Sacred Tree and Sacred Puranam of Koneswaram

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By V.Varathasuntharam

 It has been a great unbroken Hindu tradition from ancient times that all sacred sites have a special sacred text known as Thalapuranam (தலபுராணம்) singing the glory of the shrine and also a sacred tree –Thala Virutcham (தலவிருட்சம்) for each sacred site.

Pilgrims at Koneswaram read the sacred text of Koneswaram and learn the glory of the shrine, Thaksana Kailasapuram, the sacred text of Koneswaram, was composed by Singai  Segarasasegaran upon a request by his guru Sivarasapandithar.

Although this Purannam is an adaptation of a literary, religious work in Sanskrit, it contains refrerences to contributions made by King KullaKottan and King Kajabahu.  IT also illustrates philosophic and religious thoughts found in Mahapuranam.

What is unique about this Thala Puranam is that it was produced at a time,when Koneswaram was at the peak of its glory and prosperity. This literary work occupies an important place in Saivaite traditions and religious traditions of Koneswaram.

It is the considered view of scholars that the Thakashana Kailasa Puranam is such a sacred text that it is appropriate for recitation at homes and temples on all auspicious occasions.

Sacred Tree

Every sacred Hindu site traditionally has its own flora, a sacred tree known as ‘Thalavirutcham’.  Banyan tree is the sacred tree of Koneswaram. A banyan tree stands steadfastly braving the winds,rain and the scorching sun on the edge of the Swamy Rock that projects over the blue sea.

The banyan tree has its significance in Hindu tradition blessing people with extended families close ties and kinship like the aerial roots of the banyan tree.

Young  maidens pay homage to the banyan tree to be blessed with happy marital life. It is said that Brahma himself took avatar as banyan tree. Lord Vishn lies on the leaf of a banyan tree and enjoys yogic sleep. Sathiyavan Savithry prayed the banyan tree and got back her dead husband.  Banyan leaf is one of the five leaves that are scared. Since figs of the banyan tree are used to perform yagas, the banyan tree is hailed as a yaga   tree(யாக மரம்).      

The scene of Thakshanamoorthy, Lord as Guru, seated under a banyan  tree teaching through the medium of silence to his four disciples- Sanaka ,Sanatana,Sanath Kumara – at his feet is depicted on the southern wall of the sanctum sanctrum of every hindu temple.

That precisely, is the significance of the banyan tree, the sacred tree of Koneswaram. It is relevant to note here that even today the first and formost pooja –Malai Poosai –( மலைப்பூசை) at Koneswaram is performed under the banyan tree at Swamy Rock.

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