Thursday, January 29, 2009

Akhilandeshwari - Dwijawanti (Part 1)

Today, while returning home from office, late in the night, I started humming the song ‘Akhilandeshwari’ – a total turnaround from my humming of ‘Nenjukkul Peithidum’ from Vaaranam Aayiram a day earlier!

The very name ‘Akhilandeshwari’ transports me to my college days in Regional Engineering College, Trichy. I used to make frequent trips to Sri Jambukeswarar – Akhilandeshwari temple in Thiruvanaikkaval, Trichy (below). I usually combined such trips with Sri Ranganthaswamy Temple – Srirangam, Uchhi Pillayar Temple (Rock Fort)and Thaayumanavar Sannidhi. I have fond memories of me and my friend (Ramkumar) spending Shivaratri chanting ‘ekadasi’ Rudram / Chamakam for Sri Jambukeswarar through the night.

The Thiruvanaikkaval temple is one of the ‘Pancha Bhootha Sthalam’s of Lord Shiva. The term ‘Pancha Bootham’ is often used to denote ‘Five Basic Elements’ from which the entire matter is made up of. (According to Vedic and Siddha literature) – The five elements are Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.

Sri Jambukeswarar is the aspect of Shiva denoting water. The Shiva Lingam there is always surrounded by water, even during adverse drought conditions.

Sri Akhilandeshwari is the consort of Sri Jambukeswarar.  Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar has composed a wonderful song on this Ambal (a name popularly used to fondly denote Shiva’s consort). This was the song I was humming.  For a soulful rendition of this song by M.S. Subbulakshmi, please click here


I wanted to share the meaning of the song, so people can enhance their enjoyment of this wonderful song.


Sri Akhilandeshwari Rakshamam!

Aagama Sampradhaya Nipune!


Akhilandeshwari – Akhila + Anda + Ishwari

The word Akhilam means ‘All’. Andam means Egg. This usually denotes the egg in the Golden Womb (Hiranya (Gold) Garbham (womb)) of Ambal which gave birth to the entire Universe. Ishwari means absolute Controller.

Rakshamam – Protect!

Dikshitar addresses Ambal by her name which means that She is the Mother of the entire Creation and asks for Her Divine Protection!

Then he goes on to describe her...

Aagama Sampradhaya Nipune!

‘Aagama’ point to the Great Texts and Scriptures including the Vedas. Sampradaya points to the traditions and conventions that are followed since time immemorial in India. And, Nipune means ‘Expert’

Dikshitar describes Ambal is the absolute expert in Scriptures and Traditions.


Anu Pallavi

Nikhila Loka Nithyathmike Vimale

Nirmale Shyamale Sakala Kale


Nikhila – (like ‘Akhila’ in pallavi) ‘All’.

Loka – World

Nityatmike – Nitya + Atmike

Nitya (always) Atmike (soul) – this is a beautiful expression from Dikshitar. He describes Ambal as the eternal soul of the entire creation. Ambal pervades the entire creation.

Vimale – vi + male

The term ‘mala’ is used to denote impurities. The syllable ‘vi’ negates it. So, Ambal is One without any impurity. (You can recognize ‘vi’ in the popular term ‘Vinayaka’ for Lord Ganesa. ‘Nayaka’ means Hero or Lord. ‘Vi’ is without. There is no greater hero / lord for Vinayaka as He is supreme!)

Nirmale – Nir + male

The meaning is identical to the above term. Except that the author uses ‘nir’ to negate impurity (mala). Dikshitar seems to have been overwhelmed by the Pure nature of Ambal.

Shyamale – Dark in complexion!

Here comes the Genius of Dikshitar! We cannot split this word like the two above J- This term simply means that Ambal is dark in complexion!

Sakala Kale – Knower of All Arts

Ambal as the Mother, Knows all Arts - It also exemplifies the aspect of Ambal that is related to fine arts. 

The post has become quite long already! I'll work on the Charanam tomorrow!


Anonymous said...


Sriram V Iyer said...


Priya said...

Very nice write up. Did not know the meaning of Akhilandeswari till now :) (rather never mulled on it).

Sriram V Iyer said...

Thanks, Priya :-) - I'll update you once I complete the charanam too!

jeyashrisuresh said...

sriram quite interesting.waiting for ur next posting.

Sriram V Iyer said...

Jeyamma... Thanks! Glad you liked it :-) I have already started writing the next (and final) part...

RM Subramanian said...

Dear Sriram,

I don't what I have in common with you. May be, the lovely & lively place Trichy, Uchipillayar, Jambukeshwar-Akilandeswari Temple, Sriranganatha temple et al at Trichy. Hope you would have been to Sri Raghavendra Math there in Srirangam.

I studied there in St Joseph's btwn 80 & 83 and did my articleship there with my uncle, a senior CA and a devout Shiva bhaktha. Observes pradhosha vrdha incessantly. But am afraid, he takes water. He is a trustee of a Shiva Temple en route Tiruthuraipoondi from Tiruvarur.

I don't know whether I'm as staunch as my CA uncle(maternal)in my little knowledge about Shiva. My grandfather was a staunch Shiv Bhaktha. He took Shiva Diksha. As a young boy, one Shivrathri, may be the Lord Shiva blessed, I had the fortune to be with him. He was doing all the kaala pooja that day and night. At the age of about 80, in 87 Jan he undertook the task of Samprokshanam ( of the temple in which my uncle is hereditary trustee now). I associated myself to look after the preparations, accounting of that great vaibhava along with my cousin. Recently in 2005, my uncle did undertake the initiative for the mahakumbabishekam of that temple.

I hope we will be in touch, at least by these channels, blogs, mails, etc.

G Shankar said...

Another superb post! Just superb and interesting.

Sriram V Iyer said...

Dear Subramaniam: I am glad to know that a fine Shiva Devotee likes this post! Thank you! I think the three temples are common between us! Prayers of our ancestors and pitrs always stay with us and continue to bless us. You are truly blessed to have such devout ancestors. Please be in touch.

Shankar: Thanks for the kind words again. I am really glad you liked it!