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The Golden Manuscript

Once a priest in the Kashi-Vishwanath temple had a dream. In his dream Lord Shiva appeared and said that he should invite all priests and scholars to the temple. The next morning the priest invited all the priests and scholars and told them about his dream of the previous night. Everyone considered the priest lucky for having seen the lord in his dreams. Soon all of them collectively propitiated the lord with rituals. After all the rituals were completed they were surprised to see a golden manuscript near the Shivalinga which was shining brightly.
The assembled scholars asked the priest to read what was written in the manuscript. It was written “This valuable manuscript should be handed over to a virtuous person. This manuscript is a present by the Lord to a person several virtues to his credit.”
The chief priest who had called all the scholars to the meeting had all the virtues to his credit, but he was very modest and thought that there were several virtuous people around and such people should get a fair chance in claiming the manuscript. Those assembled began listing to each other how virtuous they were and that they should be the recipient of the manuscript.
The priest on the other hand thought for a while and came up with a solution. He told those who had assembled that they should attend the service at the temple every Friday. The manuscript would be given to every visitor to hold. We will come to know the most virtuous person by divine will. Everyone agreed to this idea. On the first Friday morning each one was given the manuscript but as soon as they touched it, it turned into a manuscript made of slate. They were surprised and told the priest “It is miraculous how the golden manuscript remains golden in your hands but turns to slate when it comes to our hands!”
On subsequent fridays the same thing was repeated and the golden manuscript turned into slate.
Meanwhile, an old man was visiting Kashi and reached the temple. Seeing the serene atmosphere surrounding the place the man thought it was really a blessing to be in such a holy place. He went and bathed in the Ganges and arrived at the temple. Outside the temple he saw a leper shivering in the cold. He went near him and saw that he was hungry too. He gave him something to eat and presented him a shawl saying that it would help keep him warm in winter. Satisfied that he had helped the leper the man went inside the temple. Since it was friday the old man was also given the manuscript to hold. As soon as the man held the manuscript it did not turn into slate but shone brightly as before. The priest handed over the manuscript to him saying that he was the most virtuous and that he was worthy of the manuscript. The man humbly accepted it. The people who had earlier clamored for the manuscript understood that the most virtuous were those who gave without expecting any return.

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When King Daksha failed to invite Lord Shiva for the yagna he arranged, Dakshayini, his daughter and the consort of Lord Shiva was livid. She felt that her husband had been unduly insulted. She confronts her father even after Shiva warns her that it would be futile and that she would be insulted at her father’s yagna. When Shiva’s prediction came true and Dakshayini jumps into the fire, Shiva’s anger knew no bounds.
He came to earth and kept his left foot on top of the Rajagambeera mountain. His fury turned the mountain into a volcano and erupted by which the mountain split in two and began burning. In this heat there was a woman who was the most affected. She was Ganga who was residing in the locks of Shiva. She called out to her brother the omnipotent Vishnu, who arrived immediately to rescue his sister from her plight.
He created seven lakes and used the water from these lakes to put out the fire induced by Shiva’s fury. The mountain on which Shiva placed his left foot is known as Midhimalai and the place where he placed his right foot is known as Adi Annamalai. Ganga is said to have enshrined herself in this place.
The legend behind this temple of Gangaiamman is this:
During the reign of the Vijayanagar King Bukka, his son Kumarakambanan was combating forces from the north in the southern states. At that time, he unnecessarily picked up a fight with the king of Rajagambeera, Rajanarayana Venrumankondan. The war was fought in Kalambur. Rajanarayan who fleed in the end ran to Kalvasal. Kumarakamban’s army followed him there. Though Kumarakamban won the war, he entrusted the kingdom to Rajanarayan. This was later known as Sandhavasal. According to legend, Kumarakamban’s wife built the temple for Gangadevi when the goddess appeared in her dream.
The temple is on the foothills of the Rajagambeera mountain.
This temple is situated on the Tiruvannamalai-Vellore route. It is 50 kms from Tiruvannamalai and 32 kms from Vellore.

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Once there was king by name Kritaveerya. He and his wife Sugantha were blessed with a boy. Unfortunately the child did not have both legs. The king was saddened by this. However, his wife consoled him by saying that the child had the blessings of his ancestors and that it would help their son immensely.
Kritaveerya named his son Kartaveeryarjuna and he grew up to be a pious boy. Soon he went to the forests to meditate on Lord Dattatreya. Pleased with his devotion the lord appeared before him and granted him thousand hands and blessed him with a good life.
One day Kartaveeryarjuna went to bathe in the river Narmada along with his wives and retinue. All of a sudden he turned to his women and said “Can you see the beautiful Narmada flowing along. However she cannot flow anywhere beyond by control.” So saying he opened his thousand arms and stopped the Narmada from flowing beyond him.
Meanwhile, in another bank of the Narmada, Ravana was propitiating Shiva oblivious to his surroundings. Suddenly Kartaveeryarjuna dropped his thousand arms and the water began flowing faster and flooding the river banks. Ravana’s prayers were disturbed and he was livid. He wondered how the river could suddenly flood the area and asked his minions to find out. They said that Kartaveeryarjuna was behind this.
Ravana went to were the king was bathing and ordered him to leave the place. Angry with Ravana, the king started a duel. He fought with Ravana and hit him with his mace on his chest. Ravana fainted. The king promptly tied him up and put him in jail.
Several months passed and one day Pulastya the hermit met the King. He said Ravana was his grandson and that he wanted the king to release Ravana. Kartaveeryarjuna said that he did not know that Ravana was the hermit’s grandson. He also added that since Ravana had bravely fought with him, he had spared his life and put him in jail. So saying he released his captive and sent him with his grandfather.
Pulastya said that Ravana deserved this treatment as he had overstepped his boundaries. He also blessed him with the title Ravanajit.
Years passed and Kartaveeryarjuna’s bravery spread far and wide. Once on an expedition, he saw that the hermit Jamadagni had a divine cow. He abducted the cow. Angered by this the hermit’s son Parasurama killed Kartaveeryarjuna. In revenge, the king’s sons killed the hermit Jamadagni. Legend says that Parasurama killed 21 kings from the Kshatriya community to avenge his father’s death.

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Erumaivettipalayam is a small hamlet about 7 km from Karanodai village in Tiruvallur district. Situated in this sleepy hamlet is a temple for Angala Parameswari.

The legend behind this temple is as follows.

In the days of yore there was demon called Mahishasura. He troubled all of human kind. But he was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Once he meditated upon Shiva and the lord appeared before him. He asked Shiva that he be bestowed with immortality. Shiva granted him a boon saying that he would be killed by one of four women who enter that village.

Mahishasura was elated. He was happy that he would never be killed because he thought that no woman could kill him, a powerful demon. He went on his rampages with this thought. The people and devas could not tolerate him and went to Lord Shiva for help. Shiva said that it was time that women who were to kill him would soon arrive and that would be the end of Mahishasura.

Meanwhile, Rama and Sita arrived in this hamlet during their exile. One day when Rama was doing his penance, Sita was bathing in the river nearby. Mahishasura arrived there and looked at Sita. Sita was scared out of her wits and she ran to Rama and plonked herself on his lap. Rama came out of his trance and took the dry grass by his side and threw it on all four sides. Out of this grass from all four sides four women emerged.

Looking at the nymphs Mahishasura was reminded of Shiva’s boon. The four nymphs who were Angala Parameswari, Ponniamman, Marakalathamman and Kaikathamman, looked at Mahishasura and began following him. The demon was petrified and began to run. Fearing his life he took the form of a buffalo and hid himself in the Punyakoti river.

Angala Parameswari with her eight hands and seated on a lion took a plunge into the river and killed the buffalo with one stroke from her sword.

All the nymphs after the death of Mahishasura then prepared to leave the place. The people and the devas surrounded them and pleaded with them to stay on in their village and bless them. They accepted and each of the nymphs took their posts in the four different directions of East, west, north and south. Angala Parameswari temple is in the eastern side of this hamlet.

It is believed that people affected by black magic come here in droves to get the blessing of the deity as she is believed to cure these ailments.

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Pushparatheshwara

 

Hundreds of years ago there was a Chola king who invaded Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and captured it. On his way back he camped in a place called Cholavaram. Being an ardent devotee of Shiva, one day early in the morning he went looking for red lotuses to propitiate Him. But he coudn’t find it anywhere, so searching for lotuses he reaches a small village called Gnayiru. (Gnayiru, literally means Sun) The king found a pond full of red lotuses in this little village. Excited with his find, he spotted a lone lotus flower which stood taller than the rest of the flowers. He was struck by the beauty of the flower and ventured into the pond to pluck it.

But the closer he got to the flower the farther it went. Frustrated with his attempts to pluck it, he threw his sword at the flower. The sword found its mark on a Shiva linga which was being guarded by the lotus. Blood started spurting from the linga and the whole pond turned red. There was a blinding light and noise. Witnessing this spectacle, the king turned blind. His horse ran amuck.

The king repented his action and prayed to Lord Shiva, who in turn appeared in front of the King as Sun and returns his vision. He then tells the King to build a temple for Him. Because He appeared from a flower, the deity in this temple is known as Pushparatheshwara. The King built a beautiful temple on the banks of the pond. The King’s sword which made a mark on the linga is still visible to this day.     

Legend also has it that Surya who was estranged from his wife Chayadevi once came to propitiate the Lord in Tiruvannamalai. After his prayers when he was circumambulating the shrine he saw a light which fell on him by way of blessings and moving away. Intrigued, he followed the light till it reached the village of Gnayiru, where it fell on the linga and vanished. Surya was pleased at the happening and prayed to Lord Pushparatheshwara for having blessed him and is said to have returned to his wife.

Since he is said to have bathed in the pond here, it is known as Surya theertham and he has a shrine in the temple. People visit the temple in the hope that they will be cured of eye related disorders.

 

(Gnayiru is 30kms away from Chennai. It is 13 kms from Red Hills in Chennai. The road is bad according to people who have visited the place. But the temple is worth a visit.)  

 

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Once Indra was cursed by rishi Durvasa that he would lose all his wealth and prosperity. Indra rushed to Vishnu and prayed that he be blessed with good fortune. Vishnu said that that Amirthalingam churned from the sea would be shattered by Kartikeya and will fall in different places. If Indra could only find one of them and install them in a temple and pray, Lakshmi would favour him. As instructed Indra goes to Amararamam where one of the pieces fell and installed the deity and prayed. Lakshmi showered him with wealth and prosperity in return. This linga which Indra installed is in Amaravathi on the banks of the river Krishna. The linga is about 35ft in height of which 15 ft is visible and 20 ft is covered in the ground.

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There is another tale related to the place mentioned in the Virajadevi story. Once there was an asura named Gaya. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He prayed to the Lord that he should not be killed by anyone other than the Trimurthis.

He was also given the opportunity to rule the three worlds. Afraid of losing his place among the devas, Indra complained to the Trimurthis that people and the sages were finding it difficult to perform their yagnas peacefully under Gayasura’s rule and that the demon should be vanquished soon.

The Trimurthis assured Indra that they would tackle Gayasura. The met Gayasura in the disguise of three Brahmins. They told Gayasura “Oh Asura! There has been no rain in the earth for a long time and the lands are parched. So we plan to do a yagna for seven days on a pure part of the earth, which we believe is on your own body.” Gayasura gladly agreed to the idea of performing the yagna on his person.

However, the Brahmins told him that for those seven days he should lie supine on the ground without moving a bit. If he did move a little, they would be forced to kill him. Gayasura agreed.

While lying supine Gayasura is said to have increased in size, His head was in Gaya in Bihar, navel was in Jajpur in Orissa and legs extended up to Pitta puram in Andhra Pradesh.

Vishnu did his yagna on the head of Gayasura, Shiva performed his yagna on his legs and Brahma on his stomach. With the beginning of the rooster crowing at dawn on a Sunday the first day of the yagna began. It went on for six days without interruption. On the end of the sixth day Indra reminded the Trimurthis that if the yagna went smoothly they would not be able to kill Gayasura. So on the seventh day during the yagna, Shiva crowed like the rooster. Gayasura thought that the seventh day was over and stirred. The Brahmins immediately told him that their yagna was not complete and the day was not yet over and that they would now have to kill him. Gayasura knew now that the Brahmins were none other than the Trimurthis and he was happy that he would die in their hands.

He agreed to be killed and urged them to give him a boon. He requested them to declare the places where the yagna was done on his person, would be places of worship and that people could pray there for the well being of their ancestors.

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