Temples in the compound
In the once remote village of Veliyanad, near Ernakulam in Kerala,India, is a Nambütiri Illom or Mana (home of a Kerala Brähmin) called ‘Melpäzhür Mana’. This sacred dwelling is the ancestral, maternal home and birthplace of the world renowned saint and revered Advaita Vedäntin, Ädi Sankara . Local tradition has it that Ädi Sankara’s vidyärambha and upanayana ceremonies were performed at Melpäzhür Mana. Today, this place of pilgrimage is named ‘Adi Sankara Nilayam’.
Sri Bhagavati, the Goddess of Universe, resides in this small temple sanctum. Everyday regular püjäs are offered. Special püjäs are performed on Navarätri days. In the north-western corner of the Ayyappa temple was a Bhagavati-tara (small seat on the bare earth). In accordance with astrological readings it was recommended that for the welfare of the Mana a separate temple be constructed . Accordingly a separate temple was built in the complex for Devi Bhagavati.
As a befitting tribute to the omnipresent guiding presence of Püjya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda there is a holy shrine built in the vicinity of the temple complex. This is used as a meditation hall as well as a venue for paduka püjä, vidyärambha and upanayana functions and other private prayers. Birthday of Gurudev falls on Püyam nakshatra in the month of Meña (corresponding to April-May of the Western calendar) and is celebrated every year.
Deities at the Temple
Lord Ayyappa is the main deity in the centuries-old temple complex of Melpaazhur Mana. The idol of Lord Ayyappa is swayambhu (born on its own out of the earth)The Legend goes that a 'tampuraatti' (elderly Namputiri lady) who was an ardent devotee of the Lord used to walk two kilometres to the Ayyappankudam temple at Vadayaaparambu every day to worship the Lord.
Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya, the greatest the Riviera of Advaita Vedanta philosophy was born to Shivaguru and Aryamba. It is believed that Aryamba gave birth to Adi Shankaracharya in her paternal home Melpazhur Mana, because of which this area came to be known as Piravom – the place of birth. Swami Chinmayananda renamed it as Adi shankara Nilayam.
The Most Auspicious form of Kannadi (A mirror carved in stone) represent Devi Bhuvaneswari. Thekalpataru – wish fulfilling tree.The Divine Mother resides in this Temple to bless and protect all the devotees. Along with the Mother,a Brahmin Sidha is also worshiped as Brahmarakshas.
The son of Kirata Siva and Parvati, Vettakorumakan was traditionally considered the 'Kaaranavar' in addition to being a temple deity. Since olden times, all-important decisions regarding the Mana and its residents were based solely on Lord Vettakorumakan’s blessings. Every day Rudrabhishekam is offered to Vettakorumakan.
The Ganesha Temple is as ancient as the the Ayyappa Temple. Made of black stone, and facing south this Ganesha is propitiated before the commencement of most auspicious occasions at CIF. Daily puja at each of the temples in the Mana commences with traditional prayers to Lord Ganesha in this temple. Ganapati Homa is also performed regularly.
An age-old, dilapidated Sri Krishna temple was once situated on a hillock on the northern side of the Mana’s temple complex. A broken Krishna idol was worshipped for years in its sanctum. As desired by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, the temple on the hillock was eventually dismantled and a the idol was consecrated in the Lord Ayyappa temple complex.
A Sri Rama temple once existed in Ponmaanaadi, a nearby village under the Melpaazhur Mana umbrella. 'Ponmaan' means 'golden deer' and 'aadi' means 'danced'. Ponmaan refers to Maaricha, Ravana’s uncle, and Ponmaanaadi is where Maaricha took the form of a golden deer and danced, thus becoming an accomplice in Mother Sita’s kidnapping As time passed the Sri Rama idol from this temple was brought to the Mana complex and a temple was built as a tribute to Sri Rama of Ponmaanaadi.