Bhagavata discourse started at the Peruvanam temple at least seventy years ago when it was held at the main Mandapam in front of Irattayappan’s Sreekovil. Brahmasri Vazhakunnam Vasudevan Namboothiri, who is considered a pioneer of Bhagavatha discourse, had held a 41 day Bhagavata Satram at the temple. That was followed by Saptaham in subsequent years by the leading lights of those days like Brahmasri Thottam Vasudevan Namboothiri and Brahmasri Anjam Madhavan Namboothiri .The venue was shifted recently to a temporary shelter built next to sanctum sanctorum of Gosala Krishna. Leading discoursers of the time are approached and a time suitable to fit in their busy schedule is fixed in advance.
Puranas were written to convey the basic ideas in Vedas on right living (Dharma) through stories. There are eighteen main Puranas and Srimad Bhagavatham is of foremost importance. This Purana is extraordinary in the extent to which it deciphers the science of devotion (Bhakti).
The word, Saptaham, means seven days. It was first told by Sri Suka Brahmarshi, son of Veda Vyasa, to Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna when the latter was cursed to death by snake bite at the end of seven days. SriSuka narrates Srimad Bhagavatam in those seven days, in reply to questions asked by the king. The story is contained in several other Puranas like Padma Puranam and Vishnu Puranam.
Lord Vishnu is said to have many Avataram (incarnations) where ten are the most important. Among them that of Krishna is by far the greatest. Bhagavatam narrates the ten Avataram and a few others as well and dwells on the birth and life of Krishna in detail. In that context The Purana describes the original creation and of the first human race and period. The leading events during the seven days’ discourse are the following:
The discourse starts on the day prior to Day 1 with a reception to the discourser (Acarya Varanam) and narration of benefits of listening to Bhagavatam (Mahalmyam)
|Day 1||The Incarnation of Vishnu as Varaha (Varaha Avataram)Important Offerings: Rice pudding out of jaggery (Sarkara Payasam) and rice cake(Ottayappam) and archana with Tulasi flowers (Tulasi Katir)|
|Day 2||The Incarnation as Kapila (Kapila Avataram), Daksha Yagam and Dhruva CharitamImportant Offerings: Extra sweet rice pudding out of jaggery (Katum Madhura Payasam)and archana with hibiscus flowers (Thecchi )|
|Day 3||The Incarnation as Narasimham (Narasimha Avataram )Important Offerings: Water sweetened with jaggery (Panakam) and cooked green gramand archana with hibiscus flowers|
|Day 4||Gajendra Moksham – archana with lotus flowers is important.The incarnation as Krishna (Krishna Avataram).Important Offerings: Milk, butter and sugar|
|Day 5||The Killing of Pootana (Pootana Moksham),Subduing of the snake, Kaliya (Kaliya Mardanam)Lifting of the mountain, Govardhana (Govardhana Uddharanam)Marriage with Rukmini (Rukmini Swayamvaram)which is celebrated by taking aprocession out .It is auspicious to offer garlands of flowers and heaped measures of rice, paddy, jaggery, etc. (Nirapara) and take part in the wedding procession for marital bliss|
|Day 6||The story of Kucela (Kucela Vruttam)Important Offering: bag of beaten rice (Aval Kizhi)|
|Day 7||Conclusion and ceremonial bath (Avabhrutha Snanam)Important Offering for general prosperity: Milk and honey|