8 October 2011

Navaratri 2011 - Pictorial Archive

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Below is the completion of Arunachala Grace's Navaratri 2011 pictorial archive. The first three photographs are of the Goddess in her most auspicious aspect.

Sri Lakshmi,
Kamakshi Amman Temple

Goddess Saraswati, Kalyana Mandapam,
Arunachaleswarar Temple

Goddess on Kamadhenu (wish fulfilling cow),
Kamakshi Amman Temple

The next three photographs are of the Goddess Parvati during the 2011 Navaratri Festival at three separate Arunachala Temples, which depict the legend of the Goddess worshipping the Shiva Lingam.

The story goes like this:

On the Blind-Folding of the Lord:

The Lord and his Consort:

“ . . . would have tiffs, then make up; garland each other, listen to their praises sung by the Rishis, play on the Veena; dally in spirited sport or pass time in games, winning and losing them to one another. On one such occasion Parvati asked her Lord, “Won’t you tell me what the Moon and Sun are?” He replied, “Dear lass of lush Lips! The two lights are but my Eyes!” Thinking that he was teasing her, the mother of Kartikeya went behind him and, without any warning, closed his Eyes.

The momentary closure meant aeons of darkness for the gods. All of embodied life behaved as if born blind. Aye! Order and organisation broke down in the absence of the Eye-energy. In what was a trice for him, the Lord opened the Third Eye on his uncovered fore-head. The Destroyer had turned Life-giver! As Gauri drew her hands back, the three Eyes shone like the three Vedic fires (dakshina, garhapatya and ahavaneya) powering the ‘unplanned’ power-cut.

When Parvati begged for forgiveness Siva replied, “You are ever taintless and beyond Karma. However, if you desire to set an example of purification, go to Kanchi which is greater than Kasi, Avanti, Dwaraka and Mathura.” Narrations of the holy Mother’s Tapas at various places are scattered through the Puranas. Was the Lord now advising her of the superiority of Kanchi over those places of her earlier visits?

What follows is well known. From Kasi, Parvati reaches Kanchi; makes a sand-Linga by the Kampa River and worships it day and night. The Lord wills a flood in order to test her devotion. She embraces the Linga in protection unmindful of her own fate in the spate. Pleased, the Lord appears before her, “with his shoulders bearing the marks of the Pandya king’s cane*, his feet the marks of crowns of countless gods, his chest, embraced recently, bearing the mark and sandal-scent of Parvati’s breasts and bangles”!

Goddess with Linga,
Durga Amman Temple

She requests for the ultimate boon of Idappaham, of being his left Half. The ultimate asking; the adviteya. The Ultimate, giving, said, “purified in Kanchi, proceed now southward to holy Tiruvannamalai. Resident as the primal Linga contracted to a Hill; there I shall grant this boon!” Parvati, wise after the event, said, “Following your advice I came to Kanchi ‘superior to Kasi’. And now you mention Arunachala! Please let me know right away if more places exist!” The Lord gave her his word that the Tejolinga (Arunachala) is the Terminus.

Enroute to Arunachala from Kanchi, Parvati encamped for the night at Seyar, the Son’s River. It was here that Lord Subrahmania got a hut made of plantain trees for Her rest and the following morning enabled with a thundering arrow, a river of pure water to flow for Her ablutions.

Passing then through paddy fields Parvati reached Tiruvannamalai. After obeisance to the Lord at the Temple to the east, she began to look for a spot to purse Tapas. At the nearby Pavazhu Kunru, Coral hillock, a spur of Arunachala Hill, she met the Rishis assembled at the Sage Gautama’s Ashrama who sang the praise of Mother Parvati

Goddess with Linga,
Adi Kamakshi Temple

“Bringing forth the Eternal Siva from within you, you appear then within Him as the animating Sakti! With this, They mysterious nature (of Siva-within-Sakti-within-Siva), you procreate your multiple jivas. Is there anyone capable of finding out your nature which for ever remains non-dual!”

“If the Supreme Reality of Siva becomes Maheswara, Rudra, Brahma and Vishnu you become simultaneously the Saktis known as Maheswari, Rudri, Saraswati and Lakshmi. Other than these should He assume any ‘other’. You become correspondingly. Is there anyone capable of knowing you!”

Goddess with Lingam,
Kalyana Mandapam, Arunachaleswarar Temple

. . . . . . . . . . “This Abode, the primal One, is known as the Abode Supreme and is sacred par excellence. One good deed done here multiplies manifold of itself. Therefore do Thou conduct ardent penance here. They Lord will then surely come on His bull-mount and reabsorb you as His left Half.”

“(O Mother) even Vishnu, Brahma, the Vasus, Indra, and a host of Munis had in days gone by, made their dwelling here and completed the penance of solitude. The place is right and the time auspicious. Thy penance is thus assured of success.””

* Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam.

[Extract from Sri Arunachala Purana Vignettes
By J. Jayaraman]

The last two photographs are of the final day of the 2011 Navaratri Festival, Vijayadashami, as celebrated in the Kalyana Mandapam of the Arunachaleswarar Temple.

Aarti of Goddess Durga Victory, Kalyana Mandapam,
Arunachaleswarar Temple

Victory of Good over Evil,
Killing of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga

To read the story of the Goddess Durga's victory of good over evil as symbolised in the slaying of the demon Mahishasura, go to this earlier link here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely photographs. Thank you.