Madurai Meenakshi Temple Sthala Puranam, History of Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswar Koil..
Effacing of Indra’s Sin The first of the puranas refers to the origins of Madurai and the divine association of the Meenakshi Sundareshwara temple.
Hinduism has strong belief in reincarnation and the principle of karma – that the acts of one life have ramifications not only in the afterlife but also in the next birth. As a consequence great emphasis is laid on leading a pure sin-free life and in the event where a sin is committed, they go through severe austerities for purification and cleansing.
This is where the divine powers of Madurai come to rescue as illustrated in an interesting tale where, not only humans, but even Gods and Demigods can seek cleansing in its sacred environs.
The first anecdote deals with an episode where Indra’s sin is effaced. The legend goes thus :
Indra, the Chief of Devas, had to kill a demon who was terrorizing the three worlds for which he waged a war against the Asuraas. Unfortunately the demon was a high born Brahmin, whose slaying brought upon Indra a grave sin. Indra tried various means to rid himself, of the sin, but to no avail. Once, in the realm of humans, passing through a forest of Kadamba trees, Indra felt the burden being miraculously lifted.
Relieved of his sin, he looked for the source and found a Shiva Linga of incomparable beauty and exceptional prowess, in the shades of the Kadamba tree. Next to the tree was a Golden Lotus Pond, where in Indra proceeded to cleanse himself by bathing in its waters and offering the golden lotus to the Shiva Linga. Birth of Meenakshi Once, Madurai was ruled by a king by name Malayadhvaja pandian. His wife was Kaanchanamaalai and unfortunately they were not blessed with a child for quite a long period. They conducted a yaga (an act of propitiation to the Gods), called Puthra Kaameshti Yagam.
A beautiful three years old female child was granted to them which appeared from the fire of the Yaga, spontaneously. This child had three breasts in its body and this caused distress to the royal couple, Malayadhvajan and Kaanchanamaalai. Also, they had asked God Almighty for a male child who could carry on the affairs of the Kingdom and they beseeched help from the God again. There was a voice from heaven that spoke thus, “Do not think that this is an ordinary female child. Nurture it the way you would treat a male child and make her the Queen; and when she sees her suitor one breast of hers will automatically disappear”. They named the child Thadaathagai and took abundant care in bringing her up. At the appropriate time, she was crowned the Queen of Madurai. From that day onwards she held the scepter of royal power and ruled over Madurai.
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