Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sri Kalahasti Temple

Srikalahasti Temple is one of the primordial temples of Lord Shiva and incarnated to one of the primary
element 'Vayu'(Air).There are five ancient Shiva temples dedicated to the 'Panchaboothams' which are the five primary elements by which the universe and the living and non living objects are made.The main Panchabhootams
are,Earth,Water,Fire,Air and Space(Aakash).The supreme God Lord Shiva is in control of these or he is no different from these.The Panchakshari Mantra "Namashivaya" represents these elements.The letter 'Na' is for
Earth,'ma' denotes water, 'Si' is for fire, 'Va' denotes Air, and 'ya' denotes aakash which is space.
The Srikalahsti Temple is in Srikalahasti Municipality of Chittooor District in Andhra Pradesh.
The temple deity is Srikalahasteeswaran and revered in his self manifested linga form.The 'Swayambhu linga
(Self Manifested Linga) is white in color  and the abhishekams (unction) etc are not done on it but done on
the 'Ulsava murthi' which is used for procession etc.Swayambhu Linga is not even touched by humans(Not by
the Priests also).There is an ever glowing ghee lamp  (It will not be put out-' keda Vilakku') in the inner Sanctum
and its flame can be seen flickering as if by  the blowing air in that no ventilation and no windows room.Other lamp flames there can also be seen swaying as if in blowing air and believes that it is because of the breathing  of the Lord.The Air Linga can also be observed moving and  even when the main entrance to the deity room is closed.
It is said that the Idol was revered by a Spider(Sri),a Cobra snake (Kala) and an elephant (Hasti) and hence
the name derived.God later granted 'moksha' to them.Later a hunter named 'Thinnadu' revered this God and
twice Lord tested his devotion.In one instance he was about to give his both eyes for the deity.He noticed that from one eye of the idol tears and blood  were oozing out and he plucked one of his eyes and placed it there to stop the bleeding.Then from the other eye of the idol  started bleeding  and so he was about to remove his other eye with his arrow to give it to Lord when Lord Shiva appeared before him.He became famous as 'Bhakta Kannappa'  from there on
and considered as one of the 63 Saiva Nayanars and got a permanent place near his abode at Kalahasti.
It is believed that 'Markhandeya'  got vision of Lord Shiva in this place.Several others also got 'Darshan' of
Lord Shiva at this place.'Tirumala'  the abode of Lord Maha Vishnu's 'Sri Balaji Temple' which is 'Tirupathi' the richest temple in India is just 36 km from Sri Kalahasti Temple.
The river 'Swarnamukhi' flows near the Kalahasti temple touching one of the walls of this sacred temple.There are several waterfalls in and around Tirumala such as Aakasaganga,Papavinasam,Pandava Theetham,Jaabili theertham,Chakra theetham,Ramakrishna theetham,Thumburu theertham etc and taking bath in  any of these  will help to remove our sins is the belief.

The temple of Srikalahasti was made and renovated by Kings of several dynasties like Pallava,Chola and
Sri Vijayanagar Empire.The present structure is  believed to be built by Chola King Rajendra and the
100 pillared Mandapam and Main Entrance "Gali Gopuram" was made by 'Krishnadeva Raya'  of Vijaya Nagar  Empire to celebrate victory over 'Gajapathy' province.It was built in the year 1516 A.D. but the 500 year old 120 feet tall Gopuram
 collapsed its own on May 26, 2010.On further examination it was revealed that the mighty 'Gopuram Tower' was
having an improper and insufficient  basement only.The new 'Gopuram' is being under construction.
Sivaratri festival is celebrated in a grand manner here and known as "Brahmolsavam". which extends for 12 days..Every day  the 'Ulsava Moorthy' Idols of Lord Shiva and Parvathy Devi are taken out in procession in different types of 'Vahanas' or Vehicles.During the Brahmolsavam
one day 'Giri Pradakshanam' by which the idols are kept on  a very big and heavy chariot and pulled round the hillock by thousands of devotees is performed.To pull the chariot among others will bring good luck is the belief.The Goddess Parvathy Devi in this temple is known as 'Prasunambika'.
At first we have to visit God 'Ganesa'  in this temple complex   for which we have to get down some steps to go to his sanctum..The Ganesha idol was received  from the 'Swarnamukhi' river.Srikalahasti Temple is famous as 'Dakshina Kashi' and also popularly known as 'Dakshina Kailash'.
The most famous and auspicious phenomenon of this temple is the "Rahu-Kethu-Sarpadosha
Nivarana Pooja'.In Indian Astrology Rahu and Kethu are supposed to be two planets which influence human life mostly in adverse manner according to their movements.

By removing the bad effects of them will help us to regain our progress in life.Thousands of devotees visit this temple to perform this pooja ritual.There are different rates for this
Pooja Rs.250-, Rs.300/-Rs.600/-Rs/1000/- and Rs.1500/-. The special pooja of Rs.1500/- is held inside
This 500 year old Gopuram collapsed
the 'Prakaram'.The details can be available from the office and every day this ritual can be done from morning 7 to night 9'O clock.The time requirement for the pooja will be one hour and the materials required
for the pooja is arranged by the temple authorities itself.Those who do not have children because of "Sarpa
Dosham' can also perform this Pooja and for them tying a cradle on the 'Banyan tree' in the compound
is done as another ritual in this regard.
The dress we wear  at the time of visiting the Srikalahasti temple  is to be abandoned and wear another set of dress.There is room for dress change and to throw away our used dress  in the temple complex.The belief is that our sins are all shed off and a new life starts.This is not required for a regular visitor but advised  for one who visits for the first time.A new set of dress has to be carried with the devotee.
.For relieving your Rahu-Kethu- Sarpa Dosha, for getting blessing from the Lord to have a Child,to get ridden your sins,for prosperity and health- whatever be your intention and reason  for  visiting  Sreekalahasti Temple, do not visit any other temple on your  way back home.This will be better to get fulfill your wish.
Transport Facilities
It is reachable by road,rail and Air.From Chennai Int'l Airport a taxi will take only four hours to reach there   There is an Airport at Tirupati also with connection flights available to Hyderabad, Bangalore etc..Trains halts at Tirupati and Rainigunta stations.From Tirupati, Srikalahasti is 36 km and from Rainigunta it is 26 km.Buses ply between Tirupati and Sreekalahasti every 10 minutes.
Distance from Chennai is 137 km,Hyderabad is 562 km and Bangalore is 258 km..





Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sivalaya Ottam

We know that the  'Battle of Kurushetra' which was  fought between Pandavas and Kauravas took place 5000 years back and during the time of Lord Krishna.Krishna was in aid of Pandavas and Pandava Prince Arjuna was
the husband of Krishna's sister Subhadra.Krishna knew the capabilities of Pandavas very well but he utilized
certain occasions to subdue their self pride.Arjuna had the feeling that there was nobody equal to him in archery
 and Bheema had overconfidence about his body strength.Arjuna had some defeats which lessened his haughtiness and such instances happened to Bhima also.
Bhima and Hanuman were sons of 'Vayu Bhagwan' and in that sense Bhima  was the brother of Hanuman.When
Bhima was in search of a special scented flower 'Sougandhika flower'  for Panchali, Hanuman went and laid near his path in the jungle keeping his tail across the path.Bhima when arrived there  did not like to cross the tail and
asked  Hanuman to move his tail from the pathway..Hanuman said he was very old and could not move it himself and asked Bhima to push it to one side.Bhima tried to push it aside with his toe and then with one hand and then  with both hands and afterwards  tried to move it  with his favorite weapon 'maze'.The tail could not be moved an inch and Bhima became
very tired.Then Hanuman advised him not to think that he was better than everybody  else and too much pride would
cause problems.
Like that on another occasion Krishna utilized an instance  to minimize Bhima's egotistic attitude.The Pandavas
was organizing an enormous 'Yaga' for which they were in need for some milk of 'Purusha Mrigam'.It is
described in the text as a gigantic beast half human and half animal having claws of tiger and so it is termed
as 'Vyaghrapadar' also.Such kind of a beast is not existing today but 5000 years back there would have xisted  such
species also.For example in the Lord Ayyappa story it is mentioned about 'Mahishi' with a buffalo face
and human body beast which took that form as a curse and was the daughter of an 'Asura by name Karambhan'.Asura Karambhan had an elder brother by name 'Rambhan' and his son was buffalo faced 'Mahishasuran' who was killed by Durga Devi.Like that  Purusha Mrigam might  also belonged  to  such a category.
The task of getting milk from that beast was given to Bhima by Krishna.In this legend  the beast was a firm
devotee of Lord Shiva and had aversion to Lord Vishnu.It was having hatred towards Vaishnavites  who
chant Vishnu's  or Krishna's names also.Krishna knew that the beast was more powerful and stronger  than Bhima.Krishna gave twelve 'Rudraksha beads' (a kind of seed grown on Rudraksha tree which is considered as sacred and worn as garlands etc by Lord Shiva's devotees) to Bhima and told that he should throw a bead backwards in case the beast catches him so that he could escape and might get chance to collect some milk also.
Bhima set out and found the beast inside the forest where it was in deep meditation. He went near chanting
Govinda..Gopala... which are names of Krishna and tried to get some milk.The annoyed beast opened its
eyes and angrily it looked up on Bhima's face and Bhima was chanting Govinda.. Gopala..so that it became more
fierce and tried to catch him.Bhima did not try to fight since he understood it was very strong.He threw a
Rudraksha bead backwards and it turned to be a Shiv-Linga and there aroused a temple .By seeing
the Shiv-Linga and temple the beast who was devotee of Lord Shiva started to pray and meditate there  while
Bhima tried to collect the milk.Again the beast opened its eyes and tried to catch him, and so Bhima got to his feet and  after
running some distance threw another Rudraksha bead backwards.Again it turned to be a Shiva-Linga and a temple
formed there also.The beast started to pray in that temple  and Bhima again tried to collect milk and this process  repeated twelve times.After throwing the last bead Bhima tried to escape but one leg was out side the beast's area while
one  leg was in his claws.Bhima pleaded to free him but it did not.Meanwhile Bhima's elder brother Yudhishtira and many others reached there.The beast asked Yudhishtira his decision whether to leave Bhima
or not.Since Yudhishtira was a man of justice he said half portion belongs to the beast.By that answer the beast was very pleased.It let off Bhima and happily gave them the required milk for Yaga.The beast also
understood that Shiva and Vishnu  were not different but one and the same in different forms.Its aversion to
Lord Vishnu also ceased and Bhima's  pride  about his strength also diminished a lot.
Those twelve Shiva temples formed from Rudraksha beads are situated in Kanya Kumari District of Tamil Nadu State.The places where those temples are situated are all serene,scenic very beautiful places.The place names of twelve temples are:-Thirumalai,Thikkurichi,Thirupparappu,Thiru Nandikkarai,Ponmanai,Pannipakam,Kalkkulam,Melangodu,Thiruvidaikkodu,Thiruvithankodu,Thiruppannikodu, and Thiru Nattalam.
Different forms of Lord Shiva is existed in these twelve shrines.Soolapani at Thirumalai,Mahadevan at Thikkurichi,Jadadharan at Thirupparappu,Nandikeswaran at Thirunandikkarai,Thimbileswaran at Ponmanai,Kirathamoorthy at Pannipakam,Neelakantaswamy at Kalkkulam,Kalakalan at Melangodu,
Jadayappan at Thiruvidaikkodu,Parithripani at Thiruvithamkodu,Bhakthavalsalan at Thrippannikodu,
Ardha Nareeswaran at Thiru Nattalam.It is also said that at Thiru Nattalam it is Sankara Narayanan.
On the   Shiv-Ratri day in the early morning  'Sivalaya Ottam'  starts and very large number  of devotees visit all these temples within 24 hours on foot.To cover the distance of more than 75miles they have to run mostly.After taking 'vrat'  for 7 days  wearing saffron clothes, only gents participate in this ritual which is conducted annually and known as 'Sivalaya Ottam'(Means running to Shiva temples).The devotees
who participate in this ritual  will carry  a palm leaf hand-fan ,a small bag containing sacred ash  and has to chant
Govinda..Gopala...all the time during the course of the ritual..It is believed that the  devotees run on the same route Bhima ran at the time of formation of these 12 temples.By visiting these 12 temples on foot within 24 hours will remove our sins and


Lord Shiva will bless us  with prosperity, good health etc and grants 'moksham' which is eternal bliss when we die..Large number of devotees from Trivandrum and Kollam districts participate in this ritual every year.Now a days
some youths go on bicycles and some use cars but it is not the tradition.
Centuries back there had been some conflicts between Vaishnavites(Devotees of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites(devotees of Lord Shiva) and it was ceased later.This ritual might have started as a celebration
to commemorate  that event and  by chanting Krishna (Vaishnava names) prayers devotees visit Shiva temples to express  ideologically that both are one and the same.
In the Holy Book 'Bhagawat Geeta' God says  that we can call him by any name with love and devout and worship in any form as we like.
It is our love and affection that matters and not the names or shapes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

E.K.NAYANAR

E.K.Nayanar was a wonderful genius politician,One of the leaders of Communist Party of India(Marxist)CPI(M), and the longest serving Chief Minister Of Kerala for a span of eleven years in three
tenures.He was in Office for a total of 4009 days and was Chief Minister from 1980-81, 1987-91 and
1996-2001.
E.K.Nayanar was a humanitarian loved by all people irrespective of political views.He was perhaps the only
politician who had virtually no enemies at all.Political opponents were also having no personal  hatred towards
him but they were also his  admirers.He was a person having several unparalleled qualities and was unpretentious,unselfish,sanguine who had practical ideologies and one who committed his life for  uplifting
the common man and the oppressed sectors.Even though born in a wealthy family he dedicated himself for the
welfare of the downtrodden sectors in the society and earned love and respect of all People of Kerala in
Particular.
Erambala Krishnan Nayanar was born as the son of Govindan Nambiar in Kalliassery of Kannur District
on 9 Dec 1919.His father believed in the feudal system  but Nayanar was interested in populism and socialist
activities.He was highly impressed when a Dalit girl was admitted in the local school with the activities of uncle
K.P.R.Gopalan and others Nayanar wore the Gandhi cap and entered in to National movements as a Student
volunteer without caring the objection from his father.He worked in 'Balasangham'.E.K.Nayanar could start
a library at the native place and named it as Shri.Harshan Library in memorial to Harshan who was tortured to death in Kannur Central Jail for participating in National movements.Nayanar was dropped out of school for
indulging in political activities.He joined the socialist path led by P.Krishna Pillai.
Nayanar joined CPI in 1939.As a youth leader he led the 46 days AaronMill Strike by the workers for dismissing thirty workers by the management.He was put in jail  for six months for that incident.On September 15 1940 Nayanar was one of the organizers of the Morazha Rally in protest against rising prices.Two police men were killed in the rally and Nayanar went in to hiding for 6 years without knowing that he was not in the accused list.During that period he could work in 'Kerala Kaumudi' Newspaper as a proof reader also.
He also organized the Kayyur strike of the peasants and  an incident happened that a policeman was stoned and he jumped in the river and drowned.Even though not involved directly he went in to hiding in the forest area of Eleri.
When the Communist party got split Nayanar stood with the CPI(M).
He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1967 and was elected to Kerala Assembly six times.His constituencies
include Malampuzha,Irikkur,Thalasseri etc.
Nayanar was a simple man always and led a simple life.He married School teacher Sarada and they have
two sons and two daughters.Nayanar was an atheist but he allowed freedom to his family to choose their
interests.The most appealing factor of Nayanar was his ability to speak humorously.During his stirring
speeches also he included witty comments that produced roaring laughter from the audience.He could fill
gusto in to the minds of the workers and give them positive attitude and confidence through his words.
Occasionally some of his comments about certain happenings seemed irritating to  some sectors but
everybody knew that he was irreproachable at heart and so ultimately they also used to laugh only.
In 1996 elections he was not a candidate but the Projected Chief Minister candidate V.S.Achuthanandan
failed at Mararikkulam and Nayanar was selected as the Chief Minister.He won in by-election from Thalassery.
Nayanar authored several books including his autobiography in the name 'My Struggle' which he himself
translated in to Malayalam as 'Samaratheechoolayil'.Some other works are 'Marxism-Oru Mukhavura' and
Nehru-Gandhi Oru Padhanam etc.
Nayanar was admitted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) New Delhi, for the advanced treatment
of diabetes after a brief stay at Trivandrum Medical College..His condition became
worse  on May 6 because of Kidney and heart failure and was put on life support systems.He succumbed
to death on May 19,  2004.He was 85 years old.
There was uninterrupted flow of people from all sectors of the society at the AKG Centre, and Secretariat
Durbar Hall  for having a glimpse of the great leader.There was tremendous crowds in all places up to Kannur  when the funeral procession proceeded from Trivandrum.People waited for hours to pay homage
to him in the monsoon rain.It was raining all over Kerala as if the nature was also weeping along with the
people in agony.His funeral was conducted on Payyaram Beach on the night of 21 May 2004  in the
presence of thousands of people by his elder son.He will be ever remembered by all.