Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guruvayoor Temple enshrining the holy idol worshipped by Lord Krishna at Dwaraka

Origin of the murti King Sutapa and his wife Prishni prayed to Brahma for a child. Brahma, with the consent of Vishnu, gave the king a murti of Krishna given to him by Vishnu himself. It is said that by the grace of this murti, Brahma was able to fulfill his task of creation.

When Vishnu appeared before the King and the queen in answer to their prayers, they prayed to the Lord for a son like Him. As they repeated it thrice, the lord told them that they would have three janmas (births) and that He would be born to them in each of their three incarnations. In due course the Lord was born to them. He was born to them the first time as Prisnigarbha, who taught people the importance of brahmacharya. The second time, he was born to Kashyapa and Aditi and took form as the avatara of Vamana. In their third incarnation, they were Vasudeva and Devaki, parents of Krishna. The legend states that Krishna got the murti from his father and worshiped it at his capital, Dwaraka.

Before the conclusion of his incarnation as Krishna, the Lord told his devotee and minister Uddhava that his image would come floating in the sea which would soon engulf Dwaraka. Uddhava was to request Brahaspati, the Guru of the Gods, to install the image at a suitable place. When this came to pass, Brahaspati and Vayu, the God of wind, set out in search of a sacred place to house the murti. They met Parasurama (an earlier avatara of Vishnu) at Kerala, who was bringing the same murti to Dwaraka. Parasurama led them to a beautiful lake full of lotus flowers. Lord Shiva was doing penance there and he told Guru and Vayu to install the two murti together at a spot near the lake and that the site should be known as "Guruvayupura". Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati left for Mammiyur, on the opposite bank of the lake.

The present tank, "Rudratirtha", is only a miniature of the original lake. When devotees go round the Krishna temple, from a certain spot, they face Mammiyur and pray to Shiva. Vishwakarma, the architect of the Gods, built the Krishna temple at the request of Guru and Vayu. This is the account in the Mahabharatha, told by the sage Dattatreya to King Janamejaya, son of Parikshit.

King Parikshit died of a cobra bite due to the curse of a sage. His son, King Janamejaya, sacrificed thousands of innocent reptiles. As a result of their curse, he was afflicted by leprosy. On the sage Dattatreya's advice, he went to Guruvayur and worshiped Guruvayurappan in the company of the sage Atreya. He prayed with intense devotion for 41 days.

He had a dream one night, that the Lord's tender hand was stroking him. The legend has it that when he woke up the next day, he found no trace of leprosy on his body.

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