Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram - Legends

Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram – Legends
Lord of Mango Tree:
Legend has it that once Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva was cursed to become dark like Kali. She wanted to expatiate herself from the sin by doing penance under the temple's ancient Mango tree near Vegavathi river. In order to test her devotion Lord Shiva opened his third eye causing the tree under which Goddess Parvati was doing penance to get fired. Goddess Parvati prayed to her brother, Lord Vishnu, for help. In order to save her, he took the Moon from Shiva's head and showed the rays which then cooled down the tree as well as Parvati.
Hence, Lord Vishnu of this Temple came to be called as Nilathingal Thundathan. Lord Shiva again sent the river Ganga (Ganges) to disrupt Parvati's penance. Parvati prayed to Ganga and convinced her that both of them were sisters and so should not harm her. Subsequently, Ganga did not disturb her penance and Parvati made a Shiva Linga out of sand to get united with Shiva. The God here came to be known as Ekambareswarar or "Lord of Mango Tree".
Tazhuva Kuzhainthaar:
According to another legend, it is believed that Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Lingam (or a Lingam improvised out of sand), under a mango tree. Legend has it that the neighboring Vegavathi river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and that Parvati or Kamakshi embraced the Lingam. The impression of the Valaiyals (bangles) of Parvathi Devi is found on the Lingam of this temple. Lord Shiva touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as Tazhuva Kuzhainthaar ("He who melted in her embrace") in Tamil.
Sthala Vriksham:
Sthala Vriksham is Mango Tree. It is found on the back side of the sanctum. It is said that Parvathi Devi performed her penance sitting below this tree. Special Poojas are performed towards this tree and the age of the tree is said about 3500 years old. People throng to the temple to see this Mango tree in particular. There is shrine where Goddess Parvathi Devi is seen embracing Lord Shiva under this tree.
It is said Lord Siva, pleased by the devotion and worship of Parvathi Devi, appeared before her and married her under this mango tree. It is because of this reason, Hindus, even today, during special occasions like marriages and other auspicious events, decorate a string of mango leaves at the main entrance of the house. It is also believed that the four branches of this tree represents the 4 Vedhas and the tree bears 4 different type of mango fruits in 4 different seasons.
Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar:
Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar is the 19th Nayanar saint among the 63 Nayanmars. The saint was serving the Shiva devotees by reading their facial expressions and understanding their actual needs. The kind of service had earned him the name Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar. In Tamil Thiru is the honorific term and Kurippu means expressions in general and facial expressions in specific and Thondar means voluntary servant. Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar was born in a Vannar family at Kanchipuram, the ancient capital of the Pallavas rulers.
This religious capital of South India is regarded as one of the seven holiest cities for the Hindus in India, and also considered as the land of devotees, poets, philanthropists, saints and savants. The saint was a single-minded staunch devotee of Shiva and served the devotees of Shiva by reading the faces of Nayanars. He derived utmost satisfaction in washing the clothes of Saiva devotees. The devotees of Shiva appreciated the selfless washing services of the saint and considered him as the selfless launderer.
He was not only physically washing the dirt from clothes but also spiritually washing the three blemishes of the human being. Lord Shiva decided to relieve Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar from the miseries of rebirth and wanted him to bless with salvation. Before this He wanted the Nayanar to go through tough times and wanted to put saint's devotion and faith by trials and testing. On an eventful day, Shiva appeared before the saint in the guise of a ripened Saiva devotee with thin frame and wearing old and dirty rags.
The saint stopped him and volunteered to wash his rags. The old devotee also agreed that the clothes deserve good washing. However, he also claimed that the clothes are the only possession and it protected him against the chilly weather during night time. Therefore, the old devotee insisted that the clothes need to be duly washed and delivered before sunset. Nayanar, without hesitation, agreed to complete the washing service before evening. The poor man even left a warning: if the washing is delayed, the act of delay would harm his body. At that time there was enough sunlight and therefore the saint was hoping to complete the service before sunset.
All of a sudden the climate become cloudy till evening and soon there was heavy rain. The saint was developing the signs of desperation and hopelessness. Soon he was wailing and weeping with grief. Even he felt guilty and attempted to break his head on the washing stone. The devotion and faith of Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar melted Shiva and he appeared before him and valued his act with benign grace. The determination shown by the saint earned him a place in the abode of Shiva. The Tamil month Chithirai, star Swathi (nakshatra) is observed as Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar's Guru puja day in all Shiva temples.
Aiyadigal Kadavarkon Nayanar:
Aiyadigal Kadavarkon, was a ruler of the Kadava dynasty and was ruling from Kanchipuram. He was the 46th Nayanar Saint among the celebrated 63 Nayanmars. He ruled his kingdom with his royal stick of justice i.e., the Justice of Shiva The king found that ruling the country was a hindrance to his progress towards Lord Shiva and to his Saivite duties and services. He crowned his son and made him to continue as an administrator in according to his principles.
Thereafter, he renounced the world and left for continuous pilgrimage to Shiva temples. Wherever he goes, he used to compose Tamil hymns on Shiva. After worshiping many Shiva temples, he reached Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram. He stayed there and was melted with the cosmic dance of Nataraja. Finally, the saint merged with Shiva in the dancing court.
Kalarsinga Nayanar:
Kalarsinga Nayanar was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the 55th in the list of 63 Nayanars. Many scholars identity Kalarsinga Nayanar as the Pallava king Narasimha Varman II (Rajasimha), who reigned between 700 and 728 CE. His name "kalarsinga" means "lion with ankled feet". Kalarsinga was a Pallava king from the Kadava dynasty. He is said to waged wars on foes and conquered kingdoms to the North, becoming an emperor. He was a staunch devotee of the god Shiva, the patron of Shaivism and propagated Shaivism in regions he captured. He went on pilgrimages to many Shiva temples.
He journeyed to Thiruvarur and came with his queen consort at the shrine of Araneri, dedicated to Shiva. This temple is identified as the Sri Achaleswarar (Vandarkuzhali) Temple, which is located in the Thyagaraja Temple complex. She arrived in the temple hall (mandapa) where various flowers were gathered to use as floral offerings to Lord Shiva as well as to create garlands for him. A flower had fallen from the dais where the garlands were made. The queen picked the flower and smelt it.
In Hinduism, it is taboo to use, or smell flowers meant for God, before they are offered to him. Seruthunai Nayanar, another Nayanar, served at the temple noticed the queen's actions. He was enraged by the conduct of the Pallava queen. Ignoring her royal status, he dragged her by her hair and pushed her on the ground. He caught her nose and punished her by severing it. The queen screamed in pain. The infuriated Kalarsinga rushed to her and asked who had dared to assault his queen and challenge his authority.
Seruthunai Nayanar took responsibility and explained the rationale of his actions. Kalarsinga deemed the punishment inadequate. With his sword, he chopped off the hand of the queen, by which he lifted the flower. As the devotees in the temple erupted with the cheers of "Hara, Hara" (name of Shiva) lauding his actions, celestial beings shower him with flowers for his just action. Kalarsinga ultimately attained Kailash, Shiva's abode after death.
One of the most prominent Nayanars, Sundarar venerates Kalarsinga Nayanar in the Tiruthonda Thogai, a hymn to Nayanar saints and praising him as Kadava king, who rules over the world bound by the seas. This reference of Kalarsinga as the emperor of the entire world in present tense is interpreted to suggest that Kalarsinga was the reigning king in Sundarar's times.
While generally Kalarsinga is identified as Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (reign: 700-728 CE), other contenders are Nandivarman II (reign: 732–796), his son Dantivarman (reign: 796–846) and his grandson Nandivarman III (reign: 846–869). Though the Periya Puranam associates Kalarsinga with only one other Nayanar (Seruthunai Nayanar), another theory suggests that the unnamed king in the narrative of the Nayanar saint Pusalar is also Kalarsinga. The king in the Pusalar tale is generally identified as Narasimhavarman II, the builder of Kailasanathar Temple of Kanchipuram.
Like Kalarsinga, Narasimhavarman conquered the Chalukya kingdoms, which were at the North of the Pallava kingdom. The Sundarar reference as well as the conquest of the North is used to identify Kalarsinga as Narasimhavarman. It is suggested that the Nayanars Aiyadigal Kadavarkon Nayanar and Kalarsinga are the father-son duo of Paramesvaravarman I (reign:670–720) and Narasimhavarman II. Some scholars reject the identification of Kalarsinga as Narasimhavarman II because the Tiruthonda Thogai or Periya Puranam would have explicitly said the same, while disputing Sundarar's dating.
They suggest Sundarar lived in the 9th century, when Nandivarman III - who fought the Battle of Tellaru - ruled. However, there is no evidence in his chronicles that he was ever given the title "Kalarsinga". Kalarsinga Nayanar is worshipped in the Tamil month of Vaisakhi, when the moon enters the Bharani nakshatra (lunar mansion). He is depicted as a king with a crown, folded hands and sometimes a sword in the crook of his arm. He receives collective worship as part of the 63 Nayanars.
Mother Parvathy performing Dharmas in Kanchi:
Once in Kailasha, abode of Lord Shiva, Mother Parvathi playfully closed the eyes of Lord Shiva. As a result of this, the entire world plunged into darkness. After realizing her grave mistake, Mother Parvathi pleaded to Lord Shiva and asked Lord the way to get out of her mistake. Lord Shiva asked her to perform the 32 Dharmas in Kanchi, worship him and she can get out of her sin.
As said by Lord Shiva, Mother Parvathi came to Kanchi and performed the 32 Dharmas, worshipped Lord Shiva thereby got out of her sin. The 32 Dharmas includes Deva Yagam, Pithru Yagam, Bhootha Yagam, Maanida Yagam, Pirama Yagam, and Donating for poor, construction of Madams for Rishis, Pushkaranis, flower parks, helping the disables, taking care of kids, Ko Dhanam, Kannika Dhanam, creation of Shiva bhakti, helping the Sivanadiyars and more.
Vigada Chakra Vinayagar:
Once, Lord Vishnu uses his Chakra against a demon to kill him, but the chakra by mistake, gets caught in the mouth of a skull on the deity Veerabadra’s garland. In an effort to retrieve the chakra, Lord Vinayagar performs a Vikata Kuthu (funny dance-drama) before Lord Veerabhadra. Not able to contain itself, the skull laughs, dropping the chakra from its mouth. Hence, Lord Vinayaga of this Temple came to be called as Vigada Chakra Vinayakar.
Sundarar got back his eyesight here:
Sundarar has got back his left eye sight in this temple which he lost on the way to Kanchipuram via Thiruvenpakkam where he got Oondru Kol from Lord Shiva.
Other Names:
This Sthalam is also called as Pralayasiththu, Sivapuram, Vindupuram, Mummurthyvaasam, Brahmapuram, Kaamapeedam, Tapomayam, Sagalasththi, Kannikaappu, Thundeerapuram and Thandagapuram.
Lord Brahma is believed to have worshipped this Lingam in Ekambareswarar Temple.
Lord Vishnu is believed to have worshipped this Lingam in Ekambareswarar Temple.
Lord Rudra is believed to have worshipped this Lingam in Ekambareswarar Temple.