The Sudarshana Chakra is a holy discus that is also Vishnu’s divine weapon. It comprises two discs rotating in opposite directions. Each disc has more than a million sharp spikes on its edges. As per the Linga Purana, Vishnu got it from Shiva. The gods had been vanquished by the armies of demons as the latter had the power to heal their battle wounds. Vishnu then decided to battle the asuras himself. He fought them for many centuries but his efforts proved futile. Then Vishnu sought Shiva’s help. But Shiva was in deep meditation. Vishnu then collected a thousand lotus flowers and offered them to Shiva. Shiva hid one of the 1000 flowers to test Vishnu’s devotion. On realizing that one lotus flower was missing, Vishnu removed one of his eyes and offered it to Shiva. Pleased by his devotion, Shiva gave the Sudarshana Chakra to Vishnu and also restored his eye.
The personified form of the Sudarshana Chakra is Chakra Perumal or Chakrathazhwar. There are some temples where the Chakra is worshipped. They are:
1. Sri Sudarshana Bhagavan Temple in Nagamangala.
2. Chakrapani Temple in Kumbakonam.
Though Vishnu has various forms, Sudarshasan Perumal is believed to be foremost when it comes to protecting his devotees.
Features of the Sudarshana Chakra
It is operated by thought. Whenever Vishnu or Krishna wants to kill someone, it is released.
Vishnu can control its speed as well.
Once released, it returns to Vishnu after completing its mission.
It spins continuously and never stops.
Only the Trishul can stop it. Surrendering to Vishnu is the only option to save oneself from it.
Here are 20 interesting facts about Sudarshanar:
1. His star is Chitra, and Sudarshana Jayanthi (birthday) is celebrated in July in the month of Sravana on that star.
2. Worshipping him in this month bestows peace of mind and prosperity.
3. Chitra is also the star of Rama.
4. Performing special Poojas like Nava kalasa snapana and Sita Rama Kalyanam is very beneficial. Sudarshana gains power from Vishnu to remove all evil forces and negativity.People usually perform Sudarshana Homam and other Homams as part of a family function or a religious ceremony or when opening a new business.
5. Sudarshana Homam protects one from evil eyes, evil forces, etc. It bestows protection against any future hardships.
6. At the Chakra Theertham, Kumbakonam, says Hindu mythology, Brahma did yagam to invoke Vishnu. The Chakra appeared from Pathaal lok, and in the center of the brilliant Chakra, Vishnu gave darshan to Brahma. This is why Vishnu is revered as Chakrapani in the Chakrapani temple here. It is a famous Divya desam shrine.
7. People always worship Chakrathazwar at Vishnu temples as it is mandatory. Devotees may miss seeing Narashimha Perumal behind his idol. But if they go around the sanctum, they will see the image of Narashimhar on Chakratazhwar’s back. Supposedly, going round the sanctum in the Sannidhi clockwise and praying to both Sudarshanar and Narashimhar is equivalent to worshipping the 4 Vedas, Ashta Laksmi, Pancha Boothas (5 elements) and 8 geographical directions.
8. When Vishnu took the Narasimha avatar to kill Hiranyakasipu on his lap on the threshold (neither inside nor outside and at twilight (neither night nor day), he tore him apart using his long claws. The belief is that Sudarshana turned into the claws.
9. Many Hindus have Saligrama stones in their Pooja room because they believe that Sudarshanar is in them.
10. Vishnu appeared on Earth as a dwarf (Vamana avatar) to rid King Mahabali of his arrogance. He demanded three paces of land from the king. The demons’ Guru, Shukracharya, warned Mahabali not to do it, as Vamana was actually Mahavishnu. But Mahabali took his kamandala to pour theertha in order to grant Vamana’s wish. Shukracharya turned into a small beetle and plugged the hole in the spout to save Mahabali. Vamana took a blade of Darba grass and unplugged the hole. Shukracharya lost one of his eyes. Supposedly, the blade of Darba grass was Sudarshana.
11. Chakratazhwar has a separate shrine in these temples; Varadaraja Perumal temple, Kanchi, Ranganathar temple, Srirangam, Azhgar temple near Madurai, Kalameha Perumal temple, Thirumozhur, etc. There is also a small shrine for Sudarshanar at Sri Rama temple at Mariammankovil near Thanjavur. (Here the huge Moolavar idols are made from Saligrama stone gifted by the Maharaja of Nepal to the Maratha king at Thanjavur.
12. The other popular Sudarshanar temples are: Thuravur (Alappuzha, Kerala) Narasimha temple. It has two sanctums. Here, both Narasimha and Sudarshana are the chief deities. Sreevallabha Temple in Thiruvalla. Here Sudarshana is worshipped with Sreevallabha/Vishnu in the sanctum. Narayanathu Kavu Sudarshana Temple in Triprangode, Kerala. The Chakraperumal shrine inside the Simhachalam Temple in Andhra has the rare 16-armed form. The one with 8 arms is a benevolent form and is generally found in Vishnu temples. Veeraraghava Swamy Temple, Thiruevvul; Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangapatna
13. Sudarshna Azhwar has 3 eyes and 16 arms. Each arm carries a weapon. The hair on his head is Agni. Sudarsana Azhwar can protect devotees from the evil effects of black magic.
14. Worshipping Sudarshanar frees one from fear and grants protection from evil forces..
15. Other than Vishnu and Krishna, Goddess Parvati, Shiva, Radha, Kartikeya, Sage Vishwamitra, and Pradyumna (Krishna’s son) can wield the Sudarshana Chakra.
16. Many Pancharatra texts describe the Chakra as prana, Maya, kriya, shakti, bhava, unmera, udyama and saṃkalpa. ,
17. Sudarshana manifests in 5 key ways to outwit the 5 Shaktis, which are creation, preservation, destruction, obstruction, and obscuration.
18. It is noiseless.
19. It follows the path of minimum resistance to reach its target.
20. Saturdays and Wednesdays are ideal to worship Sudarshana