6 December 2008

Deepam Festival

Greatness of Deepam Festival

Sage Gowthama said: “I shall describe to you the glory of that which liberates people from all sins and bestows all prosperity. In the mount of Karthika, on the day of the star Krittika during pradosha (i.e. thirteenth day country from the new moon/full moon) the fortunate ones who perform giripradakshina are not born again. All karmas are destroyed on performance of giripradakshina. ‘It is customary to circumambulate the Hill for a Mandela or forty days. One who is not able to do this may perform giripradakshina at least for eleven days. If even this is not possible, then one should go round the Hill on the day of Deepam. This is equivalent to performing crores of Yagnas. (one crore 10 million). He who worships the Deepam lit atop the Hill derives countless blessings. A person residing elsewhere may light lamps in front of any shrine of Siva, atop His temple towers or on the peaks of other hills and he will be blessed. Whatever may be the attitude of the devotee, the mere lighting of the lamp on this day with any type of oil available confers great merit on him.

He who has darshan of this light on Arunachala Hill acquires the merit of having performed great charity and of having bathed in the sacred rivers. Who can express in words the benefits enjoyed by the one who has darshan of the peak of Arunachala with the beacon light glowing?’

The Glory of Arunachala
[Skanda Upapuranam]

Deepam Festival – Another Legend:

Long ago, King Vajresan of Panchala who was childless, was blessed with a son after having darshan of the Arunachala Deepam in the month of Kartika. The son was named Shatrujith. The prince grew up to be lecherous man. He once eloped with the wife of a Vedic scholar and came to Tiruvannamalai and entered the Temple of Arunachaleswarar.

It was the day of the festival of the beacon. The paramour made a wick out of her sari and lit the lamp with castor oil. At that moment the Vedic scholar came there and in a fit of rage stabbed his wife and the prince. And in turn the prince killed him.

Since it was a gruesome murder committed in the sacred precincts of the Temple the three were about to be taken to hell by the messengers of Yama, lord of death. At that moment the messengers of Siva intervened and claimed the prince and the woman as their own and took them to the abode of Siva. Their blasphemous acts were condoned by Arunachala Himself because the wife made a wick and the prince helped her to light the lamp for the Supreme Lord.

But the Vedic scholar was puzzled, as he was held by the messengers of Yama. The prince, moved by the plight of the Vedic scholar, ordered the vessel used for lighting the Karthika lamp to release the scholar. Immediately the Vedic scholar was liberated. Thus all the three, despite their misdeeds, were taken to the abode of Siva, as the merit gained by the simple act of lighting a lamp on Kartika day in his Temple outweighed their devilish acts.

The Glory of Arunachala
[Skanda Upapuranam]

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