“Tiruchana” means Divine Lady. She is none other than the goddess Padmavathi Ammavru born and beautifully seated on the golden 1000 petalled Lotus. When the goddess emerged in this blessed village and is popularly known as Tiruchanoor.
The Agamas in general are revered along with the Vedas as primary Hindu scriptures. All of the Agamas elucidate the science of ritual. Agamas, in truth, are countless. But, generally, eleven branches of the Agamas are mentioned; each branch having several texts associated with it.
- Svyambhuva (Brahma)
Among these branches, the most important are Vaikhanasa, Saiva and Shakta Agamas. Sri Vaikhanasa Agama and Sri Pancharatra Agama are the two most revered and practiced Agamas in most Sri Vaishnayante temples in India.
Sri Pancharatra Agama:
The Pancharatra Agama is one of the most important texts of Ramanuja’s Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya. Composed of more than 200 texts; they are believed to have been compiled around the 3rd century BC. Since ancient times, the worship of Sri Vishnu has been strictly governed by the principles and practices laid down in the Pancharathra.
The Pancharatra Agama is believed to have been taught by the Lord Himself to five divine personalities in five nights. In Sanskrit, “Pancha” means five and “Ratra” means to preach wisdom. The Lord taught the principles of Pancharatram to Serpent King Ananta, Bird King Garuda, Commander in Chief of Lord Viswaksena, Chaturmukha Brahma and Parameswara.
Importance of Pancharatra in Tiruchanur:
While Vaikhanasa Agama has been practiced for centuries at the hilltop shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala, the puja vidhi and rituals at the temple of Goddess Padmavathi Devi in Tiruchanoor follow the principles of Sri Pancharatra Agama Shastra Vidhi.
Astottarasata Puja Vidhi:
Though the traditional list enumerates 108 Pancharatra Samhitas, there are actually more than 215. Among these, the Tiruchanoor temple rituals are based on two important Samhitas of Pancharatra i.e. Sri Padma Samhita and Sri Prasna Samhita.
6 Aspects of Surrender in Pancharatra:
- Surrender to God is one of the central teachings of Pancharathra.
- Atma-Nikshepa or Nyaasa – placing oneself completely and directly under God’s care.
- Kaarpannya – absolute humility and honest awareness of one’s own natural ignorance, impurity etc.
- Mahaa-Visvaasa – irrepressible and great faith in God.
- Goptrr – recognition of Lord as the sole Protector.
Praatikulya-Vivarjana – giving up whatever is antagonistic to any of His creations or to Him.
- Anukulya-Nischaya – The resolve to do well to all beings.
Rituals at the famous shrine of Goddess Padmavathi Devi in Tiruchanoor are observed according to the principles of Pancharatra Agama Vidhi. Temple festivals are generally categorized into three Viz. Nityotsavams, Naimitthikotsavams and Sankalpotsavams, all of which are performed according to Pancharatra. The annual Karthika Brahmotsavams of Goddess Sri Padmavathi Devi fall under the category of Nityotsavams.
The puja vidhi during Brahmotsavam is in the form of Chatusthanarchana. Every day during the annual festival, the Chatusthanarchana will be performed twice, in the morning and in the evening.
In the morning, this ceremony is observed at yagashala between 5:00 AM and 5:00 PM and 6:00 AM and 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM. The Archakas invoke Sri Paravasudeva in holy water, Sri Mahalakshmi in Sacred Kumbham (kalasam), Agni in Homam, the sacred rice (Akshata) in Chaktrabja Mandalam and Yaga Bera in the form of Bimbam (deity).