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 The Temple of Pandava Dhootha Perumal


    The temple of Lord Sri Krishna, called Pandava Dootha Perumal is one of the famous Vaishnavite temples in Big Kancheepuram. It is one of the 108 important Sri Vaishnavite shrines known as Divyadesams and is eulogised by Sri Bhoothathazar, Peyazhwar, Thirumazhisaiazhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar.

Puranic Origin:

Pandava Dootha Perumal     God's countless inimitable traits such as magnanimity, easy accessibility and the inclination to come down to the level of the devotees and shower His grace out of abundance of compassion, have earned for him many titles such as "Saranya", - the refuge of the distressed, "Sathyasankalpa" He who make things happen to His desire and so on. The Creation, Protection and Destruction of the vast universe are just an instant act of his volition. To safeguard the interest of pious, the Almighty at times appears on the earth in a superhuman form, which is called an avatara or an incarnation. His incarnations have a threefold objective viz., Protection of the Virtuous, annihilation of the wicked and establishment of Dharma. Thereafter he chooses to dwell in the sacred shrines in the form of idols, referred to as Archavatharamoorthis, to facilitate the posterity to know the glory of His divine sports. One such Archavathara form of Lord Sriman Narayan is the Pandavadhootha Perumal sanctifying the shrine "Padagam" in Kancheepuram.

    During his incarnation as shri Krishna , the lord saved the virtuous Pandavas from the cluthes of the evil minded kauravas , strove to make clear the distinction between Dharma and Adharma and proved the ultimate triumph of Dharama over Adharam when he visited Vidura's residence Vidhura immersed in Joy and forgetting himself, offered him the peel of a plantain thinking that he was offering only the fruit. To avoid his disappointment, Lord Krishna took it heartly. The Omnipresent Lord allowed himself to be bound by Sahadeva's affection. He did many more queer things to show his Sowlabhya, the most remarkable amongst them being his acceptance to take up the role of an emissary of Pandavas and to go to the court of the Kauravas.

    An efficient emissary should possess two characteristics. First he should convey the message so skillfully as to render it acceptable. Secondly he should complete the mission to the satisfaction of the persons whom he represents. Sri Krisha went to the Kauravas as an emissary of peace but returned to the Pandavas camp agreeing for a battle.

    A doubt naturally arises as to whether he fulfilled his mission successfully. We get the answer to this question in the chapter dealing with Yudhistra's gambling in the game of dice wherein, except him, the other four brothers as well as Draupadi swear to take revenge on Duryodhana and his gang. Thus looking retrospectively, there is no room for doubt about Krishna's efficient handling of his mission. He agreed for war just to keep their promises alive and that is why he even accepted to become Parthasarathy, the charioteer of Arjuna.

    During this mission, the foolish Duryodhana even attempted to kill Him devising a plan to make Him occupy a seat with a carpet spred over a void underneath so that it would tumble down, the moment it was occupied, into an underground room where mighty wrestlers would be ready to crush Him. Duryodhana, not only dragged the emissary into a heated discussion, little realising that his duty was just to deliver the message but also plotted to kill Him against all canons of statemanship.

    Contrary to their expectations, the Omniscient and the Omnipotent Krishna, assumed Vishwaroopa, in comparison with which the deep pit constructed by them looked in dimension just like a pin-hole, and could not be trapped. The pious in that assembly worshiped Him chanting Ashtakshara mantra and the wicked trembled in fear to face His wrath.

    Even the blind king, Dhrutharashtra, was fourtunate enough, to get eye sight by His grace to have darshan of His glittering form. When Lord Krishna offered him a boon, he desired to become blind as before since he did not want to see the temporal things after perceiving the eternal form of the Lord. This is one of the most important episodes in Krishnavatara.

    When Janamejaya, the great grand-son of Arjuna and sage Hareetha performed severe penance to have a glimpse of that form of Sri Krishna, the Lord gave darshan to them in that mangnificent form and that sacred place is the shrine of 'Padagam' in Kancheepuram. A dharshan of Lord Sri Krishna in this form is a heartening experience.

Illustrious Recipents of the Lord's Grace:

Pandava Dootha Perumal      There lived great learned Ekadandi Sanyasi by name Yagnamoorthy in Vinjamur near the village Buchireddipalem in Nellore District in Andhra Pradesh. He was contemporary of Sri Ramanuja. Having heard about the greatness of Srimad Rarmanuja, Yagnamoorthy became jealous. Unable to accept Ramanuja as 'Yathiraja' Yagnamoorthy came to Kanchi and invited Ramanuja for a debate. Yagnamoorthy was a great scholar well-versed in Nyaya, Meemamsa, Vyakarana and Tarka Sastra. The debate started on an understanding that if Ramanuja was defeated, he should give up Sri Bhashyakainkaryam and that if Yagnamoorthy was defeated, he should become Ramanuja's disciple.

    The Debate continued 17 days both sharing equal honours. On the 17th day, Yagnamoorthy put a question which made Ramanuja ask for a day's time to answer. Yagnamoorthy agreed Ramanuja prayed Lord Varadharaja who guided him to locate the answer from Alavandar's treatise called "Mayavadakandanam". The next day Sri Ramanuja won the debate. Yagnamoorthy then prostarated before him and became his disciple, Ramanuja told him that only Lord Varadharaja's grace helped him in his argument and the credit for the success should go only to Lord Varadharaja. On becoming the disciple of Srimad Ramanuja Yagnamoorthy became a Thridandi Sanyasin and came to be called Arulalaperuman Emperumanar, combining the names of both Arulala the Varadharaja and Emperumanar Sri Ramanuja.

    The presiding deity of this temple, Pandavadhoota Perumal imparted 'Knowledge of the self' to Arjuna in Bhagavat Gita during the battle of Kurukshetra extending for 18 days. As Yagnamoorthy got the privilege to have Ramanuja as his spiritual guide in the sanctum sanctorum of Pandava Dhootha Perumal after the debate for 18 days, he decided to stay in His sannidhi thoroughout and spread the doctrine of Visishtadvaita. Even today only his descendents are engaged in doing Aradhanakainkaryam in this temple.

Description of the Temple:

    It is situated near Gangaikondan Mandapam and Sri Ekamreswara's temple in Siva Kanchi or Big Kanchipuram. The inscriptions found on the northern and southern sides of the temple vimanam detail the constructive works undertaken by Kulothunga Chola in this temple.

    The Lord, dwelling under Bhadra Vimana, is seen in a Sitting Posture facing east, His abhaya hastha Signifying the doctrine of surrender enunciated in the charamasloka of Bhagavat Gita beginning with ‘sarva Dharman Parityajay’ There is a seprate sanctum for Mother Goddess Rukmani, the consort of the Lord.

    Every year, Brahmotsavm is celebrated for 10 days in the month of Avani beginnig from Sri Jayanti. In the asterism Bharani, in the month of Kartigai, festival in honour of Arulala Peruman Emperumanar, is celebrated on a grand scale.