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Messages - atmavichar100

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Note : Avudyar Koil is a very ancient Temple associated with Saint Manickavachagar and being in Tamil Nadu I have never visited it and I intend to visit it in due course . Unlike the other popular Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu this is not so much popular as this is not a Parihara Sthalam ( i.e place for doing pujas and rituals for our own benefit ) .This temple is very unique and is different from the Other Shiva Temples and So I am using this thread to first educate myself as well as others about this temple . Those who have visited this temple and have any specific info about this temple can also share the same here .

This God doesn't have shape - Avudayar Koil Temple, Aranthangi, India

 Avudayar Koil temple is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu state, South India. Avudayar Koil temple is located in the small town named Audayaurkoil, which is around 14 kms from Aranthangi city of Pudhukkottai district in Tamil Nadu state, India. The town was called as Thiruperunthurai in ancient times. The temple is the only attraction of the town, and it attracts hundreds of devotees and tourists daily. Avudayar Koil temple (the word "Koil" means "temple" in Tamil language) is attractive not only due to spiritual reasons, but also due to its architecture and sculpture. It is because of this temple, the entire Avudayarkoil town has been declared as 'heritage town' by the government.

Even thought the temple is famously referred as Avudayar Koil, the name of the temple is Athmanatha Swamy Temple. The original temple is believed to be built by Manikavasagar in the 8th century AD. It is evident that the temple has been extended in the later years. Manikavasagar was one of the four important Tamil saints of Saivism (Lord Shiva worship) out of 63 Nayanmars (63 important saints of Shiva). You can find the idols of all 63 saints in most of the Shiva temples in South India. You can find four saints among 63 saints in separate shrines or in a higher platform in some temples. Manikavasagar is one of those four important Nayanmars. Avudayar Koil temple story is connected to the history of saint Manikavasagar.

The King Arimardhana Pandian asked his minister Thiruvadhavoorar to buy horses and gave him money. The minister came to a place named Perunthurai to buy horses. However, he was impressed by a Ved "paatsaala". Ultimately, he attained "Gnana" (the ultimate knowledge) here, and he used the money to buy horses to build this temple. Initially, only a platform like thing was built and offering of rice was kept on the platform. The steam was considered as God (Shiva) for him. It is the same platform which still present inside the shrine and the same rituals are still followed. In the later years, Pandia kings extended the temple with beautiful sculptures and pillars. The minister Thiruvadhavoorar thus became a great devoteed of Lord Shiva, and got the name Manikavasagar. He wrote the famous "Thiruvasagam" in Avudayaur Koil temple.

The main deity of the temple Athmanatha Swamy (a name of Lord Shiva) doesn't have any image or figure. There is just a platform in the main shrine. This is a unique feature of this temple. Another unique feature of this temple is that you cannot find Nandi, Dwajasthamba, and Chandikeswarar, which are commonly found in all South Indian ancient Shiva temples. The main goddess of the temple, Yogambal, has a separate shrine. Again, there is no idol for the goddess. You can only find Paadam (foot print) in the shrine. There is a small idol of goddess located outside the main shrine.

As you enter the main temple, you can find small Pillayar (Ganesha) idol to your left. Next to that, there is a big shrines for the saint Manikavasagar. There are ancient paintings found surrounding this shrine. Also, there are very beautiful sculptures of Narasimha, Kaali, Ganesha, Subramanya, and others. There are also big life size scultpures such as Veerabhadra, Yatcha, Daksha, and others. All these sculptures are very beautiful and have uniqueness. Once you enter into the temple, there is a small mandapa full of scultpures. There are sculptures that are associated with the temple such as God making foxes as horses when the King was asking the minister for horses, and making the horses back to foxes. You can also find the idols of Arimardhana Pandian, Manikavasagar, and others.

If you enter further into the temple, there is another Manikavasagar shrine surrouded by ancient paintings. There are many pillars with beautiful sculptures. On the ceiling, you can find Pancha Bhoothas. The main shrine of Athmanatha Swamy doesn't have an idol, as described earlier. The corridor (prakara) surrounding the Athmanatha Swamy shrine has the idols of Chokka Vinayaka, Manikavasagar, Nataraj, Bikshandar, Kali, Veerabhadra, etc. I have already mentioned about the shrine of goddess Yogambal. There is a tree (Kurutha tree - Sthala vruksham) where the idols of Shiva teaching Manikavasagar is found. There is a small shrine for Nataraj with Sivakami, and another shrine for Lord Muruga. The outer prakara has idols of Lord Ganesha in all the corners. You can also find the temple tank in the outer corridor. The idols of Muthu Vinayaka and Muneeswaran are also found there.

All over the temple, you can find a lot of meaningful sculptures. There is no separate shrine or idols for Navagrahas (nine planets) similar to other temples. They are found only in the pillars. The 27 stars have figures in this temple. There is a saptha swara pillar (musical pillar). The stone chain is a famous sculpture in this temple. There are a lot to explore in this temple, which cannot be explained in detail in this post. Visit the temple to get your own experience.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Athmanathaswamy Temple aka Avudayarkoil Temple
Site Type: Ancient temple, architecture, sculpture
1) One of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu state, India; built in 8th century AD; 1200 years old
2) The main deities do not have image/shape
3) Built by the famous saint Manikavasagar
4) Life size beautiful sculptures

Location: Avudayar Koil, 14 kms from Aranthangi, Pudhukottai district, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Aranthangi
Nearest Airport: Trichy (around 100 kms)
How to reach: Take a bus or taxi from Aranthangi
Hotel: Only budget hotels are available that too in the nearby town Aranthangi
Restaurants: It's difficult to find good restaurants

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 09, 2014, 10:05:28 PM »

Health & Welfare Issues / Re: Health and Fitness related articles
« on: September 09, 2014, 03:49:12 PM »

General Discussion / Re: Swami Sivananda's Teachings and Quotes
« on: September 08, 2014, 10:37:52 PM »

Advice to spiritual aspirants - retire periodically from worldly atmosphere
The life of a spiritual aspirant in the world is verily like a fierce struggle and fight with deadly serpent. Samsara or worldly life is a terrible and deadly serpent. Man must keep constant and alert watchfulness lest the Samsara-sarpa take you unawares. Keep the twin eyes of Viveka (discrimination) and Vichara (enquiry) wide open. At times the man becomes poisoned in the course of his Vyavahara (worldly activities). He must retire periodically from the worldly atmosphere and take recourse to Satsanga (association with the wise), Sadhana, seclusion and silent meditation~Swami Sivananda

General Discussion / Re: Wise Quotes
« on: September 08, 2014, 05:40:58 PM »
"God's delays are not god's denials."
-Rahul Dravid

"God's delays are not god's denials.Provided you keep nurturing yourself in the right direction "
-AtmaVichar100   :)

General Discussion / Re: Swami Sivananda's Teachings and Quotes
« on: September 08, 2014, 05:33:01 PM »
Need for daily self analysis
Daily self-analysis or self-examination is an indispensable requisite. Then alone can you remove your defects and can grow rapidly in spirituality. A gardener watches the young plants very carefully. He removes the weeds daily. He puts a strong fence around them. He waters them at the proper time. Then alone they grow beautifully and yield fruits quickly. Even so, you should find out your defects through daily introspection and self-analysis and then eradicate them through suitable methods~Swami Sivananda

General Discussion / Swami Sivananda's Teachings and Quotes
« on: September 08, 2014, 05:28:42 PM »
Today i.e September 8 is Swami Sivananda's Birtdhday and I have started this thread on this date as a mark of respect to this great soul whose practical teachings on Yoga & Vedanta had a great impact on me and it shaped me a lot :"
Here is the first quote

Put your heart mind and soul into even the smallest acts. This is the secret of success." - Swami Sivananda

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 07, 2014, 08:18:54 PM »

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 07, 2014, 04:36:49 PM »
Living by the words of Bhagavan is a wonderful book that must be read and reread by all devotees.Truly Swami was like what the book title says-he just lived by the words of Bhagavan.Swami's teachings are so simple,because he himself was utterly simple.Wonderful soul.
Dear Sri Ravi

True "Living by the Words of Bhagavan" is an excellent book and it mentions the journey of one Jnani ( Annamalai Swami ) living with another Jnani ( Bhagavan Ramana ) and also it describes Annamalai Swami's journey from an ordinary worker to the highest state he reached through following the words of Bhagavan . This book is ever refreshing and you never get bored reading it again and again . I value this book very highly and this book made a great impact in my life .

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 07, 2014, 04:31:57 PM »

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 07, 2014, 04:26:37 PM »
21st June, 1948 Bhagavan Composing a quatrain on Cow Lakshmi

Yesterday Sri Maharshi composed a quatrain on Lakshmi in Tamil, giving the date and the astrological sign of her death, referring to her  as a liberated soul, for which he used the sanskrit word Vimukti to make it quite clear that it was not merely release from the body  that he meant, but final emancipation. This morning he translated his quatrain into Telugu and showed it to the Telugu devotee, Professor Subbaramayya, over which both of them joked and laughed, because Sri Bhagavan had used Tamil metre for a Telugu poem, as he had done in his own Ekatma-Panchakam-the five verses on the Oneness of Atman. Prof. Subbaramayya highly praised Sri Bhagavan's Telugu version.

In the evening Maharshi translated the same quatrain from the original Tamil into Malayalam.

(From Guru Ramana)

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 07, 2014, 08:38:28 AM »

Q: I am trying to surrender to the Guru. How can I tell if 1 am succeeding? It is very easy to say 'I surrender' but this is only a verbal statement. It doesn't mean that real surrender has taken
place. I think that I have achieved some success with my practice but how can I be sure?

AS: If you have really surrendered to the Guru you will see the
Guru in all forms. Wherever you go you will only see the Guru.
If your mind is not steady it means that your surrender is not complete. Your Guru may take several forms. If your destiny is to
go to several different places, your Guru may take the form of
different saints. But even if he does there is still only one Guru
because the Guru is the formless Self. You must learn to see the
Guru in all things; you must learn to see the Guru everywhere.

Kunju Swami once visited Quilon Math. On returning he told
Bhagavan that he had not done namaskaram to the Guru of the math. Bhagavan told him, 'Why do you limit Bhagavan to this form? The Guru is one not many.'

Seshadri Swami was once seen doing namaskaram to a donkey.
When he was asked why, he replied,?This is not a donkey, it is

On another occasion when somebody asked him why he was staring at a buffalo he replied, 'I don't see any buffalo, I only see

Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p 292, 293

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 04, 2014, 11:50:26 PM »
Thank You Jewell .

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 04, 2014, 10:48:01 PM »

Q: How to bring the mind under control? And the heart, which does not know what it wants?
M: They cannot work in darkness. They need the light of pure awareness to function rightly. All effort at control will merely subject them to the dictates of memory. Memory is a good servant, but a bad master. It effectively prevents discovery.

There is no place for willful effort in reality. It is selfishness, due to a self-identification with the body, that is the main problem and the cause of all other problems. And selfishness cannot be removed by effort, only by clear insight into its causes and effects. Effort is a sign of conflict between incompatible desires. They should be seen as they are -- then only they dissolve.

Q: And what remains?
M: That which cannot change, remains. The great peace, the deep silence, the hidden beauty of reality remain. While it can not be conveyed through words, it is waiting for you to experience for yourself.

- I AM THAT 93

General topics / Re: Quotes from Shankaracharya's
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:46:56 AM »
Kanchi Achraya on the Qualities needed to be a true teacher . September 5th is celebrated as a Teachers Day in India and this message is apt for those who want to play the role of teachers in whichever subject they want to be .

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