Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kalahasteeswara Swamy Temple, Sri Kalahasthi – Legends

Kalahasteeswara Swamy Temple, Sri Kalahasthi – Legends
Srikalahasthi is named after Sri (spider) Kala (Snake) Hasti (Elephant). They were staunch devotees of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, the elephant or Hasti used to clean the Shiva deity by watering the idol with the help of river-water carried in his trunks and pray for him by placing Vilva leaves. The spider or Sri tried to protect the deity from external damage by weaving his web and to provide shelter for the Shiva lingam. The snake or Kala used to place its precious gem on the Linga to adorn the lord. In this way, they all worshipped the Vayu Linga separately without knowing what the other was doing.
One day, the spider had built a very big and thick web around the deity to protect it from dust and weather while the snake places its gem. The elephant not knowing this and assuming that this form of puja by Sri and Kala is a desecration by the seeming miscreants, pours water on it and cleans it up. This causes a war between the three. The snake punishes the elephant by entering its trunk and in the process, kills itself while the elephant runs amok and hits its trunk and head against the Shiva Linga.
During this struggle, the spider is squashed against the Linga by the elephant's trunk and the elephant dies due to the snake's poison. Lord Shiva then appeared and gave moksha to all three of them for their selfless devotion. The spider takes rebirth as a great king while the elephant and the snake reaches heaven for satisfying all its karma. This king continues his good work from his previous birth and builds a variety of temples that seeks to protect the underlying deity with tons of stones.
It is interesting to note that all his temples, keep the deity beyond the access of an elephant. In this temple, access to the deity is through a narrow passage in the side of the building that prevents an elephant from extending its trunk over the lord from any side. This temple is considered as the Kailash of the South or Dakshina Kailasam. At the foot of the Linga one can see a spider, two elephant tusks and a five-headed (the five elements) serpent to remind the devotee of these acts of supreme devotion. The legend here is similar to that of the Jambukeswarar temple at Tiruvanaikkaa.
Vayu Lingam:
During the early days of creation, Lord Vayu performed penance for thousands of years to "Karpoora Lingam" (Karpooram means camphor). Pleased with his penance, Lord Shiva manifested before him and said, " O Vayu Deva! Though you are dynamic in nature, you stayed here without movement and did penance for me. I'm pleased with your devotion. I shall grant you three boons". Lord Vayu said, "Swami! I want to be present everywhere in this world. I want to be an integral part of every Jiva who is none other than the manifestation of Paramatma. I want to name this Karpoora Linga, which represents you, after me.
Samba Siva said," You are qualified for these three boons. As per your wish, you will be spread throughout this world. Without you there will be no life. This Linga of mine will forever be known all over through your name, and all Suras, Asuras, Garuda, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Siddhas, Saadhvis, humans and others will worship this Lingam". Lord Shiva disappeared after granting these boons. Thereafter, this Karpoora Vayu Lingam is worshipped by all Lokas (worlds).
Gnana Prasunambika Devi:
Once, Parvati was cursed by Lord Shiva to discard her heavenly body and assume the human form. To get rid of the above curse Parvati did a long penance here. Pleased with her deep devotion Lord Shiva again recreated her body – a hundred times better than her previous heavenly body and initiated various mantras including the Panchakshari. Consequent to this, Parvati gained fame and came to be known as Shiva-Gnanam Gnana Prasunamba or Gnana Prasunambika Devi.
Ghanakala prayed to Lord Shiva here:
Cursed to become a ghost, Ghanakala prayed at Srikalahasthi for 15 years and after chanting the Bhairava Mantra many times Lord Shiva restored her original form.
Mayura, Chandra and Devendra prayed to Lord Shiva here:
Mayura, Chandra and Devendra were also freed from their curses after taking bath in the river Swarnamukhi and praying at Srikalahasthi.
Lord Shiva preached to Sage Markandeya here:
To Markandeya, Lord Shiva appeared in Srikalahasthi and preached that a Guru alone could make esoteric teachings and, therefore he is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.
Legends of Kannappa Nayanar:
Kannappa Nayanar was an enthusiastic devotee of Lord Shiva and a hunter by profession. It is believed that once, he saw blood coming out of the eyes of the Lord Shiva. Kannappa plucked out one of his eyes and placed in the eye of Linga which was oozing with blood and tears. When the tears and the blood were still trickling from another eye, Kannappa decided to remove his second eye and placed one of his feet on the spot of the right eye of the Shiva Linga. Before he could pull out his second eye with the arrow, Lord Shiva appeared and restored his eye and for this reason earned the name Kannappan (his original name being Thinnan) and the distinction of having his statue adorn the sanctum. This act of Kannappa placed him among the 63 Nayanmars.
At Sri Kalahasthi, Lord Shiva tested the unshakable devotion of Kannappa Nayanar before the sages gathered at Srikalahasthi. With his divine power, Lord Shiva created a tremor and the roof tops of the temple began to fall. All the sages ran away from the scene except Kannappa who covered the Linga with his body to prevent it from any damage.
According to Swami Sivananda's book, Sixty-Three Nayanar Saints, some Saivite traditions believe that Kannappa was the reincarnation of Arjuna. Arjuna, worshipped Siva for seeking the Pasupatha Astra and failed to recognize him in the form of a hunter. Thus, according to this tradition, Arjuna had to be born as a hunter and adore the Lord before attaining final liberation.
Flickering Flame in the Hanging Lamp at Sanctum:
In the sanctum sanctorum of this temple is a hanging lamp that always keeps swinging with a flickering flame though there is no visible inlet for wind. No one knows where the wind comes from is a mystery.
Rahu Kethu Parihara Sthalam:
Along with this, Srikalahasthi Temple is also linked with Rahu and Ketu, two of the nine important celestial bodies of Indian astrological system. Many pilgrims visit here to offer their prayers to Rahu and Ketu, considered be immensely powerful.