Thiru Adanur

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Thiru Adanur is one of the 108 Vaishnava temples situated 9 kms from Kumbakonam and 3 kms from Swamimalai.[1]

Introduction

There are 108 shrines considered as sacred to Vishnu. Thiru Adanur is one of them that is of great antiquity and is held in high veneration. Here, Vishnu reclines as Aandalakkum Aiyan. He is believed to have been worshipped by Bhargava Rishi and Adishesha.[1]

Thiru Adanur at a glance[1]
Vishnu here is referred to as Aandalakkum Aiyan
Lakshmi is referred to by the names Ranganayakiyar, Bhargavi, Kamalavasini, Sri Chakranivasini, Mantra Priteshvari
Kshetra is referred to as Bhargava Simhapuram, Sanjivapuram
Vimana is called Pranava Vimana
Pushkarini is called Surya Pushkarini, Chandra Pushkarini
Hymns by Alwars One
Location 3 kms from Swamimalai

Structure

The temple of Thiru Adanur situated in the centre of the village, is said to be a perfect specimen of Dravidian architecture. In its present form, the temple is located on a one-acre site. The construction of the temple is simple. The shrine comprises of a small tower that dominates the landscape with a three tier Rajagopuram. The design on the Gopuram is that of small squares converging at the summit into a tower. This symbolically represents the thought that every being has to merge ultimately with the Supreme. While, inside the sanctum the atmosphere is very calm and quiet, dark but sublime. The temple houses a separate shrine for Sri Lakshmi and does not possess any extraordinary sculptures. However, that is compensated by the multitude of its legends.[1]

Deity

Narayana here, is known as Aandalakkum Aiyan. He is the essence of time. It is believed that He measures our action and metes out the rewards or punishment deftly. And while doing so, as proclaimed by the Bhagavad Gita, He has no friend or foe. He is seen in a reclining posture resting on a measuring bushel (Marakkal) facing the east. Sri Lakshmi is known by several names and is popularly worshipped as Kamalavasini and Ranganayaki. Surya and Chandra Pushkarinis are the holy thirthas in this kshetra and the vimana is known as Pranava vimana. Tradition goes that Mahavishnu appeared before Brghu, Agni, Kamadhenu and Thirumangai Alwar. The temple is revered by Thirumangai Alwar in one of his pasurams.[1]

Legends

The Brahmanda purana extols the glory of the Lord of this shrine in great detail.[1]

Adishesha's Samashrayana

According to a purana, once Mahavishnu left paramapada and came to Adanur in search of solitude. He was accompanied neither by his consort nor Adisesha. In the meanwhile, Adishesha began searching for his master. After a long search, he traced Mahavishnu to this sacred spot. Looking at the plight of his master, reclining on the ground without any couch, Adishesha was grief-stricken and inconsolable.The Lord of Vaikunta wanted to test whether Shesha was the same Sarpa Raja that he had known from time immemorial. As Adisesha proved his identity to Mahavishnu, he was initiated into the fold of Vaishnavism. Bhagavan himself performed the ritual of Samashrayana. This ritual, also known as Mudra Dharana, is the ritual of initiation. It is, when the devotee is branded on the shoulders with the emblem of Vishnu's shankha and chakra (discus and conch). As a reflection of this incident, one can see the mark of discus and conch on the Adishesha's hood in this kshetra which is symbolic of the Mudra dharana. Therefore, here in Adanur, Mahavishnu himself became the Acharya to Adishesha.[1]

Mahavishnu's aid to Thirumangai Azhwar

According to another legend, Mahavishnu once directed Thirumangai Azhwar in his dream to go to the bank of Kollidam river. Thirumangai Azhwar then followed the lord's instructions and reached the bank of Kollidam river. There, he met a trader with a weighing measure. It was this unknown mystic who helped Thirumangai Azhwar in the construction of Srirangam temple boundary wall. The mystic was also holding a palm leaf and writing instrument. This mystic trader gave everyone a bushel full of mud, but in the Azhwar's hand it turned out to be gold while with the rest it remained as mud. The crowd became furious and started attacking the mystic. At this juncture, the Azhwar brandished his sword to drive away the crowd. This incident is depicted in the Garbagrha with Azhwar brandishing a sword in one hand. As the mystic trader traveled, Azhwar also followed him who reached the Adanur temple and disappeared. Then Mahavishnu gave darshana to Azhwar in the bhujanga shayana form with weighing measure as his pillow, left hand holding the palm leaf and the right holding the writing instrument.[1]

Birth of Mahalakshmi

Bhargava Maharishi, was in deep penance at Adanur with the desire that he be blessed with goddess Lakshmi herself as his daughter. Finally, one day he found a female child near the temple pushkarini and named her Bhargavi. Thus, his desire to have goddess Lakshmi as his daughter got fulfilled. Therefore, this kshetra is known as Bhargava Kshetra. When Sri Lakshmi in the form of Bhargavi came of age, Mahavishnu descended to Adanur and asked for her hand in marriage. And the Lord himself became Bhargava Muni's son-in-law.[1]

Shapa Vimochana Sthala

  • It was in this place that Agni bhagavan was relieved of his curse. Therefore, this place is called as a Shapa Vimochana Sthala. Prof. S. Narayanan says,

"According to legend, Agni Bhagavan lured by its idyllic and sylvan surroundings bathed in the waters of repentance and got relieved of his curse by practising severe austerity at this Bhargava kshetra representing the quintessence of bhakti marga."

  • Also, it was here, that Lord Indra regained his lost glory, wealth and kingdom after offering Kainkarya to Mahalakshmi.

According to the legend, once Sage Durvasa was presented with a garland of rare Santhanaka flower by Goddess Lakshmi. In a completely devotional state of mind, the Muni gave the garland to Indra seated on Airavata, his elephant vahana. Failing to understand the sentiments of the Muni, he in turn gave away the garland to Airavata. Unable to realise the sanctity of the garland where Goddess Lakshmi dwelt, Airavata trampled the garland with his legs. This enraged the sage who cursed Indra that Sri Lakshmi would disappear from the three worlds ruled by him. Realising his folly, Indra then approached Mahavishnu and prayed to him for redemption. Sri Lakshmi then asked him to go to Adanur and pray at Bhargava kshetra where she would be born as the daughter of Bhargava Maharishi. As Indra came to this kshetra with prayer on his lips and belief in his heart, as promised, Sri Lakshmi cast a glance on him and redeemed him of Durvasa's curse and restored his lost glory and wealth.[1]

Kamadhenu and Mahalakshmi

As described in the earlier legend, Goddess Lakshmi disappeared from the three worlds because of sage Durvasa's curse. Due to this, the devas lost all their energy and strength. They became so weak that they were easily vanquished by the demons. Then, on the advice of Mahavishnu, they churned the ocean to recover Goddess Lakshmi. The devas and the asuras together churned the ocean using the serpant Vasuki as a rope. Many auspicious things like Kamadhenu, Dhanvantri and Kalpakavrksha emerged out of the ocean. Goddess Lakshmi was the last entity to come out from the churning. She came out and cast herself on the chest of Vishnu. In the meanwhile, Kamadhenu, the celestial cow wanted to have precedence over Mahalakshmi since she emerged before Lakshmi. She prayed to Mahavishnu to grant her supremacy. The Lord, the impartial judge, gave his weighing measure and asked Kamadhenu to fill it up with her aishwarya. The measuring unit did not get filled up fully. He then asked Mahalakshmi to reveal her qualities of aishwarya. With a prayer on her lips and devotion in her heart, Mahalakshmi took a tulsi from the Lord and placed it on the measuring unit; And the unit overflowed. Seeing this, Kamadhenu realised her folly and sought forgiveness by performing a deep penance. Moved by her sincerity, Mahavishnu appeared before Kamadhenu and forgave her. Symbolic of the incident, one can find Kamadhenu along with her calf in the sanctum at the feet of the Lord in this kshetra.[1]

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Prof. S. Narayanan (April 2004), 108 Temples of Azhvars, Volume 1, Maharashtra: Sri Ramanuja Mission.