Giver of Boons

Varadaraja of Kanchi is a giver of boons and hence the name

Varada, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi in a discourse. He gives

without our having to ask Him. Vedanta Desika says that He

gives everything that He has in His possession and yet His

wealth remains undiminished.

In one of his verses, Tirumangai Azhvar refers to him as a

precious gem that confers boons on us. He is like a priceless

gem. But He is known for His simplicity. A gem may be

precious, but it can be easily tied up in one’s garment. All it

takes is a small knot to secure it. God is like such a gem. He is approachable and comes down to our level. ‘Ka’ means

Brahma and Kanchipuram is so called because it was here

that Brahma worshipped the Paramatma. Ayodhya, Mathura,

Maya, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika and Dwaraka are considered to

be the seven pilgrim centres visiting which will grant a

person mukti. Maya is the present day Haridwar and

Avantika is the city of Ujjain. Kanchipuram is among the

seven most holy places of pilgrimage. Varadaraja’s mercy

towards His devotees is legendary. There used to be a

devotee called Doddacharya, who lived in Sholingur. He

used to visit Kanchipuram to witness Lord Varadaraja being

taken on a procession mounted on Garuda. One year he was

unable to go to the festival and the Lord appeared in

Sholingur seated on Garuda so that Doddacharya could

worship Him. Varadaraja, whose hand is in abhaya pose, is

also called Hasti because He is One who gives. He appeared

in the star Hasta and this too is a reason for the name Hasti.

The Varadaraja icon appeared from the sacrificial fire and so

He has scars on his face. He did not mind bearing the heat of

fire, because His aim was to save us from the fire of samsara.