Friday, December 28, 2018

Sowmya Damodhara Perumal Temple, Villivakkam – Legends

Sowmya Damodhara Perumal Temple, Villivakkam – Legends
Soumya Damodara Perumal:
The word Damodara is elaborately explained in Vaishnava philosophies. In short, it means that Lord can be controlled by pure love. During the childhood of Krishnavatara, He was terribly mischievous boy and Mother Yasodha could not bring him to order. She bound him by a rope, yet he moved with the rope in between two trees, broke them and granted salvation to two demons. The scar of the rope stayed on his waist deeply showing his willingness to be bound by a mother’s love. Damam in Sanskrit and Thambu in Tamil mean rope. Udharam means belly. The rope scar is around the belly, hence Damodara. Soumya means ever smiling and looking handsome. Hence, the name Soumya Damodara.
Damodhara in Tamil Literature:
The Last of Lord Narayana's 12 names mentioned in the "Dwadasa Nama Stotra" is Damodaran or the one who was bound to a grinding stone, known in Tamil as "Ural". The name has a special significance, according to Madhurakavi Azhwar, one of the Vaishnavite saints. He says in his Kanninunn Chiruthambu, his only work of 10 verses, forming part of the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, that the Lord allowed himself to be bound to the grinding stone after playing for a long time with his foster-mother, Yasodha.
Another saint, Nammazhwar, mentions Damodara as the Lord of Brahma and Siva in his Thiruvaimozhi verse. Andal, the saint-poetess, in her Thiruppavai, goes one step further and says that Devaki, the mother of Lord Krishna, was purified by giving birth to him. But there are only a very small number of temples to the Lord with this name and one among them is the Sowmya Damodara Perumal Temple in Villivakkam. 
Sage Agastya digesting Vatapi:
Durvasa wanted to bring his sons-Vilvan and Vatapi – in the righteous and vedic path. However, their mother (one with asura qualities) was more inclined on the asura path. Angered at this, Durvasa left them and went to the forest. An upset mother sought revenge and wanted her sons to destroy the rishis. Taking up her orders, the two consumed one rishi after another. They would first play host to the rishi coming their way. During lunch, Vatapi would enter the rishi through the food they consumed. Once done, Vilvan would call out for his brother Vatapi, who would then tear open the rishi and come out. 
The worried rishis looked up to Lord Shiva for help, who directed them to Sage Agastya. Vatapi and Vilvan tried their prank on Agastya who came this way. After the Sage consumed the food, he digested Vatapi before Vilvan could call out for him in their usual planned way. Sage Agastya wanted Shiva and Vishnu to provide darshan at this place. Hence, at the Shiva temple, he is seen as Agastheeswarar. At the Vishnu temple, the Lord is seen as Sowmya Damodaran.
As the asuras were killed here, this place was referred to as Konnur. Later, this took the specific name of the two asuras- Vil (from Vilvan) and Va (from Vatapi) and came to be referred to as Villivakkam. This Kshetram came to be called Samhara Puri Kshetram.