Kakasseri Pada Pooja
Sri Kakasseri and Parimala were the parents of Sadguru Gnananandar as per Swami's siddhar calculations in their previous births. Parimala died immediately after delivering Gnananandar and Kakasseri greatly agitated, left the house and roamed around like a pithar (mentally affected person). His original birth name was Narayana Prandaiyar (Prandaiyar means mad person). He hailed from a Namboodhiri family and his house was known as Kakasseri Illam.
After his wife's death, Kakasseri moved to Chothanikkarai and was employed as an accountant in the temple there. He was also a siddhar. He used to carry heavy stones one by one to the top of the hill and after climbing the top, he used to roll down the stones. For ordinary mortals, his action appeared as pure madness. Actually speaking, the secret behind his action was that he used to carry the body with the souls of the humans and send the souls up to heaven and send back the physical body down to earth. This explanation was given by Swami. Though roaming like a prandaiyar, Kakasseri was highly devoted to Chothanikkara Devi. Whenever he received Devi's commands, he was transfixed like a statue and remained in that state of samadhi for hours on end. His strange actions irked the tanthri who performed the poojas in the temple. He felt that their pooja to the Devi was polluted by the actions of Kakasseri and also his presence was considered as a hindrance to the religious activities of the temple.
So, the priests performed Deva Prashnam (to seek an astrological status of the future divine activities of the temple). They prayed to Devi for a solution. Ambal told them that they can ask Kakasseri himself for a solution. Accordingly, they approached Kakasseri and sought his help. Kakasseri replied that his going away from the temple would be the real solution to their problems. After uttering this, he immediately went inside a cave near the sannidhanam of Devi and disappeared, never to be seen again.
After Kakasseri's departure, even though the tanthris performed the Devi poojas with full concentration and sanctity, the poojas were not satisfactory to Ambal. This caused a great concern to the tanthris. So, they again performed a Deva Prashnam and asked Ambal the reason for her dissatisfaction. Devi replied that She was sad because of the disappearance of Her beloved son Kakasseri and as a token of compensation, they should construct a mandapam on the left side of Her sannadhi in memory of Kakasseri. The rostrum was built as per the divine wish.
Even today, a lamp is lit in that mandapam everyday, before the commencement of the poojas to Devi. Even now, those who visit Chothanikkara Devi temple can go and see this Kakasseri mandapam just adjacent to the place where the divine prasadams are sold.
Kakasseri was the rishi of pithru lokam and governed the place. So, he was able to obviate the pithru dosham (ancestral grievances) of any person who performed pooja to his padukas. He also used to watch the crows and identify them with the concerned pithru. Some are of the opinion that because of this unique action, he got the name Kakasseri (kakka means crow in Tamil). Hindus believe that crow represents their pithru and so they feed the crows with freshly cooked rice, dal and ghee before they eat. This habit is prevalent in any typical brahmin house in south India. When we asked Swami about this, he explained that the crow is the only bird on earth which will call "ka ka ka" three times and then only touch the food. It will invite other crows to join by calling thus and then only consume the food. Whenever the brahmins perform srardham (a religious ritual performed in memory of the forefathers), they invite the two previous generations of their forefathers to participate in that ritual. Thus, the crow is considered as the symbolic representation of our pithrus.
Kakasseri, who disappeared in the cave surfaced in Tanjore district (a place in south India) according to one historical source.
Kakasseri's son Gnananandar who attained samadhi in the year 1974 at Tapovanam, twenty-five years later, decided to go to Bagavathi siddhar peetam in Tambaram and remains in sthoola sareeram form in the stone statue installed by Swami on 2nd January, 1999. On this day, Gnananandar revealed to Swami the secret of the birth of his father Kakasseri Namboodhiripad and that in this birth, Swami was Kakasseri in the earlier birth and that he (Gnananandar) has united himself with Swami (who is none else but his father in the earlier birth).
Meanwhile, Swami noticed that whenever he conducted Devi and Gurunather poojas in his devotees' houses, the forefathers of the concerned devotees came foremost in front of Swami in his siddhar vision and expressed their grievances and dissatisfaction. The forefathers' grievances became a great obstacle for the devotees to receive the full benefits of the poojas. He wanted to get a solution for this and he sought Gnananandar's advice. This whole story of Kakasseri, the significance and the most important benefit of doing pada pooja of Kakasseri and the boons one gets thereupon — all these secrets were revealed to Swami by Gnananandar on 2nd January, 1999.
Just a few days prior to this incident, Kakasseri disguised as an old man came to Swami's abode in Kumbakonam at 10 pm when Swami was away and handed over his padukas without saying anything or introducing himself. He only told Swami's wife that he and Swami were well acquainted and immediately left the house. When Swami asked Gnananandar about the padukas, Gnananandar revealed all the abovementioned episodes to him.