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Ranganayaki, is the presiding Goddess of Ranganatha Swamy temple at Srirangam. Affectionately called ThAyAr ("Holy Mother" in Tamil), she is the consort of Lord Ranganatha, the male deity of Srirangam. She is regarded as the manifestation of Lakshmi. She is also called Ranga NAchiAr.
Ranganayaki is held in high reverence by the people of Srirangam and by Vaishnavites. Acharyas that sang the grace of Ranganatha venerate her. She is the feminine aspect of the universe and certain Vaishnavite traditions regard her co-equal to Ranganatha himself; she is both the means and the end of worship to them. Other traditions of Vaishnavism hold her only as the means--the end is Narayana alone. Despite these philosophical differences, all Vaishanvites revere her as ThAyAr.
As with Hindu tradition, the shrine has both a Moolavar and a Uthsavar (presiding deity). Unlike other temples, the Uthsavar of ThAyAr never leaves her sannathi. It is a temple custom that the goddess of the temple takes her place beside the god of the temple during processions. In Srirangam, however, ThAyAr never leaves her shrine. All others, including Ranganatha himself, come to see her.
Once a year, in the month of Panguni Uthiram, the day in the Tamil month of Panguni when the star Uthiram is in ascension, Dhivyadhampathigal, the divine couple (Lord Azhagiya ManavAlan and ThAyAr), come together for a day. (This day is not fixed, but falls sometime in the Western months of March or April.) This Darshan is called "SErthi SEvai." In Tamil, SErthi is alongside/together and SEvai is Darshan.
Unlike many temples, Srirangam does not have a Thirukkalyana uthsavam, The Marriage Festival, between Namperumal and ThAyAr. They are regarded as Divtadhampathigal (divine couple), existing beyond mortal confines or limitations.
There are many Shlokas composed about the goddess Mahalakshmi but the "Sri Gunaratna Kosam," a Sanskrit Shloka composed by Parasara Bhattar, is exclusive to Sri Ranganayaki. However the traditional Lakshmi Astothram is recited in the temple during rituals. Apart from this, Sree Sthuthi composed by Vedanta Desika and Kanaka dhara Sthothram given by Adi Shankaracharya are chanted by devotees of the temple.
All Acharyas of Hindu tradition, irrespective of their philosophical positions, have visited and continue to visit the Srirangam to pay their homage to Ranganatha and ThAyAr.
- "I need to know the significance of Pankuni uttiram and Kalyana utsavam". Sri Vaishnava Home Page. 28 March 2002. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
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