Secrets beneath the Garbha Griha

Its might appear very strange and intriguing that Shiva Lingas get unearthed at construction sites or any place when people dig the earth up. There have been remarkable moments in Indian History where the Paramacharya Sri Chandrashekar Swamigal Himself has pointed to location where there were sure possibilities of an ancient Shiva Linga within the earth. To name a few would be the Shiva Linga unearthed at Madhya Kailash, Taramani Chennai and at the Shankara Matt at Thiruvanaikkaval Srirangam.

The Shiva Linga at Shankara Matt is particularly beautiful. Its claimed to be a Panchamukha Linga, though only four faces have been visibly sculpted into the shaft of the Linga. The fifth, typically on the top has not been carved in this case. The characterestic features of the faces takes us way back to the late Pallava, early Chola era. The pointed features and benign appearance of each face, remarkably similar such that they seem to belong to the same person rekindles the imagination With the world of the ancients.

The question now is, how did these Shiva Lingas get past the ravages of time with endurance?

Temples had a lot of thinking going into them before the very first stone was placed for its making, endless calculations not just based on how to build the temple, but to sustain it and keep it standing for the years to come. Decisions were taken to safe guard the main sanctum and more importantly the idol and its various elements from any danger of destruction.

The Garbhagriha is not constructed on the ground. It is built over another chamber which has enough sand packed into it. This chamber has four pillars that hold up the floor of the Garbhagriha over them. The floor hosts the main idol as well as its elements that constitute the idols "power". Once the Idol has been brought to "life" the temple is proclaimed a living temple and the main idol is put over to cover the secret within. Subsequently the idol is "appeared" to be worshipped while the actual worship is done for the idol as well as the elements below. The idol is a visual representation of a reality contained in the elements, today unknown to all of us, well almost unknown.

The Kumbhabhishekam is done to protect the temple and the idol from any natural disaster as well as those created by humans. Should there be trouble on a vast scale, and should the life of the "Worshipped" be at stake, the temple is designed to cave in. In cases of natural calamities, the main temple falls apart, pillars scattered after mandapas have crashed down.

At the Garbhagriha its a different story. The first to fall are the pillars right at the bottom, below the Garbha griha. They are designed to fall outwards such that they give room to the floor to fall downwards and out giving way to the Shiva Linga and its various elements to fallen through into the sand packing without being harmed or damaged. Once the Shiva Linga has fallen through it gets covered by the surrounding sand and then later by the rest of the rubble that crashes down rendering it buried safe till its unearthed at a later date.

A lot of thought and consideration went into the making and the prevention of any destruction to the Shiva Linga. This unique form of the Lord, subtly designed carries more to itself that what meets the eye. Thought went into safe guarding it, protecting it and leaving it within the lap of the earth to be dug up later for the world to see an ancient secret alive, evergreen.


Life: a battle to be won, not a moment to be lived

It would look like another day to anyone, a typical day with a new share of problems that we would have to solve, new challenges that we would have to face with surprises both good and bad. Srinivasan sat in a corner brooding. He had shot it down, his worship, his belief, his only hope left for a meaningful life.

Srinivasan had been through tough times. Tough being really tough, it had taught him a few good lessons that woke him up to strange truths about the worlds he lived in. It made him believe, be it his marriage, his job or even his life in the social circle, each was an illusion of it own kind presenting intoxicants and poisons at the same time. Then where was the truth and how could he escape it?

He posed this question to his Guru. Srinivasan had almost lost everything when his Guru stepped in to save the little left in his hands. He had gone weak, with guilt and couldn't quite believe he had broken the serious rules of orthodoxy that governed his life. Bringing himself back to the path appeared simple, though in the scale of value and importance it was imprinted in his mind for good. It was a thought that would stay in his mind 24x7 and would not leave him anymore.... easily.

He had done well at work, collecting accolades all over the place, making a comeback so strong, that had got him enough fame. The intoxication of success had given him wings, and strong ones, so strong that they could not be clipped by anyone but him. And fly he did, to heights unknown, with the intoxication rising with every additional flight. He had felt it, the high, the attention; it looked like an amazing world to be in. He almost thought he was invincible. Suddenly, the news came in, he had gone too far out and the return had to happen.

Srinivasan, descended with the same speed he had shot up, plummeting even faster that he couldn’t quite guide the fall. Now he sat in front of his Guru again, asking and begging to be saved. The next lesson of life came in and Srinivasan was taught. His values were the only stronghold he had, his respect was his only fortress and leaving this would be loosing the battle of life. Enemies would come in any form, praise, attention, success... you name it, but he would have to stay on the ground or fly lower. That was the mark of a spiritual man. He was taught to be self reliant, and not look beyond himself for attention or acceptance. He was taught that living this live means going through its labyrinth of illusion and there was no running away, the purpose was to fight it and win. Life is not about living and escaping, it’s about winning. It’s about looking at everything around like a puzzle, something that needs to be solved. It’s about looking at yourself at the moment of happiness with the same view as looking at yourself during pain.

Srinivasan thought, “Strange life! It starts only when you think you have learnt enough and you want to end it. It’s tougher than normal living where the mind can waver. Here it cant, it simply can’t and the rules are not meant to be broken, they have to be followed for a successful win, not just living.”

Srinivasan, sat back in his couch, taking a deep breath, another lesson learn, another moment of truth revealed. What matters most is self-respect, value and the sheer determination to live through with it and win.

Life is a game, one that lots play, but only few win!


Mano laya with Lord Shiva

The nature of classical music brings out the emotions within, in a controlled self-contained way where the energy within is channelized into rhythm with slow delivery. The mind can loose itself into the notes as they spill forth, and appreciation and enjoyment of the forthcoming notes brings out the emotion in the highest form.

It’s witnessed in the difference between Ananda Tandava and Rudra Tandava in Bharata shastra.

Every emotion is a display of what the human being is capable of, and if surrendered, even the heaviest emotion can be enjoyable.

Ananda Tandava
is slow, a hand holding beat that dictates the next move. The body flows slowly, the emotions finding their way through mudra. It’s like speech with the Lord Himself. The Lord dances alongside, His eyes locked in mine as we perform together in the stage of life.

As the note rises He leads, inviting me to display the next emotion. The back moves, swaying with the note, the echoing rhythm around the pillared hall, the chalangai(ghunguru) being the only connect to this realm. All feet locked within the notes, the rhythm rolls on. Its a strange experience when the emotions find ways to explode through silent moves, so self contained that their potency needs to be experienced and not understood.

A quiet world, where the eyes meet, the feet move together and the fingers bloom into mudra, each abhinaya a word in silence falling out. Such is the potency of classical music and dance, understood by few, experienced in silence, each experience a concentrate within the self brought out, felt, cherished, remembered.

Rudra Tandava, a little faster in excitement adds more flavour to the moves. The excitement within, a completely different emotion jumps forth uncontrolled. The flow of the emotion much faster this time, needs to be directed with more care for the emotions move faster than the body itself. Thats when the Lord leads the way, and I follow, unaware that every step is repeated with the same underlying mano layam(chemistry).

It’s a challenge to keep up, to walk through the minefield of sprouting emotions each in a different direction as he shows me the abhinaya to dance through in rhythm. The result is a vibrant move of the body, a sway so strong, that my incapable self manages to handle. The eyes speak in excitement, the expression reflecting on the face, as my hand slice through the air following the Lord's every step. The feet rise and fly into the air as the chalangai(ghunguru) clap to the wild swing.

Its just a world of pure emotion, a vibration in the mind, ripples cutting through the air as two bodies rhythmically move, in the light of the dancing crescent moon among the jatas that form silent black waves enveloping both into complete mano laya.

Complete emotion experienced!!


Awakening the Nadi Gantham at the Nabhi Kamalam.

The realm of Vishnu and Brahma on Ananthasayanam:

Life as we see it is a time period we exist in current consciousness and depart without knowledge of the next world. Perfect life is that which gives us a far more conscious mind, which knows exactly what happens during life and during death.
What is that perfect life? The great Chola architects have tried to depict this very concept at the temple of Chidambaram, which hosts Nataraja in Ananda Tandava.
The temple itself is a breathing reality of human life.

Our body is not just about eating, breathing and being active. There are 72000 nadis unheard of which are the integral support system of our body embedded well within our nerves system. Once inactive, life ceases to exist – we are called dead. Waking these nadis up is the stage of reaching Nadi Gantham, a higher level of purification of the body, where the 72000 dormant nadis get active transforming a person’s life into happiness, success and peace at the same time.

Where does all this stem from? Its peculiar that one of the most important Gods in the Trinity is hardly heard of these days. Brahma, the main God behind our lives assigns the bija mantra that we shall live with, the type of life we shall lead and the kind of death we would be subjected to. The awakening of the Nadi Gantham is a long process, which is attained by severe penance or can be attained sooner depending on “Purva punya stanam” meaning your deeds in your last birth that grant you the opportunity in this birth.

What happens during the first few months of birth?
The life support of the umbilical chord is cut off once the child is born. This is carefully covered to keep out any infection. During this time the child knows nothing about the world it lives in. If the soft bone of the skull closes sooner than expected at the region of the Sahasraha chakra, it means the child is not going to live long. For the next 90 days the operating system is head quartered at the Nabhi Kamalam, or the navel area. This is when the child suddenly starts to cry due to acute pain in the stomach, since it begins to swell up. After this the Nabhi Kamalam turns active, the 72000 nadis begin to function, the skull closes slowly, the bija mantra gets formed (Brahma’s talai ezhutu) and the child wakes up to its known world and recognizes Ma. During this time the only external supply is mother’s milk. These are the crucial days that decide whether the child is going to survive, and whether the child is going to do well in its spiritual life or not.

What happens during death?

Death comes in three ways. Kapala moksha is when the life energy or prana leaves the body through the small crack in the Sahasraha chakra in the head. This is what is called salvation. Its happens to select few who do not have rebirth and are lucky enough to get assisted during the moments of death. During this time the only intake is milk and tulsi water.
Most people go through death where the prana leaves the body through the Nabhi Kamalam. The navel region is that part which is the entry as well as the exit point for all who live and die in this life. The Nabhi Kamalam works as the exit door for the soul leaving the body.
The worst form of death happens to those who have cheated others, have been corrupt and have sinned through their lives. This form of death is painful to say the least. In this case, the prana leaves the body through the genitals, through the Yoni for women and through the male organ for men. This can be a saving grace if the person stays unconscious during the moment of death. But should he/she be conscious it’s the experience of suffering of the worst kind. This causes excess urination and gasping for breath at the same time, can be a deadly experience while exiting the world.

Nabhi Kamalam: Where Brahma rises out of Vishnu's navel

Of greater interest to us is the concept of the Nabhi Kamalam and its connection with our lives today. The Nabhi Kamalam is the zone that activates the Nadi Gantham or nerve centers of the body. This has been beautifully depicted in mythology where Brahma the Creator is seen seated on a lotus that rises out of Lord Vishnu's navel, who lies down on Ananthasayanam in the cosmic ocean. Truly a beautiful depiction of a concept so close to us, of something so real, and of which we are least aware of!

In conscious living the pranavom mantra OM is brought out from the “pit of the stomach” or the Nabhi Kamalam as we breathe it out as OOOMMM, the very basic form of life energy, which we experience in a glimpse through our lives. Brahma is not just a Creator, he is our life giver, he decides our future, he decides fate, and he gives life for us to live it.

Hinduism is a "science" of a higher kind, its not fiction!