Arulmigu Subramanyaswamy Temple - Holy Waters
The “Theerthas” (holy waters) of Sivamalai :
Once upon a time the Chola king Muchukunda was afflicted by leprosy. He heard from the sage Gautama that he would be cured if he took a dip in the holy theertha(waters) of Sivamalai. He did so and was miraculously cured, giving credence to the sanctity of Sivamalai. The various theerthas are : Agasthya, Anuma, Indra, Brahmananda, Mangala and Veera theertha.
Beautiful landscapes and seasons have always inspired great Tamil poetry and songs. One of the ancient forms of dramatic poetry is the Kuravanji Natakam. The Sivamalai Kuravanji describes the beauty of this place. It says that it is a mountain covered with medicinal and curative herbs and other fauna. Thus it is not surprising that it attracts important visitors like Nadi and Siddha medicine men (Vaidhiyars). They have found medicinal herbs for conceiving children, and also making the aged young. Many incurable wounds, and scars left by weapons have been cured by these herbal remedies. Some creepers grown here are even used to tame wild animals. There is a special type of grass called “jothi pullu” which lights up in the dark. Remedies are also found for prolonging one’s youthfulness, and fertility.
Saint Arunagirinathar :
Arinagirinathar, was the greatest Murugabhaktar of Tamil Nadu. He lived in the 15th century when the best part of Tamilnadu was under the Nayak dynasty king Prabhudadeva Maharayar. This dynasty had its origins in Vijayanagar. Arunagirinathar visited many Murugan temples and sang his inimitable songs of praise about each deity. Collectively known as “ Thiruppugazh” these songs are hymns dear to the hearts of all Tamil people. What is more, Murugan temples which dot the landscape of Tamil Nadu are often regarded with greater esteem by people if they have been visited by Arunagirinathar, and if he has composed songs about that particular deity. He is believed to have visited Kongu Nadu three times and sung his “ thiruppugazh” in praise of sthalas of this region. The songs number more than thirty. The phrase which identifies Kongu Nadu in the songs is “ Kundru thoradal”. The two songs he sang in Sivamalai open with the words “ Karutha Kuzhaiani” and “ Kurumbai malachalam”. They end with the phrase “ Sivamalai kanda Perumale” and “ Sivamalai maruviya Perumale”. Although these songs have been published as part of the anthology of songs in praise of Pazhani ( 187, 188) the phrase “ Inai ili pulinagar valanda” establishes the geographical spot “ pulikkal medu” on the way to Sivamalai.
Saintly Women :
The Tamil country can boast of innumerable women devotees who were regarded as saints. Some of more renowned are Mangayakarasi, Karaikkal Ammayar, Tilakavathi and Isaignani. Sivamalai too can boast of a woman saint. She was appropriately named Valli. A true devotee of Muruga. She grew her hair in long matted locks and lived in the temple. She served pilgrims, built wells and resting places for them, fed and stood for long hours in penance in front of the sanctum.She once pleaded with the Lord, "I am coming to Kailasa to get a darshan of you". The Lord heard her and told her to remain where she was at Sivamalai. He said “ Amma Sadaichi, we will come to Sivamalai to appear in a vision to you”! Thereafter, she disappeared. In due course people heard her voice which told them that she had become one with God. Devotees later made a statue of her and placed it at the foot of the altar. Her praise is sung in the Sivamalai Kuravanji.