Lord Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya after war, and got coronated as King. But He was gripped by Bramhahatthi Dosha, since Ravana was a Brahmin and was killed by Sri Rama. To eliminate it He traveled to many Divyadesams. While in South, He once reached the Palasa tree here. Sage Dhrudanethrar was meditating. That time the Lord here was known as Sri Dhamodhara. The temple pond is Nithya Pushkarini. Vimanam is Kanaka vimanam. Sri Rama paid respects to the sage and served him. When Sri Rama mentioned about the Dhosha, the sage advised Him to perform Aswamedha Yaga here. He also specified an important ritual to be followed -Jetrasadham. After the yaga was over, Sri Rama performed that ritual also, where a huge cow idol made of gold was to be made and Sri Rama should remain inside the golden cow for Four days and after coming out of it on the Fifth day, to donate the golden cow. Using that gold the temple was covered by gold and so it got the name sem pon sei koil. Since Sri Rama worshiped the Lord here, He is called Sri Ranganatha [in Tamil அரங்கர் ] and so He is known as Sri Sempon Arangar. Thirumangai Alwar in his pasuram calls the Lord as Sri Perarulalan [ஸ்ரீ பேரருளாளன் ] and so that name also is used here. The Lord of Oraiyur [உறையூர் ], Sri Azhagiya Manavalan [ஸ்ரீ அழகிய மணவாளன் ] arrived here along with Sri Kamalavalli Nachiyar [ஸ்ரீ கமலவல்லி நாச்சியார் ]. The Lord graces along with Sri Allimamalaral [ஸ்ரீ அல்லி மா மலராள் ]. Moolavar is in standing pose. Right arm is in abhaya mudra and left arm is on the left lap. We can see the Utsavar.
VIEW OF TEMPLE
UTSAVAR WITH UBHAYA NACHIYAR
Truly, He is golden. With enchanting eyes and smile and with right arm in abhaya, which blessed Sri Rama also, the Lord is standing. Left arm is holding the mace. We worship Sri Allimamalaral Nachiyar.
SRI ALLIMAMALARAL THAYAR
Thus the Lord graces with Sri Sridevi, Sri Bhudevi and Sri Allimamalaral Nachiyar. We will now proceed to sloka 17. Arjuna praised the Lord in slokas 12, 13, 14 and 15. In slokas 16. 17 and 18, Arjuna requests the Lord to tell him more about the Lord's auspicious qualities and His Aiswaryam [Wealth]. Sloka 17:
katham vidyam aham yogims
tvam sada paricintayan
kesu kesu ca bhavesu
cintyo ’si bhagavan maya
"O Krishna, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?"
He asks what all he should know more about the Lord? In what way he should understand Him? What are the various auspicious qualities [கல்யாண குணங்கள் ] He possesses? What are His commanding Powers? Aham = I [Arjuna, the ignorant and about to start Bhakti yoga], katham vidhyam = how am to know [about the Lord]? Now Arjuna introduces himself. Yogim = person about to start Bhakti yoga. We can not take the word to mean Bhakti yogi, as that person would already know the Lord and he does not need any clarification. So Arjuna wants to know what all a person, who is going to start Bhakti yoga, should know about the Lord. Tvam = You [Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord, meditated by yogis], sada = always, paricintayan = remembering. Arjuna wants to know how he can always remember the Lord to start the Bhakti yoga. Always remembering is a stage which the matured Bhakti Yogi would attain and it is just like sakshatkaram, when he would see the Lord whether he closed or opened his eyes. But Arjuna is not in that stage and so this meaning can not apply here. Arjuna is in the initial stage of Bhakti yoga and so he is asking the Lord how to constantly remember Him. This is the first part of the sloka. Arjuna wants to know by which auspiciuos attributes he should start Bhakti yoga. The Lord has many, many auspicious qualities, which are all opposed to blemishes. Arjuna wants to know by which qualities he should meditate. Kesu kesu = by which and which, bhavesu = matter, bhagavan asi = Lord [ Sri Krishna] is, cintya = object of thought or mind, maya = by me [Arjuna]? Arjuna wants to know in which matter the Lord dwells. What way we should meditate on the Lord as the dweller in and commander of objects? Arjuna, in brief, asks what are the Aiswarya of the Lord, over which He has absolute command. We are to know these two things - His auspicious attributes and His Aiswarya on which He has command. In the Vaidhika sampradhayam, knowing the auspicious qualities is very important. The Lord has endless auspicious qualities. If the Lord were without qualities, we would find it impossible to be in devotion or Bhakti. We go to a temple and pray. We regard Him as our parents to show mercy; or, we seek His pardon; we seek His affection, etc. If these qualities were not in Him, we would be scared to approach Him. He has shown different qualities to various devotees like Vidhura, Gopikas, Sanjaya, Hanuman, Sugreeva, Vibheeshana, etc. Arjuna wants ro know what are qualities should be attributed to the Lord to worship Him. Similarly, He wants to know His Empire in which He dwells and commands. Swami Vedantha Desika in his Tatparya Chandrika says that in the earlier Two slokas the Lord had listed some Twenty items as under His control - like buddhi, gyana, asammoham, kshama, sathyam, dhama, and many materilas. Now if Arjuna asks in which He dwells and controls, apart from what all He listed earlier, what other matter are there at His command. Arjuna is going to further explain his request in the next sloka.