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Activities leading up to Paryaya:
[Note: these dates apply on even-numbered years of the Christian era when the paryaaya festival is held.]
The 17th of January is allotted to the outgoing paryaaya Swamiji to observe his last special services to Sri Krishna. During the day he arranges a special feast for the devotees and in the evening Brahma rathotsava is held. Sri Krishna is taken out in the rath accompanied by the Swamiji and all the assembled devotees. On the morning of the 18th, the only duty of the outgoing Swamiji is the performance of the nirmaalya visarjana puuja. From this time onwards the worship of Sri Krishna is performed by the new paryaaya Swamiji.
At around 3:00 AM, the Swamiji rises and takes bath in the daNDatiirtha before travelling to Udupi. By the time he reaches joDu katte, a huge crowd has gathered to greet him. All the other Swamiji-s who are residing in Udupi at this time are gathered here to greet him. The only exception is the outgoing paryaaya Swamiji who remains in Sri Krishna Mutt.
The Swamiji-s who are gathered here to welcome the new paryaaya Swamiji are dressed in silken cloths and wear a silken headdress. This is a wonderful sight to see as it is only on this occasion that they were cloth other than the traditional saffron cloth of the sannyaasi.
The processional route from joDu kaTTe to the Car Street is jam-packed with devotees gathered to witness this grand occasion. The streets are adorned with festoons of colored lights, the buildings along the way are brightly illuminated, and every vantage point is thronged with people.
For the paryaaya of Sri Vishwesha Tiirtha Swamiji (Pejavar MaTha) in 1984, I was a part of this crowd of many thousands who were a part of the procession, and it was a wonderful experience. For the paryaaya of Sri Vidyamanya Tiirtha Swamiji (Palimar MaTha) in 1986, myself, wife, and daughters were fortunate enough to be invited to witness the spectacle from the balcony in one of the hotels lining the processional route. It is from an vantage point such as this that you can have a full comprehension of the size of the crowd and the excitement and colorful spectacle of the procession and have a clear view of the Swamiji-s as they pass by on their palanquins.
When the incoming paryaaya Swamiji reaches joDu kaTTe, he is welcomed by the assembled Swamiji-s and the huge crowd of devotees assembled there. The Mutt icons of the incoming Swamiji are placed on a golden palanquin and each of the Swamiji-s sit on a palanquin and follow behind.
In front of the procession are gaily decorated elephants with howdah on their back. In their trunks they hold a chowrie which they wave in the air. They are accompanied by effigies of saints and all manner of decorated staffs and arches. Singers and dancers dressed in colourful costumes are here along with priests chanting hymns from the Vedas. To add to the noise and excitement groups of musicians march along with the crowds.
This procession is truly an amazing sight -- especially considering that it is held in the darkness of the early hours of the morning. Most of the thousands of assembled devotees have been awake the whole night after participating in the final `Brahma rathotsava' of the outgoing paryaaya Swamiji. There is a fever of excitement and anticipation in the air. This huge and colorful procession takes something like two hours to travel the one kilometre from joDu kaTTe to the Car Street.
On reaching the Car Street, the Swamiji-s alight from the palanquins and circumambulate the Car Street before stopping at the Kanakana kiNDi. Here the incoming paryaaya Swamiji offers prayers to Sri Krishna through the window and then offers prayers to the nine planets before making donations of grains and money to learned brahmins. From here the Swamiji proceeds to the Chandramoulishwara temple to offer prayers and then on to the Ananteshwara temple.
When he reaches the entrance to Sri Krishna Mutt, the incoming paryaaya Swamiji is greeted by the outgoing paryaaya Swamiji who takes him by the hand and leads him inside. They proceed to the Madhva Sarovara and wash their hands and feet before entering the garbha guDi.
While the incoming and outgoing paryaaya Swamiji-s enter the garbha guDi, the other Swamiji-s proceed to the baDagu maaLige where they sit on decorated seats and wait for the paryaaya Swamiji-s.
Both the paryaaya Swamiji-s (incoming and outgoing) enter the garbha guDi and pray to Sri Krishna. Then they offer prayers to the icons of Hanuman and Garuda. They then proceed to the simhaasana accompanied by only a few officials of the Mutt and the ritual of handing over the charge of Krishna Mutt takes place. The outgoing paryaaya Swamiji sits on the seat once occupied by Sri Madhva himself and the incoming paryaaya Swamiji sits by his side where he is offered sandalwood paste and other objects of honor.
The outgoing Swamiji then stands and takes hold of the hands of the incoming Swamiji and places him on the seat. The outgoing Swamiji then sits by the side of the new paryaaya Swamiji. When you consider the length of time between paryaaya-s for each piiThaadhipati, is only on a few rare occasions that they are able to occupy the sacred seat of Sri Madhva. From the moment he ascends this seat, the incoming Swamiji assumes charge of all the responsibilities, rituals and activities of Sri Krishna Mutt, and becomes the representative of Sri Madhva.
After exchanging seats, the Swamiji-s enquire after each other's health and well-being before proceeding to the icon of Sri Madhva at the entrance to the garbha guDi. An `arghya' offering of water is made to Srimad Achaarya and the outgoing paryaaya Swamiji hands to the incoming paryaaya Swamiji the akshaya paatra and the keys to the shrine. With this ritual the management of Sri Krishna Mutt is officially transferred to the new paryaaya Swamiji.
Now both of the Swamiji-s proceed to the baDagu maaLige and rejoin the other Swamiji-s. The new paryaaya Swamiji honors the assembled Swamiji-s by offering sandalwood paste and other objects of honour.
It should be noted that during the time of Sri Vâdirâja, the paryaaya congregation used to gather in the baDagu maaLige but the crowds are so large these days that this is no longer possible.
The last program of the paryaaya ceremony begins around 7:00 AM and is held in the raajaangaNa. This ceremony is called darbar sabhaa. The raajaangaNa is crowded with up to twenty thousand people who have gathered here with their invitation cards.
Hymns from the Vedas are chanted and the paryaaya Swamiji blesses the assembled devotees. The outgoing Swamiji bids farewell to the devotees and the new paryaaya Swamiji announces his plans and projects for the improvement of Sri Krishna Mutt during his paryaaya. Leaders and luminaries from different cross sections of society felicitate the new paryaaya Swamiji.
The paryaaya Swamiji honors scholars, social workers, and officials for their distinguished services to society. He then announces the names of the new office-bearers and employees of the paryaaya MaTha. When he has finished honouring the special guests, the devotees then offer contributions to the new paryaaya Swamiji. The new paryaaya Swamiji bids farewell to the outgoing Swamiji and then goes to Krishna MaTha and begins the series of puuja rituals to Sri Krishna.
Later in the day after the mahaa puuja, the huge crowd of devotees assembled to celebrate the paryaaya ceremony are fed a huge feast. This crowd can be in excess of one hundred thousand people. In the evening the first brahma rathotsava of the new paryaaya Swamiji takes place and the Car Street is jam-packed with devotees assembled to participate in the worship of Sri Krishna.
Here are two newspaper reports from the paryaaya festival of Sri Vishwesha Tiirtha Swamiji in 1984:
BANGALORE: Thursday January 19 1984
Pomp and gaiety at Paryaya fete
Express News Service
Mangalore Jan 18
The historic Paryaya festival was celebrated in the temple town of Udupi with great pomp and gaiety. Over 1.5 lakh devotees from different parts of the country, mostly from Karnataka thronged the Ashtamatha complex and witnessed the spectacular event of the 53 year old Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji of Pajavar Mutt receive the keys of the sanctum sanctorum of the Krishna temple from the outgoing Paryaya Swamiji of the Kaniyoor Mutt. The Paryaya event takes place every two years and this is the 232th such event. The Pejavar Swamiji is in charge for the 3rd time.
Earlier the Swamiji along with his junior were brought in a colourful procession from Judukatte. The procession with 3 other Swamijis of Puttige Adamar and Palimar Mutts left around 4 A.M. and exactly at 6:55 the Kaniyoor Swamiji handed over the keys.
Different tableaux highlighting Indian culture accompanied the procession. The caparisoned elephants of the Udupi and Ujire were the added attractions in the procession. The Swamijis were carried along in decorated palanquins. Union deputy Finance Minister Janardhana Poojari was also in the procession.
Later addressing the huge audience at the durbar, the new Paryaya swamiji of Pejavar Mutt, exhorted the people to follow the path of bhakti and rectitude which alone can lead us along the rightful path and serve the people so as to obtain mental peace and satisfaction. Explaining the significance of the day, the swamiji said that people should resolve on this auspicious day that they would give up all self aggrandisement and live as brothers for the common good of all.
The Swamijis of Adamar and Puttige mutts also spoke and emphasised the need for making efforts to cultivate cultural conduct and to work to foster peace and harmony.
The Swamiji of Subramanya Mutt was also present.
On the occasion, Messrs: Ramakrishna Hegde, Janardhana Poojari, Dr Jivaraj Alva, Minister for Youth Services, Dr Rajkumar, Kannada matinee idol, K Gopal Krishna Asranna, K VYerkadithaya, R V Murthy, Dr A R Acharya, Kadamdale Krishna Bhat, D K Seetharam Rao (posthumously) Bannanje Govinda Acharya, Dr Veerendra Heggade, K T Pandurangi, Dr B N K Sharma and Manikya Shastri were honoured with shawls and mementoes.
Earlier Mr Veerendra Heggade, Chairman, Paryaya Committee, welcoming the gathering paid glowing tributes to the Swamiji of Pejavar Mutt for his valuable contributions to uphold the dignity and the sanctity of Hindu culture and also in bringing out a healthy social transformation among all sections of the people. He also said it was a historical day and people expected greater things from him to transform society. Mr K S Haridas Bhat proposed the vote of thanks.
The police had made elaborate bandobust arrangements under the direct supervision of the Deputy Inspector General Revansiddaiah and Superintendent of Police, B Y Bhonsle.
Express News Service
Mangalore Jan 18
Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde called upon the people to rededicate themselves to work for the progress of society, free from divisive forces of casteism.
Replying to felicitations at the Paryaya Durbar, Mr Hegde said occasions like these inculcate in us a determination to follow along right lines for the welfare of our brethren. Bearing such noble endeavours in heights and achieve progress.
He described the Swamiji of Pejavar Mutt as a striker of a new path without forgoing old values in their pristine purity.
Union Deputy Finance Minister, Mr Janardhan Poojari said, the Swamiji holds a unique position to uplift the weaker sections. It is a healthy sign that Matadhipathis are coming forward to take our people out of their old ways so that unitedly we can move forward to build a healthy nation.
Dr Rajkumar in his brief speech said he was happy to be present on such an occasion at this shrine of Sri Krishna from whom he seeks blessings as well as the blessings of the revered Swamiji without which we cannot move forward with dignity.
This section is by Raymond Crawford. Some of the material comes from a book published for the 1984 paryaaya of H.H. Sri Vishwesha Tiirtha Swamiji, by Bannanje Govindacharya, U.P. Upadhyaya, and Muralidhar Upadhyaya
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Created October 4, 1996; last updated August 10, 2001.