Part II - The Greatness of
Bhakti or Devotion ;-
Gautama's curse and Devandra's misery
Our Hindu puranas speak about three worlds. They are
our world, the world above and the nether world. The
world above belongs to the Devas and the ruler of
the world is called Devendra. He is repected in our
Once Devendra developed a
passionate desire for Ahalya, wife of Gautama.
Though Indra is the Lord of the Devas he was blinded
by consuming passion and lost reason. He tried on
several days to fulfil his passion. One day at
midnight he assumed the form of a cock and went to
Gautama's Ashram and started crowing. On hearing the
cock's crowing sage Gautama thought that it was dwwn.
He woke up and proceeded to take his bath. Taking
advantage of the Sage's absence at the Ashram,
Devendra entered the ashram and won over Ahalya.
Gautama reached river Ganges and found that it was
only midnight. Gangoes was asleep and so he rerurned
to the ashram. Indra assumed the shape of a cock and
he was running out of the ashram when Gautama saw
him. Gautama could see what had happened. He
immediately cursed Indra to the effect that the
entrie surface of Indra's body came to be covered
with female genital organs. He also cursed Ahalya so
that she has transformed into a stone.
Indra was very much ashamed of what had happened to
him. He felt shy. He prostrated before the sage and
prayed for redemption. The sage took pity on him and
said that if he performed pooja to the Trinity when
they were together he could get rid of the most
Though Indra was
consoled to some extent he remained confined to his
place convering his whole body. What a shame for the
King of the Devas who fell a victim to undue
Narada came to know of
this and he went to Indra. Indra requested Narada to
help him in getting rid of the curse Narada promised
Narada's message and
the sacred Peepul tree
Narada had heard from Indra that the Trinity were at
Athri's ashram. So he rushed to that place. He
worshipped them and told them that Devendra was put
to extreme suffering because of Gautama's curse and
so as instructed by the sage he must be devoid of
Sage Athri who was
listening to his said that when he came to know of
Indra's suffering he felt pity for him and he wanted
to save him. He supported Narada's plea.
Listening to this, the Trinity agreed to save Indra
abd they sat under a peepul tree on the southern
side of the pragna theertha. It is praised in a
sloka that in this, Brahma was at the foot, Vishnu
was at the middle and Siva at the top, It is also
said that during the other three yugas this tree
changes into Thulasi, Bilva and Konnai. In this
Kaliyuga we can find this Konnai tree in this temple
Indra's coming and
Narada returned to Indra who was sitting in his
court surrounded by Devas, with deep sorrow. When
Indra saw Narada he was very happy. Narada told him
that he would be freed of the curse and he should
immediately go to Gnana Aranya, Indira soon after
left for pragna teertha in his golden chariot led by
Airavatham-the snow white elephant which is his
mount. He was followed by his devas in all their
pomp and pageantry. He reached the northern side of
the Pragna teertha. He left behind all his followers
and with his Airavatham he came to the Trinity who
were at the Peepul tree. But the moment he reached
the place he was prevented by Nandi Deva and Indra
could not go near the Trinity. Nandi stubbornly
refused admission to Indra in spite of his request.
He told Indra that it was not enouh if he came along
hut he should come with the blessings of his Kula
The place where Indra's
chariot (ratha) was stationed is even today known by
the name "Theroor". And the Nandi that refused
admission to Indra can be seen at the temple even
Indra gets the blessing
On the advice of Nandi Deva, Indra went to the hill
which is situated on the eastern side of Gana Aranya
and offered penance for his Kula Guru, Brahaspathi.
For this he dug a small tank. Indra was thus engaged
in the tapas and the sapta Kanvas tried their best
to distrub the penance. But they did not succeed. At
last Brahaspathi appeared before him. Indra
prostrated before him.
told that he should offer puja to Nandi deva and
vinayaka for success. Then he must offer puja to the
peepul tree where they are abiding. In front of
Peepul tree a tub containing boiling ghee should be
set up. Then Indra should dip himself into the tub
for 1003 times chanting the "Panchaksha" mantra. If
he would perform this Sage Brahaspathi said, then
the Gods would appreciate Indra's penance they would
purify him and clear him of the blot caused by the
curse. Saying this he disappeared.
The hill upon which Indra did the penance is still
there on the eastern side of this village and it is
known as "Maruthuva Malai". The spot where the
penance was done is known as Devendran Pothai and
there is a spring knows as Devendra sunai. Some
people believe that the mouthain is so called bcause
there are many herbs growing in that hill. It is
also known as Siddha Sailam because some Siddhas
used to stay here.
the terrible curse
Devendra then decided to perform the pooja. He
considered that is would be better if he could take
bath in the following waters of a river before the
performance. So he commanded his Airavatha to bring
river water. So he commanded his Airavatha to bring
river water. The snow white elephant then went
towards the eastern hills and with the help of its
four tusks it draw canal from the mountain source to
ganaranya. The whole Ganaranya was filled with water
and Sage Athri was very happy. The water brought by
the river irrigated the places around gana aranya
and paddy is cultivated in vast areas in this place
even today. So this place is called Nanchinad. Since
the river is brought by an elephant it is called "Danda
Nadhi" (Dand'a means tusk). It is also called its
four tusks was broken. It became very sad and it was
overtaken by fatigue. It took rest under a peepul
tree on the western side of the Pragnateertha tank.
After some time it broke a branch of the Peepul
tree. It happened to fall on the Sage Vedavyasa got
angry with that and cursed the person who had done
it. As a result of the curse Airavatha was changed
into a stone elephant.
The river "Kottaru" is known as Pazhayaru and it
flows near the village. On the western side of the
tank (theppakulam) is the stone elephant. There is
also a small temple for Vinayaka knows as the
desperate sages and the Munnitri Nangai
Indra took bath in the water brought by this
elephant. He offered worship to Nandhi Deva and
Vigneswara. As per the instructions of his Kula Guru
he offered puja to the peepul tree set us a large
vessel filled it with ghee and made it boil.
With great bakthi in his mind and with the
panchakshara nama in his tips he dipped into the
vessel containing boiling ghee.
Lo! What to speak of the flory of Bhaktil is it not
immeasurable! Indra never felt the heat. The Devas
and the sages assembled at that place to witness
this marvel. For a while the sages were desperate
because they feared that Indra wouldn't survive this
Since the gods did not appear even after this he
thought that he should immolate himself in "Homa
agni". There were hundred devas and Durga devi who
would stand witness to that deed.
A temple dedicated to this Durga devi who is known
as Munnutri Nangai still stands on the northern side
of the tank.
the curse and Suchindrum
At this moment the Trinity appeared before Indra
and told him that he had suffered all this because
he coveted other man's wife. But yet because he had
shown great bakti regretting or his lapses they were
pleased with him. They blessed him so that he was
relieved of the curse. They asked him to perform
this puja every day.
Indra put up a "Jothi linga representing the Trinity
Siva, Vishnu and Brahma-Thanu, Mal, Ayan-and the
daily puja is performed every day.
Therefore there is no artha-jama-puja in this
temple. Also we cannot see the abhisheka that is
done for the lings. There is no "gomukhi" for the "abhishekadeertha"
to flow out. Since the arthajamapuja is perfored by
Indra, the priest who performs the evening puja
today will not perform tomorrows morning Puja, some
other priest will do it. So two priests will perform
pooja in this temple alternately.
When the priest enters the "sanctum sancrorum" in
the morning he will take the pledge saying that he
wouldn't reveal whatever he happens to see there.
The priests are Kerala Namboodiris coming from the
most orthodox houses of sukhapuram, perumanam and
Thus Indra's body was purified at this place and
therefore this place is called suchindru,
Suchi-pure, + Indra = the place where Indra was
purified. The place where he set up the Linga is
called the "moola sthanam". The Nandi and the
Vinayaka, which were worshipped by Indra can also be
seen in this temple.
For a very long time there was practice in this
temple it was to ask the guily people to dip their
hands into the boiling ghee as Indra had done in the
yore. But this practice was abandoned during the
reign of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma Maharaja (A.D.
1839 to 1849) upon the benign orders of his
It is true that those who offer workship at his
temple would enjoy all the pleasures of this world
and attain salvation.
The greatness of bakthi is the greatness of the
people of Bharat!