tamaso maa jyotir gamaya – 2

7th December, Sunday, morning, some minutes before 3:30 am.

We are on the road, driving towards in direction of the great Arunachaleshwara temple. Traffic policemen are up and about and we stop and seek directions.

“Where is Swami now?” we ask, to find out where the Lord’s procession has currently reached…

“Round the next corner”, we are told. We turn that corner, and ask again…

We are driving on an outer road, going anti-clockwise, so as to meet the procession of the Lord somewhere along  the way – the procession would be coming clockwise…

And then seeing the density of people rising, we know that the trail is hot now… We get off the car and walk, along the road just outside the big temple wall. The utsava-moorthy (the Festival Idols) of the Gods will be coming down the road, towards this direction…

And while we wait to meet the procession, let me share some brief information about the concept of ‘moola’ and ‘utsava’ idols…  The main idol in the temple sanctum is called the ‘Moola’ or ‘Moolavar’. That idol, in South Indian temples, is usually made of select varieties of stone, often black stone… The idol is sculpted by special architects and craftsmen, called Stapathis… They follow a time honored tradition… A stapathi working on making an idol, is involved in an act of great Tapasya (spiritual effort)… They observe a lot of austerities as they work… When the idol is done, they then have a ceremony for ‘opening the eyes’ of the idol… This is a very sacred ritual… The idol is backed by a Yantra – a geometric design, two or three dimensional . The moolavar idol and the yantra are installed in the shrine in the temple.  Then on an auspicious day, the kumbabhishekam is performed… For a certain period, holy waters brought from various rivers and holy ponds, are kept in pots (kumbha)… Vedic homa (fire rites) are performed… The waters are charged with Mantras appropriate to the deity….  Then, on the day of kumbhabhishekam, the waters are poured on the deities… This is an exhilarating event…  Every twelve years or so, the temple is renovated, repairs and improvements done, and the Kumbabhishekam is conducted afresh…  

With the completion of kumbhabishekam, the deity-energy is now “live” in the temple.

Other than the moolavar, most temples also have utsava-moorthy. These are beautiful idols, usually made of precious metals… They are mobile, taken out on processions on ‘festival’ days with much ceremonial fanfare… The idols, all decked up, are taken around the temple and town, the Lords surveying their sovereign… People throng to see these processions…  We are now waiting to see one such procession… Where Lord Arunachala and other deities of the temple are out on their rounds…. Later today is the Aruvathimoovar festival, where in Siva temples all over this part of the country, the utsava-idols of the sixty three Saiva saints (Nayanmars) will be carried in procession… That is another incredible experience…

Coming back to our morning meet with the Lord…

The  weather is very pleasant, a little nip in the air. A gentle breeze is blowing. People are lined up along and on the road. The great temple is to our left, and the gopuram (tower) is lit up.

And there in the distance, we see the procession of the Lord.

outline

We walk ahead and meet the procession.

**

The lead-car carries Ganesha, the lord who removes all obstacles. He is standing on his vehicle, the Mooshika, the mouse… He looks so beautiful… The Lord is in Gold and the huge mooshika (mouse) is of silver…

pillaiyar

I join some people and take some vibhooti (holy ash) from a young priest who is sitting in front, in the Ganesha cart.

**

The next car carries his younger brother, Murukan a.k.a Karthikeya, the Lord who carries a spear, and rides a peacock…

murukan 

 

**

Then comes the King….

[Just hang on there Shival ji🙂 ]

                                   –  To be continued –

Tags: , ,


%d bloggers like this: