Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pushkala at Aryankavu and Poorna-Pushkala

Last week the temple committee of Mampazhathurai Bagawathi contacted me and wanted to know few basic details of the Devi and about the Kalyanam of Sastha at Aryankavu.

They had a basic confusion that, at Aryankavu Sastha is wedded to Pushkala and whereas in Tamilnadu its mostly Poorna and Pushkala. They doubted why there is no Poorna here at Aryankavu. They were also confused regarding the history dates etc.

All these made me write this article. A detailed version of this article may appear in their magazine in future.

Lord Sastha is a divine manifestation and has numerous forms and avatharas. The original Moola Swaroopam of Sastha is with his two consorts—Poorna and Pushkala - this represents thatthe Lord is with Iccha and Kriya Shakthi. Ive already written a lot about this in past. 

Worshipping Lord Sastha with Poorna Pushkala has been in vogue in Tamil Nadu and Kerala from time immemorial. Various Puranic texts like Skandha Purana, Padma Purana and Brahmanda Purana- the incarnation of Sastha is explained. All these texts hail the Lord as Poorna Pushkala Samedhan. When Parasurama created God's own country - he pleaded the Lord and installed Sastha at various places. The prime temple among all these is Aryankavu.

Now coming to the Sastha Thiru Kalyanam at Aryankavu - it is being performed by TRAVANCORE DEVASWOM BOARD, with all religious rites on the 10th night of Dhanur masya (prior to Mandalabhishegam day) every year, for ages past. This Tirukkalyanam is done to Sastha and Pushkala devi - which is our Subject of discussion.

We must make one point clear that this Pushkala Devi is not to be confused with the Original Poorna Pushkala devis. This Pushkala devi who was born in one of the Sowrashtra family belonging to Madurai , finally got merged with the Lord  of  Aryankavu

First let me brief the story,

Around 16th Century AD, the people belonging to the Sowrashtra sect came down to Tamilnadu and settled in and around Madurai. They were mainly engaged in the business of weaving of silk clothes. Like Brahmins they too wear the sacred thread. So they were called Pattu Nool Brahmins. One such merchant of silk had a daughter. This young kid had extreme love and attachment towards Lord Hariharaputra. 

(What was her original name is not clearly mentioned anywhere. Some say it was Bhagawathi and Some others say it was Pushkala. I am of  the view that the name Pushkala presently in vogue could be a later day modification to synchronize with the namesake  Pushkala , one of the consorts of the ancient  Lord Dharma Saastha. We need not attach any importance to the issue of  name. The love and affection the girl had towards Lord Dharma Saastha and the Anugraham (grace/benignity) bestowed on her by the Lord, in return, are what is important here)

Once that silk merchant embarked upon a journey to Trivandrum and his daughter, Pushkala, too expressed a desire to accompany him and joined him in his journey.

During the journey they came across the temple of Aryankavu. The little girl who was attracted towards the Lord and she firmly declined to continue the journey and requested him to take her while returning. The merchant entrusted her to the safe custody of the Melsanthi of the temple and continued with his journey.

After completing the business, when the merchant was returning back, he was chased by a wild elephant in the forest area. The merchant was dumbfounded and could do nothing. Suddenly a hunter appeared on the scene from somewhere. He looked at the charging mad elephant and drove it away like it were a mere domestic cat! 

The merchant was very much pleased and presented him a silk shawl. But the hunter asked him for a return favour for saving his life.

“Will you agree to marry your daughter to me?”  

Without any second thought the merchant immediately gave his consent.

“ I shall then meet you tomorrow at the temple at Ariyankavu “ replied the hunter and went away.

The merchant reached the temple in the midnight. So he slept there somewhere near the temple. The Lord appeared in the dreams of Merchant and the temple priests asked them to bring the girl dressed up as a bride. 

When they wokeup, the merchant searched for his daughter but could not find her. When the Nambroothi, the chief priest of the temple, heard about it, he rushed to the temple and opened the doors of the sanctum sanctorum. There, Aryanathan, Lord of Aryankavu, appeared as Kalyana Sundaran (beautiful bridegroom) wearing the shining shawl given to the hunter by the merchant. This made it very clear, beyond doubts, as to who came as the hunter on the previous day.  This also solved the mystery of the missing girl. The Lord had accepted Pushkala Devi as his consort who was now seen in the form of a small idol by His side. The girl Pushkala merged with the Lord. She was only 9 years at the time.

Thereafter in the fond memory of this event ,the wedding of Sri Pushkala to Lord Sastha was celebrated every year. In remembrance to this event the Sourashtra people come here as the sambanthi to the lord, to conduct the Lord's Thirukalyanam -which is celebrated as 11 days festival.

When the Sourashtra settlement (at Madurai) happend only around 16th Century, there is no point in confusing the Saurashtrian devotee Pushkala with Poorna -Pushkala (daughter of Sathyapoorna Maharishi of Puranic age).

This Pushkala devi is similar to Sri Andaal of Srivillipuththur. Andaal was a human girl, who became one (got merged) with the Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. Likewise this Pushkala devi who was born in one of the Sowrashtra family, finally got merged with the Lord  of Aryankavu.

I think the Lord is always waiting to see when we will get ready and sincerely wish to merge with Him and nothing else. When such a thing really happens like with Pushkala, He just celebrates Kalyanam.

Marriage is referred to as ‘kalyanam’ but He is waiting for our real marriage — the ultimate merger.

Aryankavil Ayyane Sharanam Ayyappa
Aravind Subramanyam

(Article written by Aravind Subramanyam - its a copyright Material -So share the article with the above original link)

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