Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thiruvadarai

Thiruvadarai is the star Arudra. The prefix Thiru denotes its enormous size (several crore times bigger than the sun). The only other star with this prefix is Thiruvonam, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The festival Thiruvadarai is celebrated on the day that the star occurs in the month of Margazhi (December-January). It is the day on which Lord Shiva as Nataraja is believed to have performed his cosmic dance.

Arudra signifies a red flame. Lord Shiva in the form of light performs his functions of creation, protection, destruction and concealing.

The temple at Chidambaram celebrates the day with a great abhishekam. The offering of Kali (a sweet dish made of pounded rice and jiggery) is made to the Lord and then distributed amongst devotees, who accept this as a gift of bliss from the Lord himself.

There is a story about how Kali came to be the neivedyam. Sendanar, a devout follower of the Lord, would eat only what was left over from the food that was offered to the Lord. One Thiruvadarai day in Margazhi he offered a humble repast of Pittu and Kali, with the regret that he could not offer anything better. The Lord was so pleased wtih his devotion, that he showered Sendanar with Pittu and Kali. Ever since that miracle occurred, Kali is made as the main offering to Lord Nataraja on this day. It is served with a koottu which has seven varieties of vegetables.

In Sirgazhi, this day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Saint Thirugnanasambandar, commemorating the day when the saint as a baby was breastfed by Parvati.

In Thirupperundurai, the day is observed as the birth anniversary of Saint Manickavasagar.

This year, Thiruvadarai will be celebrated on 8th January, 2012.

Significance of Ganesha's attributes and 108 names
108 Names of Lord Ganesha (with meanings)


1. Akhurath – One who has Mouse as His Charioteer

2. Alampata – Ever Eternal Lord
3. Amit – Incomparable Lord
4. Anantachidrupamayam – Infinite and Consciousness Personified
5. Avaneesh – Lord of the whole World
6. Avighna – Remover of Obstacles
7. Balaganapati – Beloved and Lovable Child
8. Bhalchandra – Moon-Crested Lord
9. Bheema – Huge and Gigantic
10. Bhupati – Lord of the Gods
11. Bhuvanpati – God of the Gods
12. Buddhinath – God of Wisdom
13. Buddhipriya – Knowledge Bestower
14. Buddhividhata – God of Knowledge
15. Chaturbhuj – One who has Four Arms
16. Devadeva – Lord of All Lords
17. Devantakanashakarin – Destroyer of Evils And Asuras
18. Devavrata – One who accepts all Penances
19. Devendrashika – Protector of All Gods
20. Dharmik – One who gives Charity
21. Dhoomravarna – Smoke-Hued Lord
22. Durja – Invincible Lord
23. Dvaimatura – One who has two Mothers
24. Ekaakshara – He of the Single Syllable
25. Ekadanta – Single-Tusked Lord
26. Ekadrishta – Single-Tusked Lord
27. Eshanputra – Lord Shiva’s Son
28. Gadadhara – One who has The Mace as His Weapon
29. Gajakarna – One who has Eyes like an Elephant
30. Gajanana – Elephant-Faced Lord
31. Gajananeti – Elephant-Faced Lord
32. Gajavakra – Trunk of The Elephant
33. Gajavaktra – One who has Mouth like An Elephant
34. Ganadhakshya – Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
35. Ganadhyakshina – Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
36. Ganapati – Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
37. Gaurisuta – The Son of Gauri (Parvati)
38. Gunina – One who is The Master of All Virtues
39. Haridra – One who is Golden Coloured
40. Heramba – Mother’s Beloved Son
41. Kapila – Yellowish-Brown Coloured
42. Kaveesha – Master of Poets
43. Krti – Lord of Music
44. Kripalu – Merciful Lord
45. Krishapingaksha – Yellowish-Brown Eyed
46. Kshamakaram – The Place of Forgiveness
47. Kshipra – One who is easy to Appease
48. Lambakarna – Large-Eared Lord
49. Lambodara – The Huge Bellied Lord
50. Mahabala – Enormously Strong Lord
51. Mahaganapati – Omnipotent and Supreme Lord
52. Maheshwaram – Lord of The Universe
53. Mangalamurti – All Auspicious Lord
54. Manomay – Winner of Hearts
55. Mrityuanjaya – Conqueror of Death
56. Mundakarama – Abode of Happiness
57. Muktidaya – Bestower of Eternal Bliss
58. Musikvahana – One who has mouse As charioteer
59. Nadapratithishta – One who Appreciates And Loves Music
60. Namasthetu – Vanquisher of All Evils & Vices & Sins
61. Nandana – Lord Shiva’s Son
62. Nideeshwaram – Giver of Wealth and Treasures
63. Omkara – One who has the Form Of OM
64. Pitambara – One who has Yellow-Coloured Body
65. Pramoda – Lord of All Abodes
66. Prathameshwara – First Among All
67. Purush – The Omnipotent Personality
68. Rakta – One who has Red-Coloured Body
69. Rudrapriya – Beloved Of Lord Shiva
70. Sarvadevatman – Acceptor of All Celestial Offerings
71. Sarvasiddhanta – Bestower of Skills And Wisdom
72. Sarvatman – Protector of The Universe
73. Shambhavi – The Son of Parvati
74. Shashivarnam – One who has a Moon Like Complexion
75. Shoorpakarna – Large-Eared Lord
76. Shuban – All Auspicious Lord
77. Shubhagunakanan – One who is The Master of All Virtues
78. Shweta – One who is as Pure as the White Colour
79. Siddhidhata – Bestower of Success & Accomplishments
80. Siddhipriya – Bestower of Wishes and Boons
81. Siddhivinayaka – Bestower of Success
82. Skandapurvaja – Elder Brother of Skand (Lord Kartik)
83. Sumukha – Auspicious Face
84. Sureshwaram – Lord of All Lords
85. Swaroop – Lover of Beauty
86. Tarun Ageless
87. Uddanda – Nemesis of Evils and Vices
88. Umaputra – The Son of Goddess Uma (Parvati)
89. Vakratunda – Curved Trunk Lord
90. Varaganapati – Bestower of Boons
91. Varaprada – Granter of Wishes and Boons
92. Varadavinayaka – Bestower of Success
93. Veeraganapati – Heroic Lord
94. Vidyavaridhi – God of Wisdom
95. Vighnahara – Remover of Obstacles
96. Vignaharta – Demolisher of Obstacles
97. Vighnaraja – Lord of All Hindrances
98. Vighnarajendra – Lord of All Obstacles
99. Vighnavinashanaya – Destroyer of All Obstacles & Impediments
100. Vigneshwara – Lord of All Obstacles
101. Vikat – Huge and Gigantic
102. Vinayaka – Lord of All
103. Vishwamukha – Master of The Universe
104. Vishwaraja – King of The World
105. Yagnakaya – Acceptor of All Sacred & Sacrficial Offerings
106. Yashaskaram – Bestower of Fame and Fortune
107. Yashvasin – Beloved and Ever Popular Lord
108. Yogadhipa – The Lord of Meditation
Dhanur Maasam – Marghazhi Month

Margazhi, which is the ninth month of the Hindu calendar, falls roughly between 15th December and 15th January in the Gregorian calendar. It is considered the most auspicious month by the Tamilians. Even the Lord Almighty is said to have professed in the Bhagavatham that he shall pervade everywhere in all forms during the month of Margazhi and is supposed to have said, ‘Maathangalil Naan Margazhi”, which is echoed by the tamil poet, Kannadasan – when he says “Maathangalil Aval Margazhi”. So there is no doubt that this month called Margazhi has divinity bestowed on it.

Shiva’s Arudra Darshan occurs in this month. So does Vaikunda Ekadasi. Aandal’s Tiruppavai and Manikkavasagar’s Tiruvempavai are chanted during this month. Another unique feature is the reading of the four Vedas. The two month long pilgrimage season to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple comes to and end in Margazhi. In temples all over India during this month there is special pre-dawn worship.

However, the month is considered inauspicious for any other functions like weddings, etc. This is like the birth thithees of Rama on Navami and Krishna on Asthmi. These thithees are celebrated for them only and are considered inauspicious for other functions. The month is dedicated wholly to the celebration of the Gods.

The month of Margazhi is supposed to be sacred from all aspects. Thus it is rendered to the God himself with the aim of attaining prosperity and His blessings. The very objective of this month is to get together and offer prayers, in the belief that He will surely hear them and respond.

The month Marghazhi derives its name from the star Mrigasirsha occurring on or immediately after the month’s Pournami (Purnima – full moon). It is also known as Dhanur masa since during this month the sun transits through Dhanur rasi (Sagittarius).

The key to the timing of many rituals and festivals and other important social events, is the weather and harvest! As the customs and traditions evolved, man had to take into consideration the weather conditions as one among the most vital factors. The cold weather in Margazhi and limited number of day hours, called for special efforts to shake off lethargy, a natural tendency (hibernation!), and some reasons were created for early rising and early morning vigour of activities on the social plane! Religion and spirituality being the easiest routes to motivation, the ‘Bhakti’ marga showed the way to effective measures to keep man active in healthy social interactions! Therefore, as adjuncts, the concepts of Gods’ last few sleeping hours before the Gods rose (in ‘Uttarayana’, after the ‘dakshinayana’, at the end of ‘Margazhi’!) from sleep to commence their day (six months of ‘uttarayana’!), are the ideal days for religious worship. They were evolved and refined in all regions where winter peaked around those days, with similar thoughts and allied traditions evolving in other comparable religious practices! Cold weather is the most ‘creative’ weather for production of all kinds, stamina for work being maximum, once the inertia and initial lethargy are successfully tackled. That generally sums up the lovely month of music and pilgrimage

Pavai Nonbu, also known as Margazhi Nonbu, is observed in Tamilnadu during this month. The history of pavai nonbu is more than 2000 years old and is mentioned in the early Tamil scriptures. The general belief is that pavai nonbu was observed for Katyayani [a form of Durga]. It is said that Gopis first observed it to attain Lord Krishna as their husband. Women and girls observing pavai nonbu woke before sunrise, bathed in the Kalindi river and made an image of Goddess Katyayani with the clay found on the river bank and offered prayers to the Goddess to get good husbands. It is also believed that Andal, one of the twelve Alwars, on the advice of her father, Perialwar, performed pavai nonbu to merge with Sri Ranganatha [Lord Vishnu]. Today women and girls undertaking pavai nonbu during Margazhi take a bath in the morning, light oil lamps in front of their houses, draw big rangolis and keep a pumpkin flower with a little dung as a holder.

People recite the pasurams from Thiruppavai and visit temples. Some also sing the Tiruvempaavai written by the poet, Saint Manickavasakar to invoke the blessing of the Lord Shiva during this thirty days of Margazhi. The hymns on the Lord Vishnu and Shiva are recited for the prosperity of the universe – the universe to be perfect bliss devoid of famine or any form of unhappiness.

Thus both Thiruppavai and Thiruvempavai are relevant tilldate.

The Kathyayani slokha goes as follows :

Katyayani Mahamaye
Mahayoginiyadheeshwari
Nand Gop Sutam Devi Patim Me
Kuru te Namah’
Yohiniyo Heswari Yoha
Bhayankari Sahavas Thavara
Sangamesya Mugam Hridayam
Mamavacham Ahasya Vivaham
Sekiram Ahasyas vaha
Hare Jyothi hare
Sai Jyothi hare

The month is also noted for its numerous music concerts. Another unique feature of the month is the beautiful kolams (rangoli) drawn on streets and in the courtyard of houses. Morning Bajans and Temple Prasadasm, Venpongal are very important in this month. -