Kodiyaetram – An Introduction
The meaning of the word, ‘kodiyaetram’, is the raising of (a) flag; ‘kodi’ means flag and ‘aetram’ means (the) raising of (something).
Amongst the insignia of nation, the flag plays the most prominent role in displaying that nation’s identity. Apart from a nation, various associations and organizations also have a flag to identify themselves. In the context of temples, flags, with the emblems of the birds or animals auspicious to the respective preceding deities, are used. A flag of a country is quite frequently raised for various special occasions. The flag of a temple is raised once a year; consequently, special ceremonies are performed for a period of 10 days.
In the instance of a nation, the raising of the flag is a gesture of loyalty, social obligation and commitment, whereas in the context of a temple , the flag raising and the related ceremonies are not mere gestures of respect and devotion to God; but they are fully inherent of religious significance and philosophical truths.
The significance and benefits of the Flag Raising Festival are as follows:
* It gives the overt opportunity to pay out homage and gratitude to God.
* The festival helps neutralize any kind of shortcomings which had occurred, knowingly or unknowingly, throughout the year.
* All the deities and devas are worshipped during this festival.
* In this festival, God is worshiped not only in the ‘bimbam’ (the form of the deity), but also in the forms of the ‘koditthambam’ (flag pole), ‘kumbham’, ‘agni’ (light/fire) and ‘guru’.
* The ceremonies conducted during the ten days of the festivals are reflective of the fivefold graceful functions of the Almighty.
* The various ceremonies performed during this festival enable us to adhere to all the fourfold means of attaining salvation, namely “Sariyai’, ‘Kiriyai’, ‘Yoaham’, and ‘Njaanam’.
* The holy Saivite manthra, ‘Sivayanamaha’ is represented by the flagpole, during the period when the flag is raised.
“Come as a guru and grant grace, oh Guha”
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