President Murmu Visits Meenakshi Temple: A Home Of Myths!

President Draupadi Murmu prayed at the historic Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple at Madurai. Do you know the myth of Goddess Meenakshi?

President Draupadi Murmu offered prayers at the historic Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple at Madurai during her maiden official visit to Tamil Nadu on Feb 18th, Saturday. She prayed for the welfare of the country on the occasion of Mahashivarathiri.

The primary deity in the temple is Goddess Meenakshi, a form of Parvathi, and her consort Sundareshwarar, a form of Shiva. The temple is of historical significance and known for its architectural marvel.

President Murmu’s Visits Meenakshi Temple: A Home Of Myths!

The home of warrior goddess

What most people are not aware of is that Meenakshi is also referred to as the warrior goddess. Yes, you heard that right!

Goddess Meenakshi, the warrior princess is known for her bravery and is greatly loved and worshipped by her devotees. In a country where female infanticide and gender inequality are still prevalent, Meenakshi’s story can be a great eye-opener and substantially shift the way women are perceived by society.

The story of Meenakshi and Sundareshwar

Here’s the story according to the Thiruvilayadal puranam. The Pandya king Malayadhwaja Pandyan and queen Kanchanamala were desperate for an heir to the throne. In an attempt to beget a child, they performed many Vedic sacrifices. Finally, during one such ritual a three-year girl with three breasts emerged from the flames.

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Malayadhwaja was initially disheartened that he wasn’t blessed with a son. But a divine voice instructed him to raise her like a son without depriving her of any privileges. The voice also told him that the girl’s third breast would vanish once she meets her perfect match—the man who would become her husband.

Don’t discriminate 

The king did as instructed. He raised the girl like a son with great love and affection, shattering any preconceived notions. Meenakshi grew up to be a warrior. She was trained in 64 shastras, well versed in all subjects, and also knew how to rule the kingdom. Crowned as the successor to Malayadhwaja Pandyan she led a great army of strong women who bore arms, rode horses, and together conquered all the worlds. She was an able ruler.

Meenakshi, after defeating many others, finally marched toward Mount Kailash to meet Lord Shiva. She defeated all the soldiers fearlessly but the moment her eyes met Shiva, her third breast vanished. She fell in love with Shiva—her perfect match.

Lord Shiva promised to marry her. He came to Madurai transforming himself as the handsome Sundareshwarar and the marriage took place with great pomp. Meenakshi and Sundareshwarar ruled Madurai for many years.

It was Meenakshi who played a major role in administering the kingdom and all decision-making. Even today it is Meenakshi who is given more importance in the temple.

Chithirai festival in Madurai

Every year in Madurai, the Chithirai Festival is celebrated during April- May time frame when Meenakshi Sundareshwarar thirukalyanam (wedding ceremony) is celebrated. Procession of chariots of Gods circle the streets of Madurai.

And most importantly, young girls are dressed as Meenakshi, wearing shimmering clothes and bearing weapons. It instills a great sense of pride in them. 

Retelling the story of Meenakshi to larger masses and celebrating such festivals can help bring a positive outlook to society as a whole. This story goes to show how women were revered and treated even during ancient times.

Such stories can prove to be highly inspiring to young women and make them empowered. It can also curb patriarchy to a great extent.

 

Image source: Official Twitter Page Of The President Of India, edited on CanvaPro

 

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