Vasavi Rushigotra Suvarna Mandiram opened its gates for devotees in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari on February 15. The temple has staggering 90-foot-tall alloy statue of goddess Vasavi. The idol is made up of 65,000 kg alloy. Devotees in large numbers flocked to temple to offer prayers.
According to Trust president PN Govinda Rajulu and Vasavi Pithadhipati Srikrishnanandapuri Swamiji this is first of its kind in the world would be installed at Penugonda. It took almost 700 days to cast this massive 90 – feet deity. For this, arround 42 tons of copper, 1.3 tons of brass, 20 tons of zinc, 600 kgs of silver, 40 kgs of Gold been used.
There is also a 4.5 feet Jade stone carved archana deity of Vasavi in the same temple, which is very special.
Penugonda, on the banks of River Godavari in West Godavari District of modern day Andhra Pradesh finds a mention in the Skanda Purana and several other ancient hindu texts. It is here that Lord Kumaraswamy and Sage Pulasthya performed penance. As a result of their penance is the birth of Goddess Vasavi who is none other than the avatar of Adi Parashakti (The Primordial Mother). This Penugonda Kshetram is considered as the ‘Kasi of Vysyas’ and is a holy place for Vysyas. This background coupled with the Vasavi Shanti Dham project makes the Pratisthapana all the more significant. It is a project over 30 years in making and has involved countless, tireless and innumerable contributions from leaders, members and luminaries from the Arya Vysya Community.
According to the leagend Kusuma Sresti or Setty was the Setty king of Vysyas who’s territory was a Vassal state of Vangi Desa (Vanga Kingdom), which was ruled by Vishnu Vardhana (Vimaladitya Maharaja). His capital was Penugonda (Jestasailam) city for all the 18 paraganas during 10th and 11th century A.D. He and his wife Kusumamba were considered an ideal couple and led a peaceful domestic life.
Though they had been married for many years, the couple did not have peace of mind as there was no successor to the kingdom. They approached their Kula guru (family teacher) Bhaskara Acharya also a Komati who was well versed in shastras and by virtue of his profession was treated as a Komati Brahman. He advised them to perform Puthra Kamesti Yaga, which Dasharatha had observed.
The Gods were pleased and sent prasadam (blessed fruit from god) through Yagneswara (fire God). With devotion they ate the Prasadam and within a few days the signs of pregnancy were found with Kusumamba.
During spring season, Kusumamba gave birth to twins, one male the other female on Friday the tenth of Vaisaka (Telugu month) at twilight during convergence of Uttara Nakshatram and Kanya (Virgo). The male child was named Virupaksha, and the female Vasavamba.
Under the guidance of Bhaskara Acharya, Virupaksha learnt the Puranas, fencing, horse riding, martial arts, archery, statecraft etc.., which were essential to rule his Territory. Vasavi learnt fine arts and mastered philosophy and was proud to be an intelligent woman.
After certain years, When King Vishnu Vardhana went on expedition to expand his empire, he visited Penugonda, where King Kusuma Setti received him and took him in a procession and arranged a felicitation program in the colorful auditorium. Vimaladitya (Vishnu Vardhana) spotted Vasavi among the crowd and fell madly in love with her. He felt he could not live without her and was determined to marry her. He sent a minister to enquire about her. The desire of Vishnuvardhana (Vimaladitya) was like a death blow to Kusuma sresty. He was neither in a position to accept it nor to deny.
He discussed these issues with his closest family and friends and they unanimously decided to let Vasavi decide. Vasavi frankly expressed her desire to be a Virgin throughout her life and intended not to concentrate on worldly matters.
Kusuma Setti sent a denial message to king Vishnuvardhana. The king was furious and sent a Battalion with orders to attack mercilessly and to get Vasavi for him. The brave Komti’s of Penugonda by using the techniques of Sama, Daana, Bheda and finally Danda, defeated Vishnuvardana’s army.
At this crucial juncture, Kusuma Sresti called for Great Conference of the Chief of all the 18 cities and the leaders of all 714 Gotras in the presence of Komati Kula Guru Bhaskara Acharya.
In the conference, there was difference of opinion. The Chiefs of 102 Gotras made a firm decision thought that let us fight for a good cause. Whereas, the leaders of the other 612 Gotras felt that the matrimonial alliance would be safer and more beneficial.”
Bhaskara Acharya said: “We must safeguard our respect even at the cost of our lives”. In Penugonda necessary arrangements were made with the supporters of the 102 Gotras to face the consequence.
Vasavi entered into scene and said: “Why should there be bloodshed among us for the sake of a Girl? Instead, let us rebel in a novel way. We can control war through non-violence and self-sacrifice.
As per the directions of Vasavi, at the holy place of Brahmakunda on the banks of Godavari, the royal servants arranged 103 Agnikundas (fire pits) in a special way. The whole city was observing that day as a festival day. Then Vasavi asked the couples of the 102 Gotras: “Will you plunge into this holy fire along with me?” Every one of them whole heatedly gave their consent.
She smiled and revealed her true self, which had the glittering radiance surpassing the brightness of sun. She said: “I am the incarnation of Adiparashakthi.” To safeguard the dignity of woman and to protect Dharma, to destroy Vishnu Vardhana and to reveal to the world the magnanimity of Komti’s I come here in Kaliyuga. Like Sati Devi who was insulted entered into holy fire, I too plunge into the holy fire and enter the other world.
Then all of them entered into holy fire after meditating upon their Gods.
Though Vishnuvardhana felt bad Omens, he marched ahead and reached the main entrance of Penugonda. Then his detectives reported what all had happened in the city. He could not bare the great shock and his heart shattered into pieces. He fell down vomiting blood and he was no more. The self-sacrifice of Vasavi and the end of Vishnuvardhana was the talk of the town. People condemned the deeds of Vishnuvardhana and appreciated the epoch maker Vasavi and her non-violent principle.
Central to Vasavi Shanthi Dham is the 185 Ft high Vasavi Suvarna Rishi Gotra Mandir featuring 102 Rishi Gothra Stambhas. These will be erected symbolising 102 Gothras, along with the respective Gothra Couple who entered Agni pravesham along with Matha Vasavi. This has been beautifully written and described by Sri Bhagavan Veda Vyasa Maharshi in KANYAKA PURANAM which comes in ‘OORUJOPAAKHYAANA’ of SKAANDA PURANA. Corresponding verse with respect to each Gothra will be inscribed in multiple languages on the respective Rishi Gothra Stambha.
The devotees are thrilled to have darshan of Matha Vasavi from the two cranes which are arranged on either sides of the Idol.
Maha Abhishekam and Pushpa Samarpana are done to Matha Vasavi by devotees from these cranes
Miror house is also a special attraction here. Which houses, Kusumamba, Kusuma Shresti (parents of Vasavi Matha ) ,Vasavi Matha, Rathnavathi Devi, Virupaksha (brother and sister in law of Vasavi matha)
There is a silver chariot with 405 kg silver for the presiding deity of Goddess Vasavi.
Vasavi Kanyaka Parameshwari Devi devotees across the world and the Arya Vysya Community requests the government to change the name of the city penukonda to Vasavi Penukonda because this place is very significant as a birth place of the Devi.