Paryaya - A Religious Ritual of Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi
Posted: Thursday, September 25th, 2008 | Posted by: Compiled from various sources | Views: 26392
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Paryaya, a popular festival in south Karnataka and Udupi in particular, has a history dating back to the 13th Century. The word "Paryaya" in Sanskrit means change or transition. In this context, it means a biennial festival held to celebrate the transfer of authority of the exclusive rights of worship and management of the famous Sri Krishna Temple from one seer of the Ashta Maths to another.
The right to occupy the "Paryaya Peetha" (also called the "Sarvajnya Peetha") of the Tulava Madhwas, which is situated in the "Simhasana Shala" in the Sri Krishna Temple, consecrated by Sri Madhwacharya, the exponent of Dwaita philosophy, 700 hundred years ago, also gets transferred on the occasion.
The seer, who gets this exclusive right of worship is known as the "Paryaya Swamiji" and his math is referred to as the "Paryaya Math". The swamiji-in-office enjoys a tenure of two years. Thus, "Paryaya" means change of administration once in two years at the Sri Krishna Temple, which is systematically managed by the eight seers in turns of two years each. The eight maths are Sri Palimar Math, Sri Admar Math, Sri Krishnapur Math, Sri Puttige Math, Sri Shiroor Math, Sri Sode Math, Sri Kaniyur Math and Sri Pejawar Math.
Tradition has it that Sri Madhwacharya appointed eight seers in 1298 to propagate the Dwaita philosophy and the ``Paryayas'' then lasted only for two months. This system changed in 1532, when the great reformist seer, Sri Vadiraja Theertha Swamiji of Sri Sode Math, started the biennial system. The biennial "Paryaya" festival in Udupi falls on the fourth day after "Makara Sankranti" in the even years of the Christian Era.
Many rituals precede the "Paryaya" festival and the preparations begin a year before the actual event. These rituals are the "Bale Muhurta", "Akki Muhurta", "Kattige Muhurta" and "Bhata Muhurta". About three or four months before ascending the "Paryaya Peetha", the swamiji undertakes a pilgrimage and pays goodwill visits to several shrines and cities all over the country. The swamiji undertakes this tour to propagate the Dwaita philosophy and to meet his disciples. On his pilgrimage tour, he takes the "Samsthana deities" of his Math with him and is accompanied by an entourage.
Tradition requires him to take a pilgrimage to Dwarka, Mathura, Hrishikesh, Haridwar, Prayag, Gaya, Kashi, Puri and Tirumala. He is required to bathe in the sacred rivers such as Narmada, Yamuna, Ganga, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and Tungabhadra, besides, Netravati and Kumardhara in Tulunadu.
It is customary for the swamiji to visit holy places in Tulunadu such as Pajakakshetra, Dandathirtha, Kukke-Subrahmanya and others. The nationwide tour of the swamiji is always conducted in a clockwise direction. The swamiji cannot move out of the Car Street in Udupi during his "Paryaya" tenure.
About 10 or 15 days before the "Paryaya" festival, the swamiji concludes his tour and comes to Udupi, where he is given a warm welcome. This is called the "Pura Pravesha". The swamiji enters in a large procession, which culminates at Car Street. He then visits the Sri Chandreshwara, Sri Ananteshwara temples and reaches the Sri Krishna Temple, where he offers prayers. He then enters his math. A civic reception is given to the swamiji at the Car Street.
A couple of days before the "Paryaya" festival, the "Hore Kanike" procession is held. The swamiji goes to Dandathirtha, about 10 km from Udupi, the night before the "Paryaya" festival. On the "Paryaya" day, he bathes in the holy pond there and comes to Udupi where he is welcomed by the swamijis of the other maths and devotees at "Joddu Katte". A grand procession is taken out.
The main deity of the "Paryaya Math" is taken in the procession in a decorated golden palanquin. The incoming "Paryaya" swamiji and other swamijis participate in it. He is then received by the outgoing "Paryaya" swamiji at the entrance of the Sri Krishna Temple.
Both the swamijis go to the "Madhwa Sarovar" to wash their feet and enter the sanctum sanctorum and offer prayers. They proceed to the "Simhasana Shala", where the outgoing swamiji hands over the "Akshaya Patra" (a vessel dating back to the times of Sri Madhwacharya) and the keys of the temple to the new "Paryaya" swamiji, marking the formal transfer of power.
Both the swamijis then go to "Badagu Mallige", where a reception is held for the swamijis who then arrive in a procession at Rajangana, where a "darbar" is held.
The outgoing swamiji bids farewell, while the new "Paryaya" swamiji announces his plans for the next two years. The first "Brahmarathotsava" of the new "Parayaya" swamiji is held that night, marking the culmination of the "Paryaya" festival.
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