Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 25


BY: SUN STAFF - 3.1 2018


Lord Brahma, Arulmigu Vaacheeswara Temple

A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.

Lord Brahma at Thirupachur

Continuing our survey of the northern tip of Tamil Nadu, about 50 kilometers from Chennai and just a few kilometers from Kadambuthur is the temple town of Thirupachur. One of the 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams (famous Shiva temples), it is also known as the Arulmigu Vaacheeswara Temple at Thirupachur. The presiding deities here are Arulmigu Pasoor nadhar and Pasupathi nayaki (Ambal). In the temple's inner praharam there is also a very beautiful deity of Lord Brahma.

Found in a standing posture with three faces and four arms, this exceptional deity of Brahmadeva resides in a rectangular stone niche in the outer sanctum sanctorum wall. Holding the mala and lota in his upper hands, his lower right hand is in abhaya mudra, with the other resting on his hip. Brahma wears an ornate crown, girdle and jewelry.

Temple entrance and Dwajastambha

Shiva here is Theenda Thirumeni nadhar, referring to one of his dance styles. All poojas are done without touching the deity form. Parvati offered worship to Shiva here and was thus given a place to reside on his left side. Lord Vishnu worshipped Shiva here to become purified of the sin of Madhukaitapa vadam, the pastime of terrifying the demons Madhu and Kaitabha. The Sthalapurana (temple record) says that Lord Vishnu got redemption from His dosha by worshipping Shiva here after bathing in the temple tank, Somatheertha.

 Arulmigu Vaacheeswara Temple at Thirupachur

Given Brahma's role as creator and reciter of the Vedas, it seems likely that his presence in the temple is associated with the pastime of Madhu and Kaitabha trying to destroy the Vedas. We have discovered no other association Brahmadeva might have here.

Shiva is also said to have accepted Parvati as his consort at this place. In Shiva sthalams, the ambal sannidhi, or consort shrine is typically located to the left of the sanctum sanctorum. Here, however, Devi is situated to his right. Both Ambal and Sri Vacheeswara face east. Pasupathi nayaki Devi is always offered worship first.

Vinyaka utsav murti

Upon entering the temple, the devotees are greeted by Lord Vinayaka (Ganesh). Shodasa Ganapathy is depicted in eleven murtis of various sizes, which are grouped together. Elsewhere in the temple another five murtis of Ganapathy are found. The group of eleven Vinayaka murtis is called Ekadasa Vinayaka, ekadasa meaning 'eleven' in Sanskrit.

thirupachur4.jpg 680 x 220 align=left A Sri Chakra deity was established by Adishankara, sometime before the present Shiva deity, and daily pujas are conducted for Sri Chakra. Also found in the temple are shrines for Subrhamanya, Somaskanda and the Navagrahas. Sri Dakshinamoorthy sannidhi is separate from the sanctum, and it faces south. In another sanctum goshta, or niche, is Lingothbhavamoorthy, facing the west.

Temple vimana

At the northern prahara, Sri Vishnu Durga, Sri Veerabhadra and Sri Sornabhairava are found. The Urchav mandapam in the outer prahara is used for various festival occasions, and Pasupathi nayaki Devi is said to have worshipped the Lord here, as did Surya and Candra, and the great sages Vyasa, Bringirishi, Romarishi, Bharadwaj, Kashyap, Vasishta, Narada, Sugar, Viswamitra, Mankandeya, and Abhimanyu. The saints Sambandhar, Navakkuarasar and Sundarar sang hymns of this place.

The temple has two tanks – Somatheertham and Mangalatheertham, along with Chozha Theertham. The Sthala Vriksham is bamboo. Hundreds of years ago, Thiru-pachur was surrounded by thick bamboo stands. 'Pachu' means bamboo in Tamil. While hunting in the forest, someone once noticed a cow showering milk from its udders onto the ground. Digging at that spot, they unearthed a Shivalinga. Upon hearing a report of this incident, the Chola king Karikaaala built the temple here.

Temple Cart

After the temple was built, a local tribe known as the Kurumba was giving the king trouble, and tried to kill him with a poisonous snake. The king prayed at the temple for protection. It is believed that the Lord killed the snake to protect his devotee. When a hole was dug to bury the snake, the digger's axe hit the head portion of another lingam, chipping it. That lingam is in the temple today, the scar still visible. The word 'vaasi' means 'axe' in Tamil, and the temple name, Vaacheeswara, is thought to be a derivation of that word.

There are sixteen stone inscriptions found at the Thirupachur sthala, and they confirm the place name. The epigraphs state that the place one belonged to Thondaimandala.