Thursday, September 12, 2019

Vilvavana Nathar Temple, Thiruvaikavur – Legends

Vilvavana Nathar Temple, Thiruvaikavur – Legends
Lord Shiva granted Salvation to Hunter:
A saint named Thavanithi was performing his worship in the temple. A deer chased by a hunter held the aegis of the saint. The sage advised him to leave the deer alone, but the hunter was adamant and threatened to kill him if he did not release the deer. Even after his threat, the sage did not back down and refused to let go of the dear. It is believed that at this point, Lord Shiva came in the form of a tiger in order to save the sage and the deer.
The hunter out of fear climbed the Vilva tree in the temple, waiting for the tiger to relent. The tiger was relentless and the hunter in an effort to keep him awake all night spilled vilva leaves one by one the whole night and throwing it on the tiger. Incidentally, it was Shivarathri that day. Pleased with the hunter’s act, Lord Shiva blessed him with his darshan and gave him salvation. It is believed that both Lord Mahavishnu and Lord Brahma had also come here to witness this event.
The next day was to be the last day of the hunter in EarthYama, the god of death approached the hunter to take him to Yama Logam. Unaware of the fact, that the hunter had been granted salvation by Lord Shiva. He entered the temple to find the hunter and perform his duty. However, Nandhi did not notice Yama entering into the temple. As soon as he entered, the Lord took the form of Dakshinamurthy and drove him away with a stick.
Lord Shiva then instructed the Dwarapalakas and Nandhi to chase and drive Yama away. Lord Shiva also scolded Nandhi for his carelessness of allowing him to enter the temple premises. Eager to seek forgiveness for his mistake, Nandhi used all his might and inhaled deeply to stop the fleeing Yama in his place. Yama prayed to the Lord for forgiveness and pleaded that he be released. Lord Shiva then instructed Nandhi to release him.
In order to show his respect for the Lord, Yama created a tank here and performed abhishekam to the lord. He stayed here for a few days and performed poojas. The holy water created by Yama is known as Yama Theertham. It is situated in front of this temple. The idol of Nandhi in this temple is facing towards the entrance. This signifies that he is keeping a watch to stop Yama in case he tries to enter the temple again.
Lords Mahavishnu & Brahma as Dwarapalakas:
As Lord Shiva sent out the Dwarapalakas to chase Yama, there are no idols of Dwarapalakas here. In their place, Lords Mahavishnu and Brahma are acting as Dwarapalakas.
Hariesar:
Lord Mahavishnu had lied to the demon Jalandhiran’s wife before killing him. Because of this sin, she cursed Lord Mahavishnu. In order to seek relief, he visited this place and worshiped Lord Shiva here. Hence Lord Shiva here is also praised as Hariesar.
Agni Theertham:
Other than the Yama Theertham, there is another Theertham called Agni Theertham. It is believed that Lord Agni created this holy water and worshiped the lord here.
Sapthamathas worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Sapthamathas worshipped Lord Shiva here by having a holy dip in Yama Theertham, the temple tank here to regain the Ashtama siddhis (powers) lost on account of a curse from the sage Uttala.
Bhooomipuram:
It is also believed that Goddess Bhooma Devi visited this place and worshiped Lord Shiva. Hence, the place came to be called as Bhooomipuram.
Makavaruleeswarar:
It is believed that on a Shivrathri day, a thief killed a sleeping child while trying to steal the child’s ornaments. The father of the child, a staunch Shiva devotee, prayed to Lord Shiva to resurrect the child. It is believed that Lord Shiva gave rebirth to the child. Hence Lord Shiva came to be called as Makavaruleeswarar.
Vedas in the form of Vilvam:
Legends state that the Vedas conduct their Tapasya in the form of Vilvam.  It is believed that the Vedas realized that everything would be annihilated during deluge.  So, they approached Lord Siva and asked him the way to get protected from extinction. The Lord advised them to do Tapasya standing as the Vilwa tree. They did so and hence this holy place came to be known as ‘Vilva Aaranyam’ and the Lord was called Vilvavaneswarar. 
Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Lord Brahma took a holy dip in the Theertham here and worshiped Lord Shiva to retain his role as the creator of the universe.

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