Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 28


Baana Theertham Falls flowing into the Maṇimukha (Manimuthar) River

Nov 30, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

The Manimukha River

Today we are discussing Lord's Caitanya's visit to the Manimukha River. This pastime followed another that is more elaborately described in Caitanya-caritamrta, wherein the Lord inspired a brahmana at nearby Siddhavata to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

The Manimukha River is mentioned by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 9.38:

    tāṅre kṛpā kari’ prabhu calilā āra dine
    vṛddhakāśī āsi’ kaila śiva-daraśane

    After showing mercy to the brāhmaṇa, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left the next day and arrived at Vṛddhakāśī, where He visited the temple of Lord Śiva.

    Vṛddhakāśī’s present name is Vṛddhācalam. It is situated in the southern Arcot district on the bank of the river Maṇimukha. This place is also known as Kālahastipura. Lord Śiva’s temple there was worshiped for many years by Govinda, the cousin of Rāmānujācārya.

Tirumudukundram Temple at Vrddhakasi

Vriddhachalam is located in what is presently known as the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. The ancient name of this tirtha is Thirumudhukundram. There are a number of variations in spelling for this tirtha: Vrddhakasi (Vrddha-kasi), Vriddhakasi (Vriddha-kasi), Vrddhacalam (Vrdha-calam), and Vriddhacalam (Vriddha-calam).

In 1993 the South Arcot district, mentioned in the purport above, was split into the Cuddalore district and the Villupuram district. Cuddalore was the capital of South Arcot district. There is also an ancient village of Kalahastipura in Karnataka, known today as Kolar, which is not to be confused with the Kalahastipura on the banks of the Maniumuka River.

The name 'Vriddhachalam' is derived from the Sanskrit vriddham, which means 'ancient', and achalam, or 'mountain'. Likewise, the Tamil name 'Thirumudhukundram' means 'old mountain'.

The Manimukha River that flows through Vrddhakasi is now commonly known as the Vellar River, but also as the Manimukthar (or Manimuthar/ Manimukthanadhi). In fact, the Manimukthar is a tributary of the Vellar, which is also known as the Tambaraparni River. The river originates in the Shevaroy Hills, on the eastern slopes of Tamil Nadu's Western Ghats. It runs through the districts of Salem, Perambalur and Cuddalore in the northern part of Tamil Nadu, then flows into the Bay of Bengal near Parangipettai.

The Shiva Temple at Viddhakasi

Today there are a few Shiva temples in the area of Viddhakasi. In fact, the village is surrounded on all four sides by temples. One of the Shiva temples, the Kolanjiapper Temple, is only about 200 years old. It is well known today for its Murugan worship.

The very ancient temple that Lord Caitanya visited is the Thirumudukundram Temple, also known as the Sri Vridhagiriswarar Temple after its presiding Deity, Vridhagiriswar Shiva. It is also called the Palamalai Nadhar Temple, and it is one of the oldest in Tamil Nadu. Palamalai Nadhar, another name for Lord Shiva, is associated with the story of the devotee Sundarar, who received 12,000 gold coins from Lord Palamalainathar. The quality of the gold was checked by Matru Uraitha Vinayakar (Ganesh), then the coins were thrown into the river. They were collected again from the water at Kamalalayam, Tiruvarur. Sri Vinayakar again checked the quality of the gold coins at Tiruvarur. This pastime is sung by Dikshitar, Sri Mahaganapatiravathumam in Gowlai.


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