Saturday, 9 June 2018

Soul-inspiring Kanyakumari Amman temple, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari Devi. Pinterest
Kanyakumari Amman. Kanyakumari Temples - Mail
At the tip of southern peninsular India where the three seas  -  the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean meet, lies a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy. She also goes by the name of  Devi Kanya Kumari  who is a virgin goddess (in her adolescent child form). She is actually  "Sakthi" (Durga or Parvati) "Devi". It  is one of the 51 Shakti Peetams and  it  is believed that the spine area of Sati’s corpse ( when carried by lord Shiva) fell here creating the presence of kundalini sakthi in the region. Kumari Amman temple, where the goddess is worshiped as Sri  Bhadrakali by devotees and the near-by places are popular destinations that draw people from all parts of India. It forms the southern most end of the Indian subcontinent beyond which there is a vast sheet of water called the Indian ocean beyond which lies Antarctic region.  The reason why this temple gets importance is  due to the fact that Sage Parashurama himself is said to have performed the consecration of the temple.
Kanyakumari Amman temple. Nagercoil News today
The exciting fact is this temples' close links with great spiritualists of India.  In December 1892, on the advice of his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, visited the Kannika Devi's  temple to get her blessing. Upon worshiping the Devi he chose the near-by location on a rock outcrop for intense meditation to reach higher spiritual level, location and the nice ambiance gave him added impetus to focus on meditation As a Sanyasi (ascetic), he stopped being resigned and unassertive and tried  to get far better spiritual experience.  This is the reason why Vivekananda differed from other Sanyasis (ascetics) as his level of thoughts was on a higher plane.  Later, Sanyasis like Swami Brahmananda (1863–1922) and Swami Nirmalananda (1863–1938), another two disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa, also worshiped Devi Kanyakumari. This place has close connection with 'Sarada Peetham'. Swami Nirmalananda  trained several small girls from many parts of Kerala here in 1935-36 period. He chose seven girls who   became the members of the first batch of Nuns of the "Sarada Ashrama", a Hindu nunnery that was founded  in 1948 in Ottapalam, Palakkad, Kerala by Swami Vishadananda.

The idol of Devi Kumari  (virgin) is facing east. The Srikovil - sanctum is surrounded by three prakaras. The temple itself is surrounded by strong walls made of stones and the temple is accessed through the main gateway in the north. The eastern gate  is open only on special occasions and days such as new moon days during the month of Vrischikam, Edavam and Karkidakam, but most of the days remains closed. 

Since Lord Shiva failed to keep up his promise of marrying Kanyakumari, she did penance on him here. Kanya Kumari is widely mentioned in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Sangam works Manimekalai, Puranaanooru . Her nane is mentioned in  Narayana (Mahanarayana) Upanishad, a Vaishnava upanishad in the Taittiriya Samhita of Krishna Yajur Veda.

Legend has it that once Asura Bana, a demon king after getting extraordinary powers from Lord Brhma through intense penance and caused untold miseries to Devas and others. His death could only be caused by a virgin, not by others.  Consequently the Pancha boothas - the five natural elements were unable to do their duty  due to constant threats from the demon king. And it meant that it would lead to a sort of natural calamity and earth would come to a stand- still position.  Bhagavathy, being a virgin  goddess who could set the earth right, was capable of killing the Asura. Goddess did intense penance on Shiva to marry the lord.  Pleased with her prayer, when Shiva was on his way from Susheendram to marry Devi,  sage Narada  purposely delayed the marriage by creating a situation to impress on  the lord that the marriage  time  (muhurat or muhurtam or auspicious time) - the Brahma muhurtam early in the morning- had already passed. The marriage did not take place and the marriage procession returned.  Narada's intention was to have the demon killed by Kanyakumari before her marriage. In the meantime, unaware of postponement of marriage and Narada's strategy,  Devi, disappointed as she was, was quite upset that she had been snubbed by lord Shiva. When she regained her composure, she decided to remain a Kanni - virgin.  Asura, not realizing that she was god-incarnate approached Kanyakumari  to marry him. Infuriated Goddess Bhagavathy killed the demon king. When he realized it was Goddess shakthi, he requested her to absolve him of all his sins and since then this place has become her permanent abode.  

The presiding deity is in standing posture with a akasamala in her hands. Here, her mount is lion indicating that she is the form of Durga. The great Philosopher Sankarachariyar of Kalady  organized and classified the rites and rituals of the temple in the form of a treatise. Here, Kalabhairava called Nimish  is a ferocious form of Lord Shiva who annihilates everything - meaning anything against justice  to restore the good and  the Shakti is 'Sarvani'. In the Shakti Peetham of Shuchindram, it is to be noted that  the Kalabhairava is 'Sanhar' and the Shakti is 'Narayani'. 

Navaratri (Sept-Oct)- nine day festival is a great event and the navaratri mantapam comes alive on the 9 days with bhajans, prayers, music dance
performances. etc

Tit-bits:
On full moon days, pilgrims and tourists can enjoy the setting of the sun in the west and the rising of the moon in the east.
"Siri kanyakumari Amman temple"Dinamalar.
\https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devi_Kanya_Kumari http://www.templedetails.com/bhagavthy-amman-templekanya-kumari/