Sastha Thirukalyana Manjari

published on May 27, 2013

Bhajanai or  Hindu  community prayer  was  brought to  South India  by  great teachers like Bodhendraal, Sridhara Yaaval and Gopala Krishna Bhagawathar. The Bhajan sampradaya which was enunciated by these great Gurus were adopted to sing Bhajans of Lord Sastha or ayyapa both in case of  Ayyappan Vilakku and Sastha Preethi  by  many people. Side by side with the development of the Bhajan Sampradaya , The kalyana uthsavam(Celebration of marriage)  of the Goddesses like Radha, Sita and Rukmani were being celebrated by the devotees. Apart from the normal procedure of Bhajans, these also included enacting of the marriage of the Goddesses , along with  an adaptation of the ceremony, with  music as well as dance. Among these the most popular appears to be Radha Kalyanam. Possibly based on these,   the devotees of Villivakkam of Madras  who were worshipping the  Kalyana Varada Sastha  along with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala, under the leadership of  Sri R.Viswanatha Sarma  , systematized   the procedure for celebrating Sastha  Kalyanam  or the marriage of Sastha with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala.

          Lord Sastha the son of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Mohini  and Lord Shiva and   has been worshipped  all over Tamil Nadu in the form of Sastha and Ayyanar.  In both these cases, Lord Sastha  was considered to be married to Poorna and Pushkala.  Ayyappa or Mani Kanda  , who was an Avathar of Lord Sastha and who lived as   the adopted son of  the pandya king of Pandalam  was  a Nithya Brahmachari though  in Arayankav temple of Kerala , it is believed that he married Pushkala devi (Some say Prabhavathi ) of the Saurashtrian community and he is consecrated with his wives Poorna and Pushkala in  Achal Kovil temple of  Kerala.

 Legend says that  the temples of AchanKOvil and Aryankav were consecrated by Lord Parasurama himself much before the incarnation of Lord Sastha as Ayyappa. Lord Sastha also is supposed to have a son called Sathyaka , reforred to as Chella Pillai(Darling son) . Pushkala is  supposed to be  the daughter of Palinja varman, who ruled over Nepal. Poorna is supposed to be the daughter of a king called  Pinchaka varman who was supposed to have ruled over the Cochin kingdom of Kerala    It Seems Palinja varman of Nepal   wanted to sacrifice  his daughter Pushkala in search of immortality for himself . When Pushkala prayed to Lord Shiva to protect her, it is believed that he sent Lord Sastha for protecting her. Lord Sastha saved her and also made  king Palinja Varman leave out his ideas of getting immortality. .  The king requested Sastha to marry  his daughter Pushkala and he accepted that and  he married her. Afterwards the king Pinchaka Varman of Cochin  who went for hunting in the forest was attacked by devils and ghosts. It seems he prayed  to Lord Sastha. Lord Sastha came and drove away the ghosts and devils.  The king Pinchaka Varman it seems offered his daughter Poorna to lord Sastha, who married her also.  When king Palinja varman knew about another marriage of Sastha , it is  believed that he cursed Lord Sastha, that he would be born as a human being and would live as a Brahmachari.

      . But there are  differing opinions on this story. According to Brahmanda Purana  , Poorna was    the  sister of Upendra and got married to Lord Sastha on Chithra Pournami day. There is also a story that Poorna was the daughter of a king of Kanchipuram called Shivapala and it is believed that  Lord Sastha got married to her in Kanchipuram temple. There is a temple for Lord Sastha along with Poorna and Pushkala in Kanchipuram In Aryankav it is believed that  a group of Saurashtra weavers  settled in Madurai were passing through the temple and at the time  a girl with them called Pushkala (some say Prabhavathi)  attained maturity.They entrusted the girl to the priest of Aryankav  and went to do their trade. By the time they came back, it seems that girl got married to Sastha in that place. In memory of this  even today  the people of Saurashtra community   visit  the Aryankav temple  and celebrate the marriage of their girl to Lord Sastha, following   Saurasthra customs.

    In Sankara Samhitha  it has been told that Poorna and Pushkala were  born
from two eyes of a great sage called  Sathyapoorna and they both did penance and
got  married to Lord Sastha.

       In the  Sastha  kalyanam , it is   assumed that Poorna and Pushkala were the consorts of  Sastha and were the daughters of Palinja varman of Nepal and Pinjaka Varman of cochin.The kalyanam is  performed  imitating the rituals  of a Tamil Brahmin wedding.  The Sastha Kalyanam by the Villivakkam group of devotees is being performed for the past many years. In 1975 , they brought out a compilation of  the procedure  used to perform this Kalyanam along with songs , stotras as well as Marriage Manthras. A new edition of the book was brought out by  them in 2006.  I was given a copy of this  book by my friend, Sri P.V.Ananta Narayanan. The book can be purchased from  Sri Ayyappa Bhajana Sangham, 29, Vadakku Masi Veethi  , Villivakkam, Madras -49..More particulars of the Villivakkam temple and its activities can be seen in http://ashtasastha.org/

     I  was drenched in devotion when I was translating this great work. My Ananthakoti Namaskarams to  Guruswami Brahmasri  Viswanatha Sarma who is the soul and spirit behind the Villivakkam group of devotees. My heartfelt thanks to Sri  P.V.Anantha Narayanan , who sent me this book.

You can read the transliteration and translation of this book  in
http://stotrarathna.blogspot.in/2013/05/sri-sastha-kalyana-manjari-by-villi.html
Please visit the site and send your comments .May Lord Sastha  bless you all.

Ramachander

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