LORD GANESHA GAYATRI MANTRA
  • START - - -
  • Om lambodaraya vidmahe, mahodaraya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • Om mahakarnay vidmahe, vakratundaya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • Om ekadantaya vidmahe, vakratundaya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • Om tathapurusaya vidmahe, vakratundaya dhimahi,
  • Tano danti prachodayat. |
  • - - - END |

SRI KALAHASTEESWARA

Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh 517644

sri-kalahasti

Sthala Mahatyamu:

The Lord Sri Kalahasteeswara is Swayambu (self-manifested) and He is known after his devotees who have attained salvation - Sri - the Spider, Kala - the Serpent, and Hasti - the Elephant.

Even the town has been named after them as “SriKalahasti”. Mahakavi Dhurjati had once said, “The kalahasti is the abode of Amruthamaya Lingam.

Salvation of the Spider:

In Krutha Yuga, a spider was weaving a web to protect the Shiva linga from the impact of rain & sun. Lord Shiva wished to test the spider’s devotion and dedication. What Lord Shiva did to check the spider’s devotion is, he burnt the web-temple. Lord Shiva caused fire and destroyed the spider’s efforts on multiple occasions. On seeing this tragic incident, the spider was devastated and decided to sacrifice its life by jumping into the fire as it thought that it failed in its attempt to provide shelter to the Lord. Lord Shiva was mightily impressed with the sheer devotion of the spider and blessed it with salvation even though it was only an insect.

The Serpent - Elephant & their Story of Worship:

IOnce upon a time, a serpent started worshipping the Shiva Linga with gemstones. After some time, an elephant saw the Shiva linga in the forest and cleaned the surrounding with water that it has carried through its trunk and started offering Bilva leaves and flowers on a daily basis. The serpent, when reached the place, noticed the Bilva leaves and flowers near the Shiva linga and considered it as rubbish and continued with its method of offering gems as usual. The elephant noticed this change and was furious that somebody was interfering with its method of worshipping and putting useless stones instead. Hence, the elephant decided to teach the culprit a lesson. The same thought was going on the mind of the serpent also. Next day, the elephant hid in the forest nearby the Shiva linga and was waiting for the intruder. The serpent had the same idea and when it finally saw the elephant there, it wanted to teach the elephant a lesson that it wouldn’t forget in a hurry. As usual, the elephant arrived at the place and started his usual puja rituals and threw all the stones put by the serpent. Seeing the activities of the elephant, the serpent grew wild and entered the trunk of the elephant to cause pain and teach a lesson.

This sudden attack by the serpent caused breathlessness to the elephant. Unable to bear the pain and torture, the elephant banged its head against the rocks in its attempt to get rid of the serpent. Both the elephant and the serpent died in the process due to their ignorance. Although, both of them had the same intention of worshipping the same Lord, both wanted to show that their way of worshipping the Lord was superior to the other. As they were animals without proper thinking, the Lord took pity on them and blessed both of them with salvation and liberated them. The serpent is known as Kala and the elephant as Hasti. Hence the name of the Lord came to be known as Kalahasthiswara and in remembrance of the spider, Sri was added(Sri means spider)   

Here, Lord Shiva is found in the form of Vayu Linga(Vayu means wind, which is one of the five elements) and is enclosed by the nine Kavachas(Jackets) that represents the nine planets. People believe that any bad impacts of the planets will be nullified by visiting this temple. For all those people who got dosham due to the impacts of Rahu & Ketu planets, they come here to perform pujas. Because of this reason, people from far and wide, come here to perform Dosha Nirvana Puja. Another striking point about this place is, all temples in South India remain closed during the time of the eclipse. The temples are opened for the devotees only after the purification process gets over. But miraculously, no effects of the eclipse can be seen here at this holy place. As it is believed, eclipses are supposed to be caused due to the virtual planets, Rahu & Ketu but here the Lord nullifies the impacts of the eclipse. This has been proven scientifically as well.

Thus, this temple has been associated with many mahimas and darshan of this Lord pushes all the obstacles in life and grants devotion and liberation.

Stories on River Swarnamukhi:

Swarnamukhi river rises at Agasthyachala near Anjaneya Gutta at Chandragiri Hills and then passes through the valley and reaches Sri Kalahasti, and then flows till Nellore and merges into the sea at a place known as Vakadu. Original name of river Swarnamukhi is Uttara Vahini and the course of the river was changed as per the request of Sage Agasthya. Swarnamukhi river flows from South to North. Another interesting story that has been attached to the Swarnamukhi river is that Lord Brahma once took bath here and then prayed to Lord Shiva to get rid of the killing of young innocent children all over.

In Skanda Purana, it has been described that the holy river was once flowing with a sound which was very similar to that of gold when struck with a hard piece and hence the river was named as Swarnamukhi. It is also believed that during the construction of Sri Kalahasti temple, during the evening time every day, the laborers, after a hard-tiring day’s of hard work, used to wash themselves in the waters of Swarnamukhi river near the temple. It is also believed that when they were dipping their hands into the water, they often found gold coins. The number of gold coins depended upon the heaps of sand they carried from the river for the construction of the temple. “Swarnamukhi” means “One with a golden face”.

As per the legends, it is also believed that the elephant which attained salvation at the Sri Kalahasti temple through its sincere devotion and dedication, used to perform the Abhishekam to the Lord with the water it used to carry from the Swarnamukhi river in its trunks after removing all the offerings made by the serpent, who also eventually attained salvation.

It is also believed as per the legends that once upon a time ago, Sage Agasthya had come here during his journey to the South. He didn’t have water to perform his daily rituals and penance. Hence, he did penance and prayed to Lord Bramha. At the request of Sage Agasthya, Lord Bramha blessed him with Akasha Ganga. As per the request of Sage Agasthya, Ganga Devi began its course from the Agasthya hills through Sri Kalahasti as Swarnamukhi before reaching the sea.

The Story of Kannappa Nayanar:

Kannappa Nayanar was born as Thinnan in a place known as Uduppur near the present day Srikalahasti to the tribal chief, Nagan. Thinnan was born after a lot of penance by his parents and it was never a doubt that he was the apple of their eyes. He was named Thinnan, which means strong in Tamil because he was indeed a very strong boy. Thinnan was taught all the martial arts by his father and other elderly members of the tribe and in no time, Thinnan became a skillful archer.

Nagan, the father and tribal chief of the tribe, felt he was getting older and the tribe needed a younger and much stronger chief and after a lot of consultation with the elder members of the tribe, anointed Thinnan as the tribal chief, much to the joy of the tribal people. Thinnan performed his duties well and led the tribe on multiple hunting expeditions successfully.

One fine day, Thinnan and his friends went hunting. Thinnan was chasing a wild boar and in the pursuit of hunting the wild boar, entered into the forest area which he had not explored earlier.     He eventually killed the wild boar and while he was trying to bring the dead boar, he noticed a beautiful lingam, a form of Lord Shiva in the wilderness of the forest. All of a sudden, Thinnan felt a mysterious attraction towards the lingam. He failed to get hold of his emotions and felt an urge to stay back with the lingam. Thinnan asked his dear friend Kadan to make a fire so that they could cook the boar. Once the meat was cooked, Thinnan placed it in front of the lingam and offered it to the Lord.

Thinnan couldn’t bear the thought of going away from the lingam as he was feeling a certain connection with the lord and the thought itself was overwhelming for him. Finally, Thinnan made a decision and decided to stay with the lord and asked his friend to inform his parents about his decision to stay with the lord.

After that day onwards, Thinnan would go on hunting, hunt some animal, cook the meat and offer it as an offering to Lord Shiva. As he was in the forest, he did not have any utensil to bring water. Hence, he would fill up his mouth with water, pluck wildflowers and carry them on his mattered hair as his hands were occupied carrying the meat. He would spit the water on the lingam which he considered as bathing and used to place the meat with raw honey in front of the Lord as an offering. He used to then take out the flowers from his hair and decorate the Lord with it and it became a routine for his over a period of time.

The Priest’s Doubts:

A priest named Shiva Kochariyar used to go to the same place before Thinnan began his routine of offering meat to the Lord. The priest used to clean up the place, light a lamp, cook food and offer it to Lord Shiva. After Thinnan began his routine, the priest came to the place during one of his weekly visits, he found to his utter bewilderment, the whole place in an unbearable condition with meat strewn all around. He thought it must have been the work of some animal and cleaned the place and performed his routine rituals. When the priest came to the place the next time, again the place was full of meat as Thinnan performed his rituals of offering meat as an offering to the Lord. The priest was pretty disturbed and was at a loss to find who was doing it. He was troubled that the Lord was desecrated again and again and the place strewn with flesh and bones as a routine and pleaded with the Lord to help him in resolving the mystery. The Lord appeared in the priest’s dream and said, “Do not think that some miscreant is doing all this. It is my devotee who is doing this out of the unconditional love he has for me. If you want to see the extent of his devotion, hide behind the bush and see.” The next morning, the priest did as he was asked by the Lord and hid behind a bush. In a short while, Thinnan appeared with his mouth full of water, meat in his hands, and flowers on his head. He performed his routine rituals of bathing the Lord with the water from his mouth and decorated the Lord with the flowers from his hair.

The priest was watching all this in a horrified state of mind. Thinnan was pleading with the Lord to accept the meat and he even spoke endearing words to the Lord. All of a sudden, blood began oozing from the left eye of the Lord. Thinnan was completely shocked and tried to wipe the blood out with his garments, but it was of no use as the eye bled even more. Immediately, Thinnan ran into the forest and brought some medicinal leaves, crushed them and applied the leaves on the Lord’s bleeding eye. But to the horror of Thinnan, the bleeding didn’t stop. The priest was watching the proceedings with shock and disbelief. Then, Thinnan did the unimaginable by doing the most daring of tasks. He took out his arrow and plucked out his left eye from its socket. He then carefully placed it on the bleeding eye of the Lord and then at once, the bleeding stopped.

Thinnan began dancing with joy but it was short-lived as the other eye of Lord Shiva began bleeding. Thinnan was not so sad this time around as he had a solution to the bleeding problem. But he was in a precarious situation because if he took out his other eye to stop the bleeding of the Lord, how would he know where to put the eye as he would virtually be blind without both of his eyes. Thinnan was thinking deeply and suddenly lifted his leg and placed it on the Lord’s eye which was bleeding and was all set to pull out his right eye. The faint who was seeing all this from behind the bush almost fainted. Suddenly the soothing voice of the Lord was heard, “Halt Kannappa, halt”, said the Lord. “You are Kannappa now since you have offered your eye to me”. Pleased with the sincere devotion of Thinnan, Lord Shiva offered him a boon. Thinnan asked for salvation. Since Thinnan offered his eyes to the Lord, he is popularly known as Kannappa - “Kannu” being the Telugu and Tamil word for eye. Kannappa is known as a symbol of dedication and innocent devotion and these qualities have made him as an ideal to devotees all around the world. Everyone who visits Srikalahasti makes sure that they go on top of the Kannappa hill and pay their respect to him.

 

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Sri Kalahasti, the abode of Lord Shiva par excellence, is situated on the eastern bank of River Swarnamukhi. This holy Kshetram is known across the country by several names such as Dakshina Kailasam, Sivananadaika Nilayam, Vignana Ksthethram Satyavratha, Bhaskara Ksthethram, Sadyomukthi Kara Ksthethran, and Akhanda Bilvakaranyam. Here Lord Shiva is Swayambhu and has been described as the embodiment of Vayu(air) which is one of the Five primordial forces. His existence can be found in four Yugas Krutha, Thretha, Dwapar, and kali in different manifestations with gold, silver, cupric, and white hues. He has been described as somebody who is passionate to all in this universe.

In this holy place, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and other divine personalities like sage Vashista, Agastya, Bharadwaj, and others worshipped Lord Shiva. Also, an Insect Spider, Elephant, Serpent, Kanappa, Nathkeera, two dames of Madurai also successfully attained salvation because of their sincere devotion towards Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is so gracious to all and to Him, all his creations are equal and he treats them as equal and considers them all eligible for salvation, irrespective of their birth, be it an insect or a learned sage or saint.

Temple Rituals – Festivals:

The Temple daily rituals are performed per Agama and Veda Vidhanamu,Tour times in a day.Abshekams were performed ,3 times in the morning and Fourth is done during evening in pradosha time for Lord Shiva and Mother Goddess Gnanambika.The Abhishekam was performed by sthanika Gurukuls who are the descendents Sage Bharadwaja  and belong to Bharadwaja Gotra and who were initiated in this Temple at Gnanambika Sannidhi.The Brahmotsavam Festival is performed during the month Magh(Feb) for Ten days. In the month of Aswiyuja 9 day festival is performed for  Devi Gnanamba .In this Holy place Giri Pradakshanam is done one after Sankranthi and other on the 9th day during Brahmotsavam.

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Though the holy place exists from time immemorial, the early historical reference can be found in the Tamil literature of 1st and 2nd century. The Tamil literature has described this holy place as the Southern Kailash. At a later stage, the great Siva saint Appar, Gnana Sambandar, Sundarar along with equally pious Manikya Vachagar visited the holy place and sung melodious songs about the place and about the Lord Supreme.

In the third century, poet-laureate Madurai and the Pandya Kingdom have sung more than 100 poems describing the magical beauty of the holy place. The song Kailai Padhi katthil Padhi” says Srikalahasti and Kailash are one and the same. Philosopher Adi Shankara also visited the place and described it as a seat of devotion par excellence. He worshipped the Sri Chakra and the Crystal Lingam.

The architecture of Pallava can be found in the place and the Chola and Vijayanagara are of the highest order. In 1516 A.D, Sri Krishna Devaraya. Abhishekams are performed, three times in the morning, and the fourth one is done in the evening during the pradosha time for Lord Shiva & Mother Goddess Gnanambika. The Abhishekam is performed by the Sthanika Gurukuls who are the proud descendants of Sage Bharadwaja and they belong to the Bharadwaja Gothra and were initiated to the temple at Gnanambika Sannidhi. The Bramhotsavam festival is performed during the month of Magh or February and it is celebrated for a time period of 10 days. A nine-day long festival is performed for Devi Gnanamba during the month of Ashwayuja. In this holy place, Giri Pradaskhanam is done twice, once after Sankranthi and the other time on the ninth day during Bramhotsavam.

Construction of the Temple:

The temple complex has unique features in its construction, unlike other temples that you come across in the country. The most unique feature of the temple is that the Pathala Vinayaka, Goddess Gananamba, and Dakshinamurthy, all of them face different directions.

Hence, the devotees at this place are graced with four fold Purusharthas - Dharma - Artha, Kama - Mokshas. First of the four Purusharthas, Dharma, is a boon from north-facing Pathala Vinayaka. The second one, Artha, is nothing but Athma Gnana, is bestowed upon by Uma Swarupini Gnanamba facing east for the devotees.

The third one, Kama or desires, is given by the south facing Dakshinamurthy to all who enter the Mahadwara. Finally, the Lord Kalahasteeswar facing the west offers moksha to the devotees. This aspect is implied by the west facing Lord where the sun sets which indicates that everyone has set or its time to reach the Lotus Feet of God. This indicates we all should be sincere in our attempts to attain salvation in this holy place as it is very easy to attain salvation as narrated in the Sthalapurana. Thus the temple gives us an opportunity in the form of symbolic representation of covered Four Purusharthas of us.

Dakshina Kailasamu and Dakshina Kasi:

It is believed that the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, had brought the Holy peak “Sivanandaika” from the Kailasam and placed it here in this holy place and worhipped Lord Shiva here. Ever since then, this place is known as Dakshina Kailasam. River Swarnamukhi flows on the western side of the temple, in the north direction. The bathing ghat which is there in front of the Thirumanjana Gopuram is known as Manikarnika Gattam. At this very ghat, the Lord gave Tharaka Manthra Upadesam and due to this reason, the place is known as Southkasi. 

Tale of Goddess Gnanaprasunambika Devi:

Sri Gnanaprasunambika is the lifetime companion of Sri Kalahasthiswara Swamy(Lord Shiva of Kalahasthi Temple) and it is believed as per the legends, she is one of many manifestations of Goddess Parvati. Long long ago, Lord Shiva initiated Goddess Parvati with the sacred Panchakshari Mantra and asked here to recite the mantra with dedicated concentration but as luck would have it, she failed to do so. Seeing this, Lord Shiva became furious with anger and cursed her to be born as an ordinary woman on planet earth. Goddess Parvati regretted her lapse of concentration and requested Lord Shiva to relieve her from the curse. As per the curse, Goddess Parvati, in her human birth, should perform penance and worship the Shiva Linga with all her dedication and devotion at the Kailash Mountain. Goddess Parvati in her human birth came to Dakshina Kailash with the help of sage Narada Maharshi. She performed penance as she was asked as per the curse and worshipped the Lord with sheer devotion and dedication. Lord Shiva was pleased with her penance and dedicated worship restored her body - a hundred times better than her previous heavenly body and initiated various mantras which also included the Panchakshari. As a consequence of all these mantras, Goddess Parvati attained Shiva-Gnanam. After attaining Panchakshari japasiddhi, Goddess Parvati was accepted as the consort of Lord Shiva. 

Goddess Parvati is called Gnana Prasannamba because she blesses Gnana or the supreme knowledge of reality on those devotees who worship her with devotion and sincerity. She was the first one to intimate Lord Indra, the King of Devatas or Gods, of the nature of Parabramba and she is named so. One can find also a story based on this in the Gnana Upanishad.

The sacred spot of Goddess Jnana Prasunambika signifies Jalandhara. It is believed that she also represents an aspect of Santanalakshmi. As per the legends, Lord Vishnu had created 108 sacred spots devoted to Shakti with his Sudarshana Chakra. During the scene when Satidevi gave up her material body in the fire during Daksha’s yagna and Lord Shiva was carrying her body on his shoulders, Lord Vishnu scattered the body into 108 parts with his Sudarshana Chakra and the places where the scattered body parts fell, were transformed into 108 sacred spots. It is also believed that the skull part of the body was brought by Lord Vishnu to Sri kalahasthi in Dakshin.

Legend Behind the Origin of Vayu Lingam:

During the early days of the creation of the world, Lord Vayu performed penance for more than a thousand years to ‘Karpoora Lingam”. Due to his sincere devotion and unflattered dedication, the Parameshwarappeared before him and said, “Oh Vayu deva! You are dynamic in nature, you have stayed here for so long without any movement and did penance for me. I am pleased with your penance. You have earned the right to ask for boons, Lord said to Vayu. Lord Vayu said, “Swami! I want to be present everywhere in this world. I would like to be an integral part of every Jiva(living being) who is none other than the manifestation of Paramatma. I want to name this Karpoora Linga after me, which represents you.

Samba Shiva said to Lord Vayu, “You are qualified for these three boons. As per your wish, you will be spread throughout this world and without you, there will be no life. This linga of mine will be famous by your name and all Suras, Asuras, Garuda, Gandharvas, Kinneras, Siddhas, Saadhvis, humans, and others will worship this Lingam.” Lord Shiva vanished from the scene after granting these boons to Lord Vayu. Thereafter, the Karpoora Vayu Lingam is worshipped by many.

Pagodas:

The holy temple has four pagodas in each direction. A pagoda whose height is 120 feet high is built by King Krishna Devaraya in 1516 A.D. The deity procession enters into the city through this pagoda and while returning, the procession goes through another pagoda which was built by a Devadasi “Bicchalu”, who is renowned as a staunch devotee of Jangamasiva. This place is called as Bitchala Gopuram. The pagodas were built during the times of Yadava Narasimharaya.

The Balagnanamba Gopuram is the entrance to the temple. The northern Gopuram is known as Sivayya Gopuram and the western Gopuram is called Thirumanjanam Gopuram. From the Thirumanjanam Gopuram, steps lead to river Swarnamukhi and at the bottom of the steps, Surya Pushkarani and Chandra Pushkarani can be found. For the purpose of Abhishekam and cooking of prasadam, water from Surya Pushkarani is used. One can easily go to the Kannapa Hill and Bramha Temple from the southern Gopuram.

Lord Dakshinamurthy:

As described in the Sthala Purana of Srikalahasti, there is no certainty about a particular date and that is supposed to be the date of emergence of Lord Dakshinamurthy.

As per the directions given by Lord Brahma, the three sages, Parasara, Sanatkumara, and Suka Yogindra visited Srikalahasti, which is also known as Southern Kailasha.  They performed the religious rituals by taking bath in the Swarnamukhi river. Pleased with the austerities of the three sages, Lord Shiva emerged from the water in the form of Lord Dakshinamurthy and bestowed the sages with Advaita Siddhi. The date of emergence of Lord Dakshinamurthy is Chaitra Suddha Dasami during the time of Ashlesha Nakshatra and the day was  Sunday. The spot where Lord Dakshinamurthy emerged can be seen even today and it can be identified as a certain Banyan tree near Brahmavidya Tirtha at the banks of river Swarnamukhi. Two lingas are found there; Sanatkumara Linga and the other one is Parasareshwara Linga.

If one performs the japa of Lord Dakshinamurthy at this place, mantra siddhi is easily bestowed with the blessing of Lord Dakshinamurthy who presides this place. This was the assurance that was given to the three sages.

The temple is unique due to its Southern entrance. The moment one enters, he/she can see Lord Dakshinamurthy. The darshan of Lord Dakshinamurthy recalls the revelation of Shivatatwa as it has been narrated in the Chandogya Upanishad’s discourse between sage Narada and Sanatkumar. Sage Vashista who was moaning the death of his hundred sons because of Vishwamitra’s curse. Lord Kalahsthiswara enlightened Vashista with supreme knowledge. Hence, due to so many mythological references, the darshan of Lord Dakshinamurthy is not to be seen anywhere else. 

Abode to Devotees:

Bramha, Vishnu, Indra, and other celestials, Saga Bharadwaja, Vasishtha, Agasthya and others, Jagathguru Sankaracharya, Sivanayanars, poets Dhurjati, Nathkeera, Yadhava King, Dancing Ladies from Madurai and the great devotee Kannappa worshipped Lord Srikalahasthiswara and were blessed by the Lord.  

Theerthas:

As per the narration provided by Sage Vedavyasa in the Sthalapuranam, there are 36 theertham in total in this kshethram. The Sahasra Linga, Harahara, Bharadwaja, Markandeya, Mukha, Surya, and Chandra theerthams are the most important ones and taking a holy bath in these theerthams is considered as sacred and people,e believed to get rid of their sins after taking a holy dip. This is also common knowledge that staying here is the path to attain salvation or moksha.

Sahasralinga:

Sahasralinga is a pilgrimage place which is located around 14 km from the Sirsi Taluk in the district of Uttara Kannada of Karnataka state in India. It is situated in the river Shalmala and is famous for being one of the rare places where one can see around thousand lingas which are carved on the rocks in the river and on its banks.

Saraswathi Theertham:

The well which is found inside the temple is known as Saraswathi Theertham. It is believed that the water of the well has magical power and can cure people with stammering problem and it can also make one eloquent.

Srikalahasti is located in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh state. Both rail & road communications are available to reach the place from anywhere in India and one can reach the place pretty easily. For the records, Chittoor is only 40 km away from the Holy Tirupati and the railway station of Chittoor is at a distance of 3 km on the Renigunta - Gudur track.

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