Sunday, January 29, 2012

Diseases Curing at Shrines

There are some temples in Kerala where the Deities are specialists in curing certain diseases.Not only Temple deities there are so many Muslim Masjids and Christian Churches also in this category like  'Beema Palli Masjid'
of Trivandrum and 'Manarcaud Christian Church'  of Kottayam where thousands of devotees visit to get cure certain diseases.
Ettumanoor Temple:- At  Ettumanoor temple which is a famous Shiva Temple, near Kottayam there is a
hanging oil lamp which is known as 'Keda Vilakku' which means it is not ever   put out after igniting it centuries ago and keeps on burning 
till now.It is believed that it was installed and lighted by Lord  Shiva himself in a disguise form.On the upper
cover of the brass oil lamp the smoke gets 'sooty' as black stain and women use it to apply on their eye lids
which cures their eye ailments.Not for women only but  anybody suffering from chronic eye ailments of any type other
than short sight and long sight will be cured by applying this sooty ash paste  in their eyes.
Staying in the temple for several days and participating in the Pooja rituals will cure 'Fits' which is a disease
of the brain.

Chamravattom Sastha temple:-This temple which is stuated in Malappuram District at Thiroor is very famous.
This temple is surrounded by a  river and during rainy season the temple used to get immersed in water but
the Sanctum will not  be fully immersed in water.The temple priest perform pooja rituals  during those days sitting in the water.This temple deity will cure skin diseases is the belief.Participate in the pooja rituals of the temple for
several days and  by praying to him  chronic skin disease will be cured.
Thakazhy Sastha Temple:-The oil which is given after anointing  of the temple deity is a wonderful medicine to cure several ailments like Rheumatism,T.B,Diseases of the liver etc.The patients has to stay in the temple for
several days to witness pooja rituals  and has to take in the oil as per the instruction of the priests and temple authorities.This temple is situated 4km
from Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple.
Thiruvizha Temple:- This temple is situated in Alleppey Distrct at the place Cherthala.In this temple for centuries they prepare a medicine from  Ayurvedic herbs which will remove ailments caused by
food poisoning.Some people believes that certain food items mixed together will be given to enemies to make them ill.Such materials will deposit in the intestine and may cause ailments is the belief.Even if it is true or false by drinking the medicine from the temple the patient will vomit and his ailments will be cured.Several stomach problems are also cured by this medicine which the patients has to stay in the temple and has to take it  according to the  instructions given.It is believed that this medicine also cures madness,leprosy and piles also.
Achankovil Temple:-This temple is situated at Aryankavu, at the place  Achankovil of Pathanapuram Thaluk in Kollam District.The holy water which is known as ' Theertham' which is obtained after anointing  the deity
cures snake poison.If poisonous snake bites  somebody in that locality  they are brought to that temple and the holy water 'theertham' is given to drink and the same is used to wash the wound.The patient will
be cured without any other medicine is a reality.
Oachira Temple:-There is actually no temple or priest in this  very ancient Shiva  temple.  People in large numbers
visits there every day.Every day thousands of people are given free food in this temple premises which is made  possible from the donations of the devotees itself.Lord Shiva is known as 'Parabrahma' here. Small replica of  human organs made from wood  have to be submitted at this temple to get cure the ailments of that organ.For example if a devotee is  having pain on the  right hand a small wooden right hand is submitted there and his  pain will be relieved.
Guruvayoor Temple:-The oil which is obtained after anointing  of the deity of 'Sree Krishna' at the world famous Guruvayoor temple is  used as a medicine in rheumatism.The oil  can be purchased from the temple.
Kumaranellur Temple:-The turmeric powder available from this temple is used as a medicine for skin diseases,poisoning,head ache etc.This temple is situated 5km from Kottayam.
Adithyapuram temple:-This temple dedicated to 'Soorya' which is the Sun God is  special because such temples are
very rare.Sundays are most auspicious here and staying in this temple for several days to participate in the
pooja rituals are necessary to cure skin diseases and eye ailments.
There are many other temples in this category where  devotees visit and perform pooja rituals expecting the
cure of some chronic ailments.Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple,Mavelikkara Sree Krishna temple,
Kottarakkara Ganapaty temple,Sree Kanteswaram temple Thiruvananthapuram,Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple Trivandrum,
Cherthala Karthyayani temple,Sanghummukham Devi temple Trivandrum,Thrippunithura Poornathrayeesa temple,Thiru Vazhappally,
Pamba Ganapathy etc are some of the temples devotees visit to cure their diseases.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Divine Flower Lotus

In India 108 Mahavishnu Temples which are very ancient and sacred are considered as the abode of Lord Vishnu.More than half of them are situated in Tamil Nadu, and the rest are in other states.Eleven of them are in Kerala State which includes the five Pandava temples established by the Pandava Princes Yudhistira,Bheema,Arjuna,Nakula and Sahadeva.
Yudhishtira established his temple at Trichittattu at Chengannur,Bheema at Puliyoor in Chengannur,Arjuna in Aranmula,Nakula at Thiruvanvandoor and Sahadeva at Thrikkodithanam.Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple Thiruvananthapuram,Sree Vallabhaswamy temple Thiruvalla,Vamana temple Thrikkakara,Nava Mukunda temple Thirunavaya are among these.The world famous Balaji temple of Thirupathi in Andhra Pradesh,Dwaraka temple of Gujarat are also in this list.
It is believed that Lord Mahavishnu reclines in the cosmic ocean of milk (Palazhi) on the serpent of eternity
'Anantha' and near his feet 'Lakshmi Devi' is seated.From his navel a Lotus sprouts out on which Lord Brahma
is seated.333 millions of celestial beings,Sages and other holy men bows around him.Such depiction of Lord
Mahavishnu is very famous and in Thiruvananthapuram Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and at Sree Rangam
Mahavishnu temple of Thiruchirapally in Tamil Nadu the Idol of the temple deities are in this depiction.Out of the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu only at very few temples like Thiruvanathapuram Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple and at Sree  Rangam temple Thiruchirapally, the idol of Mahavishnu is seen in lying position.In all other temples the Idol
is in standing posture.In all temples the Idol of Lord Mahavishnu is shown with four hands  holding Conch,Chakra,Maze and Lotus flower  respectively in each hand.
In all depictions of Hindu Gods, most of them are shown  as either standing or sitting on a Pink Lotus Flower.
It is symbolic that all Gods are shown in this manner to understand that their position are much above than
anything else.Pink color is considered as a supreme color and the Lotus flower is considered supreme among
the flowers.Many Goddesses are also shown holding Lotus flower in their hand and shown in that way to understand that their position is  much above than we can understand or  imagine and simply to illustrate they are "GODS" this method is used.The Lotus flower has got recognition in this manner and considered pure and
Lotus flower is considered as the queen of flowers.Its Biological  name is 'Nelumbo Nucifera' and commonly
found in Asia,Europe,Africa and North America.Pink Lotus flower is the National Flower of India.Pink,Red and white variety are largely grown in Kerala also.Since there are so many ponds and canals  in Kerala
Lotus flower is seen in all parts of Kerala.In all temples for Pooja rituals Lotus flowers are needed.Very
big temples which have large tanks grow lotus in a portion of the tank to get the flowers for the pooja at the temple.
Everybody loves Lotus flowers and its beauty is admired by Poets from very ancient times itself.In the Sanskrit Poems and dramas of "Kalidasa" also so many examples can be seen.Lakshmi Devi is known as
Kamala, Padma etc which are the names of Lotus  also.Girls with beautiful eyes are compared with Lotus

petals and names such as Padmakshi,Nalinakshi, etc are given for girls.The name 'Padmanabhan' is given to Lord Mahavishnu because he is having Lotus  from his naval.
Lotus flower  usually grows up to 1.8mt from the ground below the water and its leaves may float on the water  or will be held above the water level by its stems.The flower will always be held above the water level and will  remain for several days.The flower will close in the dusk and blossom in the morning.Many poets
have described  Sun as the lover of Lotus Flower.When the sun sets in the evening the lotus flower becomes gloomy and close its petals but gladly blossom in the morning when he reappears.
According to 'Yoga' the energy which is known as 'Kundalani' which is present at the tip of the spine, the part which is known as 'mooladhara chakra, when evoked will risen up to the seventh Chakra which is situated in the brains and opens 'Sahasrara Padma'(A Lotus having thousand petals).These are symbolic
but if the Kundalani energy can be made to reach the seventh energy level we can attain 'Self realization' which  in Budhist religion they say as 'Enlightenment'.
In Bahai religion their temple is made in the shape of Lotus flower.Such a temple was made in Delhi in 1980.
Rose flower
According to Indian culture women are grouped in to four types and the most beautiful variety with very
beautiful organs are called as 'Padmini'.(Equal to Lotus flower).
The thread taken from the stem of Lotus is used as wicks for oil lamps in temples.If clothes are made from
those threads such dress will heal several diseases.The 'roots' of lotus has also medicinal properties.The roots are used as a medicine for diabetes. A prayer in praise of Lord Ganesha which is very ancient and
famous is  as follows.
                                        Gajananam Bhootha Ganadhi Sevitham Kapitha Jambhu Bhalasara Bhakshitham
                                        Umasutham Soka Vinasa Karanam Namami Vighneswara Pada Pankajam.
This is an allegoric poem having inner meaning.The second line is having direct meaning as Lord Ganapathy, who is the son of Parvathy will  remove my sorrows and I bow his Lotus feet.
The inner meaning of this same line is  when we consider  Umasutham=diabetes, Namami=Eat, will result as
to remove the sorrows of diabetes without any delay eat the roots of Lotus plant.
The weapon 'Sudarsana Chakra' which is in the hands of Lord Vishnu was presented to him by Lord Shiva.We know that Lord Vishnu is always praying to Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva is always praying to
Lord Vishnu.Once Lord Vishnu was revering Lord Shiva using 1008 Lotus Flowers.After chanting a prayer
he was submitting one flower at the Shiv -Linga and so on.After chanting the 1008th prayer and was looking
for the lotus flower to place before the Idol of the Lord it was missing and could not found.Lord Vishnu
was about to flake out one of his eyes and offer to Lord Shiva instead of the missing flower.At that instance
Lord Shiva appeared before Lord Vishnu and the Pleased Lord Shiva hugged him with affection.He presented Lord Vishnu 'Sudarsana Chakra' having tremendous destructive power to kill enemies and remove obstacles.It revolves round his finger always, flies to the destination on command and returns back to him.
It is believed that  Rose Plants got popularized in India from the time of Mughals and that is the reason why
Rose flower is not mentioned in old Sanskrit Books.Anyhow all over India the easily available,much more
convenient and largely used flower is definitely   'Rose' but Lotus will be divine and will be the queen of flowers.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sasthamangalam Mahadevar Temple

Sasthamangalam Mahadevar temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated at Paipinmoodu  Junction
of  Sasthamangalam,in the Thiruvanthapuram City Corporation area and is 5km from K.S.R.T.C. Bus Station and Railway Station.This more than 700 years old temple is governed by Travancore Devaswom Board.
The annual festival of this temple begins  on Dhanu -Thiruvathira Star day, continues for ten days and finishes by Aarattu ceremony on the tenth day..The annual
Festival starts by the hoisting of the sacred Festival Flag on the Golden Flagstaff of
the temple in the morning of Thiruvathira star day.
The temple is ideally located on a hillock and on the eastern side flows a small river known as 'Killi'.Even though the temple is in the City area limits a calm and serene atmosphere prevails at this place.The temple has been upgraded as a 'Maha Kshethram' and the daily pooja rituals are increased 
to five times a day.Other  rituals in this regard  were also done as according to the advice of 'Thantri  Vasudevan Bhattathiri'.
The origin of this temple resembles the story of some other famous temples.A woman who was cutting grass
to feed her cows was sharpening her knife against a large piece of stone.She got frightened by seeing blood
oozing out  from the part of the rock where she applied the knife.This news was flashed and the  local people
gathered  on the spot.On further examination it was convinced that the stone as a 'Shiv Linga' and that  was
consecrated at that place and the temple was constructed.
There is no idol or shrine for Parvathy Devi in this temple but the belief is that her presence is also here along with the Lord Shiva who is in a pleasant, happy state here. In an ancient poem written by
an unknown poet which is still recited in this temple during festival times, it is mentioned  that Lord Shiva is
happily staying in this temple with Devi Parvathy.

In almost all Shiva temples full round 'Pradakshinam' (Circumambulation) of the sanctum is not allowed but has to turn back without crossing the passage of holy water 'Soma sootham'.But in this temple crossing the 'soma sootham' and making full round 'Pradakshinam' of the Sanctum Sanctorum
is allowed as a tradition followed here for centuries.
On the banks of the river 'Killi' outside the temple compound wall there is consecrated  Veera Bhandran and Bhadra Kali
Deities for which Special Pooja and other rituals are done on 'Makara Vilakku Day'
 'Lord Ayyappa'  is a sub-deity here inside the temple premises and 41 days Mandala Chirappu and 'Makara Vilakku Festival' are also celebrated in a grand manner here.
The deities of Nagas are near Bhadra Kali and Veera Bhadran where special Pooja will be  done during  annual
festival period and every month on 'Ayilyam Star day'.
Ganapathy deity is situated near to the Shrine of Lord Shiva.
'Sivaratri' is also celebrated in a grand manner in this temple.The Idol which is the 'Shiv Linga' will be poured with large quantity of Pure Ghee (anointing) on that day.The devotees supply the ghee  required for unction which is done for several hours.There will be a stream of devotees on that day to witness the Lord and participate in the  rituals.There

will be 'Akhanda Nama Japam' which is rendering of the mantra "Ohm Hrim Namassivaya,Ohm Namo Narayanaya" by a group of people circling around a  big lighted oil lamp from the morning 6'O clock on Shivaratri Day.Anybody can join that group for rendering the mantra and when feeling tired can withdraw themselves.

It is not a paid service and not any compulsion is  there  but the process lasts during the  whole day, during night  till next day morning with so many voluntary devotees coming forward to take part in it.
The people love and respect the Lord Shiva of this temple and approaches him in large numbers every
day to seek his blessings.
The old shrine of Ayyappa Swamy was  demolished and a new shrine has been built in which the consecration ritual was performed  in April 2015.
The Annual festival this year is from 26th December 2015 to 4th January 2016.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sreekanteswaram Mahadeva Temple,Thiruvananthapuram

Sreekanteswaram Mahadeva Temple is situated in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram City  only 1km away
from K.S.R.T.C Bus Station and Railway Station.This temple is very famous and visited by large number of
people every day.This temple is believed to be more than 700 years old and was belonged to the Travancore
Maharajah  and later it was handed over to Travancore Devaswom Board.
As per the agreement with
the Devaswom Board the Chief Priest of this temple could be selected from  'Akkaserri' family only and the selected priest  has to stay in the temple premises during their service period and not allowed to go home in between.
The deity  'Shiv Linga' is  'Swayam Bhu' which means it is self manifested.
There are many other temples in Kerala and all over India  where the idol is believed to be self manifested. In Kerala, temples such as  Sasthamangalam Mahadevar Temple Trivandrum,Chengannur Mahadeva Temple,Cherthala Bhagawathi Temple,Chottanikkara Bhagawathi Temple and so on are in this category.
There is another Mahadeva temple near Over bridge junction in Thiruvanthapuram known as 'Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram Temple'.An old maid servant who worked in that temple used to take rest under a tree after a day's work  keeping her 'Kalayakudam'( a pot) and her broom beside her.One day after taking rest when she was taking  back the pot she found she could not lift it or move it.She took a stone which was lying there to break the pot. To her astonishment there was blood on the pot and stone and it is said that Lord Shiva appeared before her to give  her 'Darshan'.The 'Swayambhu' idol was consecrated there after further investigation and temple was constructed.

The Annual festival of this temple is in the Malayalam month of Dhanu(Dec-Jan) for ten days and the  'Aarattu'  will be on Dhanu "Thiruvathira
Even though there is no Deity and Shrine for Goddess Parvathi here, the assumption is that Parvathi Devi's presence is also here along with Lord Shiva and the deity is also called as 'Gowri Shankara'.
Devotees believe that the deity here is very powerful and grants the
requirements of the devotees.For Propitiating the Lord Shiva of this temple, 'Nirmalya Darshan' (Visiting the Deity early morning
at the time when  the Sanctum opens) is considered most fruitful.Male devotees  has to perform  Nirmalya Darshanam for continuous  41 days while women need to perform it for  21 days  only  to fulfill their wishes.If the devotee's wish can not be sanctioned by the Lord or if it is  not fair and genuine  the devotee would face unexpected problems which leads to stop that ritual before finishing it.At Sreekanteswaram temple the largest gathering every day is for witnessing  'Nirmalya Darshan'.The temple opens at 4 A.M in the morning and closes at 12 Noon.In the evening it reopens at 5 P.M. and closes at 8.30 P.M.The 'Deeparadhana' at 7.P.M is very auspicious and most important.
In this temple  there are  7 times 'Deeparadhana' (Deeparadhana is the worship  done using
lighted oil lamps) which is a rare phenomenon.In the morning after anointing the idol  first Deeparadhana is done.Next one after
'Usha pooja' third deeparadhana after 'Pantheeradi pooja' fourth after 'Ucha pooja'.Then in the evening three Deeparadhanas will be performed like 'Sandhya Deeparadhana' 'Athazha pooja Deeparadhana' and 'Ardha
yama Deeparadhana'.
The sub deities of this temple includes 'Maha Ganapathy,Lord Murugan,Swamy Ayyappan,Sri Krishna,Anjaneya Swamy' etc.
Sivarathri festival is also celebrated with special Poojas and rituals.The anointing  of  the deity with Pure Ghee
from early morning is performed on that day.
The main offerings of this temple includes anointing the deity  with Milk, Rose water,Water,Panchamritham,etc (Ksheera Dhara,Jala
Dhara,Panchamrithabhishekam,Pushpabhishekam etc).Other Offerings include Anna Danam(Giving food to the devotees),Ganapathi Homam,Mrithyunjaya Homam,Ashtothararchana,Sahasra Namarchana etc.
Another offering here  is 'Natesalankaram' by which a   'Nataraja Idol' will be adorned with Sandalwood paste,flowers,garlands etc and placed inside the Sanctum behind the main idol.There is heavy rush of devotees to book this worship of 'Natesalankaram' in advance .