hAlAsyapurANa and hAlAsyarahasya

Gautama Vajracharya gvvajrac at FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Sat May 8 15:18:45 UTC 1999

Dear Dr. Ganesan,
Is it possible to know the time of the year when the annual vaZhuvUr
festival of Shiva and the elephant is performed?  Thank you for the
information in advance.
 At 06:01 AM 5/8/99 PDT, you wrote:
> >>I have concluded that the earliest extant work on Ziva's games in
> >>Madurai is the work by Nampi...
>Dr. M. Rabe writes
> >prompting me to hope you can tell me whether or not any of the
> >various recitations of Ziva's games in Madurai include reference to
> >slaying an elephant demon.  Approaching the question from another
> >direction, are there any sthala puranic explanations for how the
> >mountain Anaimalai, just northeast of the city, came to have this
> >name?
>  Slaying of the elephant took place at a place called "vazhuvUr"
>in Tanjore dt. Tamil textual tradition is unanimous in that;
>I have read and heard from Ki. Vaa. Jagannathan, editor of Kalaimakal
>and the prime disciple of UVS, that UVS said "vazhuvUr"
>comes from "vazhuvaiyUr" where vazhuvai = elephant.
>Michael, you must be familiar with the famous Chola gajasamharamurti
>from vazhuvUr. Technically very complex and difficult to create
>than Natarajas. In this G. bronze from vazhuvur, gaNas
>are playing cymbols, With an elephant being slayed and kept upside
>down, 'Siva extricates himself out of the carcass in a
>spiralling fashion and while dancing. This event is celebrated
>in vazhuvuur as an annual festival. There is a huge, hollow elephant
>made out of reeds, bamboo, leaves etc., This elephant is
>carried in a "uurvalam" from the opposite side of the temple,
>The famous Gajasamhara, all decorated and in splendour, comes only
>on this day out of the temple.  Around 10 P.M, the utsavamUrti
>enters the belly of the man-made elephant. That is the climax,
>all lights go out for 10 minutes or so, crackers explode: all due to
>'Siva fighting the demon. After that an elaborate puja and
>feasting. van Buitenan has an one or two page article on
>gajasamhara in Kalidasa. Tevaram has 100s of references,
>"panaikkai mummata vEzam urittavan, anaittum vETamaam
>ampalak kUttan" -appar (7th century CE). Traditionally
>'Siva has performed 8 heroic acts, supposed to have
>taken place at 8 places. aTTa vIraTTam in Tamil,
>to perform each heroic act, he performs a specific dance
>at each site. These different dances performed once a year
>at that particular vIraTTam, the sculptures associated with
>them, tamil/sanskrit relevant passages must be the subject of
>a good research topic.
>On the other hand:
>Madurai's Anai malai has NO connection to the gajasamhara
>legend. Cellinakar PerumpaRRap PuliyUr Nampi (fl. 1228 CE,
>acc. to UVS) wrote the first tiruviLaiyADal (NT).
>Nampi's tiruviLaiyADal (NT) episode number 36:
>The refers to the naming of Madurai because 'Siva converted the
>river of poison from a giant cobra into sweet nectar.
>The poison was let upon the city by the magic of Jainas.
>NT episode no. 26:
>The Jaina heretics sent an elephant against the City.
>Sundaresvarar petrified the beast as Anaimalai hill.
>This 13th century legend of explaining the name Anaimalai
>is the earliest I could find so far. I think
>Anaimalai is so named because it resembles a lying
>Have a good weekend,
>N. Ganesan
>Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit http://www.msn.com

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