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Sun - God Occcupies the for most place in the Navagraha as He helps the world with His blistering radiance and allows the living beings to survive. Without Sun-God there would not be any light and water besides beautiful plantations. Realising this, man started worshipping the sun and moreover He can be visualized than perceived.
Navagraha is known to render good and bad effects on the human beings based upon their deeds. Navagraha makes sure that one cannot escape from the fate but at the same it reduces the malific effects to considerable extent. Devotees of lord Siva are spared from this.
In South India, there is a separate temple for Sun-God (the nine Planets) at Sooriyanar Koil where sun-god is a presiding deity and surrounded by other planet-gods
Time of Workship
In India worshipping Sun-God is from time immemorial (i.e) 4000years ago. There are references in Rig Vedha about the worship.
Tholkappium - a great monumental work in Tamil literature - was writer 2000 years before the birth of Christ.
There we find a sentence **கொடிநிலை கந்தழிவள்ளி** in which sun is reffered as **வெங்சுடர் மண்டலம் ** known as Blazing Zone.
Elango Adigal wrote the Epic 'Silapathikaram' in the 2nd Centuary B.C. He had reffered the Sun Temple as **உச்சிக்கிழன் கோட்டம்;** (Uchikalan Kottam). Moreover he had praised the Sun-God in the following lines.
ஞாயிறு போற்றுதும், ஞாயிறு போற்றுதும்
காவிரிநாடன் திகிரி போல் பொற்கோட்டு
மேரு வலம் திரிதலான்
Through these two examples, one can be cock sure to say that TamilNadu was Pioner in workshipping sun god.
Adisankara established Six Subjects in Hindu religion in which one of the subjects worshipped Sun-God.
There are a lot of slokas on sun and Rig Veda euologies the sun in the form of Agni. Valmiki in Ramayana had written 'Aditya Hirudhyam' to strengthen the hands to lord Rama against Ravana. Lord Rama belongs to the hereditary of sun.
In Siva agama, Lord Siva is placed in the middle of Sun-Zone and sometimes lord siva is considered as sun. Moreover sun is on the right eye of siva.
With these glorious traditions the Sun-God is at Sooriyanar Koil'
Mode of Worship
Sooriyanar Koil and Thirumanagalakudi are closely related. Navanayakars did their meditation and offered worship to pranavaradeshvarar and Mangalanayaki.
People who offer worship at Sooriyanar temple have to go to Thirumangaladudi to offer worship there. In early days both places were same and it was called 'Argavamam' before dividing. Both the temples have Erukan plant as 'Thalavirukcha'
Thirumangalakudi Temple is a famous temple. Both Thirunavukkarasar and Thiruganasambandar had rendered songs of lord Siva. Mangalakudi, Mangala Vinayagar, Mangala Nayahar, MangalaNayaki and Mangala Theertham are five auspicious ones in Thirumangalakudi.
ஞமங்கலக்குடி ஈசனை மாகாளடி
வெங்க திரிச்செல்வன் விண்ணொடு மண்ணும்நேர்
சங்கு சக்கர தாரி சதுர்முகன்
அங்கு அகத்தியனும் அரிச்சித் தாரன்றே
There is a marked difference of worshipping in this temple from other temples, one has to follow the custom of worshipping.
To offer worship at Sooriyanar Temple, one has to reach the Rajagopuram (Main Entrance) and more towards North where Pushkarani of temple is located. One can take bath in the tank or sprinkle holy water in the head as purification.
Next after the bath one has to offer prayers at the RajaGopuram before entering the temple. After entering the temple, one has to turn towards Southeren side where Koltheertha Vinayagar is placed. One has to do the Sankalpam and Archana as Hindus find Vinayagar as turnover of all obstacles.
After worshipping Vinayagar, one has to Climb steps to reach 'Narthana Mandapam' at Northern Side and then more towards 'Sabanayakar Mandapam' where one can offer prayers to 'Urchava Moorthi'.
After Sabanayakar Mandapam one can reach 'Main Mandapam' and offer prayers to SriKasivisvanathar and Smt. Visalakshi.
Next to Main Mandapam, there is Maha Mandapam where Sannathi to Sun-God, there is Guru Bhavan(lord Jupitee) stands there. People do the Archana for Guru and offer prayers to lord Sun. One has to move South wards to come out of Sanctum to reach the lord Saturn (Sani). Lord Kuja, lord Mars are placed separately then more northwards to offer prayers to lord Moon and Kethu. Next movement would be towards west where lord Sukra and Raghu are placed. Finally one has to offer prayers to Sandikeswarar.
After finishing prayers at Sandikeswarar, one has to come clockwise to reach the vinayakar to give final prayers,
முன்னவனே விநாயகனே முன்வினையின்
துயர்போக நன்மைசெயும் நவக்கிர நாயகரே
வழிபட்டோம் நீரம் எங்கள் கோள்நீக்கி நிம்மதி யைத்
After all the prayers are over, one would reach the ThothaSampatnam (flag post) and prostrate before it. Then nine rounds of the temple is a must. After nine rounds again one has to prostrate and mediatate on the nine planets for some times.
While coming out to the temple, one can offer alms to sadhus sitting outside the temple.
Once upon a time, some sages were sitting and doing their penance. They had control over their senses and denied no desire Jealousy, Greed, lust anger etc., They were known for their kind approach. They were scholars in from Vedas, Six Sastras, Eighteen Puranas, Twenty Eight Agamas, Sixty four arts and Ninety six Philosophies.
Among the Sages there was one Saint called 'KalaMunivar'. He would predict all the three periods of human beings.
One day a young saint came to KalaMunivar and enquired about his future. KalaMunivar was predicting the life of the Young saint. The young Saint non-Chalantly asked the KalaMunivar to know about his own future and smiled teasingly, KalaMunivar was surprised as no one dared to ask him such a question. KalaMunivar was willing to know more about the young Saint and asked him who he was. The young Saint replied that he was 'Kala Devan' and disappeared.
KalaMunivar started thinking about his past and future. In past, he was eating the legs of Crabs and for which he was bound to get leprosy. KalaMunivar was shell shocked and dumb found.
As he was sad, the other saints enquired him why he was depressed. Kalamunivar explained to them about his impending disease. The otherSaints advised him that none can escape from the fate and only it can be mitigated to lesser extent. They told him that Navagrahas are the ones who inflict the cruel hands to fate on human beings and advised him to offer prayers to navagrahas.
KalaMunivar moved from Himalayas to the Southern side. On fixing auspicious date, he started a rigorous meditation and Homas. As Homas continued, the heat generated made Navagrahas to appear before KalaMunivar to reduce the temperature.
KalaMunivar prostrated before them and stood in Joy with tears coming down copiously Navagrahas asked the Kalamunivar to express his desire to fulfill.
KalaMunivar explained to them his predicament and save him from the dreadful disease. Navagrahas granted his prayer and blessed him.
This news reached the Bhrama Deva and naturally Bhrama got angry. He ordered Navagraha to appear before him. Navagraha appeared before Bhrama and told them about their disobedience and remainded them of their role.
Bharama cursed them and punished that they have to born on earth individually and undergo the punishment of suffering from leprosy of KalaMunivar
After hearing the punishment, Navagrahas came dead silence and sought forgiveness from lord Bhrama Deva, the creator of the Universe. They pleaded their ignorance and forgiveness.
Bhrama was moved and made them to seek redressal for their disobedience. He directed them to reach Bharath and move to south where Cauvery is flowing. In the north bank of the river they can find 'Arghavanam' known as Velerukkakadu. Stay there offer worship from the first Sunday of Tamil month Karthigai for 12 weeks in total of 78 days on Mondays, they have to take bath before sunrise in Cauvery and offer prayers to Prarivaradhan and MangalaNayaki with in 2 1/2hours after sunrise, they have to have curdrice in 'Arka leaf' amd eat the same. On the other days they have to be in fast to release themselves from the punishment.
Navagrahas reached the earth and came to bharath. They were in search of Argavanam. They saw 'Agasthiar' and followed him quickly. They enquired about Argavanam where Agasthiar took them there as he was also going to that place.
They all reached the place. Everybody took bath in cauvery worshipped Lord Pranavaradhan and Mangalambigai. Agasthiar stretched his hand on cauvery took waters and poured on the lord. It was sight to be seen. Everybody admired Agasthiar. There every Navagraha was afflicted with the disease no leprosy.
Slowly and Steadily their body began to shrunk and foul smell started. They asked Agasthiar to guide them on their mode of worship. Agasthiar asked them to choose north-east and place the vinayagar to remove and avoid obstacles for them and start doing their penance from Sunday, Agasthiar asked them to choose nine water spots and each one of them should take bath daily from it. Navagraha enquired about his significance to them the secreat of it. It is one way of curing the illness as the leaf contains some medical touch.
Navagrahas as directed by Agasthiar followed the rituals strictly on fath day, Monday much to their surprise they took bath in cauvery and they found that the disease has cured more them 50%. They offered worship to lord Pranavaradhan and Mangalambikai. Both appeared before them and blessed them as they were satisfied about their meditation. They were completely cured from the disease. Lord asked them to stay in the Argavanam constrict temple of their bless the devotees freely.
As Navagrahas were in ecstasy, KalaMunivar appeared before them, prostrated and sobbed uncontrollably for their suffering, Navagrahas pacified KalaMunivar and enquired about his knowings on them. KalaMunivar explained to them about his meeting of Agasthiar and narration of Agasthiar.
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M.PRITHIV KUMAR - EEE
[SRM COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING CHENNAI