Monday, May 9, 2011


 Previously we had spoken about the story behind Lalithasahasranama in which we saw the destruction of Bhandasura by the devi herself. The evil rakshasa called Mahishasura existed before Bhandasura who was also slain by the devi who took the form of Durga. There is a subtle difference between these two samharas. While Mahishasura symbolised raw evil Bhandasura symbolised a more metamorphosed form of evil. Bhandasura represented the evil that had evolved from its nascent callowness to its matured and more subtle form, masquerading under the name of ego. This additional characteristic of evil made it formidable and demanded of the devi a more powerful form. It is this  anava or the I factor which we must try to conquer in order to realise the Paramatman. It is one among the triple impurities present in humans that we must get rid of inorder to transcend to higher planes of spirituality.
 Thiruvadhigai Veerattanam is situated on the banks of the river Kedilam,23 km from Vizhupuram in a place called Panruti. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva known as Veeratteshwarar. He is a svyambhu lingam (natural formation) with 16 faces(konams).The presiding female deity is goddess Tripurasundari also known as Periyanaayaki.The sthala vriksha of this temple is the Konrai tree. There are separate shrines for Vinayaka,Tripurantakar,Bhairavar,Murugan,Dakshinamurthy,Tirunavukkarasar and Tilakavathi Ammayaar.
Legend has it that it was at this very place where Lord Shiva destroyed the three floating cities, an incident popularly known as the Tripura Samharam.Eons ago,there lived an asura named Tarakasura who had three sons Vidhyunmaali,Taarakkaksha and Kamalaaksha. By virtue of their rigorous penance they obtained a boon from Brahma the creator that they could not be conquered by anyone save somebody who could destroy their three impregnable fortresses of copper,silver and gold simultaneously. Though they were very peaceful by nature yet Indra was jealous of their prosperity and somehow wanted to destroy them. By propagating vicious lies of a new dharma which ruled out the existence of hell and heaven ,Indra tricked the Asuras into revealing their truly hideous nature and thus they created a state of anarchy in all the three worlds as they lost their fear of sanction and ceased to perform their regular worship of the Shiva Linga and the Saaligrama. There upon the devas approached Lord Shiva and sought refuge under him. The gods then embarked on a quest to vanquish the three sons of Tarakasura. Lord Shiva rode a chariot in which Brahma was the charioteer and the four vedas the steeds. The sun and moon were its wheels. Finally Lord Shiva created a bow from the Meru mountain with Vasuki as the bow string. Lord Vishnu became his arrow and Agni became the arrow's blazing tip. Finally in order to restore order and peace to the three worlds Lord Shiva destroyed all the three fortresses simultaneously by releasing the arrow which reduced the three cities to ashes instantaneously.Another account tells us that Lord Shiva destroyed the three fortresses by his smile thus incinerating the three asuras who are in reality symbolic of the triple impurities in human beings:ego,karma and maya. Only when we destroy these three malas/impurities i.e. Anava Mala,Karma Mala and Maya Mala in us we can become recipients of Lord Shiva's divine grace and compassion. Needless to say Thiruvadhigai Veerattanam is  the best place for us to go when we want to cleanse our soul and rid it of these imperfections.It is only at this very sacred spot the Lord himself mitigates these maladies that corrupt the human soul.
The temple is built like a ratha(chariot). This is to symbolize the chariot which Lord Shiva used for Tripura Samhara. 

The temple has been visited by Thirugnana Sambandhar Thirunavukkarasar  and Sundarar. Appar( better known as Tirunavukkarasar) was born in a Saivite family. He lost his parents when he was young and his only living relative was his sister Thilakavati Ammaiyar whose only aim was to take care of her brother.  Thilagavathi Ammaiyar was a staunch saivite while Appar turned to Jainism much to her discontent. Once Appar suffered from a severe stomach ache and the Jain monks were not able to cure him. No amount of mantras seemed to have any effect on him. Appar was taken to his sister in Thiruvadigai 

and he begged her to cure him. Thilagavathi 

Ammaiyar took her brother to the temple. 

Taking some holy ash, she rubbed it on his 

stomach and asked him to ingest some. He found 

immediate relief and he sang his first padigam in 

the Verattaneshwarar temple and Lord

 Shiva,pleased with his singing ,conferred upon 

him the title 'Navukku Arasar'(the king of the 

tongue) in recognition of his literary and 

linguistic prowess.

This temple is therefore said to be the sole 

recourse for people suffering from 

gastrointestinal ailments, ulcers, and jaundice.

Even today when people with such ailments sing 

the song 'Kutraiyina Varu..' with devotion in

 their hearts Lord Shiva immediately comes to 

their rescue. By the therapeutic gaze of the Lord 

these ailments are obliterated .

 Oh Maha Shambhu we seek your divine feet.

 May the aura of your infinite wisdom and your

 boundless grace engulf all of your creations

 conferring upon them prosperity and happiness.


(verses 1-10)

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