Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sri Sivasubramaniyar Alayam - Kampung Kepayang (Perak)

Tawsi Malek to the Yezidis, Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs, Subramaniyar to the Hindus, the Lord of the peacock mount is all-pervading. Guha which denotes cave in Sanskrit is associated with Lord Subramaniyar, primarily due to the connotation that Divinity is permanently within us, in the deepest cavity of our hearts. This cave labyrinth was moulded by the tidings of time, upon the gentle sways of ancient ocean floors. Mighty dragons were entrusted to guard this cave, hence endowed with impenetrable layered sheathing, mouths conflagrant with roaring fiery breath and talons that tatter steely stone. Unseen to most but only to those with mystical vision, these mighty beasts shield this cavernous acropolis from all unknown predator. The plumed mount, dancing and swaying its feathers to distract the abstract, the commander of the celestial army descends to inspect. Contented that all conditions have been adhered, ‘rishi’s’ are initiated with Lord Subramaniyar’s divine decree to forge a spiritual haven. 

Decades later, a pious individual labouring as a cowherd in the vicinity, was conferred upon with a vision of a childlike Lord Subramaniyar in a cave along with guidance to establish a shrine. Upon discovering the sacred cave, a ‘Vel’ was consecrated on an abandoned anthill in the inner cavern. Thereafter unceasing divine worship commenced with offerings of fragrant flowers and aromatic fruits, waves of camphor and wisps of incense. Drippings of water flowing through the cavernous terrain sculpted a limestone image of an elephant, signifying the manifestation of Lord Ganesha, the beloved elder sibling of Lord Subramaniyar. Many Hindu devotees witness this mystical spectacle upon entering the cave. 

The pregnant happiness of receiving offspring eludes the numerous, however is sacredly resolved at this spiritual abode. Many families having been blessed with offspring here often come back, decades later with their grown-up children to receive a similar blessing. Those with malefic planetary affliction on their astrological natal charts often come here during auspicious days to fast, meditate, and pray, imploring Lord Subramaniyar to alleviate the harsh blows of their adverse circumstance. Thus, blessed devotees who endure this routine persistently with spiritual fervour, often escape unscathed from devastating disasters, resolve amicably domestic disputes, and overcome monetary misfortunes. One such devotee, who was undergoing severe financial difficulties, was blessed with a flourishing business after much suffering. As an act of devotion, the devotion contributed monetarily towards the renovation of the temple. 

The cave is decked with stalagmites and stalactites similar to temple pillars, is territory to a spiritual guardian, a ‘shweta nag’. It marks its presence during festive occasions such as Pournami and Thaipusam. Many devotees, who experience grief during ill-fated planetary phases pray for relief at Bhairava’s shrine, often find some respite especially if their prayer is genuine. Another interesting feature of this temple is Panchamukhi Anjaneyar shrine, which was installed by the temple committee members, on the instruction of a renowned Nambodiri priest. The priest upon meditating at the temple insisted that a shrine should be built for Panchamukhi Anjaneyar, and will be beneficial for devotees who suffer unjust court litigation, wicked rumormongering, and prejudiced dispensation of justice. 

Contact – Sundararasu (Chairman) 019 5556494

Monday, May 19, 2014

Arulmigu Nagammal Aalayam – Ipoh (Perak)

The descendants of Kashyapa and Kadru, the mystical ‘nagas’ (divine snakes) coiled upon ‘Nagaloka’ (realm of the nagas), alighting themselves amongst the thunderous lighting, descending torrentially amongst the thick foliage of tropical jungles long before the Hindu kingdoms in Malaya were established. Slithering amongst mud, muck and mulch, mounds were established to shelter their celestial sojourn. Custodians of treasures, thickets and temples, the nagas became pivotal as predestined by the celestial realms. Decreed to bite the absolute evil or those ordained to die prematurely, ‘naga dosham’ was termed as such by the discerning. Boundaries were secured, hierarchies were succeeded, and customary divine leaders selected. To perpetuate their existence in ‘Gangga Negara’ (ancient Hindu Kingdom of Perak), a queen was chosen within their upper ranks. The queen, known for spiritual competency, tantric dexterity, and divine sagacity, guided her ‘nagas’ on their duties, demeanour and dependencies. In time, neighbouring dwellers came to know of this celestial manifestation, and sought refuge from the karmic shackles imbued upon them by the shadow planets. Unleashing her serpent power, the queen resolved to guide humanity’s spiritually strayed, by permeating cosmic ‘shakti’ (divine energy) on the dark blots of their vulnerable astral bodies, hence unshackling their destiny. The liberated, beholden by the queen’s spiritual blessings built a shrine for her and her retinue, under a peepal tree.

As the dust of time expunged memories of the shrine combined with movement of populace, the new inhabitants of this locality unaware of their divine surroundings plodded about, inconsiderate in stride, offending the queen and her aides. Although divine, the ‘nagas’ code of ‘dharma’ (rightful conduct) permitted self-perseverance, hence they rustled, hissed and rattled, intimidating the local inhabitants. The residents were counselled, by an elderly woman blessed by inner vision, thereafter resumed devotional worship at the ‘naga’ shrine. However, the truce was momentary as the shrine was adjacent to a path designated to be a trunk road. The imminent calamity had to be allayed; hence the queen was yet again consulted by the very same elderly woman. Chanting inaudible ‘mantras’, her ‘kundalini’ energy rose through her spine, and her eyes lit ablaze. The atmosphere electrified, the elderly lady slithered back and forth, culminating with a raised striking arms arching with her head, predicating approval. As the queen assented, soon a parcel of land was obtained for the relocation of the shrine. To signify the past, grounds of the mound were taken together with a sapling of the peepal tree. Funds were pooled, resources were collaborated and materials were supplied, soon a temple was raised. To secure the orderliness of the temple, a committee was elected. The newly elected ‘thailavar’ (temple chairman) was informed surreptitiously the queen’s intention, a vision in a trance-like dream. The queen’s image was to be carved on black granite, seated on a coiled cobra with its head raised, having 4 arms, one which holds the divine ‘trisulam’. Amongst the guardian deities of this temple, Lord Hanuman’s presence is significant. During the month of ‘Aadi’ approaching ‘Aadi Puram’, whereby the foremost festival of this temple is grandly celebrated. Lord Hanuman’s flag is hoisted outside the boundary of the temple, displaying ‘Sanjeevani Hanuman’. Lord Hanuman’s presence ensures the spiritual events of the temple are accomplished with divine perfection.

Many mystical events have occurred, reinforcing ‘naga’ worship in this divine abode. Into the wee hours of night, an industrial tycoon concluded his obligations for the day, and returned home. Passing the temple, he glanced momentarily and was bewildered to see a woman clad in a glittering yellow sari, her cheeks glowing daubed with turmeric, her hair decked with fragrant jasmine, disappearing into the sealed carved doors of the temple. Separately, an unassuming devotee, who had come to the temple on a full moon day, witnessed the mating of a ‘naga’ pair. Such extrospection violates ‘naga’ lore; hence the devotee’s vision was momentarily blurred until the appeasement of Nagammal, supplicated through worship and offering of milk ablution, flowers garlands and fruit trays. Another devotee who frequented the temple during the holy month of ‘Aadi’, met with a tragic accident on its 18th day, had a gashing wound on his knees hence incapacitating his movement. Swiftly a young girl appeared at the scene, knotted a yellow sari cloth on the injury, murmuring prayers and kept the devotee conscious. She then dutifully handed him over to his grieving parents, and furtively disappeared out of sight. Lastly, a lady devotee who was pining for offspring heard the magnanimity of Nagammal, immediately journeyed here. She ardently prayed, beseeching her innermost desire, tears trickling down her dismal cheeks. After several months, her yearning was granted, thus in gratitude she donated a golden crown, used as ‘alankaram’ (adornment) for the deity. 

Address:    Contact:                   

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sri Maha Kaliamman Temple – Bukit Larut/Maxwell Hill, Perak

Mesmerised by ornate flowers, lullabied by chirping birds, soothed by clicking beetles, and elated by serenading cicadas, the unassuming devotee will be enamoured by the pristine beauty of Maxwell Hill. The spiritual serendipity befits the devotee, who discovers this alluring Kaliamman temple that will soften even the most callous of souls. The goddess summons her children to embrace her motherly boundless affection, pacifying their anxieties, blessing their earthly desires, whilst gradually detaching their karmic shackles. The temple, languidly huddled on Maxwell Hill, built by the Pillay brothers, Rama and Kochdai, to abode the goddess’s respite from the transcendent heavens. The bearer of the mystical ‘trisulam’, she wanders through dust and dew, witnessing the dancing duality of our reality. The Hindu families, who laboured tea, flowers and vegetables, took refuge at goddess’s feet, filling their sorrowed hearts with spiritual devotion and calming their aching muscles with spiritual fervour. The offspring of these families have journeyed away, scattered throughout Malaysia and beyond, seeking prosperity and knowledge. But the calling of the goddess allures them back to their origin, customarily during auspicious festivals, when flags are hailed, processions are held and offerings are handed. 

Every Friday and ‘Pournami’, the enthralling ‘Kalika Trishati’ is recited to the goddess, thus emanating pulsating, twirling vibration, magnified beyond the four thresholds of the temple, pervading the forest with resplendent ‘shakti’. Oftentimes, the attending unassuming devotee will be blessed, hearing the graceful bells of the enigmatic dancing ‘kolusu’. Other times, the delight of the goddess’s swaying ‘kolusu’ is replaced by the rhythmic beating of the ‘udukai’, perhaps indicative of the goddess’s unpredictable mood, salient only by sound. And only sometimes, those with the transcended visual clarity of the inner eye have beheld the goddess, awed yet humbled. The effulgent spirit of the goddess became the adoration of Madhava Swamy, a reclusive spiritual soul, radiant internally yet nondescript outwardly. The isolation was solace to the swami, who performed austerities for lengthy periods in solitude. In his dreamlike trance, he often spoke to the goddess, conceivably comparable to an infant and his affectionate mother. He had been blessed with ‘deivam vakku’, and appropriately counselled the goddess’s believers the spiritual approach to overcome hindrances and triumph endeavours.
The turbulent nature of the goddess transcends the limited cognizance of mortals, each stride towards her peels layers of our perceived reality. The devout, who beg for her blessed nuances, lament for her protective glance, and wallow for her divine advent, will surely be blessed. Nonetheless those who seek to implore her darker side will temporarily have beseeched her goodwill, only to be annihilated under distress. Passing devotees who have come to pay tribute have been coaxed by the goddess to stay back, warned by impending danger. Those who have distressed her solitary fortress are deprived of sleep, only to come back falling at her divine feet, begging for forgiveness, subsequently forgiven by the ever-merciful goddess. The yearly Navaratri is discernible by the conspicuous kaleidoscope of colours, scents, observances, and rituals. Barks, braches and twigs are sought for the sacrificial fire, including trays of herbs, fruits, spices, and roots. ‘Nei’ poured, ‘mantras’ uttered, ‘sankalpam’ supplicated, and finally ‘purhanuti’ offered, culminating the propitious ‘Kali Homam’. The scorching fire, peaks and scales, fierier and wilder, effusively blessing all in its zenith moment. 

Address: Frasers Hill, 34000 Taiping, Perak. Contact: Thoraraisa (013-4802615), Rama (017-5793421)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arulmigu Sri Subramaniar Alayam – Kerling, Selangor

The foundation of this temple in Kerling is sacredly cradled by the adjacent flowing river, which abundantly nourishes the revered ground. Eras ago, a wandering ‘sadhu’ (spiritual monk), had meditated on the river bank, for the spiritual sustenance of the land. He was brought out of his tranquil contemplation, by the wailing cries of a married couple. Startled, he then strolled towards the couple, and enquired the reason for their tumultuous behaviour. The couple gloomily replied they were ill-fated, trodden with bad luck, and lacked the will to be alive, as they were not blessed with offspring. Upon hearing this, the monk considerately admonished them, and gave valuable advice on how to deal with unfavourable circumstances in life. Instinctively, the monk then waded into the river, until the iridescent water reached his waist, and heaved out a glowing, dense, rock resembling ‘Bala Murugan’ (baby form of Lord Subramaniar).
Droves of spiritual believers, often afflicted by incurable diseases who ardently pray at this temple, often miraculously obtain a salvation to their malady within 21 days. Devotees who experience ill-fate, personal complications, pledge an oath to Lord Subramaniar to balm their festering mental anguish. Those, whose problems have been resolved, often observe ‘kavadi’ (ritual dance) for the Thaipusam festival held at the temple. Lord Subramaniar’s ‘vahana’ (mount), a wild peacock had graced the festival once, miraculously appearing in the temple compound, swayed on the curvatures of the ‘vimana’ (tower above main sanctum), and displaying its gorgeous plumage. Another miracle that occurred in the temple, during a grand ‘yagna’ (ritual fire ceremony) in the premise of the temple, was a fiery formation of ‘Bala Murugan’ during the ’poornahuti’ (final offering), testament to all-pervading presence of Lord Subramaniar.
There are many personal experiences by devotees, one of which is the temple priest contracted a mysterious ailment, and was informed by his medical doctor to prepare for the end of his days. Succumbed by calamity, nonetheless with a sliver of hope, the priest instantly started meditating in the inner sanctum of the temple, contemplating on Lord Subramaniar. After several days of meditation, the priest’s health rapidly recovered, overwhelming the ailment. Another spiritual marvel was the healing of a 7 year old mute boy. The parents of the young boy brought him to the temple, in sheer desperation as they were deeply concerned for their son’s wellbeing. The priest etched Aum on the boy’s tongue, using a ‘Vel’, devoid of piercing it, and the boy immediately started speaking. In addition, many clairvoyant devotees have witnessed a vision of Lord Idumban guarding the boundary of the temple, safeguarding the safety of devotees.
Some of the temple’s significant attractions are the adjacent river, and lotus pond. Many spiritual aspirants who are undergoing ‘Naga Dosham’, often pray at the temple, and perform milk ‘abisekham’ on Naga Amman at the river bank, whereas those distressed by black magic are advised to bathe in the river, and then pray to Lord Subramaniar. ‘Tarpanam’ prayers are often held during ‘Mahalaya Amavasai’ to appease ancestors, and remove ‘pitru dosham’. The lotus pond is often sighted with ‘deva’s’ (celestial beings), bathing and humming melodious tunes, therefore is considered auspicious.
Address: Arulmigu Sri Subramaniar Temple, Jalan Besar, 44000 Kerling, Selangor.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sri Subramaniam Thuropathai Amman Alayam – Malacca

The effulgent consciousness of cosmic ‘shakti’ (divine energy) reflected by Goddes Thuropathai, yields prevailing control of the five elements of ‘bhuloka’ (earth), which is fire, space, wind, water and earth. Those who worship her will benefit the material aspect of spiritual evolution, as Goddess Thropathai was destined for this role in her deific exaltation. The Goddess is an important figure from the epic Mahabarata.  As narrated from the Narada and Vayu Puranas, Goddess Thuropathai is a combined celestial representation of Goddesses Shyamala (wife of Dharma), Bharati (Wife of Vayu), Sachi (wife of Indra), Usha (wife of Ashwinis) and hence married their earthly counterparts in the form of the five Pandavas. The temple is estimated to have been built in 1863, in a rustic style of design.  It has been recently renovated, and upon completion the ‘Maha Kumbabishegam’ (Hindu temple ritual) was performed on 11th December 2005.
Many saints and holy souls have blessed this sacred abode. Kirupanandha Variyar had visited this temple twice.  He had silently meditated in this sacred space, and observed the prevailing actinic vibration of Lord Thandayuthapani. Bangaru Adigalar from Melmaruvathur, had also graced this temple, and performed an auspicious ‘yagna’ (ritual fire ceremony) for the benefit of female devotees. This temple is propitious for the contentment of devotees, as Goddess Thuropathai incessantly blesses the deserving with wealth, health and happiness. Childless couples, who often pray here, are miraculously blessed with offspring. The blessed couples often come back, contributing towards the upkeep of the temple. A sick Punjabi lady with a long-standing ailment had a vision of Goddess Thuropathai. In the vision, she received a spiritual instruction whereby to obtain ‘kungkumam’ (red turmeric), lime, and ‘abisegham tirtham’ (holy oblation) from the temple, and to continuously bathe with the sacred substances. She was cured within a couple of days, and became a steadfast devotee of Goddess Thropathai. Numerous devotees that pay homage to this temple obtain water from the temple well to bath, citing its astonishing healing properties, especially for skin disease.

The temple has 4 ‘gopuram’ (monumental tower), whereby the ‘Raja Gopuram’ is elegantly elevated, infused with Dravidian architecture, highlighting the structural beauty of this holy abode for Goddess Thuropathai. The temple is filled with heavenly murals, and divine sculptures, comprising the 108 Tandava dance phase of Lord Shiva, the marriage of Lord Ganesha with Buddhi and Siddhi, and the 63 ‘Nayanmar’ saints representing Saivism. As the temple has 2 main deities, Lord Thandayuthapani and Goddess Thuropathai, the deities have a separate inner sanctum, as well as a separate ‘kodi maram’ (flagpole). The accompanying deities include Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Goddess Visalatchi, Sri Krishnan, Sri Hanuman, Sri Kamatchi, Sri Bairavar, Sri Aravan, Sri Katteverayan, Sri Periyachi, Lord Nadarajan, Sri Nagar and the ‘Navagraha’ (9 planets). Since the temple has two main deities, therefore separate festivals are conducted for both deities during the passage of a Hindu year. The festival for lord Murugan is celebrated on Vaigasi Visagam, whereas for Goddess Thuropathai, a month-long festival is celebrated in ‘Adi’ month, culminating with a sacred fire-walking ceremony, participated by pious ‘Shakta’ devotees.

Address: Jalan Gajah Berang, 75200 Melaka.
Phone: 06-2843060

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sanatana Dharam Sabha (Shiv Temple) – Taiping, Perak

The North Indians Hindus, despite being a relatively small community, are an integral part of the multi-racial population of Malaysia, which include the ethnic group of Gujaratis, Sindhis, Punjabi Hindus, Bengalees, Marathi and Uttar Pradeshis. These vibrant Hindu devotees who resided in the vicinity of Taiping, were primarily entrepreneurs, and desired their own temple to worship divinity as well for communal gathering. They had scouted for a suitable land to construct the temple, and soon found a parcel of land, which had a snake mound under a peepal tree. This signifies the existence of ‘nagas’ (holy snakes), natural guardians of Hindu temples, therefore apt for the flourishing practices of Hindu rites and ritual for the consecrated deity. In 1936, the temple was constructed for Lord Shiva, according the spiritual science of Hindu temple architecture, and has been gradually refurbished over the passage of time, reflecting the celestial sanctuary present today. The temple is renowned to confer boons to its devotees without hesitation, and protect its spiritual followers with awe inspiring ferocity. 
The distinct aspect of this temple incorporates elements of the North Indian ritual of temple worship, which allows Hindu devotees to participate in the ‘abisekham’ (pouring of holy libation) ceremony, usually exclusive for the temple priest. This spiritual ritual which bonds deity and devotee is observed during the monthly and yearly Shivratri, culminates into joyous fervour and strengthens the ideals of Hinduism. The only restriction is that devotees are not allowed to wear any leather apparel into the inner sanctum, to avoid the displeasure of Lord Nandi, the ‘vahana’ (deity’s mount) of Lord Shiva. This temple assimilates inspiration from the cosmic ‘panchabhuta’ (five elements), manifested as ‘prithvi’ (earth), ‘jal’ (water), ‘agni’ (fire), ‘vayu’ (air) and ‘akasha’ (ether), into the structure, design and layout of the temple. The ‘vimana’ (tower above the sanctum) has unobstructed exposure for ether, the 4 sides of the ‘mandapam’ (temple pavilion) open to indicate air, water unceasingly dripping on the ‘Shivling’ (mark of Lord Shiva), the temple built on earth and 4 ‘kuthuvilakku’ always lit around the inner sanctum to identify fire. There are 2 ‘Shivling’ in this temple; one is the auspicious Bana lingam, hailing from holy Narmada River, which has been consecrated at the inner sanctum. The other ‘Shivling’ was mystically discovered in a pond at Taiping’s picturesque Lake Garden, by a Hindu soldier in the late 1950’s. Many miracles have occurred at this temple, but the most palpable spiritual occurrence took place during the onset of the tin mining boom. The temple land was acquired by a tin mining company, and soon after the temple was requested to vacate. However as soon as the excavation machine came close to the temple courtyard, it broke down, and was beyond repair, thus the temple was left unperturbed. The auspicious days of Pradosham and monthly Shivratri are celebrated with much anticipation at this temple. Pious devotees seeking the blessings of Lord Nandi, can sometimes hear grunting and heavy breathing, perceived to be the presence of Lord Shiva’s ‘vahana’, ethereally manifesting to counsel and bless Lord Shiva’s followers. Many devotees dreamt of Lord Nandi blessing them with peace and prosperity, especially after attending temple festivals or holy fasts.
The virtuous devotees of this temple vehemently declare that the presence of Lord Shiva is resolute here as many people have heard the ‘damaru’ (musical instrument) sound whilst meditating at this temple. The sound from the ‘’damaru’ represents the cosmic heartbeat of the universe, hence construed as Lord Shiva’s vibrational ‘shakti’ (divine energy) has been embedded on this sanctified area. The presence of the enchanting ‘naga’ as the anointed guardian is one of the mystical feature of this temple. Many devotees have dreamt of a ‘naga’ coiled around the ‘Shivling’ in the inner sanctum, signifying its presence as the divine custodian for this temple. Another charming characteristic of this temple, whereby pleasingly involving rituals for Lord Shiva to rest in solitude. After concluding hymns for Lord Shiva to sleep, a miniature bed, along with pillow, bed sheet, wooden slipper and walking stick is positioned suitably at the inner sanctum, just before the inner sanctum doors are secured for the night. These rituals are considered an affectionate custom that signifies adoration for the deity, Lord Shiva.
Address: Lot 1948, Jalan Medan Taiping 7, Taman Medan Taiping, Taiping.