Ashtabhujakara Perumal- The Eight Armed Lord

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Close to Varadaraja swami temple we have a number of divya desams closely connected with the famous yagyam performed by none other than Brahma the creator. During the Ashvamedha yaagam many were the disturbances that came his way. Demons and serpents were sent to disrupt the proceedings and The Protector came rushing to protect His devotee.Vishnu is generally seen with four Hands, but here we get to see Him with Eight. He wields the Discus, the Conch, the  Sword, the Mace, the Bow, the Arrow, the  Spear and the Lotus. It was to this temple that we had the fortune of visiting at about 9.30a.m. on 29/10/2015. The temple is in Vishnu Kanchi close to Varadarajaswami temple. It is about 2 kms from the temple and is located on Tirukacchi Nambi Street. One can take an auto or a share auto from Tiruvadi koil and get down at Asthabhujakaram. There is an arch adjacent to a petrol bunk which is hard to miss. One can also take state transport bus and get down at the petrol bunk. As we reached the temple it appeared to be closed. The woman selling flowers told us that this was the Vaikuntavasal and that the temple would remain open till noon. As we entered the watchman welcomed us and we remembered Andal’s ‘Nayakannai’ pasuram.  Such small things make our day better. We entered the main temple after worshipping Garudazhwar at the entrance. We saw sannidhis of  Bhu Varaha Perumal, Pushpavalli Thayar and Astabhujakara Perumal. Moolavar with His Eight Hands is known as AdiKesava Perumal and Astabhujakaran and Gajendra varadan. Utsavar has four Hands as is usual.After worshipping this Unique Form of Perumal (there is a divyamangala vigraham similar at the Angkorvat temple-Cambodia) we came out to do pradakshinam.

After crossing the dwajhasthambham we saw a shrine for Andal and had Her darshan through the window. She was as usual slim and beautiful as a creeper. Our next halt was at the temple of Anjaneya swami . As we proceeded  clockwise we saw a ‘Thulabhara mandapam’  and notices about  utsavams and pooja timings. We next saw a four wheeled cart painted brightly. As we proceeded we noticed some devotees lighting lamps at a sannidhi. It was Peyazhwar Sannidhi. Peyazhwar desired to see Gajendramoksham and is believed to have witnessed it here. Then there was the temple madapalli and as we finished the round we saw prasadams being distributed at a mandapam. When Murali Bhattar swami was free we asked him to tell us about the temple and its sthala puranam. As we made our way out we saw a huge pushkarni which was totally dry and learnt that this was known as Gajendra Pushkarni and it was here that Gajendramoksham happened. Swami Desika at the very beginning of Ashtabhujashtakam  talks of Gajendraraksha. He calls upon the Lord to deliver him from the crocodile in the form of senses. It is interesting to note that Swami Desikan has offered an ashtakam (8 verses) for the Eight handed Lord. This Lord puts an end to our never-ending fears. Those who worship this Lord will  desire prappathi and for those who have already surrendered the Lord will give flawless service at His lotus feet served by Lakshmi. He says in order to establish Yourself as Saranagathavatsalan (partiality towards the surrendered) You assumed double the number of Hands. Devotees visiting Kanchi should take time off and spend time at this temple and let the divinity seep in.

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Photos, Video, Write-up: Smt Vyjayanthi Rajan

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