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Legendary stories associated with Ahalya and Anusuya

This is part 2 of another article check here – https://anukusumkadri.9sh.org/2020/06/30/suchindram-thanumalayan-temple/

There are many legends associated with this temple. Anasuya, the wife of Atri Maharishi was famous for her chastity and her devotion to her husband – an embodiment of a Hindu wife. She could perform miracles by sprinkling the ‘paatha theertham’ (water with which she washed her husband’s feet) to bring rain to a parched earth or to transform objects to her desire.

When the three Devis, – Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathy and Parvathy(athishakthi) heard through Sage Naradha the powers of this earthly woman they wanted to test her chastity. They approached their husbands Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to test Anasuya’s devotion to her husband. The three Moorthys transformed into three old mendicants and went to the hermitage where Anasuya was living and sought alms from her. When Anasuya was about to serve them food they told her that they had taken a vow whereby they could not accept alms from a person wearing clothes. As it was a sin to refuse alms to mendicants she prayed to her Lord and sprinkled a little ‘paatha theertham’ on the three old beggars. They were all immediately transformed into babies and throwing off her clothes she offered them food.

The Goddesses learning what had happened pleaded with Anasuya to grant them ‘maankalya biksha’ (gift of married life) and to give them back their husbands. Anasuya showed them the three babies. The Devis ran to the cradle and picked one baby each. Anasuya then prayed to her Lord to restore them back to their original form. Lo and behold! Lord Sri Vishnu was in Lakshmi’s embrace, Siva in Parvathy’s lap and Saraswathy with Brahma. They accepted that Anasuya’s fame as the chastest woman on earth was justified. Thus the Thrimoorthy came to be represented by the Lingam at Suchindram; the bottom represents Brahma, the middle represents Vishnu and the top Shiva.

There is another lore associated with this temple. Once Indra was infatuated with Ahalya, the wife of Rishi Gautama. One night he came to the hermitage where Gautama was living and crowed like a cock indicating the approach of dawn. Rishi Gautama thinking that dawn was imminent awoke from his sleep and went to the river for his ablutions prior to commencing his prayers. Realising that it was too dark for dawn and too early for morning to break he returned to his hut. In the meantime Lord Indra took the physical appearance of Rishi Gautama, approached Ahalya and satisfied his desire. Rishi Gautama returning from the river was enraged when he saw his wife in another man’s embrace and cursed the man’s entire body be covered with ‘yoni’ (the female organ) and his wife Ahalya to become a statue of stone. Lord Indra in order to get rid of this curse went to Gnanaranya and prayed to the Three Moorthys to rid him of this curse. When he was rid of his curse and transformed into his original form he built a temple and installed the Lingam to represent the three Moorthy – Thanu-Maal-Ayan, and the name of the place came to be known as Suchi-Indran (the place where Indran was purified).

By Anu Kusumakar Kadri

Dear friends,
Thank you very much your valuable visit here. I'm Anu Kusumakar Kadri from Bangalore. A wildlife photographer, Bird cinematographer, nature lover, and explorer. Yoga teacher, mother of two teenagers, home maker. And new blogger.
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