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Thiruvehka Divya Desam - Yathokthakari Perumal

Sri VishnuMeditation: I meditate on Sri Bhujagasayana Perumal at Thiruvehka who protected the yagna of Lord Brahma by laying on the path of river Vegavati.

Thiruvehka Divya Kshetra: Thiruvehka is a Divya Desam whose glory was sung by Thirumangai Alvar, Thirumazhisai Alvar, Poigai Alvar, Peyalvar and Nammalvar. This is one of the oldest temples in Kanchipuram. The name Thiruvehka is probably a corrupted form of Thiruvegavanai, because Lord Vishnu here laid on the path of river Vegavati to protect the yagna of Lord Brahma. Lord Vishnu here is known as Sri Bhujagasayana because he laid on the path of river Vegavati in his reclining form lying (Sayana) on a bed of Serpents (Bhujaga). Lord Vishnu here is also known as Yathokthakari which is derived from Yatha-Uktha-Kari which means doing (Kari) as requested (Yatha-Uktha) by his devotee. This signifies to the event that as requested by his devotee Bhakthisarar (Thirumazhisai Alvar), he followed him to leave Kanchipuram (and later coming back).

Lord protecting the yagna of Brahma: Once there was a controversy between Lord Brahma and goddess Saraswati due to which the goddess started creating impediments when Lord Brahma started a yagna worshipping Lord Vishnu. The goddess took the form of river Vegavati and wanted to wash away the yagna site. To protect the yagna of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu took the form of Bhujagasayana (reclining form on a bed of serpents) resting his head on his right hand, and lay on the path of river Vegavati. The goddess withdrew her river form and went underground.

Image: The image of the Lord in this temple is in reclining posture on a bed of serpents resting his head on his left hand and facing west. The change of posture from right hand to left hand is attributed to another incident related to devotee Bhakthisarar (Thirumazhisai Alvar) due to which the Lord is also known as Yathokthakari.

Lord following his devotee: Sage Bhargava and celestial dancer Kanakangi had a son, but since the child was born deformed, the celestial dancer abandoned him and left for heaven. The child was actually an incarnation of Sudarshana Chakra of Lord Vishnu and would become the future Thirumazhisai Alvar.

A villager found the child and brought him up. He named him as Sivavakkiar. Sivavakkiar took to Vaishnavism when he met Peyalvar and stayed in Kanchipuram meditating on Lord Bhujagasayana. He was also known as Bhakthisarar. He had a disciple known as Kanikannan.

Once Bhakthisarar through his divine powers transformed an old crippled lady into a beautiful woman by being pleased with her temple service to the Lord. Pallavacharya, the ruler of Kanchi fell in love with this beautiful lady and married her. But as time passed the king became old but the youth of the lady remained intact. The king requested Kanikannan to bring Bhakthisarar to him for blessing him with eternal youth. But Kanikannan told that the king that he should visit Bhakthisarar (as a solicitor) instead of Bhakthisarar coming to him. This annoyed the king.

The king then asked Kanikannan (who was a good poet) to compose a few lines praising him. But Kanikannan declined saying that his poetry was meant for praising the glory of the Lord and not for praising the mortals. The king out of anger banished Kanikannan from Kanchipuram.

Due to this injustice to a devotee, Bhakthisarar also decided to leave Kanchipuram and requested Lord Bhujagasayana to follow him. The Lord acted as requested by his devotee. Hence he became known as Yathokthakari (Who did as requested). When they left Kanchipuram the city was enveloped in darkness. The king understood his great mistake and brought them back. They returned after a day, but now the Lord changed posture and reclined resting his head on his left hand (instead of right hand) to signify that he actually left with the devotee and later came back.

Poigai Alvar: It is said that Poigai Alvar was born within a Lotus in the temple tank of this temple.

• Thiruvehka is located in Kanchipuram in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.

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Last updated on Sep-2021

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