Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tiruthani Murugan

Thiruthani Murugan Temple

Murugan worship is very popular with Tamil speaking people and especially in Nattukottai chettiyar and Thirunelvelli Pillaimar community. They commence anything with prayers to Lord Muruga. People in Nattukottai nagarathar community prefer to have Lord Muruga's and his consorts Valli and Theivanai's names as the names of their children. My life partners name is Valli.

Today we are visitingTiruthani Murugan temple, a famous Hindu temple, in South India on the way to Thirupathy from Chennai. It is one of the Arupadaiveedu, the six holy abodes of Lord Muruga.

The other five are;
Palani ,
Swamimalai ,
Tirupparangunram ,
Pazhamudircholai and
Thiruchendur .

Murugan with Consorts Valli and Theivanai

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Murugan married Valli, the daughter of a hunting tribe chieftain, here. The origins of this temple, like most Hindu temples, are buried in antiquity. This temple has been mentioned in the Sangam period work Tirumurugaatruppadai composed by Nakkeerar.

Murugan tricking Valli by posing as an old man, along with Ganesha posing as an elephant.
Image taken from the temple paintings drawn centuries ago.


Indra the king of the Gods gave his daughter Deivayanai in marriage to Lord Murugan, and along with her presented his elephant Airavatam as part of his dowry offering. Upon Airavatam's departure Indra found his wealth waning. Muruga is said to have offered to return the white elephant, however Indra bound by protocol refused to accept a gift that he had made, and insisted that the elephant face his direction, hence the image of the elephant in this temple also faces the east.

Peacocks mount of Muruga grassing with Cocks

Lord murugan fiercely fought with Surapadma at Tiruchendur and won the battle. He gave moksha to the Asuras Surapadma and Tharakasura. They were made as his mount peacock and as Cock picture in his flag.

He reached Tiruttani Hill to reduce his anger, that is why Tiruttani is called as Thanigai malai. Tiruttani is also known by many other names. That is Purnagiri, Kshanikachalam, Mooladri, Neelotpala.

As its very name indicates, when we propitiate our Lord in this holy shrine, He blesses us with mental peace and bodily happiness. His righteous indignation towards the asuras for their cruelty is said to have been quelled and cooled at this place which is, therefore, known as Shantipuri (Abode of Peace).

Another legend has it that Indra presented a sandal stone to Murugan as a part of his daughter Theivayani's dowry. The sandal paste made on this stone is applied to the image of Muruga and the applied paste is said to acquire medicinal value.

Legend also has it that Muruga bore the discus thrown by the demon Tarakasuran on his chest, and hence there is a hollow in the chest region of the image of Murugan in this temple. Legend also has it that Muruga gifted the discus to Vishnu. Murugan is also believed to have imparted knowledge of Tamil to the sage Agasthyar and he is regarded as Veeramurthy, Gnanamurthy and Acharyamurthy in this shrine.

Sage Agasthyar Muni (of Potikai Hill) worshiped Lord Muruga at Tanikai when he was blessed with the divine gift of the Tamil language.

In Dwapara Yuga, Arjuna got the blessings of Murugan here by offering prayers to Him on his way to the South for Teertha Yatra (pilgrimage to take sacred immersion). Lord Vishnu prayed to the Lord and got back His powerful Chakra (sacred wheel), Shanku (sacred conch), which were forcibly seized from Him by Tarakasura, brother of Soorapadma.

Lord Rama, after putting an end to Ravana, worshiped Lord Siva at Rameswaram and then came to Tiruttani to find perfect peace of mind by worshiping Lord Subrahmanya here.

Lord Brahma propitiated the Lord here at the holy spring known as Brahmasonai after his imprisonment by our Lord for his failure to explain the Pranava ('Om' mantra) and got back his creative function of which he was deprived by our Lord due to his egotistic impudence in neglecting to worship Lord Subrahmanya on his way to Mount Kailasa to worship Lord Siva.

On worshipping our Lord at Thanikai, the king of snakes Vasuki got his bodily wounds healed, which had been caused during the churning process in the Milky Ocean to secure the Amrita (nectar of immortality) by the devas and asuras when the Mantotra Mountain was used as the churning base and the snake king Vasuki as the rope.

Apart from its puranic greatness, Saint Arunagirinathar has praised this hill as the chosen place for worship by devas and the favorite abode of saints performing prolonged tapas. He also compared this hill to Sivaloka (Bhuloka) and as the very soul of the world. Sri Muttuswami Deekshitar, who lived 200 years ago (one of the trinity of Karnatic music) had his inspiration in Tiruttani when the Lord (in the guise of an old man) met him on the steps and sweetened his tongue with the prasadam of this temple, which impelled him to sing his first song on Lord Murugan of Tanikai.

Murugan In Thiruthani

When our Lord came to this hill after wedding Goddess Valli at Vallimalai, She implored Him to enlighten Her on the importance and greatness of this hill. In reply, our Lord said that if one worshipped Him with heart and soul for five consecutive days in this hill temple, that person would be blessed with all that is best in this life and hereafter.

Lord Indra planted and reared in the pool known as Indrasonai adjoining this hill temple the rare plant known as Karunkuvalai, which gave three flowers a day and worshiped our Lord thrice daily with these flowers and , thus, got back the precious wealth of Deva Loka such as Sanghaneeti, Padmaneeti, Chintamani, etc seized by the asura titan.

Nanda Devi worshiped our Lord here on the bank of the Nandi River and got His peerless initiation to realize the unique relationship between the soul (jeevatma) and God (Paramatma), which is the quintessence of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, the choicest product of the Dravidian intellect according the pioneering dravidologist Dr. G.V. Pope.

Muruga taken in a specially made boat (Thepam) in the Sacred Tank

The sacred tanks of the shrines of Murugan are all known as Saravanapoikai ('sacred pond of the reedy marsh' where Lord Karttikeya was born). The tank at Tiruttani, which (unlike in other places) is at the very foot of the hill, is particularly renowned for its sacred water (teertham) having curative effect for ailments both bodily and mental, as it is rich in minerals such as sulfur, iron, etc. A bath in this holy tank refreshes the devotee and makes him hale and healthy to propitiate our Lord with faith and devotion.

We also got a dip in the Saravanpoikai with devotion. We got our wet cloths dried in near by Nattukottai Nagarathar Chattiram and climbed the hill to have darshan of Lord Muruga.
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