Monday, 25 June 2012

Travelogue TN: Day 3 - Kumbakonam



After taking breakfast at Kumbakonam we proceeded through Swami Malai route to the old main road which used to connect the temple routes there. We could not visit Thingaloor, the Navagraha temple for Chandran due to time constraint. We also had Swami Malai darsanam on the way. It was actually a pleasant surprise since it was not in the original plan as we were supposed to go through another route.

On the way, on the right hand side, there was a board which shows the way to Bhaskararayapuram.

My Guru had arranged a camp for the disciples at Calicut during this period. When I had told him that the travel program had been already booked for, he encouraged me saying that since this was anyway for a noble purpose, we could go. He also instructed us to visit Bhaskararayapuram, the abode of Sri Bhaskara Raya Makhin, in whose lineage my Guru is the tenth in chronology.

Sri Bhaskara Raya Makhin is one of the most important and famous personalities in the Sri Vidya tradition. The fame is understandable when we know that the village where he was living was named Bhaskararayapuram (also known as Bhaskararajapuram) by the then King.

His commentary on Lalitha Sahasranamam - Soubhagya Bhaskaram, is a definitive text not only for Sri Vidya Dikshitars but to all who wants to learn about the details of Devi Aaradhana in both the Saguna and Nirguna Upasana. He has also given his bhashyam to various other great books such as the Lalitha Trishathi etc. His book 'Varivasya Rahasyam' deals with intricate aspects of the Sri Vidya Upasana.

Recently in Bhaskararayapuram, a memorial has been erected where he used to live. The hall has a big meru and the deities kept are as per the Chintamani Grham as explained in the Sri Vidya Tantra Rupams. His picture is also kept in the wall and also one Tripurasundari picture as seen on the ‘Pancha Brahmasanasthitha’ Swaroopam. Curioulsy, the Meru is also kept with a plaited hair like the ones seen when the hair is intricately twined and with a 'Kunchalam' at the bottom. The symbolic representation can be guessed by those who understand the Nadis, Granthis and the Tantram of Kundalini.

We all sat there some reciting Lalitha Sahasranamam, some of us doing japams, children playing outside and getting excited at the Gosala. There is also an arrangement for people to come and stay at the location. As instructed by my Guru, I introduced Malini and myself as disciples of Sri Devasikhamoni who was the disciple of Sri Neelakantha Joshi of Rameswaram. Hearing this name the person who was doing the Archana and offering the Nivedyams spoke to us and also gave us a book which is quarterly(?) published from there. While spending some more time, I saw a book at the corner of the table which had the details of the 16 Nithya Kanyas and pictures of them. It was a small red book. Oddly about a month back at my Guru's place, during the Vasantha Navarathri, there was a discussion on whether such a description is available or not. Guru Kataksham - This book was there. I enquired with the person at the hall, whether I can get another copy of the same. If not can I get a copy done on the same. He was kind enough to let me have it as a gift. I still told him that by giving this it should not be that the copy won’t be available there. But he insisted me to have it. I took it as Guru Kripa....

Vishnu Durga - Narayani

Just before reaching Bhaskararayapuram, there was a small junction where we needed to turn left and reach the temple for Vishnu Durga who was there as Goddess Narayani. She was in a standing posture and having Sankha, Chakra, Gada, Padmam in her hands as Vishnu. The history of the temple says that Sri Durvasa Maharshi himself did pooja at this place to her. The importance and positing of Sage Durvasa in the Tantra traditions of Sri Vidya and otherwise, need not be explained here.

When we reached there, the temple was locked. Though we thought of returning, a lady suddenly came from one of the nearby houses and opened the main gate for us. She told us that if required she can go and call the Archaka. We thanked her and spent some time at the temple doing our own kirtanams and parayanams and then proceeded with our journey.

Kuthanoor - Saraswathi

So many temples were there on the way but we were there only for a limited period of time and hence were visiting temples selectively. There was a way from Kumbakonam to Kuthanoor as a side road and we got on the road to reach there at least by 12.00 noon.

We reached there sufficiently on time. My teacher got us to sing 'Sarade Veena Vadana Visharade' at the Sannidhi.

The Saraswathy Vigraham is in the form of the 'Darsanam' Ottakkuthu Sidhar had. He was a great Upasaka of Devi and the temple has come after his blissful experience around 12th Century AD.


  1. Can you please scan the book Guru Kataksham and post it here? Thanks.

  2. Do they also have copies of the works of Shri Bhaskararaya?