Veerataneswarar Temple, Thiruvirkudi – Legends
Slaying of Jalandarasuran by Lord Shiva:
Indira the king of Devas went to Mount Kailash to have Shiva darshan with the pride of a king. In the guise of a watchman, Lord Shiva prevented him from proceeding further. Proud Indira struck Shiva with his Vajrayudha when Lord opened his forehead eye. Realizing the watchman was Shiva; Indira fell at his feet and sought his pardon. Lord Shiva spilled a drop of his sweat in the milk ocean from where a demon child was born. The child pulled the beard of Lord Brahmma who cried in pain. His tears also fell on the child. The child wet with Shiva’s sweat, Brahma’s tears and the drop of the milk ocean was named Jalandarasuran.
When he grew, he demanded Brahmma a life without death and the rule of the three worlds. Brahmma denied it. He got the boon that he would be alive till such time his chaste wife Brindhai was found mentally tainted. His atrocities grew in leaps and bounds and finally decided to kill Lord Shiva himself. Lord came before the demon in the guise of an aged person, drew a round line as a chakra. He asked the demon to take the Chakra, place it on his head and said that it would destroy him. Arrogant demon challenged that the Chakra could not kill him as his wife was a chaste woman. Shiva called Lord Vishnu and asked him to appear before Brinda as Jalandarasuran.
Not knowing that the visitor was not her husband, she called him in with the respect of a husband and thus got tainted mentally. Lord Shiva placed the Chakkara on demon’s head which chopped off his head. Knowing the design of Lord Vishnu, Brinda immolated herself cursing Lord Vishnu that he would have to suffer separation from his wife. To come over the curse, Lord Vishnu had to take the Ramavathara later, goes the story. Due to curse of Brinda, Lord Vishnu became mentally retarded.
To cure Him, Lord Shiva sowed a seed at the place where Brinda burnt herself. Tulsi plant grew. A garland was made of the Tulsi leaves and placed on Lord Vishnu. He was cured completely. Lord Vishnu asked Lord Shiva to gift him the Chakra-discus. He worshipped Lord Shiva with thousand lotus flowers. When he found that the number was short by two, he unhesitatingly took his eyes for the puja. Pleased Shiva rewarded Lord Vishnu with the Chakra.
Thulasi as Sthala Vriksham here:
Thulasi, which is normally the Sthala Vriksham in Vishnu temples, is the Sthala Vriksham here. Interestingly the Thulasi here is believed to be the reincarnation of Brinda, the wife of the slain demon.
Appar is said to have spent his last years here, dedicating his life to the upkeep of this temple, and the Appar Peruvizha which lasts for a period of 10 days, celebrates these events.