‘Sri Lalitha Sahasranaamam’ is a veritable treasure. It was made available to the world from Thirumeeyacchur. This town is home to the famous Sri Lalithaambika Sametha Meghanathaswami Temple. Saint Thirugnyaana Sambandar had praised the lord in his ‘Thevaram’ hymns. Among the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is the 56th temple located on the southern banks of river Kaveri. The Minnum Meghalai Sametha Shree Sakala Bhuvaneshwara shrine is also located within the same premises. Both the shrines are known for their popular stone sculptures.
Thiruvarur district is really fortunate to contain Thirumeeyacchur within itself. The sacred ‘Shree Lalitha Sahasranaamam’ was made over by the Vak Devi-s at this place. Rajendra Chola and the great chola queenmother, Sembian Maadhavi, known for her contributions towards temple construction, had been part of the noble souls who had been responsible for making Tamil Nadu, ‘The Temple State of the World’.
Lord Surya had offered his prayers to Parvati Parameshwara who are seated on an elephant here. Therefore, the temple sanctum is shaped like the back of an elephant (Gajabrashta Vimana) and has three Kalasam-s on the top. While the Raja Gopuram has 5 tiers, the second Gopuram is made up of 3 tiers. The Ratha Vinayagar, Naaga-s, Sekkizhar, Shivalingam-s connected with Sapthamathruka-s, Shivalingam-s associated with Deva-s and Ashtadigpalaka-s are found within this temple.
One can also find the icons of Kshetrapuraneshwarar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingodbavar, Brahma, Chandrashekarar, Ashtabhuja Durga, Rishabharudar, and two Dwara Ganapathi-s. The other temple is located on the northern side. The fine looking Chaturmukha Chandikeshwarar add to the lustre of the temple. It is here that one can get to see the Great Lalithaambika in a sitting posture. She holds court at Thirumeeyachur.
The temple is very special for sculptures and legends. They offer a lot of guidance with regard to husband and wife playing complementary role to each other, and the one to win over the other's anger through silence. People should always maintain a calm mind by discharging their duties at any point of time. This temple tells us that all life forms are equal and if one wishes to lead a healthy long life, it is important to let go off his/her ego.
Thirunaavukarasar and Gnyaanasambandhar have visited this temple. Ratha Sapthami is celebrated here in a grand manner. The lord here is Svayambhu (Self-manifested) and Lalithaambika is seated on the Sri Chakraraja Simhasana throne with her all-merciful Abhayahasta Mudra. Her folded right leg is placed on the left and this posture communicated that Empress Lalithaambika is all powerful. The rays of the sun fall on the Lord during the Tamil month of Chittirai and auspicious Surya Pooja-s are performed on those days.
Devotees perform special pooja-s on their birthdays. Prayers at this temple bless one with longevity. Shashtiabdapoorti-s and Sadabhishekam-s are celebrated here. Young maidens offer garlands to the Lord and are in turn blessed with good spouses. People suffering from ailments, offer Pirandai Irais on Lotus leaves as Naivedyam. They eat the offering thereafter. This temple is the birthplace of Vali, Sugriva, Yama, Shaneeshwara, Garuda, and Aruna. Hence, people perform Ayush Homa and Mrtyunjaya Homa here. Goddess Kali had also offered her prayers in Thirumeeyacchur.
The wives of Sage Kashyapa, Dinata and Kadru, were blessed with two children after they offered prayers to Lord Shiva. Kashyapa’s first son Garuda became the mount of Vishnu, but his brother Aruna was born a disfigured child. Lord Shiva blessed Aruna and he became the charioteer of Surya Deva. One day Aruna wanted to have a Darshan of Lord Shiva, but was mocked by Surya Deva. Therefore, Surya was cursed by Lord Shiva to lose his luster. Henceforth, the world was engulfed with darkness. Surya Deva offered his prayers to the Lord and this helped him to regain his radiance at Thirumeeyacchur.
Devi Lalithaambika is known as Sowndaranaayagi. Devi Durga at Thirumeeyachur holds a parrot and it is a rarity. This 8-armed Durga is praised as Sukabrahma Durga Devi. This name was probably derived after the name of Sukabrahma Rishi (Son of Vyasa). It is believed that the parrot found in the hands of Durga, who is in the form of Shanthaswaroopini (Manifestation of Peace), takes the message of the devotees to Maata Lalithaambika. Even today, devotees can see a parrot flying from the shrine of Durga to Lalithaambika during the evening hours. Agastya had received the ‘Lalitha Sahasranaamam’ from Lord Hyagreeva and it was on the advice of the Lord that Agastya came over to Thirumeeyacchur in order to chant ‘Sri Lalitha Sahasranaamam.’ Lalithaambika was pleased with Agastya and his wife Lopa Mudra. She appeared before them in the form of Navaratnas and the blessed sage worshipped the divine mother by composing the ‘Lalitha Navaratnamaala.’
Yama, the God of death, happens to be the deity for the Sathabhishak star (Sadhayam in Tamil). He worshipped Lord Shiva by performing the Sahasra Shankaabhishekam (Abhishekam performed with 1008 conches). These conches have the power of granting longevity. It is believed that the creeper, Pirandai, was brought to Thirumeeyacchur by Yamadharmaraaja.
Devi Lalitha was always dressed with all ornaments expect anklets. One day an age-old couple had a dream of Devi asking them to a bring her a pair of anklets to wear. So they started visiting several Devi temples in search of the same Vigraha (Idol) of Devi that they had observed in their dream. At last, they arrived at Thirumeeyacchur where they found the same vigraha. But were dispirited on finding that the vigraha did not have required holes to fix the anklets. Therefore, they started praying to Ambaal and began performing abhishekam-s. The miracle then happened when they witnessed the holes appearing on Her feet to fix the anklets. The couple became blissful and offered the anklets to Lalithaambika with extreme devotion. Following this incident, people seeking good education, children, and marriage offer anklets to Devi Lalithaambika.
Once upon a time, the dreaded demon, Bandasura, was harassing everyone and they sought the protection of Parashakthi. Thereafter, Lalithambika rose from a Yagakunda with brilliant lustre, and killed the demon after waging a war. Lord Shiva asked the furious Devi to go to Thirumeeyacchur, assuming the name of Manonmani, and perform penance in order to shed her fury. Lalithaambika became soft and merciful at Thirumeeyachur. This led to the creation of Vak Devata-s (The deities who rule the words). The holy ‘Lalitha Saharsanaamam’ consists of 1000 praises of the Jaganmaata which begins with the words, “Shri Maathre,” meaning the Mother of prosperity.
Devi Lalithambika is the mother of prosperity and let us hasten to Thirumeeyacchur in order to receive her grace.
Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of the Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, and entrepreneur. He is a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.
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