My parents are holidaying with us for the past few days and the kids are having a blast. It's a pleasure to watch my folks become kids all over again. Samyuktha & Sreenivas are not only indulging in all merriment , but also learning a whole lot of things with fun and ease. We have embarked on visiting quite a few temples and my daughter is delighted with this spiritual cum fun trip.
One of the temples we visited was the Maha Saraswathi Temple in Koothanur. Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning and wisdom has a special shrine devoted to her and it is the only temple in the whole state of Tamilnadu.
Koothanur, a town situated in the Thiruvarur district of Tamilnadu, is approximately 25kms from Mailaduthurai and 19 kms from Thiruvarur. The Goddess who is the consort of Lord Brahma is seated in a white lotus and is the embodiment of all grace, glory and divinity. Draped in white, she holds a Veena, (Musical instrument) , which represents mastery over art and music. She is generally shown to have four arms, which represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. While her left lower hand holds a book of scriptures (Vedas) that represents knowledge and wisdom, her right lower hand is in a protective blessing pose. Her two upper hands are said to hold a pot of sacred liquid and a beaded mala (chain) representing powers of creativity,spirituality and meditation.
According to the history, King Rajaraja Chola donated this temple to Ottakoothar a renowned poet so that he could compose in peace. Hence this town came to be called as Koothanur = Koothan (the poet) + oor (village).
Legend holds that, once a dispute arose between Lord Brahma and Saraswathi. The quarrel between both of them worsened and hence to teach them a lesson they were born as siblings in the Earth. When their parents started looking for suitable matches they recalled their original relationship and approached Lord Shiva for the solution. Lord Shiva made Saraswathi as part of the Ganga river and brought her to Koothanur as Arasalar river. She became the Sacred Water for Lord Shiva. She also was blessed with a temple for Herself in Koothanur. Lord Shiva also go Rivers Ganga and Yamuna to converge with Saraswati River in to the Arasalar and hence this place being a confluence of 3 holy rivers is called as Dakshina Triveni Sangamam.
The Navrathiri Festival especially the Saraswati Puja is celebrated with much fanfare and pomp.On Vijayadasami, the children folk to this temple to get the blessings for the Vidyarambam. After seeking her blessings by writing on paper/slate/rice grains covered dish, they go on to get admission
Not only does the Goddess shower her devotees with wisdom, her blessings go a long way in empowering a person to shine throughout in life. Children are taken to school for admission after a visit to this temple and performing a puja. Those aspiring for higher education,arts, craft and music also perform their prayers to shine in their chosen profession.
With the schools slated for reopening in the first and second week of June, it was heartening to see many kids seated reverently before the Goddess and religiously write alphabets on slates or in notebooks with/without help from their parents.
A must-visit abode of enlightenment and wisdom !