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H.H 293 Pontiff Paramahamsa Nithyananda Conducts 1st Guru Pooja Festival at Madurai

H.H 293 Pontiff Paramahamsa Nithyananda Conducts 1st Guru Pooja Festival at Madurai

Madurai, 05 June 2012: The 5-day Thiru Jnana Sambandar Guru Pooja Festival from 01-05 June at Madurai Aadheenam culminated today with a host of religious and service activities in which over 5000 people from around the world participated. This is the major celebration at Madurai Aadheenam since H.H. Paramahamsa Nithyananda took over as its 293rd pontiff on 27 April this year. Thiru Jnana Sambandar, a 6th century visionary Shaivite saint, is the patron saint of Madurai Aadheenam.

Well before sunrise today, to the accompaniment of traditional nadaswaram music by artistes from Tiruvannamalai,  the temple elephant and priests welcomed the two pontiffs of Madurai Aadheenam and took them in procession from Madurai Aadheenam to the Meenakshi-Sundareshwara temple . Entering through the East tower, the two pontiffs and devotees witnessed the auspicious suprabhata seva – gently awakening the Divine couple Meenakshi and Sundareshwara (Devi & Shiva) with music and worship.

This was followed by the re-enactment of the scene of ‘darshan’, where the saint, the first pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam,  Thiru Jnana Sambandar receives the divine vision of Meenakshi and Sundareshwara, the Cosmic Founders of Madurai Aadheenam. Worship was performed to over 60 other deities in the temple.  Tiru Jnana Sambandar and the 63 nayanmars (chief Shaivite saints) were then carried in a palanquin procession through the four streets surrounding the temple. The procession arrived at Madurai Aadheenam where a special pooja (worship) and arati (worship with lamps) was performed. After the daily parartha pooja, a homa (fire ceremony) was performed.

Later in the evening, the charming ceremony of kanakabhishekam (showering with gold coins) was performed by Paramahamsa Nithyananda to his predecessor, the 292nd pontiff Srila Sri Arunagirinatha Sri Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya Swamigal as a symbol of honor. This was preceded by the offering of a golden crown by Paramahamsa Nithyananda to the elder pontiff. The 292nd pontiff also released the official Madurai Aadheenam website.

Other spiritual leaders who honored both the pontiffs on the occasion included the pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam’s Pulippani ashram, and the pontiff of Karumari Peetha in Bangalore, Madhukar Swamiji.

Addressing the media on the occasion, Paramahamsa Nithyananda praised the honesty, open nature and moral courage of his predecessor. The 292nd pontiff, Srila Sri Arunagirinatha Sri Jnana Sambanda Desika Paramacharya in turn declared that whether people are aware of it or not, Paramahamsa Nithyananda was not only a great saint and an infallible spiritual healer, but a divine Avatar.

The day’s celebrations closed with another darshan at the Meenakshi temple, followed by a silver chariot procession and Maha Deeparadhana (ceremony of lamps).


The legendary Madurai Aadheenam has existed since time immemorial. However, it was revived around 1500 years ago by the young enlightened incarnation Thiru Jnana Sambandar, one of the four visionary saints of South Indian Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy. The Aadheenam is established in Madurai, one of the oldest cities of India with a history dating all the way back to Tamil Sangam period in the 3rd century BC. The presiding deities of Madurai are Shiva and Devi in their incarnations as Sundareshwara and Meenakshi, enshrined in the world-famous Madurai Meenakshi-Sundareshwara temple.

Until the year 1945, the Madurai Meenakshi temple and the Rameshwaram temple were under the control, management and administration of this mutt. Thereafter, it was taken up by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu.

The pontiff of the Madurai Aadheenam is known by the title ‘Guru Maha Sannidhanam’ and inherits great responsibility in carrying forward the traditions of Tirujnana Sambandar’s sacred work. There is no tenure for this position and it is a lifetime honor.