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Guruvayoor ‘Sri Krishna’ Temple

February 17, 2006 01:47 AM 1
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Join Date: November 30, -0001
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Post Date: January 1, 1970
Posts: 55
Location: India

Guruvayoor ‘Sri Krishna’ Temple

Guruvayoor ‘Sri Krishna’ Temple

Guruvayoor is known as the Dwaraka of South India. The deity
Guruvayoor temple is Bhagavan Maha-Vishnu with four arms carrying
Conch (Sanka), Discuss (Chakra), Mace (Gadha), Lotus ; and the
devotees worship the Bhagavan as Sri Krishna. The deity is carved out
of a very rare stone called 'Pathala Anjana Sila' which is utmost
sacred. This deity had been worshipped by Bhagavan Krishna Himself
when He was living in Dwaraka . This temple had thus its origin at
the beginning of Kali Yuga and is about 5,100 years old by now .

The history of the deity is as follows. At the beginning of the
first Kalpam named Brahmakalpam, Maha-Vishnu gave Brahma this deity
and the first text of Bhagavatham. Brahma, later gave this deity to
the Prajapathi Suthapassu and his wife Prishni and Maha Vishnu
incarnated as their son. This couple in their next birth were known
as Kashyapa and Aditi. They got possession of this deity in that
birth also, and Maha-Vishnu was again born as their child, the
Vamana. The next birth of this couple was as Vasudeva-Devaki . This
time the incarnation of MahaVishu was as Sri Krishna, the most
complete incarnation. Bhagavan Krishna, when He built the city of
Dwaraka, built a temple for this deity . Before His return to
Vaikunata, Bhagavan Krishna entrusted His foremost disciple Udhava
with this deity and asked him to meet Brihaspathy, the Guru of Gods.

Collecting the deity from Uddhava, Brihaspathy along with His
disciple Vayudeva (Wind-god), went all around the world to select a
suitable spot and finally with the help of Sage Parasuram located
a lake full of lotus flowers 25 Km to the northwest of Trichur in
Kerala . The lake was the abode of Lord Siva and Parvathi who moved
to Mammiyoor for making place for Maha-Vishnu. As Guru and Vayu
together installed and founded the temple, the place came to be known
as Guruvayupuram. Maha-Vishnu had chosen the image of little Krishna
(Unnikrishna) at the temple of Guruvayoor. The four armed deity
carrying Conch (Sanka), Discuss (Chakra), Mace (Gadha), Lotus niched
out of the divine stone "Pathala Anjanam" stands gracefully at the
Sanctum Sanctorum as a manifestation of Almighty himself ever so
merciful to ignorant multitudes.

Shri Aadi Shankara who had divine yogic sidhis was once traveling by
air from Kalady to Shringeri. Sankara, who never believed in the
worshiping of deities, was forced to come down while crossing
Guruvayoor. To appease Guruvayoorappan he worshiped the deity by
eight 'Shloka' (four lines of poetry). This is now known as the
'Govindashtakam'. He then spent 41 days worshiping Guruvayoorappan.
The daily rituals of worship were conceived by Shri Adi Sankara at
that time.

Near past history is as follows. The temple was renovated by a Pandya
king somewhere around 500 years ago. In 1970, in a fire accident,
almost all the temple except the Sanctum Sanctorium was destroyed and
the temple was reinstated in its shape in 1971. The temple has been
constructed in accordance with the deity’s guidelines . The eastern
entrance is the main doorway to the temple. In the outer enclosure is
the tall 33.5 m high gold plated flag post. There is also a 7 m high
pillar of lamps, whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly
gorgeous spectacle when lit. The square shaped sanctum Sanctorum of
the temple, is housing the main deity. Within the temple, there are
also the auxiliary deities of Ganapathy, Sree Ayyappa and Edathedathy
Kavil Bhagavathy. The walls of the sanctum sanctorum are inlaid with
exquisite mural paintings and carvings.

The temple of Guruvayoor came into limelight in modern times due to
five great saintly devotees. Their mystic experiences began to evoke
the faith and devotion of many devotees. These five great names, who
lived in the 16 /17th centuries were Vilwamangalam Swami, Kurur Amma,
Poonthanam Namboodiri, Manavikrama Raja, and Narayana Bhattathiri. Of
all these, Narayana Bhattatiri, by his great poetical hymn, the
‘Narayaneeyam’ and his remarkable recovery from a crippling paralysis
has immortalized the temple of Guruvayoor .

The temple is renowned for its healing powers. Several offerings are
made to the deity here from the simple 'Archana' (offering of
flowers) to the expensive and elaborate 'Udayastamana' pooja or
'Thulabharam' where a devotee is weighed against offering of bananas,
sugar, jaggery or coconuts. Guruvayoor is auspicious for weddings and
‘Annaprasanam’ , the first feeding ceremony of a child.


There are in all, 12 'darshan' (glimpse of the Bhagavan) that can be
had by a devotee on a given day. The timings of the temple are as
follows :

This is the first of the day. The Bhagavan now is still adorned
with the flowers and garlands of the previous night . After the night
puja (worship), when the doors are closed, the devas (Gods) come and
worship the deity. A darshan of the Bhagavan who has just been
worshipped by the Devas themselves is considered highly auspicious.
Amidst the lit lamps, the chiming bells and the conch, the
spontaneous cries of the devotees , “ Narayana","Guruvayurappa",
"Govinda", etc., the innermost recesses of your mind will be lifted
to the heights of devotional bliss.

The rite of bathing the deity with gingely oil takes place after
removing the adornments of the previous day. Then comes Vakacharth
i.e. sprinkling the deity with the vaka powder. The kork of a tree
called vaka is powdered and used. After this is performed the
abhishekam (rite of bathing the deity) with water sanctified in a
sankhu (conch).

After the bath the deity is wiped with a thin clothy,then adorned
with garlands, ear ornaments, Kasthuri tilaka and a red loincloth.
Butter in hand and playing the flute, the Bhagavan here appears as
Unnikrishna (child Krishna), reminiscent of His playful days at
Gokulam. After the alankarem (adornment or decoration),the malar
naivedyam i.e malar (puffed rice), plantain and jaggery are offered
to the Bhagavan.

Offerings of cooked rice and naipayasam (rice cooked in jaggery
constitute the usha naivedyam (morning offering). The Usha Puja
(morning worship) is also conducted at this time.

ETHIRETTU PUJA (4.30 AM - 6.15 AM) .
Now the Bhagavan and the Sun are facing each other and puja is
performed by offering vella naivadyam (white offering i.e. of cooked
rice) ; simultaneously, the other deities in the temple are attended
by associate priests. Ganapathy homa is performed in the temple

SIVELI (6.15 AM - 7.00AM) .
The Sanctum sanctorum opens allowing the devotees to have their
darshan. The deity is then taken out for the Siveli (procession). The
utsavavigraha (processional deity) is mounted in an elephant and
taken round the temple thrice. The Bhagavan wants this exercise to be
done so that He himself can ascertain if His cetestial attendents are
keeping well.

What follows is a series of abhishekams, first in the series being
Kshirabhishekam or bathing in milk. Then the Navabhishekam is done
with water filled in nine silver pots and sanctified with a course of
Pujas. Pantiradi puja is done when the shadow measures 12 feet.

DARSHAN (9AM - 11.30 AM)
Time is given to devotees for darshan.

UCHA PUJA (Noon Puja -11.30 AM - 12.30 PM).
Conducted at around 12 noon, it is the most important and elaborate
puja of the day. The naivedyam (Offering) consists of cooked rice and
palpayasam (rice cooked in milk and sugar). Simultaneously, a Brahmin
is seated in the temple kitchen and fed well. This custom is
mandatory at this ritual.

The Temple Remains Closed From 12.30 PM to 4.30 PM

SIVELI (4.30 PM - 5 PM)
The second procession of the Bhagavan takes place at this time.

DARSHAN (5 PM - 6.15 PM)
The time is given to the devotee for darshan.

DEEPARADHANA (6.15 PM - 6.45 PM).
All the lamps in the temple are lighted and the Bhagavan is
worshipped with oil lamps and camphor flames. Conch shells are blown
,drums beaten, bells chimed and pipes played. The view of the
Bhagavan in full glory is visible from a very long distance itself.
The Bhagavan looks so marvelous amidst the lamps and that even a
non-believer will be forced to bow down.

DARSHAN (6.45 PM - 7.30 PM)
Devotees allowed for darshan.

The night worship is Athazha puja and the offering made at that time
is athazhanaivedyam. Appam and Ada (sweetened rice preperation),
betel leaf and areca nut are offered at this time.

ATHAZHA SIVELI (8.45 PM - 9.00 PM) .
The night procession, the third and last procession of the day takes place.

Fumigation of the central shrine and temple with nine odoriferous
gums in a silver tray is known as tripuka. Ola vayana( Reading of the
written leaf) is the customary function of reading out day's
income and expenditure before the Bhagavan.

The Sanctum Sanctorium closes at 9.15 p.m.

Nobody returns from a temple, especially from Guruvayur, without
making an offering, however small that might be. An offering is quite
often misinterpreted as a bribe given to the deity for a favour.
Actually, it is the renunciation of a devotee, as the real test of
one's devotion. The Bhagavan accepts whatever is given in devotion or
"Bhakthi" and rejects everything, however expensive, offered without
it. Thousands throng to Guruvayur daily to make their offerings- as
an expression of their gratitude and devotion for the cure of their
diseases, mental peace, success, profit, progeny – the list is
endless. The devotees offer today almost anything from flowers to
gold. Rare offerings are displayed at the Devaswom museum while the
other items are archived.

The Main Offerings are:

Udayasthamana Puja: This is the most popular offering, the booking
for which are said to have been done for the next ten years.
Udayasthamaya literally means from sunrise to sunset. Hence it
implies worship from sunrise to sunset. It consists of 15 special
Pujas in addition to all the routine pujas and begins after the
morning Siveli. There is a special feast for the devotees. There
is the Vilakku (illumination) in the evening. The Siveli in the
evening takes 5 rounds instead of the usual 3. The tripuka marks
the end of the udayastamana puja.

Prasadaootu: These are arrangements for free feeding as Prasadams at
the dining hall for thousands of pilgrims at 10.00 AM everyday. One
can make an offering of any amount (min Rs 1) for this free feeding.

Elephants: Devotees offer elephants to Guruvayurappan and today
there are about 40 elephants kept with Punnathur Kotta maintained by
the Devaswam. The feeding of these elephants- Anayoottu is another
popular offering that attracts many on-lookers. All the elephants
are taken to the temple at around 10 A.M, and fed a sumptuous feast
of fruits, molasses and boiled rice.

Tulabharam: A devotee is weighed against a commodity of his
choice-banana, sugar, water, gold, in fact anything permitted inside
the temple. If you want to be weighed against articles not
permitted inside, do not worry. Arrangements are made for conducting
the tulabharam outside the temple. Also, non-Hindus can perform the
ritual outside.

Annaprasanam: This is the first rice-giving ceremony of a child
conducted before the Bhagavan Guruvayurappa . All the items including
cooked rice, payasam (sweet preparation of rice and jaggery; rice,
sugar & milk) plantain etc. are placed on a banana leaf and the
children are fed each of these.

Alroopams: You can offer miniature images in gold or silver, or
replicas of different parts of the human body, eyes, nose, limbs etc.
It is to cure whichever part is affected and therefore offered.
You can place it after depositing in the hundi, an amount devised by

Picking up Kunnikkuru: You can offer this to develop your children's
intelligence and smartness. A handful of these seeds Abrus
precatorious) are picked up and dropped thrice in the vessel kept for
the purpose and an amount desired by the devotee is deposited in the
hundi. Bhagavati Azhal : 10 or 20 wicks soaked in oil are kept in a
sheath of plantain tree and lighted before the goddess Bhagavati.
It is done after deeparadhana and athazha puja.

Sayanapradakshina: Also called angapradakshina, the devotee
circumambulates the temple, rolling along the pradakshina path with
his eyes closed and chanting the Bhagavan's name.

Bhajan: This offering is the most fruitful and spiritually elevating-
it is the complete dedication of oneself to Bhagavan Krishna. It is
austere worship, the devotees forgetting their worldly worries and
associating them maximum with whatever goes on within the
temple-heavy bath in the temple pond, drinking water from its well
and having the Prasadam as food. All including married people are
expected to observe strict brahmacharya (celibacy) during the bhajan.
Apart from these main offerings, there are a variety of archanas,
alankarams, and naivedyams that can be offered. A list of all these
offerings and their rates is displayed at the counters on the
northern side of the temple.

Bhagavati Azhal: 10 or 20 wicks soaked in oil are kept in a sheath of
plantain tree and lighted before the goddess Bhagavati. It is done
after deeparadhana and athazha Puja.

Krishnanattam: Krishnanaattam (devotional katha-kali), which is the
most important art form of the temple, is performed in the temple as
an offering. Devotees can offer this as an offering on a payment of
the prescribed amount. Each days performance yields a particular
benefit to those making the offering.

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya!!!

Prashant Iyer
Take Care

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people will forget what you did ...
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