A seed evolving into a Huge Tree carries a lot of philosophical values...The determination to evolve, the discipline on its routine, the perseverance to withstand the disrupting earthly factors, the responsibility to safeguard oneself, the reciprocation back to nature once grown and it goes on and on...Amidst all such Natural phenomena carrying invaluable values, it was RajaRajeswaram (Tanjore BIG Temple as it is called now) that was emerging on this very earth with abundant such values.
ArthaJamam (Late Night) It was.
Sitting on the floors of the half-built Arthamandapa just opposite to the entrance of the Sanctum Santorum, The mighty Chola King Rajaraja I, his elder Sister Kunthavai, Kunjaramallar, the senior sculptor/architect of Rajarajeswaram, the Chola commander in Chief KrishnanRaman Brammarayar were all discussing on the plan and progress of the Great Rajarajeswaram. A small group of the strongest Chola Army Men was on their duty outside with their armors and swords.
Rajarajeswaram was a birth duty of Rajaraja Chozhar as he took it as gifted duty and an order to have received from Lord Shiva Himself. The construction and the evolution of an architectural marvel were happening Day and Night and for RajaRaja Chola, neither Day nor Night mattered. With the fullest of his devotions, RajaRaja Chozhar was assessing the nook and corner details of temple progress. It was late night and hence there was a very dim light coming out of the few perpetual lamps lit on the walls.
As the discussion was ongoing for a longer time, it was as though RajaRaja Chozhar had numbness in his foot. To relax, he stood up from the place and walked a few steps towards the center of the Sanctum Sanctorum entrance. Though Aged, RajaRaja Chozhar still was a warrior and his muscles exhibited the Vigor and Vitality.
Raising both his strong arms towards the Deity-to-come inside the Sanctum, the king made his devotional roar - Thennadudaiya Sivaney potri !! Ennatavarkkum Iraivaa Potri !!(The Lord of the South - Long Live You! The Lord of the World - Long Live You ) when two longer, sharper and stronger swords from both the sides of the false pillars from the top swung across and held close to the King's neck. The Chola Men inside the building were SHOCKED and just SHOCKED. Each of them including Kunthavai in a quick glimpse swung their swords out to save the king but were stopped by a very powerful and persuasive voice, none visible.
The Chola Kingdom was brought to a HALT for a second, not the King. This mighty king has been offering thousands of soldier Enemies lives as gifts to the Lord Yama (the god of death) and these two pieces of steel weren't going to shake the king's valor to the slightest. Without any reaction, RajaRaja Chozhar was keenly observing the next thing to happen.
The stubborn Voice warned -
"CHOLAS !!! BEWARE of the next step you take and the next word you speak. This might cost you the life of your KING forever !"
The Elder Sister of the King wasn't that submissive to just let the voice persuade ..Infuriated, she bounced back with her words
" Watch for YOUR words and the next action. You have held the valorous of the Chola Dynasty Warriors with your swords and mind that those words might cut your throat open the next moment. You are into one of the Strongest kingdoms, the Chola Kingdom of this period. The swords of the Chola men here and the men outside will split your body into pieces with no time for you to repent. The moment you step out, thousands of the Chola horses would break your jaws under their swiftest legs. Last but not the least, the majestic Chola army of elephants would crush your body under-earth turning into fossils at once that this will be the last birth for you. ".
There came the loudest laugh from the other side of the Sanctum.
" Ha Ha Ha !! Kunthavai - Mind your words again with so much of your arrogance. Be it the valorous or the mightiest, they are nothing before us. Be it the King or his powerful elder sister, You are NOTHING. And about all your Strong Chola men, their swords, Horses, and elephants, Mind that the Serpent under my foot nails can swallow the strongest and the largest of your elephants in the Chola army that you take pride about. "
Puzzled, Kunthavai again uttered
"Serpent !! That can swallow my Chola Army's largest elephant? "
The stubborn voice again - "Get the things right in your mind, the so-called Intelligent woman of the Dynasty! Did you ever think for a moment How huge I would be to have taken a snake swallowing the biggest of the Chola Army elephant under my foot nail? Did you think about my strength and valor and Can there be a match for this on this earth? It's not just me. There is one more on the other side you just heard. This will be my last warning you poor soul! "
Kunthavai, just imagining the ginormous appearance, was taken aback. "But there was more this voice has instilled in me. It has destroyed all my beliefs of what I thought to be huge, strong including my Chola army men, Cavalry, and my Chola Elephant Troops. There is nothing big in front of the voice as he says. What more can I quote? I have NOTHING with me including my dear brother . "
The voice roared again - " Ha Ha Ha ! Cholas ! Why is there an abrupt silence ? I think your mind has started thinking about us .Do you want to see whom we are " this time it was even a louder roar.
Silence again and the heads just nodded.
"Here we are! We are the Dwarapalakas (the guardian deities ) of Lord Shiva " roared the voices, the teak false pillars pushed down with a bang and a massive 20 feet painting of the majestic DWARAPALAKAS unveiled from the top to the bottom on either side of the sanctum sanctorum.
Never had the Cholas seen such fierce, aggressive dwarapalakas showing the Dharjani and Vismaya Mudras of Lord Shiva. They were awestruck and cannot just believe it was a mere painting.
The voice, however, continued dominating the silence
"Did you identify us now? When just the Dwarapalakas of the Lord are so huge and powerful than the biggest of Mankind, Can you imagine the massiveness of the Lord inside the Sanctum Sanctorum? He is the Supreme Being and the primal soul. There is nothing mankind can bring in front of him to match. He is everything and everywhere.
And So the CHOLAS ! " the voice again.
"Beware! We are standing here guarding the lord. Step into this place with a clean soul and heart. Get rid of the worldly bonds, impurities, and other desires before you step in. Else Remember, The Lord is a destroyer himself! All those will be destroyed at once. However, the Lord is also a pleased granter of boons when resided in him! So delve into him and his values completely to purify yourself! Thennadudaiya Sivaney potri !! Ennatavarkkum Iraivaa Potri !!(The Lord of the South - Long Live You! The Lord of the World - Long Live You ) "
RajaRajaChozhar ran and hugged Kunjaramallar. What a thought process is given by Kunjarammallar to sculpt these dwarapalakas of RajaRajeswaram? Nothing is big or precious before the Lord. Words weren't enough to express the emotions for anyone inside the complex. The Chola Men including Kundhavai bowed at the Senior Architect for bringing an epitome of values out of these paintings (and later to the sculptures).
Amidst all these, there was something which was still puzzling Kundhavai. The swords which were very close to the Mighty King's neck were still there. She quickly ran near the Sanctum Sanctorum entrance and with both her hands pulled the swords. With huge laughter, jumped from the false pillars, Vallavarayar VandhiyaDevar (Husband of Kundhavai) and the Prince Rajendra Chola (RajaRaja Chola's son).
There was third laughter heard from behind and It was the KING Himself concluding the drama he has planned & staged successfully with his dear son and his beloved in law to bring out the magnificence of the Values Rich RajaRajeswaram.
Note: A fictional write up on the thought process behind the design of Dwarapalakas of the Tanjore Big temple.