Brahmma,Vishnu and Shiva present a joint darshan on the occassion of Thiru Karthigai
In a festival to celebrate the presence of the ‘Tri Murthies’ in a single Divya Desam, one witnessed this evening (Dec 9), on the occasion of Thiru Karthigai, Brahmma, Shiva and Vishnu coming out together on a procession providing a joint darshan for almost an hour to devotees around the four Mada Streets of Uthamar Koil in Thiru Karambanur on the Northern banks of Coloroon near Srirangam, the only such combined display of the Tri Murthies at a Divya Desam.
Once upon a time, both Shiva and Brahmma had 5 heads. Parvati (Shiva’s wife) once mistook Brahmma (because of his 5 heads) for her husband and began serving him by washing his legs.
Reasoning that this confusion arose because Brahmma too had five heads, Shiva, in a fit of rage, took off the middle head of Brahmma with his hand. Unfortunately for Shiva, the fifth head of Brahmma stuck to his hand. To find salvation from the curse, Shiva went on a pilgrimage begging for food, with Brahmma’s skull as the begging vessel. However, much to Shiva’s horror, every time someone filled the vessel with food, it vanished immediately.
Finally, it was here at Uthamar Koil that Goddess Lakshmi herself filled the vessel with food thus ending Shiva’s hunger. But with the skull still stuck on his hand, Shiva undertook prayers here at Uthamar Koil and as directed by Vishnu later went to Kandiyur (a Divya Desam near Thiruvayaru), where he was finally provided salvation from his curse by Lord Kamalanathan. As Shiva came to Uthamar Koil with a begging bowl searching for liberation from a curse, this place is called Pichandar (Bikshandar) Koil. Shiva is seen here as ‘Bikshandar Murthy’. A unique feature at this Divya Desam is that Lord Brahmma is seen facing South.
Blend of Vaishnavism and Saivism
At Uthamar Koil, one is a witness to the blending of Vaishnavism and Saivism. While as per Vaishnavism legend, Shiva came as a beggar to get liberated from his curse, as per the Saivaite belief, Shiva was born here as a beggar to get rid of the arrogance of the rishis (Shiva has 63 avatars).
Thiru Mangai’s Ultimate Praise
At many a Divya Desam, Thiru Mangai Azhwar has showered several verses of praise, referring to the location, describing the Lord, referring to his postures and comparing him with Lords he has seen elsewhere.
However, there are temples where he has made a reference only in passing. Thiru Karambanur Divya Desam near Srirangam is one such temple where he makes only a passing mention. But the lack of verses (quantity) is made up by the quality of reference.
“Peraanai, Kurugkudiyum Perumaanai, Thiruthankal Ooraanai, Karamabanur Uthamana…”
Thiru Mangai Azhwar has showered the Karambanur Lord with the ultimate praise referring to him as Uthamar, the perfect Lord. This is the only Divya Desam out of over 85 that Thiru Mangai has sung praise of where he has referred to the Lord as 'Uthamar'. Thus, with just one word, he positioned the Karambanur Lord as the Ultimate one to visit for us to see the 'Perfect One'. With Thirumangai referring to the Lord as ‘Uthamar’, the temple itself has come to be called ‘Uthamar Koil’.
Belief is that childless couple who pray here with sincerity will be blessed with children. Dasharatha himself performed a yagna here before Rama was born. Legend has it that Vishnu ordered Brahmma not to refuse anything to devotees who come here to pray to him.
Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam comes here once a year crossing the Coloroon
Purshottam Perumal’s Chariot Utsavam in Chitrai
Lord Shiva’s Chariot Utsavam in Vaikasi