What is the Significance of Panguni Uthiram? Spiritual significance and religious importance of Panguni Uthiram festival is given here..
The Panguni Uthiram is an important festival falls in the month ‘Panguni’ i.e. Palguna (March-April). This month is special because of the star ‘Uthiram’ usually falls on Pournami Day. Besides, it is on ‘Panguni Pournami Uthiram” that the marriage of Goddess Parvathi and Lord Parameshwara, Sri Subrahmanyaswamy and Sri Valli, and Goddess Andal and Ranganathar took place.
Also, Valmiki Ramayanam says it is on this day and star that Sita’s marriage was celebrated.
From Brahmanda Purana one learns that on Panguni Uthiram every holy water joins Thumburu Teertha, one of seven sacred tanks in Tirupati Tirumala.
The ancients chose Uthiram to convey to humans that it is underlining the glory of Grihasta Dharma (married life) that the Almighty manifests in the marital state as Uma-Maheshwara. Sita-Rama and Radha-Krishna – despite his changelessness, sans childhood or youth or old age. It is our pleasure to celebrate this day when the Lord in both Shiva and Vishnu temples, appears to devotees in their ‘Nithya Kalyana Murthi Sthithi.
Panguni Uthiram is also the day of incarnation of Lord Ayyappa and considered most sacred by devotees of Lord Ayyappa.
According to a legend, sages Patanchali and Vyagrapada after having dharshan of Lord Natarja’s left padham (attributed to the Divine Mother Goddess in the ardhanaari swaroopam) during HIS cosmic dance at Chidambraram, were desirous to have dharshan of HIS right padham. It was on this auspicious occasion of Panguni Uthiram, Lord Shiva blessed the sages and offered dharshan of HIS right padam (Rudra padham dharshanam) in a sitting posture as somaskanda at Thiruvarur, where HE is known as Lord Thyagaraja.
Murugan is a popular Hindu deity worshipped in South India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Muruga as evidenced by the three first letters: MU – Mukundan (Vishnu), RU — Rudra (Siva) and KA — Kamalan (Brahma) – contains in himself the three divine eternal functions: creation (sristi), protection (sthithi) and destruction (samhara). `Muruga’ literally means – The Beautiful One. Love shines where there is Beauty and where there is love – truth radiates. When we seek truth we get liberated. Lord Muruga is the symbol of eternal youth, wisdom and liberation. Muruga’s three integral elements are his spear (Vel), peacock his mount and the cock adorning his banner. The Vel, signifies jnanasakti (power of wisdom); given by his mother Parvathi, wishing him victory over Surapadma. The peacock (represents bindu) displays the divine shape of Omkara when it spreads its magnificent plumes into a full blown circular form, while the cock (representing nadha) proclaims loudly the Pranava sound OM.
Muruga’s consorts are Valli and Devayani. They represent Iccha Sakthi and Kriya Sakthi. In fact they are Sundaravalli and Amudavalli, born out of the tears of joy of Sri Narayana during his incarnation as Trivikrama. Both did intense penance with the object of attaining the status as Muruga’s consorts. Pleased with their prayers, Muruga appeared before them and ordained that Amudavalli be born in Devaloka as Indra’s daughter, while Sundaravalli would take birth on the earth in a hunter tribe. The Lord promised to marry both Valli and Devayani. The marriage of Muruga and Devayani took place at Tirupparankundram with full Vedic rites. Devayani was in fact gifted to Muruga by Devendra in great acknowledgment of heroism and valor displayed by Muruga as the supreme commander. Deva Senapathi (General of the Gods) thus became Devasena Pathi (Husband of Devasena).
Thirumurugatrupadai, a religious poem par excellence sung by the great sage Nakkeerar, describes Sri Valli, the consort of Sri Subrahmanya as ‘innocent daughter of the hunter-tribe with creeper-like waist, at whom one of the six faces of Murugan smiles in serenity’.
Sri Valli, a reincarnation of Sri Sundara valli, was brought up by King Nambi Rajah of Chitoor, the head of hunter tribe after he found the child in a cluster of Valli Kodi (a kind of creeper). The place where the child was found is known as Valli Malai (located in North Arcot district near Wallajah town about 25 Kms from Vellore)
In tune with the hunter tribe custom, her father sent her to ‘tinaippunam’ (tinai i.e. millet field) to keep vigil and protect the crop from birds until harvest. It was at this time that Valli attained guru diksha from sage Narada. Goddess Valli had her heart & soul to lord & always pray with fervent devotion & love to be with Him. The teenager Valli made a vrata or solemn vow to marry no mortal man but only the great Lord Murugan. According to the legend Sri Valli performed penance at Valli Thavapeetam in Sri Valli malai to have the hands of Sri Muruga.
Sri Valli Kalyanam
Lord Muruga, after shedding His anger after defeating Surapadman was in repose mood at Thiruthanigai. (In the days that followed the name of this place is changed to Thiruthani.) Sage Narada then proceeded to nearby Tiruttani and reminded Skanda about His meeting with Sundaravalli in Kailasa and informed Him that she had been born as Valli, daughter to Nambirajan, the king of a hill tribe. He also reminded his promise to marry Sri Valli.
Sri Subrahmanya’s leela began now. He first appeared as a hunter and was rejected by Valli. The story goes that He then took the form of a trembling old man, pretending to be hungry, and ate millet flour and honey mixture offered by Valli. On eating the same He had hiccups and asked for water which was fetched from a pond, known as Kumari Theertham still exists till date. This pond, located on the western side of Thirupugazh Asramam in Valli Malai, does not get either sun or moon rays and water is perennial and is considered as Ganges water. Even today young women sprinkle water from this pond and pray to Sri Valli for a good husband.
He then proposed to marry her only to be chased away. Finally, Muruga invoked the blessings of his elder brother Sri Ganesha for the success of his mission. On his younger brother’s appeal, Ganesha appeared as a wild elephant in the forest and began to chase Valli. Terrified by the menacing advance, Valli ran for protection and ran straight into the arms of Muruga. The old man, however, when he had got Valli’s assurance that she would marry him, mysteriously sent the elephant away. Now that all danger was over, Valli treated the whole matter lightly and refused to keep up her promise: she argued that to frighten a girl and get a promise out of her in that condition was unfair and that morally she was not bound by such a promise at all. No sooner were these words out of her mouth than the dreaded elephant came charging again. Her terror was so acute that she willingly and solemnly promised to marry the old man, if only he would send the awful elephant away out of her sight. At the same moment, to her great astonishment and joy, she saw before her Lord Skanda with the Vel in His hand, exactly where the old man had stood courting her in such a strange fashion. Valli apologized to Him for her silly conduct and begged for His grace. Very much pleased with the intensity of her devotion, the Lord accepted her as His consort.
To the great joy of Nambirajan and the Devas and in the presence of Devarshi Narada, the wedding of Valli was celebrated. With Valli and Deivayanai as His consorts, the Lord retired to the Thiruthani Hills which is one of the Arupadai Veedu (the six battle camps) of the Lord on his way to Kailasa. Acceptance of Valli by Murugan is a reaffirmation of the benevolence of the Lord towards the human who trusts Him.
An opportunity to witness the performance of divine kalyana mahotsavams is considered auspicious and a great blessing. Enactment of celestial weddings is also intended to underline the glory of gruhasta-dharma (married life of a householder). These traditions retell the principles of God-consciousness to the younger generation while enriching our daily lives.
The divine force of Panguni Uthiram can blow away the misunderstandings and troubles in a marriage that paves way for a happy married life.