Sarvaangeem Ratnabhushaadhyaam Shukra hastaam Shuchismitaam,
Kanchee nivaasinim Vandey Kamasheem Kamitarthadaam/
( Maharshi Markandeya paid his homage to Suvarna Kamakshi who is tastefully decorated with most invaluable and exquisite jewellery including Golden Parrots in her right hand as she is the Paramount Symbol of Purity and Sanctity settled in Kanchipura always ready to fulfill any and every aspiration of her devotees)
To the East of Pancha Tirtha in the Kama Koshthi Region was manifested Suvarna Kamakshi and Markandeya was excited to provide a brief portrayal of her to King Suratha as follows:
Paraa Phaalaakshi Sambhutaa Kamakshi Swarna Vigrahaa,
Dwinetraa Dwi bhujaa Shyaamaa Daksha hasta lasatcchukaa/
Lamba Vaama Karaambhojaa Tribhangi Dakshakunchitaa,
Saa Dhanur Vigrahaa Tanvi Sarvaabharana bhushitaa/
Nava Padma Dalaankaara Nayana dwaya shobhitaa,
Peetaambara dharaa peetaa Manikundala manditaa/
Varaankitadharaa Gouri Brahmanaa rachitaa krutih,
Manonmani Linga Shaktischuta Lingasya Vallabhaa/
Brahmanaa krita bimbeysow puraa saannidhyamaatanot,
Tadahamsdampravakshyaami Puraavrutam charitrakam/
Tasya Shravana maatrena Sarva Paapaih pramuchatey/
( Shri Kamakshi was manifested from Paraa Shakti’s forehead as of Golden Form with two hands; she was holding a Parrot in her right hand and was of a long left arm and raised right side; she was of Three Postured Seating with Dhanuraakaara or Bow-like Rupa; she was fully ornamented with such magnetic eyes puttting bright and tender lotus leaves to embarrassment; she is tastefully dressed up in silks; her body colour was a mix of ‘Haridra Peeta’ or yellow and orange; wearing lustrous ear rings of gems; she kept her hands in the stance of bestowing boons; she was of the ‘Hema Bimbaakara’ created by Brahma; was the Unique Enchantress; of Linga Shakti; indeed she was Gauri the Sweet Wife of Ekaamreshwara popular as Kamakshi!)
Manmatha Deva the God of Love arrived at Kama Koshtha and performed very severe and tough Tapsya to Kamakshi Devi for a number of years and as she granted her darshan finally, he prayed to her and requested that his ‘Ananga Swarupa’or Non-Physical Form that Maha Deva gave as the only dispensation consequent on his scorching Madana into a heap of ash. Manmadha begged Kamakshi to return his original Swarupa. Devi Kamakshi granted his request and blessed him that his life would be Everlasting and Joyful. Puffed up by Devi’s boon, Manmatha reached Maha Deva and poured streams of flowery arrows targetted to him. A highly enraged Shiva threw his Trishula and later the most powerful ‘Pashupataastra’ but surprisingly Trishula proved ineffective while the ‘Astra’ was converted as a Flower Garland! Shiva was puzzled and realising that his discomfiture of his was due to Devi Kamakshi’s boons to Manmatha, he approached Kamakshi but the latter asked him as to who was he as he seemed to have come near to her out of blind passion! Shiva reasoned with her that she was after all his wife and wondered what had upset her so much that she disliked of him! She replied to Shiva sternly that she was not Gauri as Shiva mistook her and that she was Maha Shakti responsible for the creation of Brahma-Vishnu and Maheshwara. Shiva tried to man-handle her out of his physical lust as generated by Manmatha and also due the disgrace inflicted on him by his arrows! Devi snubbed and repulsed Shiva and asked him to apologise to Manmadha. Later she created crores of Manmathas and instructed them to beat Shiva. He in turn created Koti Rudras and there was a fierce battle between flowery arrows and Trishulas! Madanas had an upper hand and Shiva became helpless. Kamakshi heckled Shiva and asked him to go begging and handed over a begging bowl to him. She then displayed her real Swarupa as Maha Shakti and demanded that he should take protection from her. Maha Deva prostrated before Kamakshi and as per her instruction Manmatha became a Star on the Galaxy and continued Devi Dhyana for ever!
Some time later Brahma visited a few Shiva Temples and found that there was no presence of Shivani there! Virinchi prayed to Kamakshi and the latter granted her dispensation that all the Shiva Temples from thence forth would have the presence of Devi too except Kamakoshta since Shiva was defeated by Manmatha there by her grace and hence this Place would be called ‘Shivajit Kshetra. She further stated that this would be an exceptional place where Gauri would not be present in a Shivalaya and that she would do so only when Shiva could defeat Manmatha! In other words Ekamreshwara Linga could enter Kama koshtha only then! Brahma raised a doubt as to how annual celebrations of Gauri-Ekamreshwara Kalyanaas be performed! Then Kamakshi replied that there could be some Ekamba Devalayas and that she would assume Sthaanu Swarupa in such Tepmples; Ekaameshwara Temple was in a case in point! On the day of Kamakshi-Ekamreshwara Kalyana, the Sthaanu Vigraha of Gauri be invoked for due worship and after the celebration of the Kalyana she should be returned to a ‘Dhruvaalaya’ as Sthanu Swarupa where no Pujas to Devi be performed beyond two days; it would be a violation of Devi’s instruction otherwise!
Hema Kamakshi made her appearance in Shri Mukha Samvatsara Kartika Krishna Dashami coinciding with Lakshmi Vaasara at Suryodaya of Purva Phalguni Nakshatra. As soon as she manifested herself she was of Bimbakaara, Divya Laavanya, Japaa Maalaankrita, Jataamakuta D harini, Prasanna Vadana, Chicchakti Rupa, and Tripura Sundaryaakaara. Brahma worshipped her and got an Idol made as a Divya Vigraha in Loha. As she was ‘Dhruva Sthita’or Sthanu Rupa, She was invoked with Anga-Kara and other Nyaasas and was worshipped for six months but Brahama decided to celebrate with reverence her Kalyana Mahotsava with Maha Deva.
Brahma’s blindness and Sarasvati offers solution: As Brahma became blind all of a sudden, Devi Sarasvati explained the reason of his blindness; in Kanchipura under the Kama Koshthathere was the Gayatri Mandapa beneath which Shiva built a Kundalini Griha and who ever visited that Mantapa should perform Shri Chakra Puja and who did not perform so and walk across would turn blind! Sarasvati divulged this secret to Brahma as she learnt of it from Shiva. Brahma visited Kama Koshtha and perforned Shri Chakra Puja; he also had a darshan of Hema Kamakshi since only she could pardon the sin of not performing Shri Chakra Puja and trample the hallowed Place!
Kamakshi Naama Panchaka: Maharshi Markandeya enlightened the King Surata that Devi Kamakshi had five names viz. Swarnaningi, Shuka Hasta, Chuta Linga Vallabha and Dharma Devi; and the Dhruvatma (Sthanu Swarupa) had five other titles viz. Tapasvini, Ghana Shyama, Sarva Shaivalaeshwari, Kamakshi and Kalika. Bhagavan Shankara had the names of Chuta Jyoti, Nirgunatma, Shiva, Kameshwara and Ekaamranadha. He also was known as Yagodbhava, Punya Koti, Maha Deva, Deva Raja and Abheeshta Varada. Kanchi had thus the fame of Three Swarupas viz. Shri Devi, Shiva Rupa and of Vishnu Swarupa. One should meditate the Nirguna-Saguna Swarupa of Shakti bhava Shiva and that was how Lalita Parameshwari was titled ‘Shiva Shaktaika Rupini’!
Shiva Shaktaika Puja Vidhana: In view of the Oneness of Shiva and Shakti, one must always perform Shiva Shaktaika Puja for augmenting propitiousness. The Puja be first performed as addressed to Shiva followed by Paraa Shakti Puja; Markandeya emphasised that while performing Puja , Shiva should not be conceived in Gauri Bimba and Gauri should not be prayed to in Shiva Bimba; in fact the Maharshi warned not to confuse the specifics of the Puja for good results of Mukti and any mix up might end up in adverse consequences of Naraka! The Bimba Puja should definitely follow this instruction! Generally speaking, there should be awareness of Bimba Bheda, Yantra Bheda, Tantra Bheda and Mantra Bheda! While elaborating of specific ‘Bimbas’, Markandya clarified that Purnaamsha Devi was manifested in the Tripuraa Bimba, Kalaatma Devi in Gauri Bimba, Dhruveshwari in Utsava Yogya Bimbas, Nirguna Swarupa in Rasaala Vriksha, Saguna Swarupini in Ekaamra Linga and Purusha Rupini in Varada Raja Vigraha. However, the ‘Purnaamsha’ or Completed Magnificence was stated to be in Kama Koti or Kamaraja Peetha and those who had a darshan of that hallowed Place were blessed indeed!
Shri Chakra Puja: Those who might not be fortunate to visit Kamaraja Peetha might as well perform Shri Chakra Puja. In the Shri Chakra, one should pray to one’s Guru on the Tri Kona Purvaagra or the encircled Triangle’s right top. At the same Place prayers were to be offered to Parama Guru, Parameshthi Guru, Paratpara Guru, Narayana, Padma Sambhava, Vasishtha, Shakti, Paraashara, Vyaasa, Shuka, Goudapaada, Kouliki and Manavoughama and ponder about Maha Kamehwari Kuta with Shri Vidya or Pancha Dashi Mantra. Later on, one should the Koulika Dharma Vettha ( the Performer of the Puja) must recite Shri Vidya atleast one thousand times. If the ‘Chaapaka’ or the Person responsible for the Puja was unable to perform ‘Anna Daana’ then he or she should seek pardon from Shri Devi. But the most significant aspect of Shri Chakra Puja would be the ‘Shri Vidyaa Yajana’ or the Japa as prescribed.
In the past, the Shri Vidya Chakra Puja was successfully executed by Devi Lakshmi, Hayagriva, Manu, Dasharatha, Tunda, Kantaara Chola, Pannaga Raja and Shiva:
Beneficiaries of Shri Chakra Puja: At the time of Samudra Mathana, Vishnu who was of a naturally fair complexion turned blue and Lakshmi joked with Vishnu that she would not be fit to be her husband as she was of golden complexion; Vishnu gave a repartee to her that she was old and cursed her to turn of ‘Anjana Neela’ complexion. Then Lakshmi did ‘Shri Vidyopaasana’ and regained her natural colour. Hayagriva Muni was engaged in continuous meditation of Shri Vidya of Devi Kamakshi when once a Rakshasa named Padma sat on the Muni and forced him to travel to Pataala Loka as a horse; Devi Kamakshi appeared in Pataala to save the Muni by killing the Asura. Hahagreeva assumed Vishnu Swarupa and tricked Rakshasa Guru Shukraachaarya and took away the ‘Akshaya Kumbha of Mrita Sanjeevani’ kept with the Acharya for the revival of dead Asuras and performed Abhisheka of the Sanjeevini to Devi Kamakshi. Vaivaswata Manu assumed Manvatwa as bestowed by his father Surya Deva but he had no knowledge what so ever about the fine distinctions of Paapa-Punyas and as advised by Vasishtha Muni and visited Kama Koshtha; Durvasa Maharshni provided the ‘Upadesha’or instruction of Shri Vidya Mantra and the Manu did Dhyana and Tapas to Devi Kamakshi for hundred years. Then Kamakshi arrived near Manu in the Form of a Brahmana Woman and performed Abhishka to Manu with the Sacred Waters of Pancha Tirtha as a mark of declaring him as a Chakravarti and imparted the Knowledge of Ideal Administration; till date the ‘Dharma Smriti’continues as the Guide of Dharma. King Dasharatha was advised by Vasishtha Muni to visit Kama Koshtha to perform Shri Chakra Puja and there was a Celestial Voice assuring the birth of Epoch making sons of Shri Rama and others. In the days of yore, King Aakaasha joined some followers of Boudha Guru and as directed by the latter stole considerable money of the Kingdom and mis-spent for wrong purposes and due to this sin became childless. He repented and abandoned the Boudha Guru and approached Gorakshanadha Muni who directed him to worship Kamakshi and taught Shri Vidya. He was then blessed with a boy like Vighneshwara as his son. As the King and Queen continued Devi worship daily, one day after the conclusion of the Puja-Homa-Dampati Puja-‘Brahmana Samaaradhana’, there was a miracle of Suvarna Varsha / Rain of Gold! Although the Brahmanas and Munis at the Bhojanam were unable to explain, the twelve year old son of Akaasha explained the reason: in the meals that were normally served at the daily ‘Samaaraadhana’, there was a golden pebble in the greengram which was also cooked and served from the Bhojan consumed by an elderly ‘Sumangali’ woman who was Kamakshi herself and hence the Rain of Gold! The King’s son ate a portion of the left over remnant of what the Suvasini ate, then he became a ‘Sarva Tantra Visharada’ or an expert of ‘Tantra Gyana’; he was considered as Ganeshwara by those present and was named Tunda and was named the King of Kanchi Kshetra. In the Agneya direction of Kamakshi Temple there was an Idol of King Tunda that called for a Pradakshina lest the Devi Darshana Phala wouldreachtoKingTunda’saccount! King Vikrama Chola was dethroned by his younger brother Shalya Chola aided by his schemy friend Parjanya. Vikrama Chola and his wife roamed about aimlessly and luckily reached Kama Koshta and organised a flower garden and supplied excellent garlands to Devi Kamakshi daily. Pleased by their service and devotion, Devi blessed them a female child. As the daughter grew of marriageable age, Kamakshi appeared in a dream to the Pandya King Uddhaajit and asked him to defeat a battle with Shalya Chola and marry the daughter of the latter’s elder brother who presently was supplying flower garlands to her. The Pandya King followed Devi’s instructions and with passage of time King Vikrama Chola retired in favour of his son and devoted his time in the service of Kamakshi. Among various deeds of virtue, he developed gardens by extending them into forests thus securing the epithet of Kaantara Chola. While he was working in the forests, he had a serpent bite and he as well as the serpent attained Moksha by the grace of Devi.