Tag Archives: Lord Subramanya

Sri Vidya Upasaka: Dikshitar

Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775 – 1835) was one of the greatest Musician-Saints and is one among the Carnatic Music Trinity, the other two being Saint Thyagaraja and Shyama Sastri.

Dikshitar’s father was Ramaswami Dikshitar who was a Sanskrit scholar and an accomplished musician living in Tiruvarur in Tamilnadu. When Dikshitar turned twenty five, the great Chidambaranatha Yogi of Varanasi visited their house and requested Ramaswami to send Dikshitar with him for further education. His father agreed and Dikshitar went to Varanasi. He was initiated into “Sri Vidya Upasana”, and his Guru told him to constantly worship Sri Annapurneswari, the Bestower of material needs (Bhukti) as well as liberation (Mukti). He mastered the scriptures, the science of mantras, astrology, music, and was an expert in playing the veena. He came under the influence of Hindustani classical music and Western band music.

After a few years, the teacher told him that it was time for him to go back home because he had learnt all that had to be learnt. The young disciple asked the teacher what was the proof that he had learnt everything. The teacher asked him to go to Mother Ganges and take a dip. If his learning was complete, She would reward him. He went to the Ganges, took a dip and invoked Her. Mother Ganges was there in front of him with a beautiful veena in Her hand. She handed it over to him. It had “RAMA” inscribed on it and was different from the normal veenas. The tail end of the veena which is called ‘yaalimukha’ is turned upwards. In normal veenas it is turned downwards. This veena that Dikshitar used is even now preserved in their ancestral home.

With the blessings of his teacher and with this unique veena gifted to him by the Mother of Knowledge, Dikshitar travelled back. He arrived at Tiruttani, one of the famous six abodes of Kartikeya in Tamilnadu. Dikshitar was sitting and meditating on the Lord on the steps of the temple, when Lord Kartikeya came in the disguise of an elderly man, asked him to open his mouth and put sugar candy into his mouth and disappeared. At that very moment, he composed a beautiful kriti on Kartikeya with the mudra (signature) GURU-GUHA. Kartikeya also known as GUHA had come to him as his GURU.

He has composed songs on almost all deities, all pilgrimage centres and brought into the kritis the uniqueness and speciality of them all. Along with Sangeeta sastra, he incorporated the “mantra sastra” into his songs and therefore to render them with correct pronunciation and bhava, with a little understanding of its meaning will bring all prosperity to the singer as well as the listener – singing of his keerthans is equivalent to chanting the mantras.

Instances of Dikshitar bringing relief and solace to individuals as well as to the community through his keerthans are many. With a Kriti in raga Amruthavarshini, he brought the rains down on the parched land of Ettayyapuram (Tamil Nadu). He also brought health back to his disciple Tambiyappan by warding off the evil effects (graha dosha) of Jupiter, by composing a kriti on that planet. 

On the eve of Deepavali in 1835, after he had finished Devi Puja, he had a vision of Sri Annapurneswari and sang “Ehi Annapurne” – his last kriti. He remembered what his Guru had told him and knew it was time for him to leave his body. He asked his disciples who had gathered there to sing his composition “Meenakshi me mudam dehi” (Meenakshi bestow upon me Your grace) in the Raga Gamakakriya. When they sang the lines: “meena lochani pasha mochani” (O! Fish-eyed One, who cuts asunder the knots of bondage), he asked them to repeat these phrases once more. As they were repeating them, Dikshitar uttered “Shive pahi, Shive pahi, Shive pahi” and left his physical body to merge eternally with the Mother of the Universe whom he invoked and worshipped all his life. 
His compositions called “Kamalamba Nava-avarana” Krithis which are full of mystic significance are rendered even today with great religious fervour during the Navaratri festival.

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Swaminatha: The Guru of Lord Shiva

Lord Brahma once went to meet Lord Shiva. When he reached Kailash, he ignored and disregarded the presence of the little child, Kartikeya, Lord Shiva’s younger son. Kartikeya was displeased with Brahma’s behaviour. He immediately questioned Brahma on the fundamental principles based on which he was going ahead with the process of creation. Brahma said that he followed the principles enshrined in the Vedas for creation. Hearing this, Subramanya asked Brahma to recite the portions from the Vedas which described the process of creation. Lord Brahma started his recitation with the Pranava Mantra “OM”.

As soon as Lord Brahma uttered the word “OM”, Subramanya stopped him and asked him to explain the meaning of “OM”. Brahma was taken by surprise, and he realized that he had no answer to the child’s question. A creator who was incapable of explaining the meaning of “OM” was indeed unfit to carry on the process of creation, and had to be punished. As the commander-in-chief of the Devatas, Subramanya imprisoned Lord Brahma and took up the entire process of creation upon himself!

All the devatas went and prayed to Lord Shiva seeking the release of Lord Brahma. Shiva came to Subramanya and asked his son to release Brahma, but Subramanya refused stating that the Creator did not even know the meaning of the Pranava mantra “OM”, and hence he should not be shouldering the responsibility of creation of the world. Lord Shiva then asked his son if he knew the true essence of the Pranava to which Kartikeya said, “yes”. Shiva then asked him to impart the knowledge of the Pranava Mantra to him. Kartikeya agreed to initiate his father into the secrets of the Pranava on one condition. Shiva had to first accept him as Guru, and appropriately give him a higher seat than the student. The Lord agreed to accept his son as his Guru, and give him a higher place than himself. The Lord then lifted his son in his arms. Carried by his father in his arms, Kartikeya – the Guru whispered into the ears of his disciple the entire knowledge of the Pranava Mantra – OM. At that point of time, Parvati came and saw her son teaching her husband! She was very happy. The Guru (Swami) was initiating her husband (Natha). She looked at her son very lovingly and said that in future her son, Kartikeya will be known as SWAMINATHA – “The Guru of Lord Shiva”, and the sacred place where the initiation took place will be famously known as SWAMIMALAI (Tamilnadu).

Swamimalai is one of the six main abodes of Lord Subramanya. Here Lord Shiva’s shrine is located at the basement and Swaminatha’s shrine is located atop of a hillock. There are sixty steps leading to the shrine, each step representing one year of the sixty years in the Hindu calendar.

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Lord Shiva giving the fruit to Lord Ganesha – Spiritual Significance

Lord Ganesha receiving the fruit of knowledge

The story goes that Sage Narada once visited Kailasa and handed over a divine fruit to Lord Shiva. Lord Sankara in turn called His two children Subramanya and Ganesha and told them that whoever goes round the world and comes back first will be the recipient of the fruit. Subramanya starts off on his vehicle, the peacock. Vinayaka mounts on his slow-moving vahana, the mooshaka goes round Parvathi and Parameshwara. Since the divine couple is the father and mother of the universe, going round them is equivalent to going round the world. Vinayaka gets the fruit.

Significance: The fruit is “Jnana Phala – the fruit of knowledge”. Any knowledge cannot be broken up or divided and distributed to two people. It has to be given to one person as a whole. Subramanya going round the world on his peacock represents an individual riding on his own ego and performing his activities world-centered. Vinayaka riding on his mooshaka and going round his parents represents an individual performing his activities God-centered with a well-controlled mind and intellect.

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