Oct 31, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.
Lord Brahma at Thiruvengadu
In Thiruvengadu, a village located in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, is the Sri Swedaranyeswarar Temple. Renowned both as a Shiva temple and a Navagraha site, Swedaranyeswarar kovil is 10 km. southeast of Sirkali.
Lord Swedaranyeswarar Shiva is the presiding deity here, with his consort, Brahmma Vidyambal (Brahma Vidhyambigai, or Vidya Nayaki). Ambal is said to have taught Lord Brahma, and Brahmadeva's deity is also here. The Brahma deity is said to be more than 100,000 years old. Lord Brahma's prominence in the temple is also associated with a pastime involving the demon Maruthuvan, Nandi, and Shiva Agoramurthy. There is a prominent deity of Agoramurthy in the temple, said to be the only one of its kind in the world.
Other subsidiary deities at Thiruvengadu include Shiva Nataraja, Prathyathi Devatha Narayanan as Adhi Devatha with Visnu, Durga Ma, and Mahakali. The Kali deity is very odd, the goddess having a neck that is bent at an odd angle. It is said that she broke her neck in a divine dance competition with Shiva. This place, like Chidambaram, is one of the places where Lord Shiva performed seven of His dances: Tandavam (Ananda), Sandhya, Samhara, Tripuranta, Urdhva, Bhujanga and Lalita.
The ruling rasi here is Budan, the Lord of Mithunam (Mercury) and Kanni Rasi, and he is facing northeast. Budan's shrine is located in front of the goddess Brahma Vidhyambigai's shrine. This temple is one of six temples dedicated to Mercury, known as the Budan Sthalam.
Swedaranyeswarar Temple, one of the 51 Sakthi Peethas, is mentioned in Valmiki's Ramayana, and is said to be equivalent to Kasi. 'Swetha' means white, and the area of 'Venn kaadu' was Swetha Aaranyam. Swetaranya, means ‘sacred white forest’. The temple is also known as the Great Budan temple, Suvedaranyar Temple, Jnana-aranya (forest of wisdom), Patala Kailas, Aadi Chidambaram, and Bhudhan Sthalam.
Lord Swedaranyeswarar has been worshipped here by Lord Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, Surya, Chandra, Agni, Budhan, a white elephant, and many others.
Sri Swedaranyeswarar Temple
In the pastime with Maruthuvan asura, it seems that he had gained a boon from Lord Brahma, but misused his potency to torture the Devas. They went to Shiva for protection, and Shiva instructed them to go to Thiruvengadu and live in disguise there. Shiva sent Nandi vahana to defeat the demon on his behalf. The demon performed some penance and got the trident (soolayudham), but proceeded to injure Nandi with it. (The marks are still visible on Nandi's murti here.) When Lord Shiva discovered that the demon had hurt Nandi he became enraged, converting his anger into the Agoramurthy form. On seeing this frightful image, the demon surrendered at his feet and begged for mercy. He also prayed that anyone who worships Agoramurthy would have no enemies.
When the saint Sambandar came to this temple as a four-year old child, he had a vision of the village as Shivaloka, a land full of Shivalingam. He refused to step into the temple, so Brahmma Vidyambal came out and carried the child in. Behind the Amman shrine, there is a rare murti of the mother goddess carrying a child.
There are three theerthams adjacent to the temple, each having a different temperature: Chandra, Agni, and Surya Kulam (Theertham).
Every month, a different festival is held at Swedaranyeswarar Temple. In the Tamil month of Masi (February-March) on Punarvasu star day, the raising of a flag marks the start of a continuous 10-day festival. It is said that when one makes offerings here for the ancestors, in addition to the family, their friends, servants and cows are all benedicted.
Here is a very nice video of Maha Periyava Jayanthi at Thiruvengadu, which shows pictures of the sampradaya saints, and part of the temple interior.