Wednesday, February 16, 2011
South Indian Hindu Temple
Chithamparam, which is also known as kovil - ie “The Temple” lies between the river Vellar on the north, the Bay of Bengal on the east, the Coleroom in the south, Viranam tank on the west. The magnificent temple in this place is considered one of the most important in South India and devotees from all parts of the country visit the place all the year round.
Simplicity in the worship of God Shiva
The idol of Nadarajah (Shiva in the dancing aspect) is separated from the Holy of the Holies by a veil, which is removed only on special occasions of worship. Behind the veil is revealed mere space, out of which the blissful Nadarajah is said to have emerged. Chidamparam is famous for the simplicity of its object of worship which consists of Ahasa (ethereal space) and Rahasya or chakra on the wall to the rear of the idol.
Engravings of Dravidian art
The temples at Chidamparam are the oldest in the south of India and portions or them are gems of Dravidian art. The outer enclosure in which this temple stands is very elaborate with two storeys of pillars.
There are four courts in Chiddamparam temple. The third contains the famous thousand pillared hall 350 feet by 260 feet from which a good view of the inner shrine is obtained.
The second has a shrine of Lord Shiva and other deities.
The Nritha sabha has the sculptural representation in its base. Inside, there is Kanaka Sabha or the dancing hall of Natarajah covered with golden roof.
The fine architectural carvings with attracts the eye of everyone are on the niches of the four main outer Gopuras.
These contribute in a great measure to the greatness of the temple. The holy Sivaganga tank 175 feet long and 100 feet wide situated within the temple has an attractive colonnade (row of pillars) around it.
The Subramaniya shrine popularly known as Pandiyanar Subramaniya temple, so called probably after the Pandyan kings, has many beautiful carvings.
Many puranic legends are represented on the roof of the Sivakami Amman shrine, while on the south west of the temple there is the shrine of huge Ganesha (Elephant God). Situated within the innermost prakara of the temple itself on the south east is the shrine of Govindaraja-Perumal (Vishnu) who is said to have witnessed the dance of Shiva.
Gopura (tower) depicts different dance postures
The Gopura on the northern entrance of the temple was built by Krishna Devaraja of Vijayanagar in commemoration of his victory over king of Orissa.
The towers facing the east and the west, contain beautiful representations of 108 different postures of the art of dancing mentioned in the “Bharata Natya Sastra” - the standard authority of the subject.
The Gopura at the southern entrance was constructed by a Pallava Prince called Perunjingadeva. Besides the metal figures of sages Vyaghrapada (tiger footed) and Patanjali (snake bodied) sculptures of them, to whom Lord Nataraja first danced here are also found in the eastern Gopura of the temple at Chidamparam.
The most interesting piece of the sculptural carving is that of Shiva as a warrior.
It is no exaggeration to say these sacred shrines, by the splendour of their massive structure and fine sculptures to be found therein prompt the worshippers to lead a life of purity and devotion.
Temples are considered to be hallowed ground. They are said to promote justice throughout the land.
It is also laid down that so long as these ancient institutions are duly maintained by the devotees there will be prosperity in the country and famine will not visit the land.
Yagam of Siddhar Rajkumar Swamigal
Peace, love, goodwill and harmony in Sri Lanka:
Siddhar Rajakumar Swamigal from South India conducted a yagam at Sri Varatharaja Vinayagar Temple’s Angaran Hall, Kotahena, Colombo 13 with the main aim of bringing about everlasting peace and eternal prosperity to Sri Lanka.
In fact, to a world lost in error and beset by illusions of time, weighed down by perplexities, overpowered by forces of darkness, egoistic arrogance, ignorance, overspecialization in material science, compartmentalization of knowledge, trials and tribulations, conflicts and contradictions, the Yagama conducted by Siddhar Rajkumar Swamigal will undoubtedly redeem thousands of people from violence, tension, hatred, envy, jealousy and bring about communal harmony, peace, amity and unity among all communities and denominations.
Further, peace and prosperity are the fundamental prerogatives of human beings. A stage of peaceful existence implies freedom, quietitude, stillness of mind tranquility, equanimity and serenity. Indeed, a pure religious experience alone can sanction for a permanent, abiding and abundant experience of Bliss.
Aiming at peace involves not only averting violence, but also subjugating covert violence.
Though we have to eliminate social evils such as exploitation, corruption, concoction, injustice inequality etc., which are menaces to human development we have to fight with the psychic evils which hamper the growth of individual personality.
In the words of Adam Curle, making peace involves a reshaping not only of society and the world order, but also of ourselves. It implies that the seeds of peace must be sown at the individual level. Only when the individual leads a calm and controlled life both internally and externally, we can think of a world order.
According to Siddhantham or the teachings of the Siddhas, the human body is a temple of God. Man is a miniature representation of Paramatma (Supreme intelligence).
The purpose of life is to realize God and to manifest that realization in all planes of existence.
The present world is confronted with economic instability, social disturbances, racial discriminations, political turmoils, linguistic fanaticism, regional prejudices, national turbulences, ethnic violences, international trepidations, religious feuds etc.
The panacea for all human woes, afflictions lies in realizing for oneself totally and simultaneously the supreme reality, the guiding spirit and the inner controller. To achieve this ultimate goal of life the saiva siddhantha suggests valuable means.
The ultimate goal of life is to relinquish the life of earthly pleasures, elevate oneself to the level of divine perfection and enjoy the unalloyed bliss of Lord Shiva by becoming one with him.
This unity or oneness alone will make the person realize the essential unity of all living species. This is the unique contribution of siddhantha to the world.
Indeed, the Siddhas and Saints have made earnest appeal to the world for its betterment through religious practice and spiritual experience.
The ideal, namely “Ever Joy” and “Never sorrow” would be achieved when the aspirants adore the Holy feet of the Lord and attain a State of Bliss. If our thought is united with the Divine thought and if all people unitedly extend powerful thoughts, vibration of peace and goodwill prevail everywhere.
Undoubtedly, the YAGAM conducted by Siddhar Rajkumar Swamigal will definitely bring peace, love, goodwill, harmony in Sri Lanka.
India and Hinduism
Because it integrates a large variety of heterogeneous elements, Hinduism constitutes a very complex but largely continuous whole, and since it covers the whole of life, it has religious, social, economic, literary, and artistic aspects. As a religion, Hinduism is an utterly diverse conglomerate of doctrines, cults, and ways of life.
The distinction between the level of popular belief and that of elaborate ritual technique and philosophical speculation is very marked and attended by many stages of transition and varieties of coexistence.
Primitive magic and fetishism, animal worship, and belief in demons occur beside, and often combined with, the worship of more or less personal gods, as do mysticism, asceticism, and abstract and profound theological systems or esoteric doctrines.
For example, worship of female local deities does not, in the same milieu, exclude the belief in pan-Indian higher gods, or even in a single High God. Such deities are also frequently looked upon as manifestations of a High God.
In principle, Hinduism incorporates all forms of belief and worship without necessitating the selection or elimination of any. The Hindu is inclined to revere the divine in every manifestation, whatever it may be, and is doctrinally tolerant, leaving others - including both Hindus and non-Hindus - whatever creed and worship practices suit them best.
An Abirami Anthathi Parayanam and Bakthi Geetha program was held at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil Kotahena Colombo - 13 recently to mark the annual Thai Poosa Mahotchavam. Pictures A Maduraveeran The Annual Varusabisekam festival of the Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil, attached to the Colombo Hindu College premises, Ratmalana took place recently. Here, Chief Priest K Wytheswarak Kurukkal performing the pooja. The Pupils of Religious School attached to the Ramakrishna Mission Wellawatta Colombo - 06 sing Bakthi Geetha recital. A ceremony held its premises last week, to mark the 149th birth anniversary of the Saiva Saint Swami Vivekananda.
The special religious Maha Yagna Pooja took place at the Sri Varatharaja Perumal Kovil Kotahena, Colombo 13 under the patronage of His Holiness Sri, Sri, Rajakumar Swamiji of Brammarishi Hills South India recently. The event was organised to invoke blessing on the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, country and its people. A large number of devotees participated.
A special prayers program titled “Geethopathesam” was conducted by Rev Rajeswara Nandaji Swamigal at Ramakrishna Mission Hall Wellawatta Colombo 6. The event was organised to mark the 149th birth anniversary of the Saiva Saint Swami Vivekananda Swamy. Large number of religious schools, students participated in this program.
The religious book titled “The Significance and Glory of Nandi Flag” written by the Vice President, All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) Dr Sinnathurai Dhanapala was launched at Chennai Tamil Nadu (South India) recently. The event was organised by the International Thirukkural Forum. Here a copy is being presented by the Author to the Chief Minister Tamil Nadu Muttuvel Karunanithi. Rev Kunnakkudi Ponnambala Swamigal looks on.