Sunday, September 29, 2013

Krishnanattam Offering At Guruvayoor Temple

The classical art form 'Krishnanattam' is staged at Guruvayoor Temple on almost all days round the year as votive offering by the devotees for propitiating the Lord Krishna and getting his blessing to fulfill their wishes.
Krishnanattam  was   designed and created by the 'Zamorin' ruler of Calicut 'Manaveda' (1585-1658 A.D.).
The Zamorin was a firm believer of Lord Krishna and used to visit Guruvayoor temple occasionally, stayed there for many days to participate in all the 'Pooja rituals' daily.His contemporary 'Vilwamangalam Swamikal' who was a sage who omitted all worldly pleasures also used to stay for many days consecutively at Guruvayoor and participated in all the poojas.Vilwamangalam Swamikal had special bessing of the God that he was able to see them.Krishna, in childhood form used to play with him.This was known to Manaveda Zamorin and he revealed his ambition to have a vision of Lord Krishna to Vilwamangalam Swamikal.Thus Vilwamangalam Swamikal pleaded to Bhagawan Krishna about the Zamorin's wish.Krishna agreed to fulfil the devotee's ambition and said that the next day he could watch Krishna in childhood form playing on the platform of an 'Elanji tree' near the temple but he was told not to touch Krishna.
The next day Zamorin's wish was fulfilled and since he was a firm devotee of Lord Krishna who loved him so much in his heart, the Zamorin could not control his excitement and love that he grasped Lord Krishna and embraced him.Krishna said that 'this was not in Vilwamangalm's agreement' and suddenly disappeared.One of the peacock feather which adorned Krishna's headgear dropped on the ground and it was taken by the Zamorin.
Later Zamorin repented  about his  breaching of the  agreement of not touching the Lord.
At that period itself poet Jaya Deva's 'Gita Govindam' written about Lord Krishna was famous all over India.Manaveda also decided to write a similar poetic work about the story of Krishna.It was named as 'Krishna Giti' and contains eight parts about the main incidents of the Lord such  as "Avataram,Kaliyamardanam,Rasakrida,Kamsavadham,Swayamvaram,Banayudham,Vividhavadham,and Swargarohanam".
He designed the costumes,selected the percussion instruments and other arrangements to manifest this poetic work as a dance-drama played part by part for eight days.On the ninth day 'Avataram' is repeated again as a tradition.For many years followed, the peacock feather of Lord Krishna's headgear was used on the 'crown' wore by Krishna's character of Krishnanattam.

At Guruvayoor temple devotees can select any story part to play as per their preference or the full story for nine days if they can afford.
Devotees believe that by offering 'Avataram' story,  child will be born to childless couples,
By offering 'Kaliamardanam' play skin problems caused by snake bite and other skin diseases are also cured by the Lord.
'Rasa Krida' is offered for the well being of unmarried girls and for  getting a suitable spouse.Also disputes between married couples will be solved.
'Kamsavadham' is played for removing one's enemies.
'Swayamvaram' story is played to get a suitable marriage alliance.
The story 'Banayudham' is played for any auspicious event and also for getting blessings of Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva.Success in legal matters is also attained.
'Vividavadham' is played for removing poverty and for success in agriculture.
'Swargarohanam' is played for the peace of a departed soul.Also for salvation and to have a peaceful death.
Those who arrange 'Swargarohanam play' has to offer 'Avatharam' also.
For the rates,rules and regulations and bookings the authorities of 'Guruvayoor Temple Devaswom'

has to be contacted.


Sree Vallabha Swamy temple which is one among the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu is situated at Thiruvalla Town of Pathanamthitta District in Kerala, just 2 kms from the railway station and KSRTC bus station.
This temple is a highly orthodox Hindu temple dedicated to 'Purusha',an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.The installation of 'Sudarshana Chakra' of Lord Vishnu in this temple dates back to 3000 B.C.
Kathakali is played as devotee's offering at  this temple on almost all days of the year.
'Vilwamangalam Swamikal', a sage who possessed several powers when once visited the temple at early hours could not find the Lord's presence inside the temple.With curiosity he searched for him in the premises and found him among the audience who were watching Kathakali  which was being played on the stage.The Lord was disguised as an young Brahmin but Vilwamangalam Swamikal  recognise him quickly.Suddenly  Lord disappeared in to the temple saying that Vilwamangalam disturbed him  while he was enjoying his favourite art form-Kathakali.
So Kathakali became an important Votive offering in this temple and people makes arrangements to play the story of their choice to fulfil their wishes.
'Duryodhana Vadham' (annihilation of Duryodhana) is played to get rid off the problems caused by enemies.'Santhana Gopalam' story is  arranged to play before the deity by childless couples to get blessing for an offspring.
'Kuchela Vritham' Kathakali is arranged to play by devotees  to remove  their poverty.
'Thokalasura Vadham'  and 'Sree Vallabha Vijayam' are two stories  played to  fulfil all wishes of the devotees.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kathakali As An Offering To The Deity

There are some temples in Kerala where the classic, prestigious art-form 'Kathakali Dance' is offered as 'Vazhupadu'(offering) to propitiate the deity of the temple and to get blessings.
One such temple where Kathakali dance is offered by  childless couples to get an offspring for themselves is 'Maruthorvattom Sree Dhanwantari temple' at 
Maruthorvattom  of Cherthala in Kerala State.
Dhanwantari Moorthy is believed as the Physician of Celestial beings(Devas) and God of Ayurveda Medicine.The largest number of Dhanwantari temples in India are in Kerala State.Devotees worship him to get cure their prolonged illness and also for enjoying good health.
Dhanwantari Moorthy is believed as the 17th incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu.
                    One of the very famous 'Dhanwantari temple in Kerala is the 'Maruthorvattom Sree Dhanwantari temple situated at Cherthala near Ernakulam..Devotees from far and near visit this temple to get cure diseases and also for his blessings to keep fit in good health.
There are several special offering in this temple which differs from other temples such as 'Thalu curry' which is made from a roadside wild  plant which produces itching of the mouth and throat but when prepared in this temple turns to be a nutritional tasty dish.
There is also 'Attayum Kuzhampum' vazhupadu which is distribution of an ayurvedic oil usually 'Narayana Thailam' for the devotees once in the first week of  Malayalam calander month.It is given to the devotees  after  'pooja' to the deity.Devotees believe that it   cures body pain due to rheumatism. 
The deity bless childless couples to have a child for themselves and many couples surrender to the deity here to fulfil their long awaited wish.After prolonged medical treatment which were in vain,   many sorrowful couples resort at the feet of Dhanwantari God at this temple with their grief and prey for his blessings.
                 There is a 'Vazhipadu' known as 'Thiruvonam Pooja' here.Childless couple has to attend it once in  every month keeping  fasting till mid noon.Then they will be given 'Thrikkai Venna(butter),Plantain fruit,Palpayasam(sweet porridge)
from the temple which has to be eaten with reverence.Attending twelve Pooja consecutively on Thiruvonam Star day every month  is believed to bless the couples with a child.
Couples who are able to afford  offering 'Kathakali' can do so which is only need to  be  fulfilled  after their child is born and that also when the newly born  child attains one year old or more.The Kathakali offered here to get an offspring is 'Santhana Gopalam' story.The  child born as per the offering acts as the 10th child of the main Brahmin character in the Kathakali play.
Retrieval of ten children  of the Brahmin from 'Vaikundam'(abode of Lord Vishnu) by Lord Krishna and Arjuna  is  the 'Santhana Gopalam' story.In this temple the happy couple make arrangements to get played the Kathakali at least after one year after  the child birth.The Kathakali play is enacted in front of the deity at the 'Anakottil'(pandal where elephants are arrayed for festivals) as per the tradition.
The temple authorities are to be consulted to know the exact rituals to be followed in this regard for 'Thiruvonam Pooja' and  also before taking vow for Kathakali play offering.
Some happenings in this Universe are beyond our knowledge and no scientific explanations can be given for them.We can either shun them as superstitions or surrender to  the God and plea for his blessings in such situations.