Archive | July 2017

384. Our visit to temples – Part VII

Our last day journey started on Thursday. First, we visited Ramalingaswamy temple in Papanasam.   Shiva is worshipped as Ramalingaswamy and his consort  as Parvadhavardhini.   This is a temple of wonderful rarity and pleasantness filling the soul of the devotees with its 108 Shiva Lingas gracing from the very sanctum sanctorum itself that too, as presiding deities.   According to legends, this temple was build by Lord Rama and the 108 Shiva lingas were installed by him. Even though Ravana was a demon, he was a great Shiva Bhakta. By killing him, Lord Rama had got Dosha. To ward of this Dosha, he installed the 108 lingas. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva in this temple would remove all sins. There is a seperate huge Linga called Hanumantha Linga which is believed to have been installed by Lord Hanuman.It is a wonderful sight to see all the other lingas arranged equally in three rows. This temple is a must see for all those who visit Kumbakonam.

Our next visit is to Garbarakshambigai Amman temple at Thirukkarugavur.  The main deity Shiva is known as Mullaivananathar. The remarkable feature which distinguishes this temple from the other shrines is that, Goddess Sri Garbarakshambigai Amman here cures infertility related problems to women, blesses them to conceive and also helps them for safe and trouble free delivery.  A couple by name Nidhruva and Vedikai  had no children. They worshiped Sri Garbarakshambigai. The couple did that with intense devotion and their prayers got answered. Vedikai got conceived.

During her later stage of pregnancy and while her husband Nidhruva was away from home she was in a faint state due to the strain of pregnancy. At this moment, a sage by name Sri.Urdhuvapada came to her abode and asked for alms. Due to her unconscious state of mind, she did not respond to that sage’s request. The sage was enraged at this apparent indifference and cursed her without knowing the exact reason for her silence. Due to the curse, her fetus got disintegrated and descended. Shocked Vedikai prayed to the Goddess in great distress. The Goddess appeared before her, protected the fetus, preserved it in a sacred pot until it developed into a male child and presented it to the devoted couple. The parents named their child as ‘Naidhuruvan’. Struck by this great act of benevolence of the Almighty Goddess, the immensely grateful Vedikai prayed to the Goddess to remain in this place and protect women and their foetus as she had done in her case.

Then, we went to Thittai, Guru sthalam. Since it was thursday, there was heavy rush in the temple. The temple is unique in having a separate temple inside the main temple for Guru. The presiding deity is Vasishteeswarar and His cojsort is known as Ulaganayagi. A unique feature of this temple is a drop of water falls on the Lingam (Main Deity) exactly every twenty four minutes (1 Naazhigai) from the roof. But for a small hole, there is no source of water or anything, on the Vimana of the main deity.

Our final visit is to Brihadeeshwarar temple at Thanjavur.  Located in the town of Thanjavur, also called as ‘Big Temple’. This is main temple from the group of Chola Temples which comprise world heritage site.   The temple stands within a fort.  The towering vimanam, known as Dakshin Meru,  is about 200 feet in height. The octagonal Shikaram rests on a single block. and huge nandhis dot the corners. The big Shivalingam is set in a two storeyed sanctum and the walls surrounding the sanctum delight devotees as a store house of sculpture. The long praharams surround this big temple. The Ambal here is known as Periyanayagi.    This   the Big temple is the best example of excellent workmanship, grandeur and it has stood the testimony of time with its magnificent central dome which is a great attraction for one and all.  The most intersting part of this temple is the shadow of the temple, which surprisingly never falls on the ground at noon. It is the first complete granite temple. There are some musical pillars producing different sounds when tapped.

We finished our journey early and reached Thanjavur railway station by 1 PM after finishing lunch. The train came by 4 PM and reached Coimbatore by 9.30 PM. We reached home with full refreshment to body and mind. We didn’t feel tired anywhere in these four days by God’s grace. The trip was really good. Thank God.

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383. Our visit to temples – Part VI

Two more temples we covered on Wednesday. Next one, is visit to Thirumanagalakkudi.  Here, the presiding deities are Prananadeswarar and Mangalambigai. Here, while entering the Shiva sannidhi, Mahalakshmi and Saraswathi statues are kept as Dwarapalagas, in padmasana style. The Mangal Sutra thread in the hand of Ambica is offered as Prasad to women awaiting marriage promising a good match.  It is in Thirumangalakudi temple that even the Planets got relieved of their curses.

In the Ancient age there was a King who was ruling this area near Tanjore-Kumbakonam-Mayiladuthurai(Mayavaram). The Minister of the King is a very devotional man and he was more than a regular devotee of Lord Shiva. He wants to construct a temple for Lord Shiva, but he doesn’t have money, so he took the money from the Tax which has been paid by the people and started the construction of the Lord Shiva Temple in Tirumangalakudi. When the contruction is in progress, King comes to know that he has taken the money from the Tax. So he ordered his man to kill the minister. Before the SiraSedham, the minister requested the persons to do his last rituals in the village where the temple is under construction. They agreed and the minister’s head has been cut off.
Upon hearing this news, Ministers wife urged to the temple in Tirumangalakudi, cried and prayed in front of Shakthi. She cried in front of Ambal sannidhi and told that the minister has taken the money for your temple construction and he is no more, and prayed to get her husband back. Lord Shakthi requested her husband Lord Shiva to bring him back as he was doing good things with the money and he has not used for himself. Lord Shiva and Lord Shakthi has been pleased with the immense devotion from the minister and his wife and they gave the life back to the Minister. Since Lord Shiva has given the “Pranan”, which is the basis for life, to the Minister, he has been called as “Prananatheswarar” and since Ambal has given the TiruMangalyam back to the minister’s wife, she has been called as “Mangalambikai”.

When we hear about Thirubuvanam,  our mind think about silk saris. But, we didn’t make any purchase throughout the tour. We visited the famous  Sarabeswarar temple there. Here, the main deity is Lord Shiva and He is known as  Kambahareswarar. Ambal is known as Dharmasamvardhani.  Shiva is believed to have relieved  Kampa(quaking) of a king haunted by evil spirits on account of the king killing a  brahmin by mistake. This led to the name of Kampahisvara. As per another legend, Shiva is believed to have assumed the form to quench the fury of Lord Narasimha. 

A special mention has to be made about the architecture of the temple.  The distinct features of all the temples is the  vimana,  the structure over the sanctum, being taller than the gateway tower.  there is a separate sannidhi for Lord Sarabeswara.  Narasimhavathaaram by Lord Vishnu was taken to destroy the asura Hiranyan, who was filled with haughtiness proclaiming himself as God. Asura samharam was over. But Narasimha’s anger didn’t abate. The Universe couldn’t bear His anger. The ‘devas’appealed to Lord Shiva. To appease Narasimha’s anger, Lord Shiva assumed the form of a bird Sarabha. This form comprises the forms of an animal, human and bird – the face of a yali, human body and the form of a bird. The form of Narasimha consisted of a human body and the face of a lion. Kaali and Durga became the wings of Saraba. Lord Sarabeswara lifted Narasimha to space, drew out the asura blood (Hiranyan’s) and pacified him. He took him to space because even if a drop of asura blood fell on the earth, it would lead to the emergence of many asuras. So, Lord Sarabeswara took Narasimha above the gravitational sphere to prevent his blood falling on earth. The form of Sarabeswara comprises four Gods – Shiva, Kaali, Durga and Vishnu.The devotees firmly believe that for removing obstacles in marriage, for begetting a child, for recovery from debts, for winning legal battles, for neutralizing the effects of black magic etc., worshipping Lord Sarabeswara is the best remedy.

Our wednesday journey was over and we returned to the lodge.

382. Our visit to temples – Part V

Our afternoon session on Wednesday started with our journey to Keelaperumpallam. When Devas and Asuras were churning milk ocean using Mount Meru as the churning stick and the serpent Vasuki as the thread, due to rapid movement, Vasuki spit venom  into the milk ocean.  In the process of Amirtham extraction, deadly poison came out was taken by Lord Shiva. Vasuki felt ashamed and did stricg penance seeking pardon from Shiva. The Lord was pleased and stayed here. Hence, He is known as Naganatha Swamy. Ambal is known as Soundara Nayaki. Here Lord Kedhu is in a separate Sannidhi. Offering worship here wards off all adverse effects from Kedhu planet and brings one all good. The poojas are conducted for Kedu during ‘Ragu kalam’ & ‘Ema kandam’.

Next we visited Thiruvenkadu. The moolavar  here is Suvedharanyeswarar and Ambal is known as  Brahma Vidyambal.  Wednesday is best for visiting this temple as it is a Bhudhan sthalam dedicated to Planet Mercury. . It is said that Agora Murthi was one of the furious incarnation of Lord Shiva. There was an Evil named “Maruthuvasuran” in Thiruvengadu. He had a deep meditation on Lord   Brahma for power. Being satisfied with his meditation, Lord Bhrama offered him many powers. But he used those powers in a wrong ways. He started to torture the saints and innocent people. Having nothing to do, all the saints and people requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this evil. First Shiva sent Nandi twice to kill the demon.  Finally,  Lord Shiva took his incarnation ‘Agora murthi’ and killed the ‘Maruthuvasuran under a tree (which is now in Thiruvengadu temple, back to the entrance of Agora murthi).

Then, we went to Vaitheeswaran  temple.  This temple is dedicated to Angaraka (Mars). The main deity is called Vaitheeswaran, who has got healing power. This God of medicines  cures any type of disease, especially skin disease.  The Ambal is known as Thaiyal Nayagi. , To cure the irremediable diseases, Uma Parvathi appeared as Thaiyal nayagi with a bowl of herbal solution (sanjeevani)  and the holy soil under the Vilva tree.  The Lord Shiva appeared as Vaidyanathar ( the divine doctor) at this shrine. One of the nine planets, Angaraka (Mars), suffered from leprosy  and was cured by Vaidhyanatha swamy and from then on it is treated as one of the  Navagraha temples for planet Angaraka. Parvathi  asked her son,   Subramanya to appear with one face from his regular appearance of six faces. When he did so, she was pleased and presented him with Vel to slay the demons. Subramanya overcame the  demon Surapadman and in the war, his army was severely injured. Shiva came out as the healer Vaitheeswaran and cured the wounds.

Our next visit is to Kanjanur. It is a Sukra sthalam. At this temple, Agneeswarar is the presiding deity and  His consort is Karpagambal. Agni is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva and hence the name Agneeswarar. Lord Brahma was blessed with a vision of Shiva’s marriage with Parvathi here. The Brahma Lingam enshrined in this Temple is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma himself. There is no separate sannidhi  for Lord Sukra as Lord Shiva himself is believed to have incarnated as Venus here.

In our trip, next we went to Suriyanaar kovil. Lord Sun graces in the temple facing west with a Lotus on both hands accompanied by His consorts Ushadevi on the left and Pradhyushadevi on the right. Puranavaradheeswarar and his consort Mangalanayaki are the main deities here. In the sannidhi of Sun-God, Guru(Juiter) stands just opposite to Him. The other navagrahas are placed in outer prahara with separate sannidhis.   All the grahams face Surya Bhagawan in this temple. Sooriyanarkoil is one of the important and rare place which has temple for sun with all its family constituents.

 

381. Our visit to temples – Part IV

We again started our journey on Wednesday morning by 6 AM, as usual.  First, we went to Panduranga temple in Govindapuram.  This is Maharashtriyan style temple.  Lord Panduranga graces the devotees accompanied by Mother Rukmini from the sanctum sanctorum. Cows are devotionally and affectionately taken care of by the ashram here.

Our next place of visit is Thiruvidaimaruthur.  By worshipping the Prime Deity, Lord Mahalinga Swamy, one’s sorrow and unhappiness are alleviated. We were totally amazed  and impressed  by the vast, beautiful, sacred and majestic look of the Lingam. The Ambal Shrine is one of the Sakthi Peetams and is on the right side of the Swami shrine, that is on southern side as a KALYANA KOLAM – a rare one. The Ambal name is Brahathsundarakujambal. The Mookambigai  here is as famous and great like the Karnataka Kollur Mookambigai. In India, only in Kollur and Thiruvitaimaruthur, Mookambigai shrines are seen.

Then, we visited the Shani Bhagavan temple at Thirunallar. Here, Lord Shiva is known as Darbaranyeswarar  as this place was covered by Darba in the ancient times. The Ambal is known as Bogamartha Poonmulayal. The only temple where Lord Saneeshwara lost all his power to Lord Shiva (Dharbaranyeshwarar) which saved his devotee Nalan from Saturn’s curses. So, it is believed that to get relief from Shani’s power, people visit often here. People offer their prayers by taking bath in Nala theertham, lighting gingelly oil lamps, performing archana, abhishekam and homam to Saneeswara. Special prayers are done by taking the Sani Bhagavan in golden crow vahanam and feeding crows. We can take Shani prasadam to home, as he is in anugraha pose.  Lakhs of people gather here during Shani Peyarchi time.

Next, we went to Thirukkadayar. At that time about 30 Sashtiyapthapoorthi/ Bheema Ratha Shanthi/ Sadhabishekam  functions were taking place. We could stand before the main deity Amirthakadeswarar for few seconds only. as there was heavy rush there. There are plenty of good vegetarian hotels available near the temple. On the day Markandeya was destined to die, Yama, the deity of death, appeared with his noose to tie around the soul of Markandeya and take it with him. Markandeya sought refuge in the temple and embraced the Siva Lingam. Shiva appeared and warned Yama not to touch Markandeya, as he was under his protection. Yama refused to listen and threw the noose anyway, binding Markandeya and the Lingam together. Angered by Yama’s extraordinary arrogance, Shiva kicked him and held him under his foot, making Yama inactive. Markandeya was blessed by Shiva to remain sixteen years old eternally. Meanwhile, with Yama being rendered inactive, there were no deaths on earth, but people were still being born. Burdened by the weight of so many people and unable to sustain their hunger, the earth-goddess,  Bhumadevi, appealed to Shiva for help. Shiva, feeling compassionate for the earth-goddess, released Yama, allowing death to occur again. However, in order to remind Yama never to try to kill someone while they are worshiping Shiva again, the  icon of Shiva in this temple is depicted with his forefinger raised in warning. Since it is believed that Lord Siva subdued Yama in Thirukkadaiyur, the Lord is called  Mrityunjaya, Conqueror of Death.

Mother Abhirami here,  is all merciful and powerful. She grants boons of prosperity, wedding, child and distinction in academic pursuits. To save Her sincere devotee Abhiramibattar, Mother Abhirami threw Her Thadanga – ear rings in the air which shone as a full moon.

Our forenoon session was over and we returned to lodge for lunch.

 

380. Our visit to temples – Part III

I visited for the first time to Thirucherai. Here,  Shiva is known as  Saaraparameswarar and Ambikai as Gnanambikai. The lingam (Runavimocheswarar) installed by markandeya is in the outer prahara. We have to repay three types of debts viz., deva Runa-Debt to God, Rishi Runa-Debt to sages and Pitru Runa-Debt to ancestors. If we repay all the debts correctly, we won’t get another birth. To repay our debts we have to perform puja to God, visit lot and lot of temples, get asirvatham from sages, do service to human beings and other creatures. Pitru runa can be repaid by looking after the parents and doing shrardham after their death. People visit this temple to get relief from all types of debts in life including the above three types of debts.

When we think about Patteeswaram, the destroyer of all evils – Durga come to our minds.  Durga, shantha swarupi is seated on her vehicle lion is seen with her foot on Mahishasura.  We get relief from all types of black magic, unfavourable effect by planets, bad luck, health problems and problems by enemies.  The Avathara purusha Rama was affected by Chaya Hathi as Ravana was an exponent of  fine arts and a devotee of Shiva. He was absolved of this sin by installing Shivalingam here. Kamadhenu’s daughter Patti  worshipped Shiva by doing milk abhishekam to this lingam and hence, this city got the name Patteeswaram.  Once Thirugnana sambandhar, a child poet visited this temple to worship Dhenupureswarar and Gnanambigai. Thirugnana sambandar, being small could not see the Shiva as he stood behind Nandi. Shiva asked Nandi to move aside as the young devotee can see Him. So, Nandi here is shifted to a side in this temple.

Then, we went to have the darshan of Thiruvalanchuli Nathar. Here, the Shiva is known as Kabardeeswarar and ambigai is known as Periyanayaki. Here, Shiva is suyambumurthi. Lord Vinayaka idol is in white colour and hence known as Swetha Vinayagar.  Since the idol is made of froth,  no abishekam is done here. River Cauvery  curves gently right at this place and hence the name Thiruvalanchuli.

Our forenoon session ends after visiting Thiruvalanchuli. We returned to lodge after taking lunch by 2 PM. Again, we started our journey  sharply by 4 PM.  Since we have visited lot of temples, we made our trip short in the afternoon session. We went to see the temples in proper Kumbakonam.  First, we went to Kumbeswarar temple. The city got the name Kumbakonam because of this temple.  In this temple, the shape of lingam is very unique and is in conical shape. The Shiva is known as Adhikumbeshwara and His consort as Mangalambika. During cosmic dissolution, a pot containing  nectar  (Amrta) was floating and lord Siva came in the disguise of a hunter and pierced the pot with an arrow ,thereby making the nectar to flow through it’s nostril on all sides . Hence this place is named Kudamooku (kuda – pot; mooku – nostril or tip). The objects such as mango leaf,sacred grass (Tharppai),hoop (uri), Bell tree leaf (Bilva), coconut and the sacred thread (poonool) which adorning the pot fell into different places due to whirl wind. They appeared as Siva lingas and later on they became Siva temples.

Next, we went to Vijendra Theerthar Brindavanam. There, we had to wait for half an hour as the temple opens by 5PM in the evening.  Saint Vijendra asked his successor Sudhindra to ensure that after him (Sudhindra),  Venkatanatha(Raghavendrar) should be made as the head of Kumbakonam Mutt. Vijendra Theertha entered Brindhavanam, after appointing Sudhindra as his successor.  Sudhindra gave Dheekshai to Venkatanatha at Thanjavore and named Him as Raghavendra.  Sudhindra Theertha entered Brindhavanam at Nava Brindhavanam, Humpi.  Raghavendra   Swamy headed Kumbakonam Mutt for several years and left to Manchala(Manthralayam). He stayed in the house of Appanacharya for 13 years in Bichale. Rayaru entered Brindhavana in Manthralaya afterwards.  I will say about Saint Vijendra separately in a blog. In this Mutt, devotees can make a stay,  since rooms are available. They can make visits to Navagraha and other temples.

Then, we visited two Vaishnava temples viz., Sarangapani and Chakrapani temples. Both are ancient and big, & also come under 108 Divyadesam temples. In Sarangapani temple, the thayaar name is Komalavalli. Lakshmi emerged from Potramarai tank among 1000 lotus flowers and was brought up by Hema Rishi. Vishnu descended to earth as Aravamudhan in a chariot drawn by horses and elephants from his abode  Vaikundam. Since He carried bows in His hands, He is known as Sarangapani.

The Chakra, the discuss is the most powerful weapon of Lord Vishnu. Once Vishnu sent Sudharshana Chakra to kill King  Jalandasura. this weapon came from  the underworld  through river Cauvery.  Lord Brahma was taking bath in Cauvery  and got impressed by this sight, installed the image of Sudharshana. Surya, the Sun god, who was glowing in brilliance, had his brightness diminished by the effulgent Sudarshana. Surya worshipped Sudarshana and pleased by his devotion, Sudarshana restored all the powers of Surya. Vishnu attained the name Chakrapani from then on.  Surya wanted the town to be named after him and pleased by his devotion, Chakrapani named the city as Bhaskara Kshetra.  The main deity Chakrapani is sported with 8 arms, each having a weapon. Chakrapani has a third eye on his forehead. Chakrapani’s darshan relieves us from the dhoshas of all grahas, as the main graha Sun (head) got surrendered to the Lord here.

Finally, we returned to our room by 8.30 PM and took rest  after taking dinner.

379. Our visit to temples – Part II

We continued  our visit to temples from the next day morning ie on Tuesday morning by 6 AM.  First,  we went to Thirunageswaram.  Here, the main deity Shiva is known as Naganathar and Parvathi as Piraisoodi Amman(Giri Gujambigai).  It is believed that the king of serpents Adhisesha did penance and got the blessings of Lord Shiva and hence, the place is known as Thirunageswaram. There is a separate sannidhi for Rahu.  Many people visit this temple during Rahukalam to see the milk abhishekam which turns into blue  in colour.

Our nest place of visit is Oppiliappan temple.  Markandeya maharishi prayed for the boon by doing penance for 1000 years that Goddess Lakshmi should appear as his daughter and Vishnu as his son-in-law.  Lakshmi appeared as a baby under the already incarnated thulasi plant.  He took possession of the baby and raised her. When the young girl reached adolescent age,  Vishnu appeared as an old man and asked for the hand of Markandeya’s daughter in marriage. Markandeya replied that, “You are very ripe and old, my daughter is too young and she does not even know how to cook with proper salt contents” to which the old man replied, “If your daughter must cook without salt, then I will still take it as my best food, but I will not leave from here without marrying her”. Markandeya sought the help of Vishnu and then realised using his penance that the old man was none other than Vishnu himself.  Markandeya offered his daughter’s hand in marriage. As per the legend, the temple  Neivethiyam is always prepared without salt in the food.

Then, we went to Ivarvadi to have the darshan of  Goddess Prithyangara Devi.  This temple has  got cremation grounds on all the 8 sides. Pratyangaradevi with Her Lion face and 18 hands and smiling face appeared from the forehead eye of Lord Sarabeswarar.  She is dark in complexion wearing crescent moon on the head and holding trident, Pasam, Damarugam a leather musical instrument accompanied by Mothers Lakshmi and Saraswathy on both sides. Devotees participate in the Nikumbala Yajna to regain the position they had lost, for removal of enemy threats, relief from debt burdens, promotion in jobs, employment opportunities, wedding boon and progress in business.  Those afflicted with adverse aspects of Saturn-Sani Bhagwan also take part in the Nikumbala Yagam.  The red chillies used for homam will not cause cough or other inconvenience to the devotees.  The sacred banyan tree in the temple has also leaves of other trees as Bodhi, Mango, Ichi and Purasu. Five types of leaves exist in the same tree.

There is a legend about this temple.  Ravana’s son Indrajit performed Nikumbala Yagna to get victory in the war against Rama.   If he completed the yajna successfully, he would become unconquerable.  Knowing his plans, Lord Sri Rama too performed special pujas to Devi. Mother Pratyangaradevi knew the purpose of both sides.  She did not want to help Indrajit as his purpose was unjust.  She blessed Lord Rama with success in the war and in rescuing Mother Sita from the captivity of Ravana.

Our next visit is to Nachiar kovil. The Srinivasa perumal kovil  here is 14th of 108 Diva desams.  Goddess Lakshmi is known as Vanjulavalli.  Kal Garudar is the most prominent feature of the temple. Offering worship to the ‘Kalgarudan’ (Garuda made of stone) on Thursdays dispels all types of doshas. Perumal’s Garudaseva is popular in this temple.  As per Hindu legend, the sage Medhavi was doing penance at this place. While taking a bath in the river, he found an image of  Chakrathazhvar entwined with  Yoga Narasimha. A divine voice asked him to install the image in his hermitage and worship it. The Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu chose to grow in the hermitage and appeared to the sage in the form of a small girl and requested him to take care of her. Vishnu traveled in search of Lakshmi on his vehicle Garuda, the eagle. Garuda found the presence of Lakshmi in the hermitage. Vishnu appeared to Medhavi, pleased by the latter’s devotion and asked his daughter to be married to him. The sage happily married Lakshmi to Vishnu and requested him to stay in his place, which Vishnu accepted. 

The next destination  is Alangudi.  The main deity Shiva is known as “Apatsahayesvarar”.  As per legend  Shiva consumed deadly poison, giving rise to the name Alangudi and deity being termed Apatsahayesvarar, indicating saviour during hard times.  The ambal is known as darmasamvardhini.  This temple is the Parihara sthalam for Guru. Guru is attributed to luck, favour and fortune.

 

378. Our visit to temples – Part I

Suddenly we planned to visit some temples in and around Kumbakonam and Thanjavur.  We didn’t expect that we could visit 29 temples in four days (including journey from Coimbatore to Kumbakonam and back). I wish to share some important information about the temples visited by us and also our experience.

We visited all the Navagraha temples and some more temples. In all the Navagraha temples, the main deity is Lord Shiva and the graha sannnidhis are in the outside prahara only.

Since we had gone during working days, there was no rush. We had very good darshan in all temples. We could talk to the Archagars regarding  the Sthalapurana and important festivals  in many temples. We carried flowers only to all the deities. In some temples, they refused to do Archana since we didn’t carry coconut and banana. Everywhere, the parking fee is very high. We spent about Rs.1000/- as parking fee, overall. I wish that the parking and public toilet may be made free to the devotees, in all the temples. Another big problem is the disturbance by the beggars.  Many beggars are lazy and simply want to earn money, by just sitting in front of the temple. We offered money only to the old people and physically disabled.

We started on Monday morning   by 7.10 AM by Shatabdi Express, from Coimbatore. The journey was OK. Since we carried tiffin, we purchased coffee only in the train. The quality is not good. My husband’s friend arranged for a taxi to pick up us from Kumbakonam   station. We asked the driver to take us to all the temples, for 4 days.  He had already booked a room for us in Swamimalai. The lodge was near the temple. Very few vegetarian hotels are available near the temple and the food is OK.

As per the advice of my husband’s friend, we started by 4 PM to visit Thingalore. It is about 26 KM from Swamimalai.  It is situated on Kumbakonam to Thiruvaiyaru route. We had very good darshan there. Since it was Monday, there was little rush in the temple. Here, the Moolavar is Kailasanathar. Just like Guruvayur, Annaprasanam for infants is done here by many devotees.  The Graha Chandra removes all obstacles in our life and fulfills our desires such as marriage, child boon and good education.

Then, we returned to Swamimalai. After some time, my husband’s friend came and checked the facilities for us in the lodge. Then, he took us to Swamimalai Murugan temple. He is very popular there and the Archagars gave respect to him. They treated us well and they ask us to sit in front of Lord Muruga. We had  close-up darshan and we got malai-mariyadhai.

In Swamimalai, the main deity is Swaminathaswamy.  As per Hindu legend, once Lord Brahma insulted Muruga, the son of Shiva. Brahma told that he could create all creatures in the world with the help of four Vedas. On Muruga’s request he started reciting Vedas. He started with the Pranava ManthramOm“. Muruga asked Him to tell the meaning of it. Since Brahma could not answer, Muruga imprisoned Him. Lord Shiva went to rescue Brahma. Shiva asked Muruga to explain the meaning and He extolled the meaning of the Pranava Mantra (Om) to his father at this place and hence attained the name Swaminathaswamy.  Brahma was released.  The shrine of the son Muruga is atop the hillock, while the father Shiva’s shrine is located at the basement. There are sixty steps and each one is named after the sixty Tamil years. Swamimalai is 4th of Arupadaiveedu temples. The peacock is not the Vahana of Muruga here and the elephant is the divine vehicle.

There are three prakarams and three entrances in this Murugan shrine. The southen entrance is the main entrance to the temple and the main temple tower (Raja gopuram) – with its 5 tiers – is located above this entrance.There is a temple dedicated to Meenakshi Sundareswarar ( depicting Lord Vishnu giving his sisters hand in marriage to Lord   Shiva ) – this temple is known as Kizh Koil . The main temple that enshrines Lord Muruga as Swaminadha swami is known as Mel Koil.

We spent some more time in the temple and returned to the hotel, after thanking my husband’s friend.

376. Aprameya and Navaneetha Krishna

aprameyanavaneethakrishna

While reciting Vishnu Sahasranamam, we say, “Aprameyo Hrishikeshah Padmanabho maraprabhuh”. Aprameya is one of the names of Lord Vishnu. Chola king Rajendra Simha built a temple in Doddamallur. It is located in Channapatna taluk, Karnataka. It is about 60 KM from Bangalore on the Bangalore-Mysore highway.

The idol of main deity Lord Aprameya is made out of saligrama found in river Gandaki.  The idol is in abhayahastha posture with 4 hands. The two upper arms are holding Shanku and Chakra. The lower arms are holding Gadha and Padma. Sridevi and Bhoodevi idols are also kept.  It is believed that Sri Rama had stayed here for many years and worshipped the Lord here and hence Sri Aprameya swamy is also called Sri Ramapreya swamy.

But the biggest attraction here is the sanctum dedicated to baby Krishna, known here as Navaneetha Krishna – a mesmerising idol of baby Krishna in a crawling posture, with his long locks braided neatly in a pigtail flowing over his body, and carrying a grab of butter in one hand. Those who are longing for baby, when pray to this Navaneetha Krishna, he fulfills the wishes immediately. They come again with the baby and pray their offerings to the God.  Small cradles tied are seen on the ceiling  in this sannidhanam.

The Vaishnava advaitha saint Sri Ramanujacharya worshipped the Lord Aprameya during his visit in Karnataka. The famous music composer Sri Purandaradasa was inspired by seeing the idol of Ambegal Krishna and wrote the song “Jagadho dharana” and sang this song. The Purandaradasa mandapa is also there.

This place is worth a visit for both the divinity of the place and the architectural beauty of the temple.

375. Digital Amnesia

digital amnesia

What is Digital Amnesia?  An over-reliance and dependability on using computers & search engines are weakening the memory of the human beings. This happens due to constant advancement of technology.  The continuous progress and evolution of technology in terms of hardware, software, operating systems and methods of digital encoding guarantees the possibility that digital amnesia will become a problem in the near future.

Smartphones have transformed our lives. They connect us to the people and things we care about and place information at our fingertips. It’s not just our behavior that’s adapting;   our brains are too.  The process of recalling information is a very efficient way to create a permanent memory. In contrast, passively repeating information, such as repeatedly looking it up on the internet, does not create a solid, lasting memory trace in the same way.     People are ready to forget important information in the belief that it can be immediately retrieved from a digital device.

Is there any way to overcome  “Digital Amnesia?” Yes, where there is a will, there is a way. When it comes to phone numbers, research has shown that our memories are not terribly good. While 49% of people could not remember their parents’ phone numbers, 71% could not recall their children’s numbers.  Mnemonics are an excellent tool for translating information into a more easily remembered format, and rely on a combination of processes.  Chunking  involves breaking information down into smaller ‘chunks’ so that it is easier to remember.  Brain games are also a brilliant way to keep your memory working well. Even incredibly simple things such as the Tray Game are very effective.   Playing brain games such as chess, Sudoku and bingo is a great way to give your brain a workout and prevent it from succumbing to digital amnesia!

Be cautious and prevent yourself from  Digital Amnesia.