Far away in the ancient country side of Andhra Pradesh, along the silent ripples of the Tungabhadra that toss around the stony sides of this great river course, lies the Samadhi of Sri Raghavendra and 8 other great saints of the 16th cen. AD. There is peace and tranquility all around, and the air is so pure within this strange compound of rocky stones. Its a divine world of silence, of intellect and of superior life that lies buried deep within, under these stones.
What a magical picture it paints in this spectacular moment when the silver rays of the moon toss around the gentle waves of the Tungabhadra and shimmer in the pure waters as it bathes the stone slabs of ancient Samadhis in its silvery presence.
Sri Ragavendra's Samadhi brings alive the presence of divine potency to our existence, one that we would love to strive towards but simply lack the drive, courage and enthusiasm to do so. All that is left to echo back the ancient superior sense of living, are a few boulders of stone uniquely designed and put together to form a structure that resembles the potted Tulsi plant back in our courtyards, the Tulsi Vrindavan.
The original meaning of Samadhi, was not just a burial place of great beings, but a sacred and pure spot that continues to house their mortal remains "mummified" in holy sacred ash within a chamber, purified with worship, sacred mantra and ingredients of worship of centuries long gone. The belief then was that they could return to this mortal body if they chose to come back to our world. The human body buried deep was symbolized more as a vehicle that would house the returning Aatma if it so willed. The purity of sadhana, the evolved sense of living, the divine grace constantly surrounding them, the Samadhis have since grown into places of not just worship but of a silent serene ambiance where herbal purity is felt at its best.
Tulsi, the herbal plant of purity and longevity that wards off disease of any kind is typically housed in today's households within a pot that has a very unique design. The plant is worshiped and considered sacred and has the lady of the house light a lamp at its foot every evening, with a belief that this lamp of divinity will spread the purity of this plant and the superior energy that rises from it around her home and bless the inmates with a more prosperous life. But this light also makes me believe that its original intention was probably to revere the great soul buried beneath in the original prototype of such a structure - the Samadhi.
The shape of the Tulsi pot in the house strangely looks very similar to the traditional design used to make a Samadhi for the departed. This is a small example of purity, a small example of fragrance in the air that will attract all the celestials and siddhars to come and reside within. The much larger example of a great samadhi that hosts a whole forest of herbal plants both tulsi and vilva is that of the great hill of Thiruvannamalai. Here is the living mountain of Lord Shiva that is the home of many siddhas, that is the home of many herbal plants and that which is the home of the great parent Shiva and Parvati. Myths hold that many Siddhas reside here, worshiping the Lord and his consort within this divine hill. The potency of this hill, and the divinity it spreads around itself is beyond words to express.
There is silence within, there is tranquility, and the mind remains blank without thoughts trespassing and rests on the idea of this symbolism in this beautiful plant of unique life promising purity and longevity that grows out of a structure that houses deep within, the most pure form of the human body. A body that is preserved in sacred ash, seated in meditation, lost in eternal bliss. This is the definition of the ultimate form of preservation, of sustenance represented by Lord Ranganatha himself who lies in Ananthasayana, as the world churns around him.
With this saturation in symbolism that echos within the mind the very presence of the Lord Preserver, the silence in the mind begins to submerge into this great realm of calm and tranquility, of peace and harmony, of clarity and depth. Let the waters of life role over me, let the stones of every janma fade, let the tree of life take deep root and release me from this misery of living this haphazard meaningless life. I merge with this tree, my soul departs, what remains is a stony presence whose fading memories get washed away by the flowing waters of time.
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