Posts Tagged ‘swamimalai’

Contributed by Mr. C. I. Sivasubramanian

Skanda Sashti falls on the sixth day of Amavasya in the Tamil month of Eippasi, or Asadha sukla Sashti (Oct 15 – Nov 15). It is celebrated with great pomp and splendour in the temples dedicated to Lord Muruga, the second son of Siva and Parvati. Muruga, or Murugan takes various other names as Subramania, Skanda, Karthikeya, etc. In northIndiahe is better known as Karthikeya. Lord Muruga is an important deity for the Tamils especially.

Skanda Sashti commemorates the destruction of the demon Soorapadman by Murugan. This festival is celebrated in a grand manner at the ‘Aru padai veedugal’ [the six houses of the Lord where temples have been consecrated in His honour viz. Tirupparanmkundram, Tiruchendur, Tiruvavinankudi (more famously known as Palani), Kundruthoradal (commonly known as Tiruttani), Tiruverakam (better known as Swami Malai in Kumbakonam) and Pazhamutircholai, near Madurai], where the ‘Soora samhaaram’ (the defeat of Soorapadman) is enacted. It is an important festival wherever temples have been built for Lord Muruga, including one inDelhi. These temples are usually built over a hill.

In countries likeMalaysia,Singapore, where many Tamils reside for centuries, this is an extremely popular and widely observed festival.

When the ‘devas’ couldn’t contain the evil doings of Soorapadman, they approached Lord Muruga.  The kind Lord went on a war against Soorapadman. The war was waged for six days, at the end of which the Lord vanquished the asura. He threw his weapon at him and Soorapadman was split into two halves. At his own request, one half became a peacock, which He took as His ‘vaahana’ and the other became a cock and transformed into a flag.

Lord Skanda married Deivanai immediately after the defeat of Soorapadman. It is the custom to dramatize this marriage during the Skanda Sashti celebrations.

The ‘devas’ were very happy over this victory and praised the Lord and prayed to him for six days. Devotees usually narrate the Skanda Sashti ‘kavacham’ (a hymn in praise of the Lord), during this period. Whoever fasts for these six days of Skanda Sashti and prays to Lord Muruga steadfastly, it is said that their prayers would be answered. Those who are unable to fast for a whole day for six-day duration are recommended to eat just one meal during this period.

Devotees who want to get over great calamities in their life taka a vow to carry the ‘Kavadi”, a sort of palanquin with two baskets at either end. The baskets contain sacred water and milk. They observe strict celibacy, beg their food and offerings for the Lord and walk barefooted all the way to the famous shrine. After reaching the sanctum sanctorum they ceremonially offer the sacred water and milk to the Lord. It is quite common even for the laymen to take Kavadi.

Like in Kumbakonam, there is a Swami Malai In Delhi, better known as Uttara Swami Malai (popularly known as Malai Mandir) where Lord Muruga resides. Starting from the scratch this temple has grown to great heights and draws thousands of devotees. On Skanda Sashti day almost the whole Tamil population congregates here.

It is worth noting that almost all Hindu festivals celebrate victory of the Lord over the demon, who represents evil, or Good over evil. This is the common refrain of Hindu mythology.

Financial abundance is of great importance to every human being. Good Health & Happiness (peace of mind) are the other two of the three foremost things that man prays to his Creator to bestow him with. Padikkasunathar temple at Alagaputhur near Kumbakonam is one such temple where the presiding deity blesses His devotees with financial prosperity. The main deity here is also known as Swarnapureeswarar. His consort at this temple is Alagammai or Azhagammai. The deity taken out in processions (Utsavar) during festivals is Somaskandar. The sthala vruksham is vilva. The Shiva Linga is a swayam bhu or self manifested. Alagaputhur is on the banks of the river Arasalar. The old name for this place is Arisilkaraipudur. This three tiered temple is believed to be about 2000 years old.

Padikkasunathar Kovil, Alagaputhur

Padikkasunathar Kovil, Alagaputhur

The priest at this temple was a staunch Shiva devotee who performed the daily pooja with great devotion along with all the customary offerings. Famine and poverty struck the whole region that was once prosperous. In spite of his poverty and the difficulty he had in making the ends meet, he never shirked from his “responsibility” of performing the daily poojas to the Lord. Please with his devotion, one night the Lord appeared in his dreams and granted a boon.  The priest wished that the village must become prosperous once again and that he himself should have enough to continue performing the daily poojas without any hurdle. As per his wish Lord Shiva left him one gold coin at the steps of the temple everyday. The priest used this to take care of the villagers and also to perform the daily pooja. Soon the famine was gone and the village became prosperous once again.

The descendents of that noble priest are still the priests at this temple.  The priest performed the padikasu pooja for us. We handed to him an even number of ten rupee notes for the pooja. After performing the pooja the priest gave us back half of them (that is the reason for taking even number of currency notes). The money retained by the priest is utilized for temple maintenance etc. The priest asked us to preserve the currency notes he gave us and also issued detailed instructions on performing poojas at home using these. Devotees believe that performing this ritual will bring prosperity.

Lord Muruga here is very unique. He is seen with the Conch and Discus that one normally associates with Mahavishnu. The story goes that it is the Conch and Discus given by Lord Vishnu to Muruga when He set out to wage a war on the demons. He is seen sitting on a peacock with His consorts Valli and Deivayanai. Since Muruga appears with both His consorts He is known as Kalyanasundara Shanmuga Subramanyar. The decoration in the background is in the form of Om.

Talking of Om, there is a story linking this temple to the Swaminatha Swamy temple at Swamimalai. Once Lord Brahma, the Creator was asked how he created life in the Universe. Lord Brahma replied that he used the Pranava Mantra. When Lord Muruga further asked Lord Brahma the meaning of the Pranava Mantra, Lord Brahma was stumped for an answer. An angry Muruga imprisoned Him and stripped Him of the responsibility of creation. He took upon the responsibility Himself. Lord Shiva approached Muruga and requested Him to free Brahma and reinstate Him as the creator. He also wanted to know the meaning of the Pranava Mantra. Lord Muruga taught Lord Shiva the meaning of this mantra at Swami Malai. Later, when Lord Shiva appealed to Lord Muruga again, He relented. He was also remorseful for having punished and insulted an elder for his ignorance. Lord Muruga performed penance on Lord Shiva at this temple and sought forgiveness. Lord Shiva pardoned Him and said that while pointing out of mistakes committed by the elders can be accepted, you should take sufficient care to ensure that it does not offend the elders.

This is one of the 275 Padal Petra Sthalams and all the four Great Saints have sung hymns in praise of the Lord at this temple.

Location:

Click here for the Map

This village is just about 2.5 Kames from Nachiyar Kovil on the Kumbakonam-Nachiyar Kovil-Tiruvarur route. It is about 7 Kms from Kumbakonam. This temple is almost on the State Highway. It is just a two-minute walk from the highway. The bus services are frequent and is well connected with the important places around here.

Other Nearby Temples

Nachiyar Kovil

Karuvalarkum Nayaki Temple, Karuvalarcheri

Uppiliappan Kovil

Thirunageswaram

Saranatha Perumal Kovil, Thirucherai

Kadan Nivartheeswarar Kovil, Thirucherai

Amirthakaleswarar Temple, Sakkottai

Siddhanathar Temple, Tirunaaraiyur

Ramanatha swamy Temple, Thirunaraiyur (This temple houses Saneeswaran, who is present with His wives and sons)

Travel Base: Kumbakonam

Temple Timings:

7 AM to 12 Noon & 4 PM to 8 PM

Temple Address:

Arulmigu Padikkasunathar Kovil

Alagaputhur – 612 401

Thanjavur District

Phone: +91-435-2466939  Mobile: +91-99431-78294