7 December 2016

2016 Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Day 3. Night—Shima Vahana

During this 10-day Arunachala Karthigai Festival, the panchamoorthies are daily taken out in procession and circumambulation of the mada veedhis around Arunachaleswarar Temple. Sometimes, the Deity is shown mounted on or riding the vahana, while at other times, the vahana is shown by the Deity’s side. Many times, this vahana (vehicle) represents and symbolises a Divine attribute and even though the vahana appears to be independent, it is actually 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. The lion is regarded as a Royal beast and thus represents the best in animal creation. However it may also represent greed for food and hence greed for other objects of enjoyment, which invariably leads to lust. The Lord mounted on this Simha vahana represents His ascendancy and control of animal instincts manifested in the human being. 

The 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 Indian mythology as it symbolises the solar and luminous principle of life and knowledge. 

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

Panchamoorthies giving darshan in front of the Alankaram Mandapam

The Lord mounted on Shima (lion) Vahana in procession on Temple perimeter streets

The Lord mounted on His Shima Vahana on Thiruvoodal Street (one of the mada veedhi streets)

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