Part VIII (Final Part)
DHARSHAN OF TEMPLES OF LORD SASTHA
(AYYANIN ALAYA DHARISANAM)
Sri Maha Saastru Priyadasan V. Aravind Subrahmanyam
Translated by Shri. Thiruvarur Chandrashekaran
“THIRUMENI AZHAGAN THANTHA VARAVERPPU”
(The Grand Welcome Given by The Lord with Beautiful Form)
From there we went straight to Pazhavoor. It was a long pending desire of mine to visit this temple. But even without visiting this temple I had however written in my book “Maha Saastha Vijayam”, that, “every one must visit this temple at least once, without fail and have a dharshan of the Lord” This time I decided that I must visit this temple some how or the other. I contacted Sri Ramalingam of Kochi. For him this Lord is his “Kula Dayvam” (Family Deity). I did not however anticipate that he would issue instructions to keep everything ready at the temple in anticipation of our visit. When I enquired about this with Sri Srinivasa Iyer who is looking after the affairs of the temple, he simply said “ All of you please come in! You are most welcome! Whatever festivities take place on “Panguni Uthram Day” (Saasthas special day), all those would take place TODAY”
Pazhavoor is situated deep inside from the main road. Since we had been briefed in advance that we have to go inside after crossing the village “Pettai Sudhdhamalli” we came to the correct place without much hassle.
Sri Srinivasa Iyer had kept ready everything before we reached the temple. All the “Kumbhams” after due pujas, have been kept and “Rudra paaraayanam”(recitation of “Srirudram”) was also over, duly completed. The idols of all deities have been anointed with oil and ready for abhishegam.
The idol of Lord Ganesh and alongwith him three “parivara ganangals”(followers and bodyguards) are also there. As ‘Sakthi Swaroopini” “Vana Paychchi Amman” (speaking deity of forest) idol was there. With Trishul (trident) and the skull in the hands she is seen as “Bhairavi”. On one side “Maadan” and the other “Karuppan”. Both are “Swaabhaaviga Ugramoorthys” (by nature ferocious). But here they were in “Prasanna Saannidhyam”(pleasant disposition) could be felt very clearly.
It is a small temple only. But the “Murthy”(Lord) and its “Keerthy”(Fame) are immeasurable. The Lord here is known as “Poornaa Pushkalaa Sametha Thirumeni Azhaghar” No idea as to who selected this name for christening the idol. But, there is no doubt that it is the outcome of one’s own realization as it is most appropriate. One cannot locate such exquisitely carved stone idol anywhere else. It is incorrect to call it a stone idol. Lord Hariharaputra is prathyaksham here (Present in reality).
We have seen the “balakrishnan”(Lord Krishna as a Child) in some photos dressed in a peculiar hairstyle, with a bunch of hairs as a “Kona Kondai”, (slanted tuft) in front side of the head. With such a slanted “tuft” Lord Thirumeni Azaghar is seen seated with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala.
He is the Kula Daivam (family deity) for about 1000 families. He is the family deity of
“Palai” Sri Bhaskara Iyer who was nominated as His representative at Sabarimalai by the Lord Himself.
This temple is more than 1200 years old. During the British regime orders came from higher ups to demolish the temple to build a dam at that site.
All the people approached the Collector with a plea not to demolish the temple of their deity. “Who are “you” to plead not to demolish the temple? Whomsoever you say as the owner of the temple let that Saastha come and tell me. I shall then take a final decision.”
“The owner of the temple himself spoke directly to the Collector and got the dam shifted to another site” said Srinivasa Iyer.
The minute I entered inside He, ThirumeniAzhaghan, captured my heart. It is beyond words to describe adequately the beauty and the grand manner in which he is majestically seated therein. He had folded his one leg up and the other hanging down, he had a slanting “tuft” in the front of the head, he had a bubbling smile in the face. The beauty has to be experienced in person.
The abisheagam started with recitation of the veda mantras by learned pundits. We too joined in the “veda parayanam”(recital of veda). With the reverberating sound of the veda recitation in the back ground, the Lord accepted Abhishegam with various items viz. milk, curd, ghee, tender coconut water, sandal paste, panchamrutam etc. We were all alone there (yekaantham) and enjoyed to our full mental satisfaction. When finally the “viboothy” (sacred ash) abhishegam was over, and the Lord was garlanded with one made of “rudraksha beads” and the “pirambhu” (a cane stick) was given in his hands, my mind was completely occupied by Him!
Then we carried the “poorna kumbham” (the biggest kumbham which is kept as center piece while reciting Vedas to charge it with power) and went around (circumambulate) the temple. Then with that sanctified water in the poorna kumbham abishegam was performed to the idols of Poorna, Pushkala and Ayyan.
As part of the “alankarams”(decoration) they put on the silver “kavacham” (coverings) to all the deities. No wonder! Though the Lord is residing at such a remote village he had effortlessly (anaayasam) got “accomplished” the desires and wishes of many a devotees and in turn accepted their “kaingaryams” (token of gratitude) like the silver kavachams.
After completing the detailed pujas and archanas the priest took “deepaaradhanai” (camphor aarathy). I looked at the Lord. “Yennada…Tripthiyaa?” (Hi, Are you satisfied and happy) asked the Lord silently and symbolically. A smile seemed to appear on HIS face as if seeking my approval.
“Here My Lord is seated in reality (“Prathyaksham”).” Overwhelmed by feelings I could not control my sobbing.
“Vilichchaal Vili Ketgum Daiyvame…”(Malayalam Prayer)(The Lord who responds to one’s call)
I could only cry aloud as above.
Oh! The Lord of Ocean of Mercy! Who else is there in this universe “equal” to you?
Such an elaborate arrangement in such an isolated village was quite an unexpected one.
As a devoted follower of Lord Ayyan, Srinivasa Iyer had made excellent arrangements for the conduct of the Puja. Not stopping at that, in the sannidhi of the Lord, he also served us lunch as a prasadam of the Lord. In fact a mini Saastha Preethi had been conducted.
I had no mind to come out of such a wonderful sannidhi. “Till next visit these sweet memories will engulf our minds completely”
We again had yet one more dharshan to the delight of our eyes and hearts.
“maruvilaathu avaniyilE un vaasal asaaram Odhum
manthiri veLLaikkal bUtham vaakku uRuthi seythu adimai
sey maaththiram sonna vaasamE aRikilEnE !
vaRumaiyai thIrththu nal vaLam perugavE manam ennavO
i n nEram mathiyuRRu unathu bakthi vaazvuRa
seeyavum manam illa kaLLan anthO!”
“kirubai seythu enthanidam urimai vaiththaal unthan
kIrththikku kuRaivu AgumO-giri pancamaagra
sanjcaritha un mirudhu paatha kiruslayam sernthu ilankka
aRivu illaatha enthan akilaa abaraatham poRuththu ennai
Aandu koNdarula ithu nalla samayam ayyanE!”
(Your Minister, Vellaikkal Bootham, who ceaselessly trumpets the “Dos and Don’ts” from your doorsteps to the world, promised and said Do Serve The Lord; other than that I know nothing. For removing my poverty, increasing my welfare don’t you have the heart? By now attaining good sense should not my mind be devoted to you for a better life but it is acting like a thief)
(If you take pity on me and keep relations with me will it bring down your glory?
You who wander over all the five hills! I who do not have the good sense to surrender at your soft feet, please bear with me and pardon all my wrong deeds. This is the right and opportune moment to take me under your folds and tender care.)
We started from there for the simple reason that we have to return back home.
Right from the start of this yatra, Lord Sastha, who had made me to dance to his tunes as a “puppet” in his hands, who had given us wonderful dharshan at all places seems to have selected this place as a finale for the yatra, to complete it with a mangalam (happy ending) and make it sampoornam.
We, who had no connection, none whatsoever with this village, had been brought to this forest and had been bestowed with such an enjoyable “Yekantha” dharshan. You shower us with your blessings and bountifully grant all our wishes. You are the great benefactor.
You are my family deity. You are the protector of your devotees. Please grant me the boon never ever to forget you.
Will the yatra of Ayyan be complete without the dharshan of Ambaal?
Whenever Saastha Preethi is celebrated it is to be completed by having a “Bhagawathy Sevai” (worship of Ambal in a lighted lamp) too as per Sampradhaayam. (Traditional practices).
“Ayyanum Ammaiyum Anugrahichchaal Athuve Gaja-Kesari Yogam” is a saying in Kerala. ( If Ayyan (Father) and Ammai (Mother) bless us that is Gaja- Kesari (Elephant & Lion) Yogam)
“Paravathee hridhayaanandam –Saasthaaram Pranamaamyaham”(Sanskrit Slogam).
(I bow to Lord Saastha, the beloved of Godess Parvathi)
So on our way back we went to Maduari and had an enjoyable dharshan of the Mother Godess Meenaksi, Mother of the Lord Saastha, the “paandyesa vamsa thilagam” (the star of pandya king dynasty), and “Appan Chokkan” (Lord Chokkanaathar).
I had gone to all these holy places earlier too. Due to the grace of the Lord let me have the good fortune to visit them again in future too. But the experiences I under went this time would always remain green in my memory.
Saastha is also called “Avvyaja Karunaa Moorthy” (Lord of Mercy with no expectations in return). All our actions and efforts, Bhakthi-Puja-Bhajan are all done with some expectations in return from the Lord. But for the mercy he bestows on us no reason is needed. It His first act of mercy that he gave us a heart that is favorably disposed towards him and a mind which wants to worship him. He explicitly made this clear during this trip. It is that mercy which is continuing till date, till this moment.
Drenched in His rain of Mercy we took leave from Ayyan and returned to Coimbatore.
Swaamiye Saranam Ayyappa!!! Swaamiye Saranam Ayyappa!!!
First Yatra Sampoornam
First Yatra Sampoornam