Cunitan got scared. He consulted his elders and ministers, and they advised him that only Draupadi could kill Rocakan: "She is the Parasakti, and has all powers. But to have Draupadi take a second birth one must do a sacrifice, and the sacrifice must be performed by the same two rishis whose sacrifice for Draupadi's father resulted in her previous birth. These two, Upayan, or Upayacan, and Yacan, are ever-living beings, jivanmuktas, and are alive even now though no one can see them.
So Cunitan searched all over India for the two rishis, and finally came to Gingee, to the Carikaraparani, the "living river." Cunitan prayed and did tapas, and was finally able to see them. To fulfill his wish they undertook the sacrifice on the banks of the river. In that fire Parashakti was born anew. In her first birth, in the Dwapara yuga, she was born alone. In the Kali Yuga, she was born with five instruments. Born from that fire with all these instruments, she asked Cunitan what she should do.
Cunitan went to Kalingadesa and found Pottu Raja. By chance, he caught Pottu Raja at a moment when he had just opened his eyes during his prayers, and Pottu Raja thus saw him. Pottu Raja asked Cunitan why he had come. Cunitan identified himself as a descendant of the great Shivabhakta Arjuna. As soon as he heard this, Pottu Raja acceded to his request. He told that Draupadi had taken birth at Gingee, he came there to see her. But even so he bore the Shivalingam that he always used in his prayers on his head. Since then he has always carried it in that fashion.
Pottu Raja approached Draupadi. Draupadi told him that because he was a Sivabhakta, he was the right person to hold Rocakan's hundredth head. Pottu Raja concurred, and they set off with Cunitan to confront Rocakan. When they arrived Rocakan taunted them with his invulnerability. He laughed as Draupadi cut off the first ninety-nine heads. Finally, with the one remaining head, he mocked her: "If you cut off my last head you will certainly die." Without saying anything she boldly severed it, and Pottu Raja caught it in his arms without allowing it to touch the ground. Thus Rocakan was destroyed. After this Pottu Raja took a vow that he would always hold the head in his hand.
Draupadi then disappeared from that place, and where she vanished a temple was built: the Gingee temple, from which people come to bring home earth when they found a Draupadi temple elsewhere. But in front of every Draupadi temple there is a statue of Pottu Raja holding the head of Rocakan. And Draupadi, by way of thanks to Pottu Raja, said that all respect and all pujas should first be done to Pottu Raja. Thus he is to be respected first. Without Pottu Raja there is no festival.
It can be said that as to the antiquarian transformations, Cunitan's search for Yacan and Upayacan now becomes the bridge between the North Indian milieu of the Pandavas and their descendants and the convergence upon Gingee of the essentials of the Draupadi cult.
As to the antiquarian transformations, Cunitan's search for Yacan and Upayacan now becomes the bridge between the North Indian milieu of the Pandavas and their descendants and the convergence upon Gingee of the essentials of the Draupadi cult. The puranic detail about Kausambi is lost, and so is the turn toward the Himalayas. Instead of doing his tapas with his Brahman minister Pottu Raja in the Himalayas, Cunitan does his tapas in Gingee, and he must go to Kalingadesa to find Pottu Raja the "king."
Finally, closest to the more "popular" versions of the story, the other four paratiyars interviewed have Cunitan perform his sacrifice, not as a king of Kausambi or a pilgrim from Hastinapur, but as a king of Gingee.
It is said that Cunitan ruled at Gingee with his wife, Manikkavalli. As they were childless they did tapas to Draupadi. They prayed to Draupadi, their "lineage deity," invoking her as "the Kuladeva who was living at Gingee.
Acalammacuran and his wife, Cenpakavalli, then appear singing and dancing. . Acalamman declares his intention to perform tapas for the boon of not dying. He does so, and Lord Brahma appears before him. The demon asks that he should be invulnerable to any weapon or person who is not born from fire. Brahma grants the boon. Acalamman then fights with Cunitan, defeats him, and jails him.
Vyas [Ved Vyas] then appeared and discussed the demon's atrocities with Cunitan's minister. He invokes the five Pandavas, who are in heaven. The five arrive in mufti, and Vyas instructs them to do a sacrifice so that Panchali can be reborn. The Pandavas do the yakam in the Melacceri forest, near Melacceri village, and Draupadi is born as Virapanchali. She is dressed in a bright pink and green saree, wears a crown, and swings her culam, the Virakuntam, her "heroic lance.
Vyas now tells Virapanchali that Acalammacuran has jailed a thousand kings and plans to offer them to her as human sacrifices to get her blessing. But Vyas doubts that she will accept these offerings. Rather, he advises her to kill the demon to spread her family fame, and asks whether she will accept the demon's offerings or kill him.
So they fight. Soon the demon is subdued and lies down on the musician's platform, his legs dangling below it. Draupadi stands above and behind him, dominating the scene, swinging her culam with her right hand and waving rolled up sheets. As she does this, she sings of making the heads into a garland for her to wear.
Besides these there are several other versions of the story of Draupadi, Cunitan and the demon.
(Last Updated on : 12-06-2010)
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