Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Arunachala New Year



Once a man went with flowers with an intent of worshipping Arunachala for a boon. He marvelled at his devotion. But on reaching Arunachala he was stunned to see that millions of beautiful scented flowers from thousands of trees were being offered daily to the Hill by nature. The air was filled with sweet calls of birds. The streams from rains washed the Hill's body.

His pride burst and he realized

that Nature worships Him

the clouds bath Him

the trees offer Him fruits and flowers

the birds sing for Him

and humans...

humans only ask boons from Him.

Have a lovely 2009 year my friends and may Arunachala bless you all in all your endeavours.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 8

Mount Kailash Darshan


This is a darshan where Arunachala resembles Mount Kailash in one of its aspects.

People who have been to Mount Kailash can understand this darshan easily by the way the Hill peeps over from between two foothills. There is a place in Kailash Parikrama where the huge mountain also peeps from between two foothills. The resemblance is a matter of perception and faith.

This darshan is seen just about hundred meters before Seshadri Swamigal Ashram.

I do not know the spiritual potency of this darshan but would dare to say that seeing this darshan is equivalent to seeing Mount Kailash in Tibet.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 7

Trimurthi Darshan



We went on our first Arunachala Girivallam in Nov 2008. We were guided by Mr Anand who is the manager of Nannagaru Ashram. He took us through the path and showed us various darshans of Arunachala.

Near the point where the highway to Bangalore bridges off from the Girivallam road he showed us Arunachala and the three rock projections.

He told us that this is called as Trimurthi darshan by Sadhguru Sri Nannagaru. The three rock projections represent the three main gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Any wish asked off the Hill will fructify from here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 6

The Triumphant Elephant darshan



The Vision of Arunachala from Adi Annamalai temple.

I personally am very fascinated with this darshan and try to look at this darshan as a triumphant Ganesha.

I still remember the beauty of the Hill on that lovely November morning.

Arunachala Darshan 5

Narasimha Darshan



This is also a personal finding. It was discovered by my brother-in-law

It was the first time when I went to Arunachala on Nov 23rd 2008 that my brother-in-law pointed out to me that the Hill resembled the ManLion incarnation of Vishnu known as Lord Narasimha. Incidentally my brother-in-law's name too is Narsimha.

As we cross Adi Annamalai temple and walk towards Ramana bridge we come across the Elephant shaped Arunachala slowing turning into a pointed peak with the Northern Spur coming in line with the main peak. This darshan we will discuss later.

Before the two peaks come in line the main peak of Arunachala looks like a Lion face.

It is my imagination that from here the Hill looks like Narasimha with the smaller peak symbolizing prahlada.

A beautiful darshan.

Do try to get it when you are there next time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Arunachala Parikrama

Swami Gaurangananda




I was talking to Swami Gaurangananda today morning in Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad. He is a senior swami who has had the oppurtunity to go for Kailash parikrama a few years back. He has put forward very interesting aspects about the concept of parikrama.

Everyone of us who have done the parikrama of Arunachala have done with utmost faith in Bhagawan's words that its merits are indescribabale. But do we know why?

The Swami while explaining the concept of parikrama asks us to imagine the time we have gone to Tirupathi to see Lord Balaji.

Remember the stress, the hours long wait...etc.

Finally when we are in front of the Lord,we spend a few seconds and then we are immediately pushed so that others behind us can have a darshan. We too feel very happy that we have seen the Lord even though for a few seonds and move on. We do not mind the hours of stress because we were able to the Lord for a few seconds.

What would we do if we were given a chance to be with the Lord for hours together?

We would jump in joy. :)

This emotion is easily realized with parikrama.

As we circumbulate the Divine, we are with Him every second, every step.

We get to spend more time with the Lord. Also, the Lord is a centre of infinte grace which flows equally in all directions. Hence when we circumbulate Him we receive holy vibrations of the Godhead which makes parikrama even more practical and holy.

I thought these were beautiful words about a beautiful ritual.

The other famous parikrama sthalas are

River Naramada Parikrama (3000km)

Govardhan giri parikrama (30km)

Vrindavan Parikrama (10km)

and the very famous

Mount Kailash parikrama

Friday, December 26, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 4

Eyes of Ganapathy darshan



This darshan is a personal finding and hence close to my heart.

If you see Arunachala once you cross Ramanaashram and before the road bridges to Bangalore you will be able to see the eyes of the Lord Ganapathi looking at you!!!

Indulge my perception for a moment.

Study the photograph of Arunachala uploaded with this darshan.

Now look at the peak.

Just below the peak on either side you will see two human eyes looking at you and the terrain between them bridge off into a trunk!

It looks like Vinayaka with a crown is looking at you with yogic eyes.

It is a very very stunning darshan and a personal finding which you can easily see in every photo or even live capture of Arunachala in this segment.

On analysing the image or the Hill you realize that the 'eyes' of Ganesha are made up by two groupings of trees with boulders on either side.

The right eye is made of trees and a sloping rock



and the left eye of a small grouping of trees and some boulders



and the Hill between these form the trunk.

try to understand and get this Arunachala Darshan...I feel it is very very powerful.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 3

√Čru Pancha Muka Darshan

Peeping Shiva Darshan



This darshan according to agasthiar ashram is called Eru Pancha Muka Darshan. It is a darshan which destroys sins commited under duress.

Many of the darshans that I am going to outline in the various posts over the days are inspired both from the Agasthiar lineage and also from personal experience.

The usual sanskrit or tamil names of darshans indicate what agasthiar ashram names these darshans as.

The English heading is what I feel the darshan to be. Being an artist I felt I should also pen down my feelings of various darshans of the Arunachala Hill.

In the two previous posts, the Maya darshan is my own way of looking at the Mountain whereas the darshan from Seshadri Ashram is borrowed from agasthiar ashram.

I feel this darshan of the Hill from Ramanaashram is "The Peeping Shiva Darshan".

Here Shiva appears to me to be the Lord who is playing Hide and Seek with us and hence peeps out from his abode beyond the foothills of Arunachala. One who sees the Lord peeping from the summit of the foothills is blessed with emancipation from sins...obviously.

Arunachala Christmas

Perfect cone Arunachala



Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 2

Thejho Mukha Darshan

Emerging Shiva Darshan



This is the darshan of the Hill from Seshadri Swamigal ashram. If one looks at the hill from here one attains clarity of thought and strength in purpose. These emotions lead to further benifits of improving social relations and hence improves both materialistic and spiritual goals.

If one analyses the darshan from here one can see that the Hill is emerging slowly from the backdrop of various other smaller hills filled with strewn stones and shrubs.

The immediate vicinity of the darshan with these other hills is chaotic,muddled but the distant vision of the rising hill is calm, majestic and sovereign.

It holds a promise of power and glory soon to manifest.( The logical conlusion of this vision is the one the hill manifests in Ramana Ashram which will be discussed in the next post)

This is an absolutely stunning view of the hill and hence accelartes the mind to attain the various virtues discussed previously.

I personally look at this darshan as the Emerging Shiva Darshan. It looks to me that the Lord has had a good sleep and is now emerging from supine position to the reclining position. Just my thoughts...

The darshan of the Hill from Seshadri Ashram



images courtesy : WorldWideWeb

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Arunachala Darshan 1

MAYA DARSHAN

I think of this as the Maya Darshan. When I first went to Arunachala it was covered in the clouds. I could not see it. I hoped that I would be able to see it the next day when I went for my maiden Pradakshina around the Mountain.

I started along with my cousins early next day at about 4.00 AM. I had slept very little and had rushed out to see whether the cloud cover had receded. Unfortunately it had not.

On the Pradakshina path I walked slowly hoping for the clouds to lift. It was after I had covered a substantial distance that I thought I could see the peak as the clouds were slowing lifting away.

My first thought was the Mountain was sooo small. However I uttered heartfelt prayers to the peak which looked like a pointed triangle.

Stunningly the clouds behind the peak slowly lifted off and I saw awestruck at the Elephant Darshan of Arunachala.

I realized that the peak which I had thought to be Arunachala initially was the Parvathi Peak, a symbol of Maya.

I remebered Sri Ramakrishna's teaching that unless the Mother Goddess who is veruly Maya permits...one cannot see Isvara.

Here too my first full darshan of Arunachala was accomplished only I had 'worshipped' the Maya peak. It looked as if the Goddess in her compassion gave way for me to see the Lord who had smilingly emerged from behind her.

Truly the path to Isvara is by permission from Maya. Here are the photo graphs to explain what I mean.



This is before Arunachala disappears behind Maya. I could not see this becoz the cloud cover was very dense and it was dark.



This is Arunachala hidden behind Maya.



The Lord emeges at this angle and this is the place where I had my first darshana.

Moe Arunachala darshans to follow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Arunachala Nannagaru


I heard of this saint while surfing on the internet about Sri Ramakrishna. I read about him and wondered whether I would meet him any day.

A few months back on Gurupoornima I heard that the saint was coming to my city and decided to go and see him.

Sri Nannagaru is a Advaita master who is intimately connected with Arunachala. A website dedicated to him is www.srinannagaru.com

I saw the man amidst thousands of his followers sitting on the podium and delivering one of the greatest speeches I have heard about advaita. His words were not dry but carried with them the conviction of personal experience. I instantly knew I was in the presence of a master. Time flew by.

And then there was the silence.

He just looked at the huge gathering with piercing but benign gaze. There was a stunning pin drop silence in the entire hall. It was more powerful than his speech. Every eye was riveted on him. The breath seemed to have been sucked out from one's being and been replaced with silent power. In every eye was a light of calmness and in every heart a feeling of bliss.

I realized with more conviction that this was really a mahapurusha.

And then the spell broke.

At the end of the satsang I decided to test the great man by sening mental waves asking him to acknowledge my presence.

The man was surrounded by countless devotees who wanted to touch him and speak with him. I stood right in front of the podium and was hoping and wishing that he see me.

He did not.

I decided to leave the place with a slightly bruised ego and a thought perhaps that we did not share a relationship.

I had come out of the hall when suddenly a thought struck me that he is indeed a great purusha and I should try again.

I went inside with vigour and climbed the podium. I reached the crowd that was surrounding him whence suddenly there was a opening and I saw the master looking at me with a smile on his lips. He beckoned me closer and patted on my right cheek.

I was stunned and immediately bowed down low before him

The place where he touched me tingled with sensation the entire day.

I do not know if it was his touch or my destiny...but within a month I laid my feet on holy Arunachala soil and got an accomadation in his ashram.

More of the story later.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Arunachala Siva and binoculars



Legend has it that on the great Northern slope of Arunachala,
underneath a magnificent banyan tree, near an inaccessible rock,
Arunachala Siva sits.

Yes, it is true. Call him by whatever name you want.

God sits on the Mountain Arunachala on the northern side of the
slope underneath a banyan tree.

Ramana Maharshi discovered the tree in his wanderings on the hill
but could not go near it for he was bit by a swarm of hornets and
had to return back. On his death people all over Arunachala saw a
magnificent light emanate from the ashram and go and join itself in
the Northern slope of the Hill.

Many people have tried to find 'SIVA' and the legendary vada valai
vriksham (The Great Banyan Tree)but have failed miserably during the
trek.

I wondered if 'SIVA' could be seen with modern gadgets like the
powerful binoculars that I have for the location of the Tree is so
inaccessible that none have been able to reach that far except for
Ramana.

As I circumbulated the hill and finally reached the place from where
one, if blessed, could see the Great God on the northern slope. This
area of the pradakshina path is called Ramana Bridge. It is from
here that Ramana used to point out the exact location of the Tree.

I scanned the rugged slope interpersed with hundereds of trees,
boulders, ravines and deep gorges. I looked for a great tree, a flat
rock and a resplendant Siva. But try as I might I could not
see 'SIVA'.

A local who was guiding us smiled and said " Sir, not everyone can
see Siva. You have to be blessed for that."

Not giving up I took out my terrestrial telescope and scanned the
hill. I saw trees jutting out from rocky crevices and hidden caves.
I saw birds flying in the far distance and the early morning sun
decorating the leaves of the trees with a magnificent splendor.

But I did not see Siva.

It was then that I remembered a saying

"Arunachala is within and not without. The Self is Arunachala. The
mystery of the Hill is the mystery of the Self."

To search for Siva, the binoculars has to be turned within.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Arunachala Sarada




"Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Maatrirupena Sansthitah
Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaktirupena Sansthitah
Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaantirupena Sansthitah
Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namo Namah"

Goddess Durga is omnipresent. She is the personification of Universal Mother. She is a Mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of power and energy. Great mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of Peace. I bow to that mother, I bow to Durga, I bow to Shakti

"The power of the name Arunachala was once directly confirmed by Sri Bhagavan. In 1948 a certain devotee came to him from Bombay, and with him he brought a notebook in which he had written the name 'Arunachala Siva' many thousands of times. On the last page of this notebook the devotee wrote a prayer to the following effect, 'O Bhagavan, in the life of Sarada Devi [the wife of Sri Ramakrishna] it is written that she has said that if even an animal dies in Kasi it will attain liberation. Therefore, graciously bestow upon be the boon of death in Kasi.' and gave the notebook to Sri Bhagavan.

Bhagavan looked through the notebook and when he came to the last page he read out loud the devotee's prayer: at once he expressed the greatest surprise and exclaimed, 'Smaranat Arunachalam!'

The words 'Smaranat Arunachalam' mean 'by remembering Arunachala', and they occur in the very same Sanskrit verse that says that by dying in Kasi one will attain liberation. Bhagavan then turned to the revolving bookcase by his side and took out a book,probably the Arunachala Mahatmyam. Opening it as if at random, he read out a sentence in Tamil that said, 'One ''Arunachala'' is equal power to one crore ''Om Nama Sivaya'''.
--Power of Arunachala, Michael James


When I visited Arunachala for the first time and saw the Shiva Sakthi Aikya Darshan from near Agasthiar Ashram, I couldnt bhelp but see Sri Ramakrishna as the Shiva peak and Mother Sarada as the Shakthi peak.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Arunachala Siva



Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva

Arunachala Siva, Arunachala!

The dream is long but short

The real is apparent but false

The journey is long but short

The pleasure is there but painful

The many are few and the One is many

Arunachala Siva,

The mind is there but nought

Arunachala Siva,

Only the Heart is

-- Mithin Aachi Nov 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poem 2





Chant O mind Arunachala name


Bestower of ego-death and spiritual fame


Remember the One in the lotus cave


Attain the One, the Ramana aim.

Be the One that you are

Arunachala is in you

You and Arunachala are the same

--Mithin Aachi Nov 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Poem 1

For years my heart pined to see you O Arunachala
For years did I wait to come
Finally when I did one day O Arunachala
You met me hiding your face in the clouds
Throughout the night did I see you,
wishing you to lift the veil
You smiled at my prayers O Arunachala
and came to me as the Elephant
As I trekked around the pradakshina path my darling Arunachala
watching your various forms at each bend
you reminded me that you are
neither the peak nor the base
but a pure manifestation of Love,
my closest friend,
which has no peak nor base
with no begining nor end
-- Mithin Aachi Nov 25 2008

I have seen...

I have seen the most beautiful monsoons hit the parched soil of the western coast bringing with it a joy unlimited to my heart when in Mangalore...

I have swam in the beaches of Iran dancing as a child with jellyfish surrounding the shallows with their unmatched beauty...

I have driven in an auto on winter evenings in surreal Delhi the evening street lights throwing out a yellow orange color of supreme beauty as the cold winds lashed my face and I felt warm in my heart...

I have watched with awe as the great river Ganges slowly joined the sea carrying in its bosom a billion sins on the banks of Kolkata...I have seen the city of the Goddess saturated with her, everywhere Kali...everywhere the Mother Goddess in Kolkata...

I have watched with fascination at the beauty of the deity in Tirupathi with my heart beating wildly out of pure love for Him...everytime I saw Him...

I remember my first time when I saw the Taj Mahal, the first time I saw my college mates on a rainy day, the first time when I trekked across the dense jungles of South Karnataka discovering virgin waterfalls and lush greenery...

I have seen Frankfurt in the snow, I have gazed stunned and amazed at the Universe and varied galaxies, stars from my telescope, went boating across the lake district in Cambria, UK.

I have seen the London Bridge, I have seen a child laugh, I have seen friends cry as they departed at the end of college...

I have seen beautiful butterflies...

.
.
.
.
.
but I have never seen anything like Arunachala.

It is beyond beauty, beyond speech, beyond thought to even describe its presence in front of my eyes.

Tears well up, the mind melts, the heart is aware.

Friends, in all my life with an infinite experiences...I have had the greatest of all...

I have seen GOD.

Its name is Arunachala. It exists in the form of a rocky Hill 200kms from Chennai.

It is the SOURCE, the Alpha and the Omega.

It is the spiritual heart of the universe (Ramana Maharshi)

It is my Arunachala...my darling Arunachala.

First Sight

I saw Arunachala for the first time on Nov 23, 2008. After a few hours drive from Chennai, my cousins and I could make out a form of a hill in the distant. We immediately stopped our car and made salutations to it. However when we rechecked it with our binoculars we found to our dismay that it was not Arunachala. We continued for some time whence suddenly the great Hill could be seen with the temple towers in the far distance. It was covered with a rain cloud. Only the portion of it from base to the middle could be seen. We made our heartfelt salutations to it. We continued into the town with the Hill growing larger every mile we crossed. We got down into Nannagaru ashram from where the Hill looked magnificent and mind numbingly infinite.
That night I slowly crept to the terrace of Nannagaru ashram to spend some time with Arunachala. But seeing the overpowering infinite form of the Hill with a magnificent cloud hugging its peak, my knees shivered in fright and my spine gave way unknown power, prostrating before an unknown Power which was emanating from the Hill.
After that everytime I think of Arunachala...the first time I saw it and more so whence I saw it from the terrace of Nannagaru Asramam in the night, all alone...I shiver.