DHARSHAN OF TEMPLES OF LORD SASTHA
(AYYANIN ALAYA DHARISANAM)BYSri Maha Saastru Priyadasan V. Aravind SubrahmanyamTranslated by Shri. Thiruvarur Chandrashekaran
DHARSHAN OF TEMPLES OF LORD SASTHA
(AYYANIN ALAYA DHARISANAM)
KURAI THEERKKUM KULATHTHUPUZHAI BHALAGAN
(The Youth of Kulaththupuzhai who grants our wishes)
Time was running out fast. Our van driver, Mr Singaram, had been maintaining a steady safe speed right from Coimbatore. I just went near him and requested him to go a little bit faster till we reach Kulaththupuzhai. He too stepped up the speed of the vehicle.
Mr.Narayanan made a request to me to tell the ”stories” about the temple at Kulaththupuzhai. Kulaththupuzhai is also one, out of the important kshetrams of the Lord. Lord Parasurama originally installed the idol of Lord at this temple. But over a period of time, there was no trace either of the idol or the temple as they both got wiped out.
Once during the regime of kottaarakaara Maharaja, who ruled over this part of the country, a Brahmin was returning through this area after completing his yatra (pilgrimage) to Rameswaram. He had a cook with him, who belonged to a family (clan) having the title of kurup.
They rested for a while at this place on the banks of the river kalladai and decided to spend the whole day there itself. While arranging the stones, to serve as a makeshift
“camp fire-a hearth “ for burning of wood for cooking purposes, the cook kurup noticed that one stone appeared to be somewhat taller than the rest of the stones. So he selected somewhat taller stones and rearranged them to form the hearth. Try as much as he can, it always resulted in one particular stone appearing to be somewhat taller than the rest. Vexed with this situation out of sheer frustration the cook “Kurup” hit hard on that stone with another stone. That particular stone now broke into 8 pieces and immediately blood too started to ooze out of that stone.
Frightened at the sight of blood, the cook ran and brought his Brahmin master to that site. The Brahmin realized the sannidhyam (divine presence) of Lord Saastha being there, tied together the broken pieces of the stone with the dharbhai (kusa grass/sacrificial grass) and performed puja to that tied stone pieces. The kottarakkara king who came to know about this incidence visited this place and constructed a temple too for the Lord. Even today all the puja and abhishegam etc are done to that stone only.
The king rewarded the cook kurup with gifts and permanent endowments and honoured him as it was he who identified and helped in locating the Lord as well as HIS temple, both of which had got hidden and vanished from existence. Lord Manikantan, who, blesses even those who speak ill of him,(vaitharayum vazhavaikkum deyvam) had given a permanent place in the temple at Kulaththupuzhai to the Kurup, as it was he who helped locating the place of the original temple. Since he hit on the head of the original idol of the Lord, he is called by the name Thalai Adichchaan Kurup (The head hitter Kurup!).
Manidhasar has sung the same:
“thalai azuththi Andavan silai kondu adiththathum
udan Sthaanam koduththathum ivarE”
(As soon as he hit the idol of the Lord, pressing down its head, it is He who gave him a place of honour immediately)
By the time I finished telling the “story” of the Kulaththupuzhai temple originally established by Lord Parasurama, which over a period of time , vanished from the scene and its emergence once again, it was already well past 12 O’ clock in the noon. So I too got reconciled to the fact that this was all my prabtham (good luck) for today. As usual I got very angry with “Him”. I just shut my eyes and resigned to silence.
By 12.20 our van entered the temple premises. All of us hurriedly jumped out of the van and ran fast and rushed inside. But to our surprise on reaching the sannidhi the Melsanthi was just then performing the Deeparadhanai (camphor arathi) . The Lord Ayyan was smiling at me holding the bow and arrow in his hands!
This is what happens always! Till the last minute He plays hide and seek with me. Then I reprimand Him. Then in a matter of seconds He changes the entire scene as per His whims and fancies and smiles at me and asks “How is it? Speak now!” I used to stand before him speechless, breathless and spell bound !
Even now the same thing happened with me. …. I did not see or feel any thing else….
To me it appeared that my favorite deity was standing before me Prathyaksham(Alive). After all I am an ordinary mortal being. How can I compete with Him with His whims and fancies and adjust with his Big Shot approach?
“uRRaar enakku oruvarum illayE unaiyanRi
urviithalaththil engkum onRaaga ninRu ilangkukindRa
un mahimaiyai en naavaal uraikka eLithO?
baktha kOdiyul oruvan eLimaiyaay inRu ingku
parithavikkindRathaamO? parivaaga niir en kudumbaathi
guruvenRu uLLam paaviththu irangki mElum
koththadimai yaan seytha kuRRam poruththu ennai
kaaththaruL seythum-unthan kuvalayaanantha
viziyaamrutham theLinthu-en kudi vaLarththu inbuRac seyviir
siRRambalaththil ninRu nirtham viLaiththa en kula
theyvamE! KuLaththuur –thirumaalaran peRRa
selvakkumaara nithi jaya viira maNikaNdanE!”
(I don’t have anyone as relative other thanYou.. How is it possible to describe with my tongue your greatness; You who are omnipresent?
How can I, a simple devotee, out of billions of your devotees, be allowed to suffer here? Thou art my family guru take pity on me; bear with all the misdeeds of this perpetual bonded slave of yours! Please protect me! Please bless me with the nectar of your eyes which makes the entire universe happy! Please bless me and my heirs and keep them all happy! You who dances in the chittrambalam (small temple)
You are my kula deivam (family deity)! You are the beloved son and jewel, of Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva . Glory be to the victorious Manikantan of Kulaththur. )
I now felt as if HE was telling to me “ Look! I am here!”
My mind became “blank” completely. Only after hitting my head against the low roof several times I could slowly come to my senses and become normal and could even start speaking!
Though Abishekam, Puja etc are all done only to the stone chips tied together with a silver band, for purpose decoration etc one tall panchaloha metallic statue of the Lord has been erected recently.
He stands majestically as Veera Manikandan (warrior form) holding bow and arrow in his hands Sabarigirish had brought one silk vastram and a silver lamp to be offered to the Youth-Lord of Kulaththupuzhai , in fulfillment of some pledge . These were humbly placed before the Lord as an offering.
After distributing prasadhams as well as payasam (liquid sweetened milk) and we took leave of the Lord, the doors of the sanctum sanctorum too were just got closed – what a perfect timing by us!
We saw the members of a family, which had left Aryankavu before us, were just then entering the temple!!! As told by the Chief Priest at Aryankavu we really seem to have had His “baghyam”!!!
Be it as may. It was He who had invited us. Here we only are His Guest! So it is He who has to play the role of Host!
As we went around the outside praharam (perimeter) of the temple we saw the sannidhi of Lord Ganesh and Sarpakkavu (serpent gods place). Doing worship of the serpent gods here with Noorum Palum is considered a very powerful remedy for pacifying the serpent gods and overcome the ill effects of any curse or anger of the serpents for any injustice done to them by our forefathers or us. Sri Neelakanta Guruswamy (SIR) of Trivandrum, always used to stress this point very vehemently. Many are unaware that for not begetting a child, especially male child, due to Naga dosham this type of worship is a vara prasadam(big boon).
All of us went inside the office room of the temple and competed with one another in buying dozens of the small size photos of the Lord. By the side of the office room in the open yard a new idol of Devi had been erected. When we enquired the reply given was that it is mambhazhat- thurai Bhagawathy. How this idol came to this place is not clear to me. The officials of the Dewasom Board are acting peculiarly, doing all sorts of things, which have no rhyme or reason!
As we went around the temple further the YakshiKavu was also seen by us. That reminded me of the Yakshi, the thought of which sent a wave of heavenly feeling throughout my body even now.
With a dense growth of trees and creepers forming a “wall” around, and with a few more plants and trees forming a “roof” above and inside it in a raised mud platform, the idol of Yaksi Devi had been installed.
On hearing the name of yakshi, many step aside out of fear. It is true that she is ferocious (Roudram)
But if one approaches her with bakthi one could see a beauty and look of benevolence even in that Roudram.
Once when I had been to Kochi I went to the Yakshi-Kavu and found that there was not a single soul other than me anywhere nearby. Later on I came to know that people visit that place only once in a year to do puja to Yakshi!
That place where we stood at Kulaththupuzhai was a very lonely place and was a clear proof that it was a place of “No Mans Land”. ! That clearly revealed the pari purna sannidhyam (100 % divine presence) of Yakshi Devi at that place and we could even feel it.
We just stood there silently and prayed and came out. However, as usual, I went and had a dharshan of the Devi once again and recited the mantram of Yakshi devi inwardly.
All of a sudden there was a sudden gentle breeze with the sound “woo’ as result of which lot of tiny flowers from the trees above showered upon the idol of Yakshi. This happened right before my eyes, which sent pleasant shock waves throughout my body!
Mr Arun, who visited that place after we had left from there, said that he too had similar heavenly experience.
One has to witness the “arrival” of Yakshi in sampradhaya (traditional) Saastha Preethi Celebrations.
She would make such a sound in a commanding shouting voice sending shuddering shock waves through everyone’s body. That person on whom Yakshi would have come down (AvirBhavam) would drink several potfuls of water mixed with turmeric as well as sandalwood paste water and would be so ugram(ferocious behaviour) that it would be difficult for any one to control his movements and actions and hence may even have to be bound by chains!
“maNikaNdar sa-n-nithiyil ugra naaraSimmam pOl
unni viLayaadi varum
penne veRikkal yakshi thaayE unnaip
pEnith thozuthEn aruLvaayE!”
(You arrive at the sannidhi of Manikantan, (during Saastha Preethi), like the ugra (ferocious) Narasimhan (lion faced human god) and play around as a girl. You are Verikkal Yakshi, the Mother. I surrender before you and pray. Have mercy upon me!)
So sings Manidhasar.
With a sense of full satisfaction we left that place and came to the river of Kulaththupuzhai. All the fishes living therein are all very fine devadais (divine bodies). They are dwelling here to receive the blessings of the Lord Saastha. So feeding these fishes is considered as sacred and a very special act.
We bought rice puffs and peanuts from nearby shops and fed the fishes from the top of the bridge. Both Shyam and Nataraj went a step further and bought one more packet of each for themselves to supplement their food items.
“meenetuththu vizunginathOr meyyaana thiraviyaththai
thaanetuththu thantha engal thampuraanum niirallavO”
(Thou art our Lord who recovered and restored one real costly item swallowed by a fish.)
This is yet one more song of Manidhasar.
A destitute girl came to take bath in the river. The one and only belonging she had as her own was a golden ring, which her parents had bequeathed to her. When she was taking bath in the river the ring slipped from her finger and fell into the flowing river. A big fish swallowed it and vanished into the river.
The Tamil saying is Thikkatravarku deyvame thunai .(God is the only support for destitutes.) Not knowing what to do the girl rushed to the sannidhi of Kulaththupuzhai Baalagan and wept and sought HIS help. The priest too consoled her. While the girl was still weeping there came a fisherman. He handed over a golden ring to the priest and said that he caught a fish that morning in his net and when he cut the belly of the fish this ring was found therein. The priest gave that ring to the girl. When both of them turned their heads to thank the fisherman there was none present. The fisherman had vanished.
“pOna poruLaik koduththavan puurNa pushkalEsan.”
(One who returned the lost item is the Lord of Purna and Pushkala)
The Lord Saastha blesses all these fishes in the river. They are divine bodies that act as per His commands.
Once a British official who visited this temple caught a fish and killed ignoring the protests of people. He immediately lost his eyesight. Realizing his mistake he prayed to the Lord of Kulaththupuzhai who restored his eyesight. As a thanksgiving measure he presented a golden fish to the Lord.
With great mental satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment of all our actions we took leave of Kulaththooran and started our journey once again. The plan was to have the lunch at Courtallam and proceed to have dharshan of Lord Sori Muththaiyan.