Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Arunachala Path

The road to Arunachala!

The greatest journey perhaps is not to something out there but to something 'here'

Here is an account of a devotee taken from the life of Ramana.

"The next morning I started off for giripradakshina (circumambulation) of Arunachala. Sri Ramanasramam was on the way and, as everyone was going into the Ashrama to have darshan of Bhagavan, I followed. The moment I saw him I was overcome with emotion and cried out, "When will I be rid of this bondage?" I was visibly shaken. Bhagavan kindly gestured to me that I should sit. I sat down for an hour and was unconscious of my body. I had an urge to stay on there and asked Chinnaswami (the Ashrama manager) for permission. He said, "You are young. What can you do? Go back home." But I did not leave. I said, "Please give me any work. Bhagavan will give me the strength." As I would not leave, Chinnaswami relented and finally asked me to remove the weeds from the flower garden. With much enthusiasm I did the work of two people. Bhagavan also praised my work.

I would daily attend to the work given to me and when free would sit in meditation. That was my only routine. One day I asked Bhagavan, "Swami, what is the way to salvation?"

"The way you came," was his simple reply.

The moment I heard him say this my mind froze.

Rangaswamy, Ramana Jyothi Journal"

tracing the root of thought brings us to the Supreme Soul.

The way to salvation is the way we came...tracing our thoughts back.

The way to Arunachala...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Arunachala Manolaya

The State of Mental Stillness

"D: When I am engaged in enquiry as to the source
from which the ‘I’ springs, I arrive at a stage of stillness
of mind beyond which I find myself unable to proceed
farther. I have no thought of any kind and there is an
emptiness, a blankness. A mild light pervades and I
feel that it is myself, bodiless. I have neither cognition nor
vision of body and form. The experience lasts nearly half
an hour and is pleasing. Would I be correct in concluding
that all that was necessary to secure eternal happiness (i.e.,
freedom or salvation or whatever one calls it) was to
continue the practice till this experience could be
maintained for hours, days and months together?

B: This does not mean salvation; such a condition
is termed manolaya or temporary stillness of thought.
Manolaya means concentration, temporarily arresting
the movement of thoughts; as soon as this concentration
ceases, thoughts, old and new, rush in as usual and
even though this temporary lulling of mind should last
a thousand years it will never lead to total destruction
of thought, which is what is called salvation or liberation
from birth and death. The practiser must therefore be
ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this
experience, who realises its pleasantness. Failing this enquiry he will go into a long trance or deep sleep (Yoga nidra).
Due to the absence of a proper guide at this stage of
spiritual practice many have been deluded and fallen a
prey to a false sense of salvation and only a few have, either
by the merit of good acts in their previous births, or by
extreme grace, been enabled to reach the goal safely.
Sri Bhagavan then told the following story:
A Yogi was doing penance (tapas) for a number of
years on the banks of the Ganges. When he had
attained a high degree of concentration, he believed
that continuance in that stage for prolonged periods
constituted salvation and practised it. One day, before
going into deep concentration, he felt thirsty and
called to his disciple to bring a little drinking water
from the Ganges; but before the disciple arrived with
the water, he had gone into samadhi and remained in
that state for countless years, during which time much
water flowed under the bridge. When he woke up
from this experience the first thing he asked for was
‘water! water!’; but there was neither his disciple nor
the Ganges in sight.
The first thing which he asked for was water because,
before going into deep concentration, the topmost layer
of thought in his mind was water and by concentration,
however deep and prolonged it might have been, he had
only been able to temporarily lull his thoughts and when,
therefore, he revoked consciousness this topmost thought
flew up with all the speed and force of a flood breaking
through the dykes. If this is the case with regard to a thought which took shape immediately before he sat for
meditation, there is no doubt that thoughts which have
taken deeper root earlier will still remain unannihilated;
if annihilation of thoughts is salvation can he be said to
have attained salvation?
Sadhakas (seekers) rarely understand the difference
between this temporary stilling of the mind (manolaya)
and permanent destruction of thoughts (manonasa). In
manolaya there is temporary subsidence of thought-waves,
and, though this temporary period may even last for a
thousand years, thoughts, which are thus temporarily
stilled, rise up as soon as the manolaya ceases. One must,
therefore, watch one’s spiritual progress carefully. One must
not allow oneself to be overtaken by such spells of stillness
of thought: the moment one experiences this, one must revive
consciousness and enquire within as to who it is who experiences
this stillness. While not allowing any thoughts to intrude,
he must not, at the same time, be overtaken by this deep
sleep (Yoga nidra) or Self-hypnotism. Though this is a
sign of progress towards the goal, yet it is also the point
where the divergence between the road to salvation and Yoga
nidra takes place. The easy way, the direct way, the shortest
cut to salvation is the Enquiry method. By such enquiry, you
will drive the thought force deeper till it reaches its source
and merges therein. It is then that you will have the response
from within and find that you rest there, destroying all
thoughts, once and for all.This temporary stilling of thought comes automatically
in the usual course of one’s practice and it is a clear sign
of one’s progress but the danger of it lies in mistaking it
for the final goal of spiritual practice and being thus
deceived. It is exactly here that a spiritual guide is necessary
and he saves a lot of the spiritual aspirant’s time and energy
which would otherwise be fruitlessly wasted."

-- Crumbs from His table Chapter 8

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Arunachala Krishna : Darshan 31

Arunachala Krishna

The priest of a temple at Dwaraka, returning from
Aurobindo’s Ashram, visited Bhagavan and asked him in Sanskrit,
“I wish to get sakshatkara of Sri Krishna. What should I do to
get it?” This question was put while Bhagavan was reading a
rather long letter from Lt. Shroff, which his wife had brought.
The letter closed with the sentiment: “Do what you will to me.
Send me health or sickness, riches or poverty.” Bhagavan said
with reference to the priest’s question, “I did not want to disturb
his faith, but wanted to tell him ‘Just leave it to Sri Krishna, —
even this sakshatkara of Krishna.’ And this letter of Shroff
contains the same thing.”
After saying this, Bhagavan added, “What is your idea
of Sri Krishna and what do you mean by sakshatkara?” On
this, the priest replied, “I mean the Sri Krishna who lived in
Brindavan and I want to see him as the Gopis saw him.”
Bhagavan replied, “You see, you think he is a human
being or one with a human form, the son of so and so, etc.,
whereas he himself has said, ‘I am in the Heart of all beings,
I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all forms of
life.’ He must be within you, as within all. He is your Atman
or the atman of your Atman. So if you see this entity or have
sakshatkara of it, you will have sakshatkara of Krishna. Atma
Sakshatkara and sakshatkara of Krishna cannot be different.
However, to go your own way, surrender completely to Krishna
and leave it to Him to grant the sakshatkara you want.”

Talks 27-4-46 Morning

Arunachala is Sri Krishna...the Atman of the Atman.

The darshan of Sri Krishna who sported as a cowherd boy of Vrindavan aeons ago can be easily had by anyone who gazes at the Hill.

The darshan is amplified on full moon nights which represent Sri Krishna playing his flute enchanting the cows and people of Vrindavan.

Here is one such Arunachala Sri Krishna Darshan in a magnificent photograph taken by Mr Dev Gogoi

photo courtesy: Dev Gogoi, source: World Wide Web

Om Namo Bhagwathe Vasudevaaya!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Arunachala Darshan 30

Arunachala Paraman : Lord Vishnu with four hands darshan

Gadadhara (Vishnu) bearing Shankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma is called Keshava. He is Lord Narayana.

He represents the final culmination of Bhakthi.

Vishnu is Paramatma (The Supreme Soul) and Parameshwara ( The Supreme God). The meaning of Vishnu is the 'vis': to enter, to permeate; 'nu': into.

Hence Lord Vishnu represents the All pervading Force in all. This is nothing but Arunachala. The Substratum of all, the Power in all.

Those who approach Arunachala through the Jnana marga see in it Lord Shiva ( Absolute) and those who approach Arunachala with Bhakthi see in it Lord Vishnu ( The Supremely Beautiful Godhead)

This darshan of Arunachala is Lord Vishnu with His four Arms with conch, mace, lotus and chakra.

This is the Arunachala Paraman Darshan and is a MUST darshan.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Arunachala Meditation

Mr. Cohen had been cogitating on the nature of the Heart, if the ‘spiritual
heart’ beats; if so, how; or if it does not beat, then how is it to be felt?
M.: This heart is different from the physical heart; beating is the
function of the latter. The former is the seat of spiritual experience.
That is all that can be said of it.
Just as a dynamo supplies motive power to whole systems of lights,
fans, etc., so the original Primal Force supplies energy to the beating
of the heart, respiration, etc.
D.: How is the ‘I-I’ consciousness felt?
M.: As an unbroken awareness of ‘I’. It is simply consciousness.
D.: Can we know it when it dawns?
M.: Yes, as consciousness. You are that even now. There will be no
mistaking it when it is pure.
D.: Why do we have such a place as the ‘Heart’ for meditation?
M.: Because you seek consciousness. Where can you find it? Can you
reach it externally? You have to find it internally. Therefore you are
directed inward. Again the ‘Heart’ is only the seat of consciousness
or the consciousness itself.
D.: On what should we meditate?
M.: Who is the meditator? Ask the question first. Remain as the
meditator. There is no need to meditate.

Talk 205

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Friday, March 13, 2009

Arunachala Gayathri / Arunachala Darshan 29

The Goddess Gayathri Arunachala

Goddess Gayathri is the Mother Goddess of the vedas.

The Goddess is invoked through the mantra:

"Om Bhur Bhuvah Swaha

Tath Sa Vitthur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi

Dhiyo Yona Prachodayaath!

It means:

We salute the The Supreme Light illuminating the gross, subtle and the causal Cosmos.

May that light illuminate our intellects!"

This mantra is held as the most powerful and sacred mantras on par with OM and the Sri Rama Mantra.

It is the secret teaching that the pupil gets from his guru whence he undergoes the Thread ceremony which symbolises a new birth for the Brahmin.

The Goddess invoked has the conglomerate attributes of all the three main Goddesses Lakshmi, Parvathi and Saraswathi.

She is represented with Five heads , four representing the four vedas and the fifth head representing the Ultimate reality.

Arunachala Hill is Goddess Gayathri.

On its slopes were the Vedas realized, in its shadows did ancient hermitages lost in the translation of thousands of years, flourish.

The trees of the Hill, the animals on its slopes were witness to innumerable Siddhas attain to the Realization of the Vedas thousands of years ago.

Arunachala as such represents Goddess Gayathri in all aspects but is best appreciated in this darshan.

Arunachala Gayathri

Monday, March 9, 2009

Arunachala Seer


Let us try to analyse and understand what Arunachala is with the help of these images.

This first image shows the Mind/ Ego representing a prism which scatters the single ray of light to myriad beams which form the World that we see.

The Waking/ Dream/ Deep Sleep.

The ray of light is from the Self/Arunachala which will be unveiled shortly.

The second image shows us how the scaterred light forms the myriad forms of the waking state.

It is characterized by a larger outgoing tendency of the mind hence is perceived longer.

What exists is the Mind, Ego, the state of Waking and Arunachala in this state.

The third image shows the Dream state where the outgoing tendency is much shorter and hence the dream worlds are much hazy and shorter than the waking state.

Bhagwan has characteristically stated that there is no difference in both the waking and the dream states except that one is longer.

The fourth state is the Deep Sleep Stage where there is no world that is created by the Mind but the 'Mind' exists!

It is a temporary state of mental calmness which is one of the most happiest experiences for a human being...because he doesnt have any thoughts.

But this state too is not the ultimate state for it has not unveiled Arunachala.

The fifthe image shows the Act of Self Enquiry where the Mind is inturned and
enquires to its own nature.

In this state there is an Awareness of the false Ego, the Prism ( false because it is not Arunachala).

An aspirant who reaches this stage understands that there really was no world, no waking, dream or deep sleep states. Moreover he begins to realize that his Mind too is of ephemeral nature and is not Arunachala.

When Enquiry reaches its final stage, the Mind is destroyed by its own inwardness and what exists cannot be described.


An aspirant who reaches this stage understands that Arunachala was the substratum all along ( blue background).

Moreover he realizes that the Mind, the world, the waking, dream, deep sleep states have risen from Arunachala and have dissolved in Arunachala.

Everything is Arunachala, Arunachala is everything.

Who can ever find Thee? The eye of the eye art Thou, and without eyes Thou seest, Oh Arunachala!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Arunachala Sweeter than the sweetest

This is Sugar.

This is one of the sweetest things in the world.

There is something in the world which is sweeter...

This is chocolate.

Billions of people around the world love it for amazing taste and sweetness.

There is something in the world which is sweeter...

This is honey.

A very sweet and tasty syrup made by bees.

There is something in the world which is sweeter...

This is the Ocean of Milk.

Lord Vishnu rests on it.

The ocean is the condensed sweeteness of bhakthi, devotion of all souls.

There is something sweeter...


The Divine Sugar of Self Enquiry.

The Divine Chocolate of Jnana.

The Divine Honey of Aksharamanamalai.

The Divine conglomerate Ocean of Milk of devotional madness.


Oh Darling Arunachala!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Arunachala Age

This is Posidonia oceanica.

Posidonia oceanica is a species of seagrass that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea.

This marine plant forms large underwater meadows that are considered to be of high importance to the environmental conservation of the region.

It is 1,00,000 years old.

There is something in the Uinverse which is older than it...

This is the Earth.

It is 4.5 Billion Years Old

There is something in the Universe which is older than it...

This is the Sun.

It is 4.6 Billion years old.

There is something in the Universe which is older than it...

This is the Andromeda galaxy.

No one knows its age for sure but it may range from 7 to 11 billion years.

There is something in the Universe which is older than it...

This is the Hercules Cluster of galaxies which represent the Early Universe.

They are about 11 to 13 billion years old.

There is something which is older than this...

This si the Big Bang.

The Birth of creation.

15 to 16 billion years old.

There is something older...


The Oldest, most potent living force of the entire manifested and unmanifested Universes.

It is the Alpha, Omega and beyond and Before.

It gave birth to Time.

In its bosom lies Space.

Its play in the space-time continuum is for all of us to see.

Blessed are we.

We are seeing GOD.


A hill of granite and shrubs and trees? you may ask.


It is the SAT CHIT ANANDA : Pure Existence, Pure Knowledge, Pure Bliss!

The Oldest of the Oldest.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Arunachala Lion

Everyone knows the story of the advent of Arunachala where Shiva emerges from an infinite pillar of light and calms the warring Vishnu representing EGO and Brahma representing INTELLECT.

The story ( discussed previously in the post Happy Birthday Arunachala ) goes on to prove that unless the Ego and the Intellect surrender to God, He does not reveal Himself.

A similar story with Vaishnava ( worshipper of Vishnu ) background can be seen in the story of Lord Narasimha, the Manlion incanation of Vishnu.

"Narasimha (IAST Narasiṃha, Sanskrit नरसिंह) (other spellings are Narasingh, Narasinga) is an avatara of Vishnu described in the Puranas, Upanishads and other ancient religious texts of Hinduism,and one of Hinduism's most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium. He is often visualized as one who takes the form of half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and a lower body, but with a lion-like face and claws. This image is widely worshiped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups (especially in Southern India). He is known primarily as the 'Great Protector', being a form of Vishnu or Krishna, who specifically defends and protects his devotees at the times of need.

Narasimha kills Hiranyakashipu, as Prahlada and his mother bow before Lord NarasimhaThe story of Narasimha as described in the Bhagavata Purana is as follows:

In his previous avatara of Varaha, Vishnu killed a rakshasa known as Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha's brother Hiranyakashipu, greatly angered by this, started to abhor Lord Vishnu and his followers. To which end he decides to attempt to kill Vishnu by gaining mystical powers, which he believes Brahma, the chief among the devas will award him if he undergoes many years of great austerity and penance. This initially seems to work as planned with Brahma becoming pleased by Hiranyakashipu's austerities. Brahma thus appears before Hiranyakashipu and offers him a boon that he will personally make true anything he wishes for. In reply to which Hiranyakashipu requests the following:

O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you. Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought about by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal. Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving. Grant me, further, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these cannot be lost at any time.

One day while Hiranyakashipu was performing austerities at Mandaracala Mountain, his home was attacked by Indra and the other devas, seizing the opportunity in his absence. At this point the divine sage, Narada intervened in order to protect Kayadu, who he describes as 'sinless'. Following this event Narada takes Kayadu into his care and while under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child (Hiranyakashipu's son) Prahlada, became affected by the transcendental instructions of the sage even at such a young stage of development. Thus, Prahlada when later growing as a child began to show symptoms of this earlier training by Narada, gradually becoming recognised as a devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father's disappointment.

Hiranyakashipu eventually becomes so angry and upset at his son's devotion to Vishnu (who he sees as his mortal enemy) that he decides he must kill him but each time he attempts to kill the boy, Prahlada is protected by Vishnu's mystical power. When asked, Prahlada refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Vishnu is all-pervading and omnipresent. To which Hiranyakashipu points to a nearby pillar and asks if 'his Vishnu' is in it:

"O most unfortunate Prahlada, you have always described a supreme being other than me, a supreme being who is above everything, who is the controller of everyone, and who is all-pervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why is He not present before me in this pillar?"

Prahlada then answers, He was, He is and He will be. In an alternate version of the story, Prahlada answers He is in pillars, and he is in the smallest twig. Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and then following a tumultuous sound, Vishnu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and in defence of Prahlada moves to attack his father. In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha was chosen. Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal, Narasimha is neither one of these, as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his thighs (neither earth nor space). Using his sharp nails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon. Kurma Purana describes the preceding battle between the Purusha and demoniac forces in which he escapes powerful weapon called, pashupata and it describes how Prahladas brothers headed by Anuhrada and thousands of other demons "were led to the valley of death (yamalayam) by the lion produced from the body of man-lion" avatara. The same episode occurs in the Matshya Purana 179, several chapters after its version of the Narasimha advent.

Even after killing Hiranyakashipu none of the present demigods were able to calm Narasimha's fury, not even Shiva. So all the gods and goddesses called his consort, the goddess Lakshmi, but she was also unable to do so. Then, at the request of Brahma, Prahlada was presented to Narasimha, and finally, he was calmed by the prayers of his devotee. Before parting, Narasimha rewards the wise Prahlada by crowning him king.

Based on this story, it is believed by followers that Narasimha protects his sincere devotees when they are in extreme danger. He saved Adi Sankara from being sacrificed to the goddess Kali by a Kapalika. Thus Adi Sankara composed Laksmi-Narasimha stotra."

courtesy: wikipedia

If you notice in this story too the main Godhead emerged from a pillar, here a pillar of stone.

Prahlada representing the ego had surrendered to the Lord, but Hiranyakashyapa representing the intellect had not.

The Lord emerged from the pillar and gave darshan.

This story is very similar to the story of the pillar of light.

And in comparison both the stories carry the same message.

That Surrender to God makes Him give His darshan.

Arunachala hence represents Lord Narasimha (Vishnu) as much as it represents Lord Shiva

Arunachala Lion

ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho,
yato yato yami tato nrsimhah,
bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho,
nrsimham adim saranam prapadye

"Lord Nrsimha is here and also there. Wherever I go Lord Narasimha is there. He is in the heart and is outside as well. I surrender to Lord Narasimha, the origin of all things and the supreme refuge."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Arunachala Darshan 28

Arunachala Kwan Yin Darshan

Guanyin (Chinese: 觀音; pinyin: guān yīn; Wade-Giles: kuan-yin) is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshi'yin (觀世音, pinyin: guānshì yīn, Wade-Giles: kuan-shih yin) which means "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World".

It is generally accepted (in Chinese community) that Guanyin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर), which is her male form. Commonly known in the West as the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guan Yin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara.

Guanyin's origin is debated among scholars. The root of this debate lies in the history of religion in China. China's indigenous religion is Taoism. It is possible that Guanshi'yin originated as a Taoist deity, the Queen Mother of the West. With the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism to China in around the fourth to fifth centuries AD, Taoism and Buddhism became religious rivals in China. The Buddhist tactic was to change, and even supplant, indigenous Taoist deities in favor of Buddhist deities. Over the centuries, this trend has had the effect that it is now virtually impossible to determine Guanshi'yin's true origin. The official Buddhist view is that Guanyin originated with the male Avalokiteśvara, though Guanyin's origin may be more complex than this simple, linear derivation. While it is certain that the name "Guanshi'yin" is derived from the name "Avalokiteśvara", the image of the Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Vietnamese Bodhisattva (along with her femininity) may be at least partly derived from other sources.

: courtesy wikipedia

Basically Kwan Yin is the Goddess of Compassion. She fulfills the needs of all. She is the eternal Wishfulfilling Tree. The Kalpataru.

The image of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirumala... which is venerated variously as an image of Vishnu, Shiva, Buddha Avalokiteśvara..is also venerated as an image of a female goddess of Buddhism.

Kwan Yin.

The image is said to fulfill the wishes of all whosoever asks anything of it.

Arunachala too has a Kwan Yin darshan. This is a darshan which is a personal darshan for it so happened that after thirty years when I first reached Arunachala,the mountain was covered in thick clouds. I could not see the peak. I felt personally hurt that the Mountain should have chosen this day of all days to veil Itself from me.

What followed was a string of prayers throughout the night with silent love and coaxing, asking the Mountain to show me its peak. By the time we started for Girivallam ( Mountain Circumbulation) the mountain still did not leave its cloud veil.

It was the time when we reached half the distance that finally the mountain decided to lift its cloud cover and answered my prayers.

The view of the mountain on that winter morning always reminds me of Kwan Yin...the Goddess of Compassion.

Arunachala Kwan Yin Darshan