7.06.2009

The magical world of Thiruvannamalai

The aura:
An imposing form that towers over the landscape which appears to stay still and aloof even as my car speeds ahead to make it to the great shrine at its foothill. The feeling of excitement rises as one sets eyes on the hill, its sheer presence brings alive happiness, bliss, love for life, love for the Lord. The sun dances on, casting its light on the mountain through the spots in the clouds that bring this mystical world of charm and secrecy to the wandering devotee. What a picture it creates to just view the enormity of this hill as the car speeds on into this little land of divinity.

The temple:
Walking on the rocky floor of the temple, there is peace reigning supreme. The people have not yet started to come and the sun has not burnt the rock floor. The sound of the wind echoes as it plays through the carved pillars and walls of this ancient temple that houses the very form of Lord Arunachala. Gopurams rise imposingly into space, bringing to earth a divine ship of mystery that is shrouded by time. One step after the other makes oneself breathless as the great stone walls lead the way into the sanctum. Walking past the main entrance, the imposing Gopuram displays a magical world of dance, of song, of movement, of motion as 108 dancing sculptures dance down into my vision. The great lord of Bharata presents in silence for those who wish to see the 108 Karnas of Bharatnatya. Within the inner courtyard stand idols, larger than imagination, graceful in attire representing the iconography of Lord Shiva.

The courtyard presents a feeling of peace within these ancient rocky walls. On one end is the sacred tank with water to purify oneself, on the other leads the passage into the main sanctum, around is the chill in the pure air that sings and ahead is the imposing peak of Arunachala, towering, magestic, overwhelming, silent. An enchanting thought crosses my mind to wonder, was this the same hill that was firey and ablaze in the Krita Yuga, that shined brighter than the sun as a golden peak in the Treta Yuga, that held its purity in shimmering copper in the Dwapara yuga and now stands jewelled with a beaded string of rocky bolders in the Kali Yuga! Be it the temple, or the greenery, or the tank or the drifting clouds, my eyes stayed locked on the very form of Arunachala.

Lord Arunachala resides deep within the sanctum, in his chamber surrounded by oil lamps, visited by all. He resides at the center of this jewelled crown of fire that flickers around him. His presence envelopes me as I break into tune, singing the little bit of Rudram that springs from my heart. No one moves, no one pushes, the air is still and all that I can feel and see is this opportunity that allows me to recite the Rudram to the lord, loud and clear that it kills any other noise that dare storm this sacred interior. Few moments of bliss and my heart dances around as I walk past these walls. On the South side Lord Nataraja dances on, such grace and beauty that it makes a difference to a thirsting devotee who would have just loved to immerse herself in the divine vision of his natya performance. To be even apasmara is a blessing, to feel the Lord's feet on oneself is a blessing and to be granted his favor to give a performance and enjoy that grace is pure liberation.

The magic of the hill:
The cool air sings, the trees sway and the wind blows gently bringing with it the song of the birds and the pleasant smell of the herbs around. The rocky path leads on into the thin forest that has recently been fed by waters from the heavens. Its green and fulfilling with tiny creatures starting out on another busy day, scarcely aware that they live in paradise. In this quiet, on this earth live plenty of greater beings, invisible yet present, flying around the great hill worshiping the Lord in his entirety. Higher intellects swing by floating through the air as they do Pradakshina around this great hill. The bright light of the sun merges with the light of these celestial beings who grace this earth with their presence increasing the purity of this land and the people who visit it. Its strange that while the feet stay on this hill and while we lesser devotees be a part of its self, the mind lingers into clean thought, the mind is quiet, the mind is at peace with itself and no harmful ideas spring up. The purity of the hill, the clarity in the air, the divinity within this earth wipes out all the dirt from the mind, for a little while as long as the feet stay in touch with its divine soil. What a magical world of divinity and how subtle this truth that while i am there, I think clean!

The silence in Skandashram:
The mind is quiet, the room is dimly lit with the sunlight that penetrates through the narrow windows open to the world outside. The garden is in full bloom, the trees are in song with birds awakening us to this world where nature is an integral part of our lives. I sit here in silence imbibing this peace, this pleasing world for I know it wont last long. The eyes close to listen to the wind, to the birds, to the stream of water and probably to the rhythm of the rudram that continues to ring within my head. There is rhytm in this universe, there is rhythm in these strange sounds of nature and there is silent music to listen to only when the mind stops to rest. And when that happens, the great lord performs, the dance of grace, vigorously moving to present to us a firey wall of flames that burns us to ash, sacred ash, to nothing merging us to his very being.

To the great Lord Arunachaleshwara, I bow in all humility, still clinging to his blissful world of frangrance, magic, rhythm and dance.

Courtesy:
Arunachala Blog

18 comments:

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, Nice pictures of a smaller scale model of Kailash-Mansarovar, the mountain and the lake! Say when Shiva-Parvati were young!

JC said...

Natraja the dancing God (rotating and revolving earth) can perhaps be realised - in the early stages of evolution with all his apparent faults in human form - as Michael Jackson (MJ) who is being bid adieu in Los Angeles today...'my' salutes to him!

As per Hindu mythology poison had emerged when churning of the 'milky ocean' was commenced by both selfish (rakshashas) and selfless (devtas) people. The era was named 'Kaliyuga', ie, the 'dark age' because there was chaos due to gross ignorance among all life forms. The devtas as well as rakshashas then approached the Creator, Nadbindu Vishnu to save them. Because of distribution of different functions between the components of the Trimurty, they were directed to approach Shiva who alone had the capacity to absorb poison...that he did by holding it in His throat and thus called Neelkanth Mahadev...

Churning, that is, evolution of different forms of life could then proceed smoothly, till at the end of Satyuga only the Trimurty, the three-in-one alone was left dancing in space as 'Natraj' (the planet Earth), all knowing or 'perfect' God in physical form, as the true image of the formless God (centre of earth - Kali that is Black or the unseen and thus mysterious energy form - to ancient 'Hindus', who appears on the surface of earth in the form of red or 'Aruna' lava from time to time)...and red colour is believed to control the direction 'east' when the colour of the 'sky' appears red at the time of sunrise, and hence called 'arunachal'...

The 'present' is believed to reflect the events related with Kaliyuga, the early stage of churning of milky ocean, and is also called the 'Christian Era' when 'miracles' in human form were apparently performed in the recent 'past' by Jesus, about 2000 years ago in the 'west'...which is controlled by Blue colour/ metal iron associated with the beautiful ring-planet Saturn ('sudershan-chakra-dhari' to ancient ancient 'Hindus')...

Thus the stories indicate how our Milky Way Galaxy evolved from a thin plate like appearance to a mature one, thick at the middle, and thin at the outer periphery as it was in the beginning in the remote 'past'...

JC said...

In order to visualise passage of time and review of related events by evolved formless (Big zero), Yogeshwar Bhootnath Shiva, or original zero time and space Nadbindu Vishnu, of Hindu mythology, one would perhaps need to understand the message conveyed through the story of churning of the milky ocean and achieving in four stages, in no time, immortality by the devtas, ie, the members of sour solar system and thus providing an excellent tool to the formless creator to review the events at leisure in a proper order as if those events are happening eternally in repeated cycles...as it gets reflected in humans, believable model of universe/ image of God, while reviewing 'action replays' at slow speed...

JC said...

The ancient 'Hindus' reached the conclusion that man is a model of the universe. And, the present day scientists' finding that even the most intelligent human being today is able to tap only a negligible percentage of the brain cells available indicates that it perhaps confirms the 'Hindu belief' that time moves in reverse order of evolution, which in reality is increase from zero knowledge in innumerable numbers at the beginning of Kaliyuga to attaining 'perfection' by all knowing Trimurty Shiva alone (say reflected by the summit of the pyramid). And although the human structure is perfect at all times, ie, a model of Trimurty Shiva Himself, but each model is generally utilised by Him to reflect the time from Satyuga to Kaliyuga. And, therefore, different apparent capabilities reflected in the hierarchy by each individual, at any given point in time and related with some particular field of activity: as an expert or an all rounder...

JC said...

Maybe, to indicate that although a model can dream of Satyuga but one's actual capabilty is restricted depending on the overall period, 'I' would point out that the Yogis apparently realised the various ranges of human efficiency vis-a-vis the 100% potential at the end of Satyuga as follows.

0 to 25% during Kaliyuga; 25 to 50% during Dwaperyuga; 50 to 75% in Tretayuga; and 75 to 100% in Satyga.

JC said...

The present day scientists estimate the age of our solar system as around 4.6 billion years, and still continuing...

However, 'I' found it a bit odd that our wise ancients have indicated the durtion of one day in the unending life of Brahma as 4.32 billion years, which is believably followed by his night of an equal duration (as in human life it gets reflected daily, within 24 hours, while the wise ancients called sleep as 'ardh-mrit awastha', ie, a state of 'half death', whereas actual death of the exterior material form apparently happens after a believable average age of 100 years, between 0 and 100 plus years)...

'I' have thus attempted to go a bit deeper, and 'I' found that the wise ancients realised duration of Kaliyuga as 432,000 years, and double of that as the duration of Dwaperyuga, three times that of Tretayuga, and four times that of Satyuga. Thus a Mahayuga, the duration of one cycle of the four yugas, as 4.32 million years. They however perhaps indicated roughly 1000 such cycles of Mahayugas in a day of Brahma (our Sun), from Satyuga to Kaliyuga, elapse during review of related events by Bhootnath Shiva the formless supreme being, which thus indicated only 4.32 billion years as the duration of one day. However, 360 degrees of space and three aspects of the three-in-one God woould suggest 360x3 ie 1080 cycles (perhaps confirmed by adoptation of 108 beads in the rosary since time immemorial and also man being addressed till recent times by 'Hindus' as 'Shri Shri Shri 108 Shri X', which could thus explain why the day and thus the related events pertaining to 'Ghor Kaliyuga' or intense darkness still apparently continues)...and the end of the day is also hinted by the shrinking glaciers and acute thinning of layers of ice in the Arctic Sea region...while our leaders aren't able to decide what our role should be, whereas the wise ancients advised one to know purpose of human life as realisation of the Formless Creator as well as His physical forms, ie, in all physical forms and even in each atom...

JC said...

As humans, 'we' apparently know that when one is asleep all physical activities come to a halt, although one might get to see some dreams that mostly are disturbing in nature...and of course there are insomaniacs who apparently do not sleep at all (like my father's eldest brother)...

However, 'we' also come to learn that to all scientific laws there are exceptions also. Thus, similarly, the phenomenon is apparently reflected - besides 'natural' involuntary actions, such as breathing and twisting and turning in the bed by all - although in rare cases, in the form of somnambulists who apparently perform physical actions in sleep without their knowledge, ie, without being conscious of it during that period. And realisation of it might happen later only when in 'fully awake' condition.

'My father' used to recall how a postman in our home town in the hills used to normally distribute mails received in the evening - in limited numbers because of the thin population those days - the next forenoon...

However, on certain rare occasions he used to find mails apparently missing from the Post Office when he reached there! He then used to go around enquiring from all the concerned if they had received their mails, and used to get confirmation of the fact to his relief! Fortunately for him the letters to be delivered used to be a few in numbers!

The above phenomenon could however also be a pointer to the possibility of entire human life itself to be a dream, a projection of His own past by Bhootnath Shiva, as believed by the ancient Hindus...

JC said...

Sorry! Kavitha, Maybe it is only for academic interest, as no one has so far pointed it out, on review 'I' find 'I' have wrongly spelt 'insomniacs' as insomaniacs, which sounds as if one is talking about some mad person and not about 'chronic sleeplessness'!

JC said...

As 'I' indicated, our eldest of the two uncles, a popular Headmaster in a local High School at our home-town, suffered from insomnia. Thus he used to remain awake through the whole night when others slept. He used to pass time reading books and would just remain lying on bed for some hours with eyes closed...

In view of the above, and resultant sympathy for his brother, 'our father' didn't disturb 'me', or even 'my' younger siblings, in the morning, if one overslept. He himself, however, following the rigid tradition for the 'Brahmins', woke up early, went for his morning walk and maintained a very disciplined life-style...But, thankfully, he wasn't rigid in his thoughts, and thus permitted us relatively more freedom in our day-to-day life, perhaps thus reflecting 'Creator's mind' that would have apparently resulted in a variety in 'Nature' that one gets to see around one and even in the observed vriety in human behaviour too...

The Yogis thus, similarly, appear to have reached eight-legged spider as the true-image of the creator who rules in the eight cardinal directions, each through the agency of one of the selected 9 number members of our solar system, the ninth one from our Sun, Saturn, as their Supervisor who provides the cumulative information, on all controllers' behalf, to Moon that acts as the brain/ decision maker on behalf of our solar system, called Mahashiva, where Shiva is indicated as our inert earth that is provided support by all other members - moother-like by Moon...

Through mythological stories, the wise Hindus convey Moon to, in fact, represent the gravitational energy originally concentrated at earth's centre, a point or zero time and space, and responsible for the creation of the infinite physical universe contained within the ever growing, eternal or unending, universal void - the 'Big Zero'...

JC said...

Talking of hilly region in the southindia, 'we' have earlier also seen, perhaps many times, how 'wise ancient Hindus' visualised all mounds as the 'merudand', or spinal column, of a divine person, all as reflections, to different scales, of Sati the consort of Shiva. For example, the Himlayan Range, trending from west to east, was imagined as the merudand of Mother, Sati or Shakti, that is, energy, the various temples representing the location of the various chakras or energy points distributed from Mooladhar (represented by Kamakhya Temple in Assam in the northeast) to 'Ajna Chakra' at 'Naina Devi' in Himachal Pradesh, and so on...Thus the 'wise ancients' indicated to the seeker of the Truth' no need to wander from one end to another, if only one could ignore the apparent chaos in the 'external world' and instead seek it within one...however, a difficult task because of the different controllers excercising influence in different directions particularly till one attains maturity and only the reaching a time when one could reach a stage of 'sanyas' or detachment with the outside world...

Aswin Kini said...

The very mention of the word "Thiruvannamalai" truly invokes a sense of spirituality in me. Truly, the mountain has some very high significance, Ramana maharishi stated the significance of Thiruvannamalai many times during his autobiography! Many siddhars existed/still exist there, many people throng the place on Pournami to get the blessings of the lord. But the mountain, I consider it as lord Arunachala himself, seems very blissful in the early morning. People who want to do girivala in Thiruvannamalai should do it in the morning (4-6 am, Brahma moortham). One of the best experiences for a devotee in Thiruvannamalai is chanting Om Nama Shivaya while circumambulating the mountain. 14kms of blissfulness.
Om nama Shivaya

JC said...

Thanks Aswin Kini for your comments. However, 'I' have a question: Who are 'siddhars', and how are they different from normal human beings?

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, Aswin seems to have got very busy...

Maybe someone else, in 'India' or 'Malaysia' could throw some light on 'siddhars' in the 'present times' - in Kavitha's blog in comments section...

Kavitha said...

Joshi Uncle,

Siddhar is a Tamil title given to evolved souls who performed jeeva mukti on their own. Such great souls have been buried and not burnt.

Siddhars have unique tales around them where there are some who are known to have their remains reduced to ash which was transformed into a linga in subsequent centuries, others bless lesser mortals by giving them the fragrance of jasmine of taste of vibhuti in their mouth out of no where.

There are many siddhars believed to inhabit the hill of Thiruvannamalai where they reside. They have been witnessed as drops of light doing the Girivalam or just "hanging around" the hill.

They come in the strata of demi gods - like others, they tend to fly great distances in a very short span of time. They are very intellectually evolved beings who bless and grant wishes as well define the basic level of purity one would look forward to when they think about them.

Aswin Kini said...

Well, I have limited knowledge on the Siddhars. As per my belief, they are saints who have gained special powers or siddhis via penance to Lord Shiva. Most of them have attained the state of Nirvana except for a few who are happy with attaining a few Siddhis (powers). Siddhars are special because it is said that although some of them are dead, their soul continues to wander in and around Thiruvannamalai blessing people who have true Bakthi. I DO believe in them. But, I also believe only those who are truly spiritual and follow the path of Dharma can see them/invoke their blessings.

JC said...

Thanks to both Kavitha and Aswin!

In the 'north' also, similarly the term used is 'siddha purush', an allrounder, as the one whose soul has attained a relatively higher elevation...however, at different times, or different yugas, their highest level possible is believed to be 25% in Kaliyuga, to 100% only by Shiva (immortal formless being) the 'all knowing', the unique perfect supreme soul, an expert in all fields of activities, ie, 'sarvgun sampanna', whose inferior images 'we' all humans ever are...and are supposed to act in the service of all 'inferior beings' selflessly, just as a physician is supposed to dedicatedly treat a person who is suffering from some ailment...

However, it is obvious that, acording to 'Hindu beliefs', in Kliyuga selfish interest would rule most of the time and thus selfless people would be rarely found in some corner/ interior of the country as one believes one might come across them in, say Thiruvannamalai, or the Himalayan forests...

ArunachalaHeart said...

Hi,

On the Northern slope of Arunachala, God as the eternal Siddha Purusha sits silently underneath a Great Banyan Tree. No one has seen him till now except that Bhagwan Ramana was prevented to visit the tree by a stream of Hornets.

Arunachala Hill represents the Absolute and is physically the most ancient diety on the planet, I dare say even the cosmos. Every other deity, idol, form of worship originated after Arunachala.

Geologically too the rock that makes up Arunachala is nearly 3.5 to 4 billion years old.

If interested you can visit my exclusive blog on Arunachala

www.arunachalaheart.blogspot.com

Pattabi Raman said...

can you give me details of the Goddess Muppidathi amman. Is it the avtar of Kali/Mahishasuramarthini/ bhiravi.In my native place the temple is situated as Muppidathi amman koil. In the sanctorum here are three statues of Devi in the sitting mode. Cental one is having three faces with Soolam pointing downwards killing an asuran, the other two statues are on the both sides
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kadayam venkataraman balasubramanian
8:18 PM (52 minutes ago)

to me
with Soolam on the right hand not having any specific ayuthams. . Inthe temple praharam there is a special sanndhi for Bhiravar in the eastern praharam facing south .
Ambal is facing north . Can you tell me the exact names of the three devisI want more light on this. I hope you have a wide exposure in this .