Today is Arudhra Darishanam


Listen to Periyavaa’s Upanyasam on Aarudhra Darshan::

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One of the eight fasts (vrata) of importance in favour of Lord Siva, according to Kanda Puranam, is Thiruvathirai fast. Those, who perform it, are expected to arise from bed before dawn, complete their daily ablutions, go to the Siva Temple, witness the anointing ceremonies, light ghee lamps, offer their prayers, view the Nadarajah’s procession and fast without food until the next day when they can partake meal with Saivite devotees after their early morning ablutions and Siva worship. Patanjali, Vyakrapada and Munsishesha rishis are said to have followed this fast and obtained benefits according to puranic stories.

ARTHIRAI: Only two out of twenty-seven stars are honoured with title “Thiru”. They are Athirai and Onam, which are assigned to Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu respectively. The Saiva world surprisingly has assigned a birthday for the Primordial. Athirai seems to have been assigned to Lord Siva from very early times according to literary evidences (Kalitthogai; Paripadal). Athirai is also called Chemmin, meaning red star. The word Siva too has the meaning of a red person. Those who gave Siva a peerless position also assigned one of the biggest stars to him.

MARKALI THIRUVATHIRAI: The last day of Thiruvembavai is the tenth day, which falls on Markali Thiruvathirai. According to an old verse of Paripaddal, girls on Markali Thiruvathirai find out from elderly women how to perform the rites for Ambavadal and then start off the rites bathing in cold water before dawn and praying that the world become cool with sufficient rains in their ceremony. The Bhagavada Purana also refers to a Karthiyayini fast performed in Markali by girls similar to the above one. The ceremony conducted by girls in favour of the Mother Goddess became extended to Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu irrespective of gender and age in later times. This “Markali bathing” is referred to in some ancient poems (Narrinai; Ainkurunury; Kalitthogai) as “Thai bathing” because after the full moon in mid Markali we get part of Markali and part of Thai, there giving license for both terms. Saivites recite the twenty verses of Thiruvembavai sung by Saint Manikkavasagar daily for ten days ending on Markali Thiruvathirai. Vaishnavites recite the thirty verses of Thiruppavai sung by Saint Andal, one daily for the whole month of Markali. The divine charioteer, Lord Krishna observed that he is Markali of the calendar months and Thiruvathirai of the stars in Bhagavad Gita.

ARDHRA DARSHAN: Saivites hold Markali Thiruvathirai as one of the most holiest days of Siva. Saint Thirugnana Sambandar singing to Poompavai asks whether she is going away without witnessing Athirai (Thirumarai). It is significant that one of the six anointing ceremonies of Lord Nadarajah takes place on this day. Further Lord Nadarajah comes out in a procession of this day to give Darshan to his devotees. In Sanskrit ‘Arthirai? is called ‘Ardhra?and the Thiruvathirai anointing ceremony is called Ardhra Abisheka and the Thiruvathirai viewing as Ardhra Darshan. It is held as a great achievement to be able to view Nadarajah’s procession on Markali Thiruvathirai in Chidambaram. Saivites from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) used to go in boats to Vedarniyam (Thirumaraikadu) and then to Chidambaram for this ceremony annually in olden days. Travel restrictions between India and Ceylon put an end to this annual Saivite trek from Ceylon. However lands and properties donated by Saivites in Ceylon to Chidambaram Nadarajah bear testimony to the attachment of Ceylon Saivites to Chidambaram and its Lord. There is a great festival in the ten days ending on Markali Thiruvathirai in Chidambaram. This will be followed by the anointing ceremony in the early hours of Markali Thiruvathirai. Then it will be followed by the procession of Lord Nadarajah with his consort to bless the multitude of devotees. Chendanar of Cheppurai sang the Thiru Pallandu decade so as to get the chariot, which stuck in the mud to move on a Thiruvathirai procession in Markali (Thiru Pallandu). His only decade forms one of the five hymns recited in Siva Temples even today. Nandanar’s ambition to get Arudhra Darshan saw no bounds. He was forced to go on postponing his departure day after day due to his subservience to his Master thereby earning for himself the name of Thiru Nalai Poovar. His story is the theme of a musical drama by Gopala Krishna Bharathi in the late 19th century. The hermits of Darukavanam, due to their arrogance, overlooked the peerless Lord Siva, paying no heed to the path of knowledge, followed the pathway of Karma (action) and performed a huge fire ceremony. The gracious Lord took the form of a beggar to enlighten them when he dropped in at the doorsteps of the hermits smitten by his Grace forgot what they were doing and followed him one after another. The hermits became furious and brought one of the five dreadful creatures to destroy the Lord. Lord Siva destroyed all of them and stood upon one of them (Muyalagan) and performed a Tandava dance enlightening the hermits who was the Lord of the universe. This darshan is said to have taken place on the Markali Thiruvathirai. Therefore viewing the procession of Nadarajah on this day is said to be very beneficial.

THIRUVATHIRAI KALI (MASHED FLOUR): Cendanar of Naukoor, a disciple of Paddinattu Adigal, used to eat only after feeding some Saiva devotees. Due to a constant bad weather he could not get together all the essentials for a proper meal. He had no option but to mix water with flour and prepare a mashed paste. Lord Siva understood his predicament. He wanted the people to know how sincere his devotee was to him. Therefore he disguised himself as a Siva devotee and visited Cendanar’s hut and enjoyed what was given to him as food. The temple attendants saw the premises scattered with the mashed paste the following morning. Inquiries led to an understanding of Cendanar’s piety and he was thereafter bestowed with all due respect. This incident took place in a Markali Thiruvathirai. This is why Thiruvathirai Kali forms an important prasad on this holy day.

Categories: Upanyasam

14 replies

  1. Tks for sharing such an important article about Arudhra Darisanam. My birth star happens to be Thiruvadirai (Arudhra).

  2. Great to hear Maha Periyava’s voice on the occasion of Thiruvaadhirai. Appaya Dikshithar’s famous sloka, sung by Maha Periyava and with His beautiful meanings, is a great traeasure.Can you put this in You Tube format, so that people can save and hear?

  3. A very nice and timely post Mahesh.

  4. If we chant at least 21 times a day “OM NAMA SIVAYA”, Lord Sivas blessings will surely reach us. Chanting his 108 Names will boost your strength to perform more and more useful things in this world.”‘Om Sivaya Namaha; Om Maheswaraya Namaha, Om Shambave Namaha,Om Pinakine Namaha,OM Sasishekharaya Namaha,Om Vama devaya Namaha,Om Veerupakshaya Namaha,Om Kapardhene Namaha, Om Neela LOhithaya Namaha,Om Sankaraya Namaha, Shoola Panaye Namaha,Om Ghatvangaya Namaha,OM Vishnu vallabhaya Namaha,Shipivestaya Namaha,Om Ambika Nathaya Namaha,Om Shri Khandaya Namaha,Om Bhakthavatsalaya Namaha, Om Bhavaya Namaha,Om Sharvaya Namaha,Om THrilokeshaya Namaha,Om Shithi Kandaya namaha,Om Shiva Priyaya Namaha,Om Ugraya Namaha,Om Kapaline Namaha,Om Kamaraye Namaha,Om Andhakasura Soothanaya Namaha,Om Ganga Dharaya Namaha,OM Lalatakshaya Namaha it goes like this,once you begin to chant autamatically all your problems in your life will be over. In this only up to 27 astothara mantras are given,it goes to 108 in number.Once our Periyava decide certain thing that will be done.

  5. Dear all DIVINE lovers/followers, A very suitable explanation about markazhi thiruvathirai.This has come from from the mouth of the undisputed
    DIVINE. Let us pray to almighty to grace the universe by sending countless saints. Jayam be with divine.Death be with evil.

    om jaya jaya sankara hara hara sankara

  6. as usual you are ensuring that periaval is not only always with us but also we hear his voice. very appropriate. God Bless You. I think he is the same pattabhi who is at west mambalam and every year the pattu sastrigal samity celebrates periava jayanthi with a lot of abhishekams etc. and there is a panchloha idol of periava, when vedapuri etc. are also there. this function is celebrated at ayodhya mandapam in west mambalam and mr. ganesa sarma or probably even sankar netralaya sivaraman must be knowing him very well. n.ramaswami

  7. Mr Mahesh. I am very thankful to you for presenting this at an appropriate time to
    make everyone to get an awareness and significance of this occasion. Hara Hara Shankara Jaya Jaya Shankara

    Balasubramanian NR

  8. Thank you Mr. Mahesh. Jaya Jaya Sankara! Hara Hara Sankara!

  9. Dear Mr. Mahesh

    During my recent visit to my native place Varagur I happened to see Mr. Pattabiraman who was an ardent devotee of Kanchi Paramacharyal. Mr. Pattabiraman spent his days with Paramacharyal till last as his Personal Assistant. I discussed Kanchi Forum and its contribution and constant email messages with Pattabiraman who also tells always about Paramacharyal when he was his Paramacharyal. Mr. Pattabiraman do not know how to access internet and he requested me to inform you about him and would like to talk to you. He is staying at Chennai but most of his days will be on Bhagvat Seva moving around places. He will be much useful as he was with Paramacharyal and have lot of collection and personal feelings. If you can please contact him. His mobile No. +919940577515. While talking to him you can tell about me as Kandu of Varagur and kanchi Forum so that he can recollect easily.

  10. It is a good coincidence and well timed to present the beautiful audio on Aarudhra Darisanam on Tiruvadhirai day along with summary, especially from foreign. That shows where your heart is.
    The devotees, while reading this and are able to visualise standing in front of the ever graceful Lord Nataraja at Chidambaram temple during Karpura Aarathi time and simultaneously when the famous Dhikshidhars start showing Chidambara Rahasyam behind golden bilva leaves, are truly blessed.
    Sambho Mahadeva.

  11. blessed to listen to Deivathin Kural on this divine day.

    கறந்த பால் கன்னலொடு நெய்கலந்தாற் போலச்
    சிறந்தடியார் சிந்தனையுள் தேன் ஊறி நின்று
    பிறந்த பிறப்பறுக்கும் எங்கள் பெருமான்

    Namaskarams to Sri Matha Sivakama Sundari Amba Sametha Sri Nataraja Swamine Namaha!

  12. Quite an apt posting.

  13. So far, we were eating “Thiruvathirai Kali” without knowing why this is being prepared on Thiruvathirai. Now, we could understand the reason behind it. Very well presented. Even a lay man can understand the beauty behind “Markali Thiruvathirai” and “Arudhra Dharshan”.

  14. guruve saranam

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