Faith

Nectar in Kumbakonam

While the Puranic name of the deity in Kumbakonam is Sarangaraja, Azhvars refer to Him fondly as Aravamudhan — the nectar that one never tires of. The deity is housed in a stone structure shaped like a chariot, drawn by elephants and horses. It has two entrances — the Southern and Northern. For six months in a year, one enters through one entrance, and for the rest of the year the other entrance is used. Surya was the recipient of the Lord’s anugraha in this kshetra, and hence this arrangement, to mark the movements of the Sun, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse.

Aravamudhan also has three processional rathas. One of them, a huge one, is believed to have been made by Thirumangai Azhvar. Aravamudhan blessed Surya, and so for the Brahmotsavam performed by Surya, another chariot is used. There is yet another used for the Vasantotsavam. While these are the physically observable chariots, Aravamudhan has the unique distinction of having a chariot of words, composed in His praise by Thirumangai Azhvar. An entire work titled Thiruvezhukoottrirukkai of Thirumangai Azhvar is in praise of Aravamudhan. And the words in this work come together to form the image of a chariot.

Thirumangai Azhvar had a special affinity for Aravamudhan. This is the first deity to have been sung by him. In commentator Peria Vachan Pillai’s ordering of the works of Thirumangai Azhvar, Peria Thirumozhi comes first and Thiruneduntandakam is considered the last of his works. In Thiruneduntandakam, the penultimate verse is in praise of Aravamudhan. Thus, Thirumangai Azhvar, who visited many shrines and praised the deities therein, began and ended his mangalasasana with Aravamudhan.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 2:14:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/nectar-in-kumbakonam/article31273772.ece

Next Story