Significance and Heritage
After temple announcement, Shri Guruji gave the opportunity to undertake the noble project of Shri Sakthi Peet temple campus to Shree Kamakshi Kaingarya Trust in April 2008 itself. This trust over next twelve months looked at different locations in Tamil Nadu and placed before Sri Guruji 3 options by April 2009. Unknowingly, all the three shortlisted options of the trust were from Kanchipuram district which is ‘Kamakshi Kshetra’!! Let us briefly look into the greatness of Kamakshi Kshetra before we get into details of Kannanthangal site.
The ‘Walking God of the Century’ Kanchi Mahaa Periyavaa has quoted innumerable reference as to the greatness of Kamakshi worship and Kanchi which has been recorded at different times by scholars. We are pleased to provide few of them below:
- Kama Koshtam or temple of Kamakshi at Kanchi was worshipped by great Karikal Chola who ruled ancient South India over two thousand years ago. This great Chola emperor prayed and got the blessings of Mother Kamakshi before his major initiatives and war preparations.
- References to Kanchi and Devi Kamakshi’s benevolence to her devotees are elaborated by the great Saivite sage Sundara Murthy Nayanaar of Seventh Century.
- It is in Kanchi district that once Lord Ganesha took human form by name King Thundeera in whose kingdom all the subjects were treated very fairly. Once he offered ‘Sama bandhi bhojana’ or food for all citizens in common platform without any restrictions. Such was the good intent and grandeur of the event that divine mother Kamakshi Devi herself took a human form and ate few morsels!! Immediately satisfied after the event, She blessed ‘rain of gold’ which made the kingdom very prosperous. Sri Maha Periyavaa has identified the current village of ‘Pon Vilaindha Kalathur’ in Kanchi district as the place it happened.
- Kanchi is the first and foremost in the list of Saptha Moksha Kshetra or Seven places of liberations as detailed in the Holy Scriptures.
Above all Sri Maha Periyavaa once in lighter vein in Tamil quoted “Kanchi is greater than Kashi (Varanasi) you know why?” He answered saying because the word Kanchi in Tamil has a unique letter which coincides with English word inch! So Kanchi is greater than Kashi by an Inch!!
Such is the greatness of Kanchi !! Given this background, it is no wonder that duo of Kamakshi Devi and Sri Guruji shortlisted Kannanthangal in Kanchi district for the temple.
Sri Guruji had said much earlier that ‘next to Shree Swarna Kamakshi temple site there would be an ancient Vishnu temple’. But this fact was totally forgotten by the Trustees while recommending Kannanthangal site. It was only after the registration of the temple site in May 2009, they realized that just two kilometres next to Kannanthangal is Maduramangalam village which has Shri Vaikunda Perumal temple that is more than 1,200 years old!! It was also understood that it is the birth place of Shri Embar, an ardent Sishya of great Vaishnavite Saint Shri Ramanujacharya and the said Maduramangalam temple has a Sannidhi for Shri Embar also. It was a happy moment which reinforced Sri Guruji’s praise on Divine Mother as Padmanabha Sahothari. We also fondly recollect now a critical fact that the Kannanthangal site was first referred by one of the Christian friends of Shri B. Ganesan which reinforced the Universal appeal of Shri Kamakshi Devi.
Brahmanda Purana in Kamakshi Vilasam section details various slokas on Divine Mother Shree Kamakshi. In a sloka commencing with words Swami Pushkarini theertham, the abode of Shree Kamakshi Devi is mentioned as Thundeera mandala (Sanskrit name for Thondai mandala, the former name of Kanchi district) in the banks of Kamba river.
While the trust members knew that Kannanthangal village was indeed in Thundeera Mandala, it came as big surprise to them that the water body in front of temple site is called Kamba Canal (an offshoot of Kamba river) and thus the new temple site of Shree Swarna Kamakshi Devi befits the Brahmanda Purana sloka !!
Few years later, in fact post consecration of the temple in 2014, sometimes in July on a Sunday evening, another incident re-enforced the divine will. An elderly gentleman aged about 60 years came along with two people for Shree Swarna Kamakshi Devi Darshan little early. While discussing with him, it was understood that he had retired from a Govt. organization based in Avadi, Chennai but his native place is Kannanthangal village only. Since he got to know a new temple has come up in his native village, he was curious to visit the same and hence his visit.
Slowly he started enquiring about the temple and asked about the name of the Goddess. On hearing the name Swarna Kamakshi Devi – he got up little excited. He then recounted an incident that happened nearly 50 years back. Apparently, when he was young, Kamba Canal used to have a regular inflow of water where children used to play also. The village at the time had a senior astrologer cum spiritual person who use to predict future very well. He said to this gentleman (who was a kid then) “mark this place in future this place will shine with gold as a fabulous temple will come here”. And saying this, this gentleman said the place the astrologer had predicted is this and he just recollected now and saying so he was so elated.
During 2011 in the month of January, Shri Sankarananda Swamiji of Om Murugashram attended a Bhajan in the home of a disciple and that night he had a strange vision where Kanchi Maha Periyavaa had given him a direction. The direction was pertaining to a) the temple being constructed by our revered Guruji b) the Maha Periyavaa Sannidhi Sri Guruji was planning to construct in that temple and c) the manner in which the statue of Shri Maha Periyavaa was to be built and d) to communicate this message to our revered Guruji Sri la Sri Kamakshi Swamiji also.
Since Shri Sankarananda Swamiji was completely unaware of our revered Guruji’s plan on the temple and also on Shri Maha Periyavaa statue etc. He apparently kept quiet on this vision. But apparently Shri Maha Periyavaa gave the same message second time to Shri Sankarananda Swamiji after which Swamiji rushed and passed on to our Guruji. Sri Guruji gracefully accepted the message and ensured Shri Maha Periyavaa statue in Shree Sakthi Peetam Campus as desired.
On a completely another note, in an intersection with old generation person, some of the trust members got to hear that in the year 1930 Shri Kanchi Maha Periyavaa was travelling towards Thakkolam temple and on the way he stayed at Kannanthangal village. This gentleman further added that the site where Maha Periyavaa rested is approximately the same that of Shree Sakthi Peet temple campus site!!
Maharishi Veda Vyasa details in Brahmanda Purana how Devi Kamakshi descended in earth for the welfare of the humanity. The first witnesses were Lord Brahma and Devas who only saw huge light or light of lights the Divine Mother in Supreme Light form. Then the light transformed into most beautiful divine feminine form of Kamakshi Devi which was a joy for the Devas. Lord Brahma then made request for her to stay in Kanchi and bless all the devotees through her replica form. Since the request from Lord Brahma was unselfish and for the welfare of the humanity, Kamakshi Devi obliged. From her third eye (she is Kameshwari the equal part of Kameswara or Lord Siva and hence three eyes), a beautiful golden image of herself came. Lord Brahma had this Golden image of Kamakshi Devi established in Kanchi also called Swarna or Hema Kamakshi in Sanskrit. As per Purana, this happened in Kruta Yuga in different millennia.
But just over 300 years ago, our Bharat Varsha was ruled by rulers having alien religious faith which forced conversion of Hindus and were damaging temples, idols in temples etc. irrespective of their heritage. This forced the devoted people in South India to safeguard their temple heritage so had to move their temple idols to different place which were considered safer. Accordingly, one group from Kanchipuram moved the famous Swarna Kamakshi idol to Udayar paalyam and finally into Thanjavur which happened around 1682 AD. Then Thanjavur was ruled by Kings from Nayakar dynasty who spoke Telugu language who readily accepted Swarna Kamakshi Devi and started identifying her as Bangaru Kamakshi (bangaru = Gold in Telugu). Since then Bangaru Kamakshi stays in Tanjavur.
As a lay person, we do see that the divine voice of Shree Swarna Kamakshi Devi seeking Her temple (through Guruji) in April 2008 is with significance. Yes, we perceive that it is the Swarna Kamakshi who has come back in Kanchi.