Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Legend of Yadagiri Gutta

In the Tretayuga, there was a Rishi by name Vibhandaka. His son was the famous Rishyasringa, who had a son by name Yadavas. From the childhood onwards, Yadavas was devoted to Lord Vishnu and was' hungering to have a darshan of the 'sakshatkara' of Lord Vishnu, in his Swarupa of Lord Narasimha. In order to achieve and realize his heart's desire, he selected this secluded hill for doing his penance. There is a tradition in our country, that secluded spots unvisited by men are particularly susceptible of inducing great peace and concentration since there will not be the impact of the vibrations of the human mind in these lonely and sacred places. Yadagiri-gutta is one such secluded place and Yadavas was carrying on his penance or Tapascharya with one-pointedness of mind, and with complete Ekagrata with a desire to have darshan of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha. Lord Vishnu was pleased with the intensity, patience and perfectness of his penance, and appeared before Yadavas to confer boons on him. Yadavas then begged the Lord to show him the three supernal forms of the Lord, which had captivated his heart viz., the Swarup-is of Lord Vishnu as Jwala Narasimha, Gandabheranda Narasimha and Yogananda Narasimha. Accordingly, Lord Vishnu granted the boon, and gave darshan of the above three forms of the Narasimha Avatara to Yadavas. But Yadavas was still not fully satisfied with this fleeting view of the Lord, and the hunger in his soul required that he should constantly remain in the presence of the Lord himself. He, therefore, begged of the Lord to remain permanently in the hill in those three forms. The Lord, who was well pleased with the devotion of Yadavas, acceded to his request, and began to live there permanently on the hill in the above three forms of Lord Narasimha. Thus, the hill got its name as Yadavagiri, the corrupted form of which is Yadagiri.The three forms of Lord Narasimha are to be seen at three plots in the premises of the present temple provided one searches for them with devotion and sincerity.

These places in course of time were deserted and were covered by dense forest. The Lord appeared in a dream one night to a village officer of that place and revealed to him his presence at the top of the hill
and ordained that arrangements for regular worship of the idol should be made. Accordingly, the village
officer went with some people in search of the Lord on the top of the hill. There, under a huge rock, they
found the images of the God, which they resuscitated and cons.-crated for worship, and also appointed a
priest to conduct the daily Puja.

There is also another legend, which has also got wide circulation, about this temple. According to this, at
first the Lord manifested himself at a place two miles distant from this hill. That place is now called as
the Old Narasimhaswamy temple site. After the above dream incident etc., which are common to this legend
also, the God deserted that place and came to the present hill spot since the present spot was more
conducive to concentration and meditation.

The temple is situated at the top of the hill, which is about 300 ft. in height. At the foot of the hill, there is a gateway with Gopuram, which is called popularly as " Vaikunta Dwaram " . As one gets up half
the way above one will find a number of choultry buildings, which have formed themselves into a hill
town. There are about 150 such choultries constructed by many devotees of the Lord for the convenience of
the pilgrims who visit the temple.

After entering the Simhadwaram of the temple, there is a Hanuman Temple on the right side. Exactly beneath
the Hanuman image, there is a horizontal rock gap of about 10 inches width and about 60-sq. ft. in area.
This horizontal narrow cave is said to be the spot where the Lord manifested himself in his Swarupa of
Lord Narasimha as Gandhabherunda, one of the three Narasimhas who appeared before Yadavas. The oil lamp always kept here is still burning. Indicating the importance of the site.

Then, turning to the left, we enter a big hall where generally all devotees sit. Again, on the left side,
there is the temple proper. The front pillar of the temple is a constructed sculpture whereas the rear pillars where the actual shrine of the God is situated, viz., the Garbha Gudi, is a natural cave of about 30 ft. length and 12 ft. width cut into a hill. The cave is formed under a huge rock, which forms a sloping roof into a height of just 5-ft in the middle for the passage inside. While going through this constricted passage one has necessarily to lower his head slightly. Thus the very natural formation of the cave itself makes one bow involuntarily to the Lord.

On the left of the passage, there is a Peetha where special Pujas are performed. At the end of the cave, there are the actual images of the Lord. We see their two rocks fastened to each other and forming a vertical cup of about one -foot between them. On the other side of the rock, we can see the image in the shape of a serpent head and ending like its tail. This is said to be the aspect of God known as Jwala Narasimha, the second of the manifestations of Lord Vishnu to Yadavas. Popular tradition has it that a divine serpent still moves about the image.

On the opposite rock, there is another image of a figure seated in meditation and this is said to be the
image of Yogananda Narasimha, the third of the manifestations of Lord Vishnu to Yadavas.

These rocks form an integral part of the cave, and so there is no possibility of having any modern structure
in between them, without dismantling the natural structure. As these two images of the Lord are not
clearly visible to the worshippers, the icons of Goddess Laxmi and Narasimha are made in silver and
kept near the original Vigraha for darshan and worship. The superstructure of the temple is based on
the huge rock, which forms the cave. There is at Yadagiri a temple to the left of the front pillar,
dedicated to the Goddess, known as Andalamma temple.

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