Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pancha Bhoota Stalam

Pancha Bhoota Stalam

Pancha Bhoota Stalam refers to the five Shiva temples,dedicated to Shiva, one of the most powerful Vedic god among the thirimurthis and also merciful among them, each representing the manifestation of the five prime elements of nature- land, water, air, sky, fire. Pancha indicates Five, Bhoota means elements and Stala means place. All these temples are located in South India with four of these temples in Tamil Nadu and one in present-day Andhra Pradesh. The five elements are believed to be enshrined in the five lingams and each of the lingams representing Shiva in the temple have five distinct names based on the elements they represent.

According to Vedas life and the various species originated by the combination of planetary globes and the five manifestations of nature namely air, water, fire, land and sky. Bhoota in Sanskrit means compound and maha bhoota indicates a big compound. According to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system, the equilibrium of the body with the pancha bhoota is governed by the principles of tridoshas -kaph(phlegm), pitta(bile), vayu(gas), dhātu and malas(waste products). Rabindranath Tagore, a nobel lauerate for literature, in his poem, Pancha bhoota, has explained the emotional faculty of the human mind is keenly sensitive to all objects of light, colour, sound, effect of speed, sun, moon and stars.

In Tiruvannamalai temple, Shiva is said to have manifested himself in the form of massive column of fire, whose crown and feet could not be found by the Hindu God of creation, Brahma and Hindu God of preservation (or maintainer) Vishnu. A celebration of this manifestation is seen even today in the age old traditions observed during the festivals of Sivarathri and Karthigai Deepam. Agni Lingam explains the mythics of life - duty, virtue, self-sacrifice and finally liberation by and through ascetic life -duty, virtue, self-sacrifice and finally liberation by and through ascetic life at the end of Agni kalpa. In Thiruvanaikaval temple, Shiva represents water element where the appu lingam is submerged in water and a perennial sub terrain spring gushes around the lingam. In Chidambaram, empty space is worshiped as Shiva (akasha lingam) to signify God is beyond human comprehension. It is unusual where there is no physical stone lingam present, unlike other temples of Shiva.
— with Nyanassankar Thangavelu.

Saraswati Temple, Kuthanur Tiruvarur District

Saraswati Temple, Kuthanur Tiruvarur District

Saraswati is the goddess of learning and spouse of the Brahma, the Creator as per the Hindus. But, there are very few temples can be seen all over India, which is dedicated to this deity. Kuthanur is a small village the Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu, where an important temple dedicated to Saraswati can be seen. Kuthanur is situated on the banks of the Arasilar River, a branch of the Kaveri.

One can see a very charming deity of goddess in a seated yogic posture (padmasana) on a lotus in principal sanctum of this small Saraswati temple. She is seen having four arms. She holds the rosary (japamala) in her upper hands and the water-pot (kamandala), while one of her two lower hands is in the chinmudra (indicative of knowledge) and the other holds a palm-leaf manuscript. The processional image (utsava-murti) is in metal and is very much like the stone idol.

According to a story associated with this place, Ottakuttar, a famous Tamil poet who lived in the Chola times of the 12th century A.D. and a contemporary of Kamban, was associated with Kuthanur, where he performed penance to this deity. It is said that once he had a vision (darshan) of goddess Saraswati at this place and consequently became a great poet earning fame and name. It is said that this village was known as Kuthanur after the name of Ottakuttar. This Saraswati temple is said to be constructed by this poet. A statue of Ottakuttar can be seen at the entrance of this shrine in honour of his association of this place.

Every year, thousands of devotees visit this temple specifically on Saraswati Puja and Vijayadashami festivals to seek the blessings of this deity of Knowledge, who is believed to cure speech defects. Everyone places notebooks and pens in front of the deity as per the Hindu custom and then use them. Some people also offer white saris and lotus flowers to the goddess Saraswati. The Maha Kumbabhishekam of this Saraswati temple was performed after a long time in 2003.

Prasat Phnom Rung

Prasat Phnom Rung

By Saj Sadanand

Khao Phnom Rung is an extinct volcano which has been dormant for 900,000 years. Situated in Buriram Province in the Isan region of Thailand. .When the sanctuary was built on the top of Khao Phnom Rung, slight alterations were made of the crater, and it was turned into a huge reservoir with sufficient water supply for consumption. Phnom Rung has been the original name of the mountain itself and the sanctuary on top of it since at least 989 or the 11th century A.D. The word appeared in 4 Khmer alphabet inscriptions written in the Khmer language discovered at Prasat Phnom Rung. The word "Phnom Rung" derived from a Khmer word "Vnam Rung" which means a large mountain, the same meaning as the words "s-Thuadri" and "S-Thula Saila" in other Khmer alphabet inscriptions written in the Sanskrit language. Prasat Phnom Rung is a sanctuary dedicated to the pasupata sect of Saivaite Hinduism, which believed in the God Siva. The construction of Prasat Phnom Rung on the top of the mountain was, therefore, compared to that of the God Siva's residence, which is belived to be situated on the top of mount Kailasa. The buildings within the complex of Prasat Phnom Rung can be divided by chronological order into 4 periods. The most ancient are the two brick towers of Koh Kare style built around the 10th century A.D. The second period is attested by Prasat Noi, which was built around the 11th century A.D. in Baphuon style. The third period is when most of the structures within the complex were constructed including the main tower around the 12th century A.D. in the Angkor Wat style. The last period is apparent from the two late-rite libraries or Bannalai built between the 12th-13th centuries A.D. in the Bayon style.

Prang Noi

Prang Noi

Prang Noi was built by Hindus in the late of 10th century A.D. In the first half of Baphuon style. The entrance of the Prang is only in the eastern. The top of the Prang is probably non-finished. The bas-relief on the eastern pediment if this Prang depicts the scene of Krishna lifting the Govardhana mountain the eight incarnation of the Lord Vasudeva

Karaneeswarar Temple, Mylapore

Karaneeswarar Temple, Mylapore

The Karaneeswarar Temple is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the neighbourhood of Mylapore in Chennai, India. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. The main deity is a Shivalinga. There are also shrines to Sarvamangala Vinayaka, Dandapani, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.

History and legend

This temple is the abode of Lord Sri Karaneeswara and Mother Porkodi Amman.[1] The temple is located at Bazaar road in the middle stretch of the popular Kutcheri road in Mylapore. It is about half a kilometre from the famous Kapaleeswarar temple. From Sanskrit language, Karana means "cause". Karana + Iswara (Lord) = Karaneeswara, "the Lord who is the cause". The general belief is – He is the primordial cause of this universe which is His very form. He is also the Lord who can teach us the causality behind all events.

Lord Karaneeswara is more than happy to grant material boons as well. The worship of Sri Karaneeswara and Mother Porkodi blesses one with a happy family life; there will be much amicability amongst all members of the family. Mix coconut oil, sesame oil (gingelly) and castor oil in equal parts and use this mixture to light oil lamps in multiples of six (6, 12, 18, 24 and so on) in this temple. Pradakshinam (circling the temple) is also very important here. The temple is worth visiting for its calm environment.

Another legend goes like this :–

Karaneeswara temple is one of the Sapta Sthana Shiva temples in Mylapore (one of the seven sacred Shiva temples in Mylapore). As per the legend, there used to be a young Brahmin in Mylapore who used to perform poojas to Shiv Linga. Through his penance, the young Brahmin found out that Lord Shiva was the cause of creation, protection and destruction of this universe. Thereafter, the Shiv Linga (the main deity of this temple) was called as Karaneeswara. (Karaneeswara means one who has causes). Even though there is no solid proof, it is widely believed that this temple might belong to the 12th century AD.

The main deities of the temples are Karaneeswara (Shiva) and his consort Porkodi Amman. Both the deities are found in two separate shrines. The temple has a small tower and as per the tradition followed in all old South Indian temples, this temple also has bali peeth, flag staff and Nandi idol facing the main shrine. The entrance of the main shrine has the idols of Ganesha and Dhandayudhapani (Subramanya).

The following shrines are also found in this temple:

• Natraj with Sivakami
• Hanuman
• Bhairav
• Arunachaleswarar in the form of big Linga with Unnamulai
• Subramanya-Valli-Devasena
• Ganesha with his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi
• Saneeswarar
• Navagraha

The following deities are additionally found in this temple:

• Ganesha
• Nalvar – the four great devotees of Shiva
• Sekkilar
• Surya
• 3–4 Shiv Lingas under the tree

The belief is that a visit to this temple would cure you from all your diseases.

Thirukkarugaavoor Sri Garbharakshaambigai

Thirukkarugaavoor Sri Garbharakshaambigai

Thirukkarugaavoor is about 20 kms from Kumbakonam. This is an unique temple Lord Shiva and Parvathi who bless the world as Sri Mullaivana Naathar & Sri Garbharakshaambigai here.

Legend has it that, thousands of years back this place was called Mullaivanam (forest filled with Jasmine creepers).

There lived a saint by name Nidhruva Rishi along with his wife Vedhika in Mullaivanam. They remained childless for years which was making them depressed. They took the advice of Gautama & Karthikeya Rishis and started worshipping Lord Shiva and Parvathy at the temple here.

Out of sincere prayers Vedhika became pregnant. The couple were too happy. When Vedhika was in the final trimester of pregnancy, Nidhruva Rishi had to be out of home to visit Sri Varuna.

One day, after a tiring house hold chores and the pain due to pregnancy, Vedhika was lying down and taking rest. When she was half asleep, a Rishi called Urdhvapaadha came at the door calling for Bhiksha. Vedhika didn’t notice the Rishi and didn’t respond to him with her hospitality. Saint Urdhvapaadha, without knowing the pregnancy of Vedhika, thought that she is ignoring him and cursed her to be affected with a serious disease.

The curse started spoiling not only Vedhika’s health and also the baby in her fetus. The fetus got deformed and Vedhika realized that it was because of the curse by Saint Urdhvapaadha. She prayed Goddess Parvathi Devi at the temple for rescue. The Goddess with her fullest mercy collected the deformed embryo in a divine pot and made it to evolve as a healthy baby.

Vedhika was blessed with a beautiful male baby and they named him Naidhruva. As there was no mother’s feed for the baby, Goddess sent Kamadhenu to arrange milk for the baby. Kamadhenu appeared and scratched her legs on the ground and a milk pond formed there on the earth, for the baby.

The pond then formed is called as ‘Khseera Kundam’ (Milk Pot) which is today’s temple tank in front of this temple.

Vedhika’s husband Nidhruva came back and was thrilled to hear the whole story and the mercy of the Goddess. The couple prayed the Goddess to take abode in the same village and bless every couple who pray them, with the child and safe pregnancy.

The Goddess agreed to them and settled down in Mullaivanam in the name of Sri Garbharakshaambigai (meaning the savior of fetus). From then, the village also got its name as Thirukkarugaavoor (Thiru – God, Karu – Fetus, Kaa – saves).

Even today Sri Garbharakshaambigai blesses the childless couples with the child and also the pregnant women for safe delivery of baby. According to the native villagers, to their knowledge, none of the women at Thirukkarugaavoor has ever had a miscarriage or any fatality during delivery.

In this temple Ghee is offered as Prasadham for the childless couple which they have to take everyday for about 48 days. Also a Sloka (given below) is given at the temple to be chanted by the expectant mother to pray Sri Garbharakshaambigai, everyday till delivery.

“Hey Sankara samarahaa Bramadhaadhinaadhari
Mannaadha saramba sarisooda
harathirisoolin Sambo sugaprasava
grudh bhavamey dhayaalo
hemadavi vanesa paalayamaam namaste!

Himavath yudhdharey paarsvey
suradhara naama yaashinee
Thasyaaaa smarana maathrenaa
vichalya gharbinee bhavethu!!”

Castor oil is offered as Prasadham here, to the pregnant women to be applied on their abdomen during pregnancy for a safe labor.

Everyday, one can witness many couples happily coming back to the temple with their new born to thank the Goddess and seek her blessings by keeping the baby at her Lotus Feet.

Lord Shiva here, is in the form of Lingam. It is said that the deity here is made of ant hill mud (Putru MaN) and is a Swayambu Murthy (which evolved on its own). Hence there are no Abhishekams here for the Lord. Instead a rare fragrant herb called Punugu is applied on the Lingam (Punugu Chattam).

It is believed that by offering Punugu Chattam to Mullaivana Nathar, one gets relieved of any kind of skin diseases.

One can see the impression of the Jasmine creeper on the Shiva Lingam here, as this place was full of Jasmine creepers which were covering this Lingam.

Another rare feature is the moon rays falls directly on the Lingam here during the Full moon day of Thamizh month, Panguni.

Sri Mullai Vananathar Thirukkoil, Thirukkarugavur, Papanasam Taluk.Thanjavur

Sri Parayadi Muthukarupanna Swami temple

Sri Parayadi Muthukarupanna Swami temple

The deity of the presiding deity is made of Navapashana.

The vimana above the sanctum sanctum is of Padma design. Lord Mukthivinayaka blesses the devotees. Navagraha shrine is in the prakara. Nagar shrines are under Arasa Maram – Bodhi tree in the form of anthills. Deva Bhudhagan and Akasa Bhudhagan, the guardian deities are on both sides of the sanctum sanctum. Sri Agni Veerabadra appears in killing posture of Daksha. As He has all Shiva attributes, devotees offer the first worship to Agni Veerabadra and then to Karuppanar. In the hill behind the temple, Lord Shiva blesses the devotees as Akasha Linga on a square peeta. Mother Parvathi sitting in a meditating posture, is performing Shiva Puja with Lotus flowers, a rare darshan in this temple. The perennial Parayadi Theertham-holy spring is at the foot of the hills.

Devotees pray for child boon, prosperity and fearlessness.

Presiding deity appears majestically with fine physical features, twisted moustache, Nama the Vishnu Tilak in forehead and holding a sickle. He is stamping a witch under His left leg and is holding his head. The face and chest of Lord is made of Navapashana. They use to fan the Swami from sweat. During the Arthajama Puja – the last puja at night, a water bowl is placed in the sanctum to quench the thirst of Lord. This water is offered as Theertha Prasad to devotees.

Next morning while opening the temple, the priest use to knock the door twice and wait for a while. He again knocks then as if seeking the permission of the Lord to open the doors, open and begin the pujas. Devotees call the Lord Aiya as if calling their fathers.

No abishek is performed on Lord. To soften the fury of Lord, they use to burn the Darba grass on new moon days, mix it with some cosmetic powders and five varieties of oil and apply it. Butter is applied on full moon days. They offer seven varieties of fruits as nivedhana, which then is offered as Prasad to devotees. As the Lord would be furious during the oil application time, children and women are not allowed in the shrine.
As the Lord of the temple is the personal bodyguard of Lord Shiva, special pujas are dedicated to Him on Shivrathri night. They offer the plantain tree skin (mattai in Tamil). This is also offered as Prasad. It is believed that this Prasad would bless families with continued generations. Akasha Bhudagan and Deva Bhudagan, the securities in the sanctum sanctorum are colossal in size with sickle and dandas in their hands.
Lord Dakshinamurthi appears in yoga posture. There are no banyan tree, Muyalagan at His feet and disciples. He is holding flowers in His upper hands. Those who need relief due to Jupiter transition effects pray here.

There was a Shiva temple at the top of the hills in ancient days. Muthukaruppanna Swami was the security to Lord then. When a witch hunt tried to take Lord Shiva from here, Muthukaruppannaswami prevented his attempt and killed him. He then stayed here for ever. The Shiva temple at the top of the hill disappeared in the days followed. Muthukaruppannar Himself became popular then in the region. A temple was built then. As He is under the rock – Parai in Tamil, He is named Parayadi Muthiah.