27 November 2017

2017 Arunachala Karthigai Festival: Day 4. Night—Kalpavriksha and Kamadhenu Vahanas

One of the most popular processions during the Arunachala Deepam Festival, is that of Kalpavriksha (also known as Karpavirutcham), the wish-fulfilling tree and Kamadhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow. Both of which emphasis the wish-fulfilling aspect of Arunachala.

The Kalpavriksha is a mythological Divine tree said to fulfill all desires. Its mythology narrates that the wish-fulfilling tree originates from the churning of the ocean of milk after which the god Indra, returned with the tree to his paradise. During the Deepam Festival on the Fourth Night the Lord is seated under the Kalpavriksha Tree.

The second major Radham appearing on that night is that of Kamadhenu (literally meaning; the cow; "from whom all that is desired is drawn", or “the divine cow providing for all needs”). The Kamadhenu is a divine cow-goddess described in mythology as the mother of all cows who provides the owner with whatever is desired.

It is often the wish fulfilling aspect of Girivalam that brings many pilgrims each Poornima (Full Moon) to the Hill, whatever the difficulty or weather, to perform girivalam. In fact many pilgrims prefer it when the conditions are extreme (cold, heavy sheeting rain, previous tapas such as fasting and mortification etc) as they believe that the greater the difficulties they overcome in performing girivalam, the greater will be the focus of their sankalpa (intention) and success of their wish.

The now deceased Annamalai Swami explains the power of the Hill as thus:-

“. . . It is not an ordinary hill. It is spirituality Itself. It has a powerful, magnetic pull to the Self. Seekers who come to this place with the intention of realizing the Self will have untold benefits to do pradakshina on a full moon.

In the proximity of this holy hill the presence of the Self is more powerful and more self-evident than anywhere else. Indian mythology speaks of a wish-fulfilling tree. If you find this tree and tell it what you want, your wish will be granted.

Arunachala also has this reputation. This is why so many people come here on a full moon night and walk around it. But very few people come here and ask for their complete freedom, for undisturbed peace.

Arunachala is a light. It shines. It is the light of the Self, and the light of the Self will continue to shine on you whether you believe it or not. Arunachala is greater than all other religious places. There are other holy, powerful places in the world, but none have the power of Arunachala . . . There is a huge amount of shakti, or spiritual energy, here.”

Aarti to the Panchamoorthies' Alangarams

The Lord being prepared on his Vahana inside the Alankaram Mandapam (outside Raja Gopuram)

Frenetic activity preparing all of the panchamoorthies outside the Alankaram Mandapam

Kalpavriksha: The Wish Fulfilling Tree

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