On 22-2-2016-( Manmamatha year , Sisisira Rithu , Kumbaha masam 10th , Monday , pournami , Maka Nakshatram -) the great Mahamaham festival is being celebrated in the holy city of Kumbakonam.. Read some tid bits of information collected by me about this very purifying great festival
(Most of the material has v been taken from a compilation in Tamil by Sri Jeya Priyan which was published as an additional book By Kumudam Bhakthi I of the February issue.My grateful thanks to them.)
Do you want
1.The effect of doing 100 years penance on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi
2. Going round the world 100 times , every time visiting all holy places
3,Performing 16000 times Gaya Sradha
4.Taking bath in 66 crores in all sacred waters
5.Effect of giving in charity heap of wealth as big as Meru mountain
6.Salute all the 33 crores of Devas at the same time
7. Giving salvation to seven generations of your ancestors
All there I can be achieved by taking bath in the Mahamaha tank at Kumbakonam on the Maha day. Possibly because of this it has been told
“anya kshethre Krutham papam , Punya Kshethre Vinasyathi,
Punya kshetre krutham papam Varanasyaam Vinasyathi
Varanasyam krutham papam Kumbakone vinasyathi,
Kumbakone krutham papam Kumbakone Vinasyathi”
“Sins committed in any temple is destroyed in Holy temples,
Sins committed in holy temples , get destroyed in Varanasi,
Sins committed in Varanasi gets destroyed in Kumbakonam,
And Sins committed in Kumbakonam also gets destroyed in Kumbakonam.”
Story behind Mahamaham:-
Once when final deluge was approaching Lord Brahma was worried that all the various types of creations that he did would get destroyed then. He approached Lord Shiva, who told him , to take sone earth , mix it with nectar and make a pot ,Then Lord Brahma has to put the root genes of all the various type of creations and fill the pot with nectar. Later he has to close the pot with a coconut kept over mango leaves and this pot has a to be kept on the top of the Meru mountain..After the deluge darkness engulfed the universe and after some time Lord Brahma saw rays of light coming from a place , which went on increasing in intensity .Lord Brahma rushed there and found that the pot which he had kept on top of Mount Meru had moved to a place of Kumbhakonam . Lord Brahma was not able to approach the pot due to great intensity of light and heat., Then he prayer to Lord Shiva , who came there in the form of a hunter .Lord Shiva the hunter shot the pot with an arrow. The neck of the pot , mango leaves and coconut got separated from the pot and moved further. Some nectar fell in the place itself. Lord Brahma took the nectar mixed it with earth and made a Shivalinga. Lord Brahma named That linga as Adhi Kumbeswarar (Primeval God made from the pot) and consecrated that Linga there itself. The water from the broken pot reached a pond and created the Mahamaha tank and from that water a golden lotus flower came up., Lord Brahma took bath in that tank and offered the golden lotus flower to Lord shiva.,Then he was able to collect the root seeds from the pot and started again his job of creation.
Meanwhile the coconut which fell from reached a nearby place and became Abhimukheswarar . The scared thread from the pot became Gouthameswarar, The mango leaves became the God of Thirupurambiyam. The place where the mouth of that fell is Kudai vayil and the place where Lord Shiva stood as a hunter became the temple of Bannapureeswarar,The place where the pot stopped is the present Kumbakarnam , which was earlier called Kuda mooku.
It is believed that though Lord Brahma started the creation , he was finding it imperfect and the day when He started the creation properly with a v blessings of Lord Shiva is observed as Mahamaham. On that day , earth, sun, moon and Guru(Jupiter) stand in one straight line.Ie Sun is in Kumba rasi , Chandra and Jupiter(Guru) would occupy the simha Rasi. It is also believed that on the Mahamaham day every twelve years , the configuration of the nine planets would be exactly similar to the configuration of planets on the day when Lord Brahma started the creation.
Apart from this it is believed that the nine sacred rivers of India viz Ganges , Yamuna , Narmadha , Saraswathi , Godhavari , Sarayu , Cauavery , Kumari and Payoshni (Some say Thamravarni) which remove the sins of people who bathe u in them , to get rejuvenated from the load of sins which sinners have left with them come to bathe in the Mahamaham tank on the Mahamaham day. Due to this if we take bath in the Mahamaham on that day , we get the effect of bathing in those nine holy rivers also.
Also on the Mahamaham day the Shiva deities of twelve temples around Kumbhakonam arrive to take holy dipping and bath in the Mahamaha Tank, These twelve temples are Kasi Viswanatha temple , Kumbheswarar temple, Nageswarar temple, Someswarar temple , Gowthameshwarar temple , Abhimukheswarar temple , Bana pureeswarar temple, Kambatta Viswanathar temple, Ekambareswarar temple, Kodeeswarar temple , Kala hastheswarar temple and Amrutha kalasa nathar temple, On the same day the Gods from Vishnu temples of Saranga pani temples , Chakrapani temple, Ramaswami temple, Rajagopala swami temple and Varaha temple reach the banks of Cauvery in Kumbhakonam and take a dip and holy bath
The Maha maha tank occupies an area of 6.2 acres .All e round the tank there are 16 Shiva temples viz Brahma theettheswarar, Mukundeswarar , Thaneswarar , Vrushabeswarar , Baneswara , Koneswarar , Bhakthikeswarar , Bhairaveswarar , Agastheeswarar, Vyaseswarar, Umamaheswarar, Nirytheeswarar, Brahmeswarar , Gangadhareswarar, Mukthi theertheswarar and Kshethrapaleswarar,,
In side the Mahamaham tank are 21 sacred water wells which are called as Vayu theertham , Ganga Theertham , Brahma theertham, Yamuna theertham , Khubera theertham , Godavari theertham , Eesana theertham , Narmadha theertham , Saraswathi Theertham , Indra theertham , Agni theertham , Cauvery theertham , Yama Theertham , Kumari theertham Niryathi theertham , Payoshini theertham , Deva theertham, Varuna theertham , Sarayu theertham Kanya theertham and Amrutha theertham..It is believed that 66 crores of other sacred waters come and join with these on the Mahamaham day .
There is a set procedure to take bath in this great tank on the Mahamaham day . You have to visit The pancha krosa temples around Kumbha konam viz Thirunageswaram , Dharasuram , Swami Malai , Karuppur and Thiruvidai maruthur .Later you have to take bath in the river Cauvery offering to the river flowers, sandal paste m, black beads , palm leaf pieces and some coins.Then you have to worship your ancestors in the Cauvery river according to the practice followed by your family .Then we have to go round Mahamaha tank, Kasiviswanatha temples , the Nava Kanyakas and the Peepul tree .Then we jhave to take v =bath in Maha maha tank followed by bathing in Porthamarai tank and complete it by again taking bath in Cauvery tank. It is also believed that giving charity to the poor after finishing this round of bathing would be highly beneficial .