Thursday, June 19, 2008

ThiruKurungkudi Divya Desam


Kaisika Puranam has great relevance in today’s life
Araiyar Sevai-The visual song and dance enactment of Naalayira Divya Prabandham originated here at Thirukurungkudi


Known as the ‘Dakshina Badri’, the Azhagiya Nambi temple at Thirukurungudi is located about 40kms from Tirunelveli (and about 15kms from Nanguneri) off the Nagercoil highway at the foot of the Mahendra hill on the Western Ghat.

The Lord here is seen 5 different Kolams- Ninra Kolam, Iruntha Kolam, Sayana(Sleeping) Kolam, Thirupaarkadal Nambi and Thirumalai Nambi(on top of the Mahendra hill).

While Lord Narayana, at Badri, lectured Ramanuja, at Thirukurungkudi, he took the role of a disciple and obtained Vaishnava Initiation from Ramanuja. Hence the Lord here is called Vaishnava Nambi.

The Lord here has 39 different names including Kurungkudi Nambi, Tirupparkadal Nambi and Malai Mel Nambi. Lord Nambi answered the prayers of a childless couple and was born as Nammazhvaar at Azhvaar Thirunagari.

Hanuman’s Leap to Lanka
Under half a km from the main temple is the Thirupaarkadal Nambi temple and about 8 kms from here on the Western Ghats is the Thirumalai Nambi temple, from where Lord Hanuman is said to have taken the leap to Lanka.

Ramanuja’s early trip back to Thirukurungudi
Ramanuja who stayed at Thirukurungudi made trips to other Divya Desams such as Thiruvattaru, ThiruvanParisaram and also Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, where the Lord asks Garuda to carry him fast that same night back to Thirukurungkudi. And to Ramanuja’s surprise, he was on top of the Thirukurungudi rock at the blink of an eye.

As a result of this event, it is believed that one does not find Garuda in the Ananthapadmanabhaswamy temple.

Araiyar Sevai

The famed Araiyar Sevai originated at Thirukkurungkudi and was first introduced by Nathamuni. Araiyars, the descendents of Nathamuni, have since carried the Araiyar Sevai. Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam is believed to have given the Araiyars the right to perform the unique musical chanting at the temples and presented them with the cone-like red cap, two cymbals and the sacred garland.

Legend has it that Lord Nambi used to listen to Araiyar’s Abhinayam (song and dance enactment of the Paasurams) hiding behind a wall in Bashyam Street (South Mada Street). Hence the Lord here is also referred to as ‘Gaana Priyan’. In recognition of this significant event, one can, to this day, find the name of this street in Tirunelveli’s Gazette.

Thirumangai’s Moksham at Thirukurungudi
Thirumangai Azhvaar who built the huge walls of Srirangam and contributed in no small measure to the temple asked for Moksham from Srirangam Ranganatha, who directed Thirumangai to visit his ‘Southern house’. Thirumangai composed the last of his Paasurams here at this temple and is believed to have attained moksham from here. An idol of Thirumangai Azhvaar, with folded hands, that was created here at Thirukurungkudi was later sent to his birth place(near Thiruvali Thirunagari).

As per the Vaishnavite Sampradayam, Thirukurungudi is said to be the ‘Southern House’ of Lord Vishnu. Hence, it is believed that ‘Vaikuntam’ (the ultimate destination for Vaishnavites) is in ‘calling distance’ from Thirukurungudi.
(Thiru Narayana Puram is said to be the ‘Mela Veedu’, Kanchipuram the ‘Keezha Veedu’ and Srirangam ‘The Veedu’.)

Thirukurungudi and Kaisika Ekadesi
If Srirangam is known for Vaikunta Ekadesi, Thiru Kurungkudi is said to be the home to the Vaishnava tradition of ‘Kaisika Ekadesi’ and Kaisika Natakam (drama)- worship of the Lord through dance, music and drama is a special event at the Thiru Kurungudi Nambi temple on the Kaisika Ekadesi day.

Kaisika Ekadesi is celebrated in the Tamil month of Karthigai and precedes Vaikunta Ekadesi. It is believed that those who undertake fast and sing and/or listen to the Kaisika Puraanam on the Kaisika Ekadesi day will attain Vaikunta Moksham.

Kaisika Puranam, which is a part of Varaaha Puraanam and comprises several hundred songs- all in small stanzas- shows Lord Narayana as the ultimate supreme force and is a case study in this modern money making world of keeping up one’s word at the cost of anything, even life.

Paraasara Bhattar -The one who composed the Kaisika Puraanam

Parasara Bhattar took the story of a complex Kaisika Puraanam (in Sanskrit) and composed it in a simple, easily understandable language. He made it more interesting by analysing the different Avatars of Lord Vishnu and showcasing Varaaha Avatar as the best and the purest, despite the Lord taking the form of a pig (Human beings typically give pigs the poorest treatment). In the Varaaha Avatar, the Lord took the form of a pig and yet saved the world.

Paraasara Bhattar dissected the Kaisika Puraanam and created the vyakyaanam for the entire Kaisika Puraanam, which was hitherto non-existent.

The Story of Kaisika Puraanam
Kaisika Puraanam is the story of Nambaaduvaan, a low caste person and his love for ThiruKurungudi Nambi. Embarrassed to enter the temple during the day as he belonged to a lower caste (similar to TirupaanAzhvaar who felt shy to enter the Srirangam Ranganatha Temple), he would walk several miles in the night to the Thiru Kurungudi Nambi temple and would, for hours together, stand before Lord Nambi with a Veena and sing praise of him. And to ensure that no one took notice of his presence, he would return to his place before dawn.

One night, he was stopped by a Brahmma Raakshasha (a huge demon) who wanted to consume Nambaaduvan for dinner.

Unable to convince him that he would return after visiting Lord Nambi one last time, Namaaduvan relates the essence of Sathya Sankalpam to the Raakshasha: “ The world was created through Sathya Sankalpam- Promises- and continues to exist as a result of the promises. It is because of the Lord’s Sathya Sankalpam that the world is seeing peace today.”

Essence of Kaisika Puranam
Nambaaduvan makes 18 promises that night to the Raakshasha and states that if he fails even in one of those 18 promises, he will be a party to 18 sins. The 18th promise of Nambaaduvan is the essence of the Kaisika Puraanam.


“Swarva Swamiyum MokshaPradhaana Sriman Naarayananaiyum
DevathaiGalaiyum Samamaaga Bhaavikiren Yaavaroruvan
Avanai Poley Nithya Samsaari Yaaven”


Nambaaduvan says “If one ever tries equating Lord Narayana to anyone else in this world, I will be a party to the biggest sin in the world. And I will never get Moksham from this cycle of births”

This promise reinforces the belief that Lord Naarayana is the one and only supreme force in those days and that he is incomparable. This promise convinced the Raakshasha that Nambaaduvan would return and he let him go. Nambaaduvan spent the entire night at the Thirukurungkudi Nambi temple and then made his way back to the Raakshasha as promised.

On his way back , the Lord disguised as an old Brahmin stops Nambaaduvan and asks the reason for him rushing back, much in contrast to his usually slow and thoughtful walk. Nambaaduvan explains his situation to the Brahmin, who condemns him as a fool and offers protection from the Raakshasha. Nambaaduvan rejects this offer stating his promise to return as quickly as possible.

A 1000 years later, what Nambaaduvan said that day is relevant even today, more so especially in this money minded world:

“ I will even give up my life but I will never go back on my word. I gave him a promise and I have to fulfill it. Hence, I will have to go back to the Raakshasha and if he has to take me as his prey, so be it.”

By now, the Raakshasha had changed his mind and no more did he want Nambaaduvan’s body. Instead, he now asked for the fruits of all the praise that Nambaaduvan had secured through his visits to Thirukurungudi Nambi every night.

Nambaaduvan shared with the Raakshasha the ‘Kaisika’ Puranam, the songs which he had sung that very night in front of Lord Nambi of ThiruKurungkudi and thus helped secure Vaikunta Moksham for the Raakshasha. It is believed that any one who recites/reads or listens to the Kaisika Puraanam will attain Moksham in this birth.

Kaisika Puraanam recital and Araiyar Sevai clearly showed that, in centuries gone by, music and dance had a special place in religious worship in Divya Desams.


PeriAzhvaar refers to Thirukurungkudi, Thiruvellarai and Thiru Kannapuram in his paasuram

உன்னையும் ஒக்களையிர் கொண்டு
தம் இல் மருவி உன்னோடு தங்கள் கருத்து
ஆயின செய்து வரும்

கன்னியரும் மகிழ, கண்டவர் கண்குளிரக்
கற்றவர் தேற்றிவர, பெற்ற எனக்கு அருளி

மண்ணு குறுங்குடியாய் வெள்ளறையாய்
மதில் சூழ் சோலைமலைக்கரசே 
கன்னபுரதமுதே

என் அவலம் களைவாய் ஆடுக செங்கீரை
ஏழுலகும் உடையாய் ஆடுக ஆடுகவே

Quick Facts
Moolavar :Ninra Nambi, Kurungudi Nambi, Vaishnava Nambi East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar  : Kurungkudi Valli
Azhvaar : Periyazhvaar (1), Thirumazhisai Azhvaar(1), Thirumangai Azhvaar (25) and NamAzhvaar(13)

Temple Timing : 8am-12noon and 5pm-9pm
Priest Contact : Raju Bhattar@ 94863 21552

Festivals
Onam is celebrated in this Divya Desam
Garuda Sevai on the 5th day of Panguni is a special occasion
Kaisika Ekadesi is one of the big highlights at this temple

How to reach Thiru Kurungkudi
It is best to take a train and get down at Valliyoor- about 40 kms from Tirunelveli – Kanniyakumari Express and Ananthapuri Express stop at Valliyoor. From here, one can reach Thirukurungkudi in 20 minutes by taking the Papanasam bound bus. One can also take a bus(infrequent service) from Nanguneri, but this is not recommended.

By car, one can reach Thirukurungudi in 45 minutes from Tirunelveli.

19 comments:

Srinivas said...

It was a treat to read this.
Acharya

S said...

Dear Mr. Acharya,

Thanks much for reading
and for the comments.

Prabhu

Anonymous said...

I have a request.....

Please remove the Malai Nambi Moolavar Photograph

Prabhu.S said...

Where is the Moolavar Photograph in the story?The two deity photographs that are there currently i think were given by the temple office there for use by me???

Of Course, I have no problems in removing any of the photographs if those are not to be in public domain...

Please do let know


Prabhu

Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu,

I'm really putting my luck on test with this one...
I am starting my trip to Nava Thirupati tomorrow night and I am keeping my fingers crossed that you'll see this post and shoot me a reply before I hope into the train!
Is it possible to pack Malai Nambi, ThirupArkadal Nambi and VAnamAmalai along with the Nava tirupathi's all in one day? We are reaching Azhwar Thirunagari in the evening and starting out our journey to the Nava Thirupathi's first thing next morning. What would be the best route to cover all the desams including Nanguneri and Malai Nambi?

Eagerly awaiting your expert advice..
Nandini

Prabhu.S said...

Nandini,

Hi! Yes You can do it.

If you start at 7am at Azhvaar Tirunagari, you will be able to finish all the nine temples by 1pm.

An auto will cost Rs. 250-300
A car will cost about 450-500.
(there are several autos and cars who do daily trips to the Nava Tirupathis at fixed rates)

They will take you on the best route depending on the temple timings
and will make sure that you finish all the nine temples by 1pm...
(There are a couple of temples in the nine that are open between 9am and 5pm, while others like typical vishnu temples are open 7am-12noon and 4pm/5pm-8pm/9pm).

After finishing the last of the nava tirupathi, if you take a car to Thiru Kurungkudi, you should be able to finish that Divya Desam by 630pmish/7pm
and then you can end with Vaanamaamalai by 8pmish/830pmish.
(Vanamaamalai Divya Desam is only 20mts by car from Thiru Kurungkudi)

Pls talk to Murali Bhattar @94432 05739 at Thiru Kurungkudi in advance to tell him that you will be coming 3pmish to the temple so he can assist you with the darshan.

Regards
Prabhu

Anonymous said...

Prabhu,
Thanks a lot for the prompt reply. I have one other question...
I read in one of your posts that Uthirathi Mutt is an option for accommodation. I pressume this is at Azhwar Thirunagari. Do you have any contact number to this Mutt? If so, could you pls share the same?
We wish to stay at Azhwar Thirunagari as it has very high place in our hearts.

Thanks once again for all the info you have been providing to all of us.
Nandini

Prabhu.S said...

Madam,

Vaikunta Natha Bhattar @ 98656 28681 of Sri Vaikuntam or

Appu Sadagopachari(90 year old former Journalist) of Azhvaar Tirunagari will assist reg the stay. His number is : 04639 273984

or

Araiyar of Thirunagari S. Nathan Araiyar @ 99521 61585 or 97893 42285
will help organise the stay at the Mutt.

Prabhu

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
Additionally, how long would it take to drive up the 8kms (western ghats) to Malai Nambi? And the timings of the temple atop?

Nandini

Prabhu.S said...

Special Jeeps will have to be organised to drive up.

That was the reason I requested you to call the Bhattar in advance so he can book the Jeep based on the time you reach the base temple.

It may take you an hour-2 hours to go and come back to the base temple.

Week days dont attract much of a crowd.
Hence, calling the Bhattar a day in advance to inform the time of your arrival and your plans to visit the hill temple as well will help him be prepared accordingly.

You may not be allowed to go up after 5pm...

Regards
Prabhu

Conceptual Persistence said...

Which one is really Keezha Veedu ? In Nagapattinam Divya Desam description you say that is Keezha Veedu. Here you say its Kanchipuram. Please be consistent. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

sir.i m put up at bangalore...i woulkd like to see divya desams at trichy and madurai ...pl advice the route and order of temples to visit...if any taxi services numbers are available it will be very helpful...in madurai where to stay..any gud hotel

PRabhu S said...

OPTION 1 MADURAI AS STARTING POINT

Take the Mysore Tuticorin Express and get down at Madurai at 730am.

Madurai Car: Anbu: 98650 62853

Day 1 morning: Azhagar Koil, Thiru Mogur and Koodal Azhagar – 9am -12noon

Day 1 evening: You can start by car at 3pm to reach Srivilliputhur at 4pm
430pm-630pm Srivilliputhur Divya Desam
7pm to 8pm- Thiruthangal Divya Desam
Return to Madurai by 9pm for dinner

Day 2 morning:
6am to Thiru Koshtiyur Divya Desam ( 75kms)
730am-9am – Darshan

9am-10am- Drive to Thiru Meiyam Divya Desam ( near Pudukottai)
10am-1130am- Darshan

You can drive to/ take bus or train to Trichy from there – 1 1/2hours

Day 2 evening 4pm-9pm: Srirangam Divya Desam

Day 3 morning: 6am-1230pm:
By Car to :
Koviladi Divya Desam (730am-830am)
Anbil Divya Desam(9am-930am)
Uthamar Koil Divya Desam (10am-1030am)
Thiruvellarai Divyadesm (11am -1230pm)

Day 3 evening:
Uraiyur Divya Desam
From Uraiyur temple, you can reach the Trichy Junction to board Mayiladuthurai-Mysore Exp 830pm


OR

OPTION 2 SRIRANGAM AS STARTING POINT

Take Mysore Mayliduthurai Express to Trichy – Get down at Trichy Junction (4am)

SRIRANGAM CAR: SELVAM@ 97873 73813

Day 1 morning

Srirangam Temple: 6am- 12noon

Day 1 evening

3pm-9pm

Thiruvellarai Temple – 330pm-430pm
Uthamar Koil – 5pm-530pm
Anbil Divya Desam – 6pm-630pm
Koviladi Appakudathan – 7pm-730pm
Uraiyur temple – 830pm-9pm


Day 2 morning

Drive to Thirumayam temple or take morning train (530am Rameswaram exp – get down at Pudukottai (temple is 20kms from here on Karaikudi route) or 6am passenger train get down at Thirumeiyam station 8am arrival- 1km from the temple)

8am-930am –Darshan

1030am-12noon- Thiru Koshtiyur Divya Desam

Drive to / Take Bus to Madurai ( 75kms)

Day 2 Evening – Madurai temples

4pm-9pm: Azhagar Koil, Thiru Mogur and Koodal Azhagar Divya Desams

Day 3 Morning

Drive to or take Madras-Shengottai Exp at Madurai station at 530am to reach Srivilliputhur at 7am

7am-930am – Darshan at SVP

1030am- 12noon- Darshan at Thiru Thangal Divya Desam

You can take afternoon passenger train at Thiru Thangal station to reach Madurai

Day 3 evening: Take 730pm train to Bangalore ( Tuticorin- Mysore Exp)

Prabhu

happybowl said...

can u pls tell me how much did it cost for the jeep two way journey. thanking u in advance.

vambakkam said...

Dear Sir
I am arriving Tirunelveli on 15 July at 0500am
Wish to see Nava Tirupathi and Vanamamalai & ThiruKurungudi also MalaiMel Nambi and leave for Chennai same night by Thirukurul Exp at 2100.
Is this possible by God's Grace. Also need Cab contact for all these places including Malai Mel Nambi Jeep services.

Kindly assist me and with thanks
Babu

PRabhu S said...

Yes you can finish all.

contact cab 94436 71632

he will take you to all at reasonable rate.

prabhu

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your efforts
Babu

Unknown said...

I am planning to visit Tirunelveli Divya desam and malai Mel nambi koil.iam coming from trichy by car so I am starting Saturday night so I will reach by Sunday morning so how many temple I can visit in one day by car please need our advice.

PRabhu S said...

Between 7am and 2pm, you can finish the Nava Tirupathi temples

you may take the below route:

Sri Vaikuntam
Azhvaar Tirunagari
Thiru Kolur
Then Thiruperai
Perungulam
Erettai Tirupathi
Thiru Pulingudi
Thiru Varagunamangai

You may have prasadam/lunch at Erettai Tirupathi.

Since you have your own car, you can finish darshan of the Nava Tirupathi Divya Desams by 1pm i.e if you do not spend too much on architecture / sculptures in these temples.

From Natham(varagunamangai), you can then reach Thiru Kurungudi by 3pm (call Raju Bhattar a few days in advance to check with him regarding darshan of Malai Mel Nambi at 3pm/330pm)

In the evening, between 430pm and 7pm, you may have darshan at:

Thiru Kurungudi
and
Nanguneri Divya Desams

And you can then return to Tirunelveli by 8pm/830pm

Prabhu