Sri Kamakoti Mandali  
shrImAtre namaH  
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Sri Kamakshi Chandana Seva

shrI mahAtripurasundarI chandramauLIshvarebhyo namaH

"If the blue mountain be the ink, the ocean the ink-pot, the biggest branch of the heavenly tree - Kalpaka be the pen, the earth the writing leaf, and taking these, if Sharada, the goddess of learning, writes for eternity, even then the limit of Sri Kamakshi's virtues will not be reached". That being the case, an ignorant fool as I will still dare to speak about Sri Kamakshi Parabhattarika, relying solely on the grace of Sri Gurupaduka.

nagareShu kAnchI – says Bharavi, the author of the great classic – kirAtArjunIya, praising Kanchi as the greatest of cities. It is the only Mokshapuri in Southern India – Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar (Maya), Kashi, Avanti (Ujjain) and Dwaraka being the rest. Kanchi literally means the ornament worn by women around their girdle – called Oddiyana. Kanchi is the foremost Shakti Pitha – called Mahoddyana Pitha (Kamarupa – Assam, Jalandhara – Jalandhar and Purnagiri – Badari being the others). This Peetha is presided over by Sri Charyanandanatha and Sri Parabhattarika themselves as Maha Gurumurti-s.

Kanchi is also considered the Nabhi Sthanam or the navel of the Brahmanda. As we know, the navel is the point of origin for all nAdis in the body and is considered to be the storehouse of power. Sri Kamakshi being the source of power for all Devi and Devatas in the world, Kanchi is rightly called the Nabhi Sthana. Sri Lakshmidharacharya in his Samvit Stuti says thus: `O Samvidrupini! At Nabhi Mandala of the Brahmanda, beyond the regions of darkness (i.e. Muladhara and Swadhishthana), you appear as the lightening of parA samvit, hoding pAsha and AMkusha in your hands, seated on Kamakoti Simhasana'.

Sri Lalita Sahasranama describes the greatness of Kamakoti with the names - kAmakoTikA and kAmAkShI. Sri Bhaskararaya comments thus on the name `kAmAkShi' - it is the extraordinary name of the deity who presides over Sri Kamakoti Peetha. Lalitopakhyana of Brahmanda Purana describes the glory of Kanchi and names it as the holy place where the Upadesha of Sri Lalita Sahasranama was given by Lord Hayagriva to sage Agastya. This holy spot is now known as Upanishad Brahmendra Mutt, which also houses a huge Sri Rama Yantra consecrated by sage Narada. It is also said that the sacred Rama Raksha Stotra was revealed to sage Budha Kaushika at this place which now houses the ancient Mutt. One can see Hayagriveshwara and Agastyeshwara Lingas in this Mutt to this day.

Sri Paramba has five forms - sthUla, sukShma, sUkShmatara, SUkShmatama and parA. The sthUla or the gross manifestation of Srividya Parameshvari is found only in Kanchi as Sri Kamakshi. Sri Kamakshi has been residing in Kanchi from time immemorial. Sri Kamakshi has been residing here by her own will. Though it is popularly believed that Sri Adi Shankara established the Srichakra in front of Sri Kamakshi, it was Sri Durvasa who established a Srichakra on Salagrama shilA and the place came to be known as Kamakoti Peetham. Thus, the Garbha Griha of Sri Kamakshi is the Kamakoti Peetham described in various Tantras and Puranas. The fact that Sri Lalita Sahasranama and Trishati existed before the advent of Acharya proves the existence of Kamakoti Peetha from time immemorial. Sri Durvasa has also authored Saubhgya Chintamani Kalpa to direct the Puja Kainkarya to Sri Kamakshi. Sri Adi Shankara restored Puja to Amba and established Shakta Mata in this place in its pristine purity. The Srichakra established by Durvasa is free from scratches to this day and every line is crystal clear even after innumerable years. We have been blessed to see the Srichakra personally and it is amazing to see the clarity of lines in the Srichakra.

Another popular myth is about Adi Shankara pacifying the Raudra Swarupa of Kamakshi. Sri Kamakshi is Purna Brahma Swarupini and it is foolish to even imagine she attained Raudra Bhava. That defeats the very significance of the name and form - lalitA. The shrine in the temple premises, referred to as Adi Kamakshi, is actually Kalikamba, a Rakshaka Devata. It is possible that this deity was pacified by Adi Acharya. Also, the Kamakshi who meditated in Mangadu to marry Shiva and later married Ekamreshvara at Kanchi is Uma or Parvati and should not be confused with Sri Kamakshi. Sri Kamakshi who presides over the Kamakoti Peetha is Shiva Shaktyaikya Rupini, who represents the Purna Brahman, beyond manifestationssuch as Ekamreshwara and his wife Kamakshi, who represent a partial aspect or amsha of Parashakti.

Sri Kamakshi is ever worshipped by Lord Mahavishnu as Varadaraja and Lord Mahadeva as Sri Kailasanatha. Thus, Kanchi is sacred to both Shaivas and Vaishnavas. There is a Srivaishnava Divya Desha located right inside the sanctum of Sri Kamakshi. Also, the presence of Kumarakoshta, a shrine dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, makes the Lord here Somaskandha Murti. All the Anga - Pratyanga - Upanga devatas are present in the sanctum of Sri Kamakshi in ethereal forms and are visible to sincere Upasakas. Many Upasakas have seen the glory of Sri Lalita seated on Pancha Brahmasana in the holy Srivigraha of Sri Kamakshi.

Having the darshanam of Sri Kamakshi grants one the merit of visiting all Tirtha Kshetras in the world. All devatas derive their energies from Sri Kamakshi Para Bhattarika and merge into her during mahApraLaya. By merely seeing her holy feet, one is relieved from the greatest disease - saMsAra. Muka Panchashati stands as a glorious example of her limitless compassion.

Ka means Lakshmi and Ma means Saraswati. That Supreme Parashakti who has Lakshmi and Sharada as her two eyes is called Sri Kamakshi. Thus, by her mere side-glace, she grants Bhoga and Moksha to her devotees. Also, among the various kinds of Shaktipata, Sparsha Diksha being the lowest is adopted by the Kaulas. For the Samayins, Srividya Vilasa (authored by Sri Vamadeva Shastrin, believed to be a householder disciple of Srimadacharya) prescribes `Anugraha Diksha', the manifestation of which is seen in the Kataksha Vikshana of Sri Kamakshi. The Sangita Trimurtis - Thyagaraja, Shyama Shastrigal and Sri Dikshitar have sung praises of Sri Kamakoti Lalita. It may be interesting to note that the Mahanavami Puja to Sri Kamakshi is always sponsored by Sri Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham.

Sri Kamakshi's Garbha Grham is located in Gayatri Mantapam signifying the Srivigraham of Sridevi as the Rahasya Gayatri, which remains hidden within the Prakata Gayatri. The city of Kanchi itself is in the shape of Srichakra with the Garbha Grha of Amba forming the Maha Bindu.

Sri Kamakshi represents pure Parabrahman, Shiva-Shakti one and worshipping her grants the merit of worshipping all the myriads of Devatas described in the scriptures. The worship of Sri Kamakshi is based on the secret manual – Saubhagya Chintamani Kalpa – specially authored by Krodha Bhattaraka Sri Durvasa. This work speaks of the Mahatmya of Nitya Puja to Sri Kamakshi and the special Chandana Abhisheka performed to Amba. By merely seeing the Chandana Abhisheka to Amba, one is washed of all sins and attains Bhoga and Moksha (Saubhagya Chintamani).

The Chandana Abhisheka to Amba and Maha Srichakra was performed judiciously for years by Sri Kamakoti Shastrigal of Guhananda Mandali, also the Srividya Sthanigar and hereditary Mirasdar of the Temple. However, from the past few years, this tradition had come to a stand-still because of lack of funds. Under the guidance of the current Srividya Sthanigar Sri Kamakoti Suresh Shastrigal, Sri Kamakoti Mandali has had the great fortune of getting involved in the Nitya Chandana Abhisheka Kainkarya for sometime now, but it would require devoted contribution from Astikas to continue Chandana Abhishekam to Srimata. The cost of Chandanam required to perform Abhishekam for the full month comes to about Rs. 55,000 and the labor charges for making the sandal paste is Rs. 6,000. Thus, total charges for sponsoring the Abhishekam for an entire month would be Rs. 61,000/month. Kamakoti Mandali, under the guidance of Sri Kamakoti Shastrigal and the divine order of Sri Kamakshi herself, is overseeing the arrangements for the Abhisheka and contributions from Astikas are greatly required to continue this Divine Seva to the Mother of Brahmanda. Also, Chandana Seva for a single day (done thrice in a day) can be sponsored by paying an amount of Rs. 3000. The sevakarta will be blessed with Amba's Chandana Prasadam. The Abhishekam can be scheduled on requested days such as birthdays, anniversaries and other auspicious occasions.

Note: Our Mandali is only a channel of communication between the devotees and the Administrators of the Temple at Kanchipuram. The financial dealings are to be done directly with the Temple Administration.