Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thrikkakkara Mahavishnu Temple

Thrikkakara 'Vamana Moorthy' Temple is near Ernakulam in Kerala and it is one of the 108 Abodes of Lord Vishnu, all of  which are  also known as 'Divya Desams ' and 'Vaishnava Thirupathis'.Out of the 11 Temples of this category in Kerala Thrikkakara Maha Vishnu Temple is having a history of 4,500 years.
From the evidences received it is calculated that the deity of this temple was consecrated  2500 years before Christ.
The legend is that 'Mahabali' who was the son of 'Prahlada' conquered the three worlds with the power he acquired through 'Tapas'.Thus King of Devas Devendra also lost his crown and his mother 'Aditi Devi' wanted to help  him to get back his throne.So she  performed Vrat to propitiate Mahavishnu with guidance by her husband "kasyapa Prajapathi'.After several months of vigorous Vrat Mahavishnu appeared before her and agreed to take birth as her son to help Devendra..Thus Mahavishnu took incarnation as 
Lord Vamana.Vamana was blessed by Sun God,Moon God,Bhoomi Devi, Brihaspathi Guru,Parvathi Devi,Saraswathi Devi,Kubera, etc .A little while after the birth Vamana  changed himself to boyhood form as a Monk  and moved to Mahabali's place.The belief is that Mahabali was stationed at 'Thirikkakara' at that time and so Vamana reached there and met Mahabali.
Vamana begged three feet of land to  Emperor Mahabali for performing 'Tapas'(sitting alone at a place concentrating only about God and chanting his names) which the King was only happy to give but Guru Sukracharya told the truth about Vamana which he understood by his mind power  to the King.Mahabali but did not change his words and agreed to measure three feet land by Vamana himself.Vamana grew up to the sky and measured all the worlds with two steps.He demanded where to put his foot to measure the third feet of land for which Mahabali bowed to him and showed his head.Vamana put his foot on his head and send him to another world.Mahabali requested Mahavishnu (Lord Vamana) to have his presence always at that place and also to allow him to visit that place every year.The place name 'Thrikkakara' was derived because Mahavishnu came and stood at  that place(Thri+Kal+Kara=The place where God's feet touched).As per the request of Mahabali a self originated idol of Mahavishnu  emerged at that place and the temple was constructed there in due course.Thus Trikkakara temple was originated.
Earlier this temple was a gigantic structure and the festivals were celebrated in an elaborate manner.At the time of popular 'Chera King' 'Cheraman Perumal' 
the annual festival was held for twenty eight days from Karkadakom Month "Thiruvonam day" to Chingam Month "Thiruvonam day".Kerala was divided in to 64 Gramam(villages) at that time and to represent them 64 elephants and 1 elephant in the name of 'Cheraman Perumal' participated in the festival.Everyday feast was given  for the devotees during those festival  days.Those who could not attend the festival were asked by  the King to make flower arrangement  'Pookkalam' in front of every house and place idol of 'Thrikkakara Appan' and worship.He requested to make feast and sweets at home and offer to God also.Some people believe that Onam festival was started in this manner in Kerala.




After the reign of 'Cheraman Perulal' the importance of this temple declined.The vast Chera Kingdom also was sub divided in to separate provinces.
The temple festival days was rearranged and confined to  10 days from 'Atham star day' to 'Thiruvonam star day'.But people continued to make  'Pookkalam' in front of their houses , placed clay idol of 'Thrikkakara Appan' and worshipped during those festival days till 'Thiru Onam Day'.
According to Divya Desam texts the deity Mahavishnu of this temple is also called as 'Katkara Swamy Perumal' and residing here with Lakshmi Devi who has the name here as 'Vathsalyavalli'.
The temple had to face attacks from Portuguese and Tipu Sultan.They made lot of ruins and for several years the temple remained in that pathetic  situation  till the reign of 'Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharajah of Travancore'.He renovated it to the condition as we see it now.The lost previous glory was not regained
as it possessed centuries back.During those days there were twenty eight separate Sanctums in this temple complex with Golden Flag staff in front of each of them.The temple is in a progressive state at present.In this temple there is another separate shrine for Lord Shiva.The sub deities of Shiva temple are Parvathi Devi,Durga Devi,Bhagawathi,Ganapathi and Subramnaya.The sub-deities of Vamana Moorthy temple  are Bhagawathi,Sastha,Gopalakrishnan,Naga,Rakshassu etc.
The Onam Days are annual main festival days in this temple (In the month of 'Chingam' from 'Atham star day'(Flag hoisting- Kodiyettu) to 'Thiru Onam star day(Aarattu)'.On the festival days 'Pookkalam'(flower arrangement in circular shape) is done at the Mandapa of this temple also.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

RAMADAN AND EID- UL- FITR

Ramadan is the ninth month and  it is the most important holy month of Islamic Calendar.Muslims believe that Allah revealed the first verses of Holy Qur'an to
Prophet Muhammad during this month.
More than One Billion Muslims across the Globe performs observances in this month by avoiding food and drinks during day time for whole month of 30 days.From dawn to dusk all Muslims except sick,aged,children below 12 years,travellers,etc should perform this fasting since it is considered as one of the 'five pillars' of Islam.Since it is obligatory every Muslim performs it with devotion and dedication.This sacrifice helps them to understand the hunger of the poor people and  a voluntary mind to help the poor and needy people arouses.
Charity is also an obligation according to Islam and they performs it throughout the year but more of the charity(Zakkat) is distributed in this month when the rewards for one's good deeds will be more in Ramadan.
Just  performing fasting by  all Muslims are not enough but they are  expected to refrain from any kind of bad deeds and they should keep the mind and body pure.The recitation of Holy Qur'an 
is performed in Mosques and many people listen to it.Many people will read the holy text themselves at least once during the one month period.The love of God,the love of humanity,the helping mind for the poor,the good habit of patience,brotherly hood to others,the inspiration to perform good deeds,self discipline,self control etc are good results of Ramadan Month observances.
The 27th night in the month of Ramadan is  very much sacred and most of the Muslims spent that night reading Holy Qur'an.




The first three days of the next month 'Shawaal' is celebrated as 'Eid Ul Fitr by all Muslims across the world.It is a time of celebration and joy.After the 30 days of fasting again returning  back to the normal life is celebrated after morning prayers in Mosques.
Since Islamic Calendar is calculated according to lunar cycle there can be slight variations of the  starting  day of celebration.In Kerala 'Eid Ul Fitr' is termed as 'Cheriya Perunnal' and 'Bakrid' is termed as 'Valia Perunnal'.Malayali people celebrates all festivals with brotherly hood without any religious barrier.So Onam,Eid,Easter etc are celebrated by all people happily with unity.
All over the world these days are celebrated with unity,love and enthusiasm.
Meeting friends,relatives and exchanging gifts and sweets are highlighted during those days.Happy celebration mood lingers everywhere and everybody 
prays the almighty to keep on that contented feeling of festivity, peace and love  throughout 
the year.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Alathiyur Hanuman Temple

Alathiyur Hanuman Swamy Temple is situated in a serene place with beautiful paddy fields and coconut groves.The temple is  not big and the idol of Hanuman Swamy is also small.But the popularity of this temple is enormous which has  spread all over Kerala and to other places.The power of Hanuman Swamy is well known and devotees in large numbers visit this temple to get his blessing and to get their wishes fulfilled. 
This temple is situated at 'Alathiyoor' which is 9km from Tirur Railway Station.Tirur is in Malappuram District of Kerala.
When Smt.Jayalaltha became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu she visited Guruvayoor Sreekrishna Temple and Alathiyoor Hanuman Temple  for worship.
She also visited Raja Rajeswari of Thalaparambu Temple on that trip.

From Kuttippuram and Tirur  frequent bus service are available to Alathiyur.
Even though the name of this temple is 'Perumthrikkovil'  people call it as 'Hanuman Kavu'.
The main deity is Sree Rama and to its right is the Sanctum of Sree Hanuman existed facing south.He is holding a mace in his hand.
When Sithadevi was abducted by Ravana to Lanka Sree Rama and Lakshmana
were in search of her and they made a treaty with Monkey King Sugreeva.As according to that treaty Sugreeva sent his militants to all places in  search of  Sitha Devi.Hanuman was in the group that proceeded to the southern  direction.From the giant bird 'Jatayu' Sree Rama was knowing that Ravana abducted her and she would be at Lanka.Sree Rama was sure that his faithful devotee Hanuman would be successful in that mission to cross the sea, reach Lanka and pass on the message of Sri Rama to Sitha.Since he was fully confident in his abilities Sri Rama told the cue words for Sitha  to Hanuman only and gave the signet ring to him in confide.
The concept of the consecration of Sri Rama and Hanuman Swamy in this temple is that Sri Rama tells the cue word to Hanuman Swamy and he listen keenly his words.The idol of Hanuman Swamy is leaning to left for hearing Sri Rama's words.The sanctum of  Lakshamana in this temple is outside the Nalambalam periphery and its concept is that he kept away himself for not 
hearing Sri Rama's cue words to Sitha.He was giving privacy to his brother.
All the celestial beings and Gods bestowed their blessings on this occasion to Hanuman Swamy and hence he was able to cross the sea very easily and victoriously completed his mission.


In this temple there are sub deities such as Ganapathy,Maha Vishnu,Bhagavathy and Ayyappan also.
It is believed that Sage Vasishta established this temple about 3000 years ago.The temple was governed by Brahmin Namputhiris of that  Village and later it was governed by Vettathu Raja.Later it came  under the administration of Zamorin Of Calicut.
If we worship Alathiyur Hanuman Swamy  our wishes will be  fulfilled by him since he is very powerful here because of the blessings from all Gods.
Children if see horror dreams or bad dreams pray Alathiyur Hanuman Swamy before going to bed at night.'Alathiyur Hanuman Swamy kindly keep away bad dreams from me.If bad dreams are haunted please wake me up by gently tapping with your tail' is the prayer.
There is a granite plat form and a long stone piece placed near the temple.People jump across it in commemoration of the leap of Hanuman  to Lanka.By performing  this leaping Hanuman will be pleased and  gives good health and long life is the belief.
Thunchathu Ezhuthachan who wrote  the Malayalam Ramayana and other texts was a firm devotee of Alathiyur Hanuman Swamy.
The main offering of this temple are wet beaten rice and 'Kadali' plantain.
Relief from physical and mental problems,poverty, problems created by enemies,obstacles for advancement etc are all removed by worshipping Hanuman Swamy of Alathiyur temple is firmly believed by devotees.By worshipping Hanuman Swamy one can get relieved from tension and can achieve mental peace.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hanuman Swamy and Garuda Bird

Everybody thinks that their assumptions and actions are apt and correct until they experience certain setbacks and  unexpected failures.Many of us may blame God for giving us bad experiences, but the wise people will understand that they were not on the right path and try to rectify their faults.God always
loves his devotees and some of his activities are designed  to remove or lessen our arrogance which stands as an obstacle for our success and achievements in life.
Once Lord Sree krishna was seen sitting gloomy by 'Garuda Bird'(who was his
'Vahana' or Vehicle according to Hindu mythology) and inquired about his sorrow.Krishna replied that he was thinking about his old devout- acquaintance 
'Hanuman' and wished  to meet  him.Garuda was in those days had a feeling that he was the fastest in all the worlds and Krishna wanted to reduce his bloated feeling.
Sreekrishna told Garuda to go to 'Kadalivanam' forest where he could find Hanuman meditating and tell him to come to Dwaraka Palace.Garuda flew very  fast and reached  the forest 'Kadalivanam' and found 'Hanuman Swamy'.He said to Hanuman that Sree Krishna wanted to see him urgently.But Hanuman said that he did not feel like to visit Sree Krishna.He also added that some of the activities Krishna did  in childhood days were  not at all impressive.He used to steal milk,curd and butter from the neighbours, he climbed on a tree with
the clothes of young girls while they were taking bath in river Yamuna.More over Hanuman was not  happy about the ways  he helped Pandavas to win the battle of Kurukshetra.Hanuman added that he felt Lord Sree Rama only adorable always since he  was   very much truthful,humble,lovable and a great warrior.After saying these words Hanuman Swamy again started meditation ignoring Garuda Bird who was standing in front of him.
Garuda wanted to tell Hanuman Swamy that whatever deeds done by Sree Krishna were  all meant for the betterment  of his friends and devotees.But when Hanuman Swamy started meditation again he went back and told Sree Krishna what had happened.
Sree Krishna then suddenly pleaded guilty to Garuda bird that he forgot to tell him previously that the message to Hanuman Swamy was to come to Dwaraka
Palace to meet Lord Sree Rama and not Sree Krishna.He requested Garuda to go again and tell Hanuman to come and meet Sree Rama at Dwaraka Palace.
Garuda did as he was told.Hanuman this time was very happy but he asked whether Bharatha,Shatrugna,Lakshmana and 'Seethadevi mother' were also present there at Dwaraka.Garuda was puzzled and was not knowing what to tell but he answered that he saw only Sree Rama there.Hanuman Swamy said that he wanted to see  Sree Rama along with 'Seethadevi mother' only and hence he was not interested to come.He started meditating again.
Garuda went  back to Sreekrishna and narrated the happenings.Sreekrisha requested  Garuda to go to 'Kadalivanam' forest once more and say that Sree Rama with 'Seethadevi mother' wanted to see him at Dwaraka Palace.Garuda again flew to Kadalivanam forest with the new message.
Meanwhile Sreekrishna transformed himself as Sree Rama and requested his wives Rugmini and Sathyabhama that one of them to come and sit beside him as
Seetha Devi.Those days Rugmini Devi had a feeling that she was more beautiful and attractive than Sathyabhama and Krishna wanted to reduce her






arrogance.
When Rugmini Devi prepared to sit on the throne as Seethadevi, Krishna said his opinion such that  Sathyabhama was  most suited  for  Sitha's role.Rugmini felt sad  but
Sathyabha considered it as an appreciation and was   happy to transform herself  as Sithadevi, who in her life  earned praise from everyone  for her elegance, simplicity,  chastity etc.
Garuda when invited Hanuman to Dwaraka to meet Sree Rama and Seetadevi  he was extremely happy this time  and was ready to go.Hanuman but did not prefer  to sit on Garuda's back and  promised that he would come his own to Dwaraka at the earliest.( Hanuman, being the son of Vayu; the 'God of Air' has the ability to fly at a stunning speed). Garuda so went back alone but happily this time because his mission was a success.
Garuda  reached Dwaraka and said to Sree Krishna that Hanuman would be coming very soon.But Sree Krishna said that Hanuman had already arrived  there, met them as Sree Rama and Seethadevi.Sree Krishna also said to Garuda  that Hanuman Swamy  returned happily after prostrating at the feet of Sree Rama and Seethadevi  and getting bliss and blessing from them.
Garuda felt ashamed because while coming back to Dwaraka  he took rest for a few minutes on the way since he was tired after the three consecutive trips to Kadalivanam and back to Dwaraka  but never thought that Hanuman Swamy would reach Dwaraka in such a lightning speed.The arrogance about his speed melted away from Garuda's mind.
By a simple action God Sree Krishna removed arrogance of Garuda and Rugmini.He revealed the truth once again that God loves his devotees very much and always bless them.God may give vision to firm devotees in the form they wanted to see him.In Bhagawad Gita God has revealed that one can worship him in any form and call him  by any names (but lovingly only).In whatever forms and whatever names we call him humbly with devout,  he will answer to them  happily-with Love.