Saturday, January 28, 2012

THAIPOOYAM-BIRTHDAY OF LORD MURUGAN

February 7, Tuesday is an auspicious day, Thai Pooyam (Thai Poosam- in Tamil) since it is the Birthday of Lord  Murugan and is celebrated by millions of his devotees.Visiting a Subramanya temple on that day will bring good fortune is the belief.
The incarnation of Lord Subramanaya was mainly for Killing the Asura 'Soorapadmasura' who was doing
all kinds of mischief to the humans as well as celestial beings.During the fight with the Asura and Subramanya
the Asura begged Subramanya for his life.Subramanya but killed him even though fulfilled his request in a peculiar way.Subramanya cut  his enemy's body with his spear  in to two parts and made one part as a peacock to use  as his vehicle and the other part as a Rooster which in turn used as his flag icon.
Lord Subramanya is believed to be in fond of the adoration of doing the unction with different materials such as milk,Oil,Rose water,coconut water,honey,Kumkum,Bhasmam(Sacred ash)Panchamritham(a mixture of several
fruits cut in to small pieces mixed with honey,ghee etc),sandalwood paste,flowers etc.One of the above item put in two small vessels  known as 'kalasam' and tied to a small wooden piece made out of 'Jackfruit' tree and
decorated with flowers,peacock feathers etc and carried on shoulder accompanied with drum beats and music as a procession to Subramanya temples is known as 'Kavady'  'ghoshayatra'(procession) and the unction with
the materials contained in it is known as kavady abhishekam.
This celebration with Kavady procession will be held in several Subramanya temples of Kerala on Thaipooyam Day and the most colorful and splendid celebration can be seen at Haripad,Perunna(Changanacherry),Udayanapuram(Near Vaikom of Kottayam),Payyannur,Cheriyanadu(Chengasnnur),Thampanoor(Trivandrum),Kidangoor etc in which thousands of Kavady will participate.
If the devotee conducts the taking of Kavady with 'Vrat' he will get blessings of the Lord in unbelievable manner.But for that he has to perform vrat for 41 days.Celibacy must be practiced and non vegetarian food should be avoided.A ' Tulsi garland' has to be worn,when ever possible consume 'Panchagavya' from temple
available after 'Pantheeradi pooja'.Read holy books and perform prayers every day.Day prior to taking of 'Kavady' eat only one time meal.The person who takes the kavady for the first time should take 'oil' kavady.
Many devotees pierce their cheeks,eyebrows,tongue etc with small spears to show their devotion and affection to Lord.Now a days it is seen that some people pierce all over their body and hang small bells.It is said that Lord Subramanya is 'Kshipra Prasadi' which means he sanctions our wishes within a short span gladly by our prayers but why people are praying to him taking this much pain is not known.
Any how without piercing our body parts Lord Subramanya will bless the devotee.On the Thaipooyam day
this kind of celebrations are being held at Pazhani,Trichenthur,Swami Mala,Maruthu Mala,Veli Mala etc also.Lord Subramanya is having six main temples known as 'Padai Veedugal' in Tamil Nadu which are visited
by millions of devotees every year.They are as follows:-
Thirupparam Kundram:-It is near Madurai and it is actually a cave temple.'Painkini Uthram' is celebrated
in large scale in this temple.
Thiruchenthur:-It is situated near Thirunelveli at Tuticorin.Chendoor,Senthil are other names of this temple.
Here the temple deity is having four hands.
Pazhani:-Lord Murugan after a dispute regarding a fruit left Kailash Mountain and came to Tamil Nadu and
believed to stayed on this hill.The shrine was made afterwards.He was told that 'Pazham Nee'(You are the
fruit of this universe) to make him calm  and the place  name turned to be 'Pazhani'.
Swami Mala:-Other names of this temple are Thiruverakam and Erakapathy.It is on the banks of river Kaveri  and near Thanchavoor.
Thiruthani:-It is also famous as Thanikaimalai.It is situated near Aarkonam.It is believed that Subramanya married 'Vally'at this place.Moreover after killing 'Soorapadmasura; Lord Muruga became calm in this place.
Pazhamuthirchola:-The other name of this temple is  'Azhakar Kovil'.It is a very beautiful place.It issituated
19km north to Madurai.Dancing peacocks in large numbers can be seen in this temple premises.
On Thaippooyam Day it is very auspicious and  blissful to visit this six temples.It will bring in all kinds of
prosperity and blessings from Lord Subramanya.

Thaipooya Vrat

Devotees of Lord Subramanya can perform
Vrat on Thaipooyam day and it is performed for
the betterment of our Children.Both men and women can take this Vrat which is very easy to perform.
Thaipooyam Vrat is taken by doing the arrangement from the previous day itself.Keep our body and mind clean from the previous day.Do not take
non vegetarian food on the previous day also and eat only fruits at night for supper.
On the Thaipooyam day get up early, take bath and visit Subramanya Temple or any other temple if
possible.Eat only FRUITS on that day.Chant the mantra "Ohm VACHAT BHUVE NAMAH" as many
times as possible on that day.It is the moola mantra of Lord Subramanya.Next day morning visit the temple
and by drinking the holy water you can get released from the vrat.This vrat is meant for the long life,well
being and for the prosperity of  your children and sure the Lord will Bless You also.Just by eating fruits
and by chanting 'Ohm Vachatbhuve Namah' for one day can make a lot of changes.Ladies..  is n't it
a very simple vrat but very much worth for the sake of your children?










Friday, January 13, 2012

CELEBRATIONS AND 'HOLY' DAYS

There is festive mood all over Kerala now.The Mandala-Makara Vilakku season which started from mid month of November is going to cease on 15th Sunday.As a custom in all temples of Kerala during this season
special Poojas,Bhajans etc are done. In Ayyappa temples this period is celebrated as a festival itself by decorating the temple premises and temple building with color bulbs, flower decorations,lighting all
the oil lamps every day etc.In other temples also even if there is no deity of Ayyappa in that temple, then also
decorations and other arrangements more than usual are done.In all temples Makara Vilakku on 15 Sunday
will be celebrated in a grand manner.
At Sabarimala temple it is the most sacred and most celebrated day  in an year.
On 12 Thursday as per the tradition Ambalapuzha Group and Alangattu Group in which thousands of Pilgrims are participating  proceeded to Sabarimala  after Petta Thullal at 'Erumaeli'  which is  also a significance of the religious harmony prevailing in Kerala..Ambalapuzha group started their journey on witnessing a Falcon Bird hoovering above their camp.Alangattu group in the afternoon started on witnessing
a bright silver star in the sky.Thousands of other pilgrims also joined them and they will be trekking the 'Karimala' route and reach 'Pampa'.Tomorrow  on 14 Saturday there will be 'Pampa Sadya' on the banks of river Pampa which will be arranged  by smaller and larger groups alike.(Pampa sadya is feast made at pampa).It is believed that Lord Ayyappa joins in the feast and so every group tries to prepare as much dishes as possible and makes several sweet items also.In the evening they prepare a lot of rafts from Bamboo, lights oil lamps and candles on them and floats in river Pampa which will be a lovely sight and known as 'Pampa Vilakku'.
The procession with princely and sacred ornament boxes which are to adorn the deity of Lord Ayyappa and Malikapurathamma started from Pandalam today afternoon.The ornaments of Ayyappa and Malikapurathamma are known as 'Thiruvabharanam'.These belong to Pandalam Principality where Lord Ayyappa lived  up to his youthful days.The procession with the ornament boxes will reach Sabarimala in the evening of 15 Sunday.The main priest will receive the boxes and adorn the deities with the ornaments.These
ornaments are very ancient and made of pure gold.They are all very  precious which are  studded  with gem stones and very beautiful.The box of ornaments for Ayyappa contains 'Thiru Mukham'(Sacred face),different types of gold chains such as 'Sarapoli mala,Vilwadala mala,Erikkinpoo mala,Navaratna ring,Long sword known as churika,Ornament for forehead,waist chain,Prabha mandalam to denote the "Aura" ,Idols of Poorna and Pushkala,Golden elephant and leopard' and so on.When Lord Ayyappa is decorated with these princely ornaments and the sanctum is adorned with the other decorative items in the box, the idol of Lord Ayyappa will transform to extreme divine beauty which is a fascinating and marvelous sight.To witness Lord Ayyappa  fully adorned on that day is possible for a few people only.
Many people gather at Pandalam to witness the ornament boxes  when the procession starts from there.They take it to account the fact
that to witness the boxes is also very much sacred.The 'deeparadhana' which will be held at Sabarimala
temple at 6.30 P.M. on 15 Sunday inside the temple can be viewed by a small group of people.We need not feel jealous to them but try to believe that they got that chance because of their good deeds done during
their previous birth.
Millions of people who gather at Sabarimala ,Pampa, and nearby areas can witness the 'Deeparadhana' at the same time
which will be held at 'Ponnambalamedu' which was the original place of Sabarimala Temple.At that time
a bright star which is known as 'Makara Nakshatram'   which will not be   there on the previous days  can be witnessed at the eastern horizon which is thought as the 'Deeparadhana' of the celestial  beings to Lord Ayyappa.

After Makaravilakku festival the temple closes on January 20 only.There are several rituals done at the temple like 'Padi Pooja' (Pooja of the 18 sacred steps),Kalabhabhishekam(Unction with sandal wood paste for the deity) etc.At night grand procession of beautifully decorated Malikapurathamma's deity is brought to Ayyappa temple premises and one man will ask whether there was new comers to Sabarimala that season.
'Somebody from Ayyappa temple will answer 'Go and Check at Saramkuthy'.This will repeat for three days and next day procession will go to Saramkuthy.By seeing thousands of arrows there which denotes newcomers to Sabarimala that season also  Malakapurathamma understands that her marriage will not be possible  with Lord Ayyappa and returns sadly.These traditional rituals can be seen on those days after 'Makaravilakku day' every year. Lord Ayyappa's Deity will remain adorned with the sacred ornaments on all
those days till the temple closes on Jan 20.Those who go to Sabaramala during these days will be able to
witness the Deity of Lord Ayyappa adorned with 'Thiruvabharanam'.
While bringing back the 'Thiruvabharanam' Lord Ayyappa's Ornaments are used to adorn the deity of
Sastha temple at Perinadu for one day  where thousands of women and other people visits to witness the decorated deity.
So those who are ambitious to witness  Lord Ayyappa  adorned with the 'Thiruvabharanam' may visit Sabarimala
temple after the heavy rush of Makaravilakku festival during the next four days and fulfill their dream wish which will be one of the most auspicious 'darshan' they can have in this life.
"Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa".
PONGAL
The shifting of Sun from southern solace to Northern solace which happens on 14 January and the next day 15 January is auspicious in several states of India and the festivals are known in different names.
In Tamil Nadu these days are 'Pongal Days' which is their  Prime Festival season.14,15,16, and 17 are main Pongal days known as Bogi Pongal,Thaipongal,Mattupongal and Kanumpongal.There are so many Tamil
Brahmins in Thiruvananthapuram,Kottayam,Ernakulam and palghat  and other Tamil speaking people also
in Kerala which celebrates 'Pongal' with splendid harmony.The markets are filled with commodities required for Pongal celebrations.The Kerala people also feels joyous and  makes feast and sweets to celebrate Makara Sankanti,Makaravilakku,Thaipongal, etc.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

THIRUVATHIRA VRAT

Thiruvathira  'Vrat' is best suited and very much auspicious to perform for gaining  a long and happy married life.The 'Thiruvathira Star' of the month 'Dhanu'  is believed as the 'Birth Star' of Lord Shiva and considered
very sacred in all Shiva temples and by the devotees.This year's Thiruvathira is on January 8, Sunday.
In Kerala as a custom this day is celebrated with certain age old practices.
Married women enjoy themselves on this day during night time by performing 'Thiruvathira Kali' dances.They
generally use songs in praise of Shiv-Parvathy for Thiruvathira Kali dance.During the mid night there is a system
of wearing flowers on their hair known as "Pathira Poovu choodal'.It is 'wearing 'Dasa Pushpam'(ten types of flowers).Literally we are saying 'Dasa Pushpam' but actually several of them are Ayurvedic herbs and not flowers.The Malayalam names of these herbs are ' Karuka, Vishnukranti, Poovam Kurunnila, Thiruthali,Muyalcheviyan,Mukkutti,Kayyonni, Nilappana,Cheroola,and Uzhinja.' These are all famous Ayurvedic herbs used in preparing many types of Ayurvedic medicines and by just wearing them on the hair
for some time may be also helpful in some ways.In earlier times these herbs were all grown in our houses  or

were available easily from the nearby locality but there is scarcity for them in in many places now.Later the women
take bath in the near pond and the merry making continues with splashing water on others,singing,swimming etc.Early in the morning they visit the nearby temple.For the newly married couple the first ' Thiruvathira' within
one year is called 'Poothiruvathira'.The women in the locality usually summon in their house and 'Thiruvathira
dance' and other cults performed there is the general practice.
'Thiruvathira Vrat' is performed for the long and happy married life  and generally performed by married women.It is performed for the long life and well being of their husband and children.By performing this Vrat
the bond between wife and husband also get strong.For a materialistic way of happy and prosperous family
life all married women should perform this Vrat.This can be done for seven days,Five days ,Three days and
for the single day also.The simple method is as follows.Take bath early morning and in the evening also.Visit nearby Shiv-Parvathy temple,Shiva temple or Devi Temple at least once in a day.Consume rice for one time meal (  for Lunch only).For
breakfast and supper you can consume wheat,or  fruits.Avoid non-vegetarian food.Morning and evening
after taking bath recite 'Ohm Nama Shivaya'  Mantra for 108 times each.While praying God think  in
the mind Lord Shiva with Devi Parvathy and Children Ganesha and Subramanya.On the next day of Thiruvathira in the morning we can stop Vrat by consuming 'theertham'(holy water) from the temple.
For performing the Vrat for seven days,five days, three days or for single day the method is same.If you
start Vrat from the next day,  on the previous night for supper also you should avoid non vegetarian food and
rice.
Before taking bath you can convert the bathing water also holy.In a bucket of water dip a finger and recite
following mantra three times and use it for taking bath.
The mantra is " Ohm Gange cha yamune chaiva Godavari Saraswathi
                        Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jalesmin sannidhim kuru"
For those who perform Vrat for single day on 'Thiruvathira Day" if possible avoid rice completely for that
day and consume Wheat,pulses,Bengal Gram,Green Gram etc, and fruit items for their three time meals.
Coconut water can be used.If possible it is good not to sleep on Thiruvathira night.
Reciting the mantra "Ohm Shiva-Saktyaikyaroopinye Namah"( Ohm Shiva-Sakthi-Eikya-Roopinye Namah) by thinking Lord Shiva and Devi Parvathy in mind
Thiru Vairanikkulam Temple
for 108 times helps to build the bond stronger between the couples.
Unmarried girls expecting marriage in the nearby future can take this Vrat and should continue for 41 days for getting a suited marriage partner.They should recite mantra "Ohm Somaya Namah" 108 times a day
in addition to "Ohm Nama Shivaya" 108 times twice a day.
Boys who look forward for a good marriage life take Thiruvathira Vrat and continue it for 41 days.The mantra they have to recite in addition to "Ohm Nama Shivaya" 108 times twice a day is "Ohm Uma Maheswaraya Namah" 108 times a day.
Chengannur Mahadeva Temple
On the Thiruvathira Day  visit Shiv-Parvathi Temple if possible.Thousands of people visits Thiru Vairanikkulam Temple, Chengannur Mahadeva Temple etc on this day.At Thiru Vairanikkulam Temple
the Shrine of Parvathi Devi opens for ten days only in an year from Dhanu Thiruvathira Day.
At Chengannur Mahadeva Temple Lord Shiva and Devi Parvathy exists in the same Sanctum Lord Shiva
facing east and Devi facing west.On Dhanu Thiruvathira Day the annual festival starts here(On Jan 8 this year) which extends
for 28 days and this Year's Aarattu will be on  February 4, Saturday.