Monday, March 31, 2014

Isakki Amman

Isakki or Isakkai is a Hindu Goddess of South India. She is generically considered one of the Village Goddesses, like Māri, the goddess of epidemics. She is commonly referred as Isakki Amman (Tamil for "Mother"). She is related to goddess Nīli and to certain female deities known as Yakshi, in fact, the name Isakki apparently derives from the Sanskrit Yakshī. The worship of this Goddess is common in the Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Salem districts of Tamil Nadu. She corresponds to the Jain Yakshi Ambika, who is always represented with one or two children.

Isakki Amman temples are usually humble shrines. These are lined with a certain cactus-type euphorbiaceous plant known as Paalkallu in Tamil. When broken, such cactuses ooze a milk-like sap, which is considered as a sign of goddess Isakki.

Isakki temples also usually have a banyan or bo tree close to the shrine. Small wooden cribs and pieces of women's saris are tied to the branches and aerial roots of the spreading tree. These are vows made by village women who desire to have offspring.

The most acknowledged story of Isakki goes as below:

Ambika, a housewife, was leading a peaceful family life with her husband Somasharman and their two male children. One day the dutyful "dharpan" ritual had to be performed to the ancestors of their family and all the items were duly prepared. However, while Somasharman was away to take bath in the river, Ambika offered food to a starving sage who begged for it. Suddenly Somasharman became enraged since the food prepared as offerings to ancestors had been served to the sage before the necessary rites & pujas. Thus Ambika and her children were chased away from home. Ambika wandered until she found a calm place. Realising his foolishness later, Somasharman went in search of his wife and children. But fearing him, Ambika gave up her life. After her unfortunate death, it is believed that she took the form of "Yakshini" and that she still wanted to take care of her growing children. Later, with the grace of God, she was able to regain her human life for the benefit of her offspring. It is when Ambika took the Yakshini form and regained human life with the intention to serve the family that she became Iyakki or Isakki.

Isakki is portrayed according to the stories that are told about her by the priests of every shrine.This goddess is usually portrayed as a young woman wearing a red dress. She is holding a child on one hand and a trident in the other. She is sometimes represented as standing on a man that lies on the ground.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Idumban Swami

Sage Agastya wanted to take two hills — Sivagiri and Sakthigiri — to his abode in the South and commissioned his disciple Idumban to carry them. Idumban bore the hills slung across his shoulders, in the form of a kavadi one on either side. When he was fatigued, he placed the kavadi near Palani to take rest.

At this stage, Subrahmanya or Muruga had been outwitted in a contest for going round the world. Ganapati had won the prized fruit (pomegranate or mango) by simply going round His parents. Long after, this, Subrahmanya came sweating on His peacock to find that the prize had already been given away. In anger, the frustrated child left the divine parents and came down to Tiru Avinankudi at the Adivaram (pronounced Adivâram. It means foot of the Sivagiri Hill). Siva pacified Him by saying that He (Subrahmanya) Himself was the fruit (pazham) of all wisdom and knowledge; nee —you. Hence the place was called 'Pazham Nee' or Palani. Later, He withdrew to the hill and settled there as a recluse in peace and solitude.

When Idumban resumed his journey, he could not lift the hill. Muruga had made it impossible for Idumban to make it. In the fierce battle that ensued, Idumban was killed but was later on restored to life. Idumban prayed that: whosoever carried on his shoulders the Kavadi, signifying the two hills and visited the temple on a vow, should be blessed and he should be given the privilege of standing sentinel at the entrance to the hill.

Hence we have the Idumban shrine halfway up the hill where every pilgrim is expected to offer obeisance to Idumban before entering the temple of Dandâyudhapani. Since then, pilgrims to Palani bring their offerings on their shoulders in a kavadi. The custom has spread from Palani to all Muruga shrines worldwide.

Esoteric Meanig

The Kavadi signifies the balance(Kavu+Thadi). The balance rod used to balance the load on both the sides.The world is of shiva and shakthi. Everyone of us has the shiva and shakthi nature within us (psychologically referred to animus and anima) and as per taoism is it referred to ying-yang. 

The Kavadi signifies the balance between the shiva and shakti nature for its perfect unification. Here idumban refers to your indomitable power of will to carry and balance both the powers with a single purpose of attaining the ultimate.

Murugan representing the shiva-shakthi swaroopa thus manifested before idumban and accepted idumban to be a part of his divine jyothi.

Vetrivel Muruganukku Harohara

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sudalai Madan

Sudalai Madan or Madan, is a regional Tamil male deity who is popular in South India, particularly Tamil Nadu. He is considered to be the son of Shiva and Parvati. He seems to have originated in some ancestral guardian spirit of the villages or communities in Tamil Nadu, in a similar manner as Ayyanar.

He is considered to be the son of Sivan and Parvati.

The story about Mada Samy tells of his birth on Kailasa, the mountain home of Siva and Parvathi. It is said that Devi Parvathi wanted a child, but Lord Siva had sworn celibacy. He had promised to be chaste at the request of the gods, since they had feared that his union with Parvathy would be so powerful it would shatter the universe. Siva suggests another way to have a child. He tells Parvathy to go to Patala Loka, the watery underworld, and to gather a spark from the sacred lamp that burns there. Parvathi did so, carrying the spark in the hem of her skirt.

When Parvathi Devi returned to Kailasa, she opened the folds of her skirt, and found that the spark had become a shapeless mass of tissue. she was really worried and pleaded shiva to give her a solution. Thus sudalai madan is often called as Mundan which means a person without head and other body parts. Siva asked Brahma to give the baby a shape. shiva gave life to the baby . He named him as sudalai madan because, he came to the world because of a lamp(sudar)and he was shapeless. The boy was blessed by everyone and he was brought up as their son.

Parvathi initially feeds the child on Amrita (the nectar of immortality), instead of on breast milk. So it is said that the child became immortal. However, the child also became desirous for solid food. He went to the cremation grounds ("sudalai") on Kailasa, and began to eat the bodies that were burning there. When he finished those, he began to eat everything around him, the other spirits, the animals, the trees, the ground itself etc. He feasted with a heavy appetite.

Because he ate so much, and since he had such a fondness for meat, it was decided that he ought not remain in Heaven. Siva instructed him to go to Earth, and to care for its people. Siva proclaimed that Mada Samy's protection and kindness would be re-paid with offerings of cooked food and drink, and thus he would always have a meal, as well as people who would pray to him. So Mada Samy came to earth, accompanied by a number of singers and dancers who were sent by Siva to see to his worship. Many of the Paraiyar and Kanniyar drummers who play during the rituals to Mada Samy claim descent from these divine musicians.

Madan is also popular amongst certain segments of the Tamil diaspora in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Réunion and the French overseas territories in the Caribbean sea.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Amirtavalli & Sundaravalli

Lakshmi and Maha Visnu's daughters were Sundaravalli and Amirtavalli born out of the tears of joy of Narayana during his incarnation as Trivikrama (Lakshmi was in Heart of Lord). They both wanted to have a husband who will never get angry with them. Sundaravalli and Amirtavalli pray to their father Vishnu for the boon and Vishnu directed them to do penance in order to marry Lord Murugan.

When Lord Subrahmanya was staying at Kanda Verpu, the two daughters of Lord Maha Vishnu, Amritavalli and Sundaravalli, who cherished the desire of becoming the consorts of Subrahmanya, went to Sanavana Poigai and commenced austere penance to fulfil their desires. Pleased with their prayer and worship, Lord Subrahmanya appeared before them and told -He said that Amirtavalli would be born as Tevayanai the daughter of Indra and Sundaravalli would be born to Veddas as Valli and then he would marry them both in next life.

Amritavalli: "You will be brought up by Indra as his daughter and I shall marry you in due course.
Amritavalli took the form of a female child and went to Mount Meru the abode of Indra, and told him: "I am the daughter of Mahavishnu and the responsibility of looking after me has been entrusted to you.' On hearing this, Indra became very happy and directed Airavatam, his white elephant, to take care of the child.

The elephant with all love brought her up and affection and she attained the age of marriage in course of time. Hence she came to be known as Devayanai, one who was brought up by the heavenly elephant of Indra (yanai means elephant). The marriage took place at Tirupparankunram, after the victory of Subrahmanya over Surapadma.  

"Her younger sister Sundaravalli was also graced with a similar blessing. She was born to Sage Sivamuni and brought up by Nambi, the headman of hunters. Later Lord Murugan wooed and wedded the hunter's daughter Valli Amma (Sundara Valli).
 Then all three went to live happily at Tiruttani where they remain to this day.

Also Murugan's two consorts are the daughter of a humble chieftain and the other daughter of Indra, the King of the Gods. He loves both of them equally. This is just to show that god does not make any distinction between the humble folk and the elite.

Source: Murugan Bhakti, Courtesy: 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gomathi Amman

Gomathi amman is one of the manifestation of Adhi shakthi. The temple is popularly known as sankaranayanar kovil and she is the consort of vanmikanathar and seen along with sankaranarayanar(the unification of shiva and vishnu). This temple is 900 years old and was built by Ukkira Pandian a king from pandiya dynasty. Adi thabasu is very famous festival celebrated there every year.

The goddesses is a yogini who was performing her penence on the tip of the needle to please lord shiva and merge with him. Two snake kings namely "sangan" and "padman". Sangan was worshipping lord shiva and padman was worshipping lord narayana. One day they had a quarrel on who is great whether lord shiva, the destroyer or narayana,the protector. They were trying to prove their own power and finally went to the yogini and pleaded her to give them a proper judgement.

The yogini grew out of her grace pleaded the almighty to show his universality form so that not only the snake kings but also fro every human being.By the intense penance lord shiva appears before the yogini in the form of half shiva and half vishnu showing the world that they are equal and it is with love and sacrifice they could reach them. Hence sangan and padman worshipped the lord and prayed to the yogini for showing them a way to attain the god and they stayed with her. the yogini was none ther than goddesses gomathi. Gomathi means repositary of wealth.Since the snakes stayed with the goddesses,this place is free from all venomous creatures and praying to this goddesses can eliminate the fear of venom.

One of the 18 siddhas, the great pambatti siddhar worshipped this goddesses as valai kumari and he regarded this goddesses to be the great serpant power which can make miracles in taking aspirant in yogic transformation. Pambatti siddhar samadhi is seen behind the temple.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Masi Periasamy

Masi Periasamy, also known as Kollimalai Masi Periasamy is a very powerful deity and kuladeivam for millions of Hindu people. He is a great deity and sage who is living in Kollimalai, near Namakkal, Tamil Nadu. It said he appear there for more than 1000 years ago. When Masi Periasamy was travelling all over the world, he passed by Kollimalai by taking huge gigantic physical body (Mahima Sitthi). He jumped over 6 hills but all became weak and instable. Lastly, he jumped onto the Kollimalai, and found that the hill really strong for Him to reside. In old time, it said, He appeared with one tooth, one sadai (twisted long hair) and one Vel ( sharp weapon).

In the ancient time, He is only known as Muni, however, He was named Periasamy ( Big God) as He appeared with Gigantic Body, and Masi Month is the celebration month for Him. Usually the celebration is celebrated on star Uthiram, star of Sun (the symbol of Leader). Masi Periasamy is the very powerful compared to small deity as He is a Divine Sage (Muni). He is usually prayed by Muthuraja (Muthirayar) people as Kuladeivam. He is considered as the Most Powerful Kuladeivam among Tamilnadu Deities.

The form of Masi Periasamy in the temple is really tremendous as He is holding a vel at right hand side, with big moustache and talapa and sit on lion (the King of Jungle - also symbol of Muthuraja people). The form itself shows He is a Bravest Sage.

A person who is really sincere to Him would get all the blessings, happiness, luck, health, wealth and spiritual improvement. Nowadays, people from various country like Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, America, Mauritius, Hong Kong with various family background, caste and religion come to His Temple which is at peak of the Kollimalai (1250 metres above the sea). When anyone climb the hill to see Him, would praise Him really Periasamy as none of any kuladeivam resides at this top. Around Namakkal and Trichy area, we also could see many Kodangi (fortune teller with udukai - small hand drum) say Divine Vakku ( Divine Prediction) with the blessing of Masi Periasamy.

Every year, annual celebration would be done grandly. This year, the Annual Celebration (Thiruvizha) will be on 1 March 2010. This thiruvizha would be done very happeningly by 8 villages. Goat offering would be given in the thiruvizha. This is the right time to see very happening thiruvizha at the peak of Kollimalai (Kolli Hill).

Karuppu Sami

Karuppu Sami (Tamil: கருப்புசாமி) (also called by many names) is one of the regional Tamil male deities who is popular among the rural social groups of South India, especially Tamil Nadu an small parts of Kerala. He is one of the 21 associate folk-deities of Ayyanar and is hence one of the so-called Kaval Deivams of the Tamils..

Historical Tradition

Karuppu (in Tamil) means Black and Sami means God. Hence he is associated with darkness, night, etc.

In the ancient Tamil society, people venerated the Veerargal (or warriors) and had the formless stones (Veera Kal or Veerakkal) or Nadukkal erected in memory of them. These fallen warriors or any persons who sacrificed their life for a good cause such as protection of the welfare of the society or the community are revered by all. Just like other sub-deities, he is also a martyr.

Karuppanar is believed to protect the poor, and ensure justice and self-discipline among his believers. It is also believed that He is a fierce warrior who never forgives those who sinned or those who commit crimes. It is believed that He shoos away all evils and devils from entering the village.He masters all land and is a warrior who blocks all evil entering a boundary.

One of the legends of Karuppaswamy

Following is the story heard by word-of-mouth from the pujaris or Sami aadis in Alagar Kovil, Madurai.

Lord Rama had sent Sita to the forest when she was pregnant and lived in Saint Valmiki's Ashram.

While in the Ashram, She brought a male heir of Rama to the world.

One day when she was going out for some chores of the Ashram, she asked the Saint to take care of her child in the cradle. The Saint was watching the child and meanwhile went into a deep meditation. When Sita returned, she found that the Saint was in meditation and didn't want to disturb him to tell him that she was taking her child.

When the Saint was out of the meditation, he found the child missing. So he put some holy grass (Dherbai) in the cradle and with his mantra he made that as a child.

Later when he found that Sita was having her real child, he was so confused and asked Sita to treat the new baby also as her own child.

When Sita was returning to Rama, he was expecting only one male heir. But to his astonishment, he found two boys (Lavan and Kushan) approaching him. Again to test the purity of the boys, he set a fire and asked the boys to cross the fire to reach him. He told that whoever was his real heir would cross the fire unscathed. Unknowingly the boy brought up by the Saint, stuck in the middle of the fire and burnt his body becoming very dark.

Finally, Rama got to know what had happened in the forest to have two boys instead of one. Then he blessed the burnt boy to become his escort god (kaval deivam) and called him “Karuppannan” which became Karuppa Sami.

That was the reason why Karuppa Sami put the sacred tri-strips (Thiru Namam) on his forehead. And also I heard that while calling the deity, the pujaris sing that “Dherbaiyil pirandhavane (born from the holy grass)

A typical deity

The main form of worship of Karuppanar in the shrine is a formless stone which has been decorated with a Turban and a Dhoti with flowers and garlands. He wields an "Aruval" which is a long form of machete resembling a scimitar, a sword, sometimes a lance, a trident and a smaller knife.

The Aruval is a very significant weapon in Tamil Nadu and is considered, in itself, as a symbol of Karuppanar himself. Some Aruvals may reach the height of even 5 feet, especially the ones in Thiruppaachhi.

The Most Important musical Instrument Which like by God karuppanan are Tappu,Tharai,kombu Tharai,Otha thamukku,Pambai,Udukkai and Urumee.

Karuppannaswamy and Siddhas

Karuppannaswamy is a favourite Deity of the Nath/Siddhas. His worship has been integrated into the mode of worship of the Siddhas. Chenthamangalam near Salem has a temple dedicated to Pathinettampadi Raja Karuppannaswamy. This has been erected by Swami Santhananda Saraswati Avadhuta Swamigal.