Kumbakonam, the city with one of the most striking temples in and around Tanjore district, has a very long and ancient tradition in mystic arts. Those mystic arts include abhichara (black magic), yogic and siddha traditions and finally Vaishnava tantra as well. One of the most famous praticioner was a saint by the name Sri Vijayendra Tirtha Swami, a pondiff of the Madhva Tradition. He was not just a ascetic and yogi, but also he possessed many secret arts in tantra procedure. His istha Devata was of course Lord Narasimha, who saved him in several incidents. One of those "lila" was a lethal attack by poison which was consumed by his puja vigraha Lakhsmi Narasimha, and he was surviving. As he was a strong preacher of Madhva Philosophy, he had many enemies, mostly from the nastikas. But due to his mantric power he all defeated those haters of Lord Vishnu, and even pacified both traditions of Shiva and Vishnu worship in this town. He worshipped Kumbeswara Swamy (Lord Shiva) as well Sarangapani Swamy, the main Deity of this town. Sarangapani (the bow holder..) is right after Lord Ranganatha the second most important Temple of all the 108 divya desams in bharatvarsa, as it was sung by 6 alwars, and Tirumangai Alwar (the thief* saint!) made a composition in a very special style, called Ratham... each verse holds one part of a cart, were Lord Vishnu is sitting inside and pulled by his devotees, like on Ratha Yatra.
Kumbakonam also has one very unique Maha Sudarshana Temple, Sri Chakrapani Perumal, worshipped by Ahirbudhnya Rishi, the kuluguru of our son Sri Prahlad, and the main teacher of Lord Narasimha Anustub maha Mantra. That Sudarshana Deity is a very impressive and powerful Lord, and here you can see him in his utsava Murthy in standing position with 8 hands, and in his Moola Vigraha you have him with 16 hands, almost in 2 meters size!
Kumbakonam has in and around some nice small Narasimha shrines, one is the old Ahobilam Matham, with a beautiful Malola Lakshmi Narasimha Vigraha, very similar to the Jeeyar Deity. There is another Narasimha in the flower market, with Kurattalwar next to it, who did special puja to Narasimha in Kumbakonam for the save of his Guru Sri Ramanuja from the onslaught of the chola king krimikantha!!! But this story we will tell in the next post...
Dienstag, Februar 23, 2010
Dienstag, Februar 16, 2010
From Pondycherry i left in direction to one of the 5 Element (Pancabhuta) lingam, in the town of Chidambaram. This linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) is the first of the 5 element lingams found in tamil nadu, and stands for akasha (either). The temple once was only a temple of Lord Vishnu, by the name Govindaraja Swamy, sung by the alwars, especially Tirumangai Alwar had sung 32 songs about Him, in Chidambaram. But due to the rivaly between the shiva kings Kulotunga I. (Rajaraja) of chola dynasty and the sri vaishnava community, Sri Govindaraja Swamy was removed and only later restored in the temple. Now the temple housing two seperate shrines inside, one for Shiva and one for Vishnu. I was there when it got very crowed and many people came to Nataraj Shiva to get the blessings, so the Shiva shrine was overpopulated like a indian train. I had a peaceful darshan of Sri Govindaraja Swamy and next to him is a nice small Ugra Narasimha shrine too. The whole temple looks very confusing as the Shiva temple is built around the Vishnu deity, and there are two prakaras interwaving each other. The priests here look very unusal with those sikhas on top of their head instead in the back. Just recently the atheistic goverment of tamil nadu has taken the rights of those priests to be independent, and made it a goverment run institution, to make it more bankrupt and misuse the money for anti religious propaganda. anyhow a very unfortunate chapter of indian history with those temples ...
Mittwoch, Februar 10, 2010
One of the most impressive Narasimhas are found in and around of Pudducherry /Pondicherry area. Those are Singakovil, around 15 km from Pondicherry in a very unknown village. The place is only possible to find if you ask for Singakovil, then may some villagers can direct you there. The Temple is of impressive structure and built in typicial south indian style with Gopuram (entrance tower), prakaras (walls around) vimana (tower structure in aeroplane style) etc... The Deity is one of my favoured Vigraha in south india, a Big 16 handed Ugra Narasimha around 2 Meter in size. A very impressive Deity indeed!!! Even in the middle of ricefields and nothing else the temple is properly taken care by some priests around, and you can get darshan in early morning time nicely.
The next temple is around 30 km from Singakovil away by the name Puvasamkootam, also a total village area. The Deity is a Lakshmi Narasimha with very nice alankarams, and most of the time he flanks on either side two lions... (see pic) This temple also goes under renovation right now, and will get a better temple complex.
The next of the three Pudducherry Narasimhas is the Parikkal Lakshmi Narasimha, a very protective Narasimha in nature. Many people come here for relief from distress, black magic and other problems. It is around another 30 km from Puvasamkootam, so to have all 3 darshans at a day, you best hire a car from Pondicherry early morning and do the tour from here! Im promise it will make you wonder after having darshan of all those special Narasimha Murthies!
Dienstag, Februar 09, 2010
Organized for trade with europe and controlled by the french for more then 250 years, this city is a very surprise to see, as it is not much of indian culture left. Even the police carries french helmets, street names are in big letter french and french bakerys all over the place (with french schools, education done in french etc.). Also the whole street settlement are done quite in europian style. And at last funny to see indians speak fluenty french!!!!
Beside it is very much influenced by the ashram culture of Sri Aurobindo who established 1926 his "integral Yoga" theory here in Pondy. Some of his followers started in the 1960`s a village idea outside of Pondycherry by name "auroville" planning of 50000 inhabitans living all around the utopia meditation hall looking like a Vimana/aeroplane. But until now only 2000 people have come and built some house around this area. Anyhow the park and the whole area around is nicely mantained, with many small teastalls, restaurants, french bakerys and kashmiri antique stores... The area of the meditation hall is pure clean and hardcore checked that you dont get stranded on some of the grassfields forbidden for outsiders. On of the most important incense production is here established by the name "Maroma products" who sell those incense all over the world. Those sticks are mainly pure oil dipped incense with freshy blends, beside of their soap, bathing powder production in aromatheraphy style.
All that is a very good point to relax and settle a bit from stress, and i guess one can get a fairly hotel room price the village area, if one doesnt want to stay inside the city.
Montag, Februar 08, 2010
Mahabalipuram is a very old port from the ancient trading time of india with outside countries like Thailand, Cambodia or vietnam. Some part of old city was flooded 400 years ago, and the village town was shifted more inside the landscape area. Testimony are the nowadays shore temple of Maheswari and the lioncave who are just on the beach.
Unfortunate some of the nowadays inhabitants of mahabalipuram are fishermen who dont have either education nor appreciation to their ancient traditions due to conversion to abrahams religions like christanity or islam. They do their daily morning toilet just right on the beach or in those cave temples who doesnt get daily pujas. The goverment of Tamil Nadu is doing less for a change, but instead charging big entrance fees for foreign tourists to visit cave temples of more important values like those of the Pandava rathams. But i have not seen a change from those days until now with this garbage and waste problem. No wonder that big diseases spread in rainy seasons like thyphoid, malaria and brain fever.
This year i did a nice Puja inside the Varaha Swamy Cave temple with my priest friends Gopal Krsna bhattar and Satana Bhattar. It is a very powerful Deity which is painted with natural colours and have a very fantastic artcraft inside the cave of pallava and chola style.
In antiquity the king Narasimha Pallava got blessed by Varaha Swamy here, and he granted big land, daily foodstuff trough the villagers around, gold and silver decorations and one Ekanta deepa (a eternal burning lamp for puja all day and night).
The worship from days has declined, but it is one of the last cave in Mahabalipuram who recieves still puja daily...
See the beauty... ah ah Om sri varahaaya namah
I came for the purpose of studying more on Agni pratistha and some special upasana on Lord Narasimha, and i was landing in chennai just to come in the right time of a legendary abhisheka of Lord Partha Sarathi Swamy. Here you can see some of the clicks... This Deity has special holes all over his holy body to memorize us that the Lord is always there for our protection if we surrender fully at his lotusfeet, as he did in the middle of the battlefield in Kurukshetra for his Devotee Arjuna.
Dear readers, so i will share some of my new expierence from the last trip to holy land of india with a lot of new pictures and unknown holy sites to be visited by all of us. please share and join and come along...