasam day throughout the year). Vasantotsavam is sometimes called Damanarohanotsavam probably on account of the large quantity of Davanam which was used to decorate the idols. In IV. 153 and 158 also (1541 A.D.) (V. 168 15-12-1561) the festival is called 'Damanarohana vasantotsava-tirumal'.

For Sri Govindaraja in Tirupati, one Vengapuram Narayana Setti made an endowment in 1544 (V. 25 19-10-1544) for the celebration of a five day festival called Damanarohana Vasantotsavam in the month of Panguni. The Ankurarpanam in this case was on Svati asterism and the Sattumurai on Uttaradam, the birth asterism of Alarmelmangai Nachchiyar.

Vasantotsavams described above are not to be confused with the Vasantam function which is usually associated with the ninth day festival of a Brahmotsavam. Nor are they to be confused with the present day Arjitham Vasanthotsavam which is celebrated on payment of a prescribed fee. The latter is the costliest festival. During this festival 575 seers of rice, 289 visses of ghee, 125 visses of green gram, 270 visses of jaggery and 587 visses of groundnut oil are consumed. Being an arjitham festival, about one half of the amount paid by the donor is spent for the festival.

(7) Dola mahotsava Anna Unjal Tirunal

Anna Unjal, or the Swan swing festival, is probably an ancient festival, in a fragmentary inscription (1230 A.D.) on the south wall (outerside) of the kitchen in the first prakaram of the Tirumala temple, the words 'chittirai matamum anna-' appear. It is likely that followed the word. On some days of the Brahmotsavam it was usual to place the Utsava Murti and the Nachimars in a Swing or Unjal in a mantapam, But it was in the nature of one of the functions in a festival. An inscription of the year 1473 A.D. (II. 50) gives full particulars of an endowment of Dommarappatti village in Kalavaiparru sub-division of Padaivedu Rajyam by Salva Narasimharaya Udaiyar. This endowment was more specifically for the celebration of a new festival called Dola-mahotsava Anna Unjal Tirunal. Along with it, there was also provision made for Anna Unjal celebration during the Chittirai Brahmotsavam on the first seven days, on the tenth festival day of the Kodai Tirunal and on the Chittirai Sankramanam day when sumptuous Vagaipadi offerings were made to the Deity. The endowment was however mainly for the festival called Dolamahotsavam Anna Unjal. The festival was fashioned on the lines of a Brahmotsavam, but without the flag hoisting and Tirthavari functions. The month in which the festival was celebrated is not mentioned. But as the Chittirai Sankramanam, the Chittirai Brahmotsavam and the Kodai Tirunal also come in for a minor share, the Unjal Tirunal would have been held in Panguni month. The Ankurarpanam was in Shashti tidhi (presumably Sukla Paksham). The festival lasted from Sapthami to Ekadasi tidhis. Soma Kumbham, pratimas for the Kumbham and the mandalam, the arrangement of the palikas, the spreading of paddy as a bed for all these, the punya vajinam, the daily homams, the offering of charu, pancha havis adhirasa padi, etc. and the antya homam were all modelled as if the festival was one prescribed in the agamas. Very large quantities of food offerings were made on all the days. The total quantities consumed are summed up in the inscription as 67 marakals of paddy, 153 marakals of rice, 506 nali of ghee, 12660 palams of jaggery, 14 nali of pepper, 24 marakals of green gram, 34 marakals of broken gram, 30 marakals of black gram, 30 marakals of wheat, 100 nali of milk, 5 nali of honey, 641 palams of Snadal paste etc. The cash dakshina (Tirukkai Valakkam) amounted to 896 panams.

In subsequent years endowments made include provision for food offerings for this festival also (Vol. II. 113 17-2-1494); II. 134 (31-8-1495); III. 18 (1511); III. 165 (8-11-1524); by Vyasa Tirtha Sripada Udaiyar; III. 172 (1527 A.D.); IV. 81, 82 (1537) also 83, 84 and 86; IV. 152, 153 (1540); IV 157 (1541); also 158, 159 (1541) V.168 (1561), V. 171 (1562). Inscription V. (168) states that Tirumalarajayya constructed the Anna Unjal mantapam and V. 171 specifically mentions that the food offering was during Narasimharayan's Anna Unjal Tirunal which shows that the festival was being celebrated uninterruptedly from the days of Saluva Narasimharaya.

In Tirupati an Anna Unjal Tirunal for Sri Govindarajaswami was instituted in 1506 (III. 12, 18-7-1506) by one Appa Pillai, son of Karvattippuli alvar who was a general under Saluva Narasimha as well as Sri Krishnadevaraya. This was also a seven day festival. The Ankurarpanam was in Chitta Nakshatram in the month of Adi and the Sattumurai in Uttiradam Nakshatram. The rituals were all similar to those of the Tirumalai festival.

(8) Tiruppalli Odai Tirunal or Floating Festival

This festival is mentioned for the first time in an inscription of the year 1468 A.D. (II. 31, 16-3-1468). It shows that it fell during the Kodai Tirunal. Saluva Narasimharaya Udaiyar had constructed the Nirali mantapam in the middle of the Swamipushkarini sometime before 1468 and instituted the Floating festival with which everyone is now familiar. There is no doubt that during the hot weather, it was considered expedient by all the temple goers to take the Processional Murti and the Nachchimars to a cool and airy spot like this mantapam, and to perform Tirumanjanam and make food offerings there. After sunset the Murti and Nachchimars were fully decorated and placed on a raft, or Tiruppalli-odam and towed round in the tank-usually three times to the accompaniment of Nadasvaram (pipers). There will be the usual display of music and fireworks. Afterwards the procession halted near some of the mantapams on the bund of the tank and food offerings were made. During the reign of Achyutaraya, almost all his officers made endowments for this festival. This Tiruppalliodai festival was also celebrated on one of the days during the numerous Brahmotsavams. As the Agamas do not specify any definite date or occasion for this festival, it was celebrated to suit the convenience of donors. In Tirupati also, this festival came to be celebrated after the Govindapushkarini was constructed in 1522 A.D. by Racheraja Govindaraja, brother of the famous minister of Sri Krishnadevaraya, Timmarasu or Appai.

(9)Vaivahikotsavam, or Pendli Tirunal or Kalyanotsavam

In writing about Brahmotsavams, it was mentioned that a marriage festival would be celebrated on the first day or some other day of the festival. We are now very familiar with the Varthana festival Kalyanotsavam which is celebrated by a donor on payment of the prescribed fee. This function (the Vaivahikotsavam) takes place nowadays in the present Kalyana mantapam and resembles in its rituals very much a Hindu marriage. Utsava Murti (Malayappan) is the bridegroom and the two Nachchimars are the two brides. An imaginary family pedigree of the contracting parties is recited during the course of the ritual. The bridegroom and the two brides are placed facing each other with a screen in between, so that they are allowed to see each other only at the appropriate auspicious moment when the screen would be removed. Marriage homams are performed and havis is offered to the appropriate Devatas. An Acharya or Purohit conducts the function and an Archaka is consecrated to perform the homams etc. on behalf of the bridegroom. After the marriage, presents of valuable cloths are made to the brides and the bridegroom and to the Acharya and the archaka. Dakshina is also given to the Brahmins who officiate at the function. Sweets, cake and food offerings are made to the Deity and distributed to those who are present. A procession is also sometimes taken out.

But no inscription however gives any details of the marriage festival until we reach the year 1546 A.D. (V. 71 17-7-1546). In that year Tallapakam Tirumala Ayyangar conceived the idea of celebrating a marriage festival of five days for Malayappan on the lines of a Hindu marriage. The festival was celebrated in the month of Panguni at a cost of 500 ghatti varahas. As the kalyana mantapam was not then in existence, the festival was conducted in the Tirumamani mantapam.

On the first day there was the preliminary function of Sadyonkura Ankurarpanam. Soma pratima, Brahma pratima, etc. were consecrated for the cememony. Then Malaikuniya ninra perumal and the two Nachchimars (Bhudevi and Neela Devi) were given Tirumanjanam or bath of rose water in the Tirumamani mantapam. This was followed by a procession through the streets. On return the bridegroom was seated on a Unjal or swing plank in front of the Tirumamani mantapam and the Nachchimars were seated one on a Chataka pakshi vahanam and the other on a Hamsa Vahanam. Garlands were exchanged between the bridegroom and the two brides in the same way as in the case of a Hindu marriage. The nachchimars were next placed on either side of Malaikuniya ninra perumal on the swing plank. Their feet were washed with milk and harati as well as panchavarna pidi were offered to them. In the Abhijit lagnam, the Deities were removed to the Tirumamani mantapam and all the articles required for the muhurta homam were brought. These consisted chiefly of cloths for the Nachchimars, Sandal paste and Sambhavana for puting on the Tirukkappunaan (consecrated string round the wrist?) and a cloth to serve as a screen between the bridegroom and the brides.

(Note : Panchavanna pidi is cooked food mixed in five different colours and made into small balls in the first. This is done during every marriage).

Presents were made at the appropriate occasions and also for the acharya, gold to the Ritviks on the occasion of the bride being given away in marriage, Acharya dakshina, Svasti vachana takshina, Punyavajina dakshina and Svasti Sutra money for the other. For madhu parkam measures each of ghee, honey, milk, curds and sugar were supplied besides Vadaippadi, manoharam, Godhi, aval, pori, coconuts and plantatin fruits. During the night Dhruva Nakshatram was also shown to the married parties. On the second day of the marriage, there was Tirumanjana and then a street procession with the bridegroom and the brides seated on Sesha Vahanam followed by sumptuous food offerings. On the third day there was the usual Tirumanjanam with Vasantam and Chandanam followed by food offerings. On the fourth day Tirumanjan and food offerings were made as usual. The street procession was made with Malaikuniya ninra perumal seated on the Hamsa Vahanam and the two Nacchimars in palanquin which was followed by food offerings. On the fifth day the same routine was gone through, the only difference being that the Perumal was seated on a Anai Nambiran (elephant Vahan) and the Nacchimars in palanquin. Large presents were made to all temple servants including the astrologer who fixed the muhurtam and the reader of the Tiruvenkata Mahatyam. In subsequent years this festial is one of the items for which endowments were made for food offerings. This kind of marriage festival is not being made now.

(10) Srinivasa Sahasranamam and the Festival of Srinivasa Sahasra namarchana

It has to be noted that Srinivasa Sahasranamam is not the same thing as Vishnu Sahasranamam with which every one is familiar and which is given in Moksha dharmam of the Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharatam. It is also known to temple goers that Sahasranamarchana is not a part of the daily puja (Tiruvaradhanam), but that it is done in all temples after the puja, at the special request of a worshipper and for his spiritual benefit. In the Tirumala temple however it has become an established usage that the Srinivasa Sahasra namarchana is done only once and that every worshipper who desires to have his name associated with the function should obtain a ticket on payment of a fairly heavy fee to entitle him to be present when the Namarchana is recited by the person employed for the purpose. At the close of the function, the names of all those who have taken tickets are recited with their gotram and benediction pronounced for thier welfare and prosperity. Wealthy person make a compounded payment for a whole year, or for their life time and get the benediction pronounced every day although they may not be there in person. Whether this function of Srinivasa Sahasra Namar-chana can claim antiquity is a moot point. It is mentioned for the first time in an inscription of the year 1517 A.D. giving detials of an endowment made (III. 123) obviously for the celebration of a Brahmotsavam during the reign of Sri Krishnade-varaya Maharaya. Sahasranamarchana - although not mentions with the prefix Srinivasa - is one of the items of that endowment. Thereafter there is frequent mention of this function. In 1527 A.D. (III. 171 10-8-1527) one Saranu Setti made an endowment for the performance of several services one of these being this Sahasra namarchana on payment of a fee of one Rekkai Pon and some food offerings. Specific mention of the term Srinivasa Sahasranamarchana is made in an inscription of the year 1533 A.D. (IV. 16 31-1-1533) when Achyutaraya Maharaya presented certain ornaments and also performed the Srinivasa Sahasranamarchana with his own hands when the Archaka was reciting the 1008 names. This has been commented upon at length in Chapter XVIII. Other inscription of the years 1546 and 1547 A.D. (V. 71 and 92) mention the performance of this archana on payment of fee to the person reciting the names.

But the function of reciting Sahasranamam as part of any ritual, or for the spiritual benefit of any worshipper is not mentioned before 1517 A.D. In this connection it has to be remembered that several of the names included in the Sahasra-nama have their root in the stories contained in Tiruvenkata Mahatyam which was composed only in 1491 A.D. that is 26 years before the date of the first mention of Sahasranamarchana. Historically we are driven to the conclusion, though with great hesitancy, that Sahasranamarchana was not one of the usual funcitons in this temple before at any rate 1490 A.D.

..... To be continued

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