Guruvayoor Temple – Why is it So Important for a Hindu?

guruvayoor temple history indus scrolls

With the second visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Guruvayur, one among the most renowned temples in Kerala, which is often referred to as Bhuloka Vaikunta, which translates to as “Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth” has gained national interest. The temple is also called as the “Dwarka of South India” due to Krishna’s widespread presence. It is considered important also because the rituals here are designed by Adi Shankara the legendary philosopher. Let’s have a look at the history of the temple.

Guruvayoorappan: The Form of Vishnu

Guruvayoorappan is a form of Vishnu worshipped mainly in Kerela. He is the presiding deity of Guruvayoor temple, who is being worshiped as Shri Krishna in His child form (Balagopalan), popularly known as Guruvayur Unnikkannan (Guruvayur baby Krishna). Even though the deity is that of chatur bahu (four handed) Vishnu, the concept (Sankalpam) of the people is that the deity is the infant form of Lord Krishna.

Origin of Guruvayoorappan

Legends say that King Sutapa and his wife Prishni prayed to Brahma for a child. Brahma, with the consent of Vishnu, gave the king a murti of Krishna given to him by Vishnu himself. It is said that by the grace of this murti, Brahma was able to fulfill his task of creation.

When Vishnu appeared before the King and the queen in answer to their prayers, they prayed to the Lord for a son like Him. As they repeated it thrice, the lord told them that they would have three janmas (births) and that He would be born to them in each of their three incarnations. In due course the Lord was born to them. He was born to them the first time as Prisnigarbha, who taught people the importance of brahmacharya. The second time, he was born to Kashyapa and Aditi and took form as the avatara of Vamana. In their third incarnation, they were Vasudeva and Devaki, parents of Krishna. The legend states that Krishna got the murti from his father and worshiped it at his capital, Dwaraka.

The Idol

The holy idol or murti is almost 4 feet tall and made of a stone called “Patala Anjanam” or black bismuth and is in the standing pose with four arms, carrying the Panchajanya (shanku or conch), the Sudarshana Chakra (chakra or disc), the Koumodaki (gada or mace) and padma (lotus).

It is believed that the deity of Guruvayoorappan represents the purna rupa (full manifestation) of four-armed Vishnu revealed by baby Krishna to His parents, Devaki and Vasudeva, immediately after His advent in Kamsa’s jail. This idol was, therefore, worshipped by the parents of Krishna, and later was worshipped by Krishna, an Avatar of Vishnu Himself. So baby Krishna is worshipped on a Vishnu deity.