Kanta Shasti Vratam – For a cleaner interior
By P.R. Krishnan
Kanta Shasti Vratam is observed once a year in the month of `Aippasi' (October–November) starting from the `piratamai' the 1st phase of the brightening moon.Of all Kanta temples it is the one in Tirunchendur in Tamil Nadu, India that draws the largest number of Kanta devotees. All roads, at the time of the Vratam, seem to lead to Tirunchendur. Beside the temple by the sea there appears to be a sea of heads. The Kantan's Tiruvilaiyaadal (divine sport) Soora Samharam is enacted during the sixth day of the festival. This is a drama to grant a great boon to Curapatman by Kantan. Curapatman is given the honour of becoming Kantan's vehicle mayil vahanam (peacock vehicle) and ceval kodi (the rooster on Kantan's flag).
During the six days of Kanta Shasti, devotees, usually fast. They fast in many different forms: some devotees take only one meal a day and that single meal is the evening meal; to some that single meal consist of fruit and milk; others forego all solid foods, even abstain from taking medication take only a liquid diet; some even forego the liquid diet. Of the above forms taking milk would defeat the purpose of clearing long stored fat. Not taking any liquids could be harmful, as many unwanted matters tend to remain in the body. The ideal form of fast would be that during all six days and nights to abstain from all solid food and even medicine but take water, coconut water, strained orange juice and or such permissible liquids. These liquids help to flush out unwanted substances and to clean the body.
At the end of the six-day fast the body is indeed cleaner than it was before. The mind is cleansed by the pilgrimage, meditation, worship and other devotional activities. A pure mind in a pure body is a sublime combination and conducive to realizing the Divine. This is the reward and benefit of Kanta Shasti Vratam. During the period of Kanta Shasti Vratam many devotees recite Kanta Shasti Kavasam. These are verses asking Kanta for protection. In verse after verse, numerous parts of the body are mentioned as requiring protection, but many more parts, and, it must be mentioned, vital parts are left unmentioned. It has been said, "Ask, and it shall be given unto you". God always grants you what you ardently desire, so it might be prudent to ask for protection and leave it at that, and Kanda will protect your whole self.
Moreover, in reciting Kanta Shasti Kavasam the devotees ask for the torture and destruction of kaala tootar. Such infliction or annihilation, if carried out according to your instructions and request, would detract from your current account of merit. Did not some of your wishes, or rather curses, take such forms as:"Kattu kattu kataridak kattu (tie them up, tie them up even as they scream)Katti uruttu kaal kai muriya (having tied them up roll them about so that their legs and arms break)Kuththu kuththu koor vadi velal (prick them, prick them with your sharp and resplendent spear)In another instance by reciting the Kanta Shasti Kavasam you are asking for the diffusion of the "manaiyil putaitta vancanai", evil crafts buried in the home compound. At times of distress, many are inclined to believe that evil forces have been set upon them by enemies. Some fear that the cause of all the distress, disunion, misery they are experiencing are due to their enemies having evil crafts buried in home compounds. Surely such things cannot be lying buried in all home compounds of all those who recite the Kanta Shasti Kavasam.
In this instance as "Ask, and it shall be given unto you" God has to grant your wish. But how could He help to diffuse a buried evil craft when such a thing is not buried. However He is obliged to grant your wish. Prerequisite to fulfill your wish is initially an enemy who will have to bury the evil crafts in the home compound. Only then the evil crafts could be diffused. Imagine the complications.
Tiruchendur - Sthala Puranam
One of the six places of worship dedicated to Lord Muruga, the shore temple of Arulmigu Subramanya Swami at Tiruchendur has a unique significance as the culmination of the concept of Muruga. With its lofty tower of about 140 feet, it has a holy past dating back to 2,000 years, if not earlier. References are available in such texts as Purananuru, Silappadikaram, Tirumurugatrupadai, Adi Sankarar Sri Subramanya Bhujangam, Kanda Puranam, Tiruppukazh, Tiruchendur Pillai Tamil, etc.
Soorapadma was a very powerful Asura who was causing immense hardships to Devas and mankind alike by his wicked deeds. The Devas appealed to Lord Shiva to spare them from the tortures of Soorapadma.
Lord Shiva generated six powerful sparks from His third eye called Netrikkan. Lord Vayu (god of air) and Lord Agni (god of fire) carried these sparks to river Ganges. Goddess Ganga carried them to Saravana Poygai, a holy pond.The sparks became six divine small male babies. By God's grace, six divine water nymphs (the six Krittikas) nurtured these babies.
With the blessings of His divine parents, Lord Murugan came to Tiruchendur with His armed group. He immediately sent Veerabahu as an emissary to Soorapadma and asked him to release all the Devas imprisoned by him. But the Asura refused. So Lord Murugan had no option but to wage war against Soorapadma and his legions. It lasted for ten days.
Lord Murugan defeated Soorapadma andyet before his death he tearfully prayed for pardon. Moved as he was, Shanmuga showed his cosmic form and accepted to make use of his peacock form as his permanent vehicle, and the cock to adorn his banner. Since then, though dead, Surapadman has been serving the Lord thus, with devotion unparalleled and obedience inimitable.
According to tradition, after the final battle on the beach at Tiruchendur, Lord Murugan felt remorse for His role in slaughtering Surapadma's demonic army. He therefore built a shrine nearby to His Father Lord Siva and worshipped Him there. Technically, therefore, the temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Yet the mulasthanam deity is Lord Senthil Andavar Himself standing in a majestic and relaxed pose facing east towards the sea, alone and without His consorts Valli and Devasena.
Sri Adi Shankara wrote powerful mantra Subramanya Bhujangam. When Adi Shankara visited the shore temple of Lord Subramanya at Thiruchendur, he fell into a trance and the entire stanzas flowed from him. It is said that the Lord was so pleased with the mantras, words of devotion that came from Adi Shankara, that Lord Subramanya appeared, as stated in the mantra, in front of Adi Shankara. Devotees reciting this mantra will be rid of debts, sufferings and disease. Whoever recites this mantra will attain health, wealth, longevity, wisdom and heavenly abode.
Lord Murugan blesses everyone who worships Him. He extends Hissupreme grace to all those who pray before Him. He removes all the ills of people who come to Him. He never lets down His disciples. Worship Lord Murugan at Tiruchendur and seek His blessings. He never says NO to anyone. He will bless you with a blemishless and peaceful life.……….OM SARVANA BHAVAYA NAMAHA…