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Yatoktakari Perumal in Orirukkai construction site

Jan 17 2006

One of the many stories Kanchi Mahaswami recounted in his inimitable style was the legend of how the Lord moved by the devotion of Thirumazhisai Alwar and his Bhakta,Kanikannan,obediently accompanied them in exile from Kancheepuram and stayed the night at this spot where the SatabdhiManiMantapam for that Sage of Kanchi is now coming up fast.

The legend is a moving one.Thirumazhisai Alwar who worshipped the Lord of Thiruvekka majestically reclining on his serpentine bed,was cared for by a couple.When the son Kanikannan was born to them,he became the Alwar's steadfast devotee.One day when Kanikannan saw a woman frail and bent with age,sweeping the temple premises offering worship to the Lord,he was moved.He stroked her hunched back in appreciation.The power of his guru surged into him and the woman regained her youth and was able to continue offering worship to the Lord with fresh vigour.The king of the period who greedily desired his youth restored to him requested Kanikannan to do so.But the youngman refused outright which enraged the king and he banished Kanikannan from his kingdom.The Alwar prepared to go with him and asked Lord Thiruvekka also to come too,as hecould not live without Him. The Lord rolled uphis serpentine bed and obediently followed the Alwar and Kanikannan. The three travelled some distance way from Kancheepuram on the northern bank of the Paalaar river and stayed the night there.But,with the Lord's departure,the town was plunged in darkness and disorder.The ruler realized his mistake and rushed to the trio,seeking their forgiveness.The Lord returned to Kanchi with his devotees.

The place where he stayed overnight came to be known as Oriravu irukkai,which later got shortened to Orirukkai. This village deity is appropriately called 'Yatoktakari'/ 'Sonnavannam cheitha'Perumal. The Utsavar comes out once in a year to the street in this village where a Vinayaka temple exists - now at the entrance to the site of the Satabdhi ManiMantapam from the Northern side.A srivaishnavite who has been rendering Tiruppavai in the Sannadhi of MahaPeriyava where Chaturveda Parayanam is going on from the Aradana day of MahaPeriyava this year(Dec28) desired the Utsava Perumal to grace the site of the Satabdhi ManiMantapam on the morning of Wednesday the 17th of Ja2006 - the SriVaishnavites immediately obliged-the Member of the SSS MM Trust on the spot, along with the Pandits who were staying there for the Parayanam, joined to extend a worshipful welcome to the visiting Deity of Yatoktakari Perumal who was seated in front of the MahaPeriyava Sannadhi, pujas were performed to the Lord, Prasadams were distributed to the accompaniment of the 'gosham' of both the Dravida Vedams and the original ones-it was a day to remember in the history of this village which is one of the 108 DivyaDesams of SriVaishnavites.It may be recalled that distinguished savants like Agnihotram RamanujaThathachariar, late PrativadiBhayankaramAnnagarachariar and lateAnnaduraiIyengar (of the VedaRakshanaNidhiTrust) worshipped our KanchiMahaSwami as God in human form.