Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Krishnar Paadam and Seeveli on Sri Jayanthi

Today is Sri Jayanti. The atmosphere at all Lord Krishna temples would be celebratory  today night and most households will be decorated with festoons and kolams(rangoli)  and  for bhog, lot of crispy snacks like murukku, thattai and seedai will be made in households apart from Sri Krishna's favorite Avul( parched rice flakes) and fresh butter.

Many will decorate their homes with footprints of Sri Krishna leading to the altar from the main door. There is a legend behind this 'Foot legend' after all Indian mythology is all about myths and legends.

                                          'Krishnar paadam' at home

The legend goes thus, Since Sri Krishna is a 'Maakan chor' ( steals Butter) from the matkas hanging in the ceiling. Many a times he spills it while stealing. When he stealthily walks out, he places his feet on the spilt butter blob and so the whole house has his butter soaked foot prints. Symbolically representing this, feet patterns are drawn in most homes.  

Everyone has their own way of praying or connecting with god. I too have my own way. I am not very religious, pious or ritualistic when it comes to connecting with god. I don't find it mandatory to visit temples on auspicious days when it is overcrowded, neither do i get up early in the morning and chant shlokas loudly.  I don't offer hefty donations or contribute generously to temples.  But i do have faith and connect with god to feel at peace.  I pray to him whenever and wherever it pleases me like during travel or from bed or during my walk etc. It is a general  "Let everyone be happy and healthy" type of prayer or sometimes i switch on 'Vishnusahasranamam' on my ipod during walks. At times, when i am unable to take a decision, i  do seek his help and my faith in him gets stronger.  When i go through trying times, I say to myself  'Shhh.... god is working on my problem" and leave it to god, time and faith to take care of my problem. Such is my connection with god.

I do light diyas and incense, place flowers at the altar that is because i like the ambience and vibes it creates. I also visit temples when i feel like  to absorb the cosmic vibes. I believe,  idols in temples are supposed to have esoteric power due to the continuous chants  and temples are built according to agamic principles which absorb the geo-magnetic and cosmic waves. That said, i don't sense the vibes at all temples but there are  a few ancient  temples, where i have felt the mystical vibrations. Though all temples are god's abode there are a few where you feel the calm and peace.  The older the better.

One of them is the Guruvayoor temple in Kerala dedicated to Lord Krishna.

It was late in the evening when i first visited this temple. To be precise, on the eve of christmas in 2009. We drove from Kalady( Adi sankara's birth place) straight to Guruvayoor. We freshened up quickly so that we had to be on time before the temple closes for the day. Fortunately for us there was no long temple queue and the devotees were few in number( though it was holiday season).

As we entered the temple, we found it was the seeveli time.The nearly 1000 lights around in the vilakkumadam( wooden framed structure designed into small squares with each square holding a lit diya) were lit.  Seeveli is the procession of caparisoned elephants in the inner praharam(corridor) around the temple. Lord Krishna is carried on one of the elephants and the remaining elephants follow to the beat of the drums, cymbals , pipes and other percussion instruments. There is a rhythm in the beat. The tempo is slow initially and then reaches a crescendo.

                                                           The seeveli
                                            The lighted vilakkumadam

The beat of the drums, cymbals, the lighted vilakkumadam, the caparisoned elephants all transport you to an unexplainable divine world. Despite the rhythmic beating and sound, there is a sense of peace and calm that  has to be experienced to be believed.   

Seeveli is an occassional feature in most kerala temples. But at Guruvayoor it is a daily feature.


  1. Happy Gokulaashtami to you and your family. We have been to Guruvayoor a few times. We love the payasam prasadham.

  2. Happy Gokulashtami Asha. I feel the same when I visit temples - the older and less crowded, the more the feeling.

  3. Thank you, SG. HAppy gokulasshtami to you and your family too. YEs, the nei payasam and aravana payasam here are special.

  4. Thank you, Ramesh. Wish you the same:)

  5. Happy Janmashtami to you and your family, Asha! Those are some sweet looking footprints. My sentiments exactly, I prefer to pray whenever and wherever and visiting temples on such big days where you dont even get a minute in peace is not my cup of tea. Never knew about Seeveli. Must be a an awesome divine experience!

    1. Thank you, shilpa. Happy janmashtami to you and your family too. Yes, seeveli is a divine tradition unique to kerala temples and a lovely experience when there is no crowd.

  6. Nice to read about the Krishnar Kal, and about the Seeveli.
    I feel the same way as you do regarding rituals and visiting temples or praying.

    1. nice to know you feel the same about praying Rama. Thank you:)