Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 34
BY: SUN STAFF
Sri Kalahastheeswara Temple Complex
Dec 12, 2015 CANADA (SUN) Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.
The Suvarna-mukhi River
While Lord Caitanya was traveling and preaching in South India, he visited a number of Siva temples, among many others. One of these, Trikala-hasti, is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 9:
trimalaya dekhi' gela trikala-hasti-sthane
mahadeva dekhi' tanre karila praname
"After visiting Trimalaya, Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Trikala-hasti. There He saw Lord Siva and offered him all respects and obeisances.
Trikala-hasti, or Sri Kala-hasti, is situated about twenty-two miles east of Tirupati. On its western side is a river known as Suvarna-mukhi. The temple of Trikala-hasti is located on the southern side of the river. The place is generally known as Sri Kalahasti or Kalahasti and is famous for its temple of Lord Siva. There he is called Vayu-linga Siva."
Tirupati on the Suvarna-mukhi River is a very famous spiritual site, and while Trikala-hasti is perhaps less widely known, devotees still throng to the place to offer worship to Shiva.
Sri Kalahasti Gopuram
Sri Kalahastheeswara Nathar Kovil
The temple visited by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Trikala-hasti, on the banks of the Suvarna-mukhi River, is known as Sri Kalahastheeswara Nathar Temple. The presiding Deities are Sri Kalahastheeswara Nathar (Shiva) and his consort, Gnana Prasunambika Devi (Parvati). The temple is also known as Dakshina Kailasam. It is fairly close to another of India's most famous temples, the abode of Lord Venkateshwar on Tirupati Hill.
The Suvarna-mukhi River is also known there as the Swarna-mukh. It is a tributary of the Pennar River. The Suvarna-mukhi is referred to as the Mogaleru in the writings of Dhurjati.
Suvarna-mukhi has five major Saivite shrines along its course in the district. Along with Srikalahasti, there are temples dedicated to Agastheswara in Thondavada, Parasareswara in Yogimallavaram, Parasurameswara in Gudimallam, and Moolasthaneswara in Gajulamandyam.
The Suvarna-mukhi, which flows through the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, does not flow year-round. The water flows through from October to December each year, then pours into the Bay of Bengal near Tupilipalem.
Panorama view of the Suvarna-mukhi River and Sri Kalahasti Temple
[ Aerial view taken by SenShots / Senthilmani's Photography ]
Sri Kalahastheeswara Temple has three beautiful gopurams, built during the reign of King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar. A hundred-pillared mandapam is one of the many exceptional features of the mandir.
This temple is said to be the place where Saivite Nayanar Kannappa offered both his eyes to cover blood flowing from the Shiva-linga, but Lord Siva stopped him and granted him mukti.
This temple is also said to be the only abode of Vayu-linga Shiva. Vayu, the Wind God, incarnated as Lord Shiva and worshipped the Lord here as Kalahasteeswara. As such, this temple is one of the five Pancha Bhoota Sthalalu, or Shiva temples representing the elements – in this case, Wind. The other Pancha Bhootas are Chidambaram (ether), Thiruvanaikaval (water), Tiruvannamalai (fire) and Kanchipuram (earth).
Like the other four Pancha Bhoota Sthalalu, there is a special manifestation of the designated element here at Sri Kalahastheeswara. A lamp inside the sanctum flickers constantly, from the movement of air. The air linga can be seen to move even when no one is present in the sanctum, which has no windows. The air linga is white and is considered swayambhu, or self-manifested.
The main Shiva-linga is untouched by human hands. Temple priests perform abhisheka with water, milk, camphor, and panchamrita, and sandal paste, flowers and sacred thread are offered to the utsava-murti rather than the main Linga.
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