A New Cycle: Paryaya 2018
Udupi: Ebullience, unanimity and a strong sense of devoutness marked the biennial Paryaya festival where thousands of people flocked to witness the ascendancy of Sri Vidyadheesha Tirtha Swamiji of the Sri Palimaru Mutt for the second time on Paryaya or Sarvajna Peetha at the Sri Krishna Mutt on January 18.
This festival marks the ceremonial transfer of charge of Sri Krishna Mutt from one seer to another belonging to one of the Astha Mathas (eight mutts). Dvaita philosopher Madhwacharya introduced the Saligrama Shila idol of Lord Krishna about 800 years ago. He was instrumental in forming the Astha Mathas with eight young pontiffs to perform Krishna puja for two months each, rotating the responsibility among themselves. In 1522 A.D, Sri Vadiraja Swamiji of Sri Sode Mutt altered the ritual and declared that the ritual be conducted every two years, thereby introducing the biennial Paryaya system in its current form.
Outgoing pontiff Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Mutt completed his record fifth Paryaya successfully and became the only member of the Astha Mathas to ascend the Paryaya Peetha five times since the introduction of the biennial Paryaya system in 1522 A.D.
Following the custom, the ascending pontiff Sri Vidyadheesha Tirtha Swamiji took a dip in a holy pond named Danda Thirta, near Kapu, before joining the procession. The place is considered sacrosanct in light of the fact that Sri Madhvacharya studied here during his childhood, and it is believed that his teacher made canals with his ritual stick to irrigate the gardens. The pond therefore came to be known as Danda Thirta.
The main highlight of the festival, the grand procession began at 3:30 a.m. from Jodukatte with the ascending pontiff and other pontiffs proceeding on individual palanquins, followed by different kinds of tableaux and decorated parade floats. Troupes of singers singing bhajans and priests chanting hymns from the Vedas invoked a spirit of devotion through several streets encompassing the Court Road, Diana Circle, and Tenkapete. The parade concluded at Car Street.
The hulivesha artists displaying their moves at the grand parade. || Photograph Courtesy: Shivangi Narain
The incoming seer then entered the Krishna Mutt with the outgoing seer, where the reins of the Krishna Mutt were formally handed over in the ‘Paryaya Peetharohana’ or handing over ceremony, held at Sarvajna peetha. At this ceremony, articles like the Akshaya Patra and the keys of the sanctum sanctorum were given to the new seer.
A public ceremony was then held at the Rajangana, within the premises of Krishna Mutt, where the outgoing seer bid farewell and the new Paryaya pontiff announced his plans and projects for the following years.
The festival culminated peacefully under tight security arrangements made by the district police
Edited by Sruti Srinivasan
Featured Image Courtesy: Shivangi Narain