Located about 5 miles from Sirkali is the modest yet highly energetic temple of The Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana

 

THE LEGEND

This temple is intimately associated with the pastime of Sri Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead Chandra, The Supreme Personality of Godhead. As such a peep into the Valmiki Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godheadyana, esp into that of Yudha kanda(war canto)  would not be out of space.

The battle between Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead and Lankapathi Ravana.

The Rakshas broke the news to Lankapathi Ravana about Lanka having been laid siege to by the Vanara senas.  Ravana surveyed the innumerable troops of Vanara senas, occupying the entire city of Lanka. Meanwhile, Ramachandra ordered to the Vanara senas to destroy the enemies forthwith. The Vanara senas started demolishing various important defensive structures of the city of Lanka and besiege all the city-gates. Lankapathi Ravana also commanded his army to commence combat. Rakshas begin to strike the Vanara senas with their weapons and the Vanara senas responded the strike with trees, mountain-tops, nails and teeth.

On the first day of his battle with Ramachandra’s army, Indrajit, Lankapathi Ravana’s son used all his force to cast havoc on the armies of Sugriva. At this Lakshmana appeared before him, and fought a fierce battle with Indrajit, When Indrajit realised that Lakshmana could not be won over, he started using his supreme magical powers, darting across the clouds and skies like a bolt of lightning. He combined his skills of sorcery and deceptive warfare, repeatedly vanishing and reappearing. Indrajit used his fiercest and deadliest weapon, Nagastra. Lakshmana fell unconscious, poised to die precisely at the following sunrise.

Hanuman Brings Sanjeevani Buti to Save Laksman in Yuddha Kanda

Hanuman was asked to bring the physician of Lanka called Sushena. Sushena told Ramachandra that there existed a herb called Sanjivani which could only be found in the Himalayan mountains. It was the only hope to save Laksmana. Hanuman was sent to bring the Sanjivani from Dunagiri mountain in the Himalayas, to revive Laksmana. When Lankapathi Ravana came to know all about this, he instructed Kalanemi, the demon to block the path of Hanuman. Kalnemi replied that he cannot block the path of such a mighty being who had single handedly burnt Lanka. Instead kalanemi put forward a proposal, Why don’t you compromise with Sri Ramachandra?” Lankapathi Ravana became furious. Kalnemi thought that it would be better to die at the hands of the messenger of Sri Ramachandra, than to die facing the wrath of Lankapathi Ravana.

Kalnemi then created a beautiful temple and a pond with his illusionary powers. When Hanuman saw the temple and the pond, he decided to take some rest. Hanuman went to Kalnemi and greeted him. Kalnemi praised Ramachandra and said-

“A battle is being fought between Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana. I can foresee Ramachandra’s victory.”

Hanuman was pleased. He asked for some water, as he was very thirsty. Kalnemi gave some water from his Kamandal. But Hanuman’s thirst was not quenched. He asked for some more. Kalnemi then showed him the pond. As soon as Hanuman entered the pond, a crocodile got hold of his legs but Hanuman killed the crocodile in no time. The crocodile was in fact a gandravi that had become a crocodile because of a curse. She revealed the real identity of Kalnemi. Hanuman then killed Kalnemi.

Lankapathi Ravana, on learning that Kalnemi had been killed by Hanuman, summoned Surya (Sun) to rise before its appointed time because the physician Sushena had said that Lakshmana would die if untreated by daybreak. Hanuman realised the danger, and becoming many times his normal size, detained the Sun God to prevent the break of day. He then resumed his search for the precious herb Sanjivani, but, found himself unable to identify which herb it was, he lifted the entire mountain.

Hanumana made good speed towards Lanka, suddenly he was shot by an arrow as he approached Nandigram. Hanuman was mistaken to be a demon by Bharat. Hanuman fell to the ground together with the great hill. Hanuman regained consciousness and recognised Bharat is Ramachandra’s brother and explained to Bharata that he was moving the mountain to save his own brother, Lakshmana. Bharat, felt very sorry, offered to fire an arrow to Lanka, which Hanuman could ride in order to reach his destination more easily. But Hanuman declined the offer, preferring to fly on his own and he continued his journey with his injured leg. He continued on to Lanka and delivered it to the battlefield in Lanka. Sushena then identified and administered the herb, and Lakshmana was saved. Ramachandra embraced Hanuman, declaring him as dear to him as his own brother. Hanuman released Surya from his grip, and asked forgiveness, as the Sun was also his Guru.

Kumbhakarna in Yuddha Kanda:

Lankapathi Ravana got the news of Laksman’s recovery and decided to awaken his sleeping brother Kumbhakarna, and requested him to come. Kumbhakarna saw his worried brother. Kumbhakarna asked Lankapathi Ravana about the nature of work to be done by him and whether he had to kill anyone. Lankapathi Ravana replied that Ramachandra had come with troops of Vanara senas after crossing the ocean by a bridge, to wage a battle.

Kumbhakarn, first accused Lankapathi Ravana of his unworthy act but assured him that he would neutralise that dishonour by killing the enemies. Lankapathi Ravana asked him to proceed to the battle-front. Then, Kumbhakarn reassured and promised Lankapathi Ravana, saying that he would kill Ramachandra in battle. Lankapathi Ravana got pleased and ordered Kumbhakarn to wipe off the Vanara senas together with Ramachandra and Lakshmana in battle.

Vibhishan apprised Ramachandra about Kumbhakarn and narrated his story of his getting curse from Brahma that Kumbhakarn would keep sleeping for every six months and then waking up for a day in a year Hanuman striked Kumbhakarn with a large mountain-peak and injured him severely. In reply, Kumbhakarn striked on Hanuman’s chest with his Spade. Then, Kumbhakarn striked other Vanara sena-chiefs who attacked him. When Angada, the leader of the Vanara senas, attacked Kumbhakarn, the latter striked Angada violently and Angada fell unconscious. Then, Kumbhakarn began his attack on Sugriva. When Kumbhakarna threw his Spade towards Sugriva in retaliation, Hanuman stopped it on the way and broke it off. Kumbhakarn thereafter took his Gada and began to attack the Vanara senas and bears. Lakshmana started to attack Kumbhakarn with his arrows. But, Kumbhakarn appreciated the velour of Lakshmana and proceeded towards Ramachandra to fight with him. Ramachandra released some arrows with ‘Roundra’ spell towards Kumbhakarn. Those arrows disappeared into Kumbhakarn’s chest and made him weapon-less. In retaliation, Kumbhakarn hurled a mountain-peak towards Ramachandra and even before the mountain-peak reached Ramachandra, it was split up into pieces by the arrows released by Ramachandra. Ramachandra employed a great missile and chopped off one arm of Kumbhakarn. When Kumbhakarn with an uprooted tree in his arm, retaliated by running towards Ramachandra, Ramachandra with an arrow, presided over by Indra, hurled it on Kumbhakarn and chopped off his second arm, Ramachandra then chopped off the feet of Kumbhakarn with his arrows and finally slashed off his head.

Hearing the news of Kumbhakarna killed by Ramachandra, Lankapathi Ravanaa thought that he had virtually lost his right arm. As Lankapathi Ravana was mourning for the death of Kumbhakarn, Trishira (one of Lankapathi Ravana’s sons) consoled him and said that he would go to the battle-field and kill Ramachandra. Hearing the words of Trishira, Lankapathi Ravana’s other sons (Devantaka, Narantaka and Atikaya) also came forward to join the fight. Then Lankapathi Ravana sent all them to the battle. He also sent Mahodara and Mahaparshva, his brothers to guard his sons. Mighty Rakshas accompanied them. The Vanara senas took huge rocks and trees to fight with the Rakshas. Seeing several Rakshas being killed in battle, Narantaka entered the field with his javelin and killed several Vanara senas. Narantaka hurled his javelin towards Angada’s chest, but the javelin broke and fell down. Angada striked Narantaka’s horse with his hand and the horse fell down dead. Then, Angada and Narantaka exchanged the blows on each other in battle and finally, Narantaka died.

Mahi Ravanaa in Yuddha Kandam

In another incident during the war, Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead and Lakshmanaa were captured by the rakshas Mahi Ravanaa brother of Lankapathi Ravanaa, who held them captive in their palace in Patala (or Patalpuri)–the netherworld. Mahi Ravanaa kept them as offerings to his deity. Searching for them, Hanuman reached Patala, the gates of which were guarded by a young creature called Makardhwaja (known also as Makar-Dhwaja or Magar Dhwaja), who was part reptile and part Vanara.

The story of Makardhwaja’s birth is said to be that when Hanuman extinguished his burning tail in the ocean, a drop of his sweat fell into the waters, eventually becoming Makardhwaja, who perceived Hanuman as his father. When Hanuman introduced himself to Makardhwaja, the latter asked his blessings, but fought him to fulfill the task of guarding the gate. Hanuman defeated and imprisoned him to gain entry.

Upon entering Patala, Hanumana discovered that to kill Mahi Ravanaa, he must simultaneously extinguish five lamps burning in different directions. Hanuman assumed the Panchamukha or five-faced form of Sri Varaha facing north, Sri Narasimha facing south, Sri Garuda facing west, Sri Hayagriva facing the sky and his own facing the east, and blows out the lamps. Hanuman then rescued Ramachandra and Lakshmana. Afterwards, Ramachandra asked Hanuman to crown Makardhwaja king of Patala. Hanumana then instructed Makardhwaja to rule Patala with justice and wisdom.

When Lankapathi Ravanaa was informed that Atikaya, Dhumraksha, Akampana, Prahadta, Kumbhakarn and other mighty Rakshas had been killed in battle, felt anxious. He felt that no demon was capable of defeating Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead and Lakshmanaa.

Indrajit Meghanada in Yuddha

Seeing Lankapathi Ravanaa, in distress Indrajit promised to kill Ramachandra and Lakshmana. He set out for the battle, accompanied by his army. After reaching the battle-field, Indrajit challenged Ramachandra and Lakshma, he fought fiercely, and arrested both the brothers using his most nefarious weapon Nagapash (a trap made of million snakes). Both the brothers fell on the ground breathless. The Vanara senas along with Hanuman and Angada began to grieve, on beholding the plight of Ramachandra and Lakshmana..

Meghanada informed Rakshas about his adventure of captivating both Ramachandra and Lakshmana by Nagapash his net work of serpentine arrows. Indrajit striked the other Vanara sena-chiefs like . Nila, Mainda, Dvivida, Hanuman, Gavaksha and Angada as also Jambavan. Sugriv looked depressed on seeing the plight of Ramachandra and Lakshmana. Vibhishan also felt distressed on perceiving the bodies of Ramachandra and Lakshmana lying unconscious on the ground. Meanwhile, Garuda the King of Birds, who was also the enemy of the serpents and also the flying vehicle of Narayana made his appearance on the scene and liberated Ramachandra and Lakshmana from their bondage.

Indrajit, informed Lankapathi Ravanaa that both Ramachandra and Lakshmanaa had been killed. Lankapathi Ravanaa applauded his son for his daring act. Lankapathi Ravana summoned some Rakshasnies including Trijata and instructed them to take Sita in Pushpaka-plane to the battle-front and show Ramachandra and Lakshmana had been killed by Indrajit. Accordingly, the Rakshasnies took Sita in Pushpaka-plane and show her Ramachandra and Lakshmana lying unconscious on a bed of arrows in the battle-field. Imagining Ramachandra and Lakshmana had been dead, Sita bursted into sobs. However, Rakshany Trijata reassured her, stating good reasons for Ramachandra and Lakshmana to be still alive and cheering her up, took her back to Ashoka vatika.

Lankapathi Ravana was surprised as to how Ramachandra and Lakshmana got released from the bind of arrows, made by Indrajit, his son. Lankapathi Ravana called Dhumraksha, a demon and asked him to go with an army and kill Ramachandra, Lakshmana and the Vanara senas Dhumraksha along with his army entered the western gate of Lanka where the army-chief Hanuman was stationed. A tumultuous battle ensued between the Rakshas and the Vanara senas. Both the Vanara senas and Rakshas were killed in large numbers. When Dhumraksha pounced on Hanuman, who in turn hitted him on his head and killed him

Lankapathi Ravanaa sent Vajradamstra, another Rakshas to kill Ramachandra, Sugriv and his Vanara senas. Vajradamstra and his army emerged from the southern gate where Angada, the General of the Vanara senas was stationed. The Vanara senas had a tough fight with the Rakshas. Angada, the leader of the Vanara senas striked the terrible strong Rakshas, chopping off their heads. A fierce battle ensued between Vajradamshtra and Angada. Angada assaulted Vajradamshtra with a sword and his head fell on the ground.

Indrajit, while himself remaining invisible in the sky, with a network of arrows, Indrajit created darkness in the sky and showers a multitude of arrows. Struck by the arrows discharged by Indrajit, Vanara senas in hundreds fell down dead.

Placing an illusory live image of Sita in his chariot, Meghanada along with his army entered the battle-field. Hanuman with his army of Vanara senas march in front to face Indrajit in battle. While Hanuman and his army were watching, Indrajit pulled Sita by her hair and unsheathed his sword. Meghanada killed the illusory living image of Sita, with his sharp sword.

Hanumana, with his army, approached Ramachandra and informed him that Indrajit had killed Sita. Ramachandra fainted upon hearing that news. The Vanara senas sprinkle water on Ramachandra, so that he regains consciousness. Vibhishan told Ramachandra the secret of conjuring trick practiced by Indrajit in killing an illusory image of Sita.

Meghanada fought with Ramachandra’s army for three days. On third day Indrajit went to his native deity’s secret temple to perform the yagna that would make him invincible. Vibhishan learned of his nephew Indrajit’s routine through his spies and suggested Ramachandra to send Lakshmana to kill Indrajit, even before Indrajit complete the sacrificial fire in the sanctuary of Nikumbhila. Ramachandra then askd Lakshmana to proceed with the armies of Sugriv, Hanuma, Jambavan and Vibhishan. Lakshmana proceeded to Nikumbhila along with Hanuma, Vibhishan and Jambavan to kill Indrajit.

Vibhishan took Lakshmana to the place where indrajit was performing the sacrificial rite.Lakshmana and Vibhisana took the opportunity to face Indrajit in the “Yagnaagaar”, where Indrajit would not touch any weapons.

Hearing the terrible noise of the battle, Indrajit discontinued his sacrificial rite and entered the battle-field. Indrajit saw Vibhishan there and started talking harsh words to him, saying that he had ditched him by bringing Lakshmana to that place. Vibhishan replied that because of Lankapathi Ravana’s vices, he had left him and joined Ramachandra’s side.

Meghanada fought Lakshmana with the utensils of the yagna and even managed to escape from there. But before Indrajit could get armed Lakshmana chopped his head off his body. Upon his death his wife Sulochana became Sati on his funeral pyre.

Yuddha Kanda: Lankapathi Ravana On Battle Field

Lankapathi Ravana felt distressed in hearing the news of his son’s death. He got enraged and decided to kill Sita, who was the root of all this trouble. Lankapathi Ravanaa with a sword in his hand, walked towards Ashoka vatika to kill Sita. Sita observed Lankapathi Ravana rushing towards her and lamented that after killing Ramachandra and Lakshmana, he was coming to her place to kill her. Suparshva, a good and upright minister of Lankapathi Ravana advised Lankapathi Ravanaa to divert his anger towards Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead in battle. Lankapathi Ravana accepted the advice of his minister and returned to his assembly-hall.

Lankapathi Ravana entered the battle-field and with his mystic missiles. Ramachandra and Lakshmana came and attacked Lankapathi Ravana. The battle between Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana started. Indra sent a chariot, an armour, some arrows and a powerful spear. A tumultuous battle broke between Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana. A spear hurled by Lankapathi Ravana was thwarted by a powerful spear (sent by Indra) of Ramachandra. Then, Ramachandra striked Lankapathi Ravana’s horses with arrows. He also pierced the chest region and the forehead of Lankapathi Ravana with his fierce arrows. Lankapathi Ravana got severely hurt.

Lankapathi Ravana reproached the charioteer for having turned back his chariot away from the battle-field. The charioteer explained to Lankapathi Ravana, the various reasons as to why he had taken back the chariot. Satisfied with the explanation given by his charioteer, Lankapathi Ravana instructed him to take the chariot back to the battle-field. Thereupon, the charioteer brought the chariot in an instant before Ramachandra on the battle-field.

Seeing Lankapathi Ravana’s chariot coming, Ramachandra asked Matali the charioteer to be on his guard. A fierce battle ensued between Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana. Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana used Astras charged with Mantras. The fierce encounter continued for seven days. Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana made full use of the boons of Siva and Brahma, and the magical knowledge of warfare. Ramachandra and Lankapathi Ravana compete fiercely, inflicting severe injuries on one another with the most powerful weapons Lankapathi Ravana discharged on Ramachandra, Nagastra (arrow that becomes serpents full of poison). The arrows had their mouths like serpents and vomit forth fire all around. The Ramachandra discharged Garudastra. The arrows became Garudas and cut off the serpent arrows on all sides. Garudas were the enemies of serpents. After a long and arduous battle, Ramachandra successfully decapitated Lankapathi Ravana’s central head, but an ugly head, symbolic of all of Lankapathi Ravana’s evil powers arose in its place. After another long battle, Ramachandra decapitated it, only to find another growing in its place. This cycle continues, and as darkness approaches, Lankapathi Ravana’s magical powers increase in force. Vibhishan , seeing this then told Ramachandra that Lankapathi Ravana had obtained amrita, the nectar of immortality, from the Gods. Though he could not consume it, he nevertheless stored a vessel of it in his stomach. This amrit was causing his heads to regenerate as soon as they were cut off. Upon the advice of Agastya, Ramachandra worshiped Lord Aditya, the Sun, with the famous Aditya Hridayam prayer and then invoked the most powerful weapon, the Brahmastra. Ramachandra fired the great arrow that entered Lankapathi Ravana’s chest/stomach and destroyed the store of amrit, finally killing him.

Mandodari steered at the dead body of Lankapathi Ravanaa. She could not believe that Lankapathi Ravanaa, who had unconquerable powers had been killed by a mortal like Ramachandra. But, she realised that Ramachandra, who killed Lankapathi Ravana, was none other than Vishnu the lord of maintenance of the world. She admitted that Lankapathi Ravana had done a sinful deed in abducting Sita and that he had faced the consequence in the form of his death in the hands of Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Following Lankapathi Ravanaa’s death, Vibhishan was crowned the king of Lanka. Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead asked the new king (Vibhishan) and the surviving rakshasas to properly cremate their dead king, who was a great being worthy of respect and admiration. Initially, Vibhishana refused to perform the last rites, but when Sri Ramachandra, Supreme Personality of Godhead convinced him, he began to perform the funeral of Lankapathi Ravana

Yet another grave sin surrounded Sriramachandra, Ravana was a Brahmin and his killing would amount to the greatest sin, Brhamahatya(or killing of a brahman)

While returning to Ayodhya after killing Ravana in war, Lord Sri Ramachandra stayed in the hermitage of Sage Dhrudanetra Muni. As suggested by the sage, to cleanse Him of the Brahmmahati dosha for killing Ravana, Lord Rama made a big Golden Cow, entered into it and performed penance for four days. Then He donated the golden cow to a Brahmin on the fifth day. He sold the cow and used the proceeds to build this temple. As the temple was built with sale proceeds of the golden cow, the place came to be known as Sem Pon Sei Koil – Sempon-pure gold, koil-temple.

THE TEMPLE

Of the 108 Divya Desas, this is the temple for which Lord Himself raised the fund to build this temple. Lord blesses devotees facing east. Perumal is praised by many names as Semponnarangar, Herambar and Perarulalan. The Vimana above the sanctum is known as Kanaka Vimanam.

In the main sanctum sanctorum, the main deity Semponarangar is seen with sridevi and bho devi.

The festival deity is called as semponarangar. There is a separate shrine for mother Lakshmi called as Alimlar nachiyar or the Lakshmi in a jasmine groove.

FESTIVALS

As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Pancharathra agama. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: During the worship, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple.

 During the new moon day of the Tamil month Thai, the festival deity of Thirumangai Azhwar is brought to the temple from Thiruvali-Thirunagari. The Thirumangai Azhwar Mangalasasana Utsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai (January–February). The highlight of the festival is Garudasevai, an event in which the festival images of the eleven Thirunangur divyadeams are brought on mount designed like Garuda, called Garuda Vahana, to Thirunangur. The festive image of Thirumangai Azhwar is also brought on a Hamsa Vahana and his pasurams (verses) dedicated to each of these eleven temples are recited during the occasion. The festival images of Thirumangai Alvar and his consort Kumudavalli Nachiyar are taken in a palanquin to each of the eleven temples. The verses dedicated to each of the eleven temples are chanted in the respective shrines. This is one of the most important festivals in the region which draws thousands of visitors

Thirumangai azwar Songs

Thirumangaazwar sang this beautiful poem for the pleasure of the supreme lord.

i saw Him—who is like dark rain cloud standing with Sridevi and Bhudevi on either side—in Semponsei which lies in the middle of tiru nangoor. He is called Perarulalan since He gives boon to all who worship Him. He is worshipped by all the people and i too worshipped Him and found my life purposeful.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is—beyond all changes like birth, growth, old age, death, etc. exists as an ocean of Ananda exists in three kalas past, present and future; very enjoyable like the notes of music; is the subject matter and meaning of vedas; is the chief of the nitya sooris and—worshipped by the devotees of Sempon Sei.

Azhwar says he saw The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ocean hued one in Semponsei where live brahmanas who are like brahma. (They have the capacity to create but don’t execute their powers). He is the antaryami to the five Bootas, the sun and the moon and all other objects—sentient and insentient in this world. He resides in Semponsei where Azhwar worshipped Him.

He is the peerless vamana who measured the worlds with His feet. He is the supreme who is worshipped by nityasooris—the ever young devas—in the milk ocean. He is the one who is worshipped by the devotees—who are like brahma in their knowledge and tapas—in Semponsei where He is seen wearing a precious-gem-studded crown.

He is Sree Ramachandra, the son of dasaratha, who takes pity and fulfills the wishes of those who go to Him and praise ‘Oh! The Supreme Personality of Godhead! You destroy the evil minded rakshasas in order to protect dharma’. He takes compassion like a mother to her pleading children. He is the father of pradyumna (manmatha avatara) who resides in Semponsei where there are flowering tress full of honey and where there is always the sound of ‘devotion’ heard.

Sree rama was happy that He built a bridge across the roaring sea with huge boulders to cross over to lankapuri. He destroyed that city which was well protected by forts and built on a mountain (trikooTa mountains). He resides in Semponsei where devotees consider vedas as their only wealth and where The Supreme Personality of Godhead reveals His love with mahalakshmi near him. He has removed my miseries of material world as soon as i saw Him—says Azhwar.

He is a krishna who with anger killed the angry wild elephant kuvaaayapeeda, broke the great bow, crushed the powerful wrestlers. He is the lord of the colours of a dark cloud, who in Semponsei where the devotees who never fail to chant vedas reside. i worshipped this The Supreme Personality of Godhead who looks like an anjana mountain and got rid of my papas—says Azhwar.

He is a lamp of devotion (known by vedas and self effulgent) who cut off the thousand arms of banasura. He resides as top of the tirumala He resides in Semponsei where there are devotees who are like tilaka of the southern region. He enjoys seeing the Sree vaishnavas who come to worship Him.

Oh! The Supreme Personality of Godhead! You are like an ever flowing honey in the minds of devotees who call Your names ‘Oh! Krishna!. Oh Rama! and meditate on Your qualities. He resides in Semponsei where clear minded devotees live. Thus, who is the very nature of bliss, i worshipped and live purposefully.

 

Those who read and meditate these ten slokas which tirumangai Azhwar has sung on The Supreme Personality of Godhead at Semponsei of tirunangoor will certainly rule over this vast world and finally reach vaikunda to become one of the nitya sooris.