Saturday, 7 January 2017

Satyagireeswarar - the Lord who Blessed Chandikeswarar with Eswara Title, Senganoor Shiva Temple

  • ·         Birthplace of Chandikeswarar (Chandesvara Nayanar).
  • ·         Lord Muruga prayed to His father and got the Pashupatha Astra to fulfill His mission to vanquish the demon Surapadman.
  • ·         Fragment of the holy Mount Meru fell in this place.
  • ·         Sung by Thirugnanasambandar – 1 pathigam

This temple is located on the Kumbakonam – Anakarai route. Travelling from Kumbakonam, after reaching the place Cholapuram, there will be a small road on the right side (with an arch at the entrance) which leads to this temple at about 1 km from the road. More details given below.

Lord Siva: Satyagireeswarar
Ambal (Goddess): Sakhideviammai

This temple is open from 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. and from 5.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. Two more paadal petra sthalams – Thirupananthal and Thiruvoipadi are located close to this temple (within 2 or 3 kms range).

Those who visit Lord Shiva temple would not have failed to worship Chandikeswarar who is seated on the right side of the main sanctum, but not many might know about the transformation of Vichara Sharma, a simple but ardent devotee into Chandikeswarar by the grace of Lord Shiva. This miracle happened in Sengaoor, a small village on the outskirts of Kumbakonam.

Vichara Sarman was born in Senganoor, which was famous for Vedic recitations, Tapas, and Siva Bhakti. He was a prodigy, even at the age of five he had learnt the Vedas, and all the Agamas by himself. He wanted to attain final emancipation in the current birth.

One day, Vichara Sarman was walking along a road with his friends. He noticed a cowherd cruelly beating a cow because it had slightly pushed him with its horn. Vichara Sarman could not endure this. He was greatly moved and spoke to the cowherd: ‘Oh ignorant man? Do you not know that the cow is worshipful and divine? All the Devas dwell in her. She is indispensable for all religious activities. It is our sacred duty to tend and protect the cows. Whoever harms the cow is hurled into the hell. Whoever worships the cow wins a place in heaven or in Siva’s Abode. You have committed a great sin today. Hereafter, you need not tend to the cows: I will do that myself.’ Vichara Sarman took the work upon himself from that day.

The cows grew healthier due to the care and kindness showered by Vichara Sarman on them. There was so much of surplus milk after supplying to the villages, that Vichara Sarman, who loved Lord Siva and His worship, decided to perform Abhishekam for Lord Siva daily. He used to sit under a tree on the bank of the manniyar river, construct a Siva Lingam from the river mud and offer the milk, to bathe the Lingam. Then he would perform Archana with the flowers. The cows were giving plenty of milk both to Vichara Sarman and to the Brahmins. This routine was going on regularly until he was noticed by others.

One day, when Vichara Sarman was doing this Puja, a villager happened to pass by, and he watched all the proceedings. He commplained to the village community that Vichara Sarman was wasting precious milk on mud and his father Ecchadattan was duly summoned and reprimanded to correct his son’s behavior. The father was shocked and wanted to ascertain the facts by himself. So, the next day, he followed Vichara Sarman at a distance without his knowledge. When Vichara Sarman began pouring milk on the improvised Siva Lingam, the father, without understanding the son’s wonderful devotion, hit him with a stick. The boy was so much absorbed in his Puja that he did not even feel pain. Then, the father, getting still more angry, knocked the milk-pot down. It was then that Vichara Sarman realised that his father was interfering with his worship and had committed an unpardonable offence against Lord Siva (Siva Aparadham). He at once took a stick and hit his father’s leg: by the will of the Lord, the stick was transformed into an axe. Again, by His will, it killed the father. It was to test the depth of Vichara Sarman’s devotion. He was so engrossed in the worship, that he did not mind what had happened and continued the worship.

Lord Siva was immensely pleased with the intensity of Vichara Sarman’s devotion and appeared before him, with Parvathi. Vichara Sarman prostrated before the Lord and he was embraced by the Lord. That very instant, Vichara Sarman attained the divine Form of Lord Siva. The Lord removed a garland from His own neck and put it around Vichara Sarman’s. He had attained Saroopya Mukthi (liberation, with the attainment of the form of the Lord). The Lord said: ‘My child, you cut your own father’s leg for My sake. Now, I am Your Father. From now on you will be called as Chandikeswarar. You worshipped Me with food, clothes and flower garlands. In the same manner, you will also be worshipped.’ Thus, he was conferred the title of Eswara by the Lord himself. Hence he is being worshipped in a separate small shrine in every Shiva temple. He is also revered as one among the 63 nayanmars of Shiva. No sin attached to him, for having killed his own father, because of his supreme devotion to the Lord. His father, too, because he was killed by such a great devotee of the Lord, was purged of the sin of interfering with His worship, and reached the Abode of Lord Siva.
As per the legend, a small piece of Mount Meru (holy mountain that was used for churning the ocean of milk) fell at his place, the temple is built appearing as if on a hill facing east.  In the contest between Adisesha and Vayu regarding their prowess, the former held the Meru Mount tightly.  Vayu blew violently to break the mount.  A small piece fell at this place.  Hence, the place was named Satyagiri.

This is the one of the Mada temples (Mada temple is a type of temple architecture with a ground floor and a floor above it, it is said that this type of construction has been adopted to prevent wild elephants entering the temple and ruining them) built by the great king Kochengat Cholan. He belonged to the Tamil sangam period, hence this temple should be at least 3000 years old. The sanctum sanctorum, Artha Mandap, Maha Mandap are in the hill top.  The shrines of Lords Nataraja, Bhairava, Vinayaka, Muruga, Mother Gajalakshmi and Chandikeswara are in the prakara.  

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