Monday, April 6, 2015

Sarabeswara Sannadhis

Fear is the key at various stages of life. It may be due to illness, enmity or anything that can cause worry to the mind. Many of us stand clueless once our attempts become unsuccessful. The agony caused is too much for anyone to bear. Mythology shows the way to come out of such a challenging situation. It tells us how God is merciful if we seek asylum in Him. Yes, it is our good fortune which alone can direct us in that direction.

When Lord Vishnu came out of a Pillar to show he was present everywhere, it was not just to destroy the Demon King Hianyaksha but also to bless His devotee, Prahaladha. He did not control His anger even after killing the Demon. Devas feared that the killing spree would continue. Then they went to Kailash and reported the matter to Lord Shiva and prayed Him to save the World from the fear of destruction. The Lord took the form of Sarabha Pakshi, as a combination of Lion and a bird with large wings and held Narasimha in His hands On seeing Lord Shiva appeared before Him, Vishnu with folded hands pleaded mercy for His act What we see in sculptures pertaining to Sarabeswara depicts the very moment in which Shiva controlled the angry Narasimha to remove the fear of Devas and others.

There are many shrines where Sarabeswara sannadhi is prominent. We can name a few of them which are housed in Temples where the main shrine is that of Shiva Linga Murthi. In general, the Sarabeswara sannadhi faces south. As South is the direction meant for Yama, The Lord faces that direction and protects His devotees from the clutches of Yama.

Abath Sahayeswara Temple at Dugachi,near Nachiar Koil has a small sannadhi for Sarabeswara. The idol faces south and attracts devotees and the Temple is undergoing renovation though at a very slow pace. This Temple was built by Vikrama Chola.

The biggest sannadhi for Sarabeswara is at Thirubhuvanam, about 7 km east of Kumbakonam. The Sanctum is located at at a height similar to the Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikonda Cholapuram & Darasuram where the Vimanam above the sanctum is higher than that of the Raja Gopuram. Since the Lord removed the fear of Devas , He is known as Kambahareswara. The Chola Temple has a south facing sannadhi for Sarabeswara where people from different places come to worship Him with the prayer to remove the obstacles faced in their lives. It attracts good crowd on Sundays during Rahukala ( 4.30 – 6.00 p.m) when special pujas are performed to Sarabeswara.

People are generally not aware of an important Temple related to Sarabeswara at Narasingan pettai which is near Aduthurai on Kumbakonam – Mayiladuthurai road. The Temple is located about 1 km off the main road. The legend says that Narasimha , after realising His mistake worshipped Shiva here. The Temple , not very big though, has a beautiful vimanam above the Sanctum. The Linga Murthi is big and one can see the sculpture showing Narasimha’s worship of Lord Shiva.

It is interesting to see the Sculpture of Sarabeswara in the Pillars of various Temples. The one at Koyambedu, Chennai attracts hundreds of devotees on Sunday evenings. But the strange aspect is that we find Sarabeswara with two heads, holding Narasimha in His hands. It is not clear why He is shown with two heads. This sculpture is in a Temple at Thirisoolam, on the out skirts of Chennai.