Monday, November 20, 2017

Thayumanaswami Temple, Rockfort – Legends

Thayumanaswami Temple, Rockfort – Legends
According to Hindu legend, a pregnant woman named Rathnavathi was an ardent devotee of Shiva. While nearing labor, she requested her mother to come over. Her mom could not reach on account of heavy floods in river Cauvery. As delivery time came closer, Rathnavathi prayed to Shiva. Shiva, moved by the devotion of Rathnavathi, took the form of Rathnavathi's mother and helped with her smooth delivery. After the delivery, Shiva vanished and Rathnavathi's mother who arrived later. The family came to know that it was Shiva who attended to the delivery.
Henceforth, Shiva in the temple came to known as Thayumanaswami, meaning the Lord who could act like a Mother. The temple obtained the name from the presiding deity, Thayumanaswami. Shiva disguised himself as a mother for a pregnant lady, leading to the name Thayumanavar, meaning the one who became a mother. This incident is also celebrated as a special event called "Chettipenn Maruthuvam" on the fifth day of the Chithirai Festival at the temple.
According to Hindu mythology, the city Tiruchirappalli derives its name from legend associated with the Thayumanaswami Temple. Demon Tirishira (demon with three heads) was on penance on Lord Shiva. Though many years passed, Lord Shiva delayed his darshan to test his purity. He threw two of his heads in fire and was about to throw the third, Lord appeared before him and restored his two heads. As requested by him, Lord Shiva agreed to stay here in the name of Thirisira Nathar (based on demon Tirishira story). The place came to be known as Tirishiramalai, now changed as Trichy.
Lord Shiva caused Sand Rain to punish Chola King:
The region was ruled by a Chola king having Woraiyur as his capital. During this time, Sarama Munivar created a flower garden here and was worshipping Lord with Sevvanthi flowers. A trader stole the flowers from this garden and gave them to the king. As the king became very fond of these flowers, he asked the trader to supply them to him daily. The trader continued his theft business. This caused disturbance to the Shiva Puja of Sarama Munivar. His appeal to the king was in vain. Munivar appealed to Lord Shiva who looked at the direction of the court of the king and caused sand rain in the place. The king realized his wrong doing, prayed to Lord Shiva and was pardoned.
Contest between Adisesha and Vayu:
A furious contest arose between Adisesha and Vayu to decide the supremacy of their prowess. The condition was to shake violently Mount Kailash.  Defeating Adisesha, when Vayu broke the mount, the top of the Kailasam was disturbed by Vayu (air) and thrown in three places and this is considered one among them and that is why this is called Dakshina Kailasam. The other two places are Kalahasthi and Tirikonamalai (Srilanka).
Shrine turned west from east:
The shrine was previously facing east. As Lord turned west to punish the king who stole the Sevvanthi flowers and caused disturbance to the puja of Sarama Munivar, the shrine stood permanently facing west leaving the flag post behind. During the puja times, the music and Thevaram recitals are followed only from eastern side behind the shrine.
Kediliappa Pillai named his son after the Lord:
One Kediliappa Pillai was the treasurer – accountant of King Vijaya Raghunatha Chokkar during his rule of the region. Pillai was a staunch Shiva devotee and was gifted with a handsome son. Pillai named him Thayumanavar after the name of the Lord. The boy showed all signs of brilliance in education and characters. The king retained him in his services. He served the king for a long time, while his heart was with the Lord.  
People worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Sage Agasthya, Arjuna, Hanuman, Rathnavathi, Rama, Saptha Kanniar (seven virgins) and Saptha Rishis (seven sages) are supposed to have worshipped Shiva in this place.
Sevvanthi Nathar:
Sarama muni (sage) worshipped Shiva with Sevvanthi flowers (chrysanthemums) brought from Nagaloka, the abode of the Nagas or serpents. So, the Lord is called Sevvanthi Nathar.
Thiri Sikarapuram:
There are also stories that since there are three peaks on Rock Fort, occupied by three Gods Shiva, Parvathi & Vinayakar (Uchi Pillaiyar), the place was called Thiri-sikarapuram and later called Tirisirapuram.