Friday, September 26, 2008

Nectar would pall, not the Lord here

Emperuman is a sleeping beauty and it is all the more pleasurable when he is in Uththana sayanam (posture when is in the motion of getting up).

The moolavar, Aaravamudhan, is seen reclining on Anandan (five headed snake popularly known as Adhisesha). The sayana thirukolam (sleeping posture) is quite unique in this divya desam, Lord here appears, in Utthaana sayanam, as though he is about to get up. Sridevi and Bhudevi are seen on either side of the Lord in devotional posture. Lord, and his consort manifested on their own making this divya desam a Swayam Vyakta kshetram, on par with Srirangam, Srimushnam, Thirumala and Badri etc..

When you are blessed with the opportunity to visit the Lord, please don’t close your eyes while praying, observer closely the following unique features of the Lord. The cheeks have a slight hint of chubbiness. Lord has punmuruval (half-smile) on his lovely lips indicating his pleasure in seeing us. His complexion is slightly reddish; the color of red gold, this is what prompted Nammalwar to exclaim "Aani sem pon meni Endaai".
Lord here almost rose up from his bed in response to Thirumazhisai alwar's command, "Kidandavaaru Ezhundirundu Pesu Vaazhi Kesane" (Do rise and shine and do speak to me). Thirumazhisai alwar was so dedicated that Emperuman was under his command and followed his instruction in another temple in Kanchipuram also, the details are at

Kamalavalli taayaar is in a separate sannidhi and she is "Padithanda Patni", like Renganayaki of Srirangam and Perundevi of Kanchipuram, all her utsavams are conducted inside the temple only.

The utsava murthy (processional idol) sports all the five weapons (panchaayudhaas) – the divine discus, the cosmic conch, the magnificent mace, the sword nandakam and the beautiful bow saarngam – in his hands. It is the Saarngam that gives him his name at this divya desam, Saarangapani. The palm is held in abhaya pose, extending assurance of absolute protection, peace and dispelling fear.

Also the Emperuman's names are unique at this divya desam. He is adulated as the nectar that never palls, the Amudam (nectar) of which you can never have enough. The more you drink of him in, the greater is the yearning for more of him. Another wonderful name, unique to Aaraavamudan and which no other Emperuman has is Aalwan – he is affectionately called Aaraavamudaalwaan. It is not without reason that emperuman became an alwaan too. There are two reasons for the name, former related to Nathamuni and later related to Thirumazhisai Alwar.

During the era of Nathamuni, the divya prabandas had all but disappeared from popular usage. Once when Nathamuni was on the way to this temple, he heard a group of Sri Vaishnavas reciting eleven beautiful tamil verses. The pasurams began with Aaraavamude and concluded with "aayirathul ippatthu" (ten verses out of a thousand). On enquiry the Sri Vaishnavas were not aware of the remaining 990 songs. Nathamuni travelled far and wide is search of the remaining verses. Nathamuni recited Kanni Nun Siruthaambu, poem composed by Madhurakavi alwar on Nammalwar, 1,200 times with great devotion. Please at the devotee’s perseverance, Nammalwar appeared before Nathamuni and gave him all the four thousand verses, which he later set to music and propagated to all his disciples. Since it was the pasuram on Aaraavamudan that led to the rediscovery of the lost treasure of tamil marai, he is afforded a status equal to that of the original composers and called affectionately as Aaraavamudaalwar. This is not just a cock and bull story, one of the naamaavali of Aaraavamudan used during archana is "Draavida Shruti Darsakaaya nama". Another reason is Lord’s relationship with Thirumazhisai Alwar, which was so close that it was difficult to discern at times as to who between them was the master and who the devotee. Alwar is a name given to those who are immersed in the Lord and his attributes. Since the Lord here appeared immersed in the enchanting attributes of Thirumazisai Alwar, Emperuman came to be known as Alwan and Thirumazhisai Alwar was given the sobriquet Piran. Thus the actual Piran became Alwar and the real Alwar became Piran.

It is not only the Lord or his name that is unique, even his abode is not only unique but also beautiful and artistic. The sanctum is made of black granite and is shaped like a huge chariot with wheels, drawn by life-like elephants and horses, all apparently in motion. There are two entrances, Uttarayana vaasal or northern gate and Dakshinayana vaasal or southern gate, to the sanctum sanctorum, each with nine steps. The Uttarayana vaasal is open between mid-Jan to mid-July and the Dakshinayana vaasal is open between mid-July to mid-Jan.

Legend has it that Mahalakshmi was enraged that Brighu maharishi kicked Vishnu out of arrogance as he was not welcomed by Vishnu when he visited him in Vaikuntam. She left for the earth and settled in Kolapur. Lord came in form as Srinivasan, in search of Mahalakshmi, and married Goddess Padmavathi in Tirupathi. As Mahalakshmi was not with him, Lord had no money and had to borrow from Khubera. By now, Mahalakshmi, staying at Kolapur, came to know about Lord’s marriage and subsequent departure of Padmavathi through Narada. Mahalakshmi was very angry and started searching Lord Srinivasa who had fled to paathala loga in Kumbakkonam. Mahalakshmi searched everywhere but her effort gave no fruit. So she became a small child and crawled as BalaKomalavalli in Potramarai kulam. Brighu maharishi was reborn as Hema rishi and started to bring her up as his daughter. Hema maharishi performed hard penance and pleaded Emperuman to accept his daughter. Lord emerged out of Vaideha Vimanam and came in a huge chariot and married Komalavalli Taayaar.
As Taayaar was angry with Lord Srinivasa who has a standing posture to soothe her anger adapted the sleeping posture in this divya desam. As Rama is known to one man – one wife format of life, Emperuman adapted the saarngam in order to give assurance of security for his wife. Mahalakshmi on her part repented for her mistake and from her part took a vow never to leave her beloved husband. Hence even today she never leaves out of her chamber and remains Padhi Thanda Pathni. There is a Paadhala Srinivasar in this temple which is a testimony to the above tale.
This place is also called Bhaskara Kshetram as Surya, who lost his power of brightness regained it after performing tapas on the Sudarsana chakra of the Lord Sarangapani.

The Lord rests under Vaidika vimanam which is considered to be the offshoot of the Srirangam Pranava vimanam. The similarity between Srirangam doesn’t stop at that, here Cauvery and its tributary Arasalaaru form a grand garland by flowing on either side of the town.

Brahma collected all the vedha’s amirtham (nectar) and placed them in a kudam (pot) and placed it on top of mount Meru before pralayam. During the pralayam the pot was washed away by the flood and moved southwards and came to halt in a particular place. Shiva pierced the kudam and the amurtham flowed and formed two ponds. One is Mahamagam kulam (tank) and the other is Potramarai kulam, which is the pushkarani of this temple, as the amirtham flowed from kudam this place is called Thiru Kudanthai (thiru signifying Taayaar).

Couple of unique features. When the contributor of the majestic tower, Lakshmi Narayana, died without issue on deepavali day, the Lord took it upon himself to perform the last rites through an archaka. Till date Aaraavamudan performs shraaddham annually to this devotee on deepavali day. On a particular day in Margazhi, the Lord dons female attire and ornaments while his concert sport a masculine grab.

The temple tower is 150 ft tall and is ranked third tallest among the divya desams. Srirangam at 236 ft and Srivilliputhur at 192 ft are ranked first and second.

Mangalaasaasanam: Next to Srirangam and Tirupathi maximum numbers of Alwars have sung praise of Lord here. Seven of the twelve alwars have lost themselves in the beauty of Aaraavamudan and have contributed 51 verses to this Emperuman.
  • Bhoothat Alwar 2 pasurams
  • Pei Alwar 2 pasurams
  • Thirumazhisai Alwar 7 pasurams
  • Nam Alwar 11 pasurams
  • Peria Alwar 3 pasurams
  • Andal 1 pasuram
  • Thirumangai Alwar 25 pasurams

Location: This temple is located in the centre of Kumbakonam

No comments: