The Celestial Wedding of Goddess Meenakshi (Meenakshi Thirukalyanam) is on April 14 Thursday, today.
Here is ஆதி சங்கரர் அருளிய அங்கயற்கண்ணி ஐம்பொன் பாமாலை Meenakshi Pancharathnam. இறையருள் பெருக. இனிதே வாழ்க.
Background Information on the Celestial Wedding
The festival of Meenakshi Thirukalyanam celebrates the divine wedding of Meenakshi Amman with Lord Shiva. This grand celebration is held in Madurai, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and is one of the biggest events here.
This annual event takes place in the famous ‘Meenakshi Amman Temple’ at Madurai and devotees from all corners of the world come to witness this magnificent event. A part of the renowned Chithirai festival, Meenakshi Thirukalyanam is held on the 10th day. On this auspicious day thousands of devotees from Madurai and adjoining areas come to the ‘Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple’ to observe the celestial wedding of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and Meenakshi (Goddess Parvati). Devotees throng the temples in large numbers to seek the divine blessings from their lords.
Legend has it that the emperor Kulasekhara Pandyan was the founder of the ancient city of Madurai. He was succeeded by Malayadwaja Pandyan. Malayadwaja Pandyan and his consort Kanchanamala who did not have any children of their own, worshipped with the desire of obtaining progeny. During the course of their ceremonial prayer, a baby girl appeared in the sacrificial altar miraculously.
The Royal couple brought up this child as their own and named her Tataatakai. An odd feature about the baby was that it had three breasts instead of two, and that a divine prophecy decreed that the third one would miraculously disappear, at the princess’s sight of her consort to be.
Tataatakai grew up to be a valorous queen; she was also known as Meenakshi, the one endowed with fish like eyes. Tataatakai embarked upon a DigVijaya or a tour of victory, across the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent. In the course of her travels she came to Mount Kailash where she encountered Shiva; upon standing in front of Shiva her third breast disappeared and a valorous warrior princess transformed into a blushing bride.
Lord Siva directed Meenakshi to return to Madurai and promised her that he would join her in eight days as her groom. Accordingly Meenakshi returned to Madurai, and at the appointed time, the divine wedding was celebrated with pomp and splendour. Maha Vishnu, believed to be the brother of Meenakshi is said to have given the bride away.
The legend of Meenakshi Kalyanam brings together four of the six main streams in popular Hinduismi.e. the Saiva, Shakta, Vaishnava and Skanda faiths – and this grand culmination of faiths is still celebrated in great splendour today, in an enactment of Meenakshi Kalyanam each year, when images of Skanda and Vishnu are brought to the Madurai Meenakshi temple from Tirupparankundram nearby. Also of significance is the grand procession of Kallazhagar towards Madurai from the Alagar Koyil temple in the outskirts of the city.
How fortunate I am to attempt to translate the Meenakshi Pancharathnamala, a garland of 5 exotic flowers filled to the brim with bhakti by Adi Sankara. Indeed I am very lucky.