After Bibinachchiyar disappeared from this planet, Ramanujacharya appointed some very advanced devotees to serve Lord Sampath Kumara as the deity was very dear to him and was among one of the most important self manifested deities. Ramanujacharya also started performing Brahmotsava for Lord Thirunarayana temple every year as Sri Narada Pancharatra Agama makes it mandatory for every Vaishnava Temple. According to the Sthala Purana, Lord Brahma was worshipping Lord Thirunaryana’s deity and handed it over to his son Sanaka, who installed it in Melkote being captivated by the natural beauty of the region.
Lord Brahma was captivated by the reclining posture of the Supreme Lord and he wanted to see that form repeatedly. He ignored the work of creation that was entrusted to him by the Supreme Lord and started to perform austerities to propitiate the Lord. After thousands of years, the Lord revealed Himself to Brahma and asked him the reason for performing the austerities. Lord Brahma said that he was captivated by the Lord’s reclining form and felt like seeing it again and again. The Supreme Lord manifested Himself as a deity in the reclining posture and handed it over to Lord Brahma. The Supreme Lord asked Lord Brahma to worship Him in that deity form and perform his duty of creating this material world. Lord Brahma took the deity and started worshipping it along with another self manifested deity form of the Supreme Lord as its utsava deity.
King Ikshvaku of the solar dynasty once went to Satya Loka, the abode of Lord Brahma and was attracted to the beautiful deity forms of the Supreme Lord. He resolved to bring the deities to this planet for the benefit of future generations as normal human beings are not blessed with the ability to go to Satya Loka. He undertook a penance to propitiate Lord Brahma. After many years, Lord Brahma, being gratified by Ikshvaku’s penance, appeared before him and asked Ikshvaku to seek boons. Ikshvaku requested Lord Brahma to give him the deities of the Supreme Lord that were being worshipped by him in the Satya Loka. As the deities were very dear to Lord Brahma he agreed to give them to Ikshvaku on the condition that Ikshvaku allocates some time for him to worship the deities. Ikshvaku agreed to comply with the condition and brought the deities to Ayodhya and started worshipping them in his palace. The deities were passed on from one generation to another in the solar dynasty. Lord Rama worshipped the deities and was very fond of Lord Sampath Kumara. Therefore, the deity was called Ramapriya before the deity became popular as “Sampath Kumara” or “Cheluvapillai” after it came and sat on Ramanujacharya’s lap. The main deity that was in the reclining posture came to be called Lord Ranganatha.
After vanquishing the demon king Ravana and getting anointed as the King of Ayodhya, Lord Rama started giving parting gifts to Sugriva, Angada and others who had helped Him in the battle as they were returning to their kingdoms. Lord Rama asked Vibheeshana to seek whatever he wanted from Him. Vibheeshana requested Lord Rama to give him the deity of Lord Ranganatha. As Lord Rama was bound by His unconditional promise to gratify Vibheeshana He gave the deity to Vibheeshana though He was very attached to the deity. Vibheeshana placed the deity on an island in south India on his way to Sri-Lanka and the deity did not move from there. A big temple is constructed for the deity and that place became popular as Sri-Rangam in due course of time. However, Lord Rama continued to worship Lord Sampath Kumara and handed it over to His sons Lava and Kusha. Kusha gave the deity to one of the Yadava Kings when his daughter married the Yadava king. Thus, the Yadu dynasty got the deity and started worshipping it. The deity was handed over to Lord Krishna by His father Vasudeva and Lord Krishna started worshipping the deity. Lord Krishna was very fond of the deity and He presented a beautiful crown, which was given to Him by Garuda, to the deity.
We will reveal how Lord Krishna got the crown that He presented to the deity in the next post.