|Entrance,Mahalingaswamy temple, Tiruvidaimarudur. thiruvidaimarudur.com|
|Inside, Mahalingaswamy temple,Tiruvidaimarudur.www.chennaionnet.com|
In India when people have mental problems for various reasons, some go to the Psychiatrist for help, advice and treatment and many do not consult the shrink for fear of being tagged as mad. People must be aware that physical well being and mental well-being are two separate entities. Particularly in the villages people believe that those with odd behavior and mentally unstable are under a spell and ought to be exorcised and they rule out medical treatment. However, some people seek basic medical treatment for such people and at the same time have deep faith in God and prayer. In India, there are some temples that are believed to have some miraculous powers and over a long period of time through visits and puja, patients with mental ailment get cured slowly. Like Hindu temples, there are churches as well, where praying to the holy spirit for a certain period will mitigate the sufferings. In Tamil Nadu, India near Kumbakonam city there is an historical old temple whose deity is known to have mystical powers to cure mental disorders. Regardless of advanced treatment for mental ailments, faith and prayer will positively help the depressed people.
Ten kilometer north of Kumbakonam city, Tamil Nadu, S.India, lies the Tiruvidaimarudur Shiva temple, one of the seven major Shiva temples with an imposing gopuram (Tower) and a huge Linga (presiding deity) enshrined in the sanctum and is being visited by scores of people through out the year. His consort Parvati is referred to as Pirguchuntara Gujambigai. This Mahalinga sthala (Big Linga shrine) is one of the Jothilinga sthalas since Shiva raised out as a flame to the sages and was worshiped as Jyothi(Agni/fire), the sacred flame and in course of time, Jyothrilinga temples came into being. Here the presiding deity is also called Jyothirmaya Mahalingam. Among the 159 inscriptions, one of them states that there was a theater for enacting Dramas (Natakasala) and the artist received one veli (approximately 3 acre) as a gift for developing the art. Aryakoothu and Chakkaikoothu were enacted during festivals. The inscriptions show close association with Pandyas, Cholas, Thanjavur Nayaks and Thanjavur Maratha kingdom in building and patronizing this temple. Mud pots were used to bring water from the Cauvery for Thirumanjanam (abhiseka - anointing)). The temple was a center for fostering fine arts.
Brahmahathi Dosham (blemish) and Shiva temple:
Brahmahathi (Brahma - Brahmin; Hathi - sin caused by a murder – Brahminicide?) A small, strange weird stone figure is found on the wall near the south entrance (south Torana Vayil in Tamil) with head disheveled and face partly hidden between the knees. There is a legend behind the image of Brahmahathi in this temple.
Centuries ago a strong belief was in vogue that whoever killed a Brahmin (by Caste) accidentally or on purpose would be haunted by ''Brahmahathi Dosham'' and the evil spirit would give the sinner as much trouble as possible till it was driven out or exorcised for good.
Once a Chola ruler’s horse accidentally crushed a Brahmin and killed him. The sin followed wherever the ruler went. He worshiped at several temples to make amends but it was of no avail; the haunting of the evil spirit continued unabated. Upon the advice given by a well-read holy man, the mentally affected ruler came to Mahalingaswamy for prayer and redemption and minutely followed the holy man's instructions. When the king came to this temple, as usual, the Brahmahathi could not enter the holy place of worship and veneration and waited outside for the ruler' exit through that entrance. The king, having finished his prayer, went out of the temple by another exit and purposely avoided the entrance (gate) where the evil spirit had been eagerly waiting in the hope of seizing him back. It is believed that the evil spirit even to day is anxiously waiting for the ruler. The king was relieved of his melody for ever. Some sources point out, the ruler was one Varaguna Pandiya’ of Pandya dynasty and not Chola.
People inflicted with mental disorders or extreme mental agony go around the Prakaram - long corridor in the temple and get them redressed.
This temple is being maintained by Thiruvavadudurai Adheenam. His Holiness of the Adheenam is closely associated with spiritual (Sivatthondu ) and social services in Tamil Nadu.