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Where Bhakthi keeps cyclone Thane at bay
VILANGUDI, KUMBAKONAM, January 10: Even as the cyclone Thane was playing havoc with normal life in some coastal regions (Cuddalore, Vilupuram) of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, a tiny village near Kumbakonam had no semblance of the disaster. It saw scores of devotees totally submerged in the wave of Kirtan yoga for four days.

The mega Namasankirtana mela from December 28 to 31, 2011 at Vilangudi Village, about 15 km from temple town of Kumbakonam, attracted leading Bhagavathas and a large number of Bhajan-lovers. The occasion coincided with the conduct of 113th year of Sri Radha Kalyanam Utsav at Shri Venkatramana Swamy Temple in the village.

Says Mr. K Subramanian, Secretary, Vilangudi Sri Radhakalyana Mahothsava Bhajan Mandali, “We had ventured into organizing the first major Bhajan Mela with participation by leading Bhagavathas. We had the full support and guidance of Shri Udaiyalur Kalyanarama Bhagavathar. We had anxious moments when there was cyclone warning. Fortunately, we had the blessings of Lord Shri Venkataramana Swamy and the Mela was a big hit among the devotees”.

During the days, for several hours, devotees, forgetting their sleep, had the opportunity to witness the enchanting performance of Who’s Who of Bhagavathas. For their comfort, Mandali had created conducive environment by taking care of their stay and food requirements.

At the forefront of conducting Sampradaya Bhajan was Kumbakonam Bhagavatha Brothers - E. K. Srinivasan and E. K. Jayaraman - who are veterans in the field and have been actively taking part in the Vilangudi Radhakalyna Utsav for so many decades.

Udaiyalur Kalyanaraman, the brain behind the Mela, nicely engaged the audience while introducing the participants and highlighting the importance of Namasankirtanam. Kovai Jayarama Bhagavathar was at his best singing Bhajans on Swami Gnananda, who is his Guru. He excited the devotees by encouraging them to sing along with him at the peak of their voice.

While Cuddalore Gopi Bhagavathar could not come due the cyclone and heavy rain in the belt, he was ably represented by his associate, K. R. Subramanian. He played a superb role as Lord Krishna and beautifully narrated the Charithas of Pundaliga and Bhaktha Prahalatha. He got a wonderful support from Thanjavur Rajesh, who thrilled the audience playing the role of Pundaliga.

Mayuram Muthukrishna Bhagavathar, who is a music teacher at Annamalai University, impressed the audience with his best devotional songs in Tamil. Other Bhagavathas who enthralled the audience with their excellent performance included Thiruvisanallur Ramakrishnan , Udaiylaur Balaraman, Madudanallur Kannan, Thiruvannamalai Pitchumani, Serugulathur Narayanasivam and Nannilam Ramanathan. They all had excellent support artistes.

It is no surprise the natives from the village and other devotees from the neighbouring areas enthusiastically attended the Mela. For, Vilangudi has an unbroken record of conducting the Sri Radha Kalyana Utsav for well over a century. It proved an ideal occasion for them to keep away from routine life and relieve tension and stress.

For years, Namasankirtham has come to be identified as the easiest way to beseech the blessings of the Almighty in Kali Yugam. Many Bhagavathas have dedicated their entire life for propagating Pracheena Sampradaya Bhajan all over India. By this, they have laid the foundation for the prosperity of younger generation.

Kirtan Yoga is the best way to beat stress and overcome tension. It assumes considerable significance at a time when the Indian economy and corporates have started seeing the adverse effect of global crisis with threats of downsizing, pink slips, lay-offs looming large. By listening to and singing Gita Govindam, Kirtanas, Ashtapathis and Namvalis, apart from dancing on the occasions, it is possible to feel the unique experience of divine and bhakthi.

(The author (V Balasubrmanian), is an admirer of Namasankirtanam for over three decades. He hails from Vilangudi village near Kumbakonam. His Mail ID: visbala@gmail.com)