25 Interesting facts of Yogi Bogar's Navapashana idol of God Muruga, Palani, Tamil Nadu

Siddhar Bogar installing Navapashana idol of Muruga(Karthikaya) YouTub

Preparation of the idol (Moolavar) Srimath Bhogar Palani Atheenam
 Sri Dhandayuthapani temple  atop the hill of Palani (also Pazhani) at Palani town (Dindigul district), Tamil Nadu  is one of the most popular pilgrimage centers  of South India and is believed to be one of the  six abodes of lord Muruga (Karthikaya / Subramanya) - Aarupadai Veedu in Tamil. Palani can be accessed by train and bus via Dindigul city or from Coimbatore city - 100 km from here. The present shrine was probably built in the 7th century by Cheraman Perumal, a Chera king. Later, the Nayaks of Madurai, Pandyas and a number of local rulers further built the temple.
Palani temple. CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai
Much has been written about Palani Murugan  temple, its origin, etc. In the past several years a plethora of news items in the media had been pouring out  about the main idol (Moolavar / abishegamurthy) the one made of  five metals in the Garbagraha (Sanctum) and devotees are  quite sore about the poor administration of the Devasthanam controlled by the government. Their grievance is: Why is the sanctity of this temple spoiled by going against the temple norms and traditions that have been vogue for countless centuries? Why are they replacing the original Navapashna idol? Is it really damaged or is it a pretext to steal it?

As you may be aware that this temple is famous for the small idol - moolavar (main deity) in the sanctum of the temple. What is so special about this Moolavar idol? At other temples across Tamil Nadu and elsewhere, the idol is either made of Panchaloka - five metals, including copper and gold  or  of  monolithic hard stone, like granite, diorite, etc. Stone represents Panchabootham - five elements of the Earth.  Here,  the main idol is neither made of metal nor of stone, but of what is called Navapashanam - a term derived from Sanskrit  nava+pashanam, meaning  ‘nine’ poisonous substances. They are mixed in such a way,  it has a good concentration of medicinal properties that can heal all types of ailments. Hence, in the past devotees used to throng the temple to get abisheka water or just a a bit of any abisheka items like sandal water, honey, milk etc., used during anointing.

Palani Murugan temple. wallpaper.istriku.site

Some interesting facts about Navabhashana Idol of Palani Murugan:

01. This unique idol of Muruga, a rare one in the whole of India was installed as per Agama Sastra by a great  Tamil Sage called Bogar, a disciple of Agasthiyar. 

02. It is a  hardened herbal idol of great antiquity going as far back as 2500 years!! This Navapashana Abishegamurthy (idol) is a great wonder and there  is no right answer to the mystery behind this idol of Bogar. 

03. There were 18 famous Tamil Sages called Siddhars. They were great Yogis, Sidha prushas and possessed enormous mystical and spiritual powers  one can ever imagine. They were all dedicated to Lord Shiva. 

04. Siddhar Bogar  who made this Navapashana Murugan idol at Palani was  one of the  disciples of Kalangi Kanchanamalayan  as well who himself  was one among 7 disciples of Nandi Devar.  Yet another Siddhar Thirumoolar in his devotional hymns made references to Boggar. 

05. Why did Boggar make a navapashana idol for worship?  Being humane and sympathetic, he was particular about curing man's many ailments that caused them pain and misery. Instead of making separate medicines for each ailment he wanted to come up with something like Panacea - something that can cure anything.

06. Hence Navapashanam - nine poisonous substances is considered as one of the most acclaimed Siddha elixirs or medicinal potion  known to mankind. Scientific studies have established the presence of many medicinal properties and their positive effects on the diseases.

07. Bogar used, after long research, innumerable herbs found in the palani hills  and made an amalgam of them. In this regard he was assisted by his disciple Pulipani. Since he rode the tiger to go  around the forest to collect herbs, he was known by this name (in Tamil Puli means Tiger). 

08. It is  stated after the demise of Bogar,  it was Pulipani who took Bogar's role and engaged in Puja rituals, etc at Palani. 

09. It is mentioned that Siddhar Bogar one night had a dream in which Lord Karthikaya (Muruga) himself offered certain suggestions for making an idol of him.

10. Before preparation of this idol for worship, Bogar had a wide discussion with other sages as the idol had to be worshipped as per the kumara thanthra, the pooja protocols  devised by the lord Muruga himself.

11. Among his classification of 64 types of poison, 32 can be acquired naturally and the rest - 32 artificially. Among them Bogar carefully chose just nine poisons - Bhasanas to suite the human body and cure the diseases without having any side effects.  

12. The nine poisonous substances chosen to make the beads, malai and idols avalaible here are Veeram, Pooram, Rasam, Jathilingam, Kandagam, Gauri pasanam, Vellai Pasanam, Mridharsingh and Silasat. 

13. Why did Bogar select Navapashanam to make the idol of Karthikaya?  Our life is centred around the solar system consisting of nine planets and  Pancha boothams  - five essential elements of Earth. When man die,  his last breath leaves the mortal body through one of the 9 holes  (Dwarams) in our body. This Navapashanam, it is said,  protects the important  nine important centers in our body that cause the pain and disease. 

14. The significant point is  the nine  poisonous elements were mixed carefully in the right proportion, if not, it will have an adverse effect on the entire amalgam.

15. Though there are different versions as to the preparation of Navapashanam, the correct method followed by Bogar is not yet known. Just relying on the mere conjecture alone will not serve the purpose.  Any way, the laborious process involves constant grinding,  heating, filtering and finally made into a hard paste. 

16. Once the idol is made as planned, it is energised by means of repetitive  chanting of several mantras and, it is believed, it imparts divinity to the idol. At the end the idol is endowed with godly stature. In the consecration of Hindu idols, intense concentration of mind, chanting of mantras and complete commitments play primary roles. Only trained people can do it, not others.

17. Navapashanam is a Herbal medicine prepared in a yogic / spiritual  process of amalgamation in a particular proportion  with cosmic energy  by Siddhar Bogar. 

18. It is believed to influence 01. Five koshas, 02. Nava grahas  and 03. the Panchaboothas  of humans. Most importantly it nullifies the bad effect of  some planetary positions on humans. That a single medicinal preparation offers remedy to so many diseases  is a fact that can never be denied. 

19. According to the temple Devasthanam  abhishekams, (anointing) is  conducted six times a day (since 1984), with clean materials. This has been done for centuries to improve the   longevity of the idol. it is also stated that there are two other similar idols near the Bogar Samadhi (tomb) close to the sanctum (Srikovil / grabagraha) in the hill temple.

20. In early  days Milk and Panchamirtha abishkam was done over the idol and the prasad that touched the Navapashana idol was distributed among the devotees to cure any diseases - physical or mental.

21. Rakkala santhanam - the sandal paste placed on the idol overnight is considered a great healer and was widely popular in the past.

22. Since 1980s  abhishekams, and  purification with liquids and fluids, have been limited to basic minimum as the original idol was ageing and developed minor cracks. 

23. Recently an attempt was made to replace the original idol with the golden one and it was met with stiff resistance  by the public. On top of it, the media brought to light certain irregularities over the preparation of second idol and its metal composition; its gold content became a serious issue. The sthapathy (idol maker) and his cohorts - government employees are facing police enquiry.  

24. On January 25, 2004, 200 kg metal idol of God Muruga was installed in the sanctum and few months later it was removed. 

25. It is reported an attempt was  made by certain dishonest people to sell the original idol made by Yogi Bogar abroad for a huge sum  - millions of dollars and a metal idol was to be installed instead using the pretext that Bogar's idol had to to be replaced as it became damaged.