16 Dec 2016(Fri), Dhanurmasam or Margasirsha or Margazhi Vratam starts

16th Dec 2016, The start of the Dhanurmasam is marked by the entry of the Sun in the Dhanur Rashi (Sagittarius) called the Dhanuh Sankramana(Change from one Rashi to other Rashi); hence the name Dhanurmasam for this period.

What’s special of this month?
The month Margasirsha or Margazhi or Dhanurmasam promotes spirituality among the people. According to Solar calendar, this period becomes Dhanurma:sam. Go:da de:vi chose this month as appropriate to fulfill her divine desire. She imitated the Ka:thaya:yani Vratha of Go:pikas, for one month.

Each day, A:nda:l composed one song and submitted at the Lotus feet of the Lord. Thus, she offered thirty songs in the form of a wonderful garland to Lord. These thirty Tamil pa:surams are called “Thiruppa:vai”.

At the end of the Vratham, Sri: Rangana:tha appeared to Vishnu Chittha and ordered him to give A:nda:l in marriage. Lord sent a palanquin to bring Go:da De:vi.

What to do in this month?
Worship of Lord Vishnu during the morning hours in Dhanurmasa is considered highly auspicious. Vishnu Sahasranama and Tiruppavai is chanted during the period.

Story about Dhanurmasam and Goda Devi:

Few people try to realize God. We call them saints and Rushis. God chooses a few as His devotees. We call them A:lwa:rs. The word A:lwa:r means a guardian even to God.

About 5000 years ago, there lived an A:lwa:r in Sri: Villiputtu:r. His name was Vishnu Chittha. He was titled as Periya:lwa:r because of his great devotion to Lord. Periya means big. He used to prepare and offer Thulasi garlands to Lord Vatapatrasa:yi, every day.

One day, as usual, he went to the garden. While picking up the Thulasi leaves, he found a beautiful baby girl there. The surprised Vishnu Chittha looked around, but found no one. He took the baby home and started calling her Go:da, which means ‘A nice garland’. Vishnu Chittha cherished Go:da as his own daughter with love and care.

Go:da grew up with the pious activities of Vishnu Chittha – listening to the stories of Sri: Krushna, singing songs on Lord Na:ra:yana, preparing the garlands to offer to Vatapatrasa:yi etc. Go:da was fascinated by the stories of Krushna and Go:pikas.

She was about seven years old. Go:da wanted to marry Lord Rangana:tha, who is none other than Sri Krushna. Vishnu Chittha keeping the garland ready in baskets, used to attend his garden work till the temple bells rang. Meanwhile, Go:da used to wear them to check whether she was good enough for Lord. Then, she used to put them back in the basket. Without knowing, Vishnu Chittha was offering the garlands to the Lord at the temple. This went on for a while.

One day, Vishnu Chittha found a strand of hair in the garland. He was so agitated and called Go:da. Go:da told him that she was wearing them every day to see if she was acceptable to Lord. Father told her that we should not offer the used ones to Lord. Go:da told him that she did not know and would never do that again. That day, Vishnu Chittha did not offer the garlands to Lord.

That night, Lord appeared to Vishnu Chittha in the dream and asked, “Father-in-law!, why didn’t you give me the garlands today?” Vishnu Chittha explained what happened. Then Lord said that He liked to have only those garlands worn by Go:da, and disappeared.

Then he realized that Go:da was not an ordinary human girl. She must be none other than our compassionate mother Lakshmi, who took the form of a human being to bless us. He called her ‘A:nda:l’, the lady savior. Since the Lord ordered for the garlands worn by Go:da, she was called “A:muktha Ma:lyada”, one who gave worn garlands to God. In Tamil language, she is called “Su:di Koduttha Na:chhiya:r”.

Go:da inquired father about how to reach Lord. Vishnu Chittha explained how Gopikas did the Ka:thya:yani Vratha to gain Lord Krushna in Dwa:para Yuga. Then, Go:da started imagining that she was a Gopika living in Nandago:kulam. All her friends were Go:pikas. The Vatapathrasa:yi temple in Sri Villiputthu:r became the house of Lord Krushna.

The month Ma:rgasi:rsha promotes spirituality among the people. According to Solar calendar, this period becomes Dhanurma:sam, starting from Dec 16th. Go:da de:vi chose this month as appropriate to fulfill her divine desire. She imitated the Ka:thaya:yani Vratha of Go:pikas, for one month.

Each day, A:nda:l composed one song and submitted at the Lotus feet of the Lord. Thus, she offered thirty songs in the form of a wonderful garland to Lord. These thirty Tamil pa:surams are called “Thiruppa:vai”.

At the end of the Vratham, Sri: Rangana:tha appeared to Vishnu Chittha and ordered him to give A:nda:l in marriage. Lord sent a palanquin to bring Go:da De:vi.

Vallabhara:ya, the king of Madurai, was the disciple of Vishnu Chitha. Having known the message of Lord Rangana:tha from his guru, he brought Go:da De:vi to Sri Rangam with Royal protocol. The wedding was performed in the temple with all the splendors. After the wedding, Go:da was taken into the sanctum along with the deity. Suddenly, she disappeared there.

Vishnu Chittha was very sad and pleaded before Lord Ranana:tha for Go:da. Lord spoke through the priests, consoled him and said, “Oh my beloved father-in-law! Don’t worry. Go:da and I will be arriving to your home on Garuda by the time you reach there. We will be there forever with you.” Even today, the Lord is present in Sri: Villiputtu:r and worshipped as “A:ndal Ranga Manna:r”. This is referred to as Sri A:nda:l temple today.

The Thiruppa:vai is considered to be the essence of all the Ve:das, in which mother A:nda:l teaches us the goal of our life. The day Go:da married Lord Rangana:tha became popular as Bho:gi. It means the day on which Go:da enjoyed the Divine bliss. We celebrate Go:da’s wedding every year concluding the Dhanurma:sam. Next day becomes Sankra:nthi, the festival of prosperity and reverence to the Nature.

In addition to Thiruppa:vai, Go:da composed another scripture called Na:chhiya:r Thirumozhi with 143 pa:surams in it.

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