Lord Sri Karthikeya of Holy Nallur Temple and Us: Fascinating true life experiences
Dr.P.Raghavan – Canberra, Australia & Dr. Gayatri Padmanathan – Chandigarh, India
Fear not, when I am with you: Yaam Irruka Payam Eann?
The emotional link or bandam between Nallur’s Sri Murga and us is from time immemorial that is Yugas and Yugas old. Our ever smiling, kind and playful God who created Tamil along with Saint Agastiya is the Divine Driving Force for Tamils of Jaffna. We have numerous personal experiences to narrate about His Holy dramas played on us.
Although I belong to a strong Vaishnava faith but I have an unshakable faith on Lord Karthikeya and his mother Lok Mata Sri Parvati/ Sri Durga/ Sri Maha Kali. The faith or believe occupied my mind right from my birth. I enjoyed each and every moment of the festivals and Divine Services which were held at our beloved Nallur Sri Skanda Swami Temple – Sri Kandaswamy Kovil. My siblings and I were very lucky and blessed to hear the sound of “Holy Bell” of Nallur Temple even before our birth, that is, the day we were conceived in our mother’s womb, we cherished the heavenly sound of this Holy Bell which spread the divine message of Lord Karthikeya. I could distinctly remember that when I pass through the old dividing road in between the Sacred Temple Pond (Kerni) in front of Lord Palani Murgan’s Chamber and Sri Arumuga Swamy’s entrance, I made sure to get down from my bicycle and bowed in front of my beloved Almighty. This happened almost more than five to six times a day. I was soaked so much in the beauty of Lord Murga and his blessings right from my early childhood days. I distinctly remember that when I was a primary / middle school student, I used to sketch the various postures of our Alankara Skanda and his Devis on various vahans (chariots) on my note books. This prompted my teachers to scold me and I often got thrashing. Nevertheless, I became more stubborn and started making sketches all over the walls and the desks of the class rooms. I am blessed with my maternal grand pa’s talent in making wonderful drawing as he was an outstanding artist and won many titles and awards from Queen Victoria. He served as a Chief Architect in Ceylon Railways. He used to take my sister Dr. Gayatri and I to the morning and evening annual festivals of Nallur Temple. He was a very active and dominant person during those days and voluntarily helped the Temple administrators and workers. This was somewhere in early and middle nineteen sixties.
Then suddenly during our adolescent years things changed. I took up rigorous martial art training under the able guidance of a former all Ceylon Karate champion and received my Black Belt -1st Dan while sister Gayatri joined Panjab University for her graduate program and I joined her after a year. We felt that we were deprived of hearing the sound of the Holy Bell of our beloved Nallur Temple. But somehow, every morning, we could hear that sound of that Holy Bell in our ears at the exact timings. Initial stages, we found difficult to cope up with the life expenses and there were many hurdles to get our regular remittances from parents. After deep concentration through our prayers to Sri Karthikeya of Nallur, I managed to introduce and establish my central Karate dojo for the first time in North India which grown into many folds. With the blessings of Lord Murga, I shot into fame among the North and Northwest Indians. Our Lord Karthikeya helped me to climb up to the International professional Black Belt (5th Dan). I have also produced 60 odd volumes on martial arts. Along with fame, I also managed to make important links with those who matter. I was appointed to impart Martial Art based unarmed combat training to various commando units of the Police forces.
Meanwhile, I never left my studies and have completed my BSc (Hons School), MSc (Hons School) and PhD degrees in Biological Anthropology. I also had newly discovered numerous faunal and floral remains of Late Ice Age periods of Sub- Himalayan region. Concurrently with the grace of Lord Murga I was able to fund my sister Gayatri’s doctoral research based on expensive radiological applications. Currently she is an Indian citizen and working as a teaching faculty member at Panjab University. We attribute our achievements and laurels in academics and research to the Holy Blessings of Lord Karthikeya. The years of 1991 and 1992 were remarkable as the University Grants Commission of India, selected both of us as “outstanding scientists from developing countries” and granted independent projects as Principal Investigators. The declaration occurred during the month of August during Our Prince of Nallur’s Varsha Maha Brahmotsav periods.
In 1996, I came in contact with the Sri Karthikeya Temple at Chandigarh and somehow we started seeing Chandigarh’s Sri Murgan as the replica of our Nallur Murgan. We both started putting all our efforts, that is, energy, time and finance to develop it as much as we could. Donated many things including a nicely crafted beautiful giant size peacock vahan specially ordered and brought from Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh).The moment my sister Gayatri saw it at the workshop at Shararanpur she was not convinced about its painting. She wanted to re-paint it as per liking. When it reached Chandigarh it was partly damaged and it has to be repaired and re-painted by my sister completely again. The newly repainted wooden crafted Mayur Vahan shot into lime light all over Northwest India. Many throng to the temple and congratulated us for doing a good job. We could hear that many South Indians whispered that these people from Sri Valli Amman’s place ( Sri Kathirkamam) had presented a beautiful Mayil Vahan to their Son – in- Law, that is Lord Karthikeya. It was taken into a big procession around Chandigarh for the first time during the Panguni Uttaram in March 1997.
Within three months period I have received my permanent resident visa to Australia. The following year Lord Murga gifted us a brand new shining peacock green car. In 1999 I went to Australia to secure a job but I returned back to India with disappointment. Year 2000 was a very depressing year in my life with no success in anything I pursued but my faith in Lord Murga never failed rather it started increasing. I was so delighted to learn that I bagged a Major Discovery million dollar project along with my Australian colleagues funded by the Australian Research Council for five years. It was the turning point in my carrier. I could distinctly remember that I have written the project and submitted it to Lord Murga’s Holy feet to seek blessing before I sent the same to Australia. Very few people click the ARC projects and with the blessings of Lord Murga and his Lok Mata Parvati, I clicked it. I will never forget that day in my life when I got my appointment letter as a Senior Scientist from Australian National University in Feb. 2002.
At that time, the Temple Vimanam was coming up at Sri Karthikeya Mandir at Chandigarh and the entire temple had a fantastic new facelift. Unfortunately, I could not participate the Maha Kumbh Abhishek of the Chandigarh Murgan Temple but sister managed to get the holy water from Manika Ganga of Sri Lanka and I managed to get Holy Water from the Australian rivers.
Notable close encounters with Sri Kaliyug Vardhan:
My initial days at Canberra were very depressing as I started missing our Chandigarh and Nallur Sri Karthikeya but with the modern technological development, I managed to see them on the internet. I have applied for another supplementary project to Australia India Council, based on my Major Discovery project. However, I was discouraged by many that I might not get it as Australia- India Council is very fussy in funding. I could distinctly remember that it was a rainy day in the first week of July 2002, and it was well passed mid night and I have switched off all the lights and was fast as sleep. In my dream I saw our Lord Karthikeya came, sitting on his majestic, heavenly beautiful and proud Peacock and ordered to stop sleeping, asked me to get ready and go to the University as He had sanctioned my project and the entire money has been approved. I asked my Lord Sivagurunathan about the proof. He smiled and twisted his Holy Shaktivel upside down and pierced my sweater and skin. I got a shooting pain and got up with a cry. Suddenly the lights of the entire apartment were on. I could hear the typical voice of the peacock and the house was filled with heavenly odor of Marukullunthu, rose & Jasmine flowers. Even in that Canberra winter I was sweating and could not utter a word. I was deeply touched by Lord Karthikeya’s presence in my apartment. Yes! I was lucky and blessed. The blood was oozing through my skin at the shoulder where he put the mark. When I reached my lab at the Australian National University, I had a pleasant surprise – a phone call from Australia – India Council informing me that I had won Aus$14,000 for the supplementary project in India. I was astonished to see the miraculous presence of Lord Karthikeya around me everywhere. I am still preserving that cardigan with the hole made by the Vettrivel.
The next incident was in 2003, regarding my sister Gayatri’s interview for a teaching position. In spite of having more than 13 years of Post Doctoral research and teaching experience backed by many international awards and publications in human auxology – a branch of pediatrics, some other candidate with much lower credentials was selected. A day before the interview sister and I visited our Karthikeya Temple at Chandigarh with garlands to seek His blessings. The moment we reached the Temple premises while lifting the garlands for the deities we lost our balance as the result the entire garlands and fruits felt on the ground. Yes! It was a bad omen and warning.
I had no option left except hiring a top most lawyer and filed a case in the Hon’ble High court. At that time I was conducting my Australian project research at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak (Haryana).The area was full of peacocks. One night at about 2.00am, Lord Karthikeya appeared in my dream and told me that court summons had already been received by the selection committee members, need not to worry as He was with us. I rang up my sister at 4.00am and told her. At about 6.00am she informed that she had confirmed that the members of the selection committee indeed had received the summons and were alarmed to see the same. Before I went back to Australia, I have submitted a strongly worded written complaint to ex-President, His Excellency Dr. A.J.P Abdul Kalam. Within no time he responded and assured me that justice would be done. He had also ordered the Chief Secretary of Punjab state to conduct and submit a detailed report on this episode. Then after a year another interview was held and my sister was a candidate and unfortunately the same vivacious Professor who had conducted the earlier interview was there. Sister was worried and started praying to Lord Karthikeya and Lord Maha Vishnu. All of a sudden there was a phone call came from nowhere and the Chairman of the Selection committee was advised to sent back the Professor out of the panel as he was already a party of the case (of one of the candidate) which was pending at the Honorable High Court.Thus the Professor was sent back while my sister was entering the interview hall. This was the most humiliating, life time experience to that biased Professor. Thanks to Lord Karthikeya & Lord Maha Vishnu who had shown their presence at the right place at the right time. Eventually sister was selected among the top most candidates.
In June, 2003 when I was in Woden at Canberra, Lord Karthikeya appeared in my dream and asked me to provide two large Thirupathi Silk umbrellas. One for his elder brother Lord Sri Ganesh and one for Him. He said that His Brother’s umbrella should be white with red border while His should be green with yellow border. I obliged him and felt happy to present the same at our Lord Karthikeya Temple, Chandigarh. During my Australian project I felt blessed by The Almighty as I had a chance to visit all temples in South and North India.
I was afraid about the expiry of my Australian Permanent Resident visa along with the Sri Lankan passport. Although the Aussie government has assured me to grant another five year PR visa but the main problem was my Sri Lankan passport. I was depressed all the time. I distinctly remember it was a rainy day at Canberra in the month of August and I was watching the Holy Ther/Rath festival of Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, and most of the time of the previous day, I spent in praying to my beloved Lord Karthikeya of Nallur for His Guidance. Suddenly I got a call from former Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s Office informing that they had granted me the Australian Citizenship against my off shore research contributions. According to them my Australian Professor Colin P Groves had recommended my case for the citizenship. It was unbelievable under general category it takes almost 24 months stay with a continuity of 12 months to acquire the Australian Citizenship. I was granted on discretion quota of the minister.
The utsav murthi of Chandigarh resembles our Sri Muthukumara Swamy of Nallur. This impression and devotion make us to involve actively at the Temple’s “Thirupani” at Chandigarh. Our Jeweler friend Shree Subash Jain is very kind enough to make golden jewelries on our behalf to the temple with nominal charges by foregoing the profits. The God has given us chance to make four golden Mangal Sutras for Sri Valli, Sri Devyani, Sri Mahamayi and Sri Durga. During the Nallur festival in August, 2007, we had the opportunity to present majestic pure silver large Vel, Holy flag engraved with Cock and two large thirushuls to Sri Mahamayi and Sri Durga. All were made with devotion and care by Mr.Jain He managed to emboss king sized Ruby stones of South Africa on them.
My Prince of Nallur never let me down. Every time he showed his presence one or other way. The real happiness came when I visited Him after 33 years of separation in December 2009 with my friend Shiva Shree Sri Dharma Linga Gurrukal of Kanchipuram. We presented Him and His Devis with beautiful dresses made from North and South India. The moment I stepped inside His Holy Temple at Nallur, I felt two soft soothing hands patted my shoulders – assuring His presence.
Then my reverie came true when I witnessed the entire sequences of the annual Maha Brahmotsav of Nallur in August- Sept of the year 2010. I had visited many famous Hindu Temples throughout India since 1978 till date but in my ranking our Nallur Temple is second to none in many aspects.
Another astonishing re-discovery is a Sri Kali Temple which came in my dream when I was at Chennai. I am a strong Sri Kali or Sri Durga worshiper and often offer many kinds of sarees and rare pleated frocks to them. I had also presented a beautiful waistband to Sri Mahamayi at Chandigarh. I could realize in my dream that I was walking through a cremation ground where one middle aged lady was sitting and smiling at me. She called me by name and thanked me and told me that She liked that waistband which was very helpful in securing the silk sarees in Her waist as being silk they kept on slipping. Then She requested me to hold Her Trishul for a second as She had to adjust Her saree. I could not hold it as I felt that it was too heavy. She smiled at me and commented that She had been holding the Trishul for ages being whereas, I being a Martial Artist could not hold the same even for a second. She then invited me to visit Her as and when I come to Jaffna. I did not have any clue about any Temple which faces the cremation ground in Jaffna. After a long search I discovered the entire panorama which came in my dream and the Temple at Chemony cremation ground. The Temple is of Sri Peichi Amman or Sri Rajarajeswary. I was awe struck.
Since 2002 till date sister goes to the jungle next to the Chandigarh cricket stadium and feed the peacocks with ground nuts. They have become very friendly with us. She used to ask them to provide a house next to them. I thought it was an impossible task. Believe it or not our Lord Karthikeya has provided a beautiful university house next to the jungle here at Chandigarh in Nov. 2009.There is a large number of peacocks, peahens, deer, owls and wild cocks all over. The peacocks come and sleep on our roof and freely roam our courtyard and accept our food- reaffirms that nothing is impossible if you have faith in Lord Murga.
Father’s demise was another trauma in our lives. Parents got married in 1951 next day after the Poongavanam Festival (The Holy Marriage of Lord Karthik) on 03/09/1951 and father passed away on 31st of August, 2008 at Colombo at the age of 87. It was the day of Sacred Bath (Thirtha Utsavam) at Nallur Temple. We could realize right from the morning that he was going to go to his Heavenly Abode. As usual we got the flowers to the Sri Karthikkeya Temple at Chandigarh and reached the temple. The moment we stepped inside the entire Temple became dark due to sudden failure of the electricity supply. The peacocks usually come and eat our ground nuts, refused to have them that day. One of the back tyres of the car also got deflated. As per father’s wish, I performed the rituals at the Holy Hindu Lord Krishna’s Temple at Sri Kurukshestra and at Krishna’s Mathura Temple. We were satisfied that father made his Heavenly Abode during the Nallur Festival.
On 21/08/2011) is the Maha Kumhh Abhishekam for the newly constructed Southern Gopuram. Our beloved Prince of Nallur -remains young and playful. Believe it or not on that day, early morning 5.’o clock onwards our entire house was filled with the sacred multi- odors of Jasmine, Marukullunthu, Rose flowers, broken fresh Coconut, Prasad and camphor. The florescent lamp at the hall started on and off on its own. These all happened when we regretted that we were unable to visit that most important of life time Auspicious Function but He had shown His presence inside our house. Throughout the night, the peacocks around our area kept on calling. Lord Karthikeya is Immense. We want nothing except Holy is presence around us. Many times I could see in my dream our Nallur Murga comes in the form of a dark blue peacock who travels with me where ever I go.
Unexplained further incidents:
My sister Gayatri was affected by a Polio attack when she was just three years old. Many famous pediatricians washed off their hands by telling it was a very difficult case to get cured. She could not walk and she had high fever. My maternal grandfather took her to Thirunelveli Shiva Temple. There was a famous Gurrukkal called Sri Nadasa Gurrukkal who tied a holy thread around her little right hand wrists and told her to walk with an electrified command voice. Sister not only walked, she ran towards the car which was parked outside of the Temple.
In January 2006, I was working on a major project at the 2500 years old prehistoric cemetery at Adichanallur (Dist. Thirunelveli, Tamil Nadu) and undertook a journey to have the Holy Darshan of Lord Murga of Thiruchendur. I was hesitant to go inside a head bath. Because I thought that I came after visiting a cemetery although it was discarded 1000 years ago. All of a sudden, heavy showers came and soaked me thoroughly. Thus, I had the mental peace to visit the Temple.
On the way from Sri Rangam Temple to Chennai, I wanted to pay my obeisance to my most revered Sri Mahamayi at Samayapuram. We were traveling in a brand new Sumo jeep. The driver refused to stop there by citing the reason that we will get delayed as it was 8pm. All of a sudden the vehicle stopped at one place and just I got out. I could read a big banner telling “Welcome to Samayapuram Mahamayi Temple”. Driver Mohamed Ali went and brought a mechanic to repair the jeep. But it could not move. I went inside the Temple and cherished the Beauty of the Ambal. As soon as I returned back to the jeep, I put the Holy Kumkum/Sentoor on the vehicle. Within no time it started. It shows that if you have true love towards the god He or She will answer your prayers. Mohamad Ali promptly apologized.
Most fascinating blessings from our Prince of Nallur:
Before I undertook the journey to Nallur in March, 2011, my young friend Thuyavan –who is highly devoted to Lord Muruga and in charge for the flower decoration of the Nallur Temple informed me to get some unique North Indian embroidery borders, silk sarees and blue velvet cloth piece for our Alankar Skanda of Nallur. After the submission of these we both walked outside near the Sri Vairavar Sanithanam of the Temple. Suddenly a crow came from nowhere and dropped a piece of fresh coconut on the silver tray from the sky. The coconut piece bounced three times and settled at the centre. Thuyavan commented that my gifts had been accepted by Lord Murga.
I am aware and accept the fact that there are millions of devotees who are much more devoted than us to Lord Murga. They must be having their own true life experiences with our Lord. According to my friend Sri Maha Shivacharya Sri Rajappah Gurrukal of the Holy city of Kanchipuram, Lord Murga ask and accept the gifts from only a very few irrespective of their financial status..
My revisit to Nallur temple got me many devoted friends who work sincere for the welfare of the Temple. Shivacharya Sri Vaikuntha Vasan Gurrukal , Thuyavan ( in charge for the flowers), Ravi ( Who plays the Thiruchinnam), Bala Murgan ( an outstanding Nathaswara Vidwan whose natham takes me very closer to the World of Sri Karthikeya), Vel Murgan – the one who created the Holy website www.nalluran.com . and many more Murgan devotees.
On the whole I could realize after many bitter and happy experiences in life that there is a Force which controls the Universe and all organisms therein, some call it Nature and many say it is God. My experience with Lord Karthik has many memorable incidents. I do not need anything from Him except His Holy presence around me. After gaining many land marks in academic front I wanted to come and work in Sri Lanka just to be very close to Lord Murga of Nallur but somehow it did not become viable. We admire the devotion in administrating the Temple affairs by Shree Kumara Das Mapana Mudaliar and consider him as the best administrator among all in the World. I never forget the ever smiling young head Panditji Shiva Shree Vaikuntha Vasa Gurrukgal who perform all rituals of the Temple with utmost care, discipline, holy path and devotion. We Jaffna Tamils are blessed to have taken our births in Jaffna to witness our beloved Prince of Nallur. My sister and I feel that even the ant which is roaming in the Nallur Temple premises is much, much blessed than us.
” UNLIKE THE MAJORITY, WE ARE NOT ATTRACTED BY THE WEALTHY FIRST WORLD
COUNTRIES..FOR US NALLUR MURGAN’S TEMPLE AREA IS THE HEAVEN AND IT PROVIDES
THE PEACE OF MIND THAT WE NEVER GET ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD “