|outer and inner entrances, Thanjavur big temple, TN ancient.eu/image/|
|Thanjavur Brihadeewara temple, TN main send entrance on east side. thehindu.com|
Though India has made a big stride in modern technology in the last three decades or more, still the natives, in particular, Hindus are superstitious and, in this respect, we are still on the back road. The unfounded belief is so deep-rooted nothing could shake them off it. As for the famous big temple Sri Brihadeewara temple dedicated to God Shiva at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, it is shrouded in a sort of mystery bordering on jinx for the politicians; to them it is a frightening experience to enter the temple because it is a place of worship with a spell on people in power. This belief did not exist in the 1960s and has been around since late 1980s. The belief is: Politicians /Statesmen who, irrespective of their party affiliation, visit this historical UNESCO world heritage temple (built in 1010 CE) through the main entrance on the east, will fall from their post or face impending doom. Haunted by such a fear, politicians on a visit to this city are afraid to take a look at the temple. This is what many people here say sarcastically. As for common men, this divine place is always crowded, in particular, on festival days. Every year, on invitation from the South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur (a central Govt. organization) operating in this city scores of young girls from other states perform classical dances native to their respective states.
|1860 front entrances and Nandi pavillion. Thanjavur big temple www.bl.uk/|
A small section of people have come up with a weird theory without any proof that it is due to the curse of sage Karurar, a Sidddha prusha who helped king Sri Rajaraja install the main huge Shiva linga in the sanctum/ garbagriha. Yet another fringe group that protested that the consecration should only be done in Tamil and not in both Sanskrit and Tamil, went one step ahead and said the fire mishap that took place in the Yagasala in 1997 on the temple premises during the beginning of the consecration ceremony 23 years ago was due to the use of Sanskrit against the wish of sage Karurar who preferred Tamil mantra to Sanskrit. There are neither temple records nor stone inscriptions in this temple to corroborate this. As a matter of fact, there are many inscriptions in Sanskrit as well in the big temple. However, it is good to both these wonderful classical languages that have lots of poems and devotional hymns.
|c1890 Thanavur big temple. credit James Kerr. oldindianphotos.in|
01. Former Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Congress leader was unexpectedly assassinated close to her official residence in Delhi in October, 1984. Just a few weeks before her fatal death, she visited the Big temple in Thanjavur along with the then CM MGR and they entered the temple through the main gate.
02. Former Tamil Nadu chief minister M.G. Ramachandran who happened to be a famous Tamil actor after his visit to the temple in the same year fell seriously sick with kidney problem. After recovery three years later he died in December, 1987 while in power. From then on superstition and myth overshot rationality and the belief, driven by surmises, grew manifold that the east gate (not the temple, however) facing the Nandi mandapam and the main shrine with sanctum is jinxed and a mysterious power is active there that 'does not like certain politicians entering through that gate.!!
03. The former CM of Tamil Nadu late Sri. Karunanidhi, a rationalist Dravidian politician and a staunch atheist in September 2010 took the side southern entrance on the park side and never took the main entrance Keralathan Vassal to avoid facing Nandi and the main shrine behind. Probably, somebody close to him advised him to avoid the direct stare by entering temple through the side gate. Earlier in 1997, when there was a fire accident caused by a spark from the fire works at night that resulted in the death of 45 people mostly women, then CM Karunanidhi, on a flying visit to the temple, took the side entrance and avoided the main gate. In 2011, his ministry was out of power.
04. When it comes to recent kumbabishekam (Feb.5, 2020)
Political analyst/satirist late Cho Ramaswamy expressing no excitement said: “ He (Karunanidhi) is masquerading as an atheist …... he follows the advice of astrologers on auspicious timing … if he has worn a white angavastram (upper cloth) instead of the usual yellow (shawal), it must be on someone’s advice that its use would ward off evil.”
However, we have to accept the fact that the former CM, despite his old age and commitments to rationalistic stand did enter the temple through the side gate, unmindful of the purported risk to his power. About the curse of Karurar, it may be a figment of somebody's mind. Being a sadhu, a Shiva bhaktha and Guru to king Rajaraja, he won't have gone to the extend of casting a spell on a great monumental temple dedicated to God Shiva. There are many differences between us and the sadhus, who are virtuous and whose main forte is 'control of all senses and focus on devotion to God'. According to the Maratha Prince of Thanjavur Raja Bhonsle, who is a hereditary trustee of the big temple: "Why should God punish anyone for entering the temple".
The recent consecration was done for the third time in the last 40 years. On April 3, 1980, the great ceremony took place after a pretty long gap of 177 years. During the colonial days the temple was not taken care of. In 1997, the consecration was originally planned for June 8 but was held the next day (June 9) on account of a big fire accident in the Yagasala in the evening.