Thypooyam A festival occurring in the Malayalam month Makaram
(January-February), the day of the star Pooyam around Pournami (Full Moon)
is celebrated as Thypooyam. There was a demon named Tharakasuran who was
troubling the Rishis and Saints. Lord Muruga was called by his parents Lord
Shiva and Parvati and given the job of destroying the asuran. Lord Muruga
set off with the blessings of his parents, to destroy the demon. He carried
twelve weapons, eleven of which were given by his father Lord Shiva and
the 'Vel' given by his mother Parvati. Lord Muruga destroyed Tharakasuran
on the Pooyam Nakshatram day in the Tamil month of Thai and hence Thypooyam
is celebrated in all Murugan temples.
Generally, people take a vow to offer the Lord a Kavadi for the sake of
tiding over a great calamity. No doubt, the worldly object is achieved for
the devotee who takes the Kavadi. After the ceremony he fells that his inner
spiritual being gets awakened. This is also a method that ultimately leads
to the supreme state of devotion.
The Kavadi has various shapes and sizes, from the simple shape of a hawker's
storehouse (a wooden stick with two baskets at each end, slung across the
shoulder) to the costly palanquin structure, profusely flower-bedecked and
decoratively interwoven with peacock feathers
The two baskets hanging at each end of the Kavadi contain
milk, rose water, chandanam, tender coconut water, bhasmam, Sesame oil(Enna)etc
that the devotee has vowed to offer the Lord. The more devout among them,
and especially those who do it as a Sadhana, collect these articles by begging
(bhiksha). They travel on foot from village to village, and beg from door
to door. The devotees conduct pooja for Idumban before starting the bhiksha.
Some keen devotees undertake to walk barefoot from home to one of the
shrines of Lord Subramanya, bearing the Kavadi all the way and collecting
materials for the offering.
The Kavadi-bearer is required to observe various rules between the time
he takes up the Kavadi, and the day of the offering. He has to perform elaborate
ceremonies at the time of assuming the Kavadi, and at the time of offering
it to the Lord. He wears saffron-coloured cloth and carry a conical scarlet
cap and a cane silver-capped at both ends. The Kavadi-bearer very often
observes silence. He observes strict celibacy. Only pure, vegetarian food
is taken; he abstains from all sorts of intoxicating drinks and drugs. He
thinks of God all the time.
Many of the Kavadi-bearers, especially those who do it as a spiritual
Sadhana, impose various forms of self-torture. Some pass a sharp little
spear (“vels”) through their tongue, which is made to protrude
out of the mouth. Others may pass a spear through the cheek. This sort of
piercing is done in other parts of the body also. The vels represent the
spear of Lord Muruga that killed Idumban. Lemons are pierced and hanged
from the “vels”. The acid juice of lemons and bhasma spread
over the pierced flesh cures bleeding.
The Kavadi-bearer enjoys a high state of religious fervour. His very appearance
is awe-inspiring; there is divine radiance on his face. Devotees often experience
the state of feeling united with the Lord.
Thazhakara Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple | Important Murugan pilgrimage center in Kerala | Thazhakara | Mavelikara | Kerala | India