Saturday, May 24, 2008


Far from the maddening crowd, nestled serenely at Rajakilpakkam, Selaiyur, Chennai lies one of our majestic temples known as Chennai Om Sri Skandasramam. Built by one of the greatest seers of our times, Sathguru Srimad Shanthananda Swamigal who hails from the Avadhoota tradition of Saints, this temple pays a living tribute to the glory of Hinduism.

Enshrined in this temple are the icons of rare deities including that of Lord Sarabeswara (form of Shiva), Goddess Prathyankira besides Goddess Bhuvaneshwari and Swaminatha Swamy (Skanda) – all in a magnificent stature.


According to Hindu mythology Lord Shiva sends Veerabhadra to quell the anger of Lord Narasimha after the latter had vanquished the demon King Hiranyakashipu. Unable to control the turbulence of Lord Narasimha, Veerabhadra pleads to Lord Shiva for help. A shaft of light enters Veerabhadra who assumes the magnificent form of Lord Sarabeswara. The 16-foot icon of Sri Veera Sarabeswara at Chennai Skandasramam is half-bird and half-beast, with two wings bearing Goddess Prathyankira and Goddess Soolini on either side. The face is that of a Yali. Sarabeswara bears a deer, battleaxe, snake and fire in his four hands. He also bears Bhairava and Agni in his abdomen. Two of his four feet rest on a mountain. The benign grace of Lord Veera Sarabeswara is said to protect devotees from all kinds of malevolent forces.


Facing the Sannidhi of Lord Veera Sarabeswara is the 18-foot panchaloka icon of Goddess Ugra Prathyankira also known as Atharvana Bhadrakali. She is also referred to as Aparajitha – the invincible. She is believed to have emerged from the fire emanating from the third eye of Lord Sarabeswarar. It was Goddess Prathyankira who aided in subsiding the anger of Lord Narasimha. She is lion – faced and is seated on a lion. Her four hands bear a noose in the form of a snake, trident, hand-drum and bowl (kabaala paathram). She wears a garland of skulls. In this Kali yuga, where evil is manifest in varied forms, Goddess Prathyankira is regarded as the saviour of mankind, alleviating the sufferings of humanity. She possesses the power to offset the influences of black magic. Though fearsome in appearance, she is the very embodiment of benevolence and grace to her devotees.


The temple also has a sannidhi dedicated to Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, the Universal Mother. The 5-foot stone icon radiates beauty, peace and grace. Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is regarded as Shrividhya or Lalitha Maha Tripura Sundari. It is believed that the 10 incarnations (Dasavatara) of Lord Vishnu emerged from the 10 fingernails of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. She holds the noose to draw the devotee closer to her, angusam to rid the devotee of their sufferings. Her abhaya hastham confers blessings and prosperity to the devotee. One eye of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is regarded as Raja Mathangi, who bestows prosperity and erudition and the other that of Varahi- the Commander-in-chief of the celestial army, who protects devotees from all evil.


It is significant that Lord Swaminatha Swamy (Skanda) is enshrined facing the Universal Mother, Bhuvaneshwari. The icon of Skanda stands in great splendour at a height of 12 feet. All the deities at Chennai Om Sri Skandasramam are colossal to enable the devotee to see the eyes and feet clearly and thereby obtain their complete grace.


In Hindu mythology Goddess Shakti is personified as the Sri Chakra Poorna Maha Meru. At Chennai Om Sri Skandasramam, the four deities face the 4 cardinal directions and in front of them, at the centre, is the Sri Chakra Poorna Maha Meru. It is believed that all the devathas have emerged from the Meru and that Goddess Shakti herself resides in the form of Shrividhya at the Bindu (top of the Meru).


One of the most illustrious seers of our time, Sathguru Srimad Shanthananda Swamigal was the very embodiment of the Divine. Hailing from a glorious lineage of Avadhootha saints, Sathguru Sri Shanthananda Swamigal has been the torchbearer of Hinduism and its sanctity. Alleviating the sufferings of humanity has been his primary concern. He has advocated the greatness of Japa and Homa as a means to achieve peace and prosperity. Sathguru Sri Shanthananda Swamigal has been the fountainhead of infinite love & compassion and has bestowed solace to many. He is the guiding spirit and an epitome of peace to his devotees who regard him as the incarnation of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. Besides Chennai Om Sri Skandasramam, Sathguru Srimad Shanthananda Swamigal has built the Judge Swamigal Adhishtanam at Pudukkottai, Om Sri Skandasramam at Salem and Dattagiri at Sendamangalam.


Other deities that are installed at Chennai Om Sri Skandasramam are Heramba Panchamuga Ganapathy, Dattatreya, Panchamuga Anjaneyar, Saneeswara, Ayyappan, Maha Sudharshana Murthy with Lakshmi Narasimhar, Sahasra Lingam & Nandikeswarar, Ashta dasabuja Durga Parameswari, Siddhi Vinayagar, Annapoorani and Sathguru Sri Santhananda Swamigal.

More about the other deities & the poojas in the temple will follow....


Sankar said...

A Wikipedia article on Swami Santhananda has been published.

Please visit and help improve the article.


Sankar said...

A Wikipedia article on Swami Santhananda has been published.

Please visit and help improve the article.