About Shastiapthapoorthi (60th birthday) and when to perform
History of Thirukadaiyur Temple
To know the reason why Shastiapthapoorthi is being celebrated at Thirukadaiyur, we should know the Temple History i.e, Stala Puraanam of Thirukadaiyur temple. The name of Shiva in Thirukadaiyur temple is Swami Amirthakadeshwarar. In all Shiva temples, Lord shiva occupies the form of Lingam called Shiva Linga Swaroopam. Let us know why Lord Shiva got the name of Amirthakadeshwar. From the Ocean (Paarkadal) for taking the Amirdham, there was war going on between the Asuras and Devas. Lord Vishnu took the form of a dazzling beauty (Mohini Avataaram) and with an intention that Devas should get the Amirdham, he cheated the Asuras and brought the Amirdha Kadam i.,e Amirtha pot to this Thirukadaiyur temple. The name of the pond behind the Thirukadaiyur temple is called Amirtha Pushkarani. Pushkarani means Thirukulam (Holy pond). So, Lord Vishnu decided to give the Amirtham to Devas in this Pushkarani. This avatharam name for Lord Vishu is called AmithaNarayana Perumal. This temple is located in the south of Thirukadaiyur with the God name as Amirthanarayana perumal and Goddess Amirthavalli.
It is believed that there is no death when consumed Amirtham. Likewise, if we offer our prayers to Amirthakadeshwarar, there would be no Yama Fear. This is the reason why Markandeyar migrated here from his native place Thondi and had settled in T. Manalmedu (0.5 kms southwest of Thirukadaiyur). He had worshipped Lord Amirthakadeshwar, offered Abishegam from the Holy Ganga water to increase his life longevity, since his death was fixed on the day of his completing 16 years. Accordingly, on that particular day when Markandeyar completes his 16 years, Lord Yama appeared to take his Ayul. Lord Shiva for the sake of his sincere devotee Markandeyar, took the form of Rudra – Rudra Avadaaram (Man form) and had kicked Lord Yama with his left leg and killed Yama. Since Lord Shiva Killed Kaalan (Yaman), he is popularly known as Kaala Samhara Murthy. This event of Yama Samharam is still popular in Thirukadaiyur which takes every year during the First month of the Tamil Year Chithirai (Mesha Month) during Magam star.
Why Shastiapthapoorthi at Thirukadaiyur
All the planets have its effect and domination on a human only when the person is alive. For example, Sukran given family & children, Sevvai gives wealth, Budhan for education etc. These are applicable only if the person is alive. Once the human dies, the power and responsibility of taking his Aathma lies with Shani Bhagawan. For completing this responsible task, Shani appoints Lord Yama for the same.
Hence, Yama takes the job of taking away the life from human on the destined date.
Since in Thirukadaiyur, Yamadharma was killed by Lord Shiva, Shani was left with no power. When the ruling planet Shani has no power, all other planets follow the same rule. Normally in all Shiva Temples there would be a separate Sannidhi for Navagrahas. But in Thirukadaiyur temple, there is no sannidhi for Navagraha, as the same has no power.
Other Ayul Shanthi Parihara Homams at Thirukadaiyur
In the average age of human being, as per Sastra, he needs to overcome 4 radams (rathas in Sanskrit means Korai teeth like lion teeth). First ratha at he beginning of 60 years, next at the completion of 60 years, 3rd one at the beginning of 70 years and the 4th radha at the completion of 75 years). Hence, the following 4 shanthi homams are performed for the 4 rathas.
Ugra Ratha Shanthi – performed at the beginning of 60 years
Rudra Ratha shanthi – Rudra abishegam, Shatiapthapoorthi are performed after completion of 60 years.
Bheema Ratha Shanthi – performed at the begging of 70 years
Vijaya Ratha Shanthi – performed at the completion of 74 years.