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thiruch chERai - part 4 - mArkandEya maharishi mukthi kshEthram

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Tue Dec 24 1996 - 10:57:30 PST

Saint mArkandEya was blessed with immortatlity by Lord Shiva at his
young age. However as yugams crossed, it is beleived that Saint
mArkandEya was seeking for the "patham" that is superior to this
immortality. He pleaded to Lord Shiva for the same. It is said that
Lord Shiva replied him that such padham is the only patham and is
known as "mOksham" and the *only* giver of such would be Lord Vishnu
and asked him to worship Lord Vishnu. Saint mArkandEya worshipped
Lord vishnu in 31 khsEthrams and finally Lord vishnu asked him to
worship in the kshEthram where "thai" poosam is celebrated for HIM.
Saint MArkkandEyaa came to this kavEri kshEthram where "thai
poosam" is celebrated every year for the Lord. Thai poosam is  in
tradition  considered  a shaivaite function.  This  is  the  only
Srivaishnava  kshEthram where "thai poosam" is  celebrated  every
year. Since thai poosam is a great shaivaite function the relation
that Saint mArkandEya is sent to this kshEthram can be derived by the
fact the Markandeya is an amsam of Lord Shiva. This is explained  with
a  little detour to thiru viNNagaram. Lord Oppiliappan co-appears
in  thiru  viNNAgaram "karuvarai" with booma devi  thayaar  (mother
earth)  and  maarkandEya maharishi both of whom worship Lord Oppiliappan
at the centre with folded hands. (MarkandEya's penance was answered  by
thayaar  in  this  thulasi vanam known as  thiru  viNNagaram  and
Oppiliappan  kOil.  thirumangai delievered  a  paasuram  on  Lord
Oppiliappan  in  which he says "moovaa vaanavar  tham  mudhalvaa"
when  he sees the moonRu uruvam in this sannidhi. The pasuram  is
as follows.

"theevaay val vinaiyaar udan ninRu siRanthavar pOl
mEvaa ven nargath thida uRRu virainthu vanthaar
'moovaa' 'vaanavar tham mudhalvaa!' mathi kOL
viduththa dhEvaa ! nin nadainthEn - thiru viNNagar mEyavanE !

The  meaning for these words are such that "You the three folded,
and  You are the first of the three folded"  meaning You are the Lord
who  is "inside" (as antharyaamim) the Brahmaa and Govindhaa  and
Haran as they are functioning in their delegated faculty. And you
are  the first of all these three. By saying so he also says that
there  is only one param at the begining and such was this  thiru
viNNagran  or Lord Vishnu (as per pancha ratra and as  agreed  by
all  major  schools including advaitham. The superior  nature  of
Lord  Vishnu is established here by the other worshipping in this
sannidhi of thiru vinnagaraan. Ie When saint mArkandEya was saved
from  "yama" by Lord Shiva Lord Shiva was in union with him. Thus
Saint  mArkaNdEya was considered as an amsam of lord shiva. Booma
dEvi  is  the "provider" of necessary support for the  jivans  to
thrive  in  this material world and hence she is "equated" to the
creator Brahmaa. She is the "mother" earth and hence she is  also
known  as the creator.  Thus it can be said that in this sannidhi
both  Brahma  and  Shiva  worships  Lord  Vishnu,  through  their
faculties  and amsam thereby establishing the supremacy  of  Lord
Vishnu  and  validating  that Lord Vishnu  is  the  only  "param"
pronounced by vedam. Thus the amsam of Lord Shiva finally came to
this kshEthram and attained mOkshma from this Lord as HE appeared
with  his "padhmam" onhis right hand as similar tohow HE is  seen
in parama patham or Srivaikundam. There are only a few kshEthrams
where the Lord is seen with this padhamam. Thiru anatha puram  is
one  and in thiruppathi piraati is seen with padhmam in both  her
hands  as  padma aasani thaayaar. This kshEthram is  popular  for
"thai poosam" mainly because Lord appeared as a child and blessed
kaveri in this kshEthram on this "thai poosam" day.

Coming to the no 32, that the no. of kshEthrams Lord  made
Saint mArkandEya visit, Sri Sadagopan had broached this subject on
"no.32" last year.  I am not sure if this point was brought across
or not.  The subject was why was the number 32 so important to
Vedanta Desikar as well as other Acharyas? There are 32 ways of
reaching God as well as 32 obstacles on the path of reaching God.
If one overcomes all 32 obstacles on the path of obtaining
Paramapadam, one is considered to have attained Moksha.

Experts say that the chief obstacle is Bhagavan's will to punish
the baddha jivatma for wrong doing.  It is said that If this obstacle is
overcome by either Bhakti Yoga or Prapatti, the other 32 are overcome
relatively rapidly.

There  are  32  brahma vidhdhai's one can perform. Swami  dEsikan
wrote  32 padhdhathis in padhukaa sahasram to capture the essence
of  these 32 brahma vidhdhais in terms of 32 foot steps  of  Lord
Arangan.  Swami desikan also wrote srimath Rahasya thra saarma  in
32  adhikkaarams. It is also  considered  that (the  32 no. of
kshEthrams Lord  made  Saint mArkandEya visit,)
visiting  all these 32 kshEthrams (all are part of 108  DD) that  will
clear  all the 32 obstacles for moKhsam if one will visit the same  and
seek for clearance of these 32 obstacles. It is said that Saint MarkaNdEya
was given mOksham at this kshEthram finally.

Sri   Ranganaayikaa   samEthara  Sri  Ranganathan   thiruvadikaLE

Sampath Rengarajan