Monday, November 15, 2010

Kantha Shashti: Strictest Fast for Spiritual Bliss and Blessing

The sufferings great will vanish for those who pray

“Kantha Shashti” is observed in the Tamil month of “Aippasi”, which falls either in October or November on the new moon. Hindus all around the world fast for six days for Lord Murugan. This year Kantha Shasti was observed from 6th of November to 12th of November.Devotees of Lord Murugan have a fast for six days during these days. It’s unlike any other fast; devotees stick to the strictest fast which is called “Upavaasam” (total fast). The seventh day is known as “Paaranai”, and the strictest fast ended on 12 of November 2010.

"Sooran Por" was held on 11th of November 2010 at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple (New Kathiresan temple) in Bambalapitty amidst the record breaking raingfall after 18 years in the city of Colombo.Devotees in large numbers gathered to celebrate the victory of evil spirit

It's believed that Lord Murugan defeated the demon Soorapathman and his army with the "Vel" (lance) given to him by his mother. Lord Murugan fought for six days, and on the last day he liberated "Devas' from "Asuras". "Sooran Poor" is held to celebrate the victory on the sixth day at dusk. The temple courtyard and backyard are made to look like a battle field. Idols of Lord Murugan and Soorapathman are taken out of the temple to have the battle and the celebration.

Devotees, who have fasted for six days wake up at dawn, have a head shower, go and pray at the temple and cook and have a vegetarian meal before the sun rises. The devotees who observed the fast are not supposed to witness "Sooran Poor", because it is considered inauspicious to witness a killing of Sooran after fasting.

Amused kid at the main entrance

Thamotharampillai Sivasubramaniam Nanthakumar decorates the Soorapathman for the festival

Kantha Shashti is a joyous occasion to worship the Lord in His triumphant aspect and signals the victory of Divinity

Prosperity and plenty will abound

Closer view of wooden Soorapathman

Kantha Shashti Kavasam is an inspiring hymn

Soorapathman is taken on a parade in Bambalapitty

An ocean of devotees for the celebration

Devotees throng the temples to witness the historical event

Soorapathman is carried by devoted men and taken around the temple

I surrender to flowery feet of my Lord

Long live, long live

Lord Murugan the embodiment of power, wisdom, love and bliss

Dancing at dusk

Bless me with your grace

Traditionally dressed men devotees in Dhoti

Non-vegetarian food is avoided during the Kantha Shashti

Heavyweight on the shoulders being balanced carefully

Both (Lord Aarumugaswmay and Soorapathman) on the battlefield

Lord Aarumugaswamy leaves the temple to the battlefield

Devotees praise and pray Lord Aarumugaswamy

His two consorts, Valliyammai and Theivayaanai epitomise Iccha Shakthi (the Power of Will) and Kriya Shakthi (the Power of Action) respectively

As Soorpathman is being defeated by Lord aarumugaswmay

Come darling of the lady of mountain,
Come my master who has six faces

Colourful garlands in Bambalapitty

“Previously, I thought that my physical body was a base burden and a despicable liability. Then, I realized that the essence of everything (God, Śivaperuman) dwells within my body, and, because my body is a temple for the Supreme One, I now value it and take intense and infinite care of it” Thirumoolar

Name plaque of the architect of the temple

Kantha Shashti Kavasam is a song composed by Thevaraya Swamigal

Masked as Pillaiyar

Come my master who has six faces

Clouds clear after a record breaking rainfall in the city of Colombo

Come darling of the lady of mountain

Devotees undertake fasting and singing during this holy period

Fasting leads to certain principles and disciplines in life

Under the Lion mask

Holy thread on a devotee’s wrist

Solemn vows are made during the sacred period

Carry on lasts for long hours

View of the Kopuram of Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple in Bambalapitty

The Devars, who were tormented by Soorapadman rejoiced

Dazzling Lord Aarumugaswamy for the festival at dusk

Many methods are used by Soorapathman

Traditional decorations at the temple

Packed courtyard of the temple

Devotees gather in large numbers at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple (New Kathiresan temple) in Bambalapitty to witness the war amidst an unpredictable weather

The most strictest fast is observed by the Hindus

Soorapathman is drawing a circle on the ground during the fight with Lord Aarumugaswamy and orders him to be in the circle

Sunshine after a heavy downpour

Soorapathman sensed that his end was near and decided to run away

The Devars who were tormented by Soorapadman rejoiced

Musicians for Lord Aarumugaswamy

Devotees undertake fasts, prayers and devotional singing to Lord Murugan during the six days of the war over the evil forces

It is believed the actual battle took place in Thiruchenthoor

Brass Vel (Lance) is decorated for the festival

Lord Aarumugaswamy awaits with patience

Goddess Parvathy enchanted by the sight of the six beautiful babies gathered them in her arms, the six children came together forming one body with six heads and earned the name Arumugan

“Thetpai” (straw ring) is worn during the strictest fast to show devotion

Lord Aarumugaswamy is enthroned in celebration of his victory against Soorapathman

Lovely Sunset in Bambalapitty

Swing, dance and jump~ many methods used by Soorapthman

Despite many defeats Soorapathman keeps fighting with Lord Aarumugaswamy while using many tactics

Masked in Black

Water is splashed by the Soorapathman during the battle with Lord Aarumugaswamy. It landed straight on my camera lens

Sun begins to spread its rays after a record breaking downpour

Soorapathman took various forms in order to confuse the Lord and evade death

Fire carcakers are lit to celebrate the victory by Lord Aarumugaswamy

Sooran Por is ritually re-enacted at Murugan temples

Musicians of Soorapathman

Kumkumam (Vermilion) is sprinkled at the end of the battle. It is used as the colour of blood. It landed straight on my camera lens and into my right eye

Lord Aarumugaswamy took the peacock as his vehicle and the cock fowl as the emblem on his flag

Hordes of army of Soorapathman worship Lord Aarumugaswamy as they lost the battle

Lord Aarumugaswamy used his Vel (Lance) of immense power to split the mango tree into two parts. He turned one part into a peacock and other into a cock fowl

Sooarapathman's head is being handed over by Kanapathipillai Sivarasa to the priest at the end of the fierce battle

Snails are seen seeking refuge at the temple for the heavy rains


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