Rahu Bhagavan

Rahu was the son of Asura king Viprasithi and queen Simmigai.  When the Asura prince Rahu went to the feast following the churning of elixir from the ocean of milk he learnt the subterfuge which Lord Vishnu, in the guise of a bewitching maid, practiced upon the Asuras; Lord vishu was distributing the elimir only among the Devas and was denying Asuras.

Hymn

Once when lord Vishnu gave elixir,
your interposed among the devas
and lost your head.  Rahu, lord with a snakes body
I praise thee.

Rahu immediately took the form of a deva and stood mingled among them.  Lord Vishnu had given a spoon of the elixir which Rahu had first taken in when the Lord divined that this was an Asura.  Upon which knowledge the Lord hit him on the head with the ladle he had on hand, sundering Rahu's head from the trunk.  Rahu's head grow a snake tail and the trunk grew a snake's hood and was called Kethu.

In the zodiac, Rahu and Kethu are always at an angle of 180 degrees and move counter clockwise.  They are shadow planets but have immense influence on human life.

Rahu rides up on a goat.  He is positioned towards the Southwest direction.  He is amenable to the flower Mandharai, the grain of Ulundu and the leaf of Arugu.  His form is that of a dark snake.  He has eight horses pulling his chariot.  His face resembles that of Lion, and he has four hands.  His consort is Simhi.

The propitiation of Rahu Dasa

The period of Raghu's influence is 18 years.  Rahu is the lor of Wisdom.  One should worship Nagarajan or mother Durga, wear the gem stone, and donate silver snake or ulundhu and worship at a shrine of Rahu for the curse of fear caused by one's enemies.  Rahu will gift one with life akin to a king.

The Shrine of Rahu, Thirunageshwarar

Location : 5 km to the east of Kumbakonam temple.  A magnificent temple with vast spaces.  The sanctum of Rahu is separate.  The sanctum or Girikujambal is outside the main temple complex, but inside the area of the temple.  The temple was called Sanbakranyam in ancient times.

Reigning deities :  Nageswarar, Naganathar, Sambu Karanyeswar, Pirainuthalaniamman, Kunramamulaiamman (Girikujambal).

Holy tree : Sanbaga tree.

Holy water: Suriya theertham.

Saints : Apppar, Sambanthar and Chekizhar have sung hymns in praise of this shrine.

Greatness :  The greatness of the temple is evident from the fact that Chekkizhar swamy served Lord Siva by cleaning this temple and maintaining its garden.  Today it is renown as a shrine of Rahu.  There is a wondered sight associated with Rahu in this shrine.  The milk that is poured over to bath the stone idol of Rahu turns blue as it passes over the lord.

The temple of Thirunageswaram

 One enter the temples of Naganathaswamy through the beautiful arch at the entrance.  The tower of the temple is five tiered.  One goes past many shops selling coconuts and flowers and choultries and wedding halls built enroute.  In that space inside the temple tower is the shrine of Nritha Ganapathy and Nandhi.  Suriya theertham is to the left.  North of the tower is the hall of hundred pillars and the North Tower.
Inside the second tower is the perambulatory square in which there is the sanctum of Rahu with consort Simhi and Chitralekha.  There is enough space for about a hundred people to sit and pray to Rahu Bhagvan. Devotees offer milk, hymns and silver snake to this lord of wisdom.  It is a sight to behold the milk turn blue as it flows over the dark stone statue of Rahu.

In the frontal hall there is evidence that, Chekkizhar maintained the temple in good state.  The lamps are lit before the copper snake figurines in this wall.  There are also the images of Chekkizhar,  his Mother and younger brother which are worshiped.  In the third perambulatory square are the sanctum of the sixty three saints, Vinayagar, Murugan, Lakshmi and the for saints of Saivism.  Natarajar is also to be prayed at in his shrine.

Naganathaperumal who is the reigning deity of this temple is in the inner sanctum showering grace in the form of Linga.  To his left is the shrine of Pirayyani Nuthalal, in the outer circumambulatory square.  The shrine of Girikujambikai is at the Northern side.  The holy mother is of an aspect which is manifested as the power of desire, power or the creation and the power of wisdom.

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