I want to write about this temple near my house ( Mogappair , Chennai ), and its significance and what a blessing to stay close by....
I visited this beautiful temple, Panchamuga Shivalaya, which has the statue of Lord Shiva with five faces, and his consort Goddess Parvati as Kameswari. I have not seen such a temple or depiction of Lord Shiva. I have heard that Pasupathinath in Nepal has four faces, but this is the only temple in the world, which shows the statue of Lord Shiva with five faces.
As per Vedas, Lord Shiva has six faces, four faces facing the four directions and one face facing above the sky, and the other face facing below the earth. The face below is called Atho Muga, and its not shown in idol worship, as it implies, that the Lord is in deep meditation thinking about his consort. This sixth face or Atho Muga is not visible. Each of his face, his distinct colours, so six colours, six Neivaidhyams, and it represents Six gunas. Lord Shiva, embodiment of Parabrahma with five krias, appears in a unique form with five faces known as ‘ Eesanam’ ‘Thathpurusham’, Aghoram’, ‘Vamadevam’ and ‘Sathyojatham’.
Na ma shi vaa ya - popularly called as panchAkshara mantram. This is shiva's mantra. This has five syllables as shown above.
Shiva is said to be the embodiment of the five elements or pancha bhuta. Sky(Akash), Wind(Vayu), Fire(Agni), Water(Jhalam), Land(Prithvi) are five in numbers. They are the five indriyas of Shiva. Sky is his ears, Wind is his body or skin, Fire is his eyes, Water is his tongue, Land is his nose. If we closely analyse these elements are associated with the 5 senses.
Akash – Sabda (Hear), Wind – Sparsha (Feel), Fire – Roopa (See), Water – Rasa (Taste) and Land – Gandha (Smell). The sky is space where only sound is present.
Wind can be felt.
Fire can be seen.
Water can be tasted.
Land can be smelt.
To co-memorate this we have the pancha bhuta sthala.
1. Akash - Chidambaram
2. Wind - Kaalahasti
3. Fire - Tiruvannamalai
4. Water - Tiruvaanaikkal
5. Land – Kanchipuram
Lord Shiva is called Lord Kameswara and Goddess is called Kameswari. Its such a divine place, and the temple follows SriVidhya Upasana. Morning starts with Ganapathy Homam everyday and ends with Uchista Ganapathy Homam in the evening each day. I felt the presence of Almighty, when i visited this place. As they say, everything done in a proper way, be it abhisekham, neivaidhyam, or even everyday poojas - maybe a simple offering of a flower, but everyday continuously, will definetely show you the spiritual power, and presence of god. Its not like other temples, where temples are opened and closed for money or for any fashion, but i felt the Divinity at this place, and how god speaks to us, if we really pray from all our heart.
Its a must see, and people must learn the divine aspects of pooja's, prayers, so they can pass to the next generation to create a peaceful world.
Om Namah Shivaya !