29 November 2014

2014 Deepam Festival. Day Three—Night: Shima Vahanam

During Festivals the Deities are taken in procession around the Temple. Sometimes, the deity is shown mounted on or riding their vehicle, while at other times, the vahana is shown by the Deity’s side. Many times, this vahana (vehicle) is also represented by way of symbolisms, as a divine attribute. Though the vahana appears to be independent, it is part and parcel of the deity’s presence and has an meaning to it. 

In the case of the Lord on the Simha (lion) vehicle; the creature represents lordly power in general and lordly power of wild beasts in particular. Lion, the royal beast represents the best in animal creation. It can also represent greed for food and hence the greed for other objects of enjoyment, which invariably leads to lust. And as God’s vehicle represents His control of animal instincts in human beings 

The golden skinned lion is an archetypal symbol for the golden rayed sun, the lord of the day, whose appearance kills the demonic forces of the night. The lion has always been important in mythology in India as it symbolises the solar and luminous principle of life and knowledge. 

The lion also expresses the heroism and prowess necessary to defeat asurik forces and represents the heroism and strength required to enter the spiritual path. 

Alagarams left to right: Karthikeya, Shiva, Goddess

Lord Arunachaleswarar on Simha Vahana

Simha Vahana

Panchamoorthies outside Arunachaleswarar Temple

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