01 Rajagopuram and the fort-in the forefornt of the hillock

Located 13 Kms south of pudukottai town is the fortified temple of Lord Narayana – The Sathyamoorthy Perumal Temple. The temple is easily approachable from Thirumeyyam Railway Station.

The Legend

The slaying of Madhu and Kaidabha demons

Although Lord Brahma appeared from the lotus seat that had grown from the abdomen of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, he could not understand what to do after his appearance. He was attacked by two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, who took away Vedic knowledge, but the Lord killed them and entrusted to Lord Brahma the Vedic knowledge. Thus the Lord appears in every millennium in the societies of demigods, human beings, animals, saints and aquatics. All such incarnations are meant to protect the devotees and kill the demons, This slaying of demons of Madhu and Kaidabha happens to be in this hillock called as Sathyagiri. Or the hill of Truth.

But this killing and protecting does not reflect any sense of partiality on the part of the Supreme Lord. The conditioned soul is always attracted by the external energy. Therefore he is subjected to lust and greed, and he suffers under the conditions of material nature. The Lord's causeless mercy toward His devotee is the only means by which to get out of material existence. Anyone engaged in glorifying the Lord's activities is always unafraid of this material world, whereas one who cannot glorify the Lord in that way is subjected to all lamentation.To explain this, the Supreme Lord is found in Bogha sayana or in Yogic sleeping position with half closed eyes with Brahma appraring in the navel Lotus. This is one of main shrines of this huge Temple.

All the material and spiritual activies are watched by the lord as Sathyamoorthy or the lord of Absolute truth  who gives audience in the standing position in this temple.

In Tamil, the truth is referred with the word “Mei” and the Utsavar of this sthalam is “Meyyan” (or) “Meyyappan”.

In older days, when Asurars where dominating the world and the evil actions and words spread  the entire world. Because of this, there was not much of Yagams and spiritual practies were done and all the Rishis, and Devars were very much frightened about this.The Asuras created constant obstacles to the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. With no spiritual powers They could not protect themselves from  the Asuras, since they get enormous powers with them. They all surrendered towards “Dharma”, Dharma which came up as  a symbolic bull agreed to pray to the Supreme Personality of godhead so that its status could be restored.

The Dharma Bull came to Sathyagiri and prayed to the Supreme Lord here as Sathyamoorthy Perumal and the Supreme lord subdued all asuras.

04 Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy

Another legend narrates that the lord’s vehicle Garuda had to fetch the celestial nectar in order to obtain the release of his mother Vinata from bondage. So he did intense penance on the lord here and obtained the energy required for that venture.

This shrine is also associated with attainment of salvation by two other prominent legendary characters; Pururavas and Satya sage. Pururavas was the son of the planet Budha and he ruled the city of Madurai in ancient times. He was a devotee of the lord. The lord took the form of a boar and with a gang of other boars destroyed the area around Pururavas’ kingdom. The king’s soldiers could not contain such invasion. The king himself went on the hunt, killed the boars but the leader boar (the lord himself) gave a chase and finally disappeared in this shrine. The sage was doing penance there too at the same time. The king came to that spot and to the surprise of both, the lord appeared in his divine form and promised salvation to both of them.

The Temple

Miles before reaching the town, one can see a fort atop a large hill. In past centuries, the fort was much larger than what now obtains; this is affirmed by the fact that the main entrance to the old fort lies about one kilometre south of the present-day fort. This entrance to the old fort still stands, it has a courtyard with pillared corridors and shrines of various deities. The sculptures on the pillars are truly beautiful.

05 Sathyamoorthy perumal

After entering through the Raja Gopuram, we can find a big Mandapam where lots of stone carved pillars are found with beautiful paintings. Separate sannadhi for Sri Kanna, Sri Aandal, Chakrathalwar and Narasimhar are found.

After crossing this Mandapam another big mandapam by named “Maha Mandapam” is found in which the Garuda, the Eagle carrier of the Supreme personality of Godhead is found facing along the main santum santorum Sannadhi. Moolavar Sathya Giri Nathan in standing position with  Sudarshana Conch, Panjaganya conch, gomodaka mace and Nandaka Sword. and next to this sanctorum, separate shrine for Mahalakshmi  is found. On the western side inside the mountain, as Bogha Sayana deity in seen majestically reclined on serpent coils, This deity is bigger than Srirangam . Having Aadhiseshan as the bed, the Supreme Personality of godhead gives his  darshan with two hands very much like the padmanaha of Srirangam.

09 Bhoga Shayana of Garbhadakashyi vishnu.

It is said that some Madhu Kaidapars came from the Ears of Sriman Naryanan of this divine spot and they tried to grab the consort of the Suprme Lord Bhu Devi along with them. But, Aadhi sesha the Serpent devotee of the Supreme Lord protested and fought with them and killed all of them by his poison. But, the great sperpent devotee was a bit worried because without getting the permission from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he did this. He  humbly stayed infront of the the Supreme Lord and convinced him and as a result of this, the Lord’s one hand is found towards Aadhi seshan as conversing with him and another hand is found on his chest there by protecting the Bhu devi.

Around this perumal, Chitragupta, the accountant of Lord Yama the lord of death, Markandeya Maharishi, Lord Braham and Garudan are found. Chitragupta who assist along with Yamen, the king of Dharma and the Markandeya maharishi who has got the “the boon of immortality” throne are found around the perumal to show the counts of people along with their good and evil actions performed by them. On the thiruvadi (feet) of the perumal, Bhoomi piratti and Madhu Kaidapars are found.

13 the lord with his consorts

This temple is almost the same as that of the temple in Mahabalipuram. We can find lots of stone carved Sculptures and paintings and the Supreme Lord is found inside the mountain and it serves as the umbrella for him. Another temple by named “Down Temple” is found where a temple for Lord Shiva is found. The name of him is “Sathya gireeswara”. It is said that Maharaja His Highness Mahendra pallava had constructed this temple for both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva without having any difference between Saivism and Vaishnavism as this king is said to follow both path of devotion.

Festivals

The annual Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi (May-Jun) and the temple chariot is taken on a procession on the full moon day in that month during the Brahmotsavam. Adippram, where the Suprme lord enjoys a celestial bath with his consort Andal. This festival is celeberated for 10 days. Sri Krishna Jayanthi, and Vaikuntha Ekadasi are the other prominent festivals apart from Vasantholsava where the lord is taken to a sacred groove where he enjoys the cool breeze. Pavitrolsava is celebrated in September where he is adorned with silk garlands and special homas are performed.

Sudharshana moorthy in the temple

A beautiful octagonal shaped pond in the temples requires special mention. The pond carved out of the hillock is called as Satya Theertha . It is believed that holy dip on Sathya Theertha during the days of Pournami in the Tamil month Vaikasi is highly meritorious and eradicates sins committed. All the sacred rivers unite on this holy pond on the above auspicious day and provide abundance of merits to whoever takes holy dip in this water. On the Chitra Pournami day, Lord Sathiya Moorthy Perumal is taken out on a 40 mile procession to Kadaya Kudi.

08 pond

Azwars and the Lord of Sathyagiri.

Thirumangai azwar sang these beautiful songs for the Supreme Lord

The Lord has a dark hue like the deep ocean, the blue gem mountain, the moisture laden cloud, the dazzling blue lily, and the dark blue Kaya flower. He bears a conch in his hand and is the symbol of Truth. He dwells in the foothills of Thirumeyyam. It is obvious that those who do not worship him with folded hands might as well have no hands.

Since i am a sentient being i should do service to your lotus feet. But this daily devotional service can be my lot only if you will it so. If you don’t want my devotional service, at least for one day you can be mine. If you don’t do even this much, then what use of your association? Why should you pride that you have pierced the sala trees?(in Rama incarnation to prove the might to Sugreeva) Why should you call yourself as satyesha in tirumeyyam? If You neglect me, your dasa, all these are but in vain.

The bangles never stay in the hands of your wives. When there is difficulty the hands swell (out of joy) and the bangles brake where there is greatness the body becomes lean and the bangles slip out.

Once ammangi amman a great devotee in Sriragangam was very sick. nanjeeyar and nampillai (2 acharyas in the Ramanujacharya lineage) went to see him to enquire about his health. amman was feeling very sad that he should be so sick as not able to do devotional service. nanjeeyar and nampillai said ‘you are a great man. you never fail to do devotional service to Vishnu and Vaishnavas. But still what the Supreme personality of Godhead did  to you is indeed very sad.’ amman said “when you are surrendered to him actually there is no miseries or discomforts”

Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead has asked a Gopi to come to a Jasmine grooves their usual meeting place. He has forgotten that He had told another Gopi to wait there. When the first Gopi went to appointed place, she found another one waiting for a long time. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead without knowing that this Gopi had come, was about to go to that girl waiting for a long time. But suddenly He saw this girl also, He slowly slipped away feigning fear. So she says ‘just see what i do to You if You come to me again’. This is the love I am hankering for oh Lord of Thirumeyyam!.  

Photo courtesy:
Santhanakrishnan, Srirangam