27 steps around Nandikeshwara

It's been an interesting week at Thiruvannamalai, it always has something new to offer on a platter. I would believe getting personalized attention towards enhancing my spiritual thirst has brought me a long way. It was on my janma nakshatram that I was advised to do the 27 rounds of circum-ambulation around Nandi, and finally whisper my wish into His ear.

27 rounds around Nandi was a small walk through my life. Nandi sat in silent meditation, dhyanam - a state of eternal bliss. A state I wonder whether I would ever achieve. It woud be such intoxication to sit permanently in front of the Lord, facing him, a constant conversation in silence with no disturbance from the outside world. Nandi, silent in Dhyanam was probably unaware that I made silent rounds around Him wishing every minute I was in His place.

27 rounds, flashed my life around me, as I watched myself walk around the temple alone, in the darkness looking at ancient walls, whisper into my ears that there is a lot more within those walls and I have just about started to scratch the surface. Each step forward, felt like I was leaving the world of misery behind. Each breath, fresh and pure into a realm untouched.

27 rounds that were watched by sadhus around the temple wondering who I was and what I was doing. A slight disbelief that a woman clad in jeans and t-shirt can be "religious". A slight curiosity that looks might be deceptive, that we might lead strange lives and appear western in attire but are pretty much traditional at heart.

27 rounds around an ancient temple that has been renovated a million times over and now disfigured bearing no resemblance to its original self. Yet a silent aura around it brings back the rhythm of drums in my ears and makes my feet dance to its tunes. It was a dark evening, no moon, but enough light to give a feel of the hill towering behind me, protecting me from all known dangers.

27 rounds, each round like worship to the 27 forms of the Lord, of which I have just begun to discover Him slowly, one form after the other. Pleasant forms, fierce forms, meditative and enigmatic, all rolled into One. Lord Shiva - gentle, caring, warm, forever protecting and calm. Silence drapes the walls of the temple, each tassel laced by moths and spider webs, permanent residents of this small heavenly abode. How I wish I could have remained here for ever.

Finally I stood in front of Nandi, holding up my hands on his horns, and looking at the divine form of the Lord through the window of his heart as I placed my other hand above His tail. Oh Nandi, I wish to be as lucky as you some day. To stare at the Lord forever, in complete dhyanam, complete conciousness.


The dance of enlightenment

The sound of the damaru
A new life is born
A new rhythm set in divine motion
The dance of life
The dance of procreation
It is the churning of the ocean of life.
The Lord meditates, the world is stable
All is bright and peaceful
He brings in calm and warmth
Crushes the head of ignorance
Performing the dance of enlightenment
He is complete with charge
And with those thunderous steps
He sways in wild motion
Destroying all darkness
The flames of enlightenment
Form rings of light
Such radience, such dynamism, such grace
Oh what a sight to behold
These very flames burn all ignorance
And raise one to ever lasting bliss
There is silence on His face
A vision of another world
In the glow of the crescent moon
Cradled around gentle locks, the jatas
Oh burn me in the flames of enlightenment
Take me to that new beginning
Like a new born, innocent and beautiful.
Like a child in Your arms forever.


The flames of Shiva Lingodhbhava

I have reached the gates of heaven
It was a tough slow walk up
On hard pebbled pathway
laiden with still air and burning hot

Tiresome is the walk of life
A walk you have to make
To see the path to heaven
I am truely blessed with this grace.

As I approach the gardens of life
I feel the peace descend
I hear the music in the air
I feel the chill on my being

A small house cradled in green
Not a soul, just complete silence
A small river flows within
the deep crevasses of the mountain

They call it the mountain of fire
And yet there is water within
Life giving water when you hear its sound
Soul bearing strength when you drink it.

A small house in the mountains
A small shrine within its deep walls
A small lamp lights up the whole chamber
A small flame it lights in my heart.

My eyes close, my thoughts fade
As I feel the warmth of the flame
My soul searches for that lost land
Deep within my being.

I have been so lost, I have never known
The purpose of my existance
My heart sinks with sorrow
Pity over my lost self

My body still, my thoughts gone
my breath slow, my vision in haze
I stare at the wick, as it burns in flames
In a silent sea of light it displays

A sea so still, a mirror to me
So crystal clear, so new to feel
The oil holds up a vision to me
Within it a silent dancing flame.
A reflection so clear, so overwhelming
As the wick gives way to the Lord
He stands within His stony self
As the fire glows around him.

A throne of wick around a wall of fire
O Lingodhbhava, Thy great form
As endless heat and flames rise
Showing me the path to infinity

A boar digs deep so futile
A swan flies high in vanity
The boar pardoned in the warm flames of love
The swan burnt in the flames of pride.

The Lord stands in all Magesty
As the wall of flames cradles Him
Its rhythmic sway around the wick
As He feeds them with everlasting love

A vision so real, a feeling so wild
As I continue my walk of life
The world has realized my fiery side
They say they see it in my eyes.


Based on the mythology of Shiva Lingodhbhava(where Shiva appears within a mountain of fire that rises out of the sea and breaks the war between Brahma and Vishnu challenging them to find the ends of His infinite flaming Linga.) this coupled with a trip to Skandashram Thiruvannamalai.


Bhojeshwar Mandir, host of the largest Ancient Shiva Linga.

Bhojpur Madhya Pradesh:
There was this little kingdom ruled by Raja Bhoj in the 10th cen AD, who had very ambitious plans for his kingdom. Ambitious would be an understatement, for when we go visiting the now present Bhoj it gives us a glimpse of this great vision.

Locked into itself within a natural fort of hills with a little river flowing by is the land of Bhoj.
Residing within the lap of a lush green untouched landscape among rocky cliffs and watered by a clear river flowing by, is this ancient little town that once boasted of great wealth. Its a slow life into paradise, where low boats ferry you down the river to the great dam built centuries ago. Big bolders of rock capture the water as it flows through bringing refreshing water to the land of Bhoj. The air is heavy with silence peace and tranquility, an atmosphere so absent in our current lives.

And right in the midst of this sea of green, in everlasting silence, stands a single chamber large and hollow with fresh cool air. It doesnt boast of elaborate craftsmanship, it doesnt boast of a kingdom once alive, it just brings back a towering concept that looms around in the mind as one walks up towards the huge structure - Bhojeshwar temple.

Sheer rock, heavy and large, piled up one over the other make up the main structure of this one chamber that needs no explanation. The darkness within, revealing towering pillars holding up the roof allowing partial light into the chamber. A hint of scupture gives an idea of what magneficence there would have been in the minds of those who planned this temple.

A silent magestic shiva linga once worshipped, now displays itself within this stark interior. No lamps, no flowers, just spotlit within its hollow interior. The sun's flames, the only light, the rain, the only water that bathes this linga, the wind, the only carrier of fragrance of flowers when all else is forgotten. The Lord stands there silent, an imposing self, still shining bright against polished stone.
Imagine a tune being hummed within these walls, as the air carries the notes and the sound echoes within the chamber, ringing in your ears. You wake up to that underlying rhythm of drums as the Lord dances in the heart of anyone who beholds him in his silent abode.

A temple half built, a vision half finished, a ramp half used, a roof half closed, a wall half built, a prayer that rings within its interiors, but a thought complete, an emotion felt.

Stone by stone, a temple in shape, put together with gigantic walls and pillars. What do we remove and what do we keep, what do we finish and what do we renovate. This temple stands all silent on a rocky ground holding up bolders of rock that once belonged to Raja bhoj. A deep breath in the silence, a thougth so crystal clear, a temple so imposing, even when its half finished... Such was the vision of Raja bhoj.

Please click on the pictures to see the enlarged view.
Photo courtesy: http://photos1.blogger.com http://www.shunya.net/


Offerings to Lord Shiva.

The realm of Vishvakarma
revealed to man
a world of secrecy
brought down in stone.
Sinking the energy into the rock

from a world deep within my being.

I step towards it

gate by gate
cross each entrance
with a heavy heart,
there is devotion, ther is fear

to truely realize what lies within.

As I enter, He cuts out the light

Images smile down from the walls

the Lord appears in various forms

to guide me through the darkness.

A step at a time
a coconut in hand
I carry myself, my being with flowers
I am an offering I make to the Lord

to be one with Him in complete conciousness

The air is still, there is not a soul

the lamp lights dont flicker
the walls are bare,
the world is silent

and the sacred hymns reverberate

there is fragrance in the air

there is warmth in the room

the Lord resides silent and still

the flames reveal the formless in stone

drawing me closer to Himself

My body behind, my soul in hand

the priest raises me into the air

he pulls off my ego
my curtain of illusion

and in a rhythmic flow of prayer
to my third eye

the energy deep within.

The air stirs in vigor

as I dash to the floor

my ignorance broken,
my being revealed

the juice of potent energy flows out

to merge with the Lord

I do not exist in my body

I left that far behind

there is no breath, there is no thirst

there is no hunger, I know not fear
the priest raises the fire

My path to heaven

The Lord awaits at the door

to hold my hand
and lead me
into a constant world
of complete conciousness.

P.S. An offering of coconut and flowers is always made to the Lord at the main shrine. This is a possible significance.