Day 3/9 | Exploring the temples and ashrams of Vijayawada
Following the Master | East India Pilgrimage 2019
Early this morning, Paramahamsa Vishwananda visited the Panakala Narasimha Swami Temple at Mangalagiri near Vijayawada. The Narasimha at this temple is ‘svayambhu’ (self-manifested).
Short story of this temple:
After killing the demon Namuchi, Lord Narasimha was still in an extremely angry mood. All the demigods were fearful of this form of Lord Narasimha. To please the Lord and calm Him down, demigods offered a pot of nectar to Lord Narasimha. Lord Narasimha drank half of the nectar and was satisfied. At that time, Lord Narasimha told the demigods that in Satya Yuga, He will drink half of the nectar offered to Him. In Treta Yuga, He will be satisfied by drinking Ghee. In Dwapara Yuga, He will be satisfied by drinking milk and in Kali Yuga, he will drink half of the panakam (sweet water) offered to Him.
As currently Kali Yuga is going on, Lord Narasimha drinks thousands of litres of panakam every day at Mangalagiri. Because of this reason, the name of Lord Narasimha at Mangalagiri is Panakala or Pana-Narasimha. It is believed that the hill of Mangalagiri was once a volcano and that the different offerings to the deity of Lord Narasimha have prevented the volcanic eruption.
Lord Narasimha’s deity form can be found in the innermost chamber of the temple, but only the face of the Lord with His widely-opened mouth is manifested here. Devotees who come to visit Him here can offer panakam and will get half of it back as prasadam. Even though there is sweet water everywhere in the temple, it is very interesting that you cannot find a single ant or fly inside and around the temple.
On the way down from the Narasimha Temple, Guruji stopped at a Balaji temple. It was a very nice and amazing experience how much time they give you with the deity and they even let you do part of the puja yourself.
Sri Pandari Kshetram Temple at Chilakalapudi
After a late breakfast, we started a 2 hour journey to a temple where Vitthala manifested himself. After a very long darshan, chanting and singing 'Vitthala', we had lunch.
Short story of this temple:
Sri Bhakta Narasimham devoted himself heart and soul to the divine mission enjoined on him, and at the end of a long and fruitful life, returned to the Lotus Feet of Lord Vishnu.
In 1925, he purchased an extensive site in Chilakalapudi with the long term plan of constructing a temple. His devotion was so great that he prepared an invitation card to Lord Panduranga and his consorts Radha, Rukmini and Satyabhama inviting them to an ‘Annasamaradhana’ (Poor-feeding) which he proposed to conduct on the full-moon day in the coming month of Kartika. The invitation was duly sent by post to Pandaripuram in Maharashtra. On the day of the Samaradhana, Bhakta Narasimha duly performed his daily puja, and then, as the 'poor-feeding' started, he fell prostrate on the ground and chanting the name ‘Vitthala’ implored the Lord to make His presence felt. He remained in this trance till 8 pm that day. All the while, the Samaradhana was going on, and it was said that a full young Sadhu, about twenty years of age, took his lunch, asked for a tumbler full of ghee, drank it and disappeared. Hundreds of people were fed on that day and were given dakshina. The meal went on until 9 pm.
This Samaradhana continued regularly. In 1928, Sri Narasimham as usual took a dip in the river Chandrabagha and collected a number of pebbles to be used in the foundation of the proposed temple at Chilakalapudi. While he and his mentor Sri Mahipati Maharaj were in a trance looking at some pebbles, which shone like precious stones, Lord Panduranga manifested himself as a bright beam of light in one of the pebbles. An overcome Mahipati Maharaj handed it over to Sri Narasimham, described it as ‘Sparsavedi’ and blessed him. That night Sri Narasimham dreamed that Lord Panduranga would be manifesting himself in Chilakalapudi to be named 'Keerapandari Kshetram'.
Shirdi Baba Temple
Very close to the Pandurenga Temple we stopped at a Shirdi Baba temple with a huge Shirdi Baba deity in front. The temple is designed really nicely and tells the stories of Shirdi Sai on the ceiling (very similar idea to the Bhutabhrteshwarnat Mandir in Germany).
Sitarama Swami Temple
Next, we went to a very ancient temple dedicated to Sri Sita Rama Swami. Outside the temple is a very rare murti of Hanuman's wife (His Shakti, of course, as He is a brahmachari).
Finally, we visited the ashram of Danthulammavari Temple which was also the Samadhi of Dontulamma.
After a long day we returned to the hotel, tomorrow we will be travelling to Bhardrachalam.
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on a pilgrimage to the Divine!