Karaiyur Eswara vasal
Lord Mangala Saniswarar
– Santhipriya –
Karaiyur is a small hamlet five Kilometers away from a village called Kangalancheri in the district of Thiruvarur in Tamilnadu. Kangalancheri is approximately 6-8 Kilometers from Thiruvarur.
A small but spiritually significant temple for Lord Saniswarar (Lord Saturn) exists in Karaiyur in the name of Lord Mangala Saniswarar (Lord Saturn who makes ones’ life pleasant) and is situated on the bank of Vennaru river which is the by-river of Kaveri and stated to be supernal in all aspects to Ganges in north.
Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Saturn, who is seated in the sanctum sanctorum at the entrance to Lord Shiva’s sanctum, the temple is known as Sankaranarayana temple as it houses Lord Siva in the main sanctum sanctorum inside which in a separate small sanctum his consort goddess Parvathi (Ambal) is enshrined, while Lord Vishnu with his consort goddess Lakshmi Devi is seated in a sanctum sanctorum on the back court of the same temple revealing that both Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are one and the same.
One has to walk over a small 20 to 30 feet long strong bridge constructed over Vennaru River with bamboo sticks to enter the temple site. One of the words Kari stand for Sani in Tamil language; hence this village has been named as Karaiyur, so goes the belief.
Lord Saturn is the most powerful deity in Navagrahas (planets). It is said that the placement of Saturn in ones’ horoscope takes him to the peak of glory and prosperity or throw him in to utmost misery and poverty. The general belief has been that when one is afflicted with ‘Sani Dosha (evil effects)’ for 7½ years in their life span, they will suffer from malefic effects and face innumerable misery in life due to the wrath of Lord Saturn. Keep away such fears the priest says citing temple legend “visit this temple and offer prayer and worship to Lord Mangala Saniswarar (Saturn) who will himself partially reduce the severity of ill and evil effects of Dosha since he is seated here as Mangala Saniswarar- meaning the one who makes ones’ life pleasant”.
The divine principle has been that no sinner (one who had committed wrong doing in the past) should escape attraction of divine law and justice and has to certainly undergo punishments in the form of misery and suffering commensurate to the extent of sins committed, which will not only be a lesson to them but also deter others from committing such sins. In divine land, Lord Saturn has been assigned the task of enforcing the punishment which he carries out by bringing them under his influence at appropriate time, as destined in their next birth and cause malefic effects against the sins committed. One such harsh punishment has been the 7½ years Sani Dosha causing innumerable sufferings.
However those afflicted with 7½ years Sani Dosha have a breathing space available to realize their wrong doings and get the severity of their misery and sufferings considerably toned down by worshiping Lord Mangala Saniswarar in Karaiyur so goes the belief. Those facing the wrath of Lord Saniswarar, if visit this temple and offer prayers to the same Lord who is seated here as Lord Mangala Saniswarar, he modifies the harshness of the punishments to such an extent that the individual will be able to face the punishments in natural manner without feeling too much frustrated in life. This is the greatness of offering prayers here.
The temple history states that Lord Saniswarar who began his journey from Thirukollikkaadu to Tirunallaaru (another destination where his temple exists) had to stay overnight in Karaiyur in exceptional circumstances. He was riding on his divine vehicle crow which like any other crow loses sight when it becomes dark in the evening. Lord Saturn was proceeding to Tirunallaaru to bring under his influence, King Nala one of the then powerful emperors (in Mahabharata period) who had to undergo extreme suffering on account of a curse befallen on him in his previous birth. What was the sin committed by him ? When King Nala was still a King in his previous birth, he punished an innocent saint for 12 years which attracted sin and therefore he was destined to undergo ill effects in life for 12 years to be caused by Lord Sani in the name of Sani Dosha in his next birth. King Nala who lived in opulence got into the grip of Lord Saturn when the destined time to undergo the punishment arose. Hence Lord Sani had to travel from Thirukollikkaadu to Tirunallaaru to mete out the punishment by placing him under his influence.
As Lord Saniswarar began his travel to Tirunallaaru sitting on the back of the Crow which becomes blind in night, on reaching the outskirt of Karaiyur night befell and he had to force land in the present temple site in Karaiyur where surprisingly he happened to have the vision of Lord Shiva enshrined there and worshiped him. Explaining the difficulty in continuing the journey he sought permission of Lord Shiva to stay there overnight which was granted by the Lord without any hesitation.
Next morning Lord Saturn woke up, took bath in the Vennaru River, completed the morning chores due, worshiped the Lord again along with Lord Vishnu and sought the permission of Lord Shiva to leave to Tirunallaaru, Lord Shiva asked him as to why he wanted to leave so early and urgently, Lord Saturn replied that as per his earlier orders only (Lord Shiva’s) he was proceeding to Tirunallaaru to mete out the punishment to Nala Maharaja who was staying there since the destined time to punish him had arisen. Lord Shiva was happy to hear that Lord Saniswarar was proceeding to Tirunallaaru to carry out his orders, but further commanded that since Lord Saniswarar was permitted to stay in Karaiyur overnight, henceforth Lord Saniswarar should stay in Karaiyur too in the form of Mangala Saniswarar to grant joy and happiness to those who visit there and offer prayers to him (to Lord Shiva) and then offer prayers to Lord Saturn too in the same shrine. Even if those who offered prayers to Lord Saturn were afflicted by Sani Dosha or faced other forms of evil effects due to other sins, their sufferings shall have to be toned down to permit them lead fairly a pleasant life.
Since Lord Saturn was subordinate deity to Supreme Lord Shiva, like all other divines, he had to comply to his orders and thus began to stay there as Lord Mangala Saniswarar to partially condone the malefic effects of the devotees due to 7½ years Sani Dosha to bring pleasantness in their life. The priest claims that those who offer prayers in this shrine will realize that they had gained sufficient mental strength to face the toned down punishments in normal manner. One important point to be kept in the mind is that divine powers are such that the divines can enshrine themselves in several places, that too in different forms at the same time and period.
A village lore is told on the greatness of river Vennaru flowing by the side of this temple site. After washing their hands and feet, if the devotees throw sesame seeds mixed with water into this river praying that the souls of their ancestors and those dead in their family remain free from hunger, their plea will be accepted and the souls for whom they had prayed will remain free of hunger.
Since such a spiritually glorified temple is situated inside a small village the temple is kept closed on most of the time and is opened only for few hours in the morning and evening. Therefore before visiting this shrine, it is advisable that one contact the temple priest to ensure that the shrine is kept opened to offer prayers. They can also get the archana and Pooja done there. The temple address is:
Shri Thyagaraja Gurukkal
Cell: +91 97906 76748 OR 9447 11048