Vallabha Vamsam III
By K C Jayarajan Raja (Sreevidya)
Translated by M C K Raja
| It is believed
that the Trimurthi (Brahma, Vishnu and Parameswara) and Parvathi and Ganapathi are present
at Sreemoolasthanam. Hence Sreemoolasthanam is more important than Mathrusala.
As per conventions, one has to pray at Sreemoolasthanam before entering the Mathrusala. There is one Pratishta (installation) at Sreemoolasthanam, where the child Ganapathy sits in the lap of Sree Parvathy. It is to this Moorthi (idol) that the "Mangalya Puja" is offered. (After this puja was started some time ago, the material prosperity of the temple has improved).
Mandhata Maharshi continued his "Tapas" and attained his "Samadhi" there. After his Samadhi, for a long time, the place remained neglected. The entire area soon became a thick jungle.
Some time later, some forest dwellers reached the place in search of fodder, with sickles and other implements. One tried to sharpen his sickle on a particular granite stone, and he was immediately taken aback by the oozing of blood from the stone. He ran with fear, and informed the local king about the matter.
The king and his assistants immediately ran to the spot to investigate. After a close scrutiny, they found the presence of "Devi" there. The king immediately arranged for daily puja at the spot.
By a strange coincidence, a learned and brilliant (Tejaswi) brahmin (Namboodiri) appeared on the scene. He cleared the bushes nearby. Due to this act, he came to be known as "Katillamittam" (Quadrangle without forest). He settled near the place. His Illam (House) is even now known as Katillamittam.
Soon another Namboodiri also came there. He prepared a pandal (bamboo canopy) over the quadrangle. He became known as "Panthala kotam". Both the Namboodiris were appointed "Thanthris" of the new temple. (Apart from the right to carry out pujas, they have also the right to decide about the rituals to be carried out in the temple and the rules and regulations of worship by the public). Even now, the descendants of these two families are the Thanthris of Thirumandhamkunnu temple.
After a period of time, the Katillamittam family died out and now only Panthalakotam is the Thanthri at the Temple. Since, as per land records, the land where the temple stood, belonged to Cherukunnu mana, the members of that Illam were appointed hereditary pujaris of Sreemoolasthanam.
There are many rituals and conventions specific to Thirumandhamkunnu temple, which are not carried out at other temples:
Below is an extract, from a souvenir, published from the Collectorate of Kozhikode, on the occasion of centenary celebrations of the Kozhikode Corporation.Samoothiri & Thirumandhamkunnilamma Only at Thirumandhamkunnu there is a puja called Thirihupantheerati. This is actually "Athazha puja" conducted at about 1500 hrs. (Afternoon, when a full-grown adult measures his shadow length as 12 footsteps).
This puja is financed by Samoothiri. It may surprise people to see Samoothiri Raja financing a puja, at a temple governed by his bitter enemy. But behind this offering there is an "Aithihyam".
Long ago, a member of the Samoothiri family married a lady from Valluvanad. After he ascended the throne, he used to conduct 41 days of kalampattu to "Vettakkoru Makan". Once his queen jokingly told him "Instead of conducting daily kalampattu to Vettakkorumakan, if you conduct one Kalampattu to my mother (Bhadrakali), she will reach the kalam here on the third kottu (drumbeat)."
This statement irritated Samoothiri and he shouted "I shall conduct the kalampattu to Bhadrakali tomorrow itself, and, if as you said, Bhagavathi does not come to kalam, I will cut off your head".
The queen did not expect Samoothiri to take her words so seriously, and as a sort of challenge. She felt a little perturbed, but soon regained her spirits (because of her faith in Devi) and started praying with intense devotion to her beloved Goddess.
That same evening, both the thanthris at Thirumandhamkunnu had Darshan of Bhagavathi in their sleep. The Goddess instructed them to conduct Athazhapuja at about 3 pm next day, and then to close the sanctum sanctorum for the day.
Next day Vallukanari had come for Usha puja (early morning puja) in simple dress and without any attendants. When Thanthri opened the door after the puja, he was surprised to see Vallukanari standing in front and praying.
When Thanthri informed Vallukanari about his vision in the night, the Raja said, he had also a similar vision, and he had rushed to the temple, only to know more about the same.
The Maharaja told Thanthri to follow the instructions of Devi, and to conduct Athazhapuja at 3 p.m., and to close the Sanctum Sanctorum, after the puja. On that day, after the puja at 3 p.m., people found one Komaram (An Oracle of the temple, dressed in red, carrying a sword, his body quivering) having Devi Darsan, and then running through the south nata (passage).
The oracle (a representative of Devi herself) reached the place at Kozhikode, where Kalampattu was taking place. He jumped to the "Peedhom" (A small moveable platform of the size of a stool and with ornamental carvings), removed the Utayata (Bhagavathi's dress), and sat on it. He sat there till the Kalam pattu was over. Immediately after, he performed a ferocious dance and asked Samoothiri in a loud tone "Are you testing me?"
Samoothiri immediately prostrated before him, and apologised for his foolishness. Pacified by his sincerity, the Oracle stated, "I am happy you have realised your mistake. Hereafter remember this incident, by arranging daily puja at Thirumandhamkunnu as done today" and the Komaram suddenly disappeared.
For the purpose of this puja, Samoothiri came to Angadipuram, purchased some land, and donated it to the Devaswam (temple administering authority). It is said that the income from this land was used to finance this puja. This puja continues uninterrupted till today.