Monday, March 19, 2018

Koodal Azhagar Temple – Legends

Koodal Azhagar Temple – Legends
Thiru Pallandu:
As per Hindu legend, Pandya king Vallabhadeva wanted to know the Lord with the power to show the way to Paramapatha, the heavenly abode. The King hung a Golden Parrot with the announcement that the parrot would automatically fall, once someone informs him of the right Lord to Paramapatha. Several came and went back without success. It is believed that the Koodal Lord appeared in the dreams of Vallabhadeva’s priest Selva Nambi and suggested the name of Periazhwar of Srivilliputhur. Accordingly, Periazhwar was brought to the court of the Pandya King in Madurai.
With several examples from vedic scriptures as well as historical references, Periazhwar showcased to the Pandya King that Lord Vishnu was the Lord who could take one to the heavenly abode. And to every one’s surprise the parrot fell down. The Azhvaar taken on a Street procession in Koodal. A delighted Pandya king praised Periazhwar and took him on an elephant procession through the streets of Madurai. Legend has it that Koodal Azhagar himself came to see this sight on his Garuda Vahanam.
Delighted at the sight of the Koodal Lord, Periazhwar showered praises with his Pallaandu. Hence, Koodal Azhagar is credited with origination of Thiru Pallaandu, which now has come to be sung as the first 12 songs of the Divya Prabhandham. Being the place where Periazhwar sang the now famous Pallaandu, this place is considered equivalent to Paramapatham.
“Pallandu Pallaandu Pallayirathaandu, Palakodi Nooraayiram
Mallanda Thinthol Manivanna Un Sevadi Seppu Thirukkappu”
It is said that architect of the Devas (gods), Vishwakarma designed and constructed Koodal Azhagar Koil in Kritha Yugam (Sathya or age of truth), the first of the four epochs in Vedic history. The other three are Tretha Yugam, Dwapara Yugam and the current one called Kali Yugam.
Koodal is the ancient name for Madurai. Azhagar means the beautiful one (male form) in Tamil.
Legend has it that all the Gods and Goddesses got together at the Koodal Azhagar Temple, for Meenakshi Amman’s wedding to Lord Sundareswarar. Hence this place is called as Koodal.
The name Koodal stems from the legend that at the behest of Vishnu, four clouds gathered at Madurai in the form of tall buildings, and prevented a deluge from overpowering the city. 
The legend says that 49 Tamil poets joined their hands to form an academy under the order of Pandya king to promote the growth of Tamil language. The academy which was formed by them stood as a center for the welfare of Tamil language for several centuries making numerous valuable works for the growth of Tamil. The academy stands as a monument for today.
It is said that four buildings are joined together to form a fort to prevent the place from intense deluge. Even this was served as a reason for the name “Koodal”, as four building joined to form a fort at this place.
The other mythology was that four clouds are sent by Lord Indra, the god of rain, because of the worship made by a Pandya king pleasing for rain. As a result, the four clouds sent by Lord Indra joined at this place causing rain. Hence, the four clouds joined at this place, it is called as “Koodal”, where Koodal means joining.
Reference in Maduraikkanchi:
In praise of Sri Koodal Azhagar, the Avani Onam festival was celebrated by Pandyan rulers for seven days. This festival is described in Maduraikkanchi, one of the ten epic poems called Pathupattu of the Sangam period.
Reference in Silapathikaram:
Illangovadigal (the Tamil poet who wrote the epic ‘Silapathikaram’) praises Lord Koodal Azhagar as ‘Needu Neer-Vaigai Nedumal’, meaning the Lord who covered the Universe by taking three strides, and then settled down at the bank of the River Vaigai in this temple. 
Reference in Brahmanda Purana:
Brahmanda Purana vividly describes this Kshetra in seven chapters.
The Pandya Symbol:
A Pandiyan king by named Sathyaviradhan, devoted to this Koodal Azhagar and had a great belief towards him. One day, when he went to worship Koodal Azhagar. But before going into the temple, he washed his hands in the Kirutha Maala river, where a fish was found in his hand. He thought that the fish might be the Lord Vishnu. Since fish was one of the Avathars of Sri Vishnu. This is stated to be the reason for the Pandyas to have ‘Fish’ as their symbol in their flags.
Vaigai And Kritha Mala:
At Sathya Logam, Brahmma washed the legs of Lord Vishnu, after his Trivikrama Avatharam, the sacred water drops of which fell on Madurai. These sacred drops spread as two rivers, Vaigai and Krithumala. Koodal Azhagar temple is on the banks of Krithumala river.
People worshipped Lord Vishnu here:
Legendary Kings Prithu and Malayadwaja Pandya Koodal Alagar, who bestowed them with prosperity and attainment of moksha at the end.