The Bird versus the Serpent
Baala Sayana posture of Lord Kripasamudran is a special feature at the divya desam
Renovation is under way at the Sirupuliyur Kripasamudra Perumal temple, a divya desam, whose legend dates back to Garuda Puranam, where one finds reference to the battle of words between Adisesha and Garuda, the Lord's vehicle, as to who played a more important role in their service to Lord Vishnu.
Seeking a solution to their argument, the two arrived at Sirupuliyur and finally looked up to the Lord himself for his opinion. Finding Garuda a little arrogant in his argument, Lord Vishnu, who appeared as Kripasamudran, went in favour of Adisesha. Fearing an angry reaction from the bird, Adisesha looked for protection and was asked by Lord Kripasamudran to coil himself and lie under him. Unhappy with the decision going against him, it is believed that Garuda decided not to fly over this place. Another story goes that the aged Rishi Vyaakrapadha undertook penance at Chidambaram invoking the blessings of Lord Nataraja for attaining moksham. The rishi was directed to go westwards to Srirangam as Lord Ranganatha was the one equipped with the power to grant Moksham.
Owing to his poor eye sight, the rishi lost his way, went southward and reached Kripa Samudiram. Unable to walk any further, he sat in penance at Sirupuliyur. The Lord appeared in his full sayana posture like the one in Srirangam. Since the sage was not able to take in the big form with his feeble eye sight, He appeared in the form of a child - Baala Sayana.
When Thiru Mangai Azhwar visited this place, initially he felt let down by the tiny size of the Lord. Thirumangai, who had seen different displays and different forms of Lord Vishnu, was then impressed upon by Kripasamudra Perumal that this was indeed something very special and that he should savour for the moment. Then he could come to Thiru Kannamangai (Divya Desam about 25 km south-west of Sirupuliyur) for a darshan of his full form in a standing posture. A happy Thirumangai showered 10 verses of praise on Kripasamudra Perumal in his Periya Thirumozhi referring to the Lord as Sala Sayana Perumal and also making a specific reference to Adisesha.
As this was the place where Kripasamudra Perumal accorded a special status to Adisesha by placing him above Garuda, this temple is of special significance for relief from Naaga Dosha and Kaala Sarpa Dosha. This is the only divya desam where there is a separate temple for Adisesha.
In addition to the overall renovation including the 75-feet five-tier Raja Gopuram and reconstruction of mandapas, the temple is also looking to build a new Hamsa and Simha Vaahana as well a new chariot. Those interested in contributing to this cause can contact: 99946 48980/ 04366 233477/04144 220425
Moolavar: Kripasamudra Perumal in a south-facing Bhujanga Sayana posture
Thaayar: Thirumaa Magal Nachiyar
Temple Time: 7 a.m.-12 noon and 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Important festivals: 10-day Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi and 3-day Avataara Utsavam in Maasi.
How to reach the temple
Sirupuliyur is about 15 km south of Mayiladuturai near Kollumangudi off the Mayavaram-Tiruvarur Highway. One can get down at Kollumangudi and take an auto (Rs. 30) to reach this Divya Desam.
The above story featured in The Hindu Friday Features on 10th December 2010