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  About suchindrum  
 
The history of suchindrum
Part I (In praise of chastity)
Part II (The greatness of bhakti or devotion)

Part I - The forest and the chaste woman ;-

Suchindrum which is now praised by one and all for the existence of Lord 'STHANUMALAYA' who is responsible for the worldly activates viz. Creation, Salvation and Annihilation. This was once upon a time a big forest of natural surroundings having wild animals, screeching birds and insects. The forest was so dense with trees and hence it was dark even during day time. It inspired fear in the minds of the people. This forest was called Gnaranyam.

In the middle of the forest, there was a beautiful spot filled up with flowers, birds etc. And made attractive and charming appearance. It look as if Goddess Usha was attracted by the charming atmosphere and she in her chariot was coming towards the place to pay her respects. Anything can easily guess that a great saint was doing penance at this place.

On a close observation, it found that Sage Athri was living in the forest with his partner 'Anasuya'. The embodiment of chastity. They were deriving ecstacy by meditation. They had undiluted faith on truth and that alone triumphs in the world.

They used to get up in the morning, having bath in the ganges and perform their daily rituals meditating upon God. She worshipped her husband and rendered services to him with great devotion. The place where their Ashram was put up called "ASHRAMAM" which is on the western side of the forest.

The saint's yaga and the manifestation of the trinity
 While the Holy Couple was performing the daily routines systematically, there was failure of rain which usually comes 3 times in a month and due to this sage became sad and perfleded and he wanted to find the cause. Finally he started performing "YAGA" on getting rain.

The sage meditated upon Brahma and when Barhma appeared before him, he asked Brahma the reason for the failure of the rain. But Brahma could not give the reason. The the sage meditated upon Vishnu, the Lod of Vaikunta and Vishnu appeared before him (only to say) that the also did not know the reason. Thereafter the sage meditated upon the Trinity-Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and then the Trinity appeared before him.

When sage Athri saw the Trinity he prostrated before then and asked them the reason for the failure of the rains.

They replied that they did not know the correct reason, but they guessed that Devendran would have done this when provoked by Gouthama's curse. They added that the sage should go to Himalayas to offer worship Indra and through him he could get rid of this problem.

Yaga to the Gods and the appearance of Devendra
When the sage's wife "Anasuya' came to know his programme of going to Himalaya; she expressed her willingness to live in the Ashram in his absence without fear. She washed his feet with the holy waters of Ganga and presented it in a pot.

The sage was very much pleased with this. He asked her the meaning of that action. She said if she had the water with her she would have the feeling that he was always by her side. The sage coming to know of his wife's pure thoughts and left for Himalayas.

On reaching Himalayas he performed a Divine Yaga in honour of Devas and Rishies. Lord Agni emerged out of Yaga pit and he was shining in all his brightness, the sage in his meditation was chanting the "Adi Mantra".

What with the power of Mantra and what with the sacred influence of the seven trees Devas and Rishies reached the place. But the Trinity and Devendra did not come there. The sage continued his Tapas. Devapathi reiuctantly appeared there because he was shy of a curse. The sage did not lose heart though the Trinity did not appear there.

The Glory of the "Pada Theertha"  and the wonder of the participants
The Trinity felt that they should not go to the Yaga and they wanted to put an end to the Yaga. For this purpose they sought Sage Narada's help. When Narada came there, Shiva told Narada that "the Sage of Athri who resides at Gnanaraniya, and who is now performing a yaga at the Himalayas, should be removed from that place". Narada replied that Athri was a great sage, and though he was a grahastha he was also a renouncer. On the basis Narada, along with some sages, approached Anusuya's Ashram at Gnanaraniyam.

When Narada with associated reached Ashram, Anasuya Devi welcomes them with devotion and asked for the reason of their arrival. The sages were pleased with the warm reception accordingly and said they were very hungry due to failure of rain. Anasuya felt pitty on them and she asked them their needs.

The sages had serious doubts about her ability to live in the dense forest alone and wanted to test her chastity.

Anusuya meditated upon her husband whom she considered her supreme and with her help of her husband's "pada Theertha" she could fulfill all their demands Narada witnessed the strange power of the "Theertha" and saw how it could transform sand into any desired object. And wonder struck by this performance he walked towards the east. After three miles he reached a place which is now called Marungoor. There he found peanuts made of iron. He took some nuts and went to the other world.

Unhappiness of the Trinity's wives and the unmatched power of Anusuya Devi
Narada approched the wives of Trinity and told them "OH", you great Goddesses of the three worlds. Please do me a favour". They said they were ready for any help. Then Narada requested them to fry the iron peanuts for him.

The three Devi wives of Trinity examined the iron peanuts and said, Oh, Sage! How could we fry the iron peanuts? It is impossible for us Aren't you in your sense?"

Narada  replied, "Let me get these iron peanuts fried: I shall eat the nut and then you can accept me" saying this he came approached Anusuya's ashram.

Anusuya found Narada coming to her. She welcomed him and asked him the purpose of his visit. Narada expressed his desire.

Anusuya was worried over her fate. She feared at she had to pass through testing times. Who could go against fate? Thinking on these lines she received the iron peanuts from the sage and with the power of her husband's "pada theertha" she fried the peanuts for Narada.

Narada immediately rushed to the heavenly abode and told the Three Devis, "O! Great Devis, please see what I, a scatter brain, had done for you. Take these fried peanuts and give up your ego!" The Devis were surprised to learn that in the Bhooloke there was a person who could try the iron peanuts. They asked the sage in wonder who this person was.

Narada said "O! Great Devis! In Bhooloka there is a womand called Anusuya, wife of Sage Athiri. She is divinely chaste and she could transform any substance into anything with her power. And as long as she is there you will have neither glory nor fame. This is certain". On hearing this the Devis felt very sad and became unhappy.

The jealousy of the Devis and the Trinity's earnest effort
Though the Devis are the wives of the Trinity they are essentially women and so they were jealous of a powerful woman. They sought Narada's advice to throw a blot on the chastity of Anusuya. To them Narada said, "Oh Divine women! It is an impossible effort they might succeed. So you must pray to your husbands that, there is no glory in being your wives. Anusuya is greater than me. So we would rather be wives of Sage Athri. And if you want to save our honour please do something to dishonour the pure Anusuya. If you make an appeal like that, they might succeed" Saying this, the sage Narada left the place.

The Trinity appeared before their wives, the Divine women made their appeal. The husbands promised to do what they wanted. Giving this promise they left for Anusuya's ashram.

What wonder it is that even the Trinity should be led by the irrational appeal of their women! If this be the fate of the Trinity, one can wonder that the ordinary menflok should fall easy victims of the whimsical demands of women.

The power of the chastity and the old men being transformed into children
The trinity assumed the form of human beings and approached Anasuya. She welcomed them to her ashram in accordance with her customary hospitable temper.  They said they had come out of hunger and they demanded "Biksha" The pure hearted Anusuya asked them to perform their daily rituals before taking the biksha.

Then they had their ablution in the Pragna threertha which is situated nearby and returned to the ashram. In the meanwhile Anusuya prepared a wholesome dinner fit for Gods with the help of her husbands pada theertha. She was ready to offer them the feast when they came for it.

The three old men set for feast. But then suddenly they stood up without eating; Anusuya was shocked and asked them the reason for their reluctance to eat. The old men had impure motives in their minds. They said they had a special vow and only after fulfilling it they would eat. Anusuya the purest lady asked them what their vow was. She promised them that she would help them in fulfilling the vow however difficult it might be. The three old men in all their wile and guile demanded that she should serve them food in the same state as she was at the time of her birth that means in all her naked posture.

What an embracement ordeal for a pure hearted, noble and chaste women! Yet she thought it was her duty to show hospitality since it was a great virtue. Her heart was broken. But she made up her mind and offering prayer to her husband she realised she could derive strength from her husbands "pada theertha". She sprinkled the holy water on the trinity and the miracle happened subsequently! All the three old men were immediately transformed into three little lovable babies, she took them in her hands and fed them with mother's milk and thus fulfilled her promise!.

The power of chastity is praised in the puranas, It is so powerful that it could defeat even the all powerful that it could defeat even the all powerful Trinity if they tried to digrace it. Let all the world for all the succeeding ages learn the glory and the power of chastity.

Sage Athris return and Anusuya's supreme conduct
Anusuya who has not experienced the pleasures of motherhood fondled and reared the children like a true mother. When the children went asleep she prayed to her husband and got three cradles for three children to sleep.

What is not possible for chaste women? Has not Kannagi, the goddes of chastity reduced the great Madura city to ashes just by her will power?

Anusuya fondly rocked the cradles of the children and sang lullabies for them. Listening to the sweet songs Narada with his music of veena approached that place.

Unnoticed by anyone, Narada peeped into the Ashram and saw with great wonder the tree cradles being rocked by anusuya. He immediately proceeded to Sage Athri's Yaga sala.

Athri received Narada with great respect and offered him honourable seat. Narada then addressed Athri in the following words "O Sage Athri! You are very hospitable and generous. I understand your greatness. Your wife Anusuya was waiting for a long time for you to leave the Ashram. When you left the place she was happy. And now she has three beautiful children and she is now rocking them in the cradle" I saw the three different types of children sleeping in the cradles." Narada spoke these words in a harsh and angry tone and left that place.

Sage Athri knew that his wife was very loyal and eventhough he was confused by Narada's persuasive speech. He abruptly stoped performing the Yaga and went to the Ashram. Those who had come for the Yaga also left for their respective places.

If sage like Athri can be upset by motivated language then think about ordinary morals! only very few people can excape this snare! A great Tamil poet called Athiveerarama Pandiyam has expressed this in a beautiful couplet.

The sage reached the ashram and called out his wife in a loud and harsh tone. Anusuya had never before seen her husband in such a range and so she was frightened. But still she ran to him with great affection like a calf leaning to the mother cow. She prostrated before him. Athri told her that she should immediately tell him about the children that were sleeping in the cradlies. He warned her that if she would not do so she should meet the fate of Ahalya.

Anusuya was very much pained to see her husband in such a range. She realized that it was her duty to dipel the doubt from the mind of her husband and so she narrated the entire incident.

Sage Athri learned the truth and for a while he was shocked. He realized that though he was a sage and "gnant" he lost his mental balance due to the scandalous report of Narada. He felt very sorry for his thoughtless action. Later he regained his composure and he was happy about Anusuya's purity. He then continued to live in great happiness.

Misery over the absence of husbands and the report of the witness
Narada felt happy because he thought he had succeeded in creating confusion and indeed was it not his aim? Now he went to the three goddess the consorts of the Trinity. They had mixed feelings agitating the minds; on the one hand they were filled with joy because they thought that Anusuya's purity would have been spoiled and on the ther hand they were a little bit worried because of the prolonged absence of their husbands.

Misery over the absence of husbands and the report of the witness
Narada felt happy because he thought he had succeeded in creating confusion and indeed was it not his aim? Now he went to the three goddess the consorts of the Trinity. They had mixed feelings agitating the minds; on the one hand they were filled with joy because they thought that Anusuya's purity would have been spoiled and on the other hand they were a little bit worried because of the prolonged absence of their husbands.

From this experience one can infer that the world is filled with both joy and misery. And so one need not be overjoyed with happiness nor be depressed with sufferings.

At that time Narada appeared there. The Devis asked sage Narada what had happened to Anusuya and their husbands. Playing on the veena he said they were all at "Ganavanam" or Gana Aranyam". He also said that they were all in the form of children put in three cradles. The Devis asked Narada how to go to Gana Aranya and get back their husbands. Narada told them that they should give up their divine identities as Parvathi, Lekshmi and Saraswathi and they should take to human forms. They should pray to Anusuya for mangalya. She would certainly grant them. If she did not do it he would help them. Saying this he disappeared. He went to the Devas and the Sages Aranya to seek their husbands. The Devas and the sages  met the three Devis on their way and prayed for the devis success in their undertaking.

Meeting the chaste one and losting the chastity
The three Devis cursed their fate and changing their divine forms they came to Anusuya. Anusuya welcomed the tree of them and asked them the reason for their visit and also about their husbands. They told her that they had come for mangalya biksha and their husbands should be restored to them. Anusuya replied that he was only a women like any one of them and so she souldn't be of great help to them. On hearing this the three Devis prayed to her imploring that the Trinity their husbands, were now transformed into children and they were sleeping in the cradles. Their husbands should be restored to them. Otherwise the all-enveloping cosmos would be Rdely shaken. Anusuya asked the Devis to take the children, their husbands. With great joy the three of them rushed to the cradles and took the children.

Now it stuck Anusuya that it was these Devis who brought all the suffering on her. She wanted them to realize the evil they had brought on her. So she prayed to Lord Agni to reveal the identity of the Trinity in their original form to the three Devis, at least for a second. Lord Agni appeared before her and granted the wish. But to and behold, the three Devis were flabbergasted to see that they had chosen the wrong person! Since the three of them looked alike as children and distinction could not be made out. What a vialation of chastity! Shiva was taken by Lakshmi, Brahma was taken by Parvathi and Vishnu was taken by Saraswathi. The Devis were very  sad for the mistake that had happend. Was it not the result of jealousy, they pondered.

The Sage's coming and the task accomplished
Narada appeared before the Devis and asked them whether what he said was right and whether they succeeded in their effort. He pretended he did not know anything. They told Narada the unfortunate incident that had occurred to them.

On hearing this Narada consoled them and told them that the bolt that had fallen on them could be removed. They had to propitiate for it. He took them to the 'Pragna Teertha' and he got three pits dug for 'homa' on three sides. The homa was performed.

The three Devis passed through the fire of the homa (homa agni) and they were purified. Narada told them to meet their husbands they have to observe fast on Thiruvathirai. Day they did so. And the refore Thiruvathirai day is considered a sacred day for this temple; and more particularly the Thiruvathirai day in the Tamil month of Margazhi is very sacred and on that day pilgrims come to this temple in very large number.

The 'Pragna Theertham' is still there: the tank situated on the eastern side of the temple is identified as the teertham. Every year in the month of Chitira a float festival in conducted in the tank.

After the Thiruvathirai fast Narada took the Devis to Athri's ashram. He asked them to remain at a distance and he entered the Ashram.

The restoration of the Trinity to the happiness of all
Narada approached Athri with great piety and told him that the wives of the Trinity. Thanu, Mal and Ayan (Siva, Vishnu and Brahma) were waiting nearby. They were very sad because the Trinity were here in the cradle in the form of children. So Narada prayed to Athri on the behalf for the restoration of the Trinity to their original state.

Sage Athri agreed to this. He called his wife Anusuya, Narada immediately left the place quite imperceptibly because he was afraid he would be taken to task for all that had happened. Anusuya could find that it was Narada who brought about all the calamities. So he was very much afraid of Anusuya and he ran off.

Sage Athri asked Anusuya to restore the children to their original form as Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. With the help of the Pada theertha of her husband she accomplished the feat. When it was done, all of were very happy.

The Trinity then decided to leave behind them three children. They were called Chandra, Dathathreya and Dhurvasa. They left the children, with the sage and blessed him. Sage Athri and Anusuya prostrated before the Trinity and asked them when they could get such darshanas in future. They were told that every year in the month of Margazhi on Aswini day they could have darsana in the form of Garuda. Even today every year the festival is celebrated and on this day the Trinity give darsan to Athri and Anusuya who appear in the form of Garuda.

 

 
   
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