Astha Svayam Vyakta Kshetras, Part 3
BY: SUN STAFF
Sri Bhuvaraha Perumal, Mushman Temple
Jan 12, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of svayambhu Lord Visnu's eight abodes.
The second astha svayam-vyakta kshetra we'll discuss is Srimushnam, the abode of Sri Bhuvaraha Swami. Srimushnam is situated in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. The town of Srimusnam is located about 24 miles west of Chidambaram. This panchayat town sits on the central east coast of the state, about 48 kilometers inland. It is the abode of Lord Visnu in His self-manifested Form as Sri Bhuvarahaswami. In Caityanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila Srila Prabhupada mentions this famous tirtha:
sveta-varaha dekhi, tanre namaskari'
pitambara-siva-sthane gela gaurahari
At Vrddhakola, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited the temple of Sveta-varaha, the white boar incarnation. After offering Him respects, the Lord visited the temple of Lord Siva, wherein the deity is dressed with yellow garments.
The temple of the white boar incarnation is situated at Vrddhakola, or Sri Musnam. The temple is made of stone and is located about one mile south of an oasis known as Balipitham. There is a Deity of the white boar incarnation, above whose head Sesa Naga serves as an umbrella."
Mushnam Temple Gopuram
The temple that Lord Caitanya visited at Vrddhakola is still open for worship today, and Lord Sveta-varaha is worshipped there. However, the Varaha Deity that was installed in the temple at the time of Mahaprabhu's visit is no longer there, having been replaced at some point with another Varaha Deity. But fortunately, the ancient Sveta-varaha Deity from Vrddhakola is still being worshipped – a few hundred kilometers away in Mysore, Karnataka.
Mushnam Temple stambha, utsavmurthy and ratha car
At present, the presiding Deity at Srimushnam is Lord Bhuvaraha, for whom Srimushnam is also called Varaha Kshetram. He is also known as Adhi Varaha Perumal or Yagna Varahan. Lord Bhuvaraha's consort is Ambujavalli Thayar (Bhu Devi). The black saligrama is swayambhu, or self-manifesting, thus this temple's inclusion as one of the astha svayam-vyakta kshetras.
The utsavamurthy (processional Deity) does not resemble a wild boar, in accordance with the desire of Varaha's celestial consort.
This temple is said to be the only place where all the deities are Varaha Murtis. The Lord is in a standing posture, facing west. There are separate shrines for Lord Srinivasa, Lord Venugopala, Vishvaksena, the great sage Udayavar, Swami Desika and various Azhwars. It is said that Vayu (the Wind God) and Lord Brahma in his catur-mukha form perform their daily pooja here, even to this day.
Mushnam Temple Interior
The temple remains under the control of Madhva Brahmins, and two sects of the Vaishnavite Iyengar community - Vadagalai and Thengalai - take part in the daily program of worship. The Madhvas recite Gajendra Moksham and Srimushnam Puranam every day.
The temple has Vamana Vimanam. The main theertham is Nithya Pushkarani, but there are many tanks. The sthalam vriksham is an Ashwatha tree. Devotees come to offer the Lord favoured sweets, being laddu made of gorai kizhangu (coco grass).
Mushnam Temple Gopuram
The Nithya Pushkarani tank is known for its medicinal values and the Ashwatha tree stands nearby. Chanting Gayatri under this tree after taking bath in the holy tank is said to liberate one of all sins.
Lord Varaha's temple at Srimushnam is said to have existed for aeons. In the 16th century it gained great prominence, and various inscriptions are found from that period. The Vijayanagar kings took special interest in the renovation of the temple and constructed various mandapams and shrines. They arranged for a regular program of worship and designed several important vahanas, or temple cars (thiru ther), which are still taken out on Brahmotsavam.
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