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Hindu Dharma tidbits

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0001. Anger and the Nose

There is a Tamizh proverb indicating that one gets angry over the top of one's nose! For example, we say, 'அவனுக்கு மூக்குக்குமேலே கோபம் வரும்!'--avanukku mUkkukkumElE kOpam varum!.

So, what's the connection between the nose and the anger?

The answer lies in the Ajna chakra, located between the eyebrows, above the upper tip of the nose. It is through anger that a person's anger manifests as destructive power and curse. It is through this third eye that Shiva reduced ashes KAman--Manmatha, in a burst of anger, to ashes. This Tamizh adage explains the link between our temper and the tip of our nose.


0002. pancha-prANas and nava-dvAras

The air we breath in and out is a gross manifestation of prANa. It circulates in our body as pancha-prANas--five forms of the life-force, and is involved in specific body functions. The pancha-prANas and their functions are:

prANa--inhaled and exhaled breath,
apAna--excretion of faeces and urine,
vyAna--circulation of blood,
udAna--swallowing and digestion,
udAna--faculty of thought absorption.

Maheshvara Shiva in the form of NaTarAja, has five snakes entwining his torso. The five snakes represent the pancha-prANas.

There are nava-dvAras--nine apertures, in our body, comprising the two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, mouth, anus and the genital aperture. For this reason, our body is known as nava-dvArapuri--city of nine gates.

When a person dies, prANa escapes through one of these apertures. A person's afterlife and next birth are indicated by how the prANa escapes the body at death. People with karmic balances have their prANa escape through one of these nine gates with the prospects of suitable afterlife and rebirth.

There is a tenth aperture on top of the head (at the sahasrAra chakra). For those yogis who have attained yoga-siddhi, prANa escapes through this tenth gate on death. In vaiShNava philosophy, this is called archirAdi marga, and the deceased jIvAtma attains mokSha as desired. BhIShma, Sharabhanga RShi are examples of such yogis.

brahma jnAnis take control of their pancha-prANa, and their prANa on death is offered as Ahuti--oblation, to Brahman: brahmaNe svAhA. Their prANa, instead of leaving through any of the nine gates, or the tenth, settles in the spiritual heart. Hence when they drop their body, they appear to die like any normal person. shrImad bhAgavatam shows RShaba yogeshvara and JaDabharata as such examples.

In recent times, BhagavAn RamaNa mahaRShi, on the death of his mother, coaxed her prANa to say in her heart, enabling her to attain mokSha, and then built her samAdhi as a temple with an image of Shiva called mAtRbhUteshvara installed therein.


0003. vINA and yoga

vINA is a divine musical instrument. Playing it is a mokSha-sAdhana--practice towards liberation. The vINA derives its shape from the male human body--his rear--briShTam, spinal cord, neck and head. Playing the vINA in the right manner can lead one in the yogic path.


0004. pAmbATTi siddhas

This clan of yogis are often mistaken to have lived with snakes and charmed them, as the meaning of the Tamizh word pAmbATTi--make a snake dance, indicates.

The serpent in their names refers to the kuNDalinI shakti--the spiritual serpent power, which they were able to raise at will.

Here is a link to this siddha:
The most popular and well known of the siddhar


0005. Alaya adbhutAni: Temple esoterica

The Alaya adbhutAni play their part in reinforcing our belief in the divinity of the sacred places. As KAnchi ParamachArya said sthala purANas would reveal the ancient history of BhArat and Hindu Dharma.

The shivasthalam TiruviDaimarudUr near KumbakONam, TamizhnADu:

• This shivasthalam is equated with VAraNAsi.

• Called pancha lingasthalam, the Shiva temple here has a presiding form of Shiva as MahAlingesvarar plus four other forms in four corners of the temple carrying the names VisvanAthar, RShipurIsvarar, AtmanAthar and ChokkanAthar.

• The temple holds an interesting belief: that an abishekam performed to Chokkanathar here to the accompaniment of megharAga-kurinji rAgam would result in a good monsoon.

• The glory of the temple is such that other grand temples around (Tiruvalanchuzhi VinayAkar, SvAmimalai Murugan, TiruvArur SomAskandar, TiruvAvaDuturai Nandikesvarar, SIrkAzhi Bhairavar, Tiruseingnalur Chandikesvarar, the SUryanar temple, and the Alangudi DakShiNAmUrthi temple) constitute the parivAra devata shrines of this temple.

• This temple has also a Shakti shrine dedicated to MUkAmbikA and built in the North Indian style.

• As many as 35 tIrthas--sacred water bodies, are associated with this temple. Of these, the KAruNyAmRta tIrtham is the best known.

• It is believed that in order to demonstrate the Shaivite worship protocol, Shiva offered worship to Himself enshrined in this temple!

About other sthalams

• There is a hill in RamEsvaram named Gandhamadana parvatam which has a small shrine where the feet imprint of shrI RAMa are held in worship. This hill offers a magnificient view of the island.

• The marakata--emerald, lingam in the Shiva temple at TiruvIngOi malai, near KuLitTalai, TamizhnADu, emits different colors as the rays of the sun fall on it in the month of mAghaH/MAsi--Feb-Mar.

• In the temple at Tiru UsAttAnam, KovilUr near TiruvArur, TamizhnADu, the Shivalingam in the sanctum is white in color. The presiding deities are MantrapurIsvarar-PeriyanAyaki. The town is also known as MAngADu, and the VinAyakar here is known as MAngATTu VinAyakar.

• The Shivalingam in the temple at TiruvUral, TakkOlam near ArakkoNam was made by PArvatI. Shiva answered the prayers of BrahmA, ViShNu and Samvarta RShi, brother of BRhaspati. Believed to be the yAga-kuNDam of DakSha, this shrine has a Nandi which regulates the flow of a natural spring.

• The Shiva temple at EdirkoLpADi, Melait-tirumaNanjeri near MayilADu-turai, TamizhnADu has this distinction: Shiva as a bridegroom was received here by Bharata RShi, who gave his daughter PArvatI in marriage to Shiva. The vedic rituals were held at TiruveLvikkuDi nearby and the marriage was held at TirumaNanchEri.

• The Shiva temples in TamizhnADu at Erukkattampuliyur, Rajendrapattinam near Vriddachalam, Thirupperumpuliyur near TiruvaiyAru, OmAmpuliyur (South Arcot) near Chidambaram, TiruppAdirippuliyur (Cuddalore) and Perumpatrappuliyur (Chidambaram)--all these temples have this in common: VyAgrapAdar (the Rishi with tiger claws and feet) worshipped Shiva in these places (that is why the term 'puli'/tiger in their names).

Naimish-AraNya RShis lived here in the form of trees. When the locals began cutting these trees for wood, Shiva converted them to VeLLerukku (yarcum, madar) trees which are not suited for wood. SubrahmaNya recovered His lost power of speech in this temple--Erukkattam puliyur.

• The mUlavar of the Shiva temple at Tiruvotriyur, Chennai, is a Shivalingam called AdipurIsvarar, made of earth, covered with a kavacham, which is removed on the occasion of KArtigai/KArtikaH full moon. The image of TripAda TrimUrti combines the essences of Shiva, ViShNu and BrahmA.

• In the Shiva temple at OmAm-puliyUr near Chidambaram, TamizhnADu, the grand sabhA, usually occupied by NaTarAja is occupied by DakShiNAmUrti. The niche reserved for DakShiNAmUrti has a stone image of NaTarAja.

• There is no separate shrine for AmbAL in any of the Shiva temples in KAnchipuram, TamizhnADu.

• The Shiva temple at KurumANik-kuDi near MayilAdu-turai, TamizhnADu, is designed in such a way that the vimAnam and the presiding deity can be seen together from a vantage point.

Tiruk-karukAvUr near PApanAsam, TamizhnADu.

• PArvatI assisted a helpless lady who was in her motherhood, and saved her foetus. Even today, pregnant women seek the blessings of AmbAL in this temple, either in person or by mail, for a safe delivery.

• GaNapati and Nandi are also svayambhu--self-appeared, not installed, here. The shrines for Shiva, Skanda and PArvatI are in the SomAskanda formation. Shiva has a chariot-shaped shrine.

• The Navagrahas in temple at KIvalUr near NAgappaTTinam, TamizhnADu are in a single column, as in TiruvArUr. This temple is one of the MADkkOvils, located at an elevation, built by the king Ko-ChenkaNNa-Chozhan.

• Offering worship at the temple at TirukuDandai KIzhkoTTam, KumbakoNam in the morning, TirunagEsvaram at noon and Tiruppampuram in the evening on a single day is considered to be of great significance. The beautiful NaTarAjA shrine is shaped in the form of a chariot. Appar has sung many hymns on Shiva the ADal-vallAr--dance expert, of this temple.

Kurum-pala-vIsar, glorified in devAram, is the name Shiva carries in KutrAlam near Tirunelveli, TamizhnADu. The temple is one of the pancha sabhAs, the chitra sabhA. The temple prakAram is conch-shaped and is referred to as Sangak-kovil. The shrine of PArvatI here is one of the 64 shakti pIThas.

• The temple at Tiruk-kuvaLai (Tiruk-koLili) near TiruvArur, TamizhnADu is a sapta vitangka sthalas. BrahmA worshipped Shiva here before commencing his act of creation, so BhramA tapovanam for the place, and BhramapurIsvarar for the Lord are the other names. The current name of the place derives from the legend that the sins of the nine celestial bodies were forgiven here.

• Shiva as Mahabaleshvarar, is enshrined in a square sAligrama pITham. This temple at GokarNam, near Kollur, KarnATakA and four other temples Sejjeshvara, GuNavanteshvara, Murudeshvara and Dhareshvara located around GokarNam are called pancha mahA kShetras.

DakShiNAmUrti in the temple at TiruvAnchik-kaLam near KoDunggallUr, TamizhnADu, contrary to the name (of facing south), faces East.

• The Shiva temple at SuruTTapaLLi on the TamizhnADu-Andhra Pradesh border has these distinctions:

‣ Shiva blesses us here in the shayana kolam--reclining posture, placing his head on the lap of Goddess PArvatI.

• The legend refers to the churning of the milky ocean and Shiva consuming the deadly poison that appeared.

• Usually only PerumAL (ViShNu) is seen in this posture. Shiva carries the name PaLLikoNDIshvara here.

DakShiNAmUrti in this temple in his niche is seen with his consort TArA!

• Rays of the Sun illuminate the sanctum of the temple at Tiru AnniyUr, NIDUr near MayilA-dutuRai, TamizhnADu for five days of the month of Pisces (panguni/phAlguNa). This shrine is therefore referred to as a BhAskara-sthalam.

0006. vedApauruSheyava: Explaining the 'authorlessness' of the Vedas

In his essay vedApauruSheyava, Prof.D.Prahladachar, throws some new light on the concept. This article can be downloaded at: http://www.dvaita.net/pdf/papers/veda.pdf

Here is a brief paraphrase from the article:

• The theory of apauruSheyatvam of the Vedas is accepted by the mImAMsakAs, vedAntin and the followers of Shankara or Yoga.

• The theory is essentially based on the concept that shabda is of two kinds: dhvani--sound/utterance, and varNa--phoneme;

• Of the two, a shabda that is in the form of dhvani has both origination and destruction.

• However, varNa--phoneme, as the other form of shabda is eternal, and has no origin or destruction. Further, it is all-pervasive in space.

• Although the varNas are eternal and all-pervasive in space, they can be heard only when they are manifested by dhvani.

• Each varNa has a different dhavani that manifests it. When a speaker uses his faculties to produce the particular dhvani, then the corresponding varNa manifests and is grasped by a listener.

• A word or sentence is a group of varNas arranged in a specific order. For example, only when the varNa related to jakAra, akAra, lakAra, akAra and makAra are arranged in a specific order and manifest with dhvani, then the listener can grasp the word jalam.

• Now, the problem the varNa-nityatva-vAdin (vnv) faces is that he cannot arrange the varNas in an arbitrary manner. For, ordering may be of two kinds, spatial and temporal. But then varNas are all-pervasive in space and eternal in time, and so cannot have any kind of order, either in space or time.

• The problem of explaining the order and arrangement of phonemes in speech and writing is not just specific to Vedic sentences, but also occurs in the liguistic usage of everyday life.

• With reference to the sentences in our daily usage, the vnv has an answer: He readily grants that varNas being eternal and all-pervasive, cannot have any sequence. However, the cognition of a listener depends on the manifestation of the varNas with dhvani with an order associated with it.

• This order, as is evident upon reflection, belongs to the cognition and not to the varNas themselves. Thus the words in common usage are pauruSheya--products of some person, for the order of cognition depends on the will and utterance--dhvani of the speaker. The phonemes--varNa that are thus indirectly qualified with such an order are themselves treated as pauruSheya.

• For this reason, the explanation of order with our daily usuage of phonemes, is unsatisfactory in respect of Vedic sentences. If they are (made to be) dependent on the will of a speaker who utters them, then it would be pauruSheya and the concept of apauruSheya will collapse.

• The answer the apauruSheyatva-vAdin (av) has here is that he accepts the notiton of varNas being all-pervasive and eternal, do not have an order of their own.

• The av asserts that the sequence of phonemes in a laukika--worldly, sentence, did not exist prior to its creation by an author by his will.

• But in the case of a Vedic sentence such as agnimIle prohitam, it is not so.

‣ The Vedic seer who realized this sentence with the phonemes in such a sequence, did not will that such should be the sequence.

‣ In other words, he did not have any freedom to create the order of the phonemes or words, unlike, say, the poet KALidAsa.

‣ While realizing the hymn, he just followed the sequence that had existed in previous Creations also. Even in the previous Creation, the seer who had then realized the hymn with the phonemes in the same order, did not then create it-—he too just realized it without making any change in the order of the phonemes. But when he recited the hymn, since the phonemes became manifested by his eforts, to that extent it is his product and is pauruSheya only.

‣ At the same time it is apauruSheya also, in the sense that nobody ever, in the infinite, beginningless sequence of Creations until now, has had the freedom to create the sequence, other than what previously existed.

‣ Even the Brahman whose 'breathing' is described as the Vedas-—nishvasitam etad-—does not change the sequence of the Vedic phonemes. He just follows the sequence of phonemes as they were in the previous Creation, and teaches the same in the next Creation also. This, i.e., the unchanging sequencing of the phonemes of the Vedic sentences is, according to the av, the apauruSheya of the Vedas.


Given this background information, we can have new and better understanding into:

• why the order of shabdas in a veda-vAkya cannot be changed, although the very strength of SaMskRtam lies in the facility that the meaning of a sentence remains unchanged, whatever the order of its words;

• why the different pada-pAThas--recitation methods, were designed for preserving the order of phonemes in the Vedas and how the oral tradition has been successful in doing it over thousands of years;

• the association of our breathing and prANa with words spoken, heard and thought of. KAnchi ParamAchArya explains it thus:

Breath is vital not only to the body but also to the mind. The mind which is the source of thought and the vital (prANik) energy that is the source of breath are the same. Healthy or unhealthy thoughts are to be attributed to different vibrations of the nADis. You may test this for youself. See for yourself how you breathe when you are at peace before the sanctum of a deity or in the presence of a great and wise person and how you breathe when your mind is quickened by desire or anger. The happiness you experience when you take part in something divine, like a bhajan or a temple festival, must be different from the pleasure that sensual gratification gives you: the vibrations of the nADis concerned will also be correspondingly different.

When you experience joy of an elevated kind the passage of breath will be through the right nostril, but when you are enjoying sensual pleasure it will be through the left. When you meditate, with increasing concentration, on the Reality Serene which is the source of all your urges and feelings, the breath will pass through both nostrils slowly, evenly and rhythmically. When you are absorbed in the object of your meditation breathing itself will cease, but there will still be life. The great awareness called jnana will then be in bloom as it were.

The inert body of a man and the awareness that is the vital essence of his life are both dependent on the course of his breathing. They grow or decay according to it. The course of a man's breath keeps his inner vibrations in order.

• how the unmanifest veda varNas is like Brahman's 'breathing'

• how the association of dhvani and varNas in Hindu music gives its soothing and healing effects.

There could be many more such facets to our better understanding...

0007. piLLaiyAr chuzhi--the GaNesha curl

It is a custom of Tamizh Hindus (followed to this day by the old and traditionals) to start writing anything on paper with pillaiyAr chuzhi--mark of honour, rememberance of submission of the deity GaNesha, who is the form of praNava.

• Although in practice, it is a mark to check if the stylus of the pen or pencil is writing properly, Tamizh Hindus would let that mark be related to GaNesha, the remover of obstacles.

• Until a few decades back, school children regularly started a new chapter in their notebooks, assignments, and even the test or examination answer paper with piLLaiyAr chuzhi.

• The symbol is still used today in the Hindu wedding invitations, wedding engagement papers, and invitations relating to house warming ceremony, starting a new business etc. Many Hindu women inscribe it as part of their kolam in the puja room.

What does the piLLaiyAr chuzhi mean spiritually?

• It is the truncated form of the praNava mantra AUM which includes the three akSharas--akaram, ukaram, makaram--Sanskrit 'a','u','m'. Let us remember that AUM is the nAda brahmam--first manifestation of Brahman as sound, before its manifestation as saguNa brahmam--Brahman with attributes and form, and GaNesha is praNavarUpa--in the form of AUM.

• The starting circle in piLLaiyAr chuzhi resents the shakti pITham, also known as goDa shivalinggam (the Sanskrit term goDa refers to navel).

• The horizontal line connected to the curve represents the start of the sign that branches off on the right side from the hip of the 'u' in AUM. The dot is the bindu that represents the fourth state of existence--turIya.

• The one or two horizontal lines below which the dot is place in the centre, possibly represent the upper curve in the AUM symbol.

• The pillaiyAr chuzhi typically looks like the Tamizh alphabet உ--u.

• The term chuzhi in Tamizh stands for a curve, a whirpool or eddy, and is a synonym when used with the honorific tiru as in tiruchchuzhi, which is the birthplace of BhagavAn RamaNa maharShi.

Here are the images of the piLLaiyAr chuzhi and AUM.
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0008. Greatness of the vibhUti ash

mahAdeva kAlAgni rudra teaches

bhushuNDi--earth came out of the sadyojAta face of the Lord (that represents Creation). From this came the gray colored cow called nanda, from the dung of which came vibhUti.

• From the vAmadevaface (that represents Preservation) came ApaH--water, from that came the black colored cow bhadra giving bhasita--reduced to ashes.

• From the aghora face (that represents Dissolution/Rejuvenation) came agni--fire, from that the copper colored cow surabhi giving bhasma--consuming.

• From the tatpuruSha face (that represents Concealing Grace) came vAyu--gas/air, from which came shAnti and from that came the white colored cow sushIla giving kShAra--melting away.

• From the IshAna face (that represents Revealing Grace) came AkAsha--space, from which came the multi colored cow sumanA giving rakSha--protection.

The Holy Ash which is called by these five names, when pronounced raises aishvarya--the spiritual powers of the individual and hence is called vibhUti. Since it burns pApa--the sins, to ashes it is called bhasita. Since it gives the wisdom to all it is called bhasmam. Since it neutralises the bad things it is called kShAra. Since it protects the people from evil forces, it is called rakSha.

bhasma dhAraNa vidhi: prescriptions for application

vibhUti can be worn in two ways: tripuNDrakam--in the form of three distinct bands, and uddUlanam--sprinkling on the part of the body.

Way 1
While wearing the Holy Ash, chant the Saint Appar's tirunITRup padikam* or the aghora panchAkShara mantra which is shivAya namaH.

Way 2
With clean hands take the Holy Ash chanting the sadyojAdAdi mantras and the mA no mahantam mantra from shrI rudram.

Way 3
• When perform a shiva pUja, first take the dry Holy Ash and sprinkle it over head, forehead, chest and two shoulders.

• Then take the Holy Ash using the right hand index, middle and ring fingers, keep it on the left hand, close it with the right hand and chant these mantras:

panchakAla mantra
AUM nivRtti kAlAyai namaH
AUM pratiShTA kAlAyai namaH
AUM vidyA kAlAyai namaH
AUM shAnti kAlAyai namaH
AUM shAntyatIta kAlAyai namaH

panchabrahma mantra
AUM IshAnAya namaH
AUM tatpuruShAya namaH
AUM aghorAya namaH
AUM vAmadevAya namaH
AUM sadyojAtdAya namaH

ShaDhangga mantra
AUM hRudayAya namaH
AUM shirase namaH
AUM shikhAyai namaH
AUM kavachAya namaH
AUM netrAya namaH
AUM astrAya namaH

Once again say hRudayAya namaH and add water to the ash (on the left hand). Say kavachAya namaH and mix it. Chant the first four of the above panchabrahma mantra and apply with the three fingers of the right hand mentioned above on the first four places of the body. Tilt your face up so the ash does not fall to the ground. If it does by mistake, clean that area with water.

skandha purANam says that the Holy Ash would have to be worn at the following fifteen places in the body: shiras--head, laka--forehead, kaNTha--neck, vakSha--chest, both sides of the kukShi--belly, bAhu--arms, maNibandha--wrists, two sides of the pRShTha bhAga--back, and behind the kaNTha--neck.

The foregoing rules are for the males. Women generally wear vibhUti as a light, small smear on their forehead, in addition to their bindi.

Note: tirunITRup padikam
What is the sigficance of applying Vibhoothi(Thiruneeru) by Saivaites and Thirumann by Vaishvanaites ? - Yahoo! Answers India
Prayer Medicine for colic/ stomach pain - thirunIRRup padhikam

Some interesting links:
Mystic Mantra - Vibhuti

0009. parihAraka shlokas and mantras
001. For your children to study well

Praying to God HayagrIva will help. Read the following shloka at home daily in the morning and evening:

ज्ञानानन्दम् मयं देवं निर्मलस्फटिकाकृतिम् ।
आधारं सर्व विद्यानां हयग्रीवम् उमास्महे ॥

j~jAnAnandam mayaM devaM nirmala-sphaTikA-kRutim |
AdhAraM sarva vidyAnAM hayagrIvam umAsmahe ||
--svAmi deshika, hayagrIva stotram, 1

"One who is filled with knowledge and bliss, has a body as radiant and blemishless as a crystal | and who is the support of all branches of learning--that HayagrIva, I worship."

In addition, on Wednesdays (the day meant for education), light a ghee lamp in the HayagrIvar sannidhi in a PerumAL temple.

• Set in the Vedic anuShTubh metre, this is the dhyAna shlokam--verse for meditation on BhagavAn HayagrIva, specially in the mAdhva sampradAya--dvaita tradition of shrI MADhvAchArya.

• A great hyagrIva upAsaka, named VAdirAja tIrtha of Udipi shrIKRShNa maTham, who came in the mAdhva sampradAya, used to meditate on HayagrIva daily using this shloka, holding cooked horsegram on his head. In appreciation of his sincere meditation, BhagavAn HyagrIva came as a White Horse and partook the naivedyam noisily. Legend has it that this happened daily in Udipi, when VAdirAja tIrtha involved BhagavAn HayagrIva in his ArAdhanam--worship.

More information in the E-book on hayagrIva stotram by shrI VaradAchAi SaTakopan:


002. You have frequent setbacks in health?

The parihAra deyvam--God of mitigation for those who have frequent setbacks in health is SUrya Devata. It is distinguished to pray to him on Sundays.

• He will be having a sannidhi on the right side in a Shiva temple. He is also seen among the Navagrahas. He can be worshipped adorning his image with a red lotus flower.

• A simple parihAra is to keep reciting the following shlokam after taking bath and facing east in the mornings.

जपाकुसमसंकाशं काश्यपेयं महाद्युतिम् ।
तमोरिं सर्वपापघ्नं प्रणतोऽस्मि दिवाकरम् ॥

japAkusamasaMkAshaM kAshyapeyaM mahAdyutim |
tamoriM sarvapApaghnaM praNato&smi divAkaram ||
--navagRha stotram, 1

"One that appears like the japa--Chinese rose, flower, has the name KAshyapa among the twelve Adityas, appears in great splendour, | enemy of darkness, destroyer of all sins--I prostrate to that DayMaker."

Source: Dinamalar Anmika malar, Oct 8, 2011 issue.

0010. Hindu daivatam: relating to Hindu Gods

• The term durga means 'impassable, citadel stronghold'. Therefore, durgA devI is an inaccessible or terrific goddess in her own form.

• However, chanting her name durgA gives mana-dhairyam--mental firmness/courage and removes problems from our enemies. The durgA sUktam of the mahA-nArAyaNa upaniShad exhorts us to seek her refuge: durgA devI-gum sharaNam prapadye.

• In a shivAlaya prakAram--courtyard of a Shiva temple, durgA devI will be a parivAra devata--deity in retinue. The aitihyam--tradition is that she is facing KailAsha, so her image will be set facing the north.

• Although she is more worshipped as shiva-durgA, she is viShNu-durgA too, also known as nArAyaNI. In this form she is regarded as a sister of KRiShNa, born immediately before him: the female child known as yoga-mAyA who flew off Kamsa's hand when this king tried to kill the child, and warned him that KRShNa was already born on the earth and will kill him in the near future.

• Like mahA-viShNu, viShNu-durgA is dark in complexion, four-armed, carrying the shangkha--conch and the sudarshana-chakra--disc in her upper hands, her lower right hand showing the abhaya mudrA--sign of protection, and her lower left hand placed on her thigh.

• She is always depicted in saumya vadana--with a pleasant face, in peaceful form. Sometimes she is depicted as standing on the head of the buffalo--mahiSha killed by durgA.

• The famous Tamizh Sangham classic sillappadhikAram authored by ILango-aDigaL, hails her as koTRavai--mother of victory, and speaks about her worship, describing her having a golden plait, with the tusk of a boar on her head, her lips resembling the color of a coral stone, her neck blue from drinking poison, she wears a tiger tooth for a dollar, with a tiger cloth as her apparel, and carrying in her hands a trishUla--trident, bow, sword, shangkha, chakra and a lotus flower. The mahiShAsura lies at her feet. The lion and the spotted deer are her vAhana[/b]s--carriers, and she carries the flag of a lion. Thus the Tamizh SanghakAla deity durgA is a combined form of the shiva and viShNu aMshas--parts.

• AUM, the praNava mantra is considered to be the nAda-brahmam, Brahman as the primordial sound that drives the universe, and the first manifestation of Brahman. The akShara--syllable AUM comprises three letters A,U,M in Sanskrit. The wise say that the roar of the ocean and the sound of the conch are praNava mantra.

• The name umA of PArvatI devI, consort of Shiva, is considered to be shakti-praNavam, as this name contains the three letters A,U,M. The mUla-mantra for ParvatI devI is AUM umA devyai namaH. Devotees chanting this mantra during the days of the navarAtri would get the blessings of DevI to accomplish hard tasks they desire.

ShaktI devI is worshipped in her forms of brAhmI, maheshvarI, kaumArI, mahAlakShmI, vaiShNavI, indrANI, narasiMhI, chAmuNDI and sarasvatI on the nine days of the navarAtri festival. Thus the Goddesses who bestow valour, wealth and wisdom are worshipped on those nine days, cultiminating on the day of vijaya dashamI, when DurgA devI killed MahiShAsura.

Dinamalar Anmika malar, Oct 1, 2011 issue.


0011. Did you know?

0001. sUrya with his seven horses have this name.
0002. guhAchalam is the name of this abode of God Murugan, which is one of his six abodes.
0003. The name given to VishvAmitra maharShi when he was born.
0004. The shiva sthalam--sacred place for Shiva, where the Tamizh Sangham poet NakkIrar attained mukti--liberation.
0005. The kALI mAtA whose glories were sung by the poet BhArati, is located at this place.
0006. These two city names in India that are derived from the asuras killed by shaktI devI.
0007. This river in KailAsh considered to be the aMsham--part/feature, of Goddess AmbikA.
0008. Goddess AmbikA in TamizhnADu worshipped by king kShatrapati ShivAji.
0009. The sthalam--sacred place, in TamizhnADu, where Goddess AmbikA grants both the stages of householder and ascetic.
0010. The sthalam where the three goddesses SarasvatI, LakShmI and KALI are the mUlavat--root deities.

1. saptAshvaH--kAshi kANDam, skanda purANam 2. SvAmimalai 3. Kaushika
4. KALahasti 5. Ujjayani (MP) 6. MysUru--from MahiShAsura, KolApUr--from KolhAsura.
7. Lake MAnasarover 8. Chennai KALikAmbikA 9. TiruvArUr (as NIlotpalAmbAL, KamalAmbAL)
10. KolAppUr (MahArAShtra)

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