Thursday, March 31, 2016

Vedapureeswarar Therezhendur

Thevaram Saivite Temple and Azhvaar praised Vishnu temple face each other at Therezhendur

Even Thiru Gnana Sambandhar was locked in doubt as to which was the Saivite temple
Lord Shiva meets Vishnu here on Maasi Punarpoosam day every year

It is a unique occurrence at Therezhendur, a town just over 10kms from Mayiladuthurai off the Kumbakonam Highway.

As one enters the town and looks around in the East and Western corner, one is surprised at two Raja Gopurams on either side of the town exactly facing each other. This is said to have ‘stumped’ even Thiru Gnana Sambandhar who on his arrival here did not know whether to turn East or West to the Vedapureeswarar temple.  It is believed that it was Lord Vinayaka at the junction of the two temples who directed him East to the 5 Tier Raja Gopuram and the Saivite temple where he then composed 10 verses in praise of the Lord. This is a West facing temple with Murugan in a East Facing Sannidhi and Durga in a South facing Sannidhi.

Saint Poets Appar, Thiru Gnana Sambandharar and Sundarar have sung praise of Lord Vedapureeswarar at this temple in 40 verses.

எச்சிலிளமரேம நல்லூரிலம் பையங்
கோட்டூரிறை யாஞ்சேரியசிருபாக்க மனப்பூரம் பராவுடு
தண் டுரை  யழுந்தூராரை கச்சினங் கற்குடி கச்சூரா
லக்கோயில் கரவீரங் காட்டுப்பள்ளி
கச்சிபல தளியுமேகம் பத்துங்
கயிலாய நாதணையே காணலாமே  - Appar’s Thiruthandagam
 Thiru Gnana Sambandhar

The Legend
Once when Shiva and Vishnu were involved in a game of dice, there arose a point of dispute and the two looked to Parvathi for the solution. She pointed to Vishnu as the winner evoking an angry response from her husband. Believing that she favoured her ‘Poranthu Veedu’ and her brother Vishnu and that her mind was still inclined towards her house of birth, Shiva cursed her to turn to a cow. In anger, Shiva moved from a family life to a Sanyasin.

To try to liberate herself from the curse, she went around on a Giri Valam driving by cow herd Krishna to the nearby villages of Tholluthozhangudi, Moraiyur, Asukadu, Vazhuvur, Komal, Maanthai, Ilangarangdui, Mekshakaal Mangalam, Thiruvavuduthurai, Thiruthuruthi and Thiruverkudi.  Unable to walk any longer, she sits down here in meditation. Pleased with her sincerity, Shiva provides darshan to her and liberates her from the curse and she regains her original form again. She embraces him and asks him never to ignore her again.

She reminded him of his wedding promise never to leave her and to take care of her through their lives. He retorted that he and her brother were only playing a game but she seemed to be biased towards her brother and made it seem that he had lost everything even though he had only lost a simple game. Later justifying his decision, Shiva says that there were a few Kshetrams in the neighbourhood where sins were committed. It was through her presence there as Kamadhenu that liberated those sacred Kshetrams from the sins.

He also reminds Parvathi that unlike Lakshmi, who only finds a small place in the Lord’s chest, she is blessed to have an equal share in him and provides the Artha nareeswarar darshan to her at Thiru Manancheri where the Thiru Kalyana Vaibhavam was enacted.

This event happened on Maasi Punarpoosam day.  It was on that day that the separated couple meet once again along with Vishnu. To this day this event is enacted at Therezhendur with Amaruviappan of Therezhendur Divya Desam making his way to road junction with Shiva and Parvathi too arriving at that place for a unique meeting of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.

Sun's rays on the Lord at three different positions
On the 23rd, 24th and 25th day in Maasi, in a prayer invoking Vedapureeswarar’s blessings, the Sun God casts his rays on the Lord. On the first day through the gap on the 4th tier of the Rajagopuram, on the second day through the 3rd tier and on the third day through the 2nd Tier of the 5 Tiered Raja Gopuram on Lord’s feet. This unique occurrence is yet another feature at this temple.

Sage Agastya’s Brahmma Hathi Dosham is said to have been liberated here at this place. In a separate Sannidhi in the south of the temple, Mesha Dakshinamurthy is seen in a grand sitting posture flanked by Ganga Devi (seen Standing) and Sage Agasthya on the right.

This is a parikara sthalam for unmarried people. If they perform Palliyarai pooja on their star day, it is believed that their wedding bells will ring. This is also a parikara sthalam for separated couples. Belief is that those who present Goddess Soundarya Nayaki with mahilam and Pavala Malli flowers after sunset and have a Palliyarai Sevai will re-unite within 90 days.

Dilapidated state - No Salary for the Gurukal
For a temple with such rich history and with several inscriptions dating back to the 9th century AD, there is only one Gurukal to manage the entire temple including the Madaipalli. There isn’t enough oil to light the lamp and not even soodam for the Aarati display. The walls of the temple are in dilapidated state with ancient brick construction peeling off. There is a huge space for Nandavanam in the outer prakara but there aren’t people to take care.

The redeeming news is that the Gurukal is committed to performing his services at the temple at a ridiculous monthly salary in low three digits which too has been pending for several months.  The message to him from his acharya was to keep continuing his service irrespective of the financial condition. His family is not too bullish on him given the meagre income and the lack of prospects but he seems to have unflinching faith in God and believes that he is blessed to be able to offer his services in the sanctum every day of his life. He believes that no amount of financial benefits can substitute this blessed state inside the sanctum.

Sundarar refers to the Lord as the ‘Ruler of Azhundur’.
காட்டூர் கடலே கடம்பூர் மலையே காணப் பேரூராய் கோட்டூர் கொழுந்தே அழுந்தூர் அரசே

The temple is open between 6am-12noon and 430pm-830pm Contact: Raja Mona Shivam Gurukal  @  94864 57103 / 98421 53947

10 day Brahmotsavam ending on Chitrai Pournami
Sangha Abhishekam on Mondays in Krithigai
Ambal Thirumanjanam on Aadi Pooram day with a special alankaram following that

Krithigai, Shashti, Sivarathri, Pradosham are celebrated here.

How to reach
Uzhavan Express stops at Kuttalam station (Mayavaram- Kumbakonam route) at 530am. Auto from Kuttalam to Therezhendur will cost Rs. 150 ( about 5kms). Auto from the Mayavaram- Kumbakonam highway (Komal Road Junction) will cost Rs. 40. Town buses ply every hour from Mayavaram to Kumbakonam to Therezhendur.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kulasekara Azhvaar Srirangam Residents

Being in the midst of the people of Srirangam elevates any new entrant to a mood of true devotion
They are always trying to help others including those going in the wrong direction

Much like Periyazhvaar ( who praised the noble qualities of the people of Thiru Koshtiyur), Kulasekara Azhvaar has dedicated an entire decad praising the people of Srirangam.

So moved was he with their devotion when he visited here after relinquishing his kingdom that he says that just meeting them is a blessing for us. They sing and dance in devotion completely forgetting themselves and are constantly uttering his names. When our eyes come in contact with such people we become possessed with such sublime devotion gripped with good thoughts that we are likely to be stuck in their midst like a glue.

Just one look at them is enough for our eyes to have served the purpose of this life such is their purity!!!

தேட்டருந்திறல் தேனினைத் தென்னரங்கனை
திருமாதுவாழ் வாட்டமில் வனமாலை மார்வனை
வாழ்த்தி மால்கொள் சிந்தையராய்

ஆட்ட மேவியலந்தழைத்து அயர் வெய்தும் மெய்யடியார்கள்
தம் ஈட்டம் கண்டிடக் கூடுமேல் அது காணும் பயனாவதே

No more the dream of bathing in Ganga
Devotees of Srirangam shout out the name of Ranga in great devotion as they mingle in such devoted groups. Just anointing and bathing ourselves with the dust from the feet of such pious devotees is enough to fulfil one’s long cherished dreams of wanting to bathe in the Ganges – Such is the purity of the people of Srirangam.

ஆடிபாடி அரங்கவோ என்றழைக்கும் தொண்டரடிப்பொடி
ஆட நாம் பெறில் கங்கை நீர்
குடைந்தாடும் வேட்கை என்னாவதே

Dust from devotees’ feet equivalent to sacred ash
The devotees sing historical episodes inside the Ranganatha temple ones such as those relating to Vamana seeking alms, Hiranyaksha being rolled down the earth, Rama destroying the enemies in the forest and Krishna taking on the task of subduing the bulls in order to seek the hands of the beautiful Nappinnai.

When one hears such historical recitals at this temple from the devotees and as streams of tears roll down the eyes like the gushing Cauvery, even the dust from such devotees’ feet turns sacred. As one adorns it on the forehead, it is likely to serve as a sacred ash such is their bhakti.

வண்  பொன்னி பேர் ஆறு போல் வரும் கண்ணீர் கொண்டு
அரங்கன் கோயில் திரு முற்றம்
சேறு செய் தொண்டர் சேவடி
செழுஞ்ச்சேறு  என் சென்னிக் கணிவனே 

Bound with Bhakti
Kulasekara Azhvaar compares the devotees being tightly bound in devotion to an episode relating to Krishna. Similar to child Krishna who stole the freshly curled curd and butter and milk and swallowed all in one gulp was caught and bound tight with a churning rope, the devotees of Srirangam seem to be engulfed in devotion to Lord Ranga. They all praise him as Lord Narayana till the time their tongues become numb and they prostrate again and again in full length till the time their body gets scars of devotion. Much to his surprise, Kulasekaara Azhvaar finds them revelling in such delight and seem to be enjoying the process day in day out.

And when one sees people with such devotion one is instantly elevated. Standing in their midst we too sense a feeling of a never before experienced devotion.

அடியார்களாய் நாத்தழும் பெழ நாரணா என்று அழைத்து
மெய்தழம்பத் தொழுது
ஏத்தி இன்புறும் தொண்டர் சேவடி ஏத்தி
வாழ்த்தும் என் நெஞ்சமே

Their Bhakti draws others to them
He finds it astonishing that the residents of Srirangam have so firmly held Lord Ranganatha in their thoughts and compares their devotion to thick black clouds that has formed ahead of the rains. But what amazes him even more is the ability and strength of their devotion to pull others instantly towards them.

When these pious devotees of Srirangam find a few of them going around without devotion, a few committing sins and a few others for whom thoughts are going in the wrong direction these noble residents do everything in their might to redeem these people and to get them back in the right direction. These devotees serve as a guiding light to others. For them the only thoughts are of complete surrender to Lord.

To such noble souls of Srirangam, Kulasekara Azhvaar says that his mind for this birth and all future births is filled with love for them.

பத்தியிலாத பாவிகள் உய்ந்திட
தீதில் நன்னெறி காட்டி
எங்கும் திரிந்து அரங்கனெம்மானுக்கே

காதல் செய் தொண்டர்க்கு
எப்பிறப்பிலும் காதல் செய்யும் என் நெஞ்சமே

The devotees of Srirangam have printed the Lord in their thoughts as they display such irrefutable devotion. When they pray with folded hands before the Lord with tears rolling down their eyes like flood in times of heavy rains, one knows that they are truly experiencing the Lord. One cannot but adore such truly sincere devotees and their way of devotion will forever remain in our minds. When they shed tears one is able to see their true love for the Lord.

காண்ணீர் களால் வார நிற்பவர்
தாளிணைக்கு ஒரு வாரமாகும் என் நெஞ்சமே

The devotees of Srirangam sing and dance, they seem to love their Lord Ranga as seen from the reverence in their devotion. When others arrive at Srirangam and find such devotees one cannot but help feeling happy for them and our own minds too yearn to live such a joyful and peaceful life amidst such devotees at Srirangam.

And in his final verse of decad two, Kulasekara Azhvaar defines the true devotee - a host of them he finds at Srirangam.

மொய்த்துக் கண் பனி சோர மெய்கள் சிலிர்ப்ப ஏங்கியிளைத்து நின்று
எய்த்துக் கும்பிடு நட்ட மிட்டெழுந்து ஆடி பாடி இறைஞ்சி
என் அத்தனச் சனரங்கனுக்கு அடியார்களாகி அவனுக்கே
பித்தராமவர் பித்தரல்லர்கள் மற்றையார் முற்றும் பித்தரே

The eyes of such devotees are steaming down with tears of joy of having experienced the Lord. Body is seen shaking with unflinching Bhakti and their hairs stand raised. They just seem an emancipated lot. They are all the time seeking the Lord and are making gestures to him to accept their devotion.

However, there are those who are seen rebuking him for renouncing his kingdom even suggesting that he had taken a decision in haste and in an insane moment almost indicating that he has reached a state of madness.

To such people Kulasekara Azhvaar clarifies in no uncertain language that based on what he has seen and experienced with the people of Srirangam, it is only those who are away from his services and devotion to Lord who are actually mad and insane.

Kulasekaran is described in this decad as the Protector of Kolli Nagar, the King of Madurai and the leader of Uraiyur (கொல்லி காவலன் கூடல் நாயகன் கோழிக்கோன் குலசேகரன் )