Shiva Rudra - Tribute to the Red Eyed Lord

Lord Shiva Rudra along the Narmada

Rudra, the red eyed, gentle and fiery represents warmth and protection. Rudra, the red eyed shines through anything in the material world. Rudra the red eyed makes His presence felt no matter how uncanny the reality around. Rudra the red eyed, is there to be experienced if we try hard enough.

Fire is not as dangerous as it appears, Rudra is not as scary as he appears, Bhairava is not as violent as he is pictured. He is real, subtle and present in the pulse of life. What do I mean when I say this?

Rudra Shiva is not a treasure hunt or a well of information that once discovered is realized. No he is none of this. Rudra Shiva is the eye of life, the awakening being within myself, the consciousness, the fire of my soul, that has just started to burn. Rudra, the sound, brings vibration and heat of a higher kind, energy and life of a different nature, that needs to awaken, and mature with time. Rudra is vibration that if contemplated upon persistently reveals its nature slowly. Rudra, is the constant within us, the beat of the heart, the silenced thoughts that disappear to give way to pleasant imagination and high emotion when the Lord appears deep within the subconscious to be experienced. Rudra, is the light within, the sound energy within that silences all worry that clouds the imagination.

Rudra is that pulse within, you have it and I. We just need to try and He is there waiting to be awakened. Rudra is the blessing, he is the warmth and the fearlessness that makes us feel that this world, this maya is really quite trivial. Rudra is the subconscious that opens the inner world to us. Those ideas, those thoughts that I dont own, and those feelings that melt my heart pouring into tears that well out of my eyes, are these not an external expression of this awakening within myself?

My subconscious, the purity within me is where the Lord resides, as Bhikshatana, as Annapurni Mata, as Shankara, as Trayambaka, as Rudra. These are not just names attached with mythological stories, these are not just presentations of the Lord in human form, these are the very nature and energy of the supreme force Himself. And what if they appear within the vision of the subconscious to just bless the being, the human being, the limited human being that knows none, understands none, but fears all.

I am a speck in this ocean, I am a drop of life, and I am the 8th element, asleep lost and clouded in maya, I am part of Ashtamurti Shiva.

Om Bhavaya, Om Sarvaya, Om Isana, Om Tatpurusha, Om Rudra, Om Ughra, Om Bheema, Om Mahati, Om Paramaeshwar, the eight formed Lord, who represents the elements of water, fire, wind, ether, earth, sun, moon and my mind, O Sadayojata, O Sadashiva, the Lord of all the directions, the single pulse of energy that guides this world, O red eyed Rudra, I bow to you humbly for granting me this vision. The single energy center, the red eyed Lord, so clear and pure, so warm and enveloping, why then are you feared? Why then are you called terrific, why then are you considered so violent when all I can see is tenderness in your glowing eyes!

Om Rudraya devaya Namaha|

I bow to the Lord of the devas, to Rudra, to the creator of spiritual sound, that is involked in his names, the spiritual energy that vibrates within my being when I contemplate on his name. This devotion looks so small, so meak, so insignificant in front of your greatness, your form. To the fiery Lord of Love, warmth and peace, I bow humbly, and surrender to your presence deep within my subconscious, my real world, my core, that vibrates with the name of Rudra Trayambaka Shiva.

To see the sun, the moon and fire is one thing, but to feel the presence of the three eyed Lord Rudra is yet another. The core of red, the eye of light, the eye of life, the eye of fiery energy, the eye of divinity is in eternal abstraction, hard to explain but fulfilling and overwhelming to experience. Its the feeling of heightened emotion that results in heavy droplets of tears, that flow out like pearls falling through space, enhancing the bliss within so high that the minds knows nothing else. This awakens pulsating heat within the heart, heat that stays giving warmth of a flame that can beat the external cold without cover. This is ecstacy, this is emotion, this is beyond logic of the known kind, this is beyond blind faith, this is pure love, this is real.

Rudraya Devaya Namaha||

Photo courtesy: Creative commons - flickr.com


Prayashchita for life's miseries

I am not a killer, and yet I feel uncomfortable with myself. I have done no theft and yet I stand the biggest convict of my own principles, I have not broken law and yet my own laws to myself hold me responsible for imperfection. I stand guilty as my mind calls me a sinner, leaving me with regret and sorrow over my past deeds and life.

Being born human may not be as much a blessing as it appears to be a curse. Many mythologies indicate that divine beings, celestials and even super Gods have taken birth on earth to atone for their sins, having caused harm to others in heaven and other worlds.

Once born, one is faced with a life that doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t always deliver happiness, and leaves one confused over one's purpose of existence. The days of prayashchit are gone, the days of acute regret seem to be over and people are left with huge baggage of karma that follows them where ever they go. There are no answers because we don’t know what questions to ask, there is no peace because we do not know how to get rid of this baggage, there is no escape because these thoughts only come back to haunt us. There is only suffering because we know we are in the wrong and even if we are not, the lack of acceptance of reality doesn’t let us live in peace, and there is no escaping the mounting pressure the conscience puts on the self to clean itself out.

In a world where humans err, perform acts of sin unknowingly and try to cover up as much from the world of moral to save one's own self respect, there is only one thing that can bail the human mind out from the depths of misery.

Worship, sincere hardcore worship with bhakti, is the key to self resurrection. Like it or not, ritual helps because ritual is a methodology that purifies the soul, and nullifies the deeds that one performs knowingly or unknowingly. This is one of the root mechanisms of Hinduism, to be proven or believed is left to our ignorant judgment.

In a world where it may have become tough to trust anyone for the appropriate ritualistic bail out, where it becomes tough to even confess for prayashchit, the Lord leaves one door open to all those who want to clean themselves out. This cleaning is of the mind, which by now has become such a vast garbage yard and it has started to stink so much that it makes it difficult for anyone to survive with sanity, leave alone looking for happiness.

At this point, with deep humility the mind gives up. The ego surrenders, the heart break down and the mirror that once reflected the beauty of oneself cracks and falls to the ground. What stands naked, in misery is the inner core self, struck by the lightening of one’s own doing, faced with shame of one's own acts and tear loaded eyes that just have no vision left except that of acute disillusionment of one's own perfections.

That’s when the Lord takes over, as the Guru, as the maker, as the supreme form who divinely smiles down and blesses the convict giving them new life, and a method to be bailed out. That’s when Shiva Neelakantha drinks down all the poison of one's actions, Shiva Rudra burns down one's accumulated sins, Shiva Nataraja crushes one's own apasmara, Shiva Bhikshatana cleanses one of their vanity and reduces us to pure nakedness, Shiva Yogishwara presents the syllables of prayer that protects the soul.Shiva Vaitheshwara, the divine doctor rids us off our physical and mental ailments, Shiva Gangadhara purifies us with the holy waters of life, Shiva Mrityunjaya kills every fear known within our system, and Shiva Dakshinamurthy teaches us the way forward to a life of blissful worship.

As the Tripura Rahasya explains, the three cities of Anava Mala(egoism), Karma (bondage) and Maya(illusion) within one's human nature need to be destroyed. Destroying Anava Mala requires self surrender to Lord Shiva to acquire his grace in the form of Anugraha. Destruction of the second impurity karma is done through the consecration of one’s actions at the divine feet of the Lord, giving up the concept of “I am the doer” by developing the feeling of Nimita Bhava. Annihilation of the third impurity that is Maya happens through the deep contemplation and recitation of the Panchakshara, worship of the supreme Guru, hearing and the reflection of the attributes of Lord Shiva and his leelas. This awakens the presence of Lord Tripurantaka into one's consciousness.

At the end of every dark tunnel of karma, there is divine light of enlightenment that guides our souls to safety.


Bhakti, pulse in the dance of Lord Nataraja

I sit here in silence
Bursting with life,
Bursting with enthusiasm
As I mull over the presence
Of the Lord rediscovered
Yet there is no one
To share with, this little joy

My mind is elated
A world new it sees
Thats where the Lord dances
With ghouls jumping around in glee

The verses of a Nayanar
Flow through my mind

I bow to the bhakti of Karaikkal Ammaiyar

The verses sung by Karaikkal Ammaiyar Pey bring to light, the intriguing documentation of the workings of a cremation ground. What might appear to be a fearful place, with screaming ghosts pulling out the flesh of burning corpses as they dance around enjoying the meal is a definition that bhakti knows no place, and has no bias to situation. In the middle of this strange theater, Lord Shiva dances as Nataraja, the flames of the corpses light up his stage.

In another work, the tamil poetry of Thirumanthiram, brings to light a different Nataraja. He resides in the Sushumna nadi, his stage is none other but the zone on the forehead between our brow. When the individual spiritual awakening reaches its mark, Nataraja performs on the forehead stage of enlightenment, where the third eye awakens, and issues the light of union with Lord Nataraja.

Yet another reference says Nataraja is the essence of Shi Va Ya Na Ma. He is the energy, the pulse of the sacred syllables that one recites deep within their mind as he dances in the blooming lotus of the heart, the hrudaya kamalam.

I am surrounded by apasmara, I am unable to imagine the Lord, I am distracted by the many people and relationships I am tied into. I am distracted by this maya of which I am a part. I am unable to imagine beyond my capacity, the root essence of Lord Shiva Nataraja. I cry over my miserable state, I cry because I am born in Kaliyuga, I cry because I am not trying hard enough to know and realize the divine presence of Lord Shiva. I am conscious and yet am not. I am awake and yet am not. I observe and yet am blind, what worth am I then in this life?

Wake my soul O Lord Shiva, to the vibration of the sound of your damaru, create in me that zest and that rhythm to live. Burn my desires in the fire bowl you hold, burn me to ash when I merge with you Lord. Guide me to your feet, wash away my apasmara, my nature and my pulse is all but yours to hold. Smash my ego O Lord, I, the miserable apasmara lie below, graced by your divine feet, as you stand crushing my ego to dust. I see the swirl of your jata, i see the graceful ganges dance, I see the sun, the crescent moon, adorn your divine crown. I see the serpent twirl, a jewelled necklace round your neck, I see myself so far down away from this paradise.

And here I sit in silence, watching people around, there is no meaning to see, there is no music to life. I dream of the great Lord dance, the divine natya between my brow, the firey ring forms the third eye on my fore. The fire issues forth, the agni awakens within me, bringing life to Trayambaka the three eyed Lord, the sun and moon dance along. Such is the beauty of Shiva, divine auspitious and warm.

Bhakti delivers this experience,

Bhakti awakens the self,

Bhakti knows no place nor beauty in form.
Bhakti knows no gender
Bhakti knows no judgement.
Bhakti is all that is needed
at home or in a dark cremation ground.
Bhakti is beyond knowledge,

Bhakti is beyond wisdom,
Bhakti is all it takes to reach the kingdom of heaven.

Bhakti is the music
Bhakti is the song
Bhakti is that experience
To watch the great Lord perform.

Photo courtesy: Creative commons, Flickr.com - Ravages Photo stream


Lord Shiva Nataraja, the rhythm of life

The sun shines bright every morning
It never fails to kill the darkness

The clouds burst open into rain
They never fail to bring life giving water

The heart beats on in silent resonance
It never stops to rest a while

Lord Nataraja dances his natya
The world moves on brimming with life

We toil day in and out
In a constant earthly rhythm of karma

I breath my last only to come back
A rhythm of rebirth I cannot escape.

Rhythm, in the silent drumbeat of Lord Shiva, is the silent energy that comes alive to create various events in our lives. There is Shiva everywhere. In the rhythm of the day, in the rhythm of waking up, in that of toil, of worship, of our heart beat, of our regular breath, of an active mind, of action, of result... this is the rhythm of existence, this is the rhythm of creation. This is the sound of the living, this is the moment awoken, this is the presence of life force Shiva.

Rhythm, is sound, is character, that every heart beat pronounces, reminding us that we live on. This sound, the nature of this beat, is the core of the self in the subtle world. If this rhythm stops we cease to exist, we cease to live, we are just matter then... there is no life. This rhythm within the heart needs to bloom into hrudaya kamalam resonating with the very syllables of Lord Shiva.

Rhythm is in the breath, the breath of living that is constant, cool and refreshing, so subtle that we lack the consciousness to be aware of it. This is the rhythm of life, the pulse of living that we are so unaware of. It is this pulse that give the beat to the dance of the Lord Nataraja, the dance of creation, of existence, of live. The force of fresh air as it goes through the ida and the pingala merging them into one as one evolves.

Rhythm in worship is this subtle reality that grows within us. It pronounces the Lord's presence within the peaceful mind. In the rhythm of mantra comes the heart beat of a new life. In the rhythm of this mantra lies supreme concentration. In this rhythm all time stands still. In this rhythm Lord Shiva bless us all. In this rhythm, one can feel the growing presence of the Natya Raja. In this rhythm, he moves and awakens the soul, in this rhythm does one hear the eternal vibrations of OM. In this rhythm does the world of the Gods come alive. In this rhythm does one surrender to the Lord.

Rhythm is in dance, rhythm is in creation, rhythm is in karma, rhythm is in the presence of Lord Shiva as Shiva Nataraja in Abhaya, as he stands on apasmara and crushes ignorance, raising the subtle mind to the pranava mantra OM. The Nataraja Himself takes on this form, raising Himself to make us realize the beauty of this form, as the crescent moon dances on his head, tossing among the gentle locks on his jatamukuta.

The working of this world, the life in every creature, the prosperity of the thriving human race, the immortality of the souls through constant rebirth... this is the pulse of Shiva, the maker, the preserver, the destroyer, this is the rhythm of the universe that finally rests within Him.

Lord Nataraja is the personification of this rhythm, of the pulse, of the element, of the essence Om Na Ma Shi Va Ya.

Related posts:
Mano Laya with Lord Shiva
A Magical dance with Chidambaram Nataraja
A reflection on Lord Shiva
Expression in Abhinaya, the art of Bharata

With the Lord of Chidambaram, I dance


Lord Shiva Mrityunjaya, I silently pray

Today, I have silence in my mind, few words but larger emotions. There is anger within me and there is fear. What would I have done if i was there? It scares me to even think of it, leave alone experience it.

The heart beats on even faster in this eerie silence, I do not know what to say but I feel that fear. where is the world going and this was so close to home! Such massacre, bloodshed and fear reigning around here.

Fear, comes in different forms, when we are imperfect and wish to hide our actions from the world or when its just something we cannot face as a circumstance. Fear makes us remember the Lord a lot lot more and brings us down to our mere humility praying that the Lord's grace will shine bright on us for that moment when the mind is completely engulfed with this feeling as it eats into every cell reducing us to not function half as well.

Fear strikes when the unfamiliar world knocks at our doorstep challenging us to face it with presence of mind and practicality. It checks how much we can hold on before we crack up and break down into misery and suffering. Fear is an emotion that is induced from the external world and that really decides whether we will make it through it or not.

The only way out from fear is prayer, deep prayer, which makes the mind and heart break down into a pool of tears. Prayer that the Lord will listen to and descend upon us to protect us from the impending misery. Thats when the prayer or the mantra comes gushing out from the depths of the heart.

And when death gapes at one straight, I don't know how I would react. I cannot theorize and I cannot comprehend that fear. Yes Lord Shiva left us with a profound piece of sacred syllables, that kill any fear within the heart. At that time, maybe one just has to think only about the 3 eyed Lord, who makes life look like a fragrance so beautiful, that we should enjoy while we live it, and as the moment of death approaches, this mantra give strength, courage so strong that one is probably ready to face the unfamiliar.

If life is lived for the moment, to the fullest, then death is no fear when it comes. Maybe its this craving to live that makes us want to not face death when it comes. Its the most unfamiliar territory, the most painful probably and the one with maximum transition such that one leaves everything behind. This is easier said than done.

Clinging to the Lord for dear life may help, clinging to the sacred syllables for dear strength may help, clinging to Lord Shiva and facing fate may help.

Mrityunjaya RUdraya Neelakanthaya Sambhave|
Amriteshaya Sarvaya Mahadevayadhe Namaha||

To the Lord Mrityunjaya,the victorious over death, to Rudra, To Neelakantha the blue throated, you make it possible to turn my life into a elixir of experiences,into life giving wisdom that immortalizes my being while I live on, to the same Lord Mahadeva I bow and pray humbly as He raises his hand and blesses me in Abhaya.

I am granted this life, to worship him, and immortalize my experience as I grow and become stronger and fearless in my worship.

Today I cried, I cried out all my fears, some in silence and some aloud. I cried, because it shook me, my life, and the news on TV. I didnt know anyone of them, but I couldnt stop crying.


Shiva Dakshinamurthy, Vadapalani, Chennai

This is a way side small temple, with a shrine seeped in history, an ancient temple that still holds out against the invasion of modernity. This temple has a garbha griha that still stays lit up with oil lamps which illuminate the Linga within its interior decked in vilva leaves.

Lord Shiva, grants wishes and specially those that are made from the bottom of one’s heart. As we waited, sweating it out within the innermost prakara, the stillness in the air and the rising smoke create an unforgettable aura.

When the curtains are down, the devotees wait in chattering queues wanting to get a glimpse of the Lord while he still hides behind the curtain, as the priest performs alankaram. And once the curtains are pulled, there is stunned silence for the million lamps that light the inside, describe the beauty and energy of this shrine in a sacred glamour to be found nowhere else.

As one gasps again for breath, this beauty making every one forget their miseries is a moment no one can steal away from any bhakta, its precious, its profound and its sacred bringing such sense of peace that all the chattering is drowned into divine silence. The prayers roll on, and the arti lamps rise, one after the other as the lord is illumined with every lamp brought forward.

Divinity and sacred energy washes every devotee as they take a glimpse of the shrine of Lord Shiva within, and walk out only to turn back occasionally to catch a second glance as they proceed in silence to take their pradakshina. As one walks through the corridor, looking up at Nataraja as he dances within his chamber, his omnipresence envelopes the entire passage. The lights suddenly go out, and the passage is plunged into darkness.

It’s a darkness that transforms the temple back in to the past, to the medieval period, where only the divine lamps glow near the deities within the niches. It’s a different world, as one crosses Dakshinamurthy.

AUM yo brahmaaNaM vidadhaati puurvam.h
yo vai vedaa.nshcha prahiNoti tasmai |
taM ha devamaatmabuddhiprakaashaM

mumukshurvai sharaNamahaM prapadye ||

AUM shaa.ntiH shaa.ntiH shaa.ntiH||

I surrender to Him who projects Brahma at the beginning of all creation and reveals the sacred syllables of the Vedas. This inspiration turns my intellect and my thought towards Atman. May He bestow peace on us forever.

He sits there in silence, the Vedas flowing forth from him, a realm that comes alive, so true and so pure and so far away from the reality we know. Silence grips the air, with the shimmering light of the flickering lamps on his face, as he blesses in abhaya, seated with his divine feet on apasmara. One could stand there forever and wish for the lights never to come back. Walking around this passage, with each emblem of divinity glowing in lamp light brings such beauty to this interior; one begins to wonder, did we make a mistake by putting these electric lamps around here? As our minds seep into this reality, short lived yet worth every moment, one can see the divinity of Lord Dakshinamurthy come alive. In the still air the expression of wisdom and divine light glow on His face as he continues to teach in the subtle world:

GYaanaM yasya tu chakshuraadikaraNadvaaraa bahiH spandate |
jaanaamiiti tameva bhaantamanubhaatyetatsamastaM jagat.
tasmai shriigurumuurtaye nama idaM shriidakshiNaamuurtaye ||

He whose light gleams through the senses like the light emanating from a pot with holes (in which a lamp is kept), He whose knowledge alone brings the state of knowing (I am That), He whose brightness makes everything shine - to that Dakshinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

In ancient India, fire has been considered supreme. Fire is the path of enlightenment, the path of worship and the path of light. Why then destroy this experience with electric lights that brighten up the interior so much, it kills the very beauty of the “garbha griha” and the path around. Darkness is what our lives are made of and enlightenment through fire is what brings us salvation. A small example of this profound experience was what these temples tried to bring to us and we simply destroyed it with stark electric lights that kill the very experience we long for when we come here.

Temple authorities need to bring back that ancient glory that ancient divinity prescribed in our Vedas, divine verses that prescribe that temples are meant for realization of this sacred truth… Why then is this desecration to a sacred shrine accepted as a part of life?

Why then are the priests who are the seekers of enlightenment, reducing themselves to mechanical worshippers? Why then are the priests who are learned and the keepers of our faith disrespecting the very value of our sacred texts? How then can we blame anyone else for the loss of knowledge of our own culture? Are they not solely to blame? Why don’t they realize that they owe us, the answers to these very very serious questions They owe us an answer as to why corruption and materialism has taken over their minds when this country boasts of its spiritualism. What really is left of it?

raahugrastadivaakarendusadR^isho maayaasamaachchhaadanaat
sanmaatraH karaNopasa.nharaNato yo.abhuutsushhuptaH pumaan|
praagasvaapsamiti prabodhasamaye yaH pratyabhiGYaayate
tasmai shriigurumuurtaye nama idaM shriidakshiNaamuurtaye ||

The brillance of sun exists even when intercepted by Rahu during eclipse. Similarly, the power of cognition only remains suspended during deep sleep. The Self exists as pure being even though unrecognized due to the veil of Maya. A person on awakening becomes aware that he was asleep earlier (and the dream was unreal). Similarly, a person who awakens to the consciousness of the Self recognizes his previous state of ignorance as unreal. He by whose grace alone does one awaken to the consciousness of the Self - to that Dakshinamurti, who is embodied in the auspicious Guru, I offer my profound salutations.

Divine light and divine experience need to be experienced, and the ambience of these ancient temples were designed to facilitate this. In these times where spiritualism barely has any presence left, its left to one's own desire to want to discover Lord Dakshinamurthy.


Shiva Bhikshatana and Mata Annapurni at Varanasi

"Bhikshaan Dehi... Bhikshaan Dehi"

This echo at the door brings every lady of the house, every grihasta to offering annam, or rice as food for the mendicants who come by. These mendicants were intellects of a superior kind and society considered it an honor to serve them. One such story has been previously mentioned in the life of Kaaraikkal Ammaiyar who fed a mendicant a mango, a Shiva Yogi who came to her door step.

This is one of many instances where Shiva Bhikshatana has walked into the lives of people and blessed them by coming to their doorstep or by holding a dialog with them questioning the practise of the very knowledge they have been enlightened with. This was in the case of Adi Shankaracharya, who seemed to have a slight touch of arrogance?! about his status as an enlightened soul. The Manishapanchakam is the enlightening dialog between an untouchable sweeper surrounded by dogs who met this great saint in the streets of Varanasi near the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

As Shankara walked by, he signalled for the untouchable to move as he walked to the main temple. The sweeper, surrounded by dogs with a stick in the hand asked Shankara whether the sun made a difference between the Ganges and the water by the homes of the untouchables where its reflection fell? How then is the atman of a sweeper any different from the atman within him, an enlightened soul? Even the greatest of enlightened souls was questioned over his pride of being knowledgable.

Here are two instances, where Shiva Bhikshatana has made a mark in the lives of two people in recorded history, one a lady serving him at her doorstep, and another was an enlightened saint of his time.

This very same form that Adi Shankara saw and recognized as Lord Shiva is the same form that is seen within the walls of the Kashi Vishwananth temple within the shrine chamber of Swarna Annapurni.
Annapurni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati resides here at Varanasi, promising all mortals that there is food and prosperity promised to all. Shiva Bhikshatana resides here as a naked mendicant to whom she serves food with her own hands.

Lord Bhikshatana and Mata Annapurni do not represent abundance of food in the literal sense. The divine couple have the same message to give to the mortal world be it Kaaraikkal Ammaiyar who fed a mendicant food, or to Adi Shankara who was given enough food for thought despite being a superior soul with intellect.

Bhiksha, can be food for sustenance, bhiksha can be food of enlightenment. The mother is resourceful, a provider of knowledge as well as one who wipes out hunger. She is the life force, the energy that drives one to want, to be passionate to know, to realize the truth of their divine existence. It is Shiva Bhikshatana who enlightens even the enlightened, and makes them realize that the truth of his form as Bhikshatana, as the teacher, is beyond the arrogance of written knowledge. In his world, Bhiksha is the need for divine knowledge, to fulfill the purpose of realizing oneself, and therefore even the most superior intellects walk with a bowl, the brahma kapala, that which is the humble request to the Lord to grant divine knowledge and kill the hunger of the bhakta.

As the Shree Annapoornaashtakam goes...

Annapoorna Sadaa Poorne Shankarapraana Vallabhe| Gyaanavairagya Siddhayartam Bhikshaan Dehi Cha Paarvati|| Maataa Cha Paarvati Devi Pitaa Devo Maheshwara| Baandavaa Shivabhaktaakshcha Swadesho Bhuvanatrayam||
Annapoorne – the wife of Lord Shiva;
Sadapoorne – who is always full of resources; She who is full of food;
Sankara – of Lord Sankara(Shiva);
Prana – the life-force; energy;
Vallabhe – the beloved;
Jnana – knowledge;
Vairagya – attitude of renunciation;
Siddhyartham – to fulfill the purpose of;
Bhiksham – alms, food;
Dehi – give us;
Namostute – we bow down to You

In the mortal world to Goddess Annapurni I pray:

Bhikshaam dehi kripaa valambanakaree maataannapoornesvaree||

In the intellectual world of realizing one self and surrendering to Lord Maheshwara I pray:

Shivaya Nama Om Shiva Lingaya Nama Om| Atmaya Nama Om Atma Lingaya Nama Om||

Related topics:
Shiva Bhikshatana - the enchanting mendicant.
He presents Himself
Shiva Bhairava - The naked mendicant
Jyotirlinga - Kasi Vishwanath, Varanasi
Enlightenment on the streets of Varanasi

Photo courtesy:


KAraikkAl AmmaiyAr - a woman among the 63 Nayanmars

Karaikkal Ammaiyar, 6th Century.

The highlight of Ammaiyar's story is that she asked Lord Shiva for a boon, one that would reduce her youth to a skeleton, demonic in appearance and would cease to be a distraction in her eternal devotion to the Lord.

The mysterious element in this Nayanmar's life is that her songs to the Lord are of a specific flavor, that brings alive an aspect of Shaivism fairly unknown in these times - the Aghori path of Shiva belief. As her story reveals, she was given 2 mangoes by her husband to keep safely so that he could have it during his meal. Reference has been made to a Shiva yogi who visited their house in his absence and she gives him one of the fruits with curd rice.

Drawing parallels, the Mangani Tirunal festival observed on Purnima in the month of Aani in Tamil Nadu, is a time when this incident is re-enacted and people are served mangoes and curd rice, the belief being that it was Shiva Bhikshatana who roamed around the world collecting alms and reached the door of KAraikkAl Ammaiyar. Shiva Bhikshatana's appearance can be paralleled with the aghori babas and naga baba's appearance where he is a naked mendicant, the difference being, he is also extremely sensuous and attractive.

Coming to some of the verses sung by KAraikkAl AmmaiyAr, her descriptions of Shiva Bhikshatana or Shiva Rudra residing in the cremation ground, render a stomach churning experience should one try to visualize this form!

Quoted from the " thiruviraTTai maNimAlai"

His matted hair of ruddy gold is adorned
With Konrai flowers which are buzzed and kindled
By chafers; there the serpent of venomous sacs stands hissing:
Such is He, the long-haired Brahmin.
He is indeed the Lord who will not passively witness
The misery of worshippers who hail Him

*Konrai: Cassia ; Indian Laburnum
*chafers: a type of beetle

O heart, for ever hail Him who is Sankara, the One
Of matted hair that dangles low, the righteous One who
On that matted hair sports a soaring serpent and the One
Who on that day saves you from the onslaught of misery.

* that day is the day of one’s death

Other forms of Shiva that are made references to:

Tripurantaka Shiva;
In the world of eternal bliss, do what I bid you.
He, the Hero annihilated the triple citadels of His-foes;
He is eight shouldered, Bow, with delay none, at His feet
Which are like pure and fresh gold; be poised
In His worship for days without end.

Neelakantha Shiva:
He is the Lord of the supernal world; His asterism is betelgeuse;
His throat is dark with the aalaalam that He ate; they that chant
His mystic pentad—the chief of mantras--, adore Him and come by
The true import, can (alone) behold His feet of ruddy gold.

aalaalam: Halaahalaa poison that oozed out during the churning of the ocean.

O Righteous Lord that wears the heroic anklet!
The dry and strong-mouthed ghouls standing sing Your praise;
Bhootas stand and adore You; the great crematory is
Your theatre where You dance and dance. How is it
That You sped an arrow from Your bow and caused
The triple citadels of the Asuras to get gutted with fire?

How are we to attain Him in love?

The snake that dances on His person
Will suffer none to come near it;
Moreover, all that we behold before us
Are only a row of skulls and white bones.
Besides He but rides, in delight, a bull.

The description of the cremation ground, the theater where he performs has been vividly described in the another song of KArraikAl AmmaiyAr. Such a description brings alive the other side of the cremation ground, one that we humans do not get to witness, one that KArraikAl AmmaiyAr is a part of, in possible disbelief to the mortal world as she narrates what she sees.

Excerpts from the thiruvAlangATTu mUththa thiruppadhikam:

Fat melts and wets the ground, and the long toothed and sunken eyed ghouls observe this and enact the dance of tunangkai. They look around and put out the fire of the pyres eating the corpses to their hearts content and feel delighted, it is in such a fitting crematory, holding fire in his hand that the handsome Lord dances.

Jackals tug and draw away the stinking white heads punctured by birds, owls raise a hue and cry, owlets wave their wings, barn owls stare down and frighten those who look at them, and foxes howl around in great urgency. Such is this great charnel house, and it is here that the great Lord desires to perform his dance.

It was a corpse that a ghoul was not sure of as it advanced and pointed a finger at it screaching aloud. The ghoul roared and threw a fire at it yet not being sure of what it was. Frightened by the corpse, the ghoul ran far and beats its own stomach in bewilderment, observed by many other ghouls who took to their feet in sheer fear. It is in such a crematory that the Lord in the guise of a mad man dances.

Scorched by the rising flames, charred is the firewood, brains seep out of broken crania, cacti wilt in the heat, such is the fierce crematory where the wood apple trees abound, it is indeed his place of rest. It is in this wilderness that the Lord dances, with tiger skin as his girt and a spotted antelope dangling off his shoulder, he lights up this stage with his dance of destruction.

He sports the crescent moon on his matted hair, he forever dances his twirling dance, his waist is girdled with a serpent. Who ever by His grace is able to sing and dance out the poetry of KAraikkAl Pey(ghost), one with a fiery mouth and sharp teeth, who abides in the crematory will be freed of all sins.

This is the reality of the cremation ground, a description so vivid of activities when humans leave the bodies of the dead to burn by night. As jackals depict Shakti in the form of Kali Nayan Tara, and Lord Shiva dances among ghouls who feast on corpses as they witness his fiery movements, this world beyond death is a narrative that we capture in bhakti of a very different kind.

The life and immortal presence of this Nayanar, reveals that bhakti knows no bias, that love and music for the Lord can be found even in the wierdest of places where fear reigns supreme. Her narrative reveals a world beyond us, where the nature of ghosts includes that of feeling fear and joy, where their meal is absorbing the nurishment of burning corpses, where their company is that in the presence of foxes, jackals and owls in an ambience of the night as the crackling fire eats into wood and human remains perishing in the flames bringing alive the terrific world of Aghora.

Read her complete story.

Related topics:
Shamshan Tara, a form of Kali
Kalighat - Where death meets you face to face
Kalika Mata at Kalighat, a sacred Shakti Peetha
Taraka Mantra - Passage to heaven
Manikarnika Ghat: Where life meets the world beyond

Content courtesy: shaivam.org
Picture courtesy: Metropolitan museum of Art, natarajar.blogspot.com


The world of Kamakshi Amman

Archarya Muka Kavi (Mukharbhaka), the 20th Acharya of Kanci Matt in the 4th cen A.D. quotes:

"I am desirous of constantly thinking of that form that which is pleasing to those living on the banks of the Kampa river, placing the very life of the Cakora bird (which survives on drinking the rays of the moon) on her head and the very seed of eternal bliss.

I bow to that all pervading deity who is the sound of the Vedas, the waves of the Nada, the energy of the circular bindu, the moon that which was born in the world of parapada, syllables of mantra, practice of tantra, the cause of one and all in their natural condition and the effect of all in their varied forms which fill the universe."

These are one among the many stanzas sung by an ancient poet towards Kamakshi, the mother of love. His expression in his poetry vividly describe the mother, her beauty and her assets, as it would appear in reality should we also possess such divine grace (divya dristi)

Even if I had to equate divya dristi to profound visual imagination within the mind (ref:Vishnudharmottara), there definitely is more to this method of thinking and worship. We as human do imagine, we have the capability to visually fantasize of recreate within our minds, a reality quite different from what we see around us. When this imagination is not an offspring of what nature offers us (like say a hybrid creature that you would see in star wars) but is self created and bears no resemblance to what we see in reality, we have then entered this profound and evolved region of imagination.

There is more to this power that the mind is capable of, meaning, the potential of the mind/brain is far more than we have exercised upon. Different poets and saints at different times have defined the beauty of Devi, and though all of them witnessed her divine presence through the mind's eye, or imagination as we know it, they in a very uncanny way saw the very same vision. She appeared the same to all of them, meaning, if we tried hard enough, we can commune with the divine through a mechanism that can be exercised through our minds.

To improve this we have mantra, tantra, yantra, puja, bhakti etc. which condition us to pave the way for the divine to access our control centers. We need to segregate time for our minds, into mundane existence which we ideally should not place so much importance on and shift the focus towards this control center. That is why in meditation they say, control your thoughts, meaning, reduce the noise in your head so that you can hear the divine speak.

This science is beyond everything, and it cannot be proven except by personal experience and if we are really that interested to make better sense of our existence, we would take it up as a serious approach to life with every breath that passes us by. So why are we wasting time getting further stuck in this maya of mundane life when we can clearly see the method to proceed towards divinity. Why is it so tough to focus the mind on something intangible because of lack of familiarity? Why is our own inadequacy proving to be our deadliest enemy? Why are we accepting defeat before we even got started to really understanding what is beyond? Why do we think “it’s difficult, I can’t do it”?

All we need is the deep urge to want to keep looking at the Mother, melt in one’s own humility towards the presence and beauty of the mother that lives in every speck of kumkum dust that adorns her feet. Kamakshi Amman is life breath, she is energy that wakes the life in every nadi within our system, she is the energy within the circular bindu, she is the essence of the Vedas that roll out silently from Dakshinamurthy Shiva, and she is divinity unimaginable.

Isn’t that the same feeling that Archarya Muka Kavi had when he penned down his devotion into sacred texts centuries ago?


Narad Ghat, Varanasi - path through the after life

I am just the thought, I am just the memory; I am just the energy that has departed from my body as the mortal world brings what’s left of me down to cremation. I am history, I do not exist, and all those moments I spent trying tirelessly to get a better standard of living looks futile, now that I have left it behind. As the mortal world wakes up to this mournful truth, what worth was my life to me?

In this world I have just come to, I descend the steps of transition beyond death, where Yama awaits, to lead the way ahead. I have left the world I knew, I no longer know where to go or what to do. I am pure energy as I watch; the final rights take place for my soul. This body I left now lies there lifeless, clothed in flowers and washed in the Ganges. What was the worth of my life to me?

They place me on the funeral pyre, the sky blends into twilight as the hymns rise to calm the aura around me. I can hear the jingling anklets of the Ganges as she sweeps by me, I can hear the hymns as they rise around me and I can feel Mata Annapurni as she picks me and lays me like a baby, in this new world, on her lap to set me free. The fire rises, the smoke climbs, I have begun my journey. I hear the sweet notes of the Mrityunjaya as Lord Shiva finally comes to me. I lay here, bathed in the last moments of worldly attention, the last gift of mankind to me, as I wonder what the worth of my life was to me.

I am the soul that watches on, I am the fire that eats into my being; I am the ash that is left of me. I feel the warm feet of Kali as they press me down calming me, one foot she places on my leg, the other she covers over my heart. In the raging fires, her sweet smile cools my soul. I offer my head, my balidaan to the mother, as my head she lovingly takes in her hand. Out there in the mortal world the crowd watches on as a bamboo is smashed over my head. The skull cracking noise, they set me free, I have left this world, but what worth was my mortal life to me?

This surging energy, this warmth of the Mother, as the guiding force of Yama, leads me on to the sweet smile of the Lord. I am one, I am none, I am and I am not. I am the smile you put up on your wall, I am that energy gone, I was and now I am not, yet what good was that life to me?

This state is not a world, not life, not anything you and I can define, this state is what the mind would reckon, this state is what they tried to reveal. This state is what you really are; this state is what you were always meant to be. This state is Shiva, this state is shakti, this state is energy, this state is beyond the limits of my mortal remains. This state is what I will be within the womb of my mortal mother when I re-enter this world called life. Yet, what was the worth of my previous life to me?

Shakti is the mortal carrier, Shiva the potent seed, dormant to be awoken when I re-enter. The union was sacred, the union was essential to lay the path for me. I am shakti, I am life, I am energy that awakens within this womb, life that we relate to, life that we witness, life for which we try to reach some form of immortality. And yet I wonder why I need another life, another tiring journey when I still don’t know the worth of the previous life to me.

I am soma, I am skanda, I am the pulse of immortality. I am the resultant energy of the universe, one that is born out of the union of Mahadeva Shiva and Parvati. I am amrita; I am the portion of immortality that wakes up again into a new life within the womb of my new mother. Karma has brought me back, karma pushes me to rebirth. I am born again, into another life, to elevate myself, to bring this down to equilibrium, to nothingness, to release myself for good, and rise and go to Kailasa, to go to Vaikunta, to the supreme energy that calls me home.


Scindhia Ghat, life with the Ganges, Varanasi

I am like a temple, my being stays stuck in this mundane world of existence, my soul remains buried in this world of Karma, so deep that I can barely feel it. The gloomy world of darkness and ignorance surrounds me as the dim lights of enlightenment wash my being in the darkness. The waters of life flow by me, promising me a moment with divinity and I wait here for my chance. The world moves on, the reflection of it fall in the waters of time as it flows past in this darkness only to dissolve in its depths. I stay here, stuck to my world, along its banks wondering what life means at all.

As daylight strikes, the Lord awakens washing me in his divine light. He sets me sailing in this river of life, with winds of experiences guiding my way. As I toss around these waters, I slowly begin to plunge into the realm of divinity, a different life, a different experience, a different world from all that is around me. My soul wakes up to his presence, as he pulls me deeper into myself, into Himself. I slowly begin to sink into another world so far away from everything. The redness of my soul flies high, as it flutters in the winds of life. This is what the world sees, what’s deeper within, dives into another realm.

Rich with experience I slowly fade into oblivion, oblivion that I know, oblivion that no one observes. The waters rise and cover my being; time takes over and covers my soul. I feel overwhelmed with this change, I know am growing yet no one sees, that I have changed though I still remain where I have always been. Pure waters of divinity take over me, submerging me and washing me off my many sins, purifying my soul, the flag of which stays silent and low. The world outside witnesses a stony self, descending into nothingness, descend into the world beneath.

As the world sinks into its misery, the sun sets behind the clouds, and twilight sets in, the blue hue of the night sky falls over me, the glow of the moon brightens my life for the world to see, this miracle. Life has a new meaning; it has new aim, aim that no one knows, an aim that I can see. It’s an aim that means nothing except that I value it, an aim that I have for myself, that is not predefined by life as we see it. It is an aim that dissolves my worldly fears in front of me, an aim that creates a dialog between the Lord and me, an aim that will finally set me free. The world appears different, with this new perspective that changes everything even while I still stay there on the side, rooted to this world but slowly drifting away.

Time overwhelms, life overflows, and the world is submerged in a whirlpool of thought and maya. I fade slowly, my life, me, away from all this misery. My reality is so different, so free, so wild and so pure. The waters of divinity envelop my being, taking my soul, taking me. I shall depart, yet my soul remains deep, worshiping and experiencing pure love, pure divinity. The Ganges comes forth, sways over me, her beautiful veil she wraps around me, submerging me slowly in her beauty. My life goes by, my glow within brightens, the redness of which is all that is left for the world to see. In this flood of life, in this flood of experience, my soul departs and sets me free.

Click on the photos above to enlarge.
The Scindhia Ghat, slants the way it does as the foundation sank, a situation very similar to the leaning tower of Piza.

The story goes: Quoting Laurent, Designldg on flickr.com
"There is a legend saying that the man who had this temple constructed, followed the orders of his mother. After its construction he went back to her and told her then that this way he paid everything she did for him. His mother became furious and said that nothing could ever pay a mother's love and she decided to curse the temple which started to bend."

Related links:
Manikarnika Ghat: Where life meets the world beyond
Enlightenment on the streets of Varanasi
Potency of Lord Shiva
Varanasi – Along the Ganges
Dip in the sacred river.
Photo courtesy: Flickr.com - Special thanks to
Other credits:
mAshr00m, nathanlambert and others


Worship at Shiva temple: Ahilyabai Ghat, Varanasi

It is another busy day, as bustling crowds offer flowers and coconut, seeking the Lords blessings to bring less trouble and more happiness into their mundane lives… is this all that the Lord is meant to be here for?

I can’t help but think that the initial thought of the Lord being a lot more than just a wish fulfilling tree came from the background of my education back at school. I was taught; Love the Lord for what he is and not for what he is capable of giving you. I applied it into my life and it has worked wonders. I was also reminded of the dohas of Kabir that I was taught in school.

Kabir’s doha goes has follows:

Dukh Mein Simran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye
Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Tau Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye

There is such simple truth in these words and that experience is so beautiful.

Back at the Ahilyabai Ghat, Varanasi, the bustling crowd stepped in one after another to catch a glimpse of the divinity within. This extreme emotion of momentary spiritual bliss had but a hurdle to cross. What stood in front was a priest who had not had the best day so far, and had all the plans to destroy any sense of spiritual high that came close to God.

How sad was his state as he observed it to be a mundane job, for being a priest entitles him to the highest communion with the Lord and such disconnection from the Lord as well as his duty only brings sorrow to the masses that come to share this high emotion of spiritualism.

The lost look, the sheer disgust towards his apathy and the crashing of one’s high emotions can only be a disheartening experience to all those who step into this little chamber. Noise, rush, corruption, apathy and complete disillusionment towards the world of the divine only draws people into a miserable experience within the sanctum of the Lord Himself. What they end up perceiving then is just a stone idol graciously decked up and presented for world viewing.

What they miss is quite something else.

Within this chamber is present another world altogether, so beautiful that one needs a pure heart that is devoid of a wish list, to see that the Lord there is not just seated on his throne, he is there in graceful dance protecting us from all evil.

A closer look brings one’s attention to His divine dialog with Kali, who emerges from the darkness into the light that covers his glowing body. As the parasol hangs over him and the bell resounds in the mind of the bhakta, one witnesses this chemistry between two of the most potent forms of divinity.

This is the world of Bhairava and Kali, this is the world of Urdhva Nataraja and Kali. This is the beauty of the terrific chemistry between two energy driven forms that dance in perfect union with each other, in bharatanatya so graceful within this chamber, as they compete with each other on the excellence of this art.

It is another world that lives within this chamber, one of music, one of grace, one of chemistry and divine transcendental love. How then can the Lord be reduced to a wish fulfilling tree?

As the sun glows on the surface of the Urdhva linga and reflects in the expressive eyes of Kali, who is ever ready to break out her niche and burst forth into dance… why then are we affected by the moods of the priests?

Sweet people; do not let the illusions of life deceive you, the Lord lives among us, he is within us and we need to realize he is right there to be awoken. Once he takes his seat within the conscious throne of our mind, the world within the sanctum appears like a lamp lit stage where the Lord dances casting shadows gracefully along the walls as we dive into this ocean of love and music as he dances in union with Kali.

This sanctum is a fusion of two worlds, one that we physically live in and try to cope with and the other is what we create within our minds, where we would want to live all the time, that is where Lord Shiva and Kali descend and perform the blissful dance of creation.

Related topics:
When the priest becomes a lady
Potency of Lord Shiva – Part 2
Varanasi – Along the Ganges
A magical dance with Chidambaram Nataraja

Expression in Abhinaya, the art of Bharata.

Photo courtesy: Special thanks to Laurent (designldg on Flickr.com) for allowing me to use her photograph in my blog.


Sri Chakra-from yantra to temple ground plans

The garbha griha of the Kamakshi Amman temple is the seat of love and life giving energy. What appears to the naked eye is a flower decked Goddess center stage, with lamps around her as the Arti lights up her glowing face in sandal wood on stone.

What is not visible to the eye is the energy that is resplendent around her. What makes up this beauty, this aura that shines around this idol? At the foot of the goddess, the idol of which is a representation of her supreme force, is the peetha that contains the Sri chakra. This chakra surrounded by the eight devis who reside within their small niches, are present there because they belong to this realm. Without their presence the Sri Chakra is quite incomplete.

The peetha itself brings alive the presence of Shiva, the Sri chakra being the foundation on which he resides. Within the Sri Chakra, four entrance gateways lead to the center of this chakra, all meeting at the central circle with 8 and 16 petals each is housing a goddess attendant from the Devi’s pantheon. 24 Goddesses reside here, each with a potent beeja mantra as they take their seats directionally around the center of this mandala. Having worshipped and pleased the 32 devis on the outside and given them offerings divine, the heart proceeds inside into a network of triangles. Devi Kosha, the seat of her presence, the potency of her being, the energy of her nature as the Goddess of love who married Lord Shiva, is intertwined within these triangles.

This is not a geometrical representation as much as it is a definition of intercourse, meeting of two energies, two pranas into a union. This union that is so pure, so beautiful, so intense and energizing, it is the seat of all creation. This union, that we give a moralistic garment to and restrict our own minds into a confused state of self control and a sense of disrespect, is actually beyond these equations altogether.

In the oil lamp light, in the mystic interior of this chamber dressed in vermillion, this peetha draws us back into its center, the core at which reside on the seat of all creation Lord Shiva and Shakti in the form of Somaskanda. The peetha inside which the Sri Chakra yantra is installed is a metaphorical representation of a Shiva linga peetha within the Garbha Griha of Kamakshi Amman, the loving consort of Lord Shiva. Such a divine couple, such potency to their presence, the Sri Chakra is representation of the Shiva Linga in a different way. It is not depicted in the traditional form of being divided into its various parts (Rudra bhaga, Vishnu Bhaga and Shiva Bhaga) but it represents the union of the divine parent.

Bindu, the core energy center brings alive this new world where Lord Shiva and Devi reside at its seat surrounded by devis blooming into lotus petals dancing around the divine couple, each invoked by the recitation of their respective beeja mantras. They reside there in Lalitasana, Padmasana or in Tribhanga, bringing to the mind a remote but definite similarity with the Chaunsat Yogini shrines far away at Ranipur Jharial, Hirapur and Bheraghat. These temples belong to remote villages in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, but what stands out most is the very same ground plan as within the peetha of Kamakshi Amman shrine. These are roofless open temples (hypaethral temple) with 64 goddesses called Yoginis, who are lesser representations of the 32 goddess residing within the various petals of the Sri Chakra yantra. They transform the yogini shrines of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh into living Sri Chakra ground plans on whose blue print these tribal temples have been built.

In parallel, the beauty of these Goddesses comes alive at Ranipur, where even Kamakshi is represented as one of the leading goddesses dancing in the presence of Ajaikapada Bhairava and Swachchanda Bhairava, both representations of the fierce aspect of Shiva in amorous pleasure. This depiction is clearly brought out by the depiction of both in Urdhvalinga – erect phallic state. Kamakshi dances with a parrot at her feet, the parrot being the vahana (vehicle) of Kama, the Lord of love. This is brought out by the Kaula system of tantric tradition, where Shakti is Kula and Shiva is Akula , the union of both being Kaula – a sacred set of traditional rituals invoking Shiva and Shakti into one’s sadhana.

Related links:
Potency of Sri Chakra Yantra
Chaunsat yogini temple, Bheraghat Jabalpur
Lajja Gauri and the Tree of Life
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, Bhubhaneshwar
64 Yoginis dance with Bhairava


Lord Shiva's divine intervention

I sit in the presence of the Lord
I see just divine beauty
A serene look to his chamber
Wetness, warmth, stillness within
Yet in this silence
Lies subtle grandeur
Lord Shiva sits in deep silence
Upon his linga pedestal

There is beauty in his form
There is beauty in his being
There is calm in his vicinity
His aura is honey sweet
His self glows alive
In the lamp light of my heart
This beauty that i see
A single path to divinity

We stare at each other
There is only silence between us
Not a sound to come in between
Not a human to intervene
Such a state is so divine
That only the mind can create
A door that opens within my head
To allow the Lord to enter.

I am left speechless
I see his many signs
I know he is here to protect
I know he is real
I am waiting for my turn
To leave this world of misery
There is more to His world
There is more that I can see

I sing this divine tune
Listen to it if you can
I can only tell you
There is some truth to His divine plan
I have no words to explain
I have only experiences to deliver
If you can realize the potency of this truth
You are blessed to be here.

I sit here silent in deep contemplation, outside is the war of faiths, a war I do not know who started. One kind kills, another converts and yet a third has forgotten the meaning of tolerance. And then I look at us, people in their daily lives, and wonder why no one makes the time to realize passionately the beauty of the Lord within. Surely the Gods are not political figures.

High stress lives, fight for survival and an endless rat race, the destination of which I still do not know. Yet to be in this society, is to be stuck in this vicious whirlpool of emotions, desires, powers and wealth, like a thoughtless herd of cattle, everything guided towards self assertion, self worth and self proclamation.

And yet there is a simpler approach, not so tangible but workable. It is a path of dedication, sincerity to none other than the self and far more virtuous. It involves just one thing, Prana pratishta of the mind which is a conscious effort to be in a state of meditation and regularly contemplate on the character of the chosen deity, till one becomes Him/Her…all this while we still grind through our lives.

On the one hand the mind dwells on the day’s activities, and on the other hand it slips into simple contemplation of Sada Shiva, of Isana, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva, Aghora… two worlds working in the mind simultaneously yet belonging to the same visible reality. How then do we describe the real within our perception? The mind, that which controls all of us, will listen if we teach it consciously and systematically.

And when the discipline sets in, we realize the presence of the other world, full of beauty and appreciations (these are experiences to me, but just words that you read right now). This is a state where every mantra has the hidden beat of the mrydangam embedded in it, where every syllable delivers the divine picture of the Lord in graceful dance, every drop of realization leads us back to the silent garbha griha within our imagination and makes it real and every beeja mantra wakes the potency of the divine within us. How then can it be ignored or be proved until we step into it on our own? Our ancestors only tried to recreate that, tried to teach us methods and disciplines for faster spiritual growth, tried to envision the supreme being that they saw and yet it doesn’t seem to make sense anymore… because we created the limitations in our minds.

If we do not apply ourselves, we have no one else to blame. If we do not make the time now… it’s going to be too late. This puzzle takes a lifetime or more to solve and any amount of reading is not enough. Application is the key, action is key, passion and sincerity is key and for all this, realization of its value is key.

Photo courtesy: Michel Rojo, flickr.com


Kannappa Nayanar: Union with Lord Shiva

Far above all humanity, on a rocky hill, a man discovered an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Such was the power of the temple, and the shrine within it that he decided to remain there while his hunter friends were sent home to tell his father he was not coming back. Within a small temple that housed the beautiful emblem of Lord Shiva, he sat, catching the first gaze of the shrine, pure in itself and silent.

A silent interior, created in rock, with the wind whistling through the grilled windows; this was the most perfect place for a contemplative lifestyle. The man gazed at the idol, its beauty filled the air with energy, giving him a sense of awakening and a connection he had never felt before. He suddenly knew, this was his life, this was his goal and this was the only reason for his birth.

Life took a turn, for the worse for others, but for him it was different. The meaning of life had brought in new zest, new contemplation, new curiosity and all of this was triggered by the presence of divinity within the emblem that resided in this temple. The lap of nature had everything to offer. The waterfalls provided the pure water for abhishekam, the animals provided tender meat, and the flowers were the fragrance in His home and the herbs bloomed into a different fragrance bringing purity into the air, a freshness that was so divine, so new and so alive that the earth appeared most fertile and in full bloom.

Within this paradise the man contemplated, probably not in sacred syllables, or mula mantras or bija mantras that were recited but the Lord was offered the best of everything. As life passed by, the man raised each flower to the lord in worship, offering it as part of his very own heart, surrendering to the Lord.

My heart merges into you O Lord Shiva

My heart ceases to be with me any more

You have stolen the only thing I ever possessed,

Love, deep love for you O Lord.

As the puja continued, the flowers gracefully fell over the sacred stone, decorating Him and draping Him in a dress of color and fragrance. Color that dressed the Lord in brightness, fragrance that enveloped the room into potency, into a space where the air stood still and the lamp glowed brighter than before.

The man looked up at the Lord again, tears rolled down his eyes as his heart melted into divine song. He closed his eyes and burst into tune, sweetness rained in the room, echoing among the walls as they descended as a garland of letters on to the very emblem. When he opened his eyes, the Lord stared at him. Twinkling eyes, full of life and clarity… a different kind of clarity coupled with purity as they stared on at him. The Lord and the man stared at each other. This was a divine moment, one that is scarcely granted to any devotee, one that is felt once in a million years. The man’s heart sank; he was blessed to be given this divine vision. He picked up a vilva patra and placed it on each of his eyes, and then on his forehead and placed it back on the peetha.

To the bright eyes of the Lord

These are my eyes, I offer in each leaf of this vilva

I surrender to you, I seek no other vision

My sight has gone, I see only you

Divinity, surrounding my soul, capturing my imagination

Capturing my heart, soul and vision,

I see only you Lord, I can see only you.

This Vilva I offer to you, are my eyes, my life, my being, me

As he placed the sacred vilva on the peetha and raised his head, the eyes of the Lord bled, tears of a different kind rolled down, tears in blood that emoted to his surrender. The hunter looked up, with pain in his heart, over the Lord’s plight, over his suffering and tried to stop the bleeding with all the herbs he could find, crushing them to paste… yet they continued to bleed.

He raised his arrow, and just as the vilva leaf signified the three eyed Lord Trayambakeshawara, he dug out of his socket, the sun, his eye, the glowing radiance and placed it over the bleeding eye of the Lord. It was a moment of lull, the Lord twinkled again, beautiful eyes as the Sun and Moon glowed from within the Linga. The heart stopped a beat, as the hunter overjoyed over his Lord’s eye danced around the room, little aware that he now bled in the socket. When he stopped to look at the Lord, the other eye now began to bleed.

It was simple. He had the solution. He took out the arrow and as he raised his foot and placed it at the Lord’s bleeding eye, he aimed the arrow to cull out the moon, his eye from its socket. This was surrender, where the self feels no pain, nor loss, nor sorrow nor time nor fear, nor greed; this was a state to be in.

Oh Lord, the vilva, a significance of my own eyes

I offer to thee, my very own fire, sun and moon.

Here take my eyes, for I have seen thee,

Divine vision, I need not see no more

You are all I wanted to see,

I have lived for this moment.

As he drew the arrow close, the three eyed Lord, appeared, transforming the room into a moment in heaven. The power surged, the moment weakened every nerve in the man, the room glowed in sacred light, the world halted, the wind stopped, the silence overpowered the room, the emblem shined and the hunter was gone. A moment in history, a moment of life, a moment of true meaning, a moment divine, a moment felt and a moment never to come back. This is the moment of true worthwhile living.

Related links:

Kalahasti - the land where Vayu is felt

A reflection on Lord Shiva

Mano Laya with Lord Shiva

Photo courtesy: Shaivam.org