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Darbhasayanam, Ramanathapuram

Darbhasayanam Overview

Tiruppullaani is located near Ramanathapuram. Tiru means 'sacred', Pula the great sage named Pula Maharshi and Ani means 'forest', the sacred forest abode of Pula Maharshi. The other name of the place is "Pullaranyam" (pull-shrub of grass, aranyam--forest: the forest of grass). This place is known by a third name too, "Darbhasayanam" (darbha means sacred grass and sayanam means a bed to rest on). Darbhasayanam is one of the Sethu Stalams, on the coast of Tamil Nadu, linked with the Ramayana. It alludes to the incident in Sri Rama's life when he took rest on the sacred grass during his penance, for three days and nights, in this particular place. The Deities The main deity worshipped here is Kalyana Jagannathan or Aadi Jagannathan in a standing posture facing east and the Goddess worshipped here are Padmasini and Kalyanavalli. There is a shrine of Lord Rama in the Darbasayana pose, signifying his resting here and invoking Varuna for help in crossing the ocean, enroute to Sri Lanka in search of Sita. About The Temple This temple with two Prakarams covers an area of about 1.5 acres and is crowned with a 120 feet high Gopuram. In this temple the image of Sri Vishnu, in the reclining posture, on his couch of Adi Sesha, is very imposing to see. The place is rich with antiquities connected with divine persons, sages and saints. The Ramanathapuram royal family has patronized the temple. Pullaranyam was a marshy land full of grass and Sri Rama chose a bed of Darbha grass, which is held very sacred by all the Hindus. The grass is used on all sacred occasions during the performance of propitiatory rituals in honour of Gods and one's ancestors. THE TEERTHA'S AT THE PLACE Hamsa Teertha In front of the Peepal tree where Mahavishnu gave his darsan to Rishi Pullar, there is a big tank, which is very holy. It is surrounded by a number of hermitages. In this tank Sri Narayana assumed the shape of a swan and gave Veda Upadesam to Brahma and hence it is called "Hamsa Teertha" (Hamsa means Swan). There lived in ancient times three mighty demons by name Mali, Sumali and Malyavan. Of the three, Mali and Sumali were very cruel and they troubled the hermits, Devas and others very much. In order to put an end to the sufferings of the Devas and the hermits, Vishnu repaired on his Garuda to slay them. By using the ordinary arrows he was not able to kill them. So, he used Sudarsana Chakra, which did away with the Rakshasas (demons). Since the Chakra became impure, Vishnu asked the Chakra to bathe in the Hamsa Teertha (also spelt as Tirtha or Teertha) and wash away all its sins. After the bath the Chakra returned to Vishnu's right hand. The tank got the names of Chakra Teertha, Dharma Teertha and Varuna Teertha also. Agastya Teertha Sage Agastya once got very angry and made the mighty ocean flow into his right palm and drank it off in a gulp. He installed a Teertha there and took his bath in it. Then, for the sake of his forefathers, he offered Pindapradana and performed Tarpana. From that day onwards, it is called "Agastya Teertha". It is on the western side of Chakra Teertha. On the banks of this, Hiranya performed tapas and received powerful boons. Once a hermit by name Tevalar, who was well versed in the Vedas, performed tapas in this forest. One day seven Deva Kanyakas, who were enamoured of the beauty of the place, played under the shades of trees and bathed in the tank nearby, leaving their clothes on the bank. Then Tevalar came there to take his bath. The Kanyakas, unmindful of the hermit, continued their Jalakreeda (water-sport) without any dress on. The hermit, getting offended with the Kanyakas, cursed them and they changed into mortals. The Kanyakas, however, begged of him to have mercy on them and save them from the curse. Tevalar told them that there was a sage by name Pullar in the forest. He was a devout Vishnubhakta. If they went to him, he would indicate to them the manner of redemption. Hearing this, the Kanyakas went to the hermitage of Pullar. They related to him their past and present history and prayed to him to save them from the curse. Pullar took pity on them and promised to help them to regain their original status. He said that Mahavishnu would take the Avatar of Sri Rama and if the Kanyakas would get darshan of him, they would be absolved of the curse. The Kanyakas were anxiously waiting for the arrival of Sri Rama. On the northern side of Pullaranyam was the abode of Kanwa Maharshi. In front of it flows a holy river. The hermit used to bathe in the river and pray to Lord Vasudeva for divine bliss. Sage Kanwa heard a divine voice that, when Raghava (Lord Rama) came to the forest, his desires would be fulfilled. From that day onwards, the hermit too was anxiously waiting for Sri Raghava. In due course Rama with his army of monkeys arrived at this place. He chanced to see the seven Kanyakas, who immediately got released from their curse and turned into Deva Kanyas again. A hunter who accidentally came there saw Lord Rama and received his blessings. Rama asked him to turn the place into a hamlet, construct a temple in that forest and watch the bridge Setu. Sri Rama gave the name of "Setu Palaka" to the hunter. The Festival In commemoration of Sri Adi Jagannatha's darshan to Sage Pula and Sri Rama, a great festival is celebrated in the month of Panguni (March-April) and Brahmotsava is conducted in the month of Chithirai (April-May) to commemorate the two visits of Sri Rama and the incarnation of Maha Vishnu or Adi Jagannatha.

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