'Kaarthikai Deepam' - Festival of Lamps: -
Kaarthikai Deepam (festival of lamps) is celebrated to mark the 'Jyothi Swaroopam' (form of flame) of Bhagwan Shiva.
It is said in the Puranas that, to solve the contest between Bhagwan Vishnu and Bhagwan Brahmma as to who was more powerful, and to remove their ego, Bhagwan Shiva asked them to find his head and feet. Brahmma took the form of a bird (Anna Pakshi) to find Shiva's head and Vishnu took the form of a Boar (Varaaham) to find Shiva's feet and finally both of them failed, as Shiva showed his 'Jyothi Swaroopam' to both of them, who later realised their follies and worshipped Shiva. Then, Shiva transformed his flame form into a hillock, which was named as 'Thiruvannamalai'. It happened on the day of 'Kaarthikai-star'. Another reference in the puranas is with regards to the birth of Bhagwan Muruga from the 'third eye' of Bhagwan Shiva on the day of 'Kaarthikai-star' and both these events are celebrated as 'Deepam festival’ every year, for ages, in the Tamil month of 'Kaarthikai' and on the day of 'Kaarthikai-star'.
The Tamil Hindus celebrate this festival with great devotional fervour, as Tamil language is considered to be one of the two eyes of Bhagwan Shiva (the other being Sanskrit) and Bhagwan Muruga is worshipped as 'Tamil God'. The Tamil Hindus used to light lamps in almost all the hill temples, which are famous in Tamilnadu and the people of the respective places congregate and worship Shiva, Parvathi, Vinayaga and Muruga for peace and prosperity.
'Brungi Malai' – Brungi Maharishi's Hillock
History says that the Moghuls, Potuguese and British, who invaded and ruled India for over 1000 years, have usurped many such hill-temples. They destroyed all those temples and built their own worshipping places of Mosques and Churches. One such place in Chennai city has been the 'Brungi Malai', now known as St.Thomas Mount. It would be interesting to know that it was addressed as 'Brungi Malai' even as late as 1910! Brungi Malai has a great history behind it.
Brungi Maharishi was an ardent 'Shiva Baktha' and he used to worship only Bhagwan Shiva and no other Gods or Goddesses, not even Shakthi, who is a part of Shiva. Once when Brungi Maharishi went to Mount Kailash for worshipping Bhagwan Shiva, he saw Shiva and Shakthi (Parvathi Devi) together and a few Rishis circumambulating them for worship. As he didn't want to worship Shakthi, he took the form of a 'beetle' and circled thrice around only Shiva and completed his worship.
nsulted Shakthi got agitated and punished Brungi that he would lose his 'shakthi' (power) immediately and Brungi became a 'skeleton' and when he was about to fall, Shiva gave his stick and saved him from falling. As Shakthi punished Brungi without realising that Shiva & Shakthi are one and the same and that when Brungi worshipped Shiva it amounted to worshiping Shakthi too, Shiva punished Shakthi and ordered her to go to 'Bhoolog' (earth) and lead a life of penance in order to reach him back. Parvathi had to go to a huge garden full of 'Shenbaga' flower plants to do her penance and that place is the present 'Thirunageswaram' near Kumbakonam and it is also one of the 'Navagraha' (Raagu) Stalams. The Bhagwan here is called as 'Shenbakaaranyeswarar' and his consort is 'Girija Gujaambaal' and as she is under 'penance' there is no 'Abishekam & Aarathanai' rituals performed for her.
Then Shiva also punished Brungi Maharishi, for insulting Shakthi, to go to Bhoolog and do penance for reaching his abode again. Brungi comes down again and starts doing penance in a hill. Shiva comes in the form of 'Nandhi' and blesses him from down the hill. Since then the Hill is worshipped as 'Brungi Malai' and the place under the hill from where Shiva blessed Brungi was converted into 'Sri Nandeeshwarar Temple', where Shakthi blesses the devotees as 'Aavudai Naayagi'. Now this temple is located near the St.Thomas Railway Stattion, from where Brungi Malai could be seen clearly. Stone Inscriptions are also available in this temple about the history of Brungi Malai. The great Sage of Kanchi, Paramacharya Pujya Sri Chandrasekarenthra Saraswathi Samikal had also visited this temple and conveyed the true history of Brungi Malai to all his devotees through a discourse.
The Vijayanagara Kings had built a Vaishnavite Temple (Perumal Temple) on this hillock, which was later demolished by the Portuguese in order to build the present Church, when they came to Madras via the sea route during the fourteenth century. It may be recalled that the Portuguese have also demolished the 'Kapaaleeshwarar Temple' (shore temple) of Mylapore and built the St.Thomas Church over its ruins. A lot of Chola period inscriptions were later found on the walls of the Church, which were again destroyed. There are also evidences for the existence of the Mylapore Shiva Temple in the form of 'devotional hymns' sung by Sages like 'Thirugnaana Sambandhar' and 'Arunagirinaathar' and the details about the demolition of Mylapore KapaleeshwararTemple by the Portuguese has been inscribed on the walls inside the 'Marundheeshwarar Temple' in Thiruvanmiyur, which is situated just six kilometers away from Mylapore. When there is not even an iota of evidence for the arrival of 'St.Thomas' to South India, as affirmed by the Pope himself, it is unfortunate that a hugely concocted story has been planted as 'history' and the same has been included in school syllabi.
‘Kaarthikai Deepam’ celebration: -
Within Chennai city, two more hillocks, one ‘Thrishulam’ (Periya Malai) in Pallavaram and the other ‘Pacha Malai’ in Tambaram, also have Muruga & Shiva temples and near their vicinity missionaries regularly indulge in clandestine conversion activities, which continue despite a crack down by the police based on the complaints of Hindu organisations. Kaarthikai Deepam has been celebrated for many years in Thrishulam Temple and Pacha Malai Temple. Due to the sincere efforts taken by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Hindu Munnani, the Deepam festival has been celebrated in Brungi Malai too since last year in a peaceful manner with the help of the police.
Yesterday at the auspicious time in the evening many people including Hindu activists belonging to VHP, HM, BJP & Shiv Sena led by ‘Brungi Saravanan’, a functionary of VHP, have lighted ‘Deepams’ in the ‘Vinayagar Temple’ at the basement of Brungi Malai and offered special poojas with Abishekams and Alankarams. Then they carried lamps in a procession and reached the ‘Amman Temple’ situated on the other side of the hill and lit Deepams there also and offered worship.
Brungi Saravanan said, ‘as this hillock signifies the ancient history involving Bhagwan Shiva & Brungi Maharishi, we wanted to restore its glory by celebrating Kaarthikai Deepam festival. We started it from last year and it would be an annual affair hereafter. We inform the police and take their permission and we would be celebrating without causing troubles to others. The police have also been cooperating with us by ensuring full protection’ and added, ‘many people do not know the ancient history attached with this sacred hillock and our idea is to create awareness among the Tamil Hindus about the facts of Brungi Malai and the significance of celebrating ‘Kaarthikai Deepam’ here.
When asked about their prayers he said, ‘we prayed Shiva, Shakthi, Vinayaga and Muruga to protect the people from terrorism, save them from conversions and also for the prevalence of peace & harmony’. After Brungi Malai, the team joined others in Periya Malai (Trishul) in Pallavaram and Pacha Malai in Tambaram, where Deepams have been already lit at the auspicious time.
Kaarthikai Deepam in Thiruvannamalai
Right from Thiruvannamalai in North Arcot District to Thirupparankunram in Madurai District, when Kaarthikai Deepam is celebrated throughout the state, Chennai city cannot fall behind with three main hillocks within a radius of six kilometers. City dwellers must appreciate this good initiative taken by VHP & Hindu Munnani and extend their full support and unstinted cooperation to make this celebration a grand affair in future, for Chennai has a very significant place in the Puranas.