by T. M. P. Mahadevan | 1968 | 179,170 words | ISBN-13: 9788185208510
The Advaita tradition traces its inspiration to God Himself — as Śrīman-Nārāyaṇa or as Sadā-Śiva. The supreme Lord revealed the wisdom of Advaita to Brahma, the Creator, who in turn imparted it to Vasiṣṭha....
KAMAKOTI AND NAYANMARS
udyatsūryanibhām vande mahātripurasundarīm.
The śaktis of Ambikā or the consort of Śiva, present in each and every one of the Śiva temples have emanated from Śrī Kāñchī Kāmakoṣṭha. There are about fifty Śiva temples at Kāñchī and none of them contains a sanctum sanctorum for the goddess. But the Śiva temples outside the limits of Kāñchī have a separate sanctum sanctorum for the goddess. The reason for this is to be found in Lalitā-sahasranāma, Lalitā-triśati, and Lalitā-aṣṭottara, texts on śilpa and Āgama, Purāṇas, inscriptions, and some of the devotional hymns traditionally known as Śaiva-tirumurai comprising Tevāram and Tiruttāṇḍakam. We shall now deal with is detail.
The Lalitā-sahasranāma refers to the goddess as kāmakoṭikāyai namaḥ, the Lalitā-triśati as kāmakoṭinilayāyai namaḥ, and the Lalitā-aṣṭottara as kāmakoṭi-mahāpīṭhapadmasthāyai namo namaḥ. Thus in the three nāmāvalis, the name kāmakoṭi as the seat of the goddess occurs.
The Bhāgavata-purāṇa printed in the Grantha and the Telugu script referring to the tīrtha-yātrā of Balarāma in the tenth skandha describes Kāñchī as the Kāmakoṭi-purī : kāmakoṭipurīm kāñchīm.
This reading is found in the Subodhinī, a commentary on the Bhāgavata by Vallabhāchārya. And this reading slightly differs from the one found in the Bhāgavata texts pr i nted in North India which reads as follows: kāmakoṣṇipurīm kāñchīm.
The reason for the absence of any separate sanctum sanctorum for the goddess in the Śiva temples in Kāñchī and the presence of it in the temples outside the skirts of Kāñchī is stated in this work. The god of love, who was reduced to ashes by Lord Śiva, out of desire to have a body performed penance at Kāñchī to propitiate Śrī Kāmākṣī. Pleased by his penance, Śrī Kāmākṣī by a mere glance from her eyes blessed him with a handsome body. He further requested her to bless him with the power to vanquish Lord Śiva. She acceded to his request; and, she wi t hdrew into the bilākāśa in the Śrī Kāmākṣī temple at Kāñchī the śaktis that are present in all the Śiva temples. Sometime later Brahmā went to Kailāsa to have darśan of Śiva. After worshipping Śiva, he went to worship Devī, but could not see her there. He went to all the Śiva temples on earth and in none of the temples could he find the presence of Devi. He reflected on the circums t ances that led to the absence of Devī in all the Śiva temples and intuitively felt that it was due to the will of Śrī Kāmākṣī herself. Desirous of having the presence of the goddess in all the temples as before, Brahm ā went to Kāñchī and performed penance for twelve years. Pleased by his penance Kāmākṣī said: ‘Let there be the manifestation of my śaktis in all the Śiva temples outside Kāñchī; but in Kāñchī, which is known as Śivajit-kṣetra there need be no separate sanctum sanctorum for me.
purā pañchaśaro’naṅgaḥ pratyakṣāṅgābhilāṣayā
kāmakoṣṭam samāsādya kāmākṣīm saṃprapūjya cha
hṛdi dhyātvā tu tām kāmastapastepe’tiduṣkaram
tatastat kāmadevasya tapasā tuṣṭamānasā
kadāchit tatra kāmākṣī, mahātripurasundarī
prasannātha mahāśaktiḥ svakaṭākṣanirīkṣaṇāt
dadau kāmāya divyāṅgam, nṛṇāmānandadāyakam.
tadā sarveṣu śaiveṣu kailāsādyālayeṣu cha
yatra yatra sthitāḥ sarvā gaurīḥ svāṃśatayā sthitāḥ
samākṛṣyaikyato devī tūṣnīmāsīcchubhānanā.
kadāchidatha lokeśaḥ kailāsādyālayeshu cha
sevārtham parameśasya samāgatyālayam tadā
devahīnālayam dṛṣṭvā śivasthāneṣu sarvaśaḥ
kimarthamaṃbikā nāsti sarvaśaivālayeṣu cha
iti chintya tato brahmā kāmākṣyāśchitramityapi
vijñāya jñānadṛṣṭyā tu kāmakoṣṭha mahītale
kāmākṣyāssannidhim prāpya dhyātvārādhya cheśvarīm
sarvālayeṣu śaiveṣu sarvalokasthiteṣu cha
yathā śaṃbhustathā gaurī sadā sānnidhyakāṅkṣayā
hṛdi dhyātvā tu kāmākṣīm dvādaśābdam tapo’karot
tataḥ prasannā sā devī kāmākṣī, bhaktikāmadā
tatra brahmāṇamālokya vachanam chedam abravīt.
śivajitkṣetramityuktam idam kṣetram vinā bhuvi
sarvālayeṣu śaiveṣu sannidhattam sadā’ṃbikā.
As the goddess has withdrawn all her powers into the bilākāśa which pervades the whole of Kāñchī-kṣetra, there is no need for a separate sanctum sanctorum for the goddess in any of the Śiva temples at Kāñchī.
Each of the five primary elements has a ś iva-kṣetra; and, Chidambaram is considered to be the ākāśa-śivakṣetra. In the same way, each of the five primary elements has a śakti-pīṭha; and, Kāñchī is the ākāśa-śakti-pīṭha. Chidambaram and Kāñchī are thus the ākāśa-sthānas. In Chidambaram, the ākāśa is present only in the kanaka-sabhā. But as regards Kāñchī, the whole of Kāñchī is considered to be the ākāśa-sthāna. The goddess, Kāmākṣī, is in the form of bilākāśa in the cave under the Gāyatrī-maṇḍapa at the Kāmākṣī temple. And this ākāśa pervades the entire kṣetra. This is the reason why there is no separate sanctum sanctorum for the goddess in the Śiva temples at Kāñchī-kṣetra. As in Kāśi, there is no sparśa-doṣa in the Kāñchī-kṣetra.
yatra pūrvaṃ tvayā kāñchyām smaratarthamimaṃ hṛdi
pūjanīyo mahāliṅge nāmnā mardalamādhave
tatraiva cha mahānṛttam sarvarakṣākarābhidham
karomi satatam hṛṣṭaḥ parākāśe bilāntare
atra dabhrasabhāmātram parākāśa iti smṛtam
tarta sarvāpibhūḥ kāñchyām parākāśaḥ smṛto budhaḥ
satyam jñānamanantamādyam yo vedāsya guhāntare
pamvyomni cha vai kāñchyām so’śnuteyamathepsitān
sarvajñenāṇunāṇo’rvā mahato mahatāntaram
ye tu paśyantyātmakṛtaguṇadhikkṛtaśugjanāḥ
tatra ye paramākāśe praviśanti janāḥ hare
te sarve manmayāḥ syurvai muktātmānastu te smṛtāḥ
agnimadhyagatam vastu tanmayam syādyathā kṣaṇāt
evam kāñchī praviṣṭā ye manmayāḥ syur na saṃśayaḥ
tasmādatra nṛṇāṃ saṅghe śvapachānānna sūtakam
chaṇḍālānāmapi hare spṛṣṭvā kāñchyām na sūtakam.
(44,4 to 11)
Oṭṭiyāṇam, as we know from its usage in the Tamil country, is an ornament worn around the waist. It is called kāñchī in Sanskrit. This will be over the navel position. The work, Meru-tantra, states that Kāñchīkṣetra is the navel position of the earth.
vide Merutantra, 10, 848.
This work which was composed by the great sage Durvāsa and is still followed in the Kāmākṣī temple at Kāñchī refers to the seven mokṣa-puris in the words—
ayodhyādiṣu pīṭheṣu pṛthivyādiṣvanukramat.
Of the seven mokṣa-puris,
ayodhyā mathurā māyā kāśī kāñchī avantikā
purī dvāravatī chaiva saptaite mokṣadāyikāḥ,
the first five, beginning with Ayodhyā and ending with Kāñchī, are five śakti-pīṭhas beginning with pṛthvī. And, Kāñchī, thus becomes the ākāśapīṭha. This is in conformity with the view expressed in the Kāñchī-māhātmya.
Texts on Sculpture and Āgamas
The śilpa texts also speak of the goddess in temples only as Kāmakoṣṭham. For instance, the śilpa text, Mānasāra, states:
kamakoṣṭhavidhim vakṣye. (65, 1)
The Śaiva-āgamas, the Sūkṣmāgama and the Karuṇāgama, refer to the seat of the goddess as Kāmakoṣṭha.
(i) bhogaṅgamarchanam kuryāt sarvasaṃpat samṛddhidham
rātrau pūjāvasāne tu ardhayāmena kārayet
mandirasyottare bhāge kāmakoṣṭhasya madhyame
That the seat of the goddess in the Śiva temples is referred to as Kāmakoṣṭha could be seen from the inscriptions found in the many Śiva temples. The book entitled South Indian Temple Inscriptions, published by the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, contains several such inscriptions which are as follows:
koilukkum tirukkāmakoṭṭamuḍaya peria nāchchiyārukkum śāttiyaruḷa
koilil tirukkāmakkoṭṭattu nāchchiyār peruṅkaruṇai
tirunāgīśvaramuḍaiyār tirukkāmakkoṭṭattālu (kai) tada (ya) na nāchchiyārukkamudupaḍi
tiruvoṟṟiyūruḍaiya nāyanār koirtirukkāmakkoṭṭamudaiya vāchchiyārukku veṇḍum nibandaṅgaḷukku
tiruppālavanamuḍaya nāyanār tirukkāmakkoṭṭam iyādilum pāpādi nāchchiyārukku
tirukkāmakkoṭṭamuḍaiya nāchchiyār aḷagamar maṅgaiyārkku
tirukkāmakkoṭṭamuḍaiya periyanāchchiār aḷagamar maṅgaiyārukku kaṟṟaḷi
ikkoil śi kāmakoṭṭamuḍaiya nāchchiyārukkuṃ veṇḍum nimittattirku
ikkoil pūjai nilaihaḷum tirukkāmakoṭṭamuḍaiya nāchchiarkoil bhaṭṭāchārya nilaiyuṃ
nān eḻundaruḷuvitta tirukkāmakoṭṭamuḍaiyār tiruppaḻaṇattuḍaiyārkku
innāyanār tirukkāmakoṭṭamuḍaiya periya nāchchiyār
ikkoilil nān eḻundaruḷuvitta tirukkāmakoṭṭamuḍai akhilanāyakiyārkku pūjaikkum
śrī puravarādiśubara kāmakoṭṭi (ṭi) ṃbikālaprāptāvaraprasāda
devyāstasyāḥ śikhariduhituḥ kāmakoṣṭhasthitāyāḥ
kiñchestyāḥ svapati naṭanasyānayogyaprakāram
satyām bhaktyā sukaramakarot bhūṣaṇam mauktipūrvam
pītāṃbaraṃ kāñchanameṣa devyāḥ tat kāmakoṣṭhasthitamāsthitāyāḥ
chakāra yadvairivilāsinīnām vanāgnidhūmāṃbaratām karoti
Devotional hymns traditionally known as Śaiva Tirumuṟai in Tamil literature refer to the seat of the goddess as Kāmakoṭṭam or Kāmakoṭṭi. Appar of the seventh century in his Tiruvadikai Tiruttāṇḍakam uses the word Kāmakoṭṭi; and this conforms to the version in the inscriptions referred to above.
eḻundirai natittuvalai nanainda tiṅgal iḷanilāttihaḻhinṟa vaḷarśadaiyane
koḻuṃpavaḷaccheṅganivāi kāmokoṭṭi koṅgaiyinai yamarporudu kolaṅgaṇḍa
taḻumpuḷave varai mārbil veṇṇūluṇḍe śāntamoḍu, śantanttinaḷaru taṅgi
aḻundiya śentiruvuruvil veṇṇīṟṟāne avanākhila tihai vīraṭṭattāne
Sundaramūrti Nāyanār in the Tevāram relating to Oṇakāntantaḷi situated on the northern bank of Sarvatīrtha in Kāñchī speaks of Kāmakoṭṭa thus:
vārirum kuḻanmai vaṇeḍungaṇ malaimahaṇ madhuvimmu konṟait-
tāriruntaṭanvārbu nīṅgāttaiyalāḷulahuyya vaitta
kāriruṃpoḻir kacchimudūr kñmakoṭṭamuṇḍāha nīr poy
ūriḍum picchaikoḷvadenne oṇakāntanṟaḷiyuḷīre
[7th Tirumurai : Oṇakāntantaḷi 6]
It is to be specially noted that the Tevāram of Tirujñānasaṃbandar relating lo Ālaṅguḍi—the Dakṣiṇāmūrtikṣetra in the Tanjore district in the south—refers to the sanctum sanctorum of the goddess as kacchi kāmakoṭi
nacchittoḻuvīr kaṇamakkadu śolvīr
kacchippoli kāmakkoḍiyuḍan kūḍi
icchittirum pūḷaiyiḍam koṇḍa vīśan
It may be added here that prior to the introduction of the printing press the same symbol was used to denote both the long and short sound of ‘O’. Hence koḍi in kāmakkoḍi in the above Tevāram must be read as kōḍi. Here kacchi means Kāñchīpuram and Tirujñānasaṃbandar explicitly states that the sanctum sanctorum of the goddess is Kāñchī Kāmakoṭi.
The sthala-purāṇa, Kāmākṣī-vilāsa, already referred to, states the reason why there is no separate sanctum sanctorum for the goddess in any one of the Śiva temples in Kāñchī and the presence of a separate sanctum sanctorum for the goddess in all the Śiva temples outside the skirts of Kāñchī. Goddess Kāmākṣī after blessing the god of love with a body retracted all her powers in the bilākāśa at the Kāmākṣī temple in order to help the god of love in his victory over Śiva. Later, on Brahmā’s request she spread all her powers in the Śiva temples outside Kāñchī. The goddess in the form of bilākāśa pervades the entire kāñchīkṣetra. Hence there is no need for any special sanctum sanctorum for the goddess in the Śiva temples at Kāñchī. It is only from here that she again spread all her powers to be manifested in the temples outside Kāñchī-kṣetra. Herein lies a matter of profound importance, namely that the term Kāmakoṭi which is applied to the sanctum sanctorum of the goddess in the Śiva temples is derived from the Kāmakoṣṭha of Kāñchī. This point is further substantiated in the Ālaṅguḍi Tevāram of Tirujñānasaṃbandar wherein he refers to the sanctum sanctorum of the goddess at Ālaṅguḍi as Kacchi Kāmakoḍi. This Tevāram in unmistakable terms refers to the identity of Kāñchī Kāmakoṭi with the aṃbikā of the local shrine. And within the city boundary of Kāñchī there is no garbha-gṛha with. Ambikā installed in it. No key to this curious phenomenon in the millenium-old temple construction scheme within the Kāñchī city limits and to the countrywide practice of referring to Ambikā shrines in the Śiva temples as Kāmakoṭi would have been available but for the two texts—the Kāmākṣī-vilāsa and the Ālaṅguḍi Tevāram of Saint Saṃbandar. A few lines in the simple sthala-purāṇa of Kāmākṣī has regulated the miHemum-old temple worship of Aṃbikā all over the country.
May Kāmākṣī whose divine rays are manifested in the sanctum sanctorum of the goddess in all the Śiva temples and who is the parā-śakti of the Kāmakoṭi-pīṭha, which has been doubly sanctified by being presided over by Ādi Śaṅkara hinself and now by our Jagadguru Śrī Chandraśekharendra Sarasvatī, protect us all!
kāmaparipanthikāminī hāmeśvarī kāmapīṭhamadhyagate
kāmadughā bhava kamale kāmakale hāmakoṭi kāmākṣi.
Footnotes and references:
Vide Kāñchīmāhātmya, 44, 4 to 11.
South Indian Temple Inscriptions. (Madras: Government Oriental Manuscrip t s Library), Part I , No. 14, p. 22.
Ibid., No. 197, p. 190.
Ibid., No. 257, p. 248.
Ibid., No. 530, p. 517.
Ibid., No. 539, p. 528.
Ibid., Part II, No. 597, p. 586.
Ibid., No. 598, p. 586.
Ibid., No. 635, p. 613.
Ibid., No. 1042, p. 975.
Ibid., No. 1048, p. 980.
Ibid., No. 1049, p. 981.
Ibid., Part III, Section I, No. 1175, p. 1152.
Ibid., No. 1209, p. 1220.
Ibid., Part III, Section II, Nos. 1271-73, 99. 1321-23.