Sri Paramahamsa Sachchidananda Yogeeswarar
As told by the yogi:-
"...That is why elders have always said that Lord Shiva is "Abhisheka Priya" (The One who is fond of ablution).In that manner the learned elders made sure that the water from the 'ragi' vessel was positioned on top of Lord Shiva's head which was a part of Shiva Linga before they left the temple. After a few days the learned elders went back to the temple to check ( with the aid of their yogic insight )whether the water from the 'ragi' vessel which was tied right on top of the Shiva Lingam had successfully cooled the yogic fire of Lord Shiva. They found out that the temperature of the yogic fire of Lord Shiva was brought down only to a certain degree and not fully to their satisfaction.
Following is what they did to cool down the yogic fire of Lord Shiva fully.
In the beginning when the temple was built, a 'ragi' vessel was not tied on top of the Lingam with water pouring down, neither was there a 'Nandi' in front of the Lingam. The tying of 'ragi' vessel filled with water on top of the Lingam and placing the idol of 'Nandi' in front of the Lingam were all done only after these learned religious pundits were able to assess the presence of Lord Shiva's head in the Lingam (through their yogic insight). I shall narrate the reason why these learned scholars installed the idol of 'Nandi' in front of the Lingam, please listen to me.
Bull (Vrishabham) is the vehicle for Lord Shiva. The bull grazes in the landscape outside the temple and later comes inside the temple to lie down randomly, chewing on the grass. At such a time, if Lord Shiva wants to Grace a particular devotee (who has been doing penance for several years), He comes out of the Lingam and attaining the human form He beckons the cud-chewing bull to mount the animal, speeds to the devotee whose penance had fructified, grants the devotee his desired boons, returns to the temple riding the bull, alights from the bull and reenters the Lingam. As soon as the Lord alights from the bull to reenter the Lingam, the bull once again goes out of the temple to graze and return to the temple to lie down somewhere chewing grass. I shall tell you how the learned elders instructed the bull.
They called out,
"Oh, Nandi, please come here!"
The Nandi obediently came to stand close to the elders as soon as it was beckoned. The elders then seated the Nandi right oppsosite the Lingam and placing their thumb and index fingers on its horns tried to assess the alignment between the centre of the Lingam and the middle of the Nandi's nostrils. After adjusting the Nandi's face for perfect alignment between the points between the mid-nostrils of the Nandi and the centre of the Lingam, the elders spoke to the Nandi as follows:-
"Oh, Nandi! From today onwards, please do not go anywhere and remain seated in the same position. Fan the Lord with your breath of inhalation and exhalation."
Having said thus to the Nandi, they beckoned the Pujari of the Temple,
"Oh, Archaka! From today make sure that men and women who come to the temple to pray do not come inbetween the Nanadi and the Lingam to enter the "Moola Sthaanam". Please ask them to enter either from the left or right side of the Nandi." The elders only told that much to the Pujari , without explaining the entire science behind the position of the Nandi. Thus the Pujari remained ignorant of the science behind the placement of Nandi right in front of the Lingam. The fact has been illustrated in the diagram above. I shall further explain why the Nandi is seated right opposite the Lingam.
Devotees who come to the temple place their index finger and thumb on top of the Nandi's horns to view Lord Shiva without knowing the science behind the act. The devotees are ignorant of the fact that the Nandi is seated in front of the Lingam to cool the yogic heat of the Lord by fanning the Lingam with its inhalation/exhalation process.
After some days the learned elders came back to the temple to find out through their yogic powers, if the yogic heat of the Lingam was nullified by the aid of the Nandi's breath-fanning. They were delighted when they discovered that the yogic heat of the Lingam was fully cooled and erased. The elders who were very pleased instructed the Nandi and the temple Pujari one more time to continue in the same manner and went back to their residences.
After these arrangements continued, there came a time when Lord Shiva who was residing in the Lingam felt compassionate towards a devotee whose penance had been continuing in all its intensity for several years. The Lord wanted to Grace His devotee and came out of the Lingam. As He stepped out of the Lingam, He instantly became heated in His own yogic heat as He came out of the dripping water from the 'ragi' vessel above and the fanning of the Nandi's inhalation and exhalation process. The Lord unable to bear His own heat beckoned the Holy river Ganges and tied Her up in His thick braids. Instantly cooling down He went to attend to His devotee, granting him desired boons and returned to the temple. As he stepped close to the Lingam, He released the Holy Ganges from His braids and sent Her back to Her place before entering the Lingam to be in His state of yogic self-absorption.
Now I will explain to you why only in Saivite temples Nandis are placed in front of the Lingam and not in Vaishnavite temples. Why is Garuthmantha (the Eagle-vehicle of Lord Vishnu) not placed right in front of Lord Vishnu? I will tell you the reason! Lord Vishnu is the Sustainer and does not remain in yogic self-absorption. Consequently, Lord Vishnu's body is not heated due to yogic fire. There is no need for Vishnu's vehicle, Lord Garuthmantha to fan Lord Vishnu with his inhalation and exhalation.
That is why in Vaishnavite temples the temple tower (Gopuram) comes first, then the "Dhwajasthambham", the Bali Peetham in front of the Dhwajasthambam, and the Moola Sthaanam (inner sanctorum) from the Bali Peetham and nothing else in between the Bali Peetham and the Moola Sthaanam. All the Vaishnavite temples are constructed in the above fashion. A few learned religious authorities have erected Lord Anjaneya's idol between the Bali Peetham and the Moola Sthaanam.
In Saivite temples, as we enter the temple we find that starting from the Nandi the darkness spreads around the area and the darkness increases as we reach the Moola Sthaanam. The darkness in the Moola Sthaanam where God resides is maximized and a ghee-lit lamp flickers near the Lord. We can also notice that there are no other lamps all the way upto the Moola Sthaanam where God resides.
Oh Andhra-residents of Ganjaam, Visakhapatnam, Godavari, Krishna, Nellore districts and towns, I have visited all the temples in your areas when I toured the state. Alas, I found that the Moola Sthaanams in all the temples in your areas are not dark. I had even visited the magnificent temple of Varanasi, even there the Moola Sthaanam is not dark! The Moola Sthaanams of temples in Chennapuri, South of Chennapuri, starting from Chengalput District all the way upto Rameswaram have been constructed by our ancient learned elders designed to make the area of the Moola Sthaanam pitch-dark. I fail to understand why in Andhra Pradesh the temples have not been designed to make the Moola Sthaanams dark.
Anyway, let me explain why the Moola Sthaanams of Saivite temples in Tamilnadu are pitch-dark..."
(To be continued........)