Sakthi in massive form
THERE IS no village where Sakthi is not worshipped in one form or another and temples dedicated to Her in Her manifestation as Prathyankara Devi are slowly but surely becoming popular not only in Chennai but also in neighbouring places, the most important among them being the one in Morattandi village, otherwise known as Nikumbala Kshetram, in Vanur taluk near Tindivanam, on the road to Pondicherry. Nadathur Janardhana Swami installed the idol of the Goddess in the temple.
It was the dwelling place of an ascetic known as Morattandi Siddhar. According to some scholars, Nikumbala is the name of a place, while others feel that it is the place in Sri Lanka where a temple for Prathyankara Devi existed and She blessed those who propitiated Her with limitless powers and boons. Some scholars are also of the opinion that Nikumbala is different from Prathyankara Devi.
Valmiki Ramayana as well as its Tamil version by Kamban merely mention that Nikumbala was a grove where there was a huge banyan tree sitting under which Ravana's son Indrajit performed a Yagna to get special weapons and powers to vanquish Rama and Lakshmana. He performed it at midnight on the Ashtami day preceding Amavasya.
Legends further say that those who performed the Yagna prescribed in scriptures at the midnight of the Ashtami day preceding Amavasya would please numerous sages and celestials who would be present in the Yagasala, not visible to the naked eye.
According to the puranas, Prathyankara Devi emerged from the third eye of Sarabeswarar, a manifestation of Lord Siva, with 1,000 faces of lions, 1,000 hands and with a blood-stained protruding tongue, a frightening form indeed. She helped reduce the ferocity of Lord Narasimha.
As two sages, Ankeeras and Prathyankiras, created the Mantras in praise of the Goddess, She is called as Prathyankara.
Yagnas are held regularly every month in the Pralaya Vinayaka-Padhala Prathyankara Parameswari Ashram and Trust in Morattandi village on Ashtami day preceding Amavasya under the leadership of Nadathur Janardhana Swami. The Kumbabishekam in the Prathyankara Devi Temple is to be performed between 7.30 and 9 a.m. on February 1, Sunday. The rituals begin today, and the temple, where a 72-feet high idol of the Devi has been installed by the Swamigal, will be consecrated. On other days, the temple will remain open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
T. A. SRINIVASAN
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