It is a real bliss to be born in this Universe as a human being for how else can you surrender at the feet of Ananda Natarajar? Only human beings have a greater opportunity to be in communion with the Almighty. Therefore it behooves on our part to work towards understanding the Almighty better. This is the reason why Nandanar sang - " How can I miss going to Chidambaram?".
We should think of Almighty every single day otherwise our presence on this Earth is a total waste. Where God has assumed the role of a physician and where he is accompanied by Thaiyalnayagi amman is called as " Sri Vaitteswaran Koil". Lord Shiva takes the name of Vaitheeswaran or Vaidhyanathan. He is there to take care of us lovingly and protect us.
The Shiva Lingam in Vaitheeswaran temple is centuries old as it is believed that the Shiva in this shrine is the one whom Lord Rama, Lord Lakshman and Jatayu prayed. Thus, the connection of Vaitheeswaran temple with the epic Ramayana is historically well established. In Gnanasambandhar's Devaram, it is mentioned that Chambadi and Jatayu prayed to the Lord with flowers in this shrine. Inside the temple is located a place where Jatayu was cremated by Rama. When Rama did the last rites of Jatayu he considered the latter equal to his father. Vaitheeswaran Koil is also called as Jatayupuri.
Manu had 9 children. Ishwaku was one of his sons. He belonged to the clan of Lord Surya. He ruled Ayodhya. Lord Rama was the 65th descendant of this clan. After Ishwaku ruled Ayodhya, the kingdom was ruled by Mandada, Harishchandra, Chakaran, Bhageeradan, Dileepan and Dashrath. Needless to add, these kings were Lord Rama's forefathers.
Sri Vaidhyanathan is one more manifestation of Lord Shiva who as Neelakantan swallowed poison to protect his devotees. Desire in the form of lust corrupts the mind. Today we are living in an age called as Kali Yuga. Desires like lust and anger burn the soul while the body meets its fate as destined by nature. Lord Vaitheeswaran decimates the external enemy as well as the enemy within. Lord Surya and Chandran function as his eyes so it is Lord Vaidyanathan who keeps a check on the mistakes that we commit and controls our destiny.
Lord Shiva, Mother Parvathi and their second son Muthukumaran (offering grace to devotees as somaskandhar) provide solace to those who visit Vaitheeswaran Koil. This pilgrimage center has 17 punya-theerthams. The thala vriksham is Neem Tree. We all know that Neem is a medicinal herb so it is apt that Neem is the thala vriksham for Vaiteeswaran Koil.
Visiting this powerful shrine is immensely beneficial as Lord Shiva manifests himself as a physician, as a doctor who cures our physical and mental ills and creates an atmosphere conducive for us to consume healthy food. It is often said that those who are suffering from mental ailments like depression, hysteria, schizoprenia will find cures in this holy place. So, whenever you see a Neem Tree - think of Lord Vaiteeswaran.
Why Lord Vaidhyanathan?
The neem tree had its genesis as kadamba tree, bilwa tree and vakula tree. All these trees have medicinal properties. A good doctor will give us medicine and help us in the healing process. But there may be situations when we may need to visit the doctor again. But if you pray in Vaiteeswaran temple once, you will attain permanent relief. That is the power of this religious shrine where incurable illnesses also get cured.
The temple conducts poojas 6 times a day - Ushadh period before Sunrise, the morning after Sunrise, Afternoon, Evening, Pradosha period and Artha jamam,
During Pradosha Lord Shiva danced in front of Goddess Uma – this dance is called as Ananda Dhandavam. Praying to Lord Shiva gives us immense happiness – more so during the Pradosha period. Though Pradosha occurs twice in a month, it is often said that the period between 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm every day is considered as pradosha period. It is beneficial to chant the name of Lord Shiva during this period.
Brahomtsavam is held during Panguni month (typically March). On the 5th day, Lord Selvamuthukumaraswamy prays to his father and receives a weapon. Dr U V Swaminatha iyer popularly called as “Thamizhthatha” has mentioned about this in his writings.
During the month of January, a festival called as “Theertha festival” is celebrated. Lord Muruga is taken on a procession along with his parents. The temple is being governed and managed well. Since 2nd November 1971, Shanmugadesiga swamigal is in charge of the trust. The list of Tamil poets and scholars who sang the praise of Lord Vaiteeswaran and Goddess Thaiyalnayagi amman is endless – Vaduganadha Desikar, Muthukumaraswamy Thambiran, Ulaganathamunivar, Vadaloor Ramalinga Adigal, Sivagnana desikar, Chidambara Munivar, Kalamegam, Kumarakurubarar, Arunagiriyar, Thirunavukkarasar, Pattinatthar are the names of Tamil poets and scholars who have visited Vaiteeswaran Koil.
The Lord is seated towards the West. So when the priest does deeparadhana, he does it towards the North. The priest won’t stand in the southern direction to recite the hymns.
We have to enter the temple precincts through the Western entrance. Those who arrive at the temple from the railway station will be arriving via the Western gate. Those who arrive at the temple town through a bus will invariably reach the Eastern or Southern gate. Thaiyalnayagi amman is seated in the Southern direction. There is one more entrance that directly leads the devotee to the amman temple.
Bang opposite the sanctum sanctorum of Thaiyalnayagi amman is located a punyatheertha called as “Siddamrutham”. Devotees entering the temple precincts from the Southern gate take bath in the theertham and visit the Almighty after wearing a new dress. Those who arrive from the Western gate have to cross the amman sannidhi, take bath in the theertham and then proceed for having darshan. Those who come to the temple in the evening can come through any gate.
Devotees who enter the temple precincts through Southern gate can have a pleasing darshan of Goddess Thaiyalnayagi amman. Then devotees can enter the first praharam. Even if we enter the temple through the Eastern gate, one has to pass through the Southern end to enter the first praharam.
Whichever way devotees enter the temple they will always be welcomed by Lord Ganesha who is fondly called as “Karpaga Ganesha”. He is seated as though he is eagerly looking forward to our visit. After we pray to him with all our heart and soul, we can proceed to the Western praharam. An elephant along with his mahout will be there to welcome us. Then devotees can enter the Northern praharam. Here we can have a darshan of Lord Muthukumarsamy. He is accompanied by his beloved consorts Valli and Deivanai. He is seated on a peacock and bedecked with finest jewellery that one can imagine. Opposite the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Muruga there is a hall called as “chandana kuzhambu mandapam”. It is in this hall that Lord Muruga is readied for abhisekam during the “Karthik” star. Hundreds of devotees pray to him seated in the Northern direction. In the end, devotees receive abhisegha Prasad and theertam.
As we proceed towards the Northern side of the first praharam, there is a provision to do circumambulation. Now is the time to have a darshan of Goddess Bhadrakaliamman. As we proceed further we can have a view of the legendary Neem Tree. Beneath the neem tree we have the lingam called as adhi vaidyanathaswamilingam. We circumambulate the neem tree and on the Eastern side we get a darshan of Jwaraeshwarar and Lord Murugan in the form of Dhandayudhapani. Following this we can visit the small temple of angaraka murthy and then we reach Karpaga Ganapathy again.
We prostrate beneath the kodi maram. Then we can have darshan of Thaiyalnayagi amman. Lot of historical details can be found on the walls here. As we enter the sannidhi of Lord Vaitheeswaran, at the entrance we can see the forms of Jatayu who had worshipped the Lord.
As we turn left, we have a darshan of Lord Muthukumaraswamy. Close to him are Gajalakshmi and Asthalakshmi. Then we have 63 nayanmars towards the South. Close to them we have Lord Nataraja and Goddess Sivakami. Further proceeding to the East we arrive at the sannidhi of Durgai amman.
As we walk towards the East, we can sight navagrihas and also chandikeswarar. 63 moolavars and 7 Sapthakannigaigal can be seen. Opposite their idols is Chatayu Kundam atop which we have the idols of Lord Ram and Lord Lakshman. This is the spot where Lord Rama performed the last rites of Jatayu/ Chatayu.
After we adorn ourselves with the bibhuti we can have a darshan of Lord Dakshinamurthy. Beneath him is located chattanathar.
Then we can have darshan of somaskandamurthy (utsava) followed by Lord Vinayaka. Other deities are:
1. Sri Singaravelar
3. Sri Pidari Amman
9. Appar, Sambandhar, Sundarar, Manivasagar
On Tuesdays and on days of Krutthika star, all the deities will be adorned with golden covers.
As we walk on our way out we stand outside the sannidhi of Lord Vaiteeswaran. Then we collect the vinhuti prasadm, have a darshan of Goddess Thaiyalnayagi amman and proceed on our way out.
We can see lots of devotees offering salt and black pepper and also lighting maa vilakku.
Thus our darshan of Lord Vaiteeswaran and Goddess Thaiyalnayagi amman is now complete.
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