Friday, June 20, 2008

Parthasarathy Koil Thiruvallikeni

Brindharanya Kshetram

Thirumangai Azhvaar expresses delight at finding the Charioteer Lord here at Thiruvallikeni while Thirumazhisai refers to Mylapore and Triplicane in the same verse indicating the existence of these two places during his time

Lord Krishna seen with his entire family with each member in a specific position as per the legend 

Thiruvallikeni is the only Divya Desam where Thirumangai makes reference to Rama and his three brothers in one single verse 
Just 1km West off the Marina Sea Coast in Madras is the over 5000years old Parthasarathy Koil in Thiruvellikeni, referred to in centuries gone by, as the Brindaranya Kshetram, a temple that has been praised by Pey Azhvaar, Thirumazhisai and Thirumangai Azhvaar and whose legend dates back to the Mahabaratha.

Five Deities of Thiruvellikeni Divya Desam
The five deities – Venkatakrishnan, Varadarajan, Ranganatha, Rama and Yoga Narasimha of the Parthasarathy koil were worshipped by Saptha Rishis – Brigu, Marichi, Athri, Markandeya, Sumathi, Saptharoma and Jabali.

The story goes that Veda Vyasa handed over, to his disciple Athreya, an idol of Lord Krishna and directed him to Brindharanya Kshetram as the ideal place for penance.

At the same time, a King by name Sumathi was undertaking penance at Tirumalai seeking darshan of the ‘Charioteer Lord’, the one who piloted Arjuna through the Mahabharata battle. He was directed to go to the Brindharanya Kshetram and offer his prayers to the ‘Lord of Brindharanyam’ with the promise that his prayers would be answered there.

Sumathi and Athreya met here and undertook penance and shared their reasons for being here at Brindaranya Kshetram. Pleased with their prayers, the Lord of Thiruvellikeni is said to have provided darshan to them.

Significance of the position of Krishna with his family inside the sanctum    
This is the only Divya Desam where one finds Lord Krishna with his family. To his right is Rukmini, while to his left is his younger brother Satyaki. Elder brother Balarama is seen to the right of Rukmini facing North. Son Pradyumna and Grandson Anirudha are in the North of the Sanctum facing South.

The Story goes that Krishna carried away Rukmini as she was returning from the temple on the eve of her proposed marriage to Sisupala. During this trip, Krishna’s younger brother Satyaki drove the chariot, while his elder brother stood behind to protect him from a possible attack by an angered Sisupala. This is exactly the way we find them inside the Sanctum. Krishna in the centre, Rukmini is between Krishna and Balarama as was the case in that chariot, while Satyaki is in a position ever ready to drive Parthasarathy.

Interestingly, Son Pradyumna and Grandson Anirudha at a distance in the North showcasing the respect that youngsters should have for elders.
Bheeshma's arrow marks on the face of the Utsav deity
A scar is seen on the face of Arjuna’s Charioteer Parthasarathy, the utsav deity, signifying the strikes he received from Bheeshma’s arrows that were directed at Arjuna.

Ranganatha Sannidhi
It is believed that Goddess Mahalakshmi came here as a young child to Brindaranya Kshetram after a misunderstanding with the Lord at Srivaikuntam. Veda Valli who grew under the guidance of Brigu Rishi married Lord Ranganatha, who had come here in the guise of a handsome young prince.

Lord Ranganatha is seen in a Ksheerabdhi Sayana Posture facing East sleeping atop the Serpant king Adhi Sesha. The Avathara Utsavam of Veda Valli Thaayar and the wedding celebrations with Lord Ranganatha takes place at this temple in Maasi.

Yoga Narasimha facing West
Narasimha provided darshan as Yoga Narasimha to Athri Rishi who undertook penance here in the Brindaranya Kshetram.

South Facing Rama seen with his brothers
Lord Rama is also seen with his wife Sita and his three brothers. It is believed that he provided darshan to Maduman Rishi answering the rishi’s prayers here at Brindaranya Kshetram.

பரதனும் தம்பி சத்ருக்னனும்
இலகுமனோடு மைதிலியும்

இரவும் நன் பகலும் துதி செய்ய நின்ற
இராவனந்தகனை எம்மானை

குரவமே கமழும் குளிர் போழிலூட
குயிலோடு மயில்கள் நின்ற ஆழ

இரவியின் கதிர்கள் நுழைதல் செய்தரியாத்
திருவல்லிக்கேணி கண்டேனே

Thirumangai is happy to have found the handsome Lord Rama flanked by his three brothers Bharatha, Satrugana and Lakshmana  and Sita by his side here at Thiruvallikeni.

Interestingly, Thirumangai also adds that the huge trees here make it difficult for the Sun to pierce into this place.
Gajendra Varadar
Moolavar deity Varadaraja Perumal is seen seated atop Garuda and is seen with discus and conch. He is referred to here as Gajendra Varadar.

Thirumangai Azhvaar finds the Charioteer Lord here at Triplicane                                
Thirumangai in his Periya Thirumozhi verse talks about his delight at finding the Lord, who had gone as a messenger on behalf of the Pandavas seeking peace, here at Thiruvellikeni

இன் துணைப் பதுமத்து அலர்மகள் தனக்கும் இன்பன்
நல புவி தனக்கு இறைவன்   தன் துணை 
ஆயர் பாவை நப்பின்னை தனக்கு இறை,
மற்றையோற்க்கு எல்லாம் வன் துணை,  பஞ்ச பாண்டவர்க்கு ஆகி
வாய் உரை தூது சென்று இயங்கும் என் துணை
எந்தை தந்தை தம்மானைதிருவல்லிகேனிக் கண்டேனே 

As seen in the story relating to Thiruninravur Divya Desam (, Thirumangai Azhvaar came here to Thiruvallikeni from Thiru Evvalur, after bypassing Thiru Ninravur. And he is believed to have moved on to Thiruvidanthai and Kadal Mallai (Maamallapuram) from Thiruvallikeni.

The front Gopuram is believed to have been built by King Thondaman. The Prabhandham Mandapa in front of the sanctum is said to date back to pre-pallava period. Kalyana Mandapa is believed to have been built during the Vijanayagara rule. To the East of the temple is a huge sacred tank inside which is also a sannidhi for Hanuman. Float Festival is celebrated in a grand manner here at this Divya Desam.

There are several inscriptions that date back over a 1000years providing details of the construction of the mandapas and the renovations at this Divya Desam.  

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar makes reference to Mylapore and Triplicane in a single verse
Thirumazhisai Azhvaar in his praise of Lord Parthasarathy in the Naalayira Divya Prabhandham refers to Thiruvallikeni as being part of Mylai (Mylapore).

தாளால் உலகம் அளந்த அசைவேய்கோல்
வாள கிடந்தருளும் வாய்ந்திறவான் நீள்  ஓதம்
வந்து அலைக்கும்  மா மயிலை மா அல்லிக்கேணி யான்
ஆஇய்ந்தலை வாய் நாகத்து ஆணை

10 day Brahmotsvam in Chitrai for Parthasarathy
PeyAzhvaar of Mylapore makes an annual trip to Parthasarathy temple
Parthasarathy goes to Ekkatuthangal every year in Thai
Grand Rama Navami Utsavam with procession every evening

10day Brahmotsavam for Narasimha Perumal in Aani
Quick Facts
Moolavar : Venkatakrishnan East Facing standing posture with his family
Goddess  : Vedavalli Thaayar (separate sannidhi)
Utsavar   : Parthasarathy with a scar on his face
Azhvaar  : Thirumangai-10, Pey Azhvaar –1, Thirumazhisai-1

Time       : 6am-12noon and 4pm-930pm

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 

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

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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Veera Raghava Perumal Thiruvallur

‘Doctor’ Lord is said to cure all diseases of devotees

Located about 50kms from Madras on the Madras-Arakkonam rail route is Veera Raghava Perumal koil in Thiru Evvalur (now Thiruvallur).

The story of ‘Thiru Evvul”
Childless couple Punniyar and his wife undertook Saali Yaagam at Badri. Pleased with their prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared before them and granted their wish and asked them to name the child as Saali Hothran.

Later Saali Hothran came to this place as part of his pilgrimage. To test his devotion, Lord Vishnu came to his ashram disguised as an old hungry Brahmin and asked for food. The sage shared half the food he had, but the old Brahmin seemed to have a larger appetite. Unsatisfied with what he got, the Brahmin wanted more. Not thinking twice, the sage shared the remaining half.

Having consumed the entire food and not leaving anything for the sage, the old Brahmin now wanted a place to lie down and asked the Sage “ In which place could I sleep – ‘Padukka Evvul’. The sage showed him the mat where the Brahmin could lie in peace. And to his surprise, Saali Hothran found the old Brahmin transform himself into Lord Vishnu with his head resting Southward and he lay there with his right hand blessing the Sage, pleased with his wonderful hospitality.

Asked for a wish, Saali Hothran requested the Lord to stay in the same posture in the same place so others could have a darshan of him too.

Hence this place came to be called Thiru ‘Evvul’ which in due course became Thiruvellur.

It is believed that Lord Veera Raghava Perumal answers the sincere prayers of Childless couples. It is also believed that one will be cleansed of all sins if he devotes himself to Veera Raghava Perumal.

The Doctor in Lord
The Lord is also said to liberate one from different kinds of diseases. Hence he is called the ‘Doctor’ Vaidhya Veera Raghavan. Legend has it that Lord Veera Raghava Perumal appeared in the dreams of Vadalur Ramalingar, a staunch Saivite, who was down with a severe stomach ache. After he sang 5 verses in praises of Lord Vishnu,his disease is said to have been cured.

No moon Day- A special occasion at Veera Raghava Perumal temple
It is sacred to immerse in the temple tank on the Amaavasai day, which is said to be very special at this temple.

The temple is administered by Ahobila Mutt and Srimath Azhagiya Singar.

Priests recount stories of them walking 5-6 kms to get water for the Lord , in times of severe water scarcity in days gone by.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Veera Raghavan Bhujanga Sayanam East Facing
Goddess : Kanakavalli
Azhvaar : 12 Paasurams – Thirumangai, Thiru Mazhisai Azhvaar
Temple Timing : 630am-12noon, 4pm-8pm

Contact : PVS Bhattar @ 044 27660378 / 2766 4360
Address : 27 Sannadhi Street Thiruvallur 602 001

9 day Brahmotsavam in  Thai - The Lord visits Eekadu Village about 5kms from the temple each day of the Brahmotsavam in a separate vaahana
10 day Brahmotsavam in Chitrai
In Panguni, the Lord goes on a procession to Puttur Village, about 6 kms from here and into the river for Thiru Ooral Utsavam.

How to reach Thiruvellur
By train- One can take the suburban train from Madras- Thiruvallur
By bus- There are direct town buses between Madras and Thiruvallur
One can also take the Tirupathi bound buses to reach Thiruvallur.
The Divya Desam is a 5 min walk from the Thiruvallur bus stand

Kandiyur Prabhandham

‘Pindi Aar Mandai Enthi,Pirar Manai Thirithanthu
Unnum Mundiyaan Saabam Theertha Oruvan Oor
Ulagam Ethum Kandiyur
Arangam, Meiyam, Kachi, Per, Mallai Enru
Mandinaar Uyyal Allaal, Matraiyaarukku Uyyal Aamey”- (2050)

One can find salvation by worshipping the Lord at Kandiyur. He was the Lord who rid the curse on Shiva who had gone begging everywhere seeking to find salvation from Brahmma’s curse.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Koviladi Appakudanthan Paasuram

Periya Azhvaar, Thirumazhisai Azhvaar, NammAzhvaar and Thirumangai have showered praised of the Koviladi Thiruper Lord.

Nam Azhvaar  composed the last of his verses on the Lord of Koviladi.

உற்றேன் உகந்து பணிசெய்து 
உன் பாதம் பெற்றேன் 

ஈதே  இன்னம்  வேண்டுவது எந்தாய் 
கற்றார்  வாணர்கள் வாழ் திருப் பேராற்கு 

அற்றார் அடியார் தமக்கு அல்லல் நில்லாவே

He says he has attained the feet of Lord after having rendered service to him.Those who offer devoted service to him at Thiruper Nagar where Vedic Seers lived, too will attain Moksham

Anbil Paasuram

Thir Anbil only gets a passing mention from Thirumazhisai Azhvaar but
he talks about the Sleeping Lord here alongside Kumbakonam Saarangapani and
Srirangam Ranganatha.

Naagathu Anaik Kudanthai, Vekka, Thiru Evvul
Naagathu Anai Arangam, Per, Anbil
Naagathu Paarkadal Kidakum
Aathi Nedumaal Anaipaar Karuthan Aavaan (2417)

The Lord who reclines in Kudanthai, Vekka, ThiruEvvalur, Srirangam, Koviladi and Anbil and who resides in the Ocean of Milk easily enters the hearts of his true devotees

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kaapidal Thiruvellarai praise

Peri Azhvaar’s 10 verses on Pundareekakshan called ‘Kaapidal’

இந்திரனோடு பிரமன்  ஈசன்  இமையவர்  எல்லாம்
மந்திர  மா  மலர்  கொண்டு
மறைந்து  உவரை  வந்து  நின்றார்
சந்திரன்  மாளிகை  சேரும்
சதுரர்கள்  வெள்ளரை  நின்றாய்
அந்தியம்  போது  இது  ஆகும்
அழகனே  காப்பிட  வாராய்

Peri Azhvaar says that Indra, Shiva and Brahmma stay hidden with flowers wanting a darshan of the Lord of Thiruvellarai, where the buildings are so big that they seem to touch the moon and a place that is so full of learned men. He asks the Lord to be here to protect everyone from evil forces.

கன்றுகள்  இல்லம்  புகுந்து  கதறுகின்ற  பசு  எல்லாம்
நிறோழிந்தேன்  உன்னை  கூவி , நேசய்மேல்  ஒன்றும்  இலாதாய்
மன்றில்  நில்லேல்  அந்தி  போது , மதிற் திருவெள்ளறை  நின்றாய்
நன்று  கண்டாய்  எந்தன்  சொல்லு , நான்  உன்னை  காப்பிட  வாராய் 

In this verse, he compares his love for the Lord to the love of a calf for her mother. Like how a calf shouts calling for her mother, Peri Azhvaar says that he is here shouting at his full voice asking him for his darshan. Instead of being at the cross roads at dusk,  he asked the Lord of Thiru Vellarai to answer his prayers and to come to me and protect everyone from evil forces

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Uraiyur Paasuram

Kulasekhara Azhvaar's paasuram on Uraiyur

In several of the Paasurams the saint poets Azhvaars have made detailed references to the Divya Desams. However, in a few of them, they make only a passing mention of the temple.

Uraiyur is one such, where Kulasekara Azhvaar makes only a passing mention as seen in the below Paasuram (667).

“Alli Maa Malar Mangai Naathan Arangan Meiyadiyaarkaltham
Ellai Yil Adimaith Thirathinil Enrum Mevu Manathanaam
Kolli Kaavalan Koodal Naayakan, Kozhi Kon Kulasekaran
Sollin In Tamizh Maalai Vallavar Thondar Thondarkal Aavarey”

Those who read the beautiful verses of the pure hearted, the ruler of Kolli, the king of Koodal and the head of Uraiyur -Kulasekhara Azhvaar- praising the Goddess and Lord Ranganatha will be the true devotees of the Lord.

Thiru Kannangudi Damodara Narayana Perumal

Four Interesting events mark Thirmangai Azhvaar’s stay at Thiru Kannangudi
Located about 8kms West of Nagapattinam, off the Nagapattinam- Thiruvarur Highway, is Damodara Narayanan Divya Desam in Thiru Kannangudi, which is also part of the Pancha Krishna Kshetram. This is the final point of Krishnaranya Kshetram, which begins at Naachiyar Koil in Thiru Naraiyur and passes through Thiru Cherai, Kannamangai and Kannapuram.

Sage Vashishta and Lord Krishna
The story goes that, Lord Krishna, pleased with Vashishta’s penance, appeared before the sage in the form of a kid. While the Sage was immersed in thoughts of the Lord, Kannan picked up the butter, swallowed it in one go and gave Vashishta the run.

With Vashishta giving him a chase, young Kannan runs through the Krishnaranya Kshetram until he came upon the rishis, who were undergoing penance here. Thrilled to see Kannan come their way, the rishis blocked him.

Explaining his hurry, Kannan wanted them to ask for one wish. By this time, Vashishta too had caught up with the Lord and he fell at his feet. The rishis wanted the Lord to provide darshan to other devotees in this same standing posture at this place. Hence this place came to be called Kannankudi.

4 Interesting stories relating to ThiruMangai’s experience at Thiru Kannangudi
1. Thirumangai’s praise of the Tamarind tree
Thirumangai Azhvaar who was to build the huge walls of Srirangam temple came to Nagai to pick up the golden statue of Buddha. On his way back, a tired Thirumangai wanted rest and lay under a Tamarind tree at Thiru Kannankudi. Placing the gold in the pit there, Thirumangai asked the tree to wake him up if someone came there. The next morning when the owner of the plot arrived to resume work, the tamarind tree dropped its leaves on Thirumangai to wake up the Azhvaar.

2. Pending cases at Kannangudi
Thirumangai and the owner of the plot argued about its ownership. Thirumangai defended himself saying his papers were in Srirangam and that he would come back in a day or two with the papers. Thirumangai never came back and the case is said to have remained pending. Disputes in ThiruKannangudi don’t see a quick decision.

3. Dry Wells at Thiru Kannangudi
A thirsty Thirumangai is said to have walked up to the ladies near the well and asked for water. Having heard about his arguments regarding the ownership of the plot, they were worried that he would fight with them on the ownership of the well and hence refused him a pot of water. An angry Thiru Mangai Azhvaar pronounced a curse stating that the water would not fill up in the well. To this day, wells in Thiru Kannankudi are seen dried up. Even when it fills up, it tastes salty.

4. Lord quenches Thirumangai’s thirst
The Lord of Thiru Kannankudi is said to have come and presented a tired and thirsty Thiru Mangai with food and water. With Thiru Mangai finishing his food, the Lord is said to have disappeared.

Left wondering, Thirumangai, on his way back, met a man who seemed like one with conch and chakra but disappeared almost immediately. It is believed that Thirumangai had earlier answered the Lord’s enquiry about his background saying he was a vagabond. Hence, the Lord is believed to have given him just one quick glimpse of his full vision and then disappeared.

Pancha Krishna Kshetram
Thiru Kannangudi is part of the Pancha Krishna Kshetram, the others being Kapisthalam, ThiruKovilur, Thiru Kannamangai and Thiru Kannapuram.

Garuda’s Posture at ThiruKannangudi
Unlike in other Divya Desams where Garuda is seen with folded hands, he is seen here with his hands around his body.

Another unique feature at this temple is the similarity of the Moolavar and Utsavar idols of Goddess, not seen in any other Divya Desam.
Quick Facts

Moolavar     : Loganathan East facing standing posture
Goddess      : Loganayaki
Utsavar       : Damodara Narayanan

Azhvaar      : Thirumangai Azhvaar (10 paasurams)
Temple Time : 6am-12noon and 5pm –8pm
Priest           : Prabhu Bhattar@ 99431 38591

How to reach ThiruKannangudi
One can take the Nagai-Thiruvarur bus (buses every 5-10 minutes) and get down at Aazhiyur, about 6 kms from Nagai. From there, one can take a mini bus to Kannangudi (South - about 5mts drive). An auto from Nagapattinam to Kannangudi and back would cost about Rs. 200/-. One can also reach Thiru Kannangudi from ThiruKannapuram (about 25 kms) by car.

Direct night train from Madras to Nagapattinam.

When here, also visit Thiru Nagai and Thiru Kannapuram

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Srirangam Paasurams

ThirupaanAzhvaar’s Amalanaathipiraan
10 beautiful verses of ThirupaanAzhvaar in praise of Srirangam Ranganatha

Belonging to a lower caste, an almost embarrassed Thirupaan Azhvaar would not enter the Srirangam Temple and chose to sing praise of Lord Ranganatha from the banks of Cauvery. One day,Sage Lokasaranga found it difficult to collect water for the Lord as ThirupaanAzhvaar, immersed in his daily praise of Lord Ranganatha, blocked his path. Angered at this, the Sage threw stones at the Azhvaar who started to bleed from the forehead.

Later the Sage found to his shock Lord Ranganatha too bleeding from his forehead. Lord Ranganatha reminds the sage that ThirupaanAzhvaar is just as devoted as him and asks him to carry the Azhvaar on his shoulder to the temple. Sage goes back and carries him all the way back to the temple.

One finds the Thirupaan Azhvaar Sannidhi on the right side behind the Ranga Vilas Mandapam when one enters the Srirangam Ranganatha Temple from the Southern entrance.

Amalan Aathipiraan Adiyaarku Ennai Aatpadutha Vimalan
Vinnvarkon Viraiyaar Pozhil Venkatavan
Nimalan NinMalan Neethi Vaanavan
Neel Mathil ArangathAmmaan
ThiruKamala PaathamVanthu
En Kannin Ullana Okkinrathey- 927

The Lord, the King of the celestials,is surrounded by fragrant groves. His Golden rule is always ‘Justice’ and ‘Fairness’. The Lord of Srirangam, surrounded by the huge lofty walls, always remains in my thoughts and my eyes are always seeing his auspicious feet. I am a slave of him (and his devotees).