Monday, October 27, 2014

Thavathiru Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal and Parvathamalai

I recently made a posting on Arunachala Grace about Parvathamalai giving information about a number of legends surrounding that sacred Hill which is located about 25 kms from Tiruvannammlai. To read the posting go to this link here

The below is a narrative about the saint Thavathiru Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal who is believed to have lived for many years on Parvathamalai and engaged in sadhana dedicated to Lord Shiva. The following legend appears in a well known book written in Tamil—I believe this is the first time this tale has appeared in English. 

The story goes thus: 

Thavathiru Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal 

To the northern side of Tiruvannamalai there is a place which has the sacred blessing of Lord Shiva and which used to be known as Trisula Paaruvatham. Today this sacred place is called, Parvathamalai. It is an ancient Hill which has a beautiful Temple of Lord Mallikarajuna Iswara located on its summit. This sacred Temple is believed to have originated over 2,000 years ago. The Hill is surrounded by forests and mountains and is known as Thirumoolaarenyam. 

A number of Siddhas and Maharshis have performed Thaavam at this place. A famous Rishi known as Mirukaandu Muni, lived on this Hill and with his power of thaavam a river originated nearby called Mirukaanda River which now flows all through the forest. Agathir Maharshi and Kaanuvar Rishi have performed thapas and stayed for sometime at this sacred place. Even today a number of Siddhas and Rishis are believed to be residing at Trisula Paaruvatham. The Universal Guru, Aathi Shivalinga – Chariya Peruman Gurupeetam is at that spot even now. 

Parvathamalai through the Mist [photo by Amalraj]

Thavathiru Guru Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal was the sixth Gurumoothy of the Gurupeetam. He was well versed in the agamas and in all manner of spiritual books. He performed Shiva Linga pooja each morning, noon and evening for many years. 

During his lifetime a Mughal (Muslim) king named Naavab Baadhumsha interrupted a Tiruvannamalai Temple programme during Festival time while a Panchamoorthy procession was going on. It is customary for saints to walk at the back of a Panchamoorthy procession: Neadumaran Devar, Jollyganda Devar, Paanapathera Devar, Veerupatchi Devar and Arunachalam were on a palaquin at the back of this procession. The Mughal king watching the procession viewed the saints at the back and asked that if the procession was for the five Gods on their vahanas how could it be acceptable that these saints should be coming on a palaquin at the back of them. This king felt that such an act was entirely improper. 

People around the King told him that these five saints were very powerful and by power of their tapas were able to eliminate any problems or difficulties that might arise. On hearing this the King became enraged and cut a cow (which was near to him) into two halves. He told all around that he challenged the saints that if they truly were in the possession of Divine power that they would be able to make the cow come back to life. The King announced that if the saints were to fail that he would destroy the Arunachaleswarar Temple in retribution. The five saints tried all manner of puja, mantras and invocations to heal the cow and bring it back to life—but they failed with every attempt. 

After sometime they heard a voice emanating from the sky informing them to go to Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal as he alone could make the cow come back to life. The five saints set off on the 25 km distance to Trisula Paaruvatham (Parvathamalai) to see the saint and to inform him about the King’s challenge and to request him to come and return the cow to life. 

Metal Padukas

When the five saints reached the Guru Peetam, Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal was in Shiva Yogam. Two tigers (who were manifestations of God Shiva and the Goddess Parvati) were sitting on both sides of him and the saints were unable to reach him. After Swamigal completed his yoga, the two tigers left the place and the five saints talked with Swamigal and informed him about the challenge of the King. 

On hearing the challenge Swamigal requested that the five saints should worship the Shiva Lingam murthy at the Lord Mallikarajuna Iswara Temple on top of Trisula Paaruvatham (Parvathamalai) and then informed the saints to make arrangements for a powerful and special puja. He gave explicit instructions that they should prepare a homam (burning sacrifice) long enough to fully stretch to Tiruvannamalai. It was his intention and tapas that he would walk through the 25 km long, burning homam whilst wearing scorching hot metal padukas. The five saints made the arrangements as outlined and Swamigal started his way towards Tiruvannamalai. As Swamigal reached the direction of Esanya Lingam (northeast of Arunachala) the two halves of the cow came together and joined up. 

Swamigal went to the Big Temple and after worshipping Lord Arunachala sprinkled the holy water from his kamandalu onto the cow and the creature immediately returned to life. The hitherto distressed calf became happy and jumped towards its mother to have milk. The King was shocked to see such happenings and fell to the ground, worshipping the Swamigal in remorse for his actions. The King most eager to see the full extent of the spiritual powers of the Saint, requested Swamigal to bring to life a stone bull (Nandhi) in the Temple. Swamigal said that it would happen and recited the Linga mantra. As he was chanting the Nandhi came to life, stood up and made a loud sound and then sat back down and became stone again. 

The King felt great remorse for his treatment of Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal and aplogised most earnestly for everything that had transpired. He then went with the Swami to the Gurupeetam on Trisula Paaruvatham, stayed some time performing service for the Saint and then returned to Tiruvannamalai. Veera Vairakiya Moorthy Swamigal continued at Trisula Paaruvatham all the while performing his Shiva Linga pooja and in this way helped develop Shiva bhakti amongst the people. He himself was to merge in the feet of his Lord Shiva. 


  1. This is very nice. Enjoyed reading it and am very interested in learning more about this extraordinary place, which is also so close to Arunachala.

  2. I've heard that people are going now to Parvathamalai to perform girivalam. 25 kms of unspoilt countryside. Sounds beautiful. Thanks for the post. Enjoyed.

  3. Wonderful to read about this great saint and also his association with Tiruvannamalai.