Rishi Durvasa shrine on Girivalam
Rishi Durvasa is particularly known for his terrible temper due to which he would give dreadful curses upon the offender. Rishis are great sages. Durvasa is considered to be an incarnation of Shiva. To truly understand Rishi Durvasa, it is important to know about the power of the penance done by his parents. The father of Rishi Durvasa is Rishi Atri who is one of the three Brahma Rishis along with Rishi Gautama, and Rishi Bharadwaja. These three Rishis are known as the givers of AUM due to which they are called the Brahma Rishis. All creative process is believed to have begun with A-U-M and is therefore threefold having A which is Brahma (Rishi Gautama); U which is Vishnu (Rishi Atri) and M which is Shiva (Rishi Bharadwaja).
The three deities of the Drekkana Varga are Narada, Agastya and Durvasa. All three were Rishis, holders of divine knowledge. Narada was the son of Brahma. He received the knowledge of Bhakti, devotion to the Supreme. In mythology, he is portrayed as a mischief-monger creating problems and disturbing people in order to make them think on higher planes. He represents karma and the soul. He also deals with creation as we are only created if we have karma to reconcile. Agastya Muni was a great thinker and is linked to the mind. He is connected to sattva, preservation and Vishnu. Durvasa is a more difficult Rishi. He made effort to control his senses and therefore he represents the desires and their abilities to lead us astray. Durvasa is linked to Shiva, tamas and destruction. Narada works on the karmic level, Agastya on the mental plane and Durvasa on the physical desires. As Drekkana represents free will or courage, these deities represent the influence of these Rishis on our actions and behaviour.
The shrine of Sri Durvasa Rishi on the Arunachala girivalam can be found on the outer path a few hundred metres before Sona theertham. Though it looks insignificant from the outside, this shrine seems to attract a number of devotees who come here mainly for two reasons: married couples who have been unable to get children come here and tie a yellow thread on the neem tree behind the shrine and then offer three oil lamps to the deity of the Rishi inside the shrine; householders who are trying to buy their own land come here on full moon nights and arrange four stones to form a niche and place a burning oil lamp inside. Apparently this practice is quite beneficial and often results in the wishes of the devotees getting fulfilled. It is strange indeed that such a wish seeking cult should be developed around this Rishi in today’s times whereas he was known for quite opposite powers in ancient times !