Showing posts with label maha vishnu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maha vishnu. Show all posts

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Tirupullani Temple

While the Lord has innumerable forms and names, the most widely popular are the Dasavathara – the Ten forms. It is impossible to condense the incarnations the Lord has taken but these Ten forms largely narrate the human evolution. From the form of a living creature in the oceans and seas, the Lord’s forms take shape one after the other. The seventh form of the Lord in this series is that of a human. It is widely believed that the entire script around he abduction of Goddess Sita and the subsequent killing the Demon King Ravana is actually a byproduct, for the Lord took this incarnation only to tell mankind how a person should lead his/her Life. The incarnation is more about upholding values, be it as a faithful son for a Father or a dutiful son of a Mother, loving and caring Brother and a doting husband/father who lives by the word of Dharma. A role where the Lord shows the world what friendship is, how people of all castes or creeds are one and the same and how animals, be it a monkey or a squirrel are to be loved and cared for.


Lord Rama’s righteousness, values and His entire story can not be summarised even in a week long Upanyasa (Discourse) on Ramayana, and obviously not in this article. Every time we hear the Ramayana’s narration from someone, we learn something new about the Epic. Here’s one such interesting information that you may already know, or perhaps not. 

King Dasaratha – he was named such because he could control Ten Rathas at a time, such was his valour and a famous ruler of Ikshvaku’s Kshatriya clan of the Surya dynasty. All said and done, he wasn’t blessed with a Child which was one of his biggest qualms. He descended all the way to Tirupullani which houses the “Adhi Jagannatha Swamy” shrine. The Lord is seen here in a seated position with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi alongside. The King prayed the Lord to bless him with a son who had every ideal which was ever bestowed upon any human being. The Lord said there’s nothing as such created until now and therefore He shall Himself be born to the King and shall bless the world. After performing the Ashwamedha Yagna, the King and his three wives were blessed with not one but Four children. 


Many years later, when Lord Sri Rama was about to cross the mighty ocean to secure Goddess Sita from Lanka, he is said to have prayed to the deity here to seek his blessings for a successful victory across the border and shore. This is perhaps the only such shrine in the world at any Hindu temple where one can see Lord Sri Rama in a reclined posture, (usually connoted with Lord Sri Ranganatha who is seen reclined on the celestial Snake, Adisesha). The Lord is seen lying on the holy darba grass along with Lakshmana, Hanuman, The Sea God and Sea Goddess, Sugriva and the 36,000 devathas. 

A few kilo metres from here is the exact place where the Lord is said to have embarked his journey to Lanka. The locals say that until a few years back, they have seen the so-called floating stones which was used by the Lord to cross the Sea, although the general public cannot access this area any more. 


If you haven’t visited Tirupullani yet, do mark it in your Places-To-Visit in 2019. Among the 106 Divya Desam shrines on Earth (The Celestial Ocean and the Vaikunta being the other two) – places sung by Sri Vaishnavite Azhwars in praise of the Lord Sriman Narayana, the temple is about 20 kms from Ramanathapuram and a two-three hour drive by road from Madurai which also houses a large Airport. Your Sarathy will be able to arrange a trip for you. Soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Unique Divya Desam

Among the 106 Divya Desams on Earth, the other two being the Celestial Ocean – Parkadal and the Lord’s eternal abode, Sri Vaikuntam, Sri Parthasarathy Temple at Triplicane (Chennai) has a few unique features, which I would like to mention here.

The main deity is Lord Sri Parthasarathy facing the sea in the East. Lord Krishna, in his 9thAvatar came to the Earth to protect Dharma (righteousness). 


When it was decided that the Kauravas will wage war against the Pandavas who were denied their rightful share of running the country, Kaurava King Duryodhana (son of Drithirashtra) went to Lord Krishna to seek his support. Around the same time, Pandava King Dharmaraja (Yudhishtra) also came to visit the Lord. Duryodhana admonished Dharma and said he was the elder brother between the two and also the ruling king so he would first ask what he wants from Lord Krishna. Also, he sat near the head of Lord Krishna as He was sleeping. When Krishna woke up, he first saw Dharma and enquired about him, which further irked Duryodhana and told Krishna that he came before Dharma and he must be allowed first to ask what he wanted for the War, which Krishna smilingly obliged. Duryodhana asked Krishna all the ammunition that ever existed, horses, elephants, swords et al which Krishna agreed to give away to him. Duryodhana laughed wickedly at Dharma and left the place. 

Krishna asked Dharma that he had nothing to part anymore to which Dharma said that he just needed the Lord to be with them in the War. The Utsavar Idol at Sri Parthasarathy Temple which has been around for centuries depict the arrow marks and injuries on the Lord’s face which can be seen till date at the temple. And thus, we know who won the war & how. This conversation has a larger life meaning. Even though we may have everything in life, money, material wealth, houses, cars, clothes and what not, ultimately, we all need His Grace and that’s what matters at the end of the day. 

At this temple, Sri Parthasarathy is in standing form and within the main prakaram (Sannidhi), one can also see Lord Rama and Sri Ranganatha in reclining form. Just outside this sannidhi, is another deity in the form of Sri Varadaraja Swamy, atop his celestial vahana, the Garuda (the celestial Eagle). The Lord here is also known as “Nitya Garuda Perumal” – always on Garuda Vahana ready for his ardent devotees. Adjoining this Sannidhi is Lord Sri Narasimha in Yoga form known as “Yoga Narasimha”. 


Also, this is one of the very few temples where Lord Sri Rama is with all his three brothers Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrugna and Goddess Sita Devi by his side. Lord Hanuman who is usually by His side, is facing the Lord about 15 feet away, another rarity across Sri Rama Temples or Divya Desams. One can also find the Dashavatara forms of Sriman Narayana on the Pillars behind the main Sannidhi. Needless, this is what we see and observe when we visit the temple. Perhaps there are many other gems that could be unearthed every time we visit.

Lord Narasimha is from the Krita Yuga, Lord Rama is from Tretha Yuga and Lord Parthasarathy is from Dwapara Yuga as Krishna Avatara. Sri Ranganatha in the reclining form is the way the Lord Resides at Sri Vaikuntam and Lord Varadaraja is the way the Lord comes to his devotee’s rescue. Fascinating indeed – this is perhaps the only Divya Desam where the Lord can be seen on all forms in which He has appeared across Yugas and at his celestial abode. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sri Parthasarathy Temple

Mahabharatha, the epic is not just another story. Some call it a myth, some a work of fiction. Rather, it is a guide to the human race on how to lead a life to eventually reach the Lord’s feet and enable us to attain Moksha. Sriman Narayana took his 9thincarnation in the previous Dwapara Yuga as Krishna and His life is a very interesting story, right from his birth on the supposedly inauspicious Ashtami night all the way up to the Epic War – Maha Bharatha. The Lord gives us various life learnings in this incarnation and they are valuable to everything we do in our daily lives. 

When it was decided that the Kauravas, who had kept the Pandavas away from taking over the Kingdom and were even forced to live in hiding for a year, both the teams reached out to Lord Krishna for support and help them win respectively. Duryodhana, the Kaurava King wanted all weapons, manpower, animals like horses, elephants and so on and all resources that were available to which the Lord obliged. Dharmaraja, the eldest of the Padavas sought Him to be by their side to which the Lord smiled. The essence of this, is that no matter what we have in our lives, we finally need the guidance and blessings of the Lord with us always. 


In the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Lord Krishna plays charioteer and thus the name Partha Sarathy, Sarathy meaning the one who drives. There are various interpretations to the epic war, such the two who fight are within us who are Parthas, the bad and the good, while The Lord resides in our hearts and guides us in our every step. HE suggests a way of living, acts as a guide when we make mistakes and advises steps to recoup our mistakes. 

Bhagavad Gita which evolved from the Mahabharatha, is the best book one could ever lay their hands on. It has so many anecdotes, so many real-life situations and experts have always agreed there is no better resource to clarify our doubts than the Gita. I have read many parts of the Mahabharatha across various books and articles and have also heard a number of discourses by scholars. Every time I hear the Mahabharatha, I discover a new thing about life and take a leaf out of the book, quite literally. 

Summary of the Gita
The Lord says, “what is yours today was someone else’s yesterday, will be someone else’s tomorrow” and “you brought nothing, you take back nothing” among various other things.

Legend
It is said that Lord Krishna, after the Epic war was over performed Pattabhisheka – ordained Dhramaraja as the King and came to this location where He blesses his ardent devotees. The 10 feet idol of Lord Krishna has a mostache, a rarity for Sriman Mahavishnu, and faces East. 

The temple also has separate precincts for Sri Yoga Narasimha facing West, Sri Nitya Varadaraja Perumal, Goddess Mahalakshmi and Goddess Aandal. It is said that the Utsavar idol has marks of the arrows that were aimed at the Lord during the Epic war. 

Among the 106 Divya Desam temples on Earth, Tiruvallikeni Sri Parthasarathy is the presiding deity of the city of Chennai (formerly Madras). Various Kings are said to have maintained the temple and have contributed immensely for the upkeep of the temple over centuries. 


Main Festivals;
Sri Krishna Jayanthi - Tamil Month - …………. English Calendar Year - ………….

Temple Timings: 
6am to 12.30pm; 4.30pm – 8.30pm

Google Link

How to reach: 

Railhead: 
Chennai Central Railway Station (7 kms)
Chennai Egmore Railway Station (7 kms)
Tambaram Railway Station (27 kms)

Bus Stand: 
Koyambedu Bus Station (15 kms)

Airport: 
Chennai Airport (16 kms)

By Road:
The Temple is situated in the heart of the city at Triplicane. City buses are available to reach the place, so are Autos & Taxis. There is limited parking for self-driven cars and is almost impossible to get one during the peak hours and weekends. Also, the roads leading to the temple are quite narrow.

The Marina Beach is less than 2 kms from the temple. There is a huge Temple tank on the eastern side of the temple where Teppotsavam is held from time to time. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Parikkal Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar

Lord Sri Lakshmi Narasimha at Parikkal is our family deity and have been visiting this place for, well since when I was born. Among the various forms of Lord Maha Vishnu, the fourth Avatar (incarnation) as Narasimha is quite special. 

When the Four Brahma Kumaras (they were Manasa putras, meaning born out of the mind of Lord Brahma) - Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara came to visit Sriman Narayana at Vaikunta, His bodyguards Jaya-Vijaya refused them entry stating that the Lord was resting. Outraged, they cursed them to be out of the celestial world. The duo reached the Lord’s feet and sought mercy, however the Lord himself could do little about this curse. However, He gave them two choices. Either be born as a devotee in seven births or be born as an Asura in three births to fight the Lord Himself. That the duo couldn’t stay away from the Lord for seven births, they were born Asuras - In Krita Yuga as Hiranyaksha (killed by Lord Maha Vishnu's 3rd Avatara as Varaha) and Hiranyakashipu (story below). 


Hiranyakashipu was a very learned man and did a lifetime penance such that he could never be destroyed by any force created on earth such as no animal or man could kill him, he cannot be destroyed in the day or night, inside or outside his house, no weapons could destroy him and so on. However, the Lord had other plans, as always. Hiranya was blessed with a Son who was named Prahlada who was a staunch devotee of Lord Maha Vishnu even since he was in his mother’s womb, for his mother stayed at the ashram of Sage Naradha and was tutored Sriman Narayana’s nama all along. So, when He was born in the Earth, he continued to be the biggest devotee of Sriman Narayana. His father Hiranya wanted Prahlada to believe that he was the real Lord which Prahlada always refused to agree. 

Enraged, Hiranyakashipu asked his son to prove where He was right now, if He is always around for which Prahlada replied he is in everything that is created in this world. When Hiranyakashipu breaks a Pillar, a unique creature comes out of it. A Lion with a human torso walks gigantically even as the 14 worlds shudder, which pulls Hiranyakashipu on its lap, sits at the entrance of the house and kills Hiranya with its sharp nails. And all this happens at dusk: 5.45pm – 6.30pm which is in between the day and night. The creature is none other than Lord Narasimha – Nara, meaning human and Simha meaning a Lion. 

The entire cosmic world was terrified at this instance because such a thing had never happened ever before. Lord Shiva & Brahma, Goddesses Mahalakshmi, Parvati, Saraswati, and all other Devatas prayed to the Lord to calm down to which He obliged. Therefore, Lord Narasimha has always been associated with removing the negative energies in the world and setting things right. Daily obeisance to Lord Narasimha is said to salvage the life sins of humans and help them attain moksha at His feet. He is also the most benevolent forms of Lord Maha Vishnu and is seated in three forms – Abhaya Hasta with Goddess Mahalakshmi on his Lap, Yoga Narasimha and in the form of tearing up Hiranyakashipu. 

Temple View - Parikkal

Parikkal Sri Lakshmi Narasimha is a temple which is considered over 1,000 years old and has inscriptions of the “fish” which is associated with the Pandya Kings of South India. Goddess Mahalakshmi is seated on His left lap and also has a separate sannidhi where She blesses devotees as Goddess Kanakavalli. 

Among the various slokas, “Runa Vimochana Stotra” is one of the most powerful ones which will relieve one of their debts. Debts here do not just mean financial ones, but the debt that we leave pending birth after birth and keep coming back to relieve them. Regular chanting of this sloka will have very positive outcomes and I am a beneficiary of this sloka.

Main Festivals;
Swathi Star on which day the Lord arrived on Earth (Monthly)
Sri Narasimha Jayanthi Tamil Month - Vaikasi, English Calendar Year - May)

Temple Timings: 6am to 12.30pm; 4.30pm – 8.30pm
Avoid Weekends, for they are just too crowded. Weekdays are relatively less crowded.
Thirumanjanam (Abhishekam) is performed on all days but with prior booking only. Contact the Temple Priest Sri. Sundara Varadan on his mobile number +91 94446 48309.

Temple Prasadam is usually provided as part of the Thirumanjanam which includes Sweet Pongal and Panchamrutham. Additional prasadam items such as Puliyodarai and Curd Rice can be requested in advance which would be provided upon additional payment. 


Google Link

How to reach: 

Railhead: 
Villupuram Junction (25 kms)
Parikkal Station (3 kms) but very few trains stop here

Bus Stand: 
Villupuram Bus Stand (25 kms)

Airport: 
Chennai Airport (170 kms)
Tiruchirapalli Airport (140 kms)

By Road:
On the Chennai Trichy National Highway, the village “Parikkal” can be spotted just after 20 kms from Villupuram towards Trichy. You will see JCB Earth Movers Showroom followed by CafĂ© Coffee Day both on to your left side and Truck Lay-bye also on the left side. Immediately after that, there would be medians placed on the road for vehicles to slow down. A 20 feet statue of Lord Hanuman can be seen on the left side, and the road opposite will take you to the temple premises. You will pass through the railway track connecting Villupuram – Trichy. 

Taxis are available from Chennai & Trichy Airport, from Villupuram Railway Station and Bus Stands. There is no accommodation at Parikkal, however a few good hotels can be found at Villupuram town. Do refer here for details.

From Chennai, this temple can be covered in a single day between 6am – 9pm with a few other temples midway. 

Jai Narasimha!

Why visit Temples?

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



1.    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.

1stform           -Para Roopa, the form he takes in Sri Vaikunta, His Celestial Abode. 

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

Attribute        - Exhibits Supremacy

2ndForm          -Vyuha Roopa, the form in Milky Ocean (Ksheeraabdi)

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

Attribute        - Exhibits as the ultimate Saviour (Rakshakatvam)

3rdForm          - Vibhava Roopa, his various incarnations

Description     His incarnations are countless which includes 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)

Attribute        - Exhibits Dharma Samstaapanam

4th Form          - Antaryaami, residing inside each of us (inside all Jeeva aatmas)

Description     He dwells inour 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.

Attribute        - Exhibits magnanimity (Vaatsalyam) in this form

 5th Form         - Archaa, the deity form which is the most important and useful form for us.

Description     God resides in deity form in standing, sitting or reclining postures. We, as human beings, do not know the route to Sri Vaikunta, nor we live in Krita, Threta or Dwapara yuga 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’t meditate on him, worship and exhibit bhakti. So he is available in deity form in temples all days, close to our homes, accessible, for us to worship.

Attribute        - Exhibits simplicity and accessibility (Soulabhya) in this form


2.    The next question is why worship God?

God gives us anything we ask for when we completely surrender on Him. While He grants all the material pleasure 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 the basic questions: 
·      Who am I? - I am Jeevaatma (There is no difference between me, a sheep, a flower, Devas or any other Jeevaatma)

·      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 Brahmam (experience eternal bliss and cut out from the cycle of birth and death)

While it is easy to put this in bullets, it is not easy to experience and appreciate Brahmam without Surrender on 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.

Legend:
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)