Saturday, January 23, 2021
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Bilakasam - Aippasi Pooram Day
Kamakshi in Lalitha Devi's Form
Kamakshi Devi in Garba Griham/Sanctum Sanctorum of this Temple resides in Padmasana Posture with four Hands. The Top two Hands hold the Paasam and Ankusam. The other two hands hold Sugarcane and Flower Arrows of Manmatha/Cupid. 'Kama' means desire and 'Akshi' means 'Eyes'. She is known as 'Kamakshi' because she satisfies the desires of her devotees through her Eyes itself.
Lalitha Parameswari is described to reside in the same form above in the Book 'Lalithopakyana' wherein Lalitha devi along with her other Sri Chakra devi forms destroy Bandasura demon.
Kamakshi Devi as Described in Lalithopakyana
'Lalithopakyanam' is part of Brahmanda Puranam and narrates the Story of Lalitha Devi's annhilation of Bhandasura as the Dialogue between Hayagriva and Agasthya Maharishi, the first Devi Upasakas. The Book Beautifully describes the Mani Dweepa and Sripuram where the devi resides. The Sri Chakra Devi forms are explained and it helps us to delve deeper into the meaning of Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Lalithopakyanam from Brahmanda Puranam is the source for Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam and Lalitha Trishathi Mantras also.
Interestingly as we enter the Raja Gopuram of Kamakshi temple, one can see Sanndhi for Agasthya and Hayagriva Moorty who were the first Devi Upasakas. The Sannidhi is located on the top and one has to look upwards in the left and right direction. There is a shop selling pooja articles below the Raja Gopuram and after we cross it we can view Hayagriva and Agasthya on the Top left and Right Side.
Bandasura Vadam: Jaya Sthambam in Temple
Interestingly, the Sthala Puranam of Kamakshi Temple is also related to Bandasura Vadam/killing Bandasura demon as described in Lalithopakyanam.
Bandasura born from the ashes of Manmatha was troubling the Devas and the Devas/Celestial beings took the form of parrots to perform penance in Kanchipuram under Champaka Tree and prayed to Parashakthi. (Interestingly one can still see parrots in the outer Prakara/Corridor of the Temple).
Goddess in the form of young girl as Bala Tripurasundari killed Bhandasura and he was laid below Kamakshi Temple. A Sthambam/pillar was raised in memory of the Victory over Bhandasura. Hence it is known as Jaya Sthambam. The Temple has three Kodi Maram/Dwaja Sthambam and the middle one which we see in the Queue line is Jaya Sthambam.
After slaying Bhandasura the Goddess was ferocious and in order to calm her, the Devas/Celestial Beings constructed the Gayatri Mandapa where the 24 pillars represent the 24 syllables of Gayatri Mantra. The seated the ferocious goddess in a simhasana and closed the doors of the Gayatri Mandapa. They prayed to the Goddess all through the night.
The next day when the Devas opened the doors the Goddess was a seen in her smiling form as Lalitha Parameswari in Padmasana Posture. Kamakshi appeared in this form in Srimukha Year, Tamil Masi Month (Sun in Kumbha Rashi), Poora/Purva Phalguni Nakshatra, Friday. Every year Brahmotsavam is celebrated during Masi Month for 10 days including Poora Nakshatra Avatara Day.
Gayatri mandapam houses Kamakshi Devi in 3 Forms namely Kamakshi D
Kanchipuram is the Shakthi Peetam where the Hip Bones of the Goddess are said to have fallen. 'Kanchi' refers to the ornament worn around the Hip. Kamakshi devi is said to havecome to Kanchipuram Temple though this Bilakasam on Poora Nakshatram day.Bilakasam is located near the Right Side of Goddess Kamakshi.
According to Devathin Kural by Paramacharya Sri Chadrasekara Swami, 'Bil' means 'cave' and 'Akasam' means 'Space'. As the Baby in Mother's Womb gets nourished by its mother through the umbilical cord, all the creation in the Universe gets nourished by Parashakthi through this Bilakasam.
Kamakshi: The only Shakthi Temple in Kanchipuram
Manmatha after he was burnt to Ashes by Shiva prayed to Kamakshi that the world only knew of him as being burnt by Shiva. He wanted recognition that he is also responsible for Love, Desire and Passion in this entire universe.
Goddess Kamakshi took pity on Manmatha and withdrew the powers of all goddess from all temples onto herself. All Shiva Temples in the world had no consort and their powers were brought within Goddess Kamakshi. Goddess Kamakshi appears here with the Sugarcane Bow and Flower Arrows that is held by Manmatha/Kama deva.
After withdrawing her powers the Shiva Temples were devoid of Shakthi. Brahma deva prayed to her to re-establish the Shakthi in all Shiva temples to save the world. Goddess replied that she had withdrawn her power on behalf of Manmatha and that she would re-establish her powers again in areas outside Kanchipuram.
Since no Goddess Forms are seen in Shiva Temples within Kanchipuram, this place is known as 'Sivajit Kshetram'. It is also said that all Raja Gopuram/Main Vimanam of other temples face Kamakshi Amman Temple only in Kanchipuram.
Above details of Kamakshi devi is detailed in 'Kamakshi Vilasam' and 'Sowbhagya Chitamani' written by Durvasa is the book based on which daily pooja is performed in Kamakshi Temple.
Santana Ganapathy and Santana Sthambam
In the Gayatri Mandapam, there is the Santana Sthambam/pillar that is covered by Silver and is the place where Sati Devi's hip bones fell. Dasaratha is said to have prayed here for childbirth blessings here. Later he was blessed with Lord Rama as his child after performing Putrakameshti Yagna.
Near the Santana Sthambam, there is shrine for Santana Ganapathy and Sowbhagya Ganapathy. It is to be noted that Santana Lakshmi one of 8 forms of Lakshmi is also present surrounding the Sri Chakra in Kamakshi devi Garba Griha.
Hence praying here would bless Childless couples with Childbirth, proesperity and happiness in life.
Sri Chakra Devatha in Kanchipuram
Kamakshi/Lalitha devi is the Adistana devatha or Head of all devi forms of Sri Chakra.
There is a Sannidhi for Rajasyamala who is the Mantri of Lalitha Devi outside. Goshta Murthy refers to the deities on the walls of Prakara/Corridor. Here Vaarahi and Ardhanareeswarar are seen as Goshta Murthy inside Kamakshi Gayatri Mandapam. Vaarahi is Senathipathy of Lalitha Devi.
There is Sannidhi for Annapoorna devi outside Gayatri Mandapam. Bhairava and Mahisasuramardhini form of Durga Devi are seen as the Dwara Palakas of the Temple itself. They are seen on the Top left and right side of the Main Raja Gopuram/Vimanam.
Kamakshi Utsava Murthy is seen with Lakshmi and Saraswathy outside the Gayatri Mandapam. This Murthy is taken in procession for Swarna Ratham/Thanga Ther.
There is also Sannidhi for Purna Pushakala Sametha Sastha and Adi Shankaracharya. Adi Shankara retrieved the Kamakshi Temple from Extremists who had taken over the Temple from Hindu Priests. Kamakshi was in Ugra Swaroopam here earlier. Adi Shankara installed the Sri Chakra here and prayed to Goddess to manifest herself in Sowmya or pleasing form. There is also Sannidhi for Varasiddhi Vinayaka and Naga Subrahmanya. All the other Sri Chakra Devatha Murthy are in Subtle Form in Sri Chakra inside Gayatri Mandapam
On the right side of the entrance of Gayatri Mandapam, we can climb steps that lead to Raja Syamala/Rajamathangi Devi sannidhi. Opposite to the same is the empty place that once housed Bangaru/Golden Kamakshi.
During the Foreign invasion of India in 18th Century, it was feared that the Golden Idol would be stolen/damaged for its value by foreigners. Hence it was shifted from Kanchipuram after smearing
it with musk/black punugu from musk cat by the Peetadhipathi of Kamakoti Peetam. It was taken like a child from Kanchipuram in a cradle after smearing Musk/punugu. Bangaru Kamakshi devi is currently in a temple in Melaveedhi in Thanjavur.
Even today the Vigraham/Idol is smeared with Musk/Punugu hence it looks black though it is made of pure Gold.
Tapas Kamakshi is seen on the right side of Moola Kamakshi Vigraha in the Garba Griham of Gayatri Mandapam.
She is Katyayini, the Daughter of Sage Katyayana who came to Kanchipuram to perform penance and marry Lord Shiva. The Mango Tree under which she performed penance can be seen in Ekambareswarar temple outside Kamakshi temple.
Five Forms of Kamakshi Devi
Kamakshi devi resides in Five Forms here namely,
1. Kamakshi in Padmasana in Gayatri Mandapam
1. Anjana Kamakshi or Aroopa Lakshmi in Gayatri Mandapam
1. Tapas Kamakshi near Bilakasam
1. Bangaru Kamakshi currently in Thanjavur
1. Utsava Kamakshi taken in procession outside Temple
Friday, January 8, 2021
About the Brahmotsavam
Utsavams are festivals celebrated at the temples. Generally everyone enjoys festivals. But with temples there is also another reason to celebrate an utsavam. The three Murthies, Lord Siva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma along with Their Devies are supposed to participate in the Brahmothsavam of Kamakshi Temple.
During the procession in the Utsavam all the thirty three thousand Devatas starting with Indra and Dik Balagas are supposed to participate. Also Utsavams are celebrated mainly to ward off the various pollutions created at the temple atmosphere due to many reasons. Hence the devotees who attend the Kamakshi Temple Brahmothsavam will get their problems solved and their desires fulfilled by the presence of the Three Murthies and the Devadidevas.
The deities are taken in procession accompanied by Temple elephants, Nadaswaram, Bands, Bharatha Natyam Performances, Kolattam and other local entertainments like bommalattam, kudiraiattam etc creating a festive atmosphere. People from different parts visit their relatives during the festival. Roadside shops sprout selling numerous articles of interest to children and elders. An Utsavam is an exciting and exhilarating function where devotion, arts and business are blended together homogenously. Hence people are happy and enjoy the festivals. Normally people go to temples for praying to get the blessings.
During festivals the Gods come out to meet people and give blessings to everybody including the old and indigent who are not able to visit the temple.
Brahmothsavam is a big festival, which is celebrated every year in temples. As per legend it is told that Lord Brahma started it and it is believed that during this festival he himself presides over the festival, hence the name "Brahmothsavam". It must be celebrated because during this time Yagasala (Homa guntams), Initialising the God in the Kalasam (Pot), Japa on both the times mornings & evenings, everyday Abhisheka for the Moolavar with the Kalasa Jalam (water) etc. are performed which help to purify the atmosphere.
At Kamakshi temple the Brahmothsavam starts generally in Tamil month of 'Masi'. Â The important events of this Utsavam are given below.
Day prior to start of Brahmothsavam - Angurarpanam and Mrithsangrahanam
In the evening the Astra Devi (the deity representing the Angusam of Kamakshi) is taken in procession along with Lord Ganesha to the Mritheshwar Temple at North Raja Veedhi where after proper propitiation with appropriate puja Mrithsangrahanam (Removing mud) from under the Bilwa Tree of the temple is taken and brought Kamakshi Temple. This ritual shows how closely Hindu religion respects the ecology. Even removal of mud for the festival is done after paying proper respects to the gods concerned. This mud is used next day to grow Paligai (growing lentils for the Festival) at the foot of Dwijasthambam.
First Day of the Brahmothsavam - Dwijarohanam - Flag Hoisting
This is a very important day when a number of activities take place. The Sivachariars (priests) who are chosen ties the Rakshabandan on the hand at a religious function where he makes the sankalpam (oath) to adhere to the rules and regulations of the rituals for conducting the Utsavam. One of the conditions is that he should not leave the town till the completion of the Brahmothsavam. In fact this is generally observed by the public at large also in the olden days. After the start of the Brahmothsavam people of the city do not go out of it during the Utsavam.
Apart from this a number of Homam, Kalasa sthapanam etc are conducted within the Temple premises where reputed Vaidheekas (Veda Vidwans) participate in doing Japam, Homam etc for the general benefit of the mankind as a whole.
Dwijarohanam is done on this day when a flag carrying the picture of Sri Devi Kamakshi will be hoisted on the Dwajasthambam i.e., flag mast of the Temple. It announces to everybody that the Brahmothsavam has started. During this time the Paligai is also planted in the mud taken from Mritheshwar Temple.
Every day of the festival Utsava Kamakshi Devi is taken in procession both in the morning and evening accompanied by other deities like Saraswathi and Lakshmi depending on the Vahana used. The day wise list of Vahana is given below. From 4th to 9th day, Â Acharyal also is taken out in the evening procession.
Every day Utsava Kamakshi is taken in procession in the morning and evening through all the four Rajaveedhies and Vanavedikkai (Firing of Crackers) is arranged near Kachabeswarar temple on different vahanas. But on the 5th day i.e. evening when Utsava Kamakshi is carried by Naga Vahanam (Snake) she is taken up to Gangabai Chatram beyond Sankara Matam.
On 6th Day- Sri Devi Kamakshi is taken in procession on the wooden chariot and Sri Devi stays in the Sankara Matam from morning to evening. During this time all respects are paid to Sri Devi and the temple staff.
On 9th day - in the morning Sri Devi is taken in procession on "Almelpallakku" which is a special palanquin sculpted with toy sevadar carrying the palanquin. In the evening Utsava Kamakshi is taken in procession on Silver Chariot donated by Sri Acharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. The Pallakkus (palanquins) are always carried by men force called Sreepathasevai which is a tradition going on for many years.
On 10th day - Evening carrier is Kalpagodhyanam, which is a tree similar to Kalpaka Vriksha. This day falls on Masi Magam and devotees take bath in the Temple Tank inside the temple and this is called Theerthavari. This day Dwija Avarohanam i.e. lowering of Flag is done. After this Sivachariar removes his Rakshabandan.
11th Day - This night Utsava Kamakshi Devi is placed inside the Moolavar, the Sanctum&Sanctorum.
12th Day Viswaroopa Darsanam (5 AM to 7AM)
On this 12th day of the festival Sri Devi Kamakshi gives Viswaroopa Darsanam to all the public at Moolasthanam with Urchava Ambal. Cow and calf are brought to perform Go puja. The Moolava Kamakshi has Chandana Kappu (Sandal Paste) on this day.