15 December 2014

2014 Deepam Festival. Day Nine—Morning: Chandrasekhara on Purusha Muni Vahanam

Due to a delay with photographs and to complete this full pictorial record of the 2014 Festival, I am only now posting Day Nine of the Karthigai Deepam Festival celebrated here at Tiruvannamalai. 

The morning of Day Nine of the 2014 Festival celebrates Lord Chandrasekhara on Purusha Muni Vahanam. Purusha Muni represented in the vahanam is Kapila Muni. 

Kapila Muni was an Indian sage; considered as a descendant of Manu and a grandson of Hindu god Brahma. Kapila Muni is one of the founders of Sankhya philosophy. Swami Vivekananda called Kapila Muni "the greatest psychologist of the world has ever known"and told, "there is no philosophy in the world that is not indebted to Kapila." 

A legend associated with Lord Siva and the Muni goes like this: 

King Sagara magically acquired sixty thousand sons. One day the King performed a worship for the good of his kingdom. One of the integral parts of the ritual was a horse – but the horse was stolen by God Indra. The King sent his sons to search for the horse and it was found in the underworld next to the meditating sage Kapila. Believing that the sage had stolen the horse, they hurled insults at him and caused his penance to be disturbed. The sage opened his eyes for the first time in several years, and looked at the sons of Sagara. With this glance, all sixty thousand were burnt to death. 

The souls of the sons of Sagara wandered as ghosts since their final rites had not been performed. Bhagiratha a descendant of Sagara learnt of their fate and vowed to bring Ganga down to Earth so that her waters would cleanse the souls of his ancestoris and release them to heaven. He prayed to Brahma that Ganga come down to Earth. 

Brahma agreed, and ordered Ganga to go down to the Earth and then on to the nether regions so that the souls of Bhagiratha's ancestors would be able to go to heaven. Ganga felt that this was insulting and decided to sweep the whole Earth away as she fell from the heavens. Alarmed, Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Shiva that He break up Ganga's descent. She arrogantly fell on Lord Siva's head and he trapped her in His hair and released her in small streams. The touch of the Lord further sanctified Ganga. 

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