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HomeSpiritual TravelAalayam Kanden (Temples I noticed): Adi Annamalai

Aalayam Kanden (Temples I noticed): Adi Annamalai


The Adi Annamalai Temple in Tiruvannamalai

Come Margazhi – Tamil Households, temples and sabhas come alive to the hymns of Thirupaavai and Thiruvempavai, songs that sing the glory of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva respectively. Whereas the previous was rendered by Andal, the latter is to the credit score of Saint Manickavasagar, one among the many quartet of Shaiva saints who sang hymns in reward of Lord Shiva. 

Thirupaavai and Thiruvempaavai have a few similarities – the singer together with feminine associates is observing the “Paavai Nonbu”, a ritual adopted by single ladies in the course of the month of Margazhi so as to get hold of virtuous husbands. Manickavasagar is believed to have taken the “Nayaki Bhavam” to render the Thiruvempaavai.

Saint Manickavasagar

Born in Thiruvadhavur within the ninth Century, as Vadhavooraar, Manickavasagar was minister to King Arimarthana Pandian (Varagunavarman II). The king entrusted him with a big amount of cash to purchase horses for the military. When the Minister set out on his process, he was met with by Lord Shiva in Thiruperunthurai (Avudaryarkoil) and upon receiving enlightenment, spent all the cash on renovating the temple. When the king requested Vadhavoraar to current the horses, he didn’t know what to do and sought the assistance of  Lord Shiva who performed a divine drama (Thiruvilaiyaadal) and transformed all of the foxes round Madurai into horses and despatched them to the King’s stables. At daybreak, the foxes become their unique selves and ran away.

(Picture Courtesy: Adbh266 – Personal work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

On listening to this, the king imprisoned Vaadhavooraar. In jail, he rendered a number of hymns that may soften even the heartless, in reward of the Lord. Lastly, the Lord made the King realise the reality. Free of jail, Vadhavoorar who had acquired the title Manickavasagar from the Lord himself, for every of his verses was like a treasured gem,set out on a pilgrimage, visiting a number of shrines, earlier than coming to Adi Annamalai in Tiruvannamalai.

Adi Annamalai is understood by different names comparable to Aadhi Annamalai (as sung by Arunagirinathar in his Thirupugazh – Aadhi Arunachalam Amarndha Perumaane and Ani Annamalai, a jewel adorning the foothills of Annamalai. The deity right here is believed to have been put in by Lord Brahma. 

Lord Brahma and Adi Annamalai

Brahma and Thilothama

When Brahma created Thilothama, a celestial being, with the best particles of heaven, earth and the underworld (one other model says Brahma requested Vishwakarma to create her) he was obsessed on her magnificence. Faces developed in all instructions of his head simply to see her, as she circumambulated him after being created. Overcome by lust, Brahma requested Thilothama to be his. Nevertheless, she was shocked, as by advantage of making her, he was her father. She began operating away in worry. With Maya shrouding his mind, Brahma took the type of a male deer and began following her. 

When she might run now not, Tilothama took the shape a feminine pigeon and began flying in direction of Thiruvannamalai, the place the Lord had risen within the type of a pillar of sunshine when Brahma and Vishnu had been unable to seek out his toes and tresses. Brahma additionally took the type of a male pigeon and tried to meet up with her. On Tilothama coming into the holy land of Thiruvannamalai, that gives mukthi to those that merely consider it, Lord Shiva took the type of a hunter, and shot down the male pigeon . Brahma was introduced out of Maya as quickly as his physique touched the holy floor. He realised with disgrace, the foolishness and impropriety of his behaviour and was very repentent. He sought the forgiveness of Thilothama. To be able to atone his sins, he put in a Shivalingam on the foothills of Annamalai, to the West of the primary shrine, on the spot the place he had been relieved of Maya. He created a Brahma theertham subsequent to it and a tank identified even right this moment as Ayyankulam (Ayan is one other identify of Brahma).

Brahma Theertham, now often called Manickavasagar Theertham

It was on the banks of the Ayyankulam that Ramana Maharishi reached on arriving at Thiruvannamalai. He bathed in its holy waters and when he stepped out, he knew his calling. It was the time to surrender all that he had. He threw away the meals he had carried from house, and discarded his garments, however for a bit of dhoti to be worn as a loin-cloth. On seeing this, a barber requested if he needed his head to e tonsured . He gave up his hair and was prepared for his sadhana. A shrine for Arunagirinathar can be discovered on the banks of this tank.

Ayyankulam Tank

On arriving at Adi Annamalai, Manickavasagar set himself up a number of metres from the temple, bathed within the Brahma Theertham which got here to be often called the Manickavasagar Theertham and worshipped the Kuzhumani Vinayakar and the Lord on daily basis. The eighth Century Thirupaavai has thirty hymns of Andal calling out her associates to get up, bathe, observe the paavai nombu and serve/worship the Lord.

Kuzhumani Vinayakar worshipped by Saint Manickavasagar

Manickavasagar, sang twenty songs grouped collectively because the Thiruvempaavai, within the month of Margazhi urging the younger ladies to wash within the Brahma Theertham and serve the Lord of Adi Annamalai. This together with the ten songs of Thirupalliezhuchi make up the Thiruvempaavai. All verses finish with the phrase “Empaavaai”, giving it its identify. Happy along with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared earlier than Manickavasagar. The Manickavasagar Matam (Mutt) stands on the place the place this occurred. 

Manickavasagar Mutt (Picture Courtesy:

This Margazhi, allow us to try to learn and benefit from the essence of Thirupaavai and Thiruvempaavai.



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