Monday 28 December 2020

Arudra Darisanam/About Arudra Darisanam/Thiruvathirai Kali and Thiruvathirai Kootu Recipes - Special Neivedhyam


தென்னாடுடைய சிவனே போற்றி!

எந்நாட்டவர்க்கும் இறைவா போற்றி!

ஓம் நம சிவாய                          

Thiruvathirai [Arudra Darisanam] is a Hindu festival celebrated in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which falls in the month of Margazhi [Dec- Jan] on the full moon day. This Pooja is especially dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shivagami. This festival celebrates the cosmic dance form of Lord Shiva [Nataraja] on Thiruvathirai star and is also known as Arudra Darisanam. According to ancient Indian scriptures, Arudra is the largest star, bigger than the Sun. Arudra is synonymous with a ‘Red Flame’, this red flame also denotes the cosmic dance [Thandavam] of Lord Shiva. 

This festival is celebrated in a grand manner in  all the 5 sabhas of Sri Natarajar namely Kananga Sabai[gold] at Chidambaram Natarajar temple, Velli Sabai [Silver]  at Madurai, Rathna Sabai [Ruby] at Thiruvalankadu, Thamira Sabai [Copper] at Tirunelveli, Chitra Sabai [Paintings] at Kutralam. A very special Abishekam and Pooja is performed in Uthirakosa Mangai, where Natarajar is 6 ft tall, made of one single stone of Maragatham[Emerald] and also in all other Shivan Temples.  

In Thillai Chidambaram, a 10 day festival is held during Thiruvathirai. On this day, Lord Natarajar and his consort, Goddess Shivagami [Parvathi] are taken out in a grand procession. It is a very special event in which the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva is enacted. 

Lord Shiva is the supreme god in Hinduism. He is the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. Lord Shiva dances in ecstasy to accomplish the five acts namely creation, sustenance, destruction, embodying and release. He smears ash all over his body to indicate that everything in the universe is bound to change and destruction is inevitable. While transporting the devotees to a blissful mood, Shiva's dance also reminds them of the higher purpose of life namely moving from the transient to the eternal.

Lord Natraj facilitates a cosmic vision. The universe comes into existence through movement. Life goes on with the oscillation of particles. As long as there is vibration, there is life, growth and activity. Annihilation is nothing but stoppage of the movement and putting things to rest. Thus, the cycle of births and deaths goes on with the movement symbolized by the cosmic dance of Shiva. His dance occurs in every cell and every atom of the universe thus ensuring the continuity.

Lord Natraj stands in dancing posture with one leg lifted and the other one seated on the demon signifying ignorance. Thus he indicates mastery over ego, desires and evil. He holds all the five elements in him symbolized through Damaru (ether), flowing hair (air), Flame in hand (fire), Ganges (water) and rested foot (earth). Thus, the lord is the supreme head of the universal forces and he releases them to make the worlds during creation and takes them all inside during absorption.

Thiruvadhirai Vrata/Vratam

The Thiruvadhirai Vrata is also known as the Arudra Darshana Vrata is a very famous vrata that is gloriously celebrated. This vrata is observed on the thiruvadhirai nakshaththram, the full moon day in the Tamil month of Markazhi. . The word thiruvathirai in Tamil language implies a ‘sacred big wave’ that was used during the creation of the universe by Lord Shiva. 

Lord Shiva never took birth and therefore there is no nakshaththram dedicated to celebrate it. It was on the auspicious day of Thiruvaadhirai that Lord Shiva appeared before holy saint’s Vyaagra Paadha and Pathanchali. It was mentioned in the Hindu mythology that once Lord Vishnu was resting on the great serpent and Adhi sesha felt that Lord Vishnu was in some deep thinking. On asking, Lord Vishnu told Adhi sesha that he was remembering the dance of Lord Shiva. This answer invoked the desire in Adhi sesha to witness this great dance. He asked Lord Vishnu how this desire could be fulfilled. Lord Vishnu then urged him to do rigorous ‘tapas’ at Chidhambaram’. Adhi sesha followed his advice and devotedly prayed to Lord Shiva for a very long time. At the same time, a muni and devotee of Lord Shiva known as Viyaagra Paadha lived in that same place. He worshipped to Lord Shiva to obtain the legs of a tiger in order to pluck flowers at the dawn, without being touched by the bees for offering to the God. He also observed ‘tapas’ to see His great ‘Nataraj’ dance. Finally Lord Shiva was pleased with their prayers and devotion and he showed his ‘Nataraj’ dance in Chidhambaram on the day of Thiruvaadhirai. From then onwards the ‘Nataraaja’ image of Shiva is worshipped here with great fervour on this day.

Special Neivedhyams made for Lord Shiva.

Rituals of the Thiruvadhirai Vrata:

On the day of Thiruvaadhirai the devotees get up very early in the morning and salute the image of the Dancing Lord. After taking bath and finishing the daily rituals, the devotees then visit the abode of Lord Shiva.

They make several offerings to the Lord and perform ‘abhishekam’ , a ritual of giving bath with milk and curd. The devotees must also witness the holy anointing ceremony of Lord Nataraj. It is a ritual to light up this abode of Lord Shiva with ghee lamps.

On this day a special sweet called as ‘kali’ and ‘thalakam’ a multi vegetable dish is prepared to celebrate the joy of seeing this cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The devotees watch the complete ceremony of Nataraj’s processions with dedication.
On the day of Thiruvadhirai vrata the devotees  especially women and unmarried girls  observe fasting for the whole day and break the fast after the sunset. A special pooja is performed at home in the evening with special neivedhyam  of Thiruvathirai Kali, Thiruvathirai Kootu, Adhirasam, White rice, fruits etc.

Of the various manifestations of Lord Shiva, Nataraja, the dancing Shiva occupies a unique and a special place in Indic tradition. This form, as many are aware, represents the cosmic dancing of Shiva and is very popular in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu.

 Wishing you all a very happy Thiruvathirai.

Source: Google

Written by my daughter

Ishanvi Anandakumar


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