|Soora samharam, Thiru Annamalai temple.www.thiruvannamalai.in|
| Sri Subramaniya Swamy Temple, tiruchendurmurugantemple.tnhrce.in|
|The western tower,Thiruchendur Karthikaya temple..indianjourneys.wordpress.com|
In the Hindu mythology there are innumerable legends that may be intriguing to westerners. Surprisingly, in each legend there underlies a moral or two that will have some relevance with our lives. In variably almost all legends boil down to a few essential facts of life. There is no room for violence in our society. This excludes inevitable wars between nations. Legends underscore the value of leading a contended life on the path of Dharma, devotion to God and charity. When the evils rule the roost, they will be dispelled by the good through the action of God.
The ''Kandha Shasti'' festival, an important event associated with six shrines (Aarupadai Veedu in Tamil) of Subramanya Swamy (Karthikaya/Muruga) is celebrated with bakthi and devotion in the month of November and the festival may last 6 to 7 days, depending on the temples. The long-drawn festival commences with temple flag-hoisting on an auspicious day and time followed by complex Yagasala pooja rituals and chanting of special mantra appropriate to that occasion in Sanskrit by specially trained Veda Pundits during the festival days. Special poojas and prayers are offered by the devotees from all walks of life who throng the temple. The highlight of this famous festival is an exciting event attended by thousands of ardent devotees called ''Soora Samharam''(Slaying of demon) a mock up battle between vicious demon Soorapadman and his troops on one side and Lord Karkhikaya on the other side in which the lord slays the demon, thus restoring peace and tranquility in the region.
|Thiruchendur. Raja gopuram or Western tower.en.wikipedia.org/wik|
During the festival days the devotees abstain from drinks and non-vegetarian food and do pooja (prayer) regularly in the early morning after bath. They also fast by just taking one meal a day. ''Kandha Shasti Vratham'' (fasting) is observed once a year in the month of ‘Aippasi'(October–November), starting from the ‘piratamai' the 1st phase of the brightening moon. The mind is supposed to be cleansed by fasting, pilgrimage, prayer, meditation and other devotional activities. An inspiring combination of cleansed mind and body engaged in meditation is conducive to contentment and inner strength. A contended mind will give spiritual and divine enlightenment. Devotees also practice celibacy during the festival period. Innumerable devotees walk long distance barefoot, covering more than 20 kms to the temple to fulfill their prayer/vow, a tedious task, but they do it without feeling the pangs of fatigue and pain, as their devotion to God is just overwhelming.
The legend has it that an Asura (Demon) by thename of Surapadma was ruling Veera Mahandrapuri, an island fortress, as his Capital. He performed many tough austerities, meditating on Lord Siva, who, at last, granted him many boons that gave him enormous power and immortality. Intoxicated with enormous power, later he became arrogant and egotistical and captured three worlds and made the Heavenly immortals to do odd task at his beck and call. Unable to bear his torture, Devas complained to Lord Siva. Lord Siva, losing patience, opened his eye on his forehead (in Tamil Netrrikkan/Gnakkan) to create a son to kill the Asura. Six sparks of fire where emanated from the third eye of Lord Siva, each one becoming a baby.
Nurtured by 6 nymphs - Karthigai kannigal, the child became Arumugam (in Tamil Aaru refers to six) with six faces and 12 arms. On orders from Lord Shiva, Subramaniya Swamy (also Arumugam) fought Surapadman along with Veerabahu and killed the Asura, thus saving the Devas from torture and threats. This shrine is built for the child god to pray to Lord Shiva. Hence in the Sanctum, Lord Subramaniya Swamy is seen in the posture of worshiping Lord Siva.