Ashtabhuja Perumal at Kanchipuram

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01 November 2021, Plava varusha, Aippasi-15, Monday;

ASHTABHUJA  PERUMAL TEMPLE

Ashtabhuja Perumal temple is located in Vishnu Kanchi or Chinna Kanchipuram, located 2 km away from Sri Varadhraja perumal temple. This ia a small temple, with a tank in the entrance and has a three-tier Gopuram, that pierces the concentric rectangular walls. The presiding deity of the temple is Ashtabhuja Perumal facing West, who is sported with eight hands. There is a four pillared hall named “Sukravara Mandapam” in front of the shrine. The temple tank, Gajendra Pushkarani, is located outside the entrance tower. Sorkavaasal and temple entrance will be in different directions in all the temples. But in this temple, both are facing North, which is a special feature.

ASHTABHUJA PERUMAL

The presiding deity of the temple is Ashtabhuja Perumal facing West, who is sported with eight hands. The eight hands are sported to have a sword, shield, mace, bow, arrow, lotus, conch and chakra. He is seen having Mahalakshmi in his chest and sported with a garland made of Saligrama maalai.

MAIN DIETIES: Perumal – Sri Adhikesava Perumal ; Thayar– Sri Alarmelmangai / Sri Padmasani

OTHER SANNIDHIS:

  • There is a separate shrine for Pushpakavalli Thayar, the consort of Perumal.

The temple also has sannidhis dedicated to 

  • *Sri Anjaneya,
  • *Azhwars,
  • *Sri Andal, 
  • *Sri Chakrathazhwar and 
  •  *Sri Sarabheshwarar.
  • * Varaha Perumal , who is sported in seated posture under the hoods of two serpents.

HINDU MYTHOLOGY

1. As per Hindu mythology, Saraswathi Devi once argued with Lord Brahma, about her supremacy over Goddess Lakshmi, but ended up in separation from Brahmadevar. Brahma did a severe penance praying to Vishnu and did an Ashwamedha Yagam. Saraswathi was still angry, that yagna should not be performed without her company, which usually is done along with consorts was done alone by Brahma. She tried to disrupt the penance in various ways, even as river Vegawathi, but Vishnu interfered in all her attempts. After all the demons were killed by MahaVishnu, who were sent by Saraswathi Devi, to destroy the yagna(penance), she finally sent a ferocious Snake. Lord Maha Vishnu took the form of Ashtabhuja Perumal holding eight different weapons to kill the snake. The snake is found on the Vaayu  and of the Yaagasalai as “Sarabeswaran” in this temple.

2. Another legend associates this temple to Gajendra moksham given by Vishnu to the elephant king Gajendran. The Elephant Gajendra, used to worship Vishnu with the lotus fetched from the temple tank everyday. Once, while picking up lotus, a crocodile caught the leg of Gajendra, who started calling the name of Vishnu for help. Vishnu sent his Chakra to punish the crocodile and relieve the elephant. The presiding deity is addressed by various names like Sri Adhi kesava Perumal, Sri Gajendra Varadhan and Sri Chakradhari.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, Peyazhwar in one pasuram and Thirumangai azhwar in eleven pasurams.
  • The temple is classified as a Divya Desam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the book.
  • The temple is one of the 14 Divyadesams in Kanchipuram.
  • The temple is believed to be the place where, Brahma performed penance seeking the wishes of Vishnu and one of the few places where Brahma worshipped Vishnu.
  • One among the four temples:- The temple is one among the four temples in Kanchipuram that include Sri Yathothkari Perumal Temple, Sri Deepa Prakasa Perumal temple and Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple where the legend of Brahma performing penance is associated. 
  • The temple is also revered in the verses of Sri Vedantha Desikar, Sri Pillai Perumal Iyengar and  Sri Manavala Maamunigal.
  • Prayers relating to land or house: Perumal saved Mother Bhoomadevi in this place. Hence, those who are having difficulties relating to land or construction of house, Pray to this perumal for the solution.

TIMINGS:

Aradhanam is performed six times a day on daily basis and Vishesha Aradhanam during festivals.

The temple rituals are performed six times a day:

Ushathkalam at 7 a.m.,

Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m.,

Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m.,

Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m.,

Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and

Ardha Jamam at 10:00 p.m.

Alankaram (decoration), Nivedhanam (food offering) and Deepa aradh anai (waving of lamps) for both Govindarajan and Pundarikavalli.

UTSAVAMS IN THE TEMPLE:

  • Nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played during the utsavam.
  • There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple.
  • VAIKUNTA EKADASI: The 10-day Vaikunta Ekadasi festival celebrated during the  Margazhi  month (December – January), which is the most prominent festival celebrated in the temple.
  • RAMANAVAMI: Rama Navami is celebrated during panguni month (March to April)
  • NAVARATRI: During Purattasi month, Navaratri festival is celebrated in the temple.
  • GAJENDRA MOKSHA: As this temple is the moksham sthalam for Gajendran, Gajendra Moksha festival is celebrated during the Tamil month of Aadi (July – August) in the star of Hastham.

ARCHITECTURE:

The temple is originally believed to have been built during the rule of Pallavas. The temple has inscriptions from the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1070 – 1120) indicating gifts of land to the temple. There are contributions mentioned in the same inscription indicating contributions from the local people for perpetual lighting of the temple.

Azhwars and Acharyas have sung pasurams and slokas praising this Perumal.

Thirumangai Azhwar :

These are few pasurams which was sung by thirumangai azhwar in praise of the Kalyana gunam of Ashtabhuja Perumal.

Swami Desikan in his “Ashtabhujashtakam”,has sung eight slokas (ashtakam) in praise of this perumal, The first sloka is shared below, which is enough to convey the whole thathparyam of Prappatti.

SLOKA-1:

Meaning of Sloka and commentary:

Swami Desikan compares our lives to one being attacked and torn apart by our senses and dragged towards them on all sides as if by vicious crocodiles, and invokes Bhagavan’s mercy and protection just as in the case of Gajendra when attacked by the crocodile. The key words of the slOkam are: “sathAm Aaptham Ashtabhujam bhavantham prapadhyE”. Oh Lord of Ashta bhujam ! The alpa sukhams of the world are grabbing me and dragging me down towards them just like the crocodile that pulled Gajendran with its sharp teeth into the depth of the pond. When that GajEndran cried out with agony and uttered “AadhimUlamE”, You ran helter-skelter from Your comfortable sTanam in Sri Vaikuntam to the pool side, destroyed the offending crocodile and freed Your devotee from suffering. adiyEn’s state is like that of the suffering and helpless GajEndran. I am being pulled down to my destruction by the vishaya sukhams (grAhairiva aham vishayai vikrushtai:). Wont You rush to adiyEn’s rescue?

Courtesy: “Ashtabhujashtakam” : Oppiliappan koil Sri.V.Sadagopachariar

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