Published:21 Feb 2020 8 AMUpdated: 21 Feb 2020 8 AM  Ananta Vikatan
ஹரியும் சிவனும் ஒன்று என்பதை உணர்த்தும் சிவாலய ஓட்டம்! -
 குமரியில் ஒலிக்கும் கோபாலா, கோவிந்தா கோஷம்

Hari and Hara (Siva) are one. A Runathon to prove it in Kumari with Gopala-Govinda Chanting.
சிந்து ஆர் Sindhu R

1. Sloganeering runners as a prelude to Sivaratri.
2. In anticipation of the Sivaratri festival, the Sivalaya runathon is in progress in the Kanyakumari district.
3. In anticipation of the Sivaratri festival, the Sivalaya runathon is in progress in the Kanyakumari district. To establish the impress of the principle that Hari and Hara are one, the devotees raise the slogan, Govinda-Gopala, and visit the twelve Sivalayas for Darsan. The first leg of the runathon begins at Thirumalai Siva temple, and the Sivalaya run with worship continues to other temples in Thikkuricchi, Thirparappu, Thirunandhikkarai, Ponmalai, Pannippakkam, Kalkulam, Melangodu, Thiruvidakkodu, Thiruvidhangodu, Thiruppanriyodu, and Thirunattalam. The Sivalaya run to the 12 temples with Darsan amounts to 108km. The devotees travel by foot, cycle, two-wheeler, automobile, and other transports. The last leg of the run ends in Sankara Narayana Temple for Mahavishnu near Thirunattalam Siva Temple. The Darsan runathon nears completion with the Sankara Narayana Temple.
4. Sivalaya runathon devotees.
5. The Puranas mention this famous Sivalaya runathon. At the end of the Mahabharata war, the Kauravas, the epitomic Adharma Sakthis, underwent annihilation. Soon after that, the coronation of Dharumar, the oldest among the five brothers, was in the planning stages. Imagine this: For his coronation, there was a need for milk from a man-animal chimera (Purusha Mirugam), which sported an animal body above the hips and human body below the hips. This chimera was a veteran devotee of Siva and ate any trespasser coming into its territory. If anyone had the will and the courage to oust the chimera (man-animal being) out of its native land, it was liable to succumb to their control. Bhima, the brother of Dharuman with hyper-arrogance consented to enter the chimera’s domain and chase it out of its territorial habitat.
6. Mayakkannan, the steadfast friend of Pandavas, presented Bhima with 12 Rudraksha beads and advised him, “If the chimera must go beyond the boundaries of its domain and if you desire it to pursue you with fierceness and passion, there is only one way. It would help if you shouted out to this rude chimera chanting my name: “Gopala, Govinda. Anyone who utters the name other than Siva within its habitat draws its ire and impels it to chase the intruder (Bhima). If the chase results in your capture by the chimera, drop one of the Rudraksha beads. Once it falls on the ground, it will into Sivalingam. Instantly, the chimera will squat before Sivalingam, offer a prayer, and then resume its chase. That opportunistic interlude will help you escape and go out of its reach.” That Mayakkannan is no other than Krishna.

7. Sivalaya runners are slaking their thirst.
 8. Bhiman accepted Kannan’s plan. He went into Purusha Mirugam’s territory. He shouted out, “Gopala, Govinda.” The chimera rose from the worship of Siva with passion and fury and chased Bhiman. It outran Bhiman. Bhiman realized it. Shortly before its capture of him, Bhiman dropped one Rudraksha bead out of the many he received from Krishna. The bead transmuted into Sivalingam. The chimera sat before the Lingam and offered worship to it for some time. Bhiman again invoked the names of Gopala and Govinda loudly. That set in motion the chimera to chase Bhiman. Bhiman ran and dropped one bead at a time, precipitating the transmutation of the prayer bead into Siva lingam, the pause for worship, and resuming of the chase by Purushamirugam.
9. These episodes involved the use of the 12 Rudraksha beads. The final chase was full of surprises. When Bhiman crossed the line, one foot was outside, and one foot was inside its domain. The Purushamirugam caught the offending leg in its territory and held it against all arguments from Bhiman for its release. The chimera insisted that since one leg was in its land, Bhiman belonged to it. For resolving the case, the chimera went to Dharuman. Dharuman, submerging his brotherly love, declared that Bhiman’s body should be split into two halves, and one half belonged to the animal-man. The chimera realizing the sound judgment of Dharuman, the animal-man let go of Bhiman.

10. The first temple on the Runathon with Jostling devotees.
11. The Purushamirugam worshipped where the 12th bead fell. The Sivalingam bore the image of Mahavishnu. The chimera fell into a state of utter confusion. When the Purushamirugam received the Darsan of Sankara Narayanan, the fusion of Hari and Hara, God accepted the chimera as his slave and admitted him into his good graces. Realizing Siva and Vishnu are one, the chimera left behind its rudeness and animus, received clarity, stepped out of its domain, and agreed to offer the milk for the coronation of Dharumar. Bhiman, drunk with the arrogance of his physical power, and caught by the Purushamirugam (= man-animal chimera), realized his true self. Where Bhiman dropped the 12 beads are now the 12 Temples of Siva. These are the temples along the runathon route. Where Purushamirugam received the Darsan of Unity of Siva and Vishnu is Nattalam. This is the location of the Siva Temple, and the adjoining Sankaranarayana Mahavishnu Temple, the Darsan of Sankaranarayana by the chimera, took place. Today is the religious holiday enabling the temple runathon.