You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : August 1998

Some divya-kshetra-s in kA~nci.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (nkrish_at_lucent.com)
Date: Fri Aug 28 1998 - 10:21:07 PDT

			kA~ncIpuram tiruppatigaL.

As I am continuing with my experience of svAmi deSikan's stotra-s, I am now
beginning a series of stotra-s which relate to bhagavAn's arcA mUrti-s in
and around kA~nci (We have already covered Lord varada in SrI varadarAha
pa~ncAsat and 
dIpaprakASa in SaraNAgati dIpikA).  Since I am unfamiliar with the location
of the temples and do not know the sthala-purANa-s of these temples, I found
it necessary to at least get an overall understanding of the sthala purANa-s
of these different kshetra-s in order to appreciate svAmi deSikan's
compositions even more.  Thus the following is a summary about some of the
divya kshetra-s in and near kA~ncIpuram whose arcA-mUrtis  have been sung by
svAmi deSikan in his stotra-s.

Among the arcA mUrti-s in kA~nci on whom svAmi deSikan has composed stotra-s
are:  SrI varadarAjap perumAL; SrI dIpa-prakASap perumAL; SrI vegA-setu
perumAL; SrI ashTa-bhujap perumAL; Lord nr*simha in tiruvELukkai; and SrI
vijaya-rAghavap perumAL in tirupputkuzhi.   

The sthala-purANa of many of these kshetra-s are tied to the yaj~na that was
performed by brahma who wanted to have the pratyaksha darSanam of mahA
vishNu.  The purANa-s have as their basis that brahma's saha-dharmiNi,
sarasvati was not part of this yaj~na by brahma, and in her anger she tried
to create several obstacles to the yaj~na.  One version is that brahma
wanted to prove that he can function without the help of his consort and so
undertook the yAga, and sarasvati wanted to disprove it and this is why she
created all these obstacles.  bhagavAn appeared in different forms during
different stages of the yaj~na as these obstacles were created, and
protected the yaj~na. In response to requests from brahma, bhagavAn agreed
to remain as the arcA mUrti in the different places after He appeared in
different forms to help brahma.  bhagavAn's agreeing to remain as the arcA
mUrti in these different khsetra-s is because of His Infinite Mercy to be
easily accessible to His devotees for all time to come.  Thus He appeared as
ashTa bhuja karap perumAl, as vegA setu perumAl, etc. to protect the yaj~na,
and then at the successful completion of the yaj~na, He became pratyaksha to
brahma in the form of the arcA mUrti, Lord varadarAja of kA~nci.

Of the 108 tirup-pati-s, 14 are located in kA~ncIpuram.  Of these, I have
given a brief summary of the sthala-purANa-s of six divya-kshetra-s on which
svAmi deSikan has composed stotra-s.

1. tirukkacci, attiyUr, attigiri, hastigiri, perumAL koil, satya vrata
kshetram (?), vishNu kA~nci. 

For those who want a point in favor of kA~nci vs. SrIra~ngam, tiruvE~nkatam,
etc., kA~nci is one of the seven mukti-sthala-s, while the other two are not
included in this list (bias on the part of the person who created the list
obviously).  For the other side, the ammunition is that there are only a
total of 6 pASurams on varadarAja that are sung by three AzhvAr-s
(bhUtattAzhvAr, pEyAzhvAr, and tiruma~ngai AzhvAr), according to a book by
L. V. GopAlan.  SrIra~ngam, tiruvE~nkatam, and tirukkuDanthai win easily in
this contest.

atti is the name of a rare kind of tree, also called udumbara.  It is
believed that the tirukkacci location was full of atti trees once upon a
time, and so the place got its name attiyUr. 

The kshetram where the temple is located is also called tiruk-kacci.  This
is a svayam-vyakta kshetram i.e., the Lord appeared here out of His own
will, and not as a result of the installation of an arcA-mUrti by some deva
or other mortal.  The Lord appeared in various other forms in the other
divya kshetrams around tiruk-kacci first to protect brahma's yAga.  When the
yAga was ultimately completed, bhagavAn appeared as Lord varada in the
yAga-kUndam in hasti-giri in tiruk-kacci in response to brahma's prayer to
Him to become pratyaksham to him.  Then brahma prayed to the Lord to become
pratyaksham to everyone so that the posterity can have the bhAgyam of
worshipping Him in the form in which He appeared to brahma in the
yAga-kUnDam.  Thus resulted the arcA-mUrti of Lord varada, whom we worship
today in tiruk-kacci.

perumAL's tiru-nAmam-s:

BhUtattAzhvAr refers to perumAL as attiyUrAn.  hastigiri also means the hill
of the elephant.  PerumAL is also called karISan, again based on kari
referring to elephant.  Gajendra is believed to have resided in this hill,
and Lord varadarAja the One who saved gajendra from the clutches of the
crocodile. 

Other names by which bhagavAn is known in this kshetra are: vara-da and
vara-da-rAja because He bestows (da) whatever is prayed for (vara) by His
devotees.  deva-rAjan, devap perumAL (The Lord of deva or brahma),
devAdi-rAjan (One who was worshipped by devendran or brahma), pEr-aruL-ALan
(One who, because of His Infinite Mercy,  appeared as the arcA-mUrti in
brhama's yAga kUNDam to bless all the devotees for all posterity;  also
because He was kind enough to send bhagavad rAmAnuja to SrIra~ngam in
response to Lord ra~nganAtha's request); hasti-giri-nAthan - The Lord of
hasti-giri - the small hill on which He is located; praNatArtihara;
hastigiri nAthan; satya vratan.

Among those who have sung on this perumAL are:  bhUtattAzhvAr (attiyUrAn
puLLai UrvAn), pEyAzhvAr, tiruma~ngai AzhvAr (minnu mA mazhai tavazhum mEgha
vaNNA), tirukkacci nambigaL (devarAja ashTaka stotram), maNavALa mAmunigaL
(devarAja ma~ngalam), svAmi deSikan (SrI varadarAja pa~ncAsat), appayya
dIkshitar (SrI varadarAja stavam), purandara dAsar (kaNNArak kaNDEn),
tyAgarAjar (varadarAja ninnu kOri, vinata sutA vAhanuDu), and muthusvAmi
dIkshitar.   

svAmi deSikan's SrI varadarAja pa~ncAsat, which we have previously covered,
is in praise of this Lord.

2. attabhuyakaram (ashTa bhuja karam)

ashTa bhujap perumAL, ashTa bhuja karattAn, Adi kESavap perumAL  - He
appeared as the Lord with 8 hands bearing eight different weapons to
eliminate the obstacle created by sarasvati to brahma's yaj~na in the form
of a Sarabha (a fabulous animal with 8 legs and said to be stronger than a
lion).  The weapons are:  disc, conch, kamalam, sword, kEDayam, bow, arrow,
and gadA.  tiruma~ngai AzhvAr has sung the praise of this perumAL as
aTTa-bhuya-karattammAn.  PeyAzhvAr also has sung the praise of this perumAL.
Between the two, there are 11 pASurams praising the glory of this perumAL.

This kshetram is located within two kilometers of Lord varadarAja's
sannidhi, opposite the location of the yathoktakAri temple.  It is believed
that the tank of this temple is where the crocodile caught hold of the leg
of gajendra, and where bhagavAn appeared and protected gajendra.  svAmi
deSikan's composition "ashTabhujAshTakam" is on this perumAL.  maNavALa
mAmunigaL has also sung the praise of this perumAL.

It is to be noted that this is the only divya deSam out of the 108 where
perumAL gives darSanam with eight hands.

3. tirut-taN-kA, tUppul, viLakkoLip perumAL kOil, hima-vanam.

dIpa-prakASa. 

This kshetram is close to ashta-bhuja-karam.  The sthala purANam of this
place is also tied to brahma's yaj~na.  nammAzhvAr and  tiruma~ngai AzhvAr
have sung about this perumAL.  This is also the avatAra sthalam of svAmi
deSikan. 
His composition SaraNAgati dIpikA is in praise of this perumAL. 

There are different versions of why bhagavAn in this kshetram is called
dIpa-prakASa.  The important point to note is that He is the emperumAn who
dispels the darkness both inside and outside us.

In the SrI deSikar sannidhi in tUppul, we can worship the very same ArAdhana
mUrti of lakshmi-hayagrIvap perumAL who was worshipped by svAmi deSikan
during his nitya ArAdhana. 

tiruma~ngai AzhvAr has sung two pASurams on this perumAL (munaik-kadiraik
kuRu~nkuDiyaL) 

4. tiruvELukkai, tiru-vEL-irrukai.

nr*simha mUrti, kacci-adbhuta-kesari - The Wonderful Lion of kA~nci.  

This temple is located very close to the dIpa prakASa temple.  This temple
was in a very dilapidated state (as of the source material dated 1992), with
not even a rAjagopuram.  According to one source, the mUlavar vigraham is in
the middle of a tank which is not usually approachable, and there is no
worship.  A later source (1995) indicates that the temple has been now
renovated and is in great shape with regular worship. The sthala purANam is
again related to brahma's yaj~na.  When sarasvati discharged the kAbAlika
astra, bhagavAn appeared in the form of nr*simha mUrti and destroyed the
astra and thus protected the yaj~na.  Then He consented to brahma's request
to continue to be present here in the arcA form in which He protected the
yaj~na in this instance.

vEL in tamizh means "willingness, consent with pleasure".  "irrukkai" is
presence.  Since bhagavAn in His nara hari form willingly consented to
brhama's request to be present here in this form as the arcA mUrti, the
place is called tiru-vEL-irrukkai.  

peyAzhvAr and tiruma~ngai AzhvAr have sung in praise of the Lord of this
kshetra.  svAmi deSikan's kAmAsikAshTaka stotram is about this perumAL.

5. tiruvehkA.  

bhuja~nga Sayanan, tiruvaNaip-paLLi-koNDAn perumAL, yathOkta-kAri, Sonna
vaNNam Seyda perumAL, vegA sEtu.

This divya kshetram is within 1 km. of SrI vardarAjap perumAL koil.  This
perumAL also reamined here as arcA-mUrti after appearing in this place to
protect brahma's yaj~na.  sarasvati first created a huge fire, praLayAgni,
which was subdued by dIpaprakASa of tirut-taN-kA.  She was angered by this,
and created several asura-s.  When bhagavAn took several forms and destroyed
all these, she decided to take the form of a river, vEgavati, and rushed
with great force towards the yAgaSAlA.  bhagavAn just lied down in His
bhuja~nga Sayanam in the path of the river, and this was sufficient to
subdue the force of sarasvati.

One writer on this divya kshetram has said that the name tiru vEga aNai (the
dam across the vega river) became vEgaNai first and then became vehkA over a
period of time, and this is how the current name came into existence.  

PerumAL's name of yatOktakAri is related to the incident involving
tirumazhiSai AzhvAr.  The king of this place drove away a disciple of
tirumazhiSai from kA~nci when the disciple refused to sing the praise of the
king.  The AzhvAr decided to leave kA~nci with the disciple, kaNikkaNNan,
but he felt that bhagavAn did not belong in a place where a bhAgavata was
not respected, and so requested bhuja~nga Sayanap perumAL to role His snake
bed and leave kA~nci as well.  BhagavAn did what He was told by the AzhvAr,
and the kingdom without bhagavAn was submerged in darkness.  The king
realized his apacAram, and begged forgiveness from the AzhvAr.  AzhvAr in
turn requested bhagavAn to go back and roll back His snake bed and lie down
again, which He did again as He was told by His bhakta.

poygai AzhvAr (vEnkaTamum viNNagarum vehkAvum), pEyAzhvAr (poruppiDaiyE
ninrum), tirumazhiSai AzhvAr, tiruma~ngai AzhvAr and nammAzhvAr have sung
the praise of this perumAL.  poygai AzhvAr took avatAram in the tank
(poygai) nearby this temple.  svAmi deSikan's vegA setu stotram is about
this perumAL. 

6. tirup-put-kuzhi:

This divya-kshetram is located 12 km. from kA~nci.  The divya nAmam of this
perumAL is vijaya-rAghavap perumAL.  He has been sung by tiruma~ngai AzhvAr
through 2 pASurams.  svAmi deSikan's pAramArtha stuti is on this perumAL.
It is believed that this is the place where the bird jaTAyu was cremated by
Lord rAma when  jaTAyu breathed his last after conveying to Lord rAma the
news of the abduction of sItA pirATTi. Unlike in the previous cases where it
was brahma who requested bhagavAn to remain in these kshetra-s in the arcA
form to bless the devotees, in tirup-put-kuzhi it is believed that jaTAyu
requested bhagavAn to remain in the same form He appeared before jaTAyu and
gave moksham to him.  The pushkariNi here is called jaTAyu pushkariNi.  This
is also the place where yAdava prakASa, the teacher of SrI rAmAnuja, lived.
pinbazhigaya perumAL jIyar also was born in this place. 

It is interesting to note that that sthala purANa for puLLam-bhutam-kuDi is
exactly identical to that of tirup-put-kuzhi.  A researcher (A. etirAjan)
concludes that puLLam-bhutam-kuDi seems to be more appropriate as the
kshetram where jaTAyu was given moksham.

This concludes the brief introduction to the kshetra-s in kA~nci whose
arcA-mUrti-s have been sung by svAmi deSikan through his stotra-s.  Starting
in the next write-up, we will resume the dip into the pleasure of the
stotra-s themselves.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan