Maasi Magham

  • The highly revered and most auspicious night of Maasi Magham occurs when the Magham constellation, according to vedic astronomy, appears on the full moon night of the tamil month of Maasi (mid-feb to mid-march). Magham is one among the 27 nakshatras in the vedic astrological chart. It is believed that Maasi Magham is an ideal time for spiritual purification.The full moon of Maasi Magham is one of the most powerful full moons of the year, since the moon aligns with Magha which is the birth constellation of great kings and rulers. It signifies the descent of divine beings to the earth. It combines the benefits of abundance and prosperity and is also the most appropriate time to destroy our ego and surrender ourselves to the feet of the Divine.

    The festival of Maasi Magham is celebrated generally by taking a dip in sacred waters like rivers or oceans for it is believed that the energy of the holy Ganga flows through all sacred waters at this time. In general Maasi Magham is believed to pave our way towards prosperity and a trouble-free, successful and  wealthy life of honour! It is also believed to be a great occasion to get rid of the negative effects of karma.

    In Tiruvannamalai, this is the day on which Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi go to perform the last funeral rites of the erstwhile king Vallala Maharaja. The sacred bath in this case is taken in a little river ‘Sonadi’ which flows through the region. In the morning, the deities of the God and Goddess and that of the Astra deva or the Trident weapon of Shiva are all carried out in procession to the village of Pallikondapattu, about five kms to the east. They are taken to the banks of the river and installed ceremoniously on a pavilion-shrine facing the water. Here awaits a group of fifty people claiming to be descendants of the aforesaid king. A puja is offered to the idol of the Astra deva and the deity is bathed in the waters. The devotees also take a holy dip after this. The Trident is then anointed and decorated with silk and flowers and camphor is burnt in offering.

    In the afternoon, the deities of Shiva and Parvathi are turned to face the mountain. In front, the priests place two pots representing the divine couple and 8 pots representing the Vidyeshwaras and then kindle a small sacrificial fire in the centre. After this a grand puja involving many abhishekams and aarathi are performed to all the deities. The next day the ceremony which consists of tying a turban around the head of the son of the deceased takes place inside the big temple.The name of this ceremony is ‘thalaikattu’ but in this case since it concerns Shiva, it is called ‘makutabhisheka’ (consecration of crowning). In the absence of a human king in Tiruvannamalai (except during the brief Hoysala period) the sovereignty over this kingdom is thus transferred to Lord Shiva himself !