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Archive for August, 2011

GANESH CHATURTHI

SALUTATIONS to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings.

Mushikavaahana modaka hastha,
Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,
Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra,
Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe
MEANING: “O Lord Vinayaka! the remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!”
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. 
Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, they are thrown into water.

Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun.
He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.

The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:

Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.

When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha.

Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing. In his first lesson in the alphabet a Maharashtrian child is initiated into the Mantra of Lord Ganesha, Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah. Only then is the alphabet taught.

The following are some of the common Names of Lord Ganesha: Dhoomraketu, Sumukha, Ekadantha, Gajakarnaka, Lambodara, Vignaraja, Ganadhyaksha, Phalachandra, Gajanana,
Vinayaka, Vakratunda, Siddhivinayaka, Surpakarna, Heramba, Skandapurvaja, Kapila and  Vigneshwara. He is also known by many as Maha-Ganapathi.
His Mantra is Om Gung Ganapathaye Namah. Spiritual aspirants who worship Ganesha as their tutelary Deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.

The devotees of Ganesha also do Japa of the Ganesha Gayatri Mantra. This is as follows.
Tat purushaaya vidmahe
Vakratundaaya dheemahi
Tanno dhanti prachodayaat.

Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He is foremost amongst the celibates. He has as his vehicle a small mouse. He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides. He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows upon him worldly as well as spiritual success. Hence He is called Vigna Vinayaka. His Bija Akshara (root syllable) is Gung, pronounced to rhyme with the English word “sung”. He is the Lord of harmony and peace. Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava, which is the chief Mantra among the Hindus.Nothing can be done without uttering it. This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before beginning any rite or undertaking any project. His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om.

The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism. The holding of the ankusha represents His rulership of the world. It is the emblem of divine Royalty. Ganesha is the first God. Riding on a mouse, one of nature’s smallest creatures and having the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that Ganesha is the creator of all creatures. Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of
wisdom. It also denotes the process of evolution—the mouse gradually evolves into an elephant and finally becomes a man. This is why Ganesha has a human body, an elephant’s head and a mouse as His vehicle. This is the symbolic philosophy of His form.

He is the Lord of Ganas or groups, for instance groups of elements, groups of senses, etc. He is the head of the followers of Shiva or the celestial servants of Lord Shiva. The Vaishnavas also worship Lord Ganesha. They have given Him the name of Tumbikkai Alwar which means the divinity with the proboscis (the elephant’s trunk).
Lord Ganesha’s two powers are the Kundalini and the Vallabha or power of love. He is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. On one of His
birthdays He was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings. Having eaten a good number of these, He set out moving on His mouse at night. Suddenly the mouse stumbled—it had seen a snake and became frightened—with the result that Ganesha fell down. His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganesha stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly.

Seeing all this, the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh. This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed Him immensely and so he pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill-repute. However, if by mistake someone does happen to look at the moon on this day, then the only way he can be freed from the curse is by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel. This story is quoted in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Lord Ganesha was pleased to ordain thus. Glory to Lord Ganesha! How kind and merciful He is unto His devotees!

Ganesha and His brother Lord Subramanya once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.

Lord Shiva said, “Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?”
Ganesha replied, “No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!”

Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.
In the Ganapathi Upanishad, Ganesha is identified with the Supreme Self. The legends that are connected with Lord Ganesha are recorded in the Ganesha Khanda of the Brahma Vivartha Purana.

On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house. Feel His Presence in it.

Don’t forget not to look at the moon on that day; remember that it behaved unbecomingly towards the Lord. This really means avoid the company of all those who have no faith in God, and who deride God, your Guru and religion, from this very day.

Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.

May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!

Reference: 
HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS By SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
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Mookambika Devi Temple,Kollur

O Mukambi Devi!
O Goddess of learning.
Beauty’s Grace
Shines in Thy face.
Dwell always in my tongue.
Give me Tushti, Pushti, Vidya.
Thou art the only refuge,
The only object of adoration.
Thou art Brahma Sakti.
Adorations unto Thee
OM Aim Saraswatiyai Namah.

Kollur is a tiny hamlet in southern Karnataka lying on the banks of Sowparnika. It is here, in the lap of the Kudajadri hills that Mookambika, the goddess of vidya, resides. The Great trinity and the Parasakti together create the unified energy field of this temple.Mookambika temple is an ancient temple located at Kollur in Karnataka. Kollur is about 135 away from Mangalore. And is easily accessed from Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka by train and road.

The Mookambika Devi Temple of Kollur, dedicated to Mookambika Devi, is one of the most prominent shrines for people in the state of Karnataka and Kerala, India. Located at a distance of 147 km from Mangalore in the picturesque surroundings presented by the banks of the river Sauparnika and the lush green Kodachadri hill, the temple attracts millions of pilgrims every year. The temple holds immense relevance for the devotees as it is associated with revered Hindu saint and Vedic scholar Adi Shankara. It is believed that Adi Shankara perceived the idea of having a Mookambika Devi temple at Kollur and himself installed the idol of deity in the temple some 1200 years ago. People have high faith in Mookambika Devi Temple as Goddess Mookambika is regarded as a manifestation of Shakti, Saraswathi and Mahalakshmi. In fact the Temple of Mookambika Devi is one of the ‘Seven Muktisthala’ pilgrimage sites in Karnataka which are Kollur, Udupi, Subrahmanya, Kumbashi, Koteshwara, Shankaranarayana and Gokarna.
The Mookambika Devi Temple stands at the bottom of the Kodachadri peak. The deity is in the form of Jyotir-Linga incorporating both Shiva and Shakthi. The Panchaloha image (five element mixed metal) of the Goddess on Shree Chakra is stated to have been consecrated by Adi Shankaracharya during his visit to this place. It is believed that the original place of the goddess is on top of Kodachadri Peak (3880′) and as it was very difficult for ordinary people to trek all the way to Kodachadri, Shankaracharya reestablished the temple at Kollur.There is an exquisite sculpture ofPanchamukha Ganesha here.
Kollur is regarded as one of the Seven Muktisthala pilgrimage sites, of Parashurama Kshetra, in Karnataka which are (Kollur), Udupi, Subrahmanya, Kumbashi, Koteshwara, Shankaranarayana and Gokarna.

Other deities in the Kollur Mookambika temple include Shri Subramanya, Shri Partheeshwara, Shri Panchamukha Ganapathi, Shri Chandramouleeshwara, Shri Pranalingeshwara, Shri Nanjundeshwara, Shri Anjaneya, Shri Venkataramana, Shri Thulasi Gopalakrishna.
During the Navarathri celebrations in November, the temple is crowded with devotees. Janmashtami or Krishna jayanthi is also a popular festival here. It is believed that the Swayambu Linga appeared on this day.
Vidhyarambha or the initiation of small children in the letters of the alphabet of their mother tongue is carried out in the Saraswathi mantapa on the last day of the Navarathri festival. However Vidhyaramba can be conducted on any suitable day at the temple. Annadhana is offered as a free offering to the devotees every afternoon and in the evenings.

History Of Kollur Mookambika Temple, Karnataka

The history of Kollur Mookambika temple states that there lived a demon named Kaumasura who was unleashing a reign of terror upon all the gods with his special power given by Lord Shiva. When all the gods were trying their best to stay away from his vicinity, Guru Shukracharya brings good news to the gods that this demon would face death by a woman, that is Parvathi Devi. Knowing this Kaumasura undertakes severe penance, Lord Shiva asks this demon to ask for the boon, sensing grave danger if he his offered the boon, this goddess of speech makes this demon dumb.

Hence this Kaumasura came to be known as Mookasura (mooka means to be dumb). Thereafter Devi mobilised all the powers of the gods and then this demon was killed by Kollur Devi Parvathi. She was hence forth called Mookambikai. This place where Devi killed Mookasura is known as Marana Katte.

The Kollur Devi thereafter became the deity of this place offering her blessings to all who sought her. She poses with all her radiance along with the shank and chakra in both her hands sitting in the padmahasana posture.
Suyambulingam at Mookambika temple
The Suyambulingam at Sri Mookambika temple is said to have come into existence when Parameshwara drew the chakra with his toe. This chakra is believed to be the Udhbava linga which has drawn its strength due its proximity to all divine beings. It is also very sacred since Kollur Devi is supposed to be merged with this Suyambulinga and that has made her acquire great power.

Here she is said to have formed part of Lingam along with Lakshmi and Saraswathi on one side and Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Parameshwara on the other side. Apart from this there is also an carved image of Shiva said to be injured by during the clash with Arjuna known as Kiratharjuna and this is on the right side of this Suyambulinga.

Adhi Shankaracharya is believed to be instrumental in Devi Mookambika taking this place Kollur as her abode. It is this place near the bank of Souparnika river that Adhi Shankarar stopped to fix the Chakram and on above it placed the Devi and this forms the central idol behind the Linga. This temple has been patronized by many ancient kings who donated many precious jewels to Sri Kollur Devi and they are still adorned by her. Many other hindu kings have also donated to this temple since it was believed to be the state temple in those days.

Sanctum of Kollur Sri Mookambika Temple

The history of idol installation at Kollur Mookambika temple is nearly 1200 years old. King Halugallu Veera Sangayya is said to have laid the valuable stone to cover the inside premises and this was done by him under the instructions of Rani Chennamaji. The temple comprises of the sanctorum, a hall and the Lakshmi Mantapa at the rear. This Lakshmi Mandapam has four pillars and it is about 135 feet long. These four pillars are adorned with splendidly carved images of Indian deities.

The beautiful sculptures are figurines of various Gods and Goddesses such as Vinayaka or Ganesh, Subrahmanya, Naga, Mahishasura Mardini and the mother goddess or Devi in various forms. The Garbagriha at this Kollur temple is contemporary and artisitic in value. A huge deepasthambam stands tall with its base like a tortoise’s head. This Deepasthambam has 21 beautiful concentric circles which appear very divine and similar to that of Makara jothi when all the lamps are lit and viewed from distance.

The Navrathri festival begins with an invocation to Lord Ganesha who is on this pillar. As we move inside the corridor beyond the Garbhagriha there are four types of idols of Ganapathi. Among them are Dasa bhuja Ganapathi and Balamuri Ganapathi which is beautifully sculpted using white marble.

Then there is an image of a serpent that is worshipped by all Devi’s devotees in order to wade off the evil effects of Sarpodosa and other doshas. And it is believed that when touched while offeringprayers, the devotees are said to be blessed with good fortune.

The outer side of the pradikshana we see the idol of Lord Muruga followed by the idol of Saraswathi, Pranalingeswara, Prartheshwar and Mukya Prana. This Mukya Prana is placed just opposite to Veerabadrasamy shrine to strike a balance for its dangerous appearance. This Veerabadrasamy is said to be the presiding deity here.

Temple Pooja schedule

5.00 am        Temple nada opens. Nirmaalyadarshana
6.00 am        Usha pooja
7.30 am        Mangala aarathi
8.30 am        Bali
11.30 am      Uchcha pooja
12.00 pm      Maha naivedya
12.30 pm      Maha mangala aarathi
1.00 pm        Bali
1.30 pm        Nada closes
3.00 pm        Nada opens
6.00 pm        Pradosha pooja
7.00 pm        Salaam mangala aarathi and naivedyam
7.30 pm        Mangala aarathi
8.00 pm        Bali mangala aarathi
8.30 pm        Bali utsava. Ashtavadhaana pooja in the Saraswathi mantapa
9.00 pm        Kashaaya mangala aarathi. Temple nada closes.

Ornamental jewels of Sri Devi Mookambika
There is vast collection of jewels at the temple received as gifts of acknowledgement from the community of devotees who have realized their dreams and desires with the blessings of the Goddess. Of the various jewels of the Devi, the one in emerald is very valuable. Emerald represents knowledge. This temple has two processional deities of gold. One is offered by Rani Chennamma as a substitute for the missing original one. But subsequently the missing one was found and thus there are two processional idols. Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Sri. M.G.R. gifted a gold sword, which weighs one kg and is 2½ feet long. The former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Gundu Rao has gifted a similar type sword made of silver. The facial mask of Goddess Mookambika is completely made of gold and gifted by Vijaya Nagara Empire. The gold face mask of Jyothirlinga gifted by Chennammaji of Keladi is another unique ornament.

Sowparnika River

The two rivers Agnithirtha & Sowparnika which flow in the sanctuary of mookambika descend from Kodachadri hills. The wee spring of cool water situated in between the temples of Kalabhairava and Umamaheshwara is the source of river Sowparnika. Legend says that Suparna (Garuda) did a penance on the banks of this river praying to the Goddess for the abatement of his mother Vinutha’s sorrows. When the Goddess appeared before him, he prayed that the river be henceforth known after him, Suparna, and therefore came to be called as Sowparnika. At the location where he is said to have sat in penance, there is a small cave even today which is known as “Garuda’s Cave”.

This holy river takes birth at the Kodachadri and flows up to the edge of Anthargami (now oluru) region where two more streams called Bhrungisha and Pippalada join it. Then it flows westward, surrounding Kollur in the name of “Sampara”, and proceeds to join the sea near the temple of “Maharajaswamy” (Varahaswamy) at Maravanthe. It is believed that river absorbs the elements of 64 different medicinal plants and roots as it flows, therefore it cures all the diseases of those who bathe in it. Hence a bath in this river assumes significance and is considered sacred.

Festivals In Mookambika Temple

The Pancha Pooja and Thrikala Bali festivals are important festivals of the Mookambika temple.

Nithyothsavam – Every day ritual

Nithyotsava ritual is performed everyday at Devi Mookambika temple. Janmastami announces the birth of Lord Krishna. From then on till Navrathri every year, various rituals are followed at the ancient Mandapam. Sri Mookambikai is taken on the palanquin around the temple and thereafter ashtavadhana seva is conducted at Saraswathi mandapam that which is located inside the temple.

Varothsavam – Weekly ritual

Every Friday, at around six p.m. between Janmashtami and Navrathri, varothsavam celebrations are held. Before the Pradoshakala pooja the Devi Mookambika’s idol is carried to the olaga mandapam in the north. Here the ashtavadhana seva is offered to the goddess Mookambika.

Pakshotsavam – Fortnightly ritual

This fortnightly ritual involves carrying the deity on all new moon days and full moon days. After the night bali pooja the Devi’s idol is carried to the Saraswathi Mandapam located on the west. This street procession is rigorously followed and there after the idol goes back and the Kashaya Thirtha is given to the devotees.

Varshika Uthsavam – Annual ritual

Every Year in the month of March, the annual ritual is observed at this glorious temple and it is celebrated for ten full days. On the moola nakshatra day the Brahma Rathothsava is undertaken for Kollur Devi.

Kollur Mookambikai temple celebrations

On the first day the flag is hoisted soon after the Punya kala rites.

The second day at about five in the evening the Kollur goddess is taken around the village known as Grama pradhakshina in Kannada. Followed with night bali and after the ashtavadhana seva the procession is taken to the Saraswathi mandapam on the peocock chariot.

The third day program is the taking Devi to the Saraswathi mandapam in the north known as Toppalu Katte, night ritual Dolarohan, then pooja is performed for Mookambika and taken to the west side of the Sarawathi mandapam and ashtavadhana seva is performed.

Fourth day celebrations commences with the Katte pooja held at Sri GopalaKrishna temple. There after the night ritual follows with the Sri Mookambika being taken on the chariot Pushparatham to the Saraswathi mandapam on the west side and the ashtavadhana pooja is performed.

The fifth day ritual, Sri Mookambika is taken on the Rishaba Vahana to the Saraswathi mandapam in the west and Ashtavadhana seva is offered for devotees. In the day the goddess is taken in procession to the Gopalakrishna temple.

On the sixth day the procession to Patelara Katte at Balegadde begins at the day and the night ritual begins with the Kollur Devi being carried on the Gaja vahana to the Saraswathi mandapam in the west.

The seventh day program starts with the taking Kollur Mookambika Devi to the Saraswathi mandapam on the west side after the Pradosha pooja and glorious Rangapooja is performed. The night Bali follows where the Mookambika is taken on the Simma Vahana again to the Saraswathi Mandapam in the west for pooja and Ashtavadhana seva.

On the eight day the Maharathothsavam Odu Bali and the Brahma Ratha Arohanam is performed at 11.30 in the morning. The evening procession starts with the Brahma Ratham taken to the Saraswathi Mandapam at around 5 o clock in the evening in the west side.

Choornothsavam, okuli, Avabhritha Snanam at the Sauparnika are all part of the ninth day celebrations. The roving ceremony known as Theppothsavam and Miruga bette happens at night and then followed by pooja for Kollur Mookambika seated on the horse back and this function starts at around night 8 O clock until the next morning 8 O clock.

The tenth day celebrations start with Poornahuthi conducted at the north eastern side Yagashala and followed by the lowering of the flag known as Dhawaja Avarohana.

Navarathri Festival

Navarathri festival at Kollur Mookambika Temple is considered to be the most auspicious time to offer prayers to goddess Shakthi and its other forms. Millions of pilgrims visit the temple on these nine days. In South India, it is a belief that Vijayadashami is an auspicious day for small children to start their education called Vidya Arambam, hence pilgrims throng the temple from 4 am onwards for aksharabhishekam.

Navarathri begins with Mahalaya Amavasya and this falls in the October month and it coincides with the lunar calendar. The first day ritual or celebration starts with the Punyaha Kriya, Ghata Sthapana also known as Navakshari Kalasha, followed by Kalpoktha Pooja and Suvasini Pooja. On the fifth day the Lalitha Vrutha commences. Days other than the above Kalpoktha pooja, Suvasini pooja and Ranga pooja are conducted. The eight day is said to be the Durgashtami. Mahanavami falls on the ninth day and it is considered to be the most important day among all other days of the Navarathri. On this day Maha Chandika Yaga and pushparathothsavam are performed. During the procession of the Kollur Devi coins are thrown from the Pushparatham and those devotees who happen to get these coins are said to have the divine blessings of Sri Mookambikai. After this ceremony Udbhava lingam or Abhisheka is showered with Navakshari Kalasha. Kadiru habba, Navanna Prashana or meals made of new rice harvested, Vijayothsava and Vidyaramba are coducted on this Vijayadasami day along with the procession to Shukla thirtha. On this Vijaya dasami day Vidyarambam starts at 4’O clock in the morning.

How to reach Mookambika Temple – Kollur

By Road 3 hrs Approx

Mangalore city is only 50 km away from Udupi. Express buses ply between Mangalore to Udupi at regular intervals.From udupi we can reach Mookambika Temple – Kollur by bus from Udupi.

By Train    The railway station at Udupi falls on the Konkan Railway network and there are trains to most major cities of the state.From Udupi we can reach mookambika temple by bus or by taxi easily.
By Air    The nearest airport is the Mangalore airport located at Bajpe, 60 km away from Udupi. There are 2 flights daily from Mumbai,Bangalore and from other parts of India.From their we can reach Kollur Mookambika Temple by car.
Sarva mangala mangalye,. Sive sarvartha sadhike,
Sharanyethryambake Gowri,. Narayani Namosthuthe!”

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