Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 66
BY: SUN STAFF
Veda Vimanam, Vedanarayana Perumal Temple
Oct 13, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.
Lord Brahma at Thottiyam
In the village of Thiru Narayanapuram (or Veda Narayanapuram), about 4 km. southwest of Thottiyam in Trichy District, the Veda Narayana Perumal Koil sits on the Northern banks of the River Kaveri. The temple is dated by way of a reference in the Puranas to King Mahabala Vaanavaraya. The temple is ancient, and additions were constructed in the 15th century, during the Nayakar period. It is also known as Aadirangam, because the Lord manifested here during the Vedic period.
The presiding deity is Lord Visnu, found in a sleeping posture, and using the four Vedas as his pillow. In yesterday's segment, we heard about Sri Vedanarayana Swami at Kumbakonam, a deity which embodies Lord Brahma's four faces, as they represent the four Vedas. In the case of Sri Vedanarayana here at Thottiyam, the deity embodies Lord Visnu as Guru, teaching his student Brahmadeva the Vedas. The temple is thus known as a Guru-Budhan sthalam. It is also known as Chathurvedimangalam and Vedapuri.
Lord Brahma's deity is suspended above Visnu on Sesanaga, where he is worshipped as the divine student of the Vedas. The reclining Perumal's left hand is in Anugraha position, blessing Brahma Deva as he preaches to him.
Sri Vedanarayana Perumal
The Lord reclines on a 10-headed Sesanaga as His bed. Five of these heads belong to Adisesha, while the names of the rest are Vasuki, Dakshaka, Kuliga, Karkotaka and Kalinga. The utsava idol is Lord Ranganatha, who is in Abhyahasta pose. The "Ranganathar Paadhams" (feet of Lord Ranganatha) are housed separately.
Sri Devi and Bhu Devi are sitting at Sri Vedanarayana Swami's feet, offering prayers. There is also a wonderful deity of Prahlada as a three-year old boy. He sits near the feet of Sri Vedanarayana Swami, having wished to get darshan of the Lord in His Shantha Swaroopi, or peaceful mood.
In the picture above we see Lord Permula reclining on Sesanaga. Suspended above him is Lord Brahma (black rectangular murti). At the Lord's feet, wrapped in red and blue cloth, are Prahlad and his grandson Mahabali, who also wished to see the Lord in His peaceful, reclined position. The deities in front are Perumal with Sri and Bhu Devis, with the small silver deity of Prahlad, right front.
The moolavar deity is joined in the sanctum by his consort, Vedanayaki Thaayar, who resides in a separate shrine, facing east. She appears with four arms, the lower ones in Abhaya and Vardana positions.
Sri Vedanarayana Perumal and Consorts
In the Deepastamba there is also Kambathadi Anjaneyarm (Kambatthai Anjaneyar), the shrine of Sri Hanuman. Positioned at the front of the pillar, Anjeneya is worshipped by devotees who consider him a judge of their personal issues.
There is also a separate shrine for Goddess Saraswati, and one for Andal. Garuda faces the main sannidhi, and the Azhwars and Sri Ramanuja are housed in a separate shrine. Sri Ramanuja was directed by Lord Vedanarayana Perumal to go to Mysore when there was some disturbance going on at Srirangam, and detailed commentaries are available on this pastime.
This temple has two prakaram, with two main shrines for the presiding deity and His consort. The vimanam of this temple is known as Veda Vimanam and the theertham is called Veda Pushkarani. The River Cauvery (Kaveri) is also considered a temple theertham. The Stala Vraksha is the Vilvam tree.
The story of King Mahabala Vaanavaraya's construction of Veda Narayana Perumal Temple is that while traveling with his large army to Mysore, he took rest in Thottiyam. In a dream, Lord Narayana came and requested that the king retrieve His deity form, lying hidden under the earth, and install it in a temple, arranging festivals so that people could enjoy getting His darshan. The Lord is said to have assured him of victory in his battle at Mysore in return for his service.
Delighted by his vision, the king built this temple and dedicated the entire village to its worship. The current temple complex comprises 160 acres of land. The area around the temple in Thottiyam is primarily agricultural, with paddy, plantains and petals, and the temple lands are also used for such crops. Unfortunately, it seems that today, little income from this land is being donated to the temple for its upkeep and service of the priests.
Another famous story about the temple tells the pastime of Thiru Naraiyur Araiyar, who came here with his wife and six children in hopes of finding spiritual liberation. One night the leaves from a palm tree were set on fire by miscreants, and the temple began to burn. Naraiyur Araiyar threw himself over the Deity to protect Him from the flames, and all his children did the same. The entire family was burned to death. The Lord is said to have granted the family moksha for their devotion. For this pastime, the temple is also known as Pillai Thiru Naraiyur Abhimana Kshetram.
Veda Narayana Perumal Koil
[Photo: 'The Hindu'].
In 2000, the temple was finally given a much needed renovated. Although Lord Perumal's deity form is made of stone, as is Sesanaga's coil, Sesa's hood is made of sudhai, a material made of lime and mortar, and this was particularly in need of restoration.
Because of the temple's association with Lord Brahma's studying of the Vedas, students often come here, placing their schoolbooks at the Lord's feet and praying for success in their educational pursuits.
There are a number of festivals held at the temple each year, including an 11 day festival in Vaikasi (May-June), during which a 9 day Ratha Yatra is held. In Margazhi (December-January) there is a 21 day Adyana Utsavam, and Puratasi Navarathri is celebrated.
Arch at Vedanarayana Swami Temple entrance
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