the Ultimate Web on Indian Gods & Temples

 by Padmani,


Abodes of Shiva


Pradhosham is one of the important day of celebration for Lord Shiva. It is celebrated on Triyodhasi Thithi after every Full Moon and New Moon i.e. it will be celebrated twice a month. In all the Saivite temples Pradhosham is celebrated in a grand manner, the presiding deities are Lord Shiva, Lordess Parvathi and Nandhi. It will be celebrated between 4.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. 


 In the aftermath of a curse by Sage Duruvasar, Devas and their king, INDRA, had become inglorious and powerless. It was as though they had been abandoned by Gods. They remained engulfed in darkness. Their eternal foes, ASURAS, were quick to seize the opportunity and conquer the emaciated Devas. Indra was dethroned and driven out along with his subjects. Feeling helpless and utterly humiliated, they went to BRAHMA, the Creator, and sought his help, explaining their predicament. Brahma took them to the abode of VISHNU, since it is the latter who preserves the order of the universe. Indra and Devas surrendered to VISHNU and prayed for their redemption. Lord VISHNU told them that the only way out for them was to secure the NECTAR of IMMORTALITY: and for that, they would have to strive immensely and (a) cast all kinds of plants, herbs, grassed and creepers into the Ocean of Milk, and (b) churn the ocean using Mount MANDARA as a churn-staff and VASUKI, the king of the serpents, as the rope for turning it.


Bali, King of ASURAS and his Chiefs agreed to the proposal. Asuras and Devas made peace between themselves. Indra and Bali rallied their forces and began the task of lifting Mount Mandara. Uprooting the mount, they set out carrying it to the seashore. Even before they had carried it halfway, the forces found themselves unable to carry it any longer; and soon the mount came crashing on them. Large numbers of Devas and Asuras lay dead under it. Indra was heartbroken. While he was still thinking of appealing to Lord Vishnu, God appeared on the spot on his Vahana - Garuda - and by His mere glance revived the dead; and placing Mount Mandara on Garuda's back, He flew to the seashore, where the Devas and Asuras too followed. After the mount was safely brought down, Lord Vishnu asked Garuda to withdraw from the scene, lest VASUKI should keep himself away for fear of his natural enemy (Garuda). When he saw that Garuda was no longer there, VASUKI arrived on the scene obeying the summons of VISHNU. The Lord assured the Serpent King that he too would get a share of the Nectar and that the rugged surface of the mount would not hurt him. Vasuki, in tune with his role, allowed himself to be wound around MANDARA as the churning rope. Devas and Asuras were very joyous and began churning the ocean with Mandara and Vasuki in place. But their joy was short-lived. Mount Mandara had no support and so sank into the ocean within a short while. The mightiest of Devas and Asuras could not hold it. There was only one who could do it and it was Lord Vishnu. Assuming the form of a huge Tortoise (KURMA), the Lord plunged into the ocean and came up with the mountain on his back. The Lord had come to their rescue again. The Devas and Asuras lost no time to get back to their job of churning. However much they churned nothing came out of their efforts. They became weary and depressed. Lord intervened once more and did the churning too. With the churning in full steam, the concentrate of the impurities of the ocean threw up the deadly poison called �ALLAM� which was black in color and VASUKI couldn�t bear the pain spelt out poison from its 1000 mouth called as �KAALLAM� which was blue in color. Both the deadly poison joined together called as �AALLAKAALLAM� which was blackish blue in color and huge smoke emerged from it. The poisonous fumes choked the Devas and Asuras. Not knowing what to do, Devas ran to KAILASH and asked Lord SHIVA to rescue them. Lord Shiva asked SUNDARAR and NANDHI to collect the deadly poison and bring it here. They went the Milky Ocean and collected the poison and brought it to Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva collected it in his palm and swallowed it. The entire Universe will be affected if the poison goes inside so Lordess Parvathi stopped it on HIS throat itself. �Kandam� means throat, so Lord SHIVA was called as �THIRUNEELAKANDAR�. The day on which Lord Shiva consumed the poison was Ekadasi. The next day Dwadasi Lord Shiva posed HIMSELF in Sayana Koolam. The next day Triyodhasi in the evening between 4.30 pm and 6.00 pm Lord Shiva and Lordess Parvathi performed �Sandhya Tandavam� while Lordess Saraswathi playing veena, Lord Indra playing Flute, Lord Bramha performing �Thaala� and Lordess Lakshmi singing and other Devas jubilantly witnessing the Dance and celebrating it.