Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Garuda Panchami - கருட பஞ்சமி

Garuda Panchami is celebrated on the Panchami or fifth day of the Sukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) of Shravana Mass(Month). As the name suggest Garuda Panchami is the festival of Lord Garuda popularly known as Garuthmantha, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

Garuda Panchami is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Garuthmantha on all the Gods in the process of obtaining AMRUTHAM, the holy nectar that gives immortality to the one who drinks it and relieving his mother from slavery. Garuda Panchami is celebrated remembering the difficulties a son undergoes for the wellbeing of his mother. Garuda Panchami is the day of mother and son.
On Garuda Panchami, which also popularly known as Naga Panchami, people worship Lord Garuda. The normal process would involve worshipping Lord Garudas image, but a image of the snake lord is also placed and worshipped. The worshipping of snake is to overcome the Naga Dosha that would come as a result of worshipping Lord Garuthmantha.

Garuda Panchami is dedicated to Garuda, the vehicle or Vahana of God Vishnu. The puja and vrat associated with Garuda Panchami observed by women for the welfare and good health of their children. Naga Panchami is also observed on the day.

Legend has it that the day remembers Garuda’s love and devotion for his mother Vinita. Thus the day celebrates mother – son relationship. In some regions, married women observe it for a happy married life.

Garuda Panchami Puja is mainly observed by certain Hindu communities in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Garuda Panchami pooja is dedicated to Sri Garudalwar, also known as "Periya Thiruvadi".

Benefits of this Pooja:
This pooja is usually performed by women and benefits their children. Garudalwar is propitiated by women who wish to give birth to bold, brave and sharp-minded children like Garudan. Newly wed couples perform this pooja for a happy married life. By performing this pooja, it is also believed that suffering due to Naga Dosham will be alleiviated.

Story behind Garuda Panchami:
Kaasyapar, one of the Saptha Rishis had two wives named Vinathai and Kandharu. Once, when Vinathai and Kandharu had an argument about the colour of the tail of Ucchairavam, the horse of Lord Indira. Kandharu argued that it was black while Vinathai said it was white in colour. They decided to see the horse to reslove the issue and decided that that the one who lost the argument would be a slave to the one who wins. Kandharu ordered her black snake sons and to wind around the tail of the horse, so that its tail looked black in colour. Thus, Vinathai was enslaved by Kandharu, and being a slave lived a very dejected life. When Garudan, the son of Vinathai was told how his mother was tricked into being a slave he was very angry. Garudan asked Kandharu how his mother could be free again. Kandharu asked Garudan to get the Amirtham from the Deva Loka to release his mother from slavery. Garudan, who went to Indra Lokam was stopped by the devars but fought and won over them. Before Lord Indra could use his Vajrayudham, Garudan bowed down and narrated the entire story of what had happened to his mother and why he had come to Indralok. On hearing this, Indiran gave him the Amirtham and blessed him. He also proclaimed that all snakes would henceforth be enslaved to Garudan as they were also responsible for his mother's misery.

Animal as a part of the evolutionary process is well known to modern scientists. Hindus hold Animal altogether in a different perspective. To a Hindu animal world is as important as mankind. Vedic wisdom says that the spirit in animals is the same as that in mankind. It is the will of the Supreme Spirit that decides whether one would be born a man or animal depending upon one’s Karma (deed). Animals are therefore revered by Hindus. The gods use them as vehicle as mentioned in the Puraanas. If animals are so dear to gods, it is but natural they not only attract but also held in reverence by mankind.

It appears rather intriguing that Lord Vishnu has a serpent (Aadisesha) as his couch and an eagle (Garuda) its arch enemy as his vehicle.  This just shows that Vishnu is the Lord of Balance and Harmony which is an essential quality for one responsible for sustaining the multifarious universe.

Eagle is admired in many cultures as the king of birds known for its strength and dashing nature. Eagle, the dominating bird flying in the sky known for its strength is the national symbol of USA. It appears as national emblem of USA since 1782. It was the spiritual symbol of Native Americans long before its adoption as national symbol appearing on its seal. USA adopted Bald Eagle as the national symbol inspired by the Roman Republic where eagle imagery was prominent. The basic Vedic fire altar described in Rigveda is composed of seven Purushas, viz the body is four, the wings and tail are three. This is the eagle glorified in Vedas in Garuda Gayatri—“Tatpurushaaya vidmahe suvrnapakshaaya dheemahi tannoe garudah prachoedayaat”—We meditate upon that Purusha (Supreme Principle). For that purpose we meditate upon the one who has golden wings. May that Garuda Invigorate us! (Garuda Gaayatree mantra from Mahaa Naaraayana Upanishad)  Garuda is identified as golden eagle.

Snakes are venerated and admired in many cultures. In Greek mythology, the Rod of Asclepius is a serpent-entwined rod wielded by the Greek God Asclepius, a deity associated with healing and medicine. The symbol continues to be used in modern times, associated with medicine and healthcare. From ages immemorial serpent has been worshipped to ward off evil effects and prevent   diseases by Hindus. Probably Greeks could have been influenced by Hindus in this regard. Old Testament describes how God of Israelites commanded Moses to hold a snake he saw in wilderness which turned into a magic wand.  With the help of this rod he led the Israelites to safety crossing then sea.

Bhagavadgeetaa teaches that whatever is celebrated and great in the Universe, is a part-manifestation of the Supreme Spirit. Geeta says: “Vainateyascha paksheenaam”—I am Garuda amongst birds; “Sarpaanaam asmi Vaasukih”—among serpents I am Vaasuki; “Anantah asmi Naagaanaam”—among snakes I am Sheshanaaga.  Vaasuki, Sheshanaaga and Garuda are invariably found in separate enclosures or as Vishnuparivaara (Vishnu’s family) in all Hindu temple complexes, venerated and worshiped daily. On Sraavana Sukla Panchami special Poojas are conducted and celebrated as Garuda Panchami and Naaga Panchami. In some traditions Naaga Chaturthi is observed instead of Naaga Panchami during Sraavana Sukla Paksha.  Hindu women pray for warding off evils, curing of diseases, welfare and prosperity of the family, for begetting healthy children of strength and fame and for the welfare of brothers.

Garuda means “wings of speed” and actually personifies Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge has come down to us from the worlds of gods on his wings. You have all heard about the famous shrine of Tirupati which is called Bhoo-vaikuntha. The story goes that Lord Vishnu as Varaaha decided to continue to stay on this earth. Garuda brought down the hill of Vaikuntha to earth for the Lord’s residence. The word Vengada of Tamil origin signifies hill. So Venkatesa is The Lord of the Hill.
Garuda is the golden eagle celebrated in Vedas. He is described as Vishnuratha (Vehicle of Vishnu); Amritaharana (carrier of nectar); Suvarna-kaaya (Golden bodied); Gaganeswara (The Lord of Skies); Rasaayana (Man of Quick Movements); Pakshiraaja (King of Birds): Uragaasana (devourer of serpents); and Saalmalistha (dweller on the Saalmali tree) etc. In Rigveda Garuda is known as Tarkshya.

In Vishnu temples in South India Garuda is installed in a separate enclosure, in front of the sanctum as Garudaazhwar (Saint Garuda), facing the presiding deity of Vishnu. He is seen in the standing position, usually two armed, the hands being folded in the attitude of supplication and wearing on his head Karanda type of crown. He is also sometimes shown like Hanuman kneeling but on the left knee only while the other leg being drawn back as if ready to fly.

The legends in Puraanas concerning him make him the son of Kasyapa and Vineetaa (daughter of Daksha). Kasyapa had two wives, Kadru and Vineetaa. Kadru became the mother of one thousand serpents (Naagas). Vinita laid two eggs, one of which did not hatch. In frustration she broke open the first egg and out came a half developed Aruna who later became the charioteer of Sun God. Aruna cursed his mother for his misfortune and as a consequence she had to serve as a slave to Kadru. Garuda was born when the second egg was allowed to hatch in due course. Garuda fought with the guardians of Nectar (Amrita) and brought the pot to where the children of Kadru resided to release his mother from the bondage of slavery as per the conditions set by Kadru. Vishnu was pleased with his valor and made him not only his mount but also as crest in his banner (Garudadvajha). Sri Karamurti, one of the forms of Vishnu is shown seated on the shoulders of Garuda with his hands supporting Vishnu’s feet. This is the pose we usually see Lord Vishnu as Garudavaahana during special festivals like Vaikuntha Ekaadasi, Gajendra Moksha etc.

It is on Sraavana Sukla Panchami Garuda brought the pot of Nectar after great struggle to release his mother with great fight risking his life.  This day is a day of celebration of affection between a mother and her child. It is the celebration of the bond between mother and child. It is therefore fitting and proper to dedicate this day to mother and celebrate it as Mother’s Day by performing special worship to Garuda. Newly-weds perform special worship on Garuda Panchami Day for a happy married life. Religiously devoted, having faith in astrology, who believe they have been afflicted with Naagadosha (ill effects due to serpent curse) hope to get rid of it by this act of worship.

Garuda Panchami is observed with reverence by married women for their better health and future of their children.  They pray to make their children as bold, strong and sharp as Garuda. This Worship is observed by newly-wed couples for their married bliss and prosperous life.

Snakes move around typically during monsoon time. Farmers stop tilling the soil to avoid killing these beneficial creatures. They play a big role in controlling rat population that destroys the crop. That is why the Sravan Sukla Panchami becomes an important period to propitiate Ananta.

Vishnu reclining on Adisesha with closed lids is a common scene in Hindu Temples. He is also called Sesha-sayee, Padmanaabha and Ranganaatha. Kaalika Puraana mentions that Adisesha approached Vishnu reclining on the waters (ambasya paare) of Ksheerasaagara (Milky Ocean) and offered his services to the great Lord. He employed his body as a cot for him, and spread his hoods on his head as a cover.  Vishnu then went into deep trance (yoga-nidraa). Vishnu, Siva, Subhramanya and Ganesha are all associated with snake and snake ornaments.

Ananta is the primordial serpent or dragon. It is considered as one of the Prajaapatis (progenitors) evolving from Brahmaa who in turn evolved from Vishnu. Ananta is considered as Taamasic (dark), a form of Vishnu abiding in the bottom of Netherworlds (Paataala loka) and worshiped by gods (devas) and sages (rishis). Ananta supports the world on his head. He is also identified with the first born child of Kasyapa (son of Marichi) by Kadru (daughter of Daksha Prajaapati). Kadru gave birth to one thousand serpents of which Sesha was the eldest. Important among the other children are: Vaasuki; Airaavata; Takshaka; Kaarkootaka; Kateeya; Kalmaasha; Nahusha; Kunjara; Kumuda and Kumudaaksha. Ananta is one of the names of Vishnu meaning endless or infinite. Ananta is Vishnu’s taamasic form which resides in paataala. Ananta is also one of the forms of Siva. He is in this form represented as tranquil (saanta) and pleasant (saumya) seated on a red lotus and bedecked with ornaments (sarvaabharanabhooshita).

In Kukke Subhramanya in Karnataka Lord Subhramanya is worshiped as snake as Lord of all serpents. As the legend goes when Vaasuki and other serpents were threatened by Garuda they sought refuge under Lord Subhramanya here.
Mahabharata says: Sesham cha akalpayed devamanantam visvaroopinam | yo dhaarayati bhootaani dharaam chemaam saparvataam || The Supreme Principle created godlike Sheshanaag who is omnipresent and eternal. On his head rests the whole world along with mountains, the sea and the atmosphere.
Before starting the Worship on Naagapanchami day it is customary to remember all the divine serpents celebrated in the Puraanas and worship them with the wife (sapatneeka) together:

Anantam Vaaasukim Sesham Padma Kambalakau tathaa |
Kaarkotakam Naagam Bhujasavatarau tathaa |
Dhritaraashtram Sankhapaalam Kaaleeyam Taksahkam Tathaa |
Pingalam cha Mahaanaagam sapatneekam prapoojayet ||

The two shadows of grahas (planets) Rahu and Ketu are often represented as snakes. Rahu and Ketu are formed by the interaction of the axis of rotation of the moon and the earth. They have huge influence on the mind and are referred to as eclipse of the mind. For one to achieve Moksha one has first to stabilize his mind   properly. Naaga Panchami Pooja is aimed towards that.

Naaga Panchami celebration is very ancient and it is believed to be observed even before the Vedic culture came into existence. Womenfolk in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh observe this day as Vrata (ritualistic day) by fasting and praying for the prosperity and welfare of their brothers. It is similar to Rakshabandhan celebrated in the North. If at all food is consumed, it is neither cooked nor fried and consumed without salt.

Naga tribes in the North celebrate this day remembering the past history when they controlled rain by worshiping Sheshnaag returning to the land of rains at the command of their Tantric King.  As we all know Chirapunji in Assam gets the heaviest rainfall in a year in the world.

In Eastern parts of India (Bengal Assam and Orissa) serpent is worshiped as Maanasadevi by a pooja called Ashtaanga.

During foundation laying prayers are offered to Seshanaag in Kalasa form of worship so that he may bear the weight of the structure of the house on his head and protect it from calamities.

 It is a common sight to see the icons of Seshanaag in a slab form under the tree (usually Asvattha) in all Siva temples worshiped by ladies. They also feed the snakes with milk, yoghurt and honey through the opening of the anthill and also worship it as well as circumambulate it. During Brahmotsava (annual festival of ten days conducted in all Vishnu temples) Vishnu and his consorts are taken in procession on Seshnaag as the mount.

Nairs of Kerala claim themselves as Kshatriya Nagavamsis or descendants of divine Naagas. Thiru-Aananta-puram in Kerala derives its name from the Great Ananta Naaga or Adisesha. It is also known for its rich and ancient Padmanabhaswami Temple.

Video Links:

Sri Garuda prayoga mantra

Garuda Dandakam

கருட பஞ்சமி

கருட பஞ்சமியில் கருடனை வணங்கி வளம்பெறுவோம்
நான் பறவைகளில் பட்சிராஜனான கருடனாயிருக்கிறேன்' என்று கீதையில் கூறியுள்ளான் கண்ணன். நித்யசூரிகளில் கருடன் இரண்டாமிடத்தை வகிக்கிறார். பொய்கையாழ்வார் கருடனை போற்றுகையில் "அனந்தனாகிய ஆதிசேஷனைப்போலவே கருடனும் திருமாலுக்குப் பலவித சேவைகளைச் செய்கிறார்' என்று குறிப்பிடுகிறார். அனந்தன், கருடன், விஸ்வக்சேனர் என்ற வரிசையில், அனந்தனான ஆதிசேஷன் இலக்குவனாகவும், பின்னர் ராமானுஜராகவும், பின்பு பெரியஜீயர் மணவாள மாமுனிகளாகவும் அவதரித்தார். விஸ்வக்சேனர் நம்மாழ்வாராக அவதரித்தார் என்பதை அறிவோம். கருட பகவானோ வேத ஸ்வரூபி. ஆளவந்தார் கருடனை "வேதாத்மா விஹகேஸ்வரர்' என்று போற்றுகிறார்.

இவரை பெரிய திருவடி என்றும் போற்றுவர்.

ஸ்வாமி தேசிகனுக்கு அவருடைய ஆசார்யர் கருட மந்திரத்தைதான் உபதேசித்தார். அதை ஜெபித்ததால் அவருக்கு ஹயவதனின் அருள் கிடைத்தது. கருடனை "கருத்மான்' என்றும் அழைப்பார்கள். தீரன் என்பது அதன் பொருளாகும். யாருக்கும் அஞ்சாதவர். இவர் ஒருசமயம் தேவலோகத்திலிருந்து அமிர்தத்தை எடுத்துவந்தாராம். (அது தனிக்கதை). அவரை தேவர்களாலும்- ஏன் தேவேந்திரனாலும் தடுக்கமுடியவில்லை. தன் இறகுகளை வீசி இந்திரனையே மயக்கமடையச் செய்தார். இதைக்கண்ட தேவர்கள் கருடனை "ஸுபர்ணன்' என்று புகழ்ந்தார்கள். இவரின் வீரத்தில் மகிழ்ச்சிகொண்ட திருமாலே, "உனக்கு என்ன வரம் வேண்டும்?' என்று கேட்டாராம். அவர் பரமனைப் பார்த்து, "நானே உமக்கு வரம் தருகிறேன்; என்ன வரம் வேண்டும்?' என்று திருப்பிக்கேட்டாராம்.

புன்னகைத்த திருமால், "நான் எப்போதும் உன் தோளுக்குமேல் இருக்கவேண்டும்' என்று கேட்டாராம். "அவ்வாறே ஆகட்டும்' என்றார் கருடன். பிறகு திருமால் கருடனிடம் "நீ வரம் ஏதும் கேட்கவில்லையே?' என்று வினவ, "நான் உமது தலைக்குமேல் இருக்கவேண்டும்' என்று கேட்க, திருமாலும் அருளினார்.

அதனால்தான் நாராயணன் அவர் தோள்மீதேறி தம் வாகனமாகக் கொண்டார். கருடனைத் தன் கொடியாக ஏற்று, தன் தலைக்குமேல் பறக்கும் கொடியில் இருக்கச்செய்தார். இதுதான் நாம் திருக்கோவில்களில் பார்க்கும் கொடிமரத்தின் தத்துவம். கொடிமரத்தின்கீழ் கருடன் சந்நிதியும் அமைந்திருக்கும்.

ஏற்கெனவே வினதை, கத்ரு இருவருக்கும் பகைமையிருந்ததால், அவர்கள் பிள்ளைகளான கருடனுக்கும் பாம்புகளுக்கும் பகை தொடர்ந்தது. இந்த நிலையில் ஒரு சூழ்ச்சி மூலம் வினதையை தன் அடிமையாக்கிக் கொண்டாள் கத்ரு. இதையறிந்த கருடன் தன் தாயின் அடிமைத்தனத்தை நீக்கத்தான் தேவலோகத்திலிருந்து அமிர்த கலசத்தைக் கொண்டுவந்தார்.

கருடன் நாகங்களைக் கொன்றுவந்தார். இதற்கு ஒரு முடிவுகட்ட எண்ணிய பிரம்மா, தேவர்களின் கோரிக்கையை ஏற்று, சூரியன் தன் தேரின் லகானாக ஒரு பாம்பை ஏற்க, சிவபிரான் ஒரு பாம்பைத் தன் ஆபரணமாகக் கொள்ள, திருமாலானவர் ஆதிசேஷனை தன் அரவணையாக (படுக்கை) ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள, சில நாகங்களை கருடனே தன் ஆபரணங்களாக ஏற்றுக்கொண்டார். கருட பகவானுக்கு ருத்ரா, ஸுகீர்த்தி என்ற இரண்டு தேவிகள். இவர்களே அரங்கநாயகிக்கு இரு கண்களாகத் திகழ்கிறார்களாம்.
கருட பகவான் திருமாலின் பல லீலைகளில் எப்படி சம்பந்தப்பட்டுள்ளார் என்றறியலாமா?

கஜேந்திரன் என்ற யானையின் காலை ஒரு முதலை கல்வியிழுக்க, அந்த ஆபத்திலிருந்து காக்க திருமாலை "ஆதிமூலமே' என்று கூவிச் சரணடைய, திருமாலின் திருவுள்ளத்தை அறிந்த கருடன் வாயுவேகத்தில் அவரை கஜேந்திரன் இருக்குமிடத்திற்குக் கொண்டுவந்து சேர்த்தார். அதனை பெரியாழ்வார், "உதவ புள்ளூர்ந்து அங்கு உறுதுயர் தீர்த்த' என்று தன் பாசுரத்தில் குறிப்பிடுகிறார்.

இராமாயண காலத்தில் போர்க்களத்தில் இராம- லட்சுமணர்களை இந்திரஜித் நாக பாசத்தால் கட்டிப்போட, அவர்கள் மயங்கி விழுந்தபோது கருட பகவான் வந்து தன் சிறகுகளால் வீசி அவர்களை மூர்ச்சையிலிருந்து தெளியவைத்தார்.

கிருஷ்ணாவதாரத்தில், சத்யபாமாவுக்காக பாரிஜாத மரத்தைக் கொண்டுவந்ததாகவும் கூறுவர்.

கருட பகவானே ஆழ்வார்களில் பெரியாழ்வாராக அவதரித்தார். பாண்டியன் சபையில் பரதத்வ நிர்ணயம் செய்து பொற்கிழியைப் பெற்றபோது, மன்னன் அவரை பெருமைப்படுத்த எண்ணி, பெரியாழ்வாரை யானைமீதேற்றி ராஜவீதிகளில் பவனிவரச் செய்தான். அப்போது தன் பக்தனின் வைபவத்தைக் கண்டுமகிழ திருமால் கருடாரூடனாக வானில் காட்சி கொடுத்தார்.

திருமாலின் திவ்யகருடசேவை காட்சி யைக் கண்ட பெரியாழ்வார், அவனுக்கு யாரேனும் கண்ணேறு (கண்திருஷ்டி) வைத்துவிடுவார்களோ என்று மனம் பதறி, "பல்லாண்டு பல்லாண்டு' என்று பாடுகிறார். அவனுக்கு மட்டுமா பல்லாண்டு? அவனின் வலமார்பினில் வாழ்கின்ற மங்கைக்கும், அவன் திருக்கரங்களிலே ஜ்வலிக்கும் சங்கு சக்கரங்களுக்கும் பல்லாண்டு பாடுகிறார். "அவன் இறைவன்; நாம் சாதாரண மானிடன். அவனை வாழ்த்துவதற்கு தனக்கு என்ன தகுதியிருக்கிறது' என்றெல்லாம் பார்க்கவில்லை. அவர்மீது ஏற்பட்ட பரிவு அவரை பரந்தாமனுக்கு பல்லாண்டு பாடவைத்தது. அதனால்தான் பூமிப்பிராட்டியை அவரின் திருமகளாய் அவதரிக்கச் செய்து, அவளையும் தன் நாயகியாய் ஏற்றுக்கொண்டு அவருக்கு மாமனார் ஸ்தானத்தையும் கொடுத்தார்- பரவையேறு பரமபுருஷனான பரந்தாமன். அதனால்தான் ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூரிலே ஆண்டாள். ரங்கமன்னாருடன் ஒரே ஆசனத்தில் கருடனுடன் காட்சி யளிக்கிறான் அக்கருணா காகுத்தன்.

கருட பகவானைத் பய பக்தியுடன் வணங்கினால் நோய்களிலிருந்து நிவாரணம், தொலைந்த பொருள் கிடைத்தல், தோஷ நிவர்த்தி உள்ளிட்ட அனைத்து நலன்களும் கிட்டும்.

கருட பஞ்சமியில் கருடனை வணங்கி வளம்பெறுவோம்!

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