Friday, March 18, 2016

Naganathaswamy Temple (Rahu Sthalam), Tirunageswaram – Legends

Naganathaswamy Temple (Rahu Sthalam), Tirunageswaram – Legends
All the Ashta Maha serpents – the eight great serpents- (Ananthan, Vasuki, Thatchakan, Karkodaka, Sankapalan, Kulikan, Padman and Mahapadman) along with Adiseshan worshiped Lord Shiva here. Hence, Lord Shiva here is praised as Thiru Naga Nathar (Nagam means snake and Nathar means the Lord in Tamil) and the place gets the name Thiru Nageswaram.
Indra relief from Sage Gautama Curse:
As per Hindu legend, Indra was cursed by sage Gautama as he misbehaved with the latter's wife Agalya. Due to the curse, a bad smell was emanating from his body. To obtain deliverance from the sage's curse, it is said that Indra worshipped Giri Gujambigai with a scented material termed Punugu for 45 days.
Maha Pralayam:
According to Hindu mythology, at the end of every Yuga, there is a huge flood called Maha Pralayam occurs and the whole world immerses in a deluge on account of the wrath of Hindu god Shiva for the sins committed by humans in earth. Lord Brahma prepared himself for the next cycle of creation. He put all the seeds from which creation would sprout in amrita (the elixir of immortality) along with four Vedas and Puranas and kept them together in a clay pot. On top of the pot, he placed a coconut with mango leaves and wrapping around the pot’s neck a sacred thread. He then placed the pot on the peak of Mount Meru in the Himalayas.
When the Maha Pralayam started, it destroyed all living creatures on the earth. The Amutha Kalasa also got displaced and started floating on the seas for years. Eventually when the Pralayam stopped, the Kalasa settled in Kumbakonam. The drops of nectar are believed to have fallen onto five shrines around Kumbakonam, namely Mahalingeswarar Temple at Thiruvidaimarudur, Airavateshwarar Temple at Darasuram, Naganathar Temple at Tirunageswaram, Swaminathaswamy Temple at Swamimalai and Sundareswarar Temple at Koranattu Karuppur.
Ragu Bhagavan relief from Sage Sushila Curse:
Once, Saint Sushila cursed Ragu Bhagavan (Sun’s Ascend Node), one of the nine orbiting planets. To absolve his curse, Ragu worshipped Lord Siva in Kumbakonam Keelkottam in the first quarter of the night – First Jamam and Senbakaranyam in the Second quarter, and Thirupampuram in the Third quarter, and Nagaikaronam in the Fourth quarter and at last at Usha time came to this holy Senbaka forest and prayed to him to absolve his curse. Not only was Rahu liberated from his curse, but he was also granted the boon of liberating devotees from Naga Dosham who come here and offer their sincere prayers.
To prevent devotees from fear of invoking the blessings of a Snake God, it is believed that the venom is washed away in the milk abhisheka that is performed every day when the milk turns blue. It is also to take away the fear of devotees that Rahu provides darshan in an Abhaya Varada Posture with Naga Valli and Naga Kanni by his side in the southwest corner of this temple. In memory of this event, Rahu goes on a procession across the four big streets of Thiru Nageswaram on Maha Shivarathri in Maasi and then invokes the blessings of Lord Naganathaswamy.
Churning of Milk Ocean:
The Devas and asuras churned the Parkadal to obtain Amirtha that would free them from death, keeping them alive for ever. When the Amirtha emerged, Lord Vishnu in the guise of Mohini was distributing the Amirtha only to the Devas. He was worried that the evil deeds of the asuras will increase multifold if they consumed Amirtha. Realizing this, one of the asuras with the help of the Asura guru Sukracharya, took the form of a deva and consumed the nectar. Suryan and Chandran who noticed this, complained to Lord Narayana.
In anger, Lord Narayana hit the Asura on the head with the spoon in his hand. The head was cut off and fell on the ground. Because the Asura had consumed Amirtha, his head and body continued to live. Raahu prayed to Lord Shiva of this temple for forgiveness. It is believed that Lord Shiva has restored him back to life by placing the severed head on a snake’s body. Lord Shiva also blessed him and gave him a place among the nine planets. Rahu takes his revenge on Suryan and Chandran, whenever he gets a chance by devouring them. This is commonly called as eclipse.
Mother Parvathi is worshipping Lord Shiva here:
According to legend, Lord Shiva had asked Goddess Parvathi to go to earth and perform penance because she had punished Sage Birungi severely. Lord Shiva also told her that Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi will accompany her. Goddess Parvathi selected this place (Thirunageswaram) to perform her penance. Pleased with her penance, Lord Shiva blessed her with his darshan and took her back to Mount Kailash. Goddess Parvathi is praised here as Sri Girigujambal.
The Goddess is said to be Swayambhu as she is present in the form of Meru. Hence, no Abhishekam (ablution) is performed for the image. It is believed that Mother is still worshipping Lord Shiva here with Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ganesha, Muruga and Shasta. Maha Bhairava is still believed to be guarding and assisting the divine mother during her prayers.
According to legend, in ancient times, this region was a forest densely covered with Senbaka trees. Hence this place gets the name Shenbakaranyam and the lord is praised as Shenbakaranyeswarar.
Historical Names:
The historical names of this place are Shenbaga Vanam and Girikannikai Vanam.
King Sambumali attained Moksha here:
King Sambumali who had incurred the wrath of sage Kaalangiri, attained moksha after bathing in the temple tank and praying to the Lord and Mother of this temple.
Poudiga Purana:
Poudiga Purana contains the fact that Lord Shiva once told his consort Umadevi about Senbakaranyam, now called Thirunageswaram and its renown.
Sage Gautama re-united with his wife Akalika:
Sage Gautama was re-united with his wife Akalika after worshiping the Lord Shiva here.
Emperor Nalan regained his lost wealth:
Emperor Nalan regained his lost wealth after praying to Lord Shiva of this Temple.
Pandavas regained their kingdom:
Pandavas regained their kingdom after worshipping Lord Shiva of this Temple.
Chandra Varman got cured of his curse:
Chandra Varman, who had been turned into a dog due to a curse, was restored to his original form after he took a dip in this temple’s holy water and worshiped the lord here.
Adhikara Nandeeswarar:
Nandi attained the status of Adhikara Nandeeswarar after worshipping Lord Shiva here.
Lord Vinayaka attained the status of Ganapathy (the head of Ganas, the attendants of Lord Shiva) after worshipping Lord Shiva here.
Sage Brinki got the darshan of all the three goddesses:
It is believed that Sage Brinki got the darshan of all the three goddesses (Parvathy, Lakshmi and Saraswathi) simultaneously here.
Depiction of Parvathi in three forms:
This is the only place where Goddess Parvathy is depicted as a child in the morning, a young girl in the noon and in the evening as a fully-grown woman with knowledge of the 16 arts.
People worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Suryan, Vinayagar, Nandi, Pandavas, Sage Vashishta, Indra, Brahma, Chandrasenan, Aadi Sesha, Dakshan, Karkotaka, Emperor Nala, Sage Gowthama, Sage Parasarar, Sownaka, Nargunan, Bhagiratha and Rahu Bhagawan worshipped Lord Shiva here.