09 October 2008

Navaratri Namaskara

Hi all, Sorry for being away for so long.... and let me not delay any more....

Here are the wishes for a wonderful Vijayadashami to each and everyone.
Let the divine Mother bless everyone of her sons and daughters with Prosperity and Happiness.

Lets celebrate the Vijaya Dashami here, at this Backbencher's corner with a visit to a stunning temple dedicated to the Holy Mother Saraswati.

To be straight, it is not common to worship Mother Saraswati in her original form. She is being worshipped across the nation in many forms like Sharada, Brahmi, Vagdevi and Maha Mayi. But as Saraswati.... there is no one temple that is dedicated to the Saraswati element of Mother.

In every home, every village Saraswati pooja is celebrated during the Navaratris. It was common for us to conduct Saraswati pooja just before our final exams during our school days. Yet, there is no one 'ancient' temple that is purely a dedicated to her! I had just known about one destroyed Saraswati temple at Hampi.

Wait... that was what I knew until I stumbled upon the name Koothanur while planning a trip to the Navagraha temples. Koothanur has an ancient, wonderful, huge temple dedicated to Mother Saraswati. Goddess here attracts thousands of devotees since this is the only known ancient temple of Saraswati. This temple is none less than a discovery for me!

The Idol has an effervescent smiling face asif the kindness has embodied before us. Amrita Kalasha, Chakra in the upper hands, with lower left hand holding a book and the right showing the Abhaya Chinmudra. The right upper hand holds an Akshamala as well, as a mark of alphabets(from A to KSHA). She has compassion filled eyes, with a Jnana Chakshu situated at Ajnachakra. She sits majestically on a lotus in Padmasana adorned with a white silk saree.

Koothanur or Poonthottam is a small, serene, beautiful village on the banks of Arasalar river. The Goddess here is magnetic in nature and is attributed to many a miracles like dumb people gaining their speech, illustriously ordinary person gaining higher levels of knowledge to become a great poet in Tamil, etc... all by the grace of this divine Mother.

Saraswati idol also holds a veena between her lower hands. This denotes the supremacy she behodls over all the arts. Veena is a divine instrument that represents a human body. One who masters the Veena gets nearer to divinity. Saraswati's veena vadana is supposed to be of the highest order, and the resonance to which causes one to attain divine powers. Many musicians have emerged from this village is an illustration that the whole area is filled with Saraswati's magical powers.

Since Saraswati is the Mother of all knowledge, all arts, in this temple people offer the Mother with sevas in different arts. Every evening there would be musical concerts, every day there would be Vedic chants filling the air with a spiritual vibration. The Dramas, bharata natyam etc are performed occasionally too. Navaratri is the time of annual fest here, Vijayadashami being a grand celebration.

The shops outside the temple sells pes, slates, books etc which can be bought to offer at the feet of Mother Saraswati and take back for personal use after the worship here. It is said that on Vijayadashami day alone 100s of children get initiated with their Aksharabhyasa here. Students offer pens, and books here, and worship the Goddess. Later they carry back the pens to be used in their examinations. It enhances their chances in the exams, it is said.

So, friends, let me make it more clear... This is the only known Saraswati temple that has about more than 1000 years of history. Koothanur is a sleepy village that lies on the banks of Arasalar river on the highway connecting Mayilaudurai and Thiruvarur. It lies in Thiruvarur district of Tamilnadu, at about 20 Kms distance from the district headquarters, Thiruvarur. It is at about 25 KMs distance from the famous Shani Sthala, Thirunallar in Pondicherry.

Though not known to many, this temple stands out with its particular set of visitors and devotees. Hats off to the teple management who have preserved the sanctity of this place to this day so that devotees feel the Love of divine Mother and feel blessed.

Come Lets visit such a divine world, and be blessed by Mother Saraswati.


Arni. Vani said...

So u had a good time.......
U must have clicked enough and more pics of all the temples u visited........more details about the trip please!
(Though I've heard it all already, this is for the others' knowledge)

Swaminathan Shivakumar said...

Know what? I am from that Agraharam - in fact it is one of the twin Agraharams, Sethalapathi - Koothanur!

In Sethalapathi village, you will find a Naramukha Vinayaka - yup, Vinayaka with a human face!

Prof Swaminathan Shivakumar