The Elegancy of Kaishika Dwadashi Sangeetharchana Enthralls MTS Devotees


By Chittoor Ramachandran

PEARLAND: Among the periodic rituals Sri Meenakshi Temple conducts on special auspicious days, the annual Kaishika Dwadashi Sangeetharchana particularly fascinates many devotees. Many Hindu families look forward to attend this unique event due to the cultural and religious significance of this day to visit the temple. Kaisika Dwadasi is observed on the Shukla Paksha Dwadasi (or the 12th day) during the waxing phase of the moon as per traditional Hindu calendar (usually falls in November).  This year it was on Saturday, November 26.

The magnificent main temple provided the perfect spiritual ambience for conducting of this event. Formal worship of Sriman Narayana (Sri Venkateswara) and the rendition of devotional songs by the musicians simultaneously took place during the event.  It is believed that attending a session of Nama Sankeerthanam rekindles bhakthi in the devotees simultaneously offering pleasant feeling.


The basis of the format of Kaishika Dwadashi celebration reemphasized the message given in a highly revered story on Nambaduvan in Kaishika Puranam. This Puranam reiterates that the world exists on promises and their fulfillment.  The story of Nambaduvan describes the greatest virtues of those devoted and committed to the service to the Lord. The ardent devotees of Sriman Narayana will never err or sin in life.   There cannot be a better example than that of the legendary Nambaduvan.

Nambaduvan was an ardent devotee of Lord Mahavishnu who hails from an oppressed class happens to meet a Brahma-rakshas (demon). The demon was actually a Brahmin who was by curse turned to a demon. The demon threatens to kill Nambaduvan. However, Nambaduvan convinces the demon that since he is on his way to offer prayers to the Lord, he will definitely become his prey after his return from the worship place.  The devotee offers prayers by singing a keerthanam in Kaishika Raga and returns back to offer his body to be devoured as food to the demon. Seeing the truthfulness of the devotee, the demon leaves him and gets back to his original form getting out of the curse. The truthful Nambaduvan attains salvation.  Kaishika Dwadashi is observed as a mark of respect to the keertanam rendered by the devotee in Kaishika Raga. This legend is mentioned in Varaha puranam.

While the priest Sri Sridharan Raghavan led the ritualistic part of the event, the music rendition was performed by dozens of Houston’s Carnatic musicians. The meticulous planning of the program was done by Vidushi Rajarajeswari Bhat. Several leading musicians also joined the group rendition. Particularly remarkable was to see young children participating in the rendition.  Musicians of all levels of training customarily meet and sing on Kaishika Dwadashi day in praise of the Lord, especially the Raga Kaishika in praise of Sri Venkateswara.

The musicians selected a variety of devotional compositions in a variety of ragas. The event lasted for more than two hours including the aradhana in between the songs. The opening song in Mohanam (swagatham Krishna) spread a pleasant atmosphere which lasted throughout the event. It was followed by a Tyagaraja composition in raga Saraswathi (Anuragamule ).  Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar’s composition in Mangala kaishiki (Bhargavi) that followed was elegant and melodious.   This was followed by Annamacharya krithi (Nigama nigama) in Hindolam.  Tyagaraja’s majestic pancharatna krithi (Sachinchine) were sung superbly well and drew much attention.  Several krithis that followed (Hamsanandi, Kurinji etc) were well delivered to make the event very special.  

During the concluding rituals, the reverberating Veda manthras elicited an extraordinarily blissful experience in all the devotees assembled. The team of scholarly priests and the talented musicians deserve great appreciation for making this event very enjoyable.