KANAKADHARA MAHALAKSHMI TEMPLE stands as a monument of historical importance at the exact place where the Divine manifestation of Mahalakshmi in response to ADI SANKARA’S soulful prayers of Kanakadharastavam (the first HYMN of ADI SANKARA) took place. The event occurred at the place now popularly known as SWARNATHU MANA (also PUNNORKODE MANA) suggesting clearly the presence of Gold in the episode. Swarnathu Mana is in Punnorkode, Pazhamthottam situated 16 KM from Aluva and 23 KM from Kaladi. The Kanakadharastavam, the first hymn spontaneously poured forth from the young compassionate Adi Sankara is an adorable appeal and prayer to Mahalakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity) to direct a glance of benediction on a noble lady who was languishing in abject poverty. There is a temple for Lord Muruga at Chhedanagar, Mumbai and every year during Navarathri festival time Nava chandi homam is performed for Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathy.
The main Deity in this Kanakadhara Temple complex is MAHALAKSMI in the centre. Sri Maha Ganapathy is to the right of Mahalakshmi and Adi Sankaracharya to the left. Goddess Lakshmi is the Main Deity and is facing East.
Kanakadhara Mahalakshmi Archana , Gurupreethi Archana , Vighna Nivarana Archana , Annadahanam are the main offering of this temple. The Temple Poojas are in Tamilnadu , Karnataka style.
As was the practice in olden days of Gurukulam all pupils in turn have to seek food from householders (Biksha from Grahastas ) and share whatever they receive with the fellow students and Acharya( teacher). It was Sankara’s turn on a Dwadasi day to seek alms. Sankara of 5 years age was going door to door for alms (Biksha) and happened to see a cottage where a lady with a pious countenance was seen.
Sankara addressed the lady “O blessed mother, please give alms.” (Maatha Bavathy Biksham Dehi). The lady was poor, and though was attracted by the splendor and effulgence of Sankara, earnestly desired to give something to Sankara but felt helpless and grieved as she had nothing. Despite knowing very well that she did not possess anything worthy for her guest, the poor lady did not want young Sankara to leave empty handed, and noticing her ordeal and pitiable situation, Sankara stood there calmly. She searched to locate something to be given and saw a few dry gooseberries (Amla) which she had collected for Parana (that which is taken to end a fast) (Previous day being Ekadashi she had not eaten anything and had observed fast (Upavas). She did not even know whether this gooseberry could be given and would be accepted by Sankara. She sought his permission before giving. Sankara was deeply moved by the noble gesture and gracious heart with a charitable attitude of parting with the only thing she had and respectfully received the alms. The entire situation of the lady in distressing poverty triggered the compassionate all inclusive personality of Sankara to soulfully appeal to Goddess of wealth and the resultant hymn was KANAKADHARASTAVAM.
The story continues as Mahalakshmi asserted lack of charity in previous births of the lady as the reason for poverty; but the persuasive Sankara (as is evidently clear from each stanza of the poem) justified the willingness to part with the gooseberry, the only possession, as a sufficient reason deserving grace and blessings. Goddess Mahalakshmi impressed by the earnestness of Sankara’s appeal was so joyous and liberal to create an instant downpour, a continuous shower of Golden Amla fruits. In memory of this episode, the hymn came to be known as Kanakadhara Stotram.
It is also a routine practice to create a meaningful depiction of an event or highlight the story or a temple or a Goddess and have this decoration at a selected place for public view. In the year 2001,during the Navarathri festival time, a resident of Chhedanagar Sri Rajappan Nair noticed a decoration depicting the story of Kanakadhara and asked his friend Balasubramanian standing nearby whether he knew what this decoration was all about. Balasubramanian observed in the presentation an young lad with an extended begging bowl accepting a dry gooseberry being placed by a timid, poor lady emerging from a hutment and in the background Goddess Lakshmi looking at the abundant shower of shining golden gooseberries and responded to Sri Rajappan Nair that not only he himself but all the pople would be knowing that this was Kanakadhara. Rajappan Nair did not leave there. He asked “Sir, ok fine but do you know where this Kanakdhara episode had taken place?” Blasubramanian said that it would have taken place at Kaladi as that was the only place he had known connected with the story of Sankaracharya. Mr Rajappan Nair said “No this took place in Punnorkode my native place and we have Swarnathu mana as a testimony of that event.” Since Balasubramanian had no knowledge of the place, he just nodded and left.
However Mr Rajappan Nair kept talking about Kanakadhara Swarnathu mana and the many festivals in that locality whenever he met Balasubramanian and also visited Balasubramanian at his house saying that he must construct a suitable monument for Kanakadharastavam and also a Mahalakshmi temple and Nakshatra vanam planting several trees earmarked for each birthstar.
Few months rolled by and just to escape from the constant nagging, helped financially to acquire the land from the owners of Swarnathu Punnorkode mana. Sri Rajappan Nair formed a trust Sri Adi Sankara Kanakadhara Smaraka Trust and the Trust acquired the plot of land measuring 40 cents initially and 20 more cents subsequently and did Bhoomi pooja. The Trust did not make any progress for 5 years and once again Balasubramanian was approached with a request to participate in a Ashtamangalya Deva prasnam to scan and find out astrologically the cause for the delay and the obstructions or hurdles if any to be addressed. It was during that occasion Sri Satyanathan a friend of Balasubramanian also was inducted in the core team. As the Smaraka Trust was in fact not effective the trustees submitted their resignations to Sri Rajappan Nair, the Chairman. He wanted to constitute new Trustees.
During the Devaprasnam, that we conducted, it was revealed that the goddess and Sankaracharya in fact were waiting all these centuries for manifesting themselves in this place for re-enacting the earlier shower of grace and thus help the mankind to prosper and lead a noble peaceful life. It was also revealed that there would be delay and the construction when completed many persons from various places internationally would flock here and the place would become a pilgrim center of repute since this is the only place in the universe where Devi Mahalakshmi has created this sort of Blessings by showering Gold physically…
Though the local people used to tell us that people from across India used to come here for offering prayers, we did not take them seriously until we ourselves met one such group on the previous day of the Shilanyas. Like their predecessors, they too made offerings and departed with a handful of soil from the site. Since we started the construction, we witnessed hundreds of visitors from across India to the site and the number is increasing day by day.
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