9 February 2016

Mahabhishekam Arunachaleswarar Temple: Mahodhaya Maha Punniya Kalam 2016

As readers will probably already have heard, tragedy sadly occurred at the Ayyankulam Tank, Tiruvannamalai, on the morning of February 8 during part of the Mahadhaya Maha Punniya Kalam 2016 ceremonies. Four people drowned in the Ayyankulam Tank and a number of others were injured when a stampede broke out as hundreds of devotees jostled to bathe in the Theertham on the auspicious occasion of Mahodaya Amavasya. 

‘Mahodhaya Punniya Kaalam’ is when the below attributes align together in a single day, an event which occurs only about once every 30 years. 

Thithi: Amavasya 
Nakshathiram: Thiruvonam 
Yogam: Vyathi Patham 
Month: Thai 
Vaaram: Soma (Monday) 

Due to the sad circumstances of the tragic accident, I was uncertain whether or not to post any additional information about the Festival. However this afternoon I received information from someone connected with the Big Temple who was at yesterday's function at the Ayyankulam Theertham. 

In his words: -

"We don't feel sad because it was very peaceful and we didn't even know till after the function what had happened. One victim was a Temple Gurukkal and the other three were devotees who have done excellent service over the years to the Temple Gods. It was such a big, important day and what happened was like God just silently taking them home." 

As a result of our converation, I feel it is appropriate to make additional postings of the Festival—which I hope will make the incident seem, through Divine Grace, more celebratory than sad. 

Below is posting of the Mahabhishekam performed at the Siva Sannidhi of Arunachaleswarar Temple prior to the Theerthavari. Tomorrow I will be making a posting of the Theerthavari itself. 

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During the early morning of Mahadhaya Maha Punniya Kalam 2016, Mahabhishekam was performed at the Siva Sannidhi for Sri Arunachaleswarar Samadeha Apeethakumbachambal. 

Mahabhishekham to be performed upon Sri Arunachaleswarar Samadeha (in union with) Apeethakumbachambal

Items ready for Mahabhishekam

Large crowd attending the 1 a.m. Mahabhishekam in Big Temple

Below is a pictorial record of that puja being performed. 

The significance and representation of some of the items used in the Mahabhishekam are as follows:

Panchagavyam (mixture of milk, curd, ghee, cow’s urine and cow dung): removes all sin 
Panchamrutham (mixture of fruits): gives wealth 
Ghee: gives liberation 
Milk: for long life 
Curd: for healthy progeny 
Honey: gives harmonious voice 
Sandalpaste: for Amman’s Grace 
Sugarcane Juice: removes enmity 
Tender Coconut: enjoyment and life satisfaction 
Sanctified Water: a consecration

Mahabhishekam Begins

Lord Shiva holding deer on hand indicates He has removed tossing of the mind (i.e. a deer flits quickly from place to place)

Lord Arunachaleswarar and Sri Apeethakumbachambal

The Goddess

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