இந்த பதிப்பினை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கே சொடுக்கவும், நன்றி
This week, 26 Nov 2020, was Kaisika Ekadasi and the next day, 27th Nov, was Kaisika Dwadasi. Let us offer our prayers to Varahan and get His blessings
A Paksham is a fifteen days period starting from either full moon or new moon. The eleventh day in each of these Paksham is the Ekadasi, meaning eleven in Sanskrit, that is the eleventh day of the waxing(Sukla Paksham) and waning(Krishna Paksham) phase of the moon. It is an important fasting day dedicated to Lord Vishnu and by following the Ekadasi vow, people are enable to get moksham/abode.
Sage Vyasa said that the merciful Supreme Lord Vishmu, suddenly manifested from His own form the deity of the lunar day Ekadasi after seeing the pains, the sinful souls were undergoing in the hell. Afterwards, those sinful entities began to follow the vow of Ekadasi and were then elevated quickly to the abode of Vaikuntha. Therefore the lunar day of Ekadasi is the selfsame form of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, and the Supersoul (Antharyaami) within the heart of the living entities.
There is no Mantra that is equivalent to Gayathri Mantra; no God equivalent to a mother; no water equivalent to the holy water of Ganges; no vow equivalent to the Ekadasi Vow (Vratham). This is how Ekadasi Vratham is highlighted in Agni Purana. Any single droplet of water that touches the holy feet of Emperumaan (Paramathmaa or Perumal) is equivalent to the water from Ganges; The dharsan of the holy feet of Emperumaan is more divine than the dharsan of Vaikuntham; Lord Krishna says that Ekadasi Vratham is equivalent to all of the above activities. The great feature of Ekadasi Vratham is that it can be followed by everyone without any discrimination as, men, women, rich, poor, higher or lower caste etc.
Kaisika is the name of a Ragam or Tune. In Karnatic classical music, it is Bhairavi Ragam. Kaisika Ekadasi is observed in the Tamil Month of Kaarthigai on the Ekadasi day in Sukla Paksham. The tamil month Karthigai is approximately from 15th Nov to 15th Dec. The Kaisika Ekadasi is well glorified with the story of Nampaaduvaan, a great Vishnu devotee, in the Kaisika Puranam which is part of the Varaha Puranam.
Vijaya Chokanathar one of the kings came to Srirangam to have the dharsan on Ranaganatha on a Kaisika Ekadasi day and he could not have the dharsan, as the function was completed before he could arrive at the temple. The king was sad, but decided to stay in Thiruvarangam for the next one year to have the dharsan on the next Kaisika Ekadasi day. In recognition of his devotion and the services rendered by him, the statues of himself and his family are still kept in the temple on the second prahaaram ( circumvent ).
In Vishnu Sahasra naamam, Bhoogharbha (72), means that Vishnu protects His consort Bhoomadevi Thayar like how one would protect a pregnancy; Govinda (543) means that Vishnu has protected Bhoomadevi Thayar and got Her back. These two are particularly relevant to Kaisika Puranam, whereas the holy names (Thirunamams) 539 to 543 are all pertaining to Varaha incarnation.
When Brahma wanted to create the human beings in this world, a demon by name Hiranyakshakan, stealthily kept the Earth under the sea. Brahma prayed to Mahavishnu to help recover the earth from under the sea. Mahavishnu took Varaha incarnation to fulfil the desire of Brahma. Vishnu, as Varaha Perumal, fought with the evil Hiranyakshakan, killed him, brought the earth from the sea and established dharma.
As Bhoomadevi was still shivering with fear, Varaha Perumal placed Her on His lap to quell Her anxieties. She asked Perumal, on our behalf, on how the jeevathamaas, all Her children, would survive and reach Mokshham. Perumal, with abundant love towards us, told “shower flowers on Him with the hands, given by Him, praise Him by singing His songs through the mouth, given by Him and keep thinking about Him, with the Mind given by Him“. Later when Bhoomadevi took the form of Aandal, she recalled and reinstated this in Thirupaavai (5), in Divya Prabhandham.
In the same way, Varaha Perumal told that Namasankeerthanam, that is reciting His holy names, would be another way to reach Him. Further if the Namasankeerthanam is done in Kaisika ragam and sung in front of Him, in a temple on a special day like Kaisika Ekadasi and/or Dwadasi, those who hear the same would also get the benefit of reaching Mukthi or abode. Varaha Perumal explained the history of Nampaaduvaan to Bhoomadevi Thayaar, in a chapter called Kaisika Mahathmiyam, within Varaha Puranam.
Varaha Perumal hailed as
There is also a saying that Varaha Perumal has given the preachings of Kaisika Mahathmiyam on a Kaisika Ekadasi day, but we have to look for more details before making such statement.
The part in Varaha Puranam, where Varaha Perumal happily explaining the devotion of Nampaaduvaan to Bhoomi Piraati is called Kaisika Mahathmiyam. Kaisika Mahathimiyam is the original name, but later it is known as Kaisika Puranam. Kaisika (Ekadasi) Puranam is the narration of the deep devotion of Nampaaduvaan, born in Paanar caste, had for Nambi, the main deity in Thirukurungudi.
Parasara Bhattar, one of our acharyars, is considered and hailed as the child of Periya Perumal and Periya Piraati, raised and lullabied by Them. He lived around 900 years back, and took over the leadership of our tradition after Swami Ramanujar and Embar. Kaisika Mahathmiyam, (48th Chapter of Varaha Puranam), is described in 92 hymns (slokams) in Sanskrit and Bhattar had translated them into Tamil as Kaisika Purana Urai. On one Kaisika Ekadasi / Dwadasi Day, he recited the Kaisika Mahathmiyam in front of Periyaperumal. Periyaperumal, was happy and pleased, accorded the appreciation and honour to Bhattar from the temple, called Brahmma Ratha Yathirai, as he was driven home in the temple chariot. This tradition is still continued even today to the heirs of Bhattar.
The significance of Kaisika Ekadasi, arising out of Kaisikapuranam, was an event narrated by Sri Varaha Perumal to Bhoodevi. This Kaisika Puranam, emphasizing the importance of Namasamkeerthanam, happened in Thirukurungudi, near Tirunelveli. Varaha Perumal, who took a very huge and fearful form, shrunk Himself into a smaller size in this place and hence this town became Kurunudi. We can recall the hymn of Nammazhwaar from Thiruvirutham (45), “Perum Kezhalaar tham perum kann malar pundareegam nam mel orunge pirazha vaithaar”.
In this holy town, Thirukurungudi, Empermaan in different postures gives dharsan as Ninra Nambi, Kidandha Nambi, Irundha Nambi, Poorna Nambi and Malaimel Nambi.
As Thirukurungudi Nambi Himself was born as Swami Namazhwaar there is no separate sanctum for Nammazhwaar in this temple. It is also told that this temple was constructed by Thirumangai Azhwaar and during the days of Ramayana, Rama and Lakshmana stayed here along with their army of monkeys towards preparation of war with Ravana. Thirumangai Azhwaar, who was born in Thiruvali Thirunagari, visited many divyadesams (holy vishnu temples) and sang more than thousand two hundred and fifty (1253) hymns on the deities of those temples, reached Paramapadham from here.
In Varaha Puranam, Paaduvaan was the name used. Later, Parasara Bhattar gave the name ‘Nampaaduvaan”, in line with Nam Perumal, Nam Azhwaar, Nam Pillai, Nam Jeeyar. Nampaaduvaan was born in Panar caste, in a village called Muni near Thirukurungudi foothills and was a stuanch devotee of Nambi. He used to sing songs praising Nambi about His virtues with his Veena (Yaazh). Varaha Perumal admired Nampaaduvaan’s devotion and told Bhoomi Piratti that Nampaaduvaan showed his devotion and did all prayers without expecting anything in return.
In Kaliyugam, reciting His holy names (Namasankeerthanam) is considered as the best method to do prayers. Thirupaanazhwaar, is also from Panar Caste and played a musical instrument like veena.
On one of Sukla Paksha Ekadasi day (11th day after new moon) in the Tamil month of Karthigai, (in between November 15th and Dec 15th), Nampaaduvaan woke up after midnight and started towards the temple in Thirukurungudi, with his veena to sing hymns to wake up Emperumaan. On his way to the temple, Nampaaduvaan was confronted and caught by a Brahma Rakshas (fierce ghostly form) a demon. Brahma Rakshasan was very strong and Nampaaduvaan was very weak. Brahma Rakshasan told that he was hungry and he was going to eat Nampaaduvaan as his food. Since Nampaaduvaan was not strong, he could not show any of his valour. Also he was not a brahmin, so he could not escape by reciting any mantras. So he decided to talk sweetly after leaving everything to Nambi, Thirukurungudi Emperumaan.
Nampaaduvaan started saying that he was ready to offer himself as food and there was nothing much happier to him than to be the food to the Brahma Rakshasan. He continued stating that he was in the midst of performing Ekadasi vow (vratham) and should complete the vow by offering his prayers to Nambi in the early morning. Nampaaduvaan promised that he would return after completing his prayers and thereafter he could be taken as food as per what was written for them by Brahmma or Naanmugan. But Brahma Rakshasan refused as he did not believe the words of Nampaaduvaan. Brahma Rakshasan said that Nampaaduvaan was reciting prayers to Nambi for more than 10 years, like what Nammazhwaar told in Thiruvaaimozhi, “nigaril avan pugazh paadi illaipilam” (1.7.10), and he was hungry as he did not eat for the last ten days. He argued that, no one in this world would come back and offer oneself as food. Nampaaduvaan changed his tactics and requested him that his vow was towards Emperumaan and the Brahma Rakshas should help in making sure that it did not get disturbed. Brahma Rakshasan refused to leave him and said that Nampaaduvaan wanted to escape and hence he was lying.
Nampaaduvaan said that he was a devotee of Vishnu, from Panar community and possesed knowledge on Paramathmaa that helped him to acquire knowledge similar to people in higher community and he would not lie. He started making promises and also explained the different types of sins that would come to him, if he broke any of the promises. Nampaaduvaan listed eighteen such promises and appealed to Brahma Rakshasan to let him go and complete his vow.
In Kaisika Puranam, eighteen types of sins are listed if the defined responsibilities are not carried out.
Nampaaduvaan promised that he would come back and if he did not come back, he would get many sins that could lead him to the hell. The following are the eighteen different sins :
The last of the promises illustrate the beleif of Nampaaduvaan on Vishnu, where he vowed that he would get the sin that one would get, if offered prayers and considered the other gods to be equivalent to the Supreme Lord, Sriman Narayanan. After hearing this, the Rakshas was terrified and got convinced that no one would ever make such a promise and was confident that Nampaaduvaan would return. He saluted and let Nampaaduvaan go and return after completing his prayers and vow.
Like a person attaining moksham from this worldly life, Nampaaduvaan was happy and ran towards Nambi’s temple and started singing on Nambi with on many tunes. He was standing outside, following the tradition on those days, and sang emotionally , thinking, that day was the last time he would sing in front of Nambi, as he would become food for the Brahma Rakshasan on his return.
Nambi happy with His devotee asked the flag pole, generally erected in front of the main Sanctom in every Vishnu temple, to move so that Nampaaduvaan could get a complete dharsan of Nambi. Accordingly even today, this temple’s flag pole is seen slightly away from the centre. Emperunaan graced Nampaaduvaan and Nampaaduvaan also got a complete dharsan of Nambi on that day.
Nampaaduvaan finally rendered a song based on Kaisika raga (Bhairavi ragam) on Vadivazhagiya Nambi and completed his vow. He offered his prayers to Nambi. Happily and quickly was returning towards Brahma Rakshasan, as his soul would leave the painful body. On his way, a passerby appeared and as if to test Nampaaduvaan, told that there was a demon on that way and advised him to go in a different path, as the demon was not a good person, like Vibhishnan. Nampaaduvaan was not prepared to defer from his promise and he replied that he would prefer to die rather than breaking a promise. On seeing the firmness of Nampaaduvaan, the passerby wished both Nampaaduvaan and Brahma Rakshasan well and disappeared. Varaha Perumal explaining this story to Bhoomadevi said that He went as the passerby as “Maha Varaha Sputa Padma Lochanaha” and “Purusha Pushkarekshanaha”.
Nampaaduvaan found Brahma Rakshasan and declared that he completed his vow by singing in front of Thirukurungudi Nambi, Mahavishnu, the driving force of everything and making Him happy. He offered himself immediately to Brahma Rakshasan as his food. Brahma Rakshasan stunned with Nampaaduvaan’s truthfulness, started talking to Nampaaduvaan. He told Nampaaduvaan that he was not hungry and asked him to gift the benefits (punyam) of his singing in front of Vishnu to him, and he would let Nampaaduvaan go free. Nampaaduvaan refused to give the benefits of his singing and insisted that Brahma Rakshasan should eat him as per the original agreement. Brahma Rakshasan now asked Nampaaduvaan to gift him the benefits of only half the number of songs in stead of all songs. Again Nampaaduvaan refused. Brahma Rakshasan now requested him to give the benefits of the last song alone, so that he would let Nampaaduvaan to get back to his home to live along with his wife and children.
Even then Nampaaduvaan refused to his request. Brahma Rakshasan realised that Nampaaduvaan valued his words more than his life and also knew the value of the benefits of his singing in front of Vishnu. So he spoke politely, and with respect to Nampaaduvaan. He surrendered to Nampaaduvaan, saying that he would be absolved from this demon form and liberated, if he could get the benefits of the last song from Nampaaduvaan. Nampaaduvaan took pity on Brahma Rakshasan and asked him how he became a Brahma Rakshasan in the first place. Brahma Rakshasan started telling his story.
In his previous life, he was born as Soma Sarma, a brahmin and a great scholar in conducting Yagnams. He did a yagnam ( sacrifising rituals with fire) on behalf of someone. Since he started the yagnam with an intention to earn quick wealth, he got a disease in his stomach. He died within five days of starting the yagnam and without completing the yagnam. The shortcoming of the incomplete yagnam made him an utmost sinful person and he took birth as a Brahma Rakshasan. Varaha Perumal, who was describing this event to Bhoomi Piratti, said that Nampaaduvaan provided shelter to Brahma Rakshasan, like Himself providing shelter to Vibishanan, as Rama incarnation. Nampaaduvaan gave the benefits of his last song, in Kaisika tune, that was sung in front of Thirukurungudi Nambi. Brahma Rakshasan was relieved of his demon birth immediately and took birth in his next life in a good family. He became a Vishnu devotee and attained Moksham or Paramapadham according to Varaha Perumal to Boomi Pirati. In this way, Nampaaduvaan was able to send Brahma Rakshasan to Paramapadham. Thereafter Nampaaduvaan served Thirukurungudi Nambi for many years with his songs and later he also attained moksham, according to Varaha Perumal.
So, Brahma Rakshasan, a brahmin, (Soma Sarma), got moksham by surrendering himself to Nampaaduvaan, a person born in a lowly caste, through Nampaaduvaan’s devotion of performing Namasankeertham, that was glorified by Emperumaan.
The moral of Nampaaduvaan’s life is that Nama Sankeerthanam of Lord can help us attain Moksham.
The eighteen sins mentioned above are in sequence in terms of the severity and the last one, the eighteenth is the gravest of these eighteen sins, that is considering Lord Sriman Narayanan to be equivalent to any other god. So the essence of Kaisika Mahathmiyam is that we should be wise and abstain from making any of these sins.
We can see that Nampaaduvaan had established that those people who consider Sriman Narayanan being equivalent to other gods or offer prayers to other gods other than Sriman Narayana would attain hell, as they were considered to have committed a grave sin.
Whoever devoted purely to Mahavishnu and surrendered to Him totally is a Sri Vaishnavan and should not be differentiated or illtreated, considering his birth. This is one of the fundamental principles of our tradition. The life history of Thirupaanazhwaar and Nampaaduvaan are vivid examples of such tradition.
Lord Varaha proved to the world through Nampaaduvaan and a Brahma Rakshasan that birth and caste are mere physical status. What matters is devotion and adherence to truth.
Devotion to lord, adherence to Dharma and readiness to renounce the world are the important criterias.
Someone born as a brahmin, but leading a lowly life, would be born as a demon. Someone born in a lowly caste, but truly devoted to god, would uplift not only themselves, but also uplift, elavate and create a good path to moksham to all other lowly demons.
Caste is not an hindrance in attaining moksham.
We have to follow the vow or vratham on the Kaisika Ekadasi day and recite the Kaisika Mahathmiyam on the next day, Kaisika Dwadasi day.
As per the orders of Mahavishnu, all the sins will hide under food grains on Ekadasi days, hence we should observe fasting on Ekadasi days. There are people who do not even drink water on those days, called Nirjala vratham, meaning that No Water, No food Vow. The vow starts on the early morning (sunrise) time of the Ekadasi day and is completed on the next day (Dwadasi) early morning (sunrise). On Dwadasi day, after bath, people should drink the holy water with Thulasi leaf, and complete the Ekadasi vow.
Through out the Ekadasi day, one should be thinking only about Vishnu as reciting His slokas, His histories and the hymns on Him.
Varaha Perumal, while praising Nampaaduvaan, said to Thayaar, that whoever sings about His glories and histories would be awarded 1000 years in heaven for each syllable of the hymn.
He continued to state that when Nampaaduvaan or such devotee is in Heaven, He or She would be the most beautiful and they would remember Emperumaan and Thayaar. Even the head of Heaven, Indran with his prime weapon Vajrayudham would visit him or her and pay respects.
Even when Indran is paying his respects, Nampaaduvaan or such devotee would continue to praise and sing hymns on Emperumaan and Thayaar and would continue to serve Emperumaan and Thayaar.
Similarly when Nampaaduvaan was singing in heaven, his songs were made to be heard by others in heaven. Varaha Perumal told Thayar that since Nampaaduvaan was continuing his good service to Emperumaan, He moved him out of heaven and brought him to Paramapadham, so that he would sing only for Them and forever.
Whoever sings piously in Kaisika Tune (Bhairavi ragam), in front of Emperumaan, will be able to protect those who seek help from them.
Varaha Perumal had also promised to Bhoomipiraati that who sing or hear Kaisika Mahathmiyam would reach Paramapadham.
Varaha Perumal Himself told that all those who sing and/or hear Kaisika Puranam on a Sukla Paksha Dwadasi day in front of Emperumaan would always be with devotees and keep singing highly of Vishnu’s glories, similar to “Soozhndhu Irundhu yethuvar Pallaandu“. With that Varaha Perumal concluded His briefing on Kaisika Mahathmiyam.
Many benefits are cited in many Puranas for following the vratham on any Ekadasi day. There are also some special benefits for specific ekadasi and some are listed below.
The main deity of Thirukurungudi, Vaishnava Nambi will have a Holy bathing (Thirumanjanam or Abishekam) ceremony. Kaisika Mahathmiyam would be conducted as a drama in front of Vaishnava Nambi from 10 pm till 2 am. On Kaisika Dwadasi Day, Vaishnava Nambi will have a special procession on his Garuda Bird (Garuda sevai). Though all Vishnu temples celebrate Kaisika Ekadasi, it is always a special event in Thirukurungudi, every year, even today.
Sri Parasara Bhattar chanted Kaisika puranam before Lord Ranganatha on one of the Kaisika Ekadasi/Dwadasi day and the same tradition is continuing till date with the descendants of Bhattar, chanting the puranam on kaisika dwadasi day at Srirangam every year. On the Kaisika Ekadasi day, Namperumal takes the holy bathing (Thirumanjanam). After 9 pm, in Archuna Mandapam, Perumal has special ceremony, where He would be adorned with 365 drapes. By the time this gets finished, around midnight (12 am), the heirs of Parasara Bhattar / Vedavyasa Bhattar will recite the Kaisika Mahathmiyam, and will also make a special request to Namperumal to give moksham to all those who listened to this great gift by Nambi/Namperumal. Namperumal will be happy and the temple authorities will accord due respects to the heirs of Parasara Bhattar, like taking him through the streets of Thiruvarangam (Uthira veedhi) to his residence. At 5.45 am, Namperumal will get back from Archuna Mandapam and return to His Sanctum. This is called “Karpoora Padiyetra Sevai”.
In other Vishnu Temples similar renditions are done on Kaisika Ekadasi, mostly in the evening or early morning of Dwadasi Day and celebrated in a grand manner.
Amara or angam aarum, vedham or naangum odhi, thamarkalil thalaivaraaya saadhi andhanargalelum, numargalai pazhippar aagil, nodipadhu or alavil aange, avargal thaam pulaiyar polum, Arangamaa nagarulaane ! (Thirumaalai 43)
This hymn is by Thondaradipodi Azhwaar in his Thirumaalai Prabhandham. The meaning of this hymn is that if those, who have learnt and memorised the four vedas and the six explanatory notes along with their meanings, illtreat the devotees of Vishnu, based on their caste, even if they are Brahmins, they would be considered to have come from a lowly caste.
Next hymn is by Nammazhwaar in Thiruvaaimozhi (3.7.9)
Kulamthaangu saathigal naalilum keezh izhindhu ethanai nalanthaan ilaadha chandaala chandaalargal aagilum, valanthaangu chakrathu annal Manivannarku aal endru ul kalanthaar adiyaar thammadiyaar em adigale (Thiruvaalmozhi 3.7.9)
If someone is born in a community lower than the lowest of the four, like Chandala, and is a devotees of Vishnu, (Manivannar), who holds the discus on His right hand, Swami Nammazhwaar wanted to be a devotee to them.
Next one is also from Nammazhwaar, where he has gone even one step ahead.
Payilum sudar oli Moorthiyai, Pangaya Kannanai, payila iniya nam paarkadal serntha Paramanai, payilum thiru udaiyaar evarelum avar kandeer, payilum pirappidai thotru emmai aalum paramare (Thiruvaaimozhi 3.7.1)
Here Azhwaar says that whoever serves Emperumaan would be his master in this life and also for future lives.
We have taken only a few hymns (Paasurams), a few divya desams, and a few sthothrams on Varaha Incarnation . We started this as a small topic, however we were overwhelmed with so much details available on this Varaha Incarnation and Kaisika Mahathmiyam.
As mentioned earlier, Kaisika Mahathmiyam is an important part of Varaha Puranam. Let us catch up on another interesting topic, till then, thanks and see you.