10 July 2017

Varuna Japam at Arunachaleswarar Temple: Sunday 9 July, 2017

Varuna japam and yagam was performed on Sunday 9 July, 2017 at Arunachaleswarar Temple. The rendition of Varuna Japa whilst immersed in the Arunachaleswarar tank, is a ritual meant to propitiate the rain god (Varuna) to bestow copious rain and banish famine, is also aimed at appeasing the Almighty to ensure common good and world peace.

Priests at Arunachaleswarar Temple Theertham

Varuna Japam in Temple Tank

Varuna Japa comprises many rituals. Some scholars stand for hours in chest deep water in a Temple tank whilst chanting the Varuna mantra or other mantras. Some perform abhisheka to the Lord's processional deities, others conduct homam to propitiate the rain Gods, do japa or recite the Vedas and sanstras.

God Varuna

Varuna in the Vedas is a powerful God. He is the guardian of cosmic order (rta=rhythm=ruth=truth) and in charge of the oceans, water sources and rains. He is worshipped by seagoing people and fishermen. His vahana (vehicle) is shark fish or crocodile. Tamils have always believed in his control over rains and worshipped him for rains. In this respect one of the oldest Tamil book “Tolkappiam” says he is the God of littoral areas/Neithal.

Lord Varuna on Crocodile Vahana

On another level Varuna is in charge of the West direction, (Lord Indra controls the East). Mitra and Varuna are paired in Vedic hymns which to the belief of interpreting them as Day and Night, Sun and Moon, Light and Dark, and Positive and Negative energy. The Tamil saint Agastya (who made a grammar of the Tamil Language) is considered to be the son of Varuna and Urvasi.

In Valluvar’s Tirukkural, it is said:

Couplet 18 "If rains fail, festivals of the year and the daily worship of the gods will cease".

Couplet 19 "Charity and devotional practices will not be observed in the world unless rain falls."

[Extract from article by London Swaminathan] Below is an audio of the proper chanting of Varuna Japam 

Amurya upa surye 
Yabhirva surya saha 
Ta no hinvantvadhvaram 

Apo devirupa hvaye 
Yatra ghava pibanti na 
Sindubhya kartva havi 

"May waters gathered near the Sun, and those wherewith the Sun is joined, speed forth this sacrifice of ours. I call the Waters, Goddesses, wherein our cattle quench their thirst; oblations to the Streams to be given". 

Tat tva yami brahmaa 
Vandamanastada saste 
Yajamano havirbhi 

Ahe amano varueha 
Bodhyurusasa ma na 
Ayupra moi 

"I ask this of thee with my prayer adoring; thy worshipper craves this with his oblation. Varuna, stay thou here and be not angry; steal not our life from us, O thou world-ruler". 

Varuna Lingam one of the Arunachala Asta Lingams 

Arunachala is surrounded by eight lingams (Asta Lingams) each residing in one of the eight directions of the four cardinal points (South – Yama, West – Varuna, North – Kubera, and East – Indra) and four intercardinal points (South East – Agni, South West – Niruthi, North West – Vayu and North East – Esanaya). 

The arrangement of the Asta Lingams around the octagonal perimeter of Arunachala reflect the geometry of a Cosmogram. The octagonal shape is surrounded by a total of eight Lingam Temples (Asta Lingams). Each of these Temples are located at the four cardinal and four inter-cardinal points. This was also believed by the ancients who originally constructed the Lingams at their eight cardinal and inter-cardinal points to represent, characterise and vitalise certain aspects and qualities of life in relation to specific fields of energy and influence. 

Varuna Lingam has the West as its directions. This lingam is situated on the outer girivalam pathway about one kilometre before the village of Adi Annamalai. 

Lord Varuna Lingam

Varuna’s vehicle is Makara (that lives both on land and water) which is an animal with the head and front legs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish. 

This Lingam has Lord Shani as its dominant Navagraha. Varuna Theertham, a holy tank, is located here. Devotees are protected from illness, particularly water related diseases. 

Legend has it that the eye of Varuna is Surya and when Surya appears in the constellation of Makara, its a special event and honoured as Makara Sankarathi. This day falls each year in mid-January and is celebrated as Pongal Festival in Tamil country. 

Varuna is the king of appreciation and enjoyment. He governs the whole world. He is the God of rain and God of all the waters in the three worlds. He surveys the deeds of man according to his karma and keeps them under his control. Placating Varuna is believed to wash away accumulated sins. 

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