17 January 2016

Thiruvoodal Festival -- Pongal 2016

I have gone into greater detail of this Festival on my website Arunachala Samudra at the link dedicated to the Thiruvoodal Festival. Please also visit an earlier posting on this “Divine Quarrel” on Arunachala Grace at this link here


The Thiruvoodal Festival is celebrated in the month of Thai during Pongal. Legend has it that the Lord in answer to a promise given to Parvati appears during Uttarayana to dance on one foot. He says; ‘On Uttarayana holy day, I will do the dance when the sun rises.’ 

The word 'Thiru' signifies; deity, sacred, holy and wealth and the word 'Voodal' actually means 'tiff' or 'petty quarrel', and represents the friction between the male and female in a love relationship which is consciously exacerbated. The distinguishing mark of Voodal is that it should arise and stay only for a brief period and not be prolonged as its focus is the bliss when the Voodal is withdrawn. 

The drama re-enacted on Tiruvannamalai Streets

The actual staging of the Divine Quarrel is re-enacted on the streets, with one of the madaveedhi streets actually named Thiruvoodal Street in celebration of this Divine Drama.

The Gods of the Quarrel

After their quarrel, Lord Shiva performs girivalam and gives his blessings to devotees during his circumambulation of the Hill.

When Lord Shiva completes his pradakshina he returns to Arunachaleswarar Temple early the next morning. He wishes to have reunion with his consort. This part of the Festival is known as Maruvoodal. The point of the Maruvoodal myth is to show the world that even a Celestial Couple has differences between them. But in the end there should only be reunion, even at the cost of a loss in finances which is represented by the loss of the jewels the night previously. 

Returning to the Temple

Returning to his residence, Shiva knocks at the door but it has been bolted by Parvati. Lord Shiva asks, 

 ‘Oh my darling why have you locked the door?’ 

Outside the Siva Sannidhi

‘Sir after we came to an understanding still you went without me. And see now look you have lost everything there is no ornament or clothes. Not, only that but you went and gave darshan to all kinds of people. So, I am now requesting you must establish your manliness to me and retrieve everything that is lost and give the special one-legged dance.’ 

Shiva starts the dance, Parvati forgets everything and opens the door. 

Their reunion is complete.

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