The tiny village of Adayapalam, near Arni in North Arcot district, which has secured a lasting place in the cultural and religious history of South India on account of its association with the great Appayya Dikshitar and the Sri Kalakanteswara temple built by him, hummed with intense activity on March 16, 1960, when the Mahakumbhabhisheka of that temple was performed in the presence of His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal. The descendants of Sri Appayya Dikshitar, as well as devotees living in different parts of the State, were among the gathering of nearly 5,000 persons who witnessed this unique ceremony.
The function evoked wide interest for more reasons than one. There was the greatness of the builder of the temple, who has made a lasting contribution to Saivism through his works numbering over 100 and who was described by one of his descendants as the “ocean of wisdom and knowledge, unfathomable in its depths, crystal clear, imperturbable, boundless in its expanse, impossible to cross over, and ever surging up with insurmountable waves”. The presence of Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam furnished the coping stone for popular enthusiasm and religious fervour and as Sengalipuram Sri Anantarama Dikshitar observed, the gathering felt as if “Lord Siva Himself was present at the Kumbhabhishekam of His Temple.
The Parvati Ambal Sameta Sri Kalakanteswara Temple built about the year 1582 by Sri Appayya Dikshitar, who devoted for it the gold with which he was showered by Chinna Bomma Naik, Ruler of Vellore, in appreciation of his monumental work, “Sivarkamani Deepika”, was in need of repairs. An impetus to the renovation of the temple was given by His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Kamakoti Peetam, while he was at Madras. The renovation included the construction of a separate sanctum sanctorum for Sri Parvati Ambal undertaken by Mr. Jagannatha Aiyar, a retired businessman of Triplicane, who, while sleeping, after reading a discourse of His Holiness on the “Unmatta Panchasato” composed by Sri Appayya Dikshitar, and an appeal for funds for the renovation of the temple, received a call in his dream to undertake this work. An image of Sri Appayya Dikshitar, which was in the temple and the identity of which was revealed in a dream to one of the organizers of the renovation work, was also installed.
The preliminaries connected with the Kumbhabhisheka commenced on March 12. On the morning of March 16, yaga Pooja, Homam, Dravyahuti and Poornaahuti were performed in the presence of His Holiness. Music from six different kinds of instruments heralded the final function. The water from sacred rivers, consecrated by the preliminary rites, was taken in decorated pots in procession shortly after 10 a.m., and the kalasa on the dome of the sanctum sanctorum was anointed with this water to the accompaniment of music and cries of “Hara Hara Mahadeva” from the assembled gathering. Sengalipuram Sri Anantarama Dikshitar recited the composition of Sri Dikshitar commencing with the words “Sambho Mahadeva Sambho”. Abisheka was performed to the kalasa on the dome of the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Parvati Ambal and also to the deities, Sri Kalakanteswara and Sri Parvati. His Holiness witnessed all these rites and also worshipped at the shrines.
Speaking first in Sanskrit and later in Tamil, His Holiness said that in places like Poona and Satara in Maharashtra, and in places like Jodhpur in Rajputana, there were persons who added the suffix “Dravid” to their names. Though they were not conversant with any of the Dravidian languages, but spoke only the regional language, they claim to have migrated from the South. Many of them traced their ancestry to Sri Appayya Dikshitar. Similarly there were several families in many villages on the banks of the Kaveri and the Tambraparni, who claimed that they originally belonged to Adayapalam. All of them belonged to the Bharadwaja Gotra, the Gotra of Sri Appayya Dikshitar.
It was also a matter of remarkable significance that these people were uniformly learned, either in the Sastras or in branches of modern knowledge. The heart of all these families, from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, would be filled with joy when they heard about this kumbhabhishekam and prosperity would also flow to them.
His Holiness then referred to the greatness of Sri Appayya Dikshitar and his contributions to Saivism and knowledge of Advaita and said that his “Sivarkamani Deepika” was a great work and was instrumental for the kanakabhisheka (shower of gold), performed to him by the then ruler of Vellore, Chinna Bomma Naik. This gold, Sri Dikshitar utilized for the construction of this temple and for popularizing “Sivarkamani Deepika” and for teaching the Vedas and the Sastras to 500 students. There were many people well-versed in the Sastras and who also taught the Sastras to others. But usually it did not occur to them to undertake such works of religious benefit to the public (tiruppani). But Sri Appayya Dikshitar was of a different caliber. He offered everything he earned at the feet of Lord Siva and undertook services like construction of a temple for him. As a result, the family of Sri Appayya Dikshitar had spread and settled in different parts of this country and lived happily. Sri Dikshitar lived the life of Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga and became a model for posterity to follow.
The people of Adayapalam, big and small, and other devotees had taken part in this sacred task of renovation. May Sri Kalakanta bless them all with happiness. May they be imbued with love, spirit of service, learning and devotion, His Holiness concluded.