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Where rare deities are housed

Rare deities envisioned in the Hindu scriptural texts have been installed at Om Sri Skandashramam, in Chennai. Special pujas for world peace will be held at the temple from December 12. T. A. SRINIVASAN writes...

Goddess Bhuvaneswari at Om Sri Skandashramam... .

INDIA CAN feel proud that a long line of preceptors walked through the length and breadth of the country, guiding the people in the midst of trials and tribulations and blessing them with their benign grace. In this illustrious line comes Sri Satguru Santhananda Swamigal of Pudukkottai, who belongs to the Avadhuta tradition of Dattatreya.

The math was founded by Santhananda Swamigal's preceptor, popularly known as Sri Judge Swamigal. Santhananda is a preceptor and a different kind of worshipper. Unlike other religious leaders who have been building temples and installing idols of commonly known deities, he has built shrines for various gods and goddesses as envisioned in the Mantras of various scriptural texts, in the hermitages or ashramams under his control. The temples include Pudukkottai Sri Bhuvaneswari Adhishtanam, Om Sri Skandashramam at Salem, Senthamangalam Datta Giri Ashramam and Om Sri Skandashramam in Chennai, situated on the Tambaram-Velacheri Road at Mahalakshmi Nagar.

The Chennai ashramam has already arranged for the installation of massive Panchaloka idols of Sarabeswarar, Sri Ugra Prathyankara Devi, Sri Heyramba Ganapathi and Sri Dattatreya. Besides the Swamigal is also taking steps to instal a massive Panchaloka idol of Chakrathazhwar or Sudarsana with a diameter of 18 feet, claimed to be the only one of its kind in the entire country. The idol will have the images of Sri Sudarsana and Sri Lakshmi Narasimha on either side. Efforts have been on for the past two years to get the idol ready, and in all likelihood it may be installed in February 2002.

Mean while Sri Sudarsana Homam is to be conducted to ward off evils and for world peace from December 12 to March 31, 2002, for 108 days. In this connection a committee with Mr. Ramasubramania Raja, industrialist, has been formed. The total expenditure for conducting the homam and for other development expenses in the ashramam is expected to reach Rs.50 lakhs and the entire amount is likely to be contributed by Sri Santhananda's disciples and devotees.

The Prathyankara Saraba Choorani Homam is now being performed at the ashramam from 9 am to 12 noon daily. This homam is being done from June 1999 when the ashramam was built and consecrated. The Swamiji originally wanted to perform the homam one crore times. At the rate of 1,500 times a day it will require 16 to 17 years to get completed. Hence he has directed that it should be held as a Nithya Homam, without any interruption.

Already Panchaloka deities of Prathyankara Devi and Sarabeswarar, both 12 feet high, have been installed. Besides there are idols of Sri Skanda or Swaminatha Swami and Goddess Bhuvaneswari. At the centre of the shrine is Srichakra Mahameru. Shrines for the idols of Dattatreya, Sri Sudarsana and Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya are being readied to make the temple complex house all important deities, described in the scriptures.

Though situated in a far corner of the city, the temple complex is already drawing a large number of devotees, according to Mr. Venkataraman, treasurer, and Mr. Sriprakash, secretary, Om Sri Skandashramam, Chennai, which started functioning from June 24, 1999. The ashram authorities also plan to instal the idols of Saneeswarar and Panchamuka Ganapathi.

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