Showing posts with label temple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temple. Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bhuvanagiri Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt

It was a chance trip I had undertaken to Vaitheeswaran Koil to offer my obeisance to the presiding deity there. While I was driving between Cuddalore and Chidambaram, I saw a signage towards “Bhuvanagiri” and it struck to my mind that I haven’t been there ever although I have passed by the place so many times. So, I made it a point to visit the place on my return. With the Grace of the Almighty, it was made possible.

Bhuvanagiri is a quaint town positioned between Srimushnam on the West and Cuddalore on the East. This is the place where the revered Hindu Saint Sri Raghavendra Swamy was born to Smt. Gopikamba and Sri Thimannacharya in the year 1595 AD. He was named Venkatanatha on his birth and during his naming  ceremony, he seemed to have pulled the Tulsi Mala of one of the visitors who had come that day, symbolically referring that he will embrace spiritualism eventually. Being a Madhwa Brahmin and hailing from a poor family, he was sent to his Uncle’s place for his childhood learning on Religious Scripts. It is said that Venkatanatha was a bright child and learned the Vedas among various other scriptures and won many debates during his times, especially in the lines of Advaita and Dwaita – the philosophy established by the Madhwa proponent Sri Madhwacharya. Under the tutelage of his Guru Sri Sudhindra Theertha who was also the peetathipathi of the Kumbakonam Mutt, he won hearts and debates with elan – being a trained Veena player, he was also adept in music and was a regular performer as well.

Venkatanatha was married to Saraswathi as per Hindu rituals but lived a life of poverty, so much so that feeding two meals a day for the couple and their only child was a rare event. In a particular incident, Venkatanatha taught the sacred Vedas to a child of a purported lower caste which didn’t go well with the community. Venkatanatha argued that all creations of the Almighty are equal and anyone can learn the sacred scriptures which alienated him further from the community. With no opportunities for a respected learning, dejected and upset over things that unfolded, Venkatanatha took his books to throw them away in a temple pond from where Goddess Saraswathi appeared and said that he was Her child and that He was filled with Gynana and Knowledge. She also asked him to immediately visit His Guru at his Ashram. The Guru ordered that Venkatanatha must undertake Sanyasa as that was the will of the Almighty. The Guru named him “Sri Raghavendra” and ordained him as the head of the Mutt in 1621 and advised him to visit the country and bless the people to overcome their miseries, sorrow and poverty as well as spread the word of the Hindu Madhwa Siddhantha. 

Sri Raghavendra decided to settle down at Manchala village which is now named Mantralaya in Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh. It is said that Rayaru is alive inside His Brindavana and blesses his devotees. Over the years, the “mruthike” or the holy sand from Mantralaya has been taken and placed across the world to create “Sri Raghavendra Mathas” which teach the holy scriptures at the precincts. One such Brindavana is located at Bhuvanagiri as well, inside the same house he was born. The Matha is managed by a Private Trust under the supervision of the SRS Mutt, Mantralaya and ably guided by the the peetathipadhi of SRS Mutt, HH Sri Subhudendra Swamiji.

Bhuvanagiri is a morning-evening drive from Chennai by road. One could leave Chennai by 7am in the morning and reach Bhuvanagiri by 11am, have His darshana followed by theertha prasada and return the same evening. The preferred route would be through Cuddalore on ECR or through Neyveli. Do make a visit soon and share your experiences.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Why visit Temples?

For the inquisitive minds, this note provides a little insight on Brahmam and the main purpose of worship and visiting temples.


Why do we visit temples?


We visit temples to worship God. Brahmam (Sriman Narayana) has five different forms.


While God is infinite and beyond the limits of space, time and form, he takes various forms for different purpose.


Let us understand the five different places and forms of God and the purpose of each of these forms.


1st form - Para Roopa

The form HE takes at Sri Vaikunta, His Celestial Abode. 



In seated posture, to His right is Sri Mahalakshmi and to his left is Bhooma Devi and Neela devi. Along with Him are billions of Nitya aatmas and Mukta aatmas having great experience and spiritual bliss at Sri Vaikuntam.



Exhibits Supremacy


2nd Form - Vyuha Roopa

The form HE takes in the Milky Ocean (Ksheeraabdi)


Description - Here, HE is in the reclining posture. Whenever the Devas have a tough time with Asuras, they rush to Ksheeraabdi. God listens patiently to all their complaints and the lament of the Devas and only "if needed" HE incarnates from Ksheerabdi to help the Devas and protect his devotees. 



Exhibits as the ultimate Saviour (Rakshakatvam)


3rd Form - Vibhava Roopa

HIS various incarnations on Earth for us mortals. 



His incarnations are countless which includes the Dasa Avataara. The purpose of HIS incarnations are; 1). To award and protect the ones who follow the rule book (Dharma Shastra), 2). To punish the ones who do not follow and 3). To establish Dharma. 

Paritraanaaya Saadhoonam, Vinaashayacha Dushkrutaam, Dharma Samstaapanaartaya, Sambhavaami yuge yuge



Exhibits Dharma Samstaapanam


4th Form - Antaryaami

Residing inside each of us (inside all Jeeva aatmas)



HE dwells in our heart, which is in the form of inverted lotus. HE is quite close to us, watching us all the time, even when our mind is engaged in material matters. HE is steadfast, ever pardoning and waiting for the right moment to correct us.



Exhibits magnanimity (Vaatsalyam) in this form


5th Form - Archaa

The deity form which is the most important and useful form for us on Earth.



God resides in deity form in standing, sitting or reclining postures. We, as human beings, do not know the route to Sri Vaikunta, nor do we live in the Krita, Treta or Dwapara yugas to see His incarnations. God resides in each of us, quite intimate and close, but we have not attained the state of Yogi to meditate and realise the One who dwells in us. So, unless HE is available and accessible for us, we can not meditate on HIM, worship and exhibit bhakti. So HE is available in deity form in temples all the time, close to our homes, accessible, for us to worship.



Exhibits simplicity and accessibility (Soulabhya) in this form



The next question is why worship God?


God gives us anything we ask for when we completely surrender unto Him. While HE grants all the material pleasures we ask for, HE is the only one who can help us achieve the supreme goal which is to realise the ultimate purpose of life.


Let us ask ourselves some basic questions: 

Who am I?

I am a Jeevaatma (There is no difference between me, a sheep, a flower, Devas or any other Jeevaatmas).


What differentiates Jeevaatmas?

Intelligence (Gyana) which is accumulated based on our actions (Karma) over several births.


Who is God?

Paramaatma (the one who is eternal, infinite and supreme of all).


What is the ultimate purpose of my life?

To attain moksha and realise the Brahmam (experience eternal bliss and cut out from the cycle of birth and death)


While it is easy to put this in a para-form, it is not easy to experience and appreciate Brahmam without Surrender to Him and experience HIS various forms.


The simple beginning would be to visit the closest temple, mediate and worship on HIM. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Uchhi Pillaiyar – Trichy

The Rockfort temple is located in the heart of Trichy, rather the city is spread around the rock fort. Trichy continues to be an important second tier city of the southern state of Tamil Nadu and is located about 330 kms south west of Chennai. 

The hillock upon which Lord Ganesha is seated is apparently 3 billion years old and is in fact older than the Himalayas or the rocks in Greenland.

When King Vibhishana accompanied Lord Rama to Ayodhya after the war with Ravana who was defeated and killed, the former was upset that he had to leave Lord Rama behind. However, he was given an idol of Sriman Narayana in the celestial position of lying on Sesha Vahana (Celestial Snake) along with Goddess Mahalakshmi and Lord Brahma – the Creator sprouting off His stomach. However, there was one condition: Vibhishana must take the idol straight to his Kingdom and must not place it on the ground. 

While Vibhishana was on his way back, it was sunset time and he had to perform his evening rituals of Sandhyavandana and therefore was compelled to leave the idol with someone. He found a small boy playing around and gave the idol to him, advising him not to keep it on the ground. However, much to his dismay, the little boy had already kept the idol on the floor and ran away. Unfortunately, the idol was stuck to the ground and couldn’t be moved. In anger, Vibhishana went in search of the little boy who had by then climbed a hillock, at whom he threw a stone. The little boy was none other than Lord Ganesha, the hillock is the same one at Trichy and the scar of the hurt can still be seen on Lord Ganesha’s forehead. 

Vibhishana prayed to the Lord to allow him to carry the idol back but Sriman Narayana said that was not possible. Instead, the Lord assured He would be facing Lanka all the time and will bless Vibhishana and his kingdom. To this date, Sriman Narayana is seen lying on His Celestial Snake along with Goddess Mahalakshmi facing South – a rarity in any Vishnu Temple although the main entry to the temple is from the Northern side. 

The Rockfort Ganesha Temple has splendid views from atop the 272 feet where Lord Ganesha is seated. There are positions from the hill where the Raja Gopuram of Srirangam, one of the tallest and most majestic could be seen. 

Main Festivals;
Sankatahara Chathurthi (Monthly)
Masi Sankatahara Chathurthi (Tamil Masi Month, English Calendar Year  - March)
Pillaiyar Chathurthi (Tamil Avani Month, English Calendar Year – Aug/Sep)

Temple Timings: 6am to 8pm

How to reach: 
Railhead: Tiruchirapalli Junction (5 kms)
Bus Stand: Trichy Central Bus Stand (5 kms)
Airport: Tiruchirapalli Airport (10 kms)