Oachira Parabrahma Temple - An ancient Temple in Kollam

Oachira Parabrahma Temple in Oachira, of Kollam district is a symbol of non-idol worship where the supreme force of nature and God is worshiped. The belief that the supreme is shapeless forms the basis of the temple doctrine.The article narrates the myth behind the temple.

Oachira Parabrahma Temple in Oachira, of Kollam district is a symbol of non-idol worship where the supreme force of nature and God is worshiped. The belief that the supreme is shapeless forms the basis of the temple doctrine. The Idol of Shiva, Shivalinga is a symbol of worshiping the one without a form as the idol used here is a round stone that represents the existence of God even in a barren rock. The form gains its importance as a rounded rock as u see the same shape and form from any direction you look at it.

The Hindu belief says that the Supreme, the Omkaara split into three forms: knowledge, fury and peace. The Temple premises of Oachira lacks a Temple structure as there is no fixed idol to be worshiped in the place. Hence only small grooves that stretch across the area act as a worshiping ground in the temple premises.
Oachira Temple
The legend says that once there lived a Brahmin saint. As the 'Sanyasi' was always engaged in incantations, meditations and prayers a poor subclass helper Unnikkoran assisted him in his household works. Unnikkoran took care of the saint and knew nothing more. But he always longed for knowledge of the supreme. The saint who woke up early before the dawn engaged in his daily activities and nearing the sunrise went into meditation. He would have food only at noon and he slept only for the very few hours after midnight. Unnikkoran never understood these strange practices of the saint and always pondered on what these could bring in.

Once, unable to suppress his desire Unnikkoran asked the saint what good can meditation bring, how to meditate? What was God? How was he? And such curiosity flowed out of him into interrogations to the saint. Surprised by this curiosity and yearning for knowledge the Saint was not ready to instill the knowledge of the supreme into that "illiterate fool". Selfish, the saint answered so that he gave out nothing worth understanding that he worshiped the non-idol and supreme power of the Universe. Unnikkoran was all the more curious. "What does it look like Guru?" he inquired.

The saint was all the more irritated, "like that bull over there", he pointed to a wild bull that was grazing far away. Unnikkoran was overcome with devotion; he joined his palms in devotion and prayer to the wild bull and tracked the bull at his sight until it went far into the forest. The saint was taken by this funny scene and laughed out inwardly at the foolishness of the young man and at the intelligence of his own.

The following days Unnikkoran during his usual household works began to notice the white bull that came grazing out of the forest. He dropped his work to devotionally bow before the bull and stare at it with prayers till it vanished out of sight.

One day the saint wanted to travel to Kanyakumari and arranged Unnikkoran to pack up for the trip. As per orders Unnikkoran prepared two bundles with food and clothes inside heavy enough for each one to carry each. When the day rose the Saint woke Unnikkoran and loaded him with both the bundles. This was too heavy for the poor guy to hold. The saint, free of burden walked ahead at high speed and poor Unnikkoran with the burden of both the heavy bundles heaved behind him. The saint indifferent to the pain undertaken by Unnikkoran didn't even care to rest for a while and Unnikkoran was nearly fainting now.

"A white bull follows you, hang the bundles on its back", someone whispered.

"Who was that", Unnikkoran turned around but found no one other than his idol bull that came jolly after him. Without ado Unnikkoran rested the bundles upon the white bull and walked freely behind the saint with the bull following him. They travelled far distance and finally reached the forest in Oachira. The grooves were full of intervening wines and the bull got stuck among the wines. Unnikkoran carefully untangled the wines and made way for the bull to pass freely. "Come this way and you will not get tangled. Be careful", the saint stopped for the first time.

"Who are talking to Unnikkoran?" he inquired.

"To the bull, Guru"

"Which bull?" the saint was surprised.

"The bull which carries our bundles, he got tangled in the wines, I see him every day in the forest, he came to my help with the bundles", Unnikkoran replied innocently.

"Unnikkoran! I see only to bundles suspended in the air! What magic holds them!, Where is the Bull?", the saint was taken aback.
"Undikkavil ( It is here in this groove)", Unnikkoran was surprised as well.

The saint, realizing his mistake, fell on his legs and sobbed out in agony. "What sin have I done O God…Forgive me for I tried to fool this poor being and today he has experienced the grace of your supremacy". Realizing the true devotion of Unnikkoran the saint bowed before him in guilt and pleaded to be Unnikkoran's disciple. The essence of the supreme in the form of bull was propounded far and wide and the groove where the saint felt the power of devotion became the temple premises of Oachira. But when the dispute arose as where to build the Temple it was revealed that the Divine exuberance of the groove can't be restricted under a single roof and hence the entire premise of the groove became the place of worship.

The place where Unnikkoran showed the bull to the saint became the renowned groove "Undikkaav". Later two banyan grooves were constructed in the premise for shade as well as an abstract form for worship. Various small structures rose to provide shelter to the weary wanderers. And today the Oachira Parabrahma temple resides as a symbol of worship of the Supreme with prime importance to bulls in honor of the bull form that appeared to Unnikkoran. The temple premise also includes the Yakshikkaav where a Yakshi "female nymph form" has been believed to have dwelt nailed into a tree.

Every year after the celebration of Onam festivals the neighbouring places gets busy with the making of hay models of a white and red bull enormous in size and is brought into the temple premise, fixed on huge wooden base fitted with wooden wheels for the festival "28 aam Onam". All the male members of the area are then in a labor to transport the huge models into the temple and they keep coming in from nearby as well as far off areas with the models for a competition on judging which place have made the most magnificent bulls.Enormous models get aligned with miniature and medium sized models prepared by clubs and even children. The celebration is a one day labor and fun in the surrounding areas of Oachira.
Ochira kaalakett

The Oachira temple also has a custom of offering clay idols of human body parts believing that the idol representing our diseased body part to be submitted to the divine energy will bring in the cure. In whole the Oachira temple premise consists of many grooves all without roofs believed to represent the wholeness and non-idol form of worship of the supreme.

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