Today is the festival of Chandonothsavam of Simhachalam Lakshmi Varaha Narasimhaswami. It happens to be Akshaya Thruthiya and Parasurama Jayanthi too.
This is the only day Lord graces the world with real appearance ‘nijarupa darsanam’ for 24 hours in Simhachalam followed by Sri Ramanuja Thirunakshathram. On all other days the Lord is always covered with four layers of sandal paste. On this day, Vaishnava Swamis do abhishekam to Lord with their own hands which is unique. This is not found anywhere else in any other temple. They carry potful of water from the nearby waterfall and offer abhishekam. Thus the sahasrakalasabhishekam is performed. Presently the temple authorities – officials, archakas and trustees etc., are extending the privilege to all those who come with sikha and yajnopavitham in this kainkaryam.
Lord is offered abhishekam with 1000 clay pots by the Vaishnava Swamis bringing water from Ganga Dhara that is on the rear side of the temple. This water source is perennial and water here that flows from the mountains from unknown source is pure and sweet. Before the real appearance (nijaru:pa darsanam) maha naivaidyam is offered to the Lord and again it is offered only after offering chandanam to Him. During the time of nijarupadarsanam of lord, only dry fruits and fruits are offered to Him but not cooked prasadam.
Initially the priests perform punyahavachanam, kalasa puja etc., in the front mantapam of the sanctum. Then all the Vaishnava swamis go to Gangadhara and take sacred shower with those waters, purify themselves and wear sacred marks on forehead. Then they collect the waters in the clay pots while coming in lines to the sanctum.
The distance between Gangadhara and sactum may be approximately 1000mts. The devotee collects the water and offers in the sanctum and goes back to Gangadhara for a second round. In between milk, yogurt, honey, fruit juice which are called pancha amruthas are also offered to Lord in huge quantities.
Usually this process used to start after 10 pm in the night and last until 3 am or 4 am. Of late since three or four years this has been modified and the abhishekam is started at 8 pm approximately and concluded by 12 or 1 a. m.
A few sponsored devotees of course will be allowed to sit in front of the Mandapam and witness the whole process. Immediately after the abhishekam is over, fresh chandanam which is crushed and offered over the Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami to keep the nijarupam that is the actual form covered with cool sandal paste.
May be this process is adopted to preserve the divine beauty of the lord.
The form of the lord looks like pure white marble where the feet are hidden under the ground. Head is like Varaha Swami and the tail like a lion and the body in human form. The divine form of lord is such it doesn’t appear like touching a stone. But it gives the feel of touching a divine boar with hairs and pores on the skin. Taking the darsanam of such divine form is a real blessing.
The formation of the body reminds us of calcium formed in the caves millions of years ago. This way Akshaya Thruthiya became a well-known function to all people who are the devotees of Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami.
This Akshaya trutiya is well known to all women because they believe some gold has to be purchased on this day. Most of the jewelry stores will be busy as women go on a shopping spree.
The Simhachala kshetram is very much attached to Ramanuja’s life history. It is said the Lord here announces that Ramanujacharya only will bestow eternal release from the karmic bondage to every soul. This can be found in the history of a great devotee of Narasimha Swami. The name of the devotee was Sri Thandava Krishnamacharya Swami, a great poet.
Let us all be in the service of great Acharya Ramanuja Swami and get the grace of lord!
Happy Akshaya Thruthiya