Posted Date : 06:00 (11/09/2018)  Sep, 11, 2018  Sakthi Vikatan
Author: Indira Soundarrajan.  Images: N.G.Manikandan

Indira Saundarrajan. Images: N.G. Manikandan
The Kaveri river’s one part is subterranean. The Chola king was thinking about the river and its course for a long time one day. Should the flowing river go to waste because of its subterranean path? The river without a connection with an ocean is incapable of expunging the sins. Only when the river merges with the sea at the estuary, it gains great power. What should be said of Kaveri? That was the question the king had. He went seeking answers from a Tapasvin Ērakaṇdar performing Taps near a castor tree in Kottaiyūr.
Ērakaṇdar was thrilled to learn of the welfare of the people on the king’s mind. He said, “You are the exemplary king. Kaveri’s husband Agathiar is a Muni like me. I will seek him to find the answer to your question.” He left for Pothikai mountain where he performed Tapas.


After obtaining Darśan of Agathiar, he told him, “You must help, so the Kaveri river flows through all of Chola Mandalam.” Though he was happy, he said, “To obtain the subterranean river flow on the earth of their country, the land should have done auspicious acts and earned good destiny.”
Ērakaṇdar surprised at the question, raised a question, “Should soil and land be doing good deeds?” Agathiar answered.
Agathiar: The soil is foremost in importance. The man comes after that. A man sees the earth once in his lifetime. But, the soil sees millions of human lives daily. Therefore, do not think low of the earth. From the earth, we get food.
The soil’s worth comes from the people who live on it. He said, “Where the Tyāgis live, the value of the soil goes high. The benefits come quickly. If the Chola king wants the Kaveri to flow in his land, he should be prepared to perform Tyāgam (Spirit of self-sacrifice). If he does it, Kaveri will flow, and the soil will become rich.”
Ērakaṇdar hearing it came to a conclusion. Ērakaṇdar's first thought was he should himself perform the great Tyāgam. Chola king did not accept Muni’s proposal. Ērakaṇdar calmed him down. He went to Paḷḷam where Kaveri was flowing in the subterranean area. He offered his prayers to Kaveri, and as if he was giving his life, he jumped into the vast subterranean pit.
Kaveri did not expect this. She appreciated his altruistic behavior in the interest of others: He was ready to kill himself. She did not want to be the reason for his death. She flowed with the plan to rescue him, deposit him on the shore and ran in the Chola country. Later, Kaveri flowed throughout Tanjai Mandalam and merged with the ocean. She shined with three attributes of a river: Origin at the summit, Middle course (in the plains); and Depth.
Since its origin is in the mountain, it is the summit. Since it flows in the land, it is the Middle course. Since it merges with the deep sea, it gained the great Depth.
Because of the three natural qualities, Kaveri gained purity fast. All these happened because of the installation of Praṇavākāra Temple on Kaveri Island.
King Dharmavarman decided to build a temple for the Praṇavākāra Perumāṉ. For his efforts, Nīlivaṉa Ṛṣis gave him their helping hands.
A temple in any location must have a triad of greatness: 1. Mūrthy, 2. Tīrtham, 3. Virutsam (Idol, Sacred Water, and Tree). Describing the Mūrthy’s (Graven Image) greatness is beyond words in any language. Emperuman himself created his own idol and presented it to his devotees. For the fame of the sacred water, besides the Kaveri river, sacred lakes are essential.
The flowing river for expunging our Karma must join the ocean and eventually goes to the skies (as clouds). These waters like the lake offer Bliss-rays to the devotees coming for immersion. That is why bathing of the idols takes place in the lakes. The rivers run; the lakes store water. They offered consultations for digging the graceful ponds for the temple of Praṇavākāra Perumal Araṅgaṉ.
A sacred lake was in place naturally near where the temple was built. Chandrapuṣkaraṇi (holy lake) means that the lake gives the immersionists (those who immerse; மூழ்குபவர்) mental peace and clarity. Having that lake as the center, Dharmavarman dug eight ponds in eight directions.
These are the eight sacred water bodies: Vilva Tirtham, Arasu Tirtham, Puṉṉai Tirtham, Makizha Tirtham, Purasu Tirtham, Katamba Tirtham, Mā Tirtham, named after the trees (essential for each temple). These sacred tanks were formed with sweet water. Vilva Tirtham gives wealth; Naval, removal of disease; Arasu, progeny; Puṉṉai, auspiciousness; Makizha, fame; Purasu, wisdom; Katambam, determined and robust nature; Mā Tīrtham, a multitude of auspiciousness.
Bathing in these eight sacred water bodies inclusive of Chandrapuṣkaraṇi, worshiping Praṇavākāra Perumal, and understanding clearly the objective of this birth, we will get our place in the shade of his holy feet.
When these holy lakes were dug, appropriate sacred trees were planted and grew, making Tiruvaraṅgam as a Kṣētra offering the nine saktis. Because of it, the nine planets could not afflict the devotees of Araṅgaṉ guaranteeing the planets’ ineffectuality.
The temple’s greatness and strength depend on how the turret or the dome comes to be. The He, who knows the mechanism (structural engineering), becomes the architect in heaven. They knew the art and science of architecture. With their help, Sannidhi’s Golden Vimāṉam was built. The image of Araṅgaṉ as Paravāsudevaṉ was made. Visvakarmās idols were fashioned and installed. Inside abides, Praṇavākāra Araṅgaṉ for Darśan and on the outside abides Paravāsudevaṉ for homage and worship: This is to impress that Inside and outside his presence is complete and resplendent.
The Araṅga Tower’s consecrated pots are part of Gayatri’s cranial division. The Araṅga Mandapam below has 24 pillars. They are the echoes of (stand for) 24 alphabets (syllables) of Gayatri. They are built with the greatness and power of Mantra and structural strength and integrity. Around the Araṅgaṉ Temple, seven concentric walls were built. There were seven circumambulatory paths between these walls! A devotee can expunge the bondage of the soul preventing rebirth by these means: circumambulation along the seven paths, entering the Gayatri’s Araṅga Mandapam and taking Darśan of Araṅgaṉ in his Śayaṇa Kōlam (Recumbent pose).
The seven circumambulations indicating the seven worlds stand for the soul’s seven births. The seven circuits indicate Bhūlōka, Bhuvarlōka, Svarlōka, Maharlōka, Janōlōka, Tapōlōka, and Satyalōka.
These walls and ambulatory circuits were named after the respective seven worlds: example, Bhūlōka circuit, etc. The street outside the last wall enclosing the seventh loop at the perimeter of the temple is aṭaiya-valaiñcāṉ (= அடையவளைஞ்சான் = Street surrounding the external walls of a temple.)
Each circumambulatory path has a doorstep, over which rises a tower. In the sixth and seventh circumambulatory path, people lived in houses. The rest were inside the temple. 108 Tirupathi-Yanthāthi describes the greatness of Tiruvaraṅgam extolling this structural uniqueness.
These circuits were renamed with passing time: Trivikramachozhan Circuit, Kiḷich Circuit, Tirumaṅgai Maṉṉaṉ Circuit. Kulasekharan Circuit, Rajamakēnthirachozhan Circuit, and Dharmavarman Circuit.
Before these circuits were renamed, this magnificent temple after the reign of Dharmavarman remained buried in the mud. Kaveri river’s big floods buried this temple for some time.
Why? For what?
Will continue