Friday, August 19, 2016

The Daksha Lingams: Chandra Lingam


By the turn of the Twentieth Century many of the shrines, temples and theertams at Arunachala were in a state of neglect and decay. In the case of the Asta Lingams the areas around the shrines were filled with squatters and encroachments and the Asta Lingams shrines themselves were unmaintained and their worship ignored. 

It is believed by many that the work done by I.S.V. Arunachala Moopanar (Moopanar Swamigal) renovating and restoring the Asta Lingams and their adjacent land, was responsible for helping to re-establish the energetic power of the sacred geometry of Arunachala. To read about the life of Moopanar Swamigal and his work with the restoration of the Asta Lingams go to this link here

The arrangement of the Asta Lingams around the octagonal perimeter of Arunachala reflects the geometry of a Cosmogram. The octagonal shape is surrounded by a total of eight Lingam Temples (Asta Lingams). Each of these Temples are located at the four cardinal and four inter-cardinal points. This was also believed by the ancients who originally constructed the Lingams at their eight cardinal and inter-cardinal points to represent, characterise and vitalise certain aspects and qualities of life in relation to specific fields of energy and influence. 

The guardians of the four cardinal directions are called the Lokapalas and are the deities who rule the specific directions of space. The name for the eight deities, four of the cardinal and four of the intercardinal directions is 'Asta-Dikpalas.’ 

To read more details about the Asta Lingams and their sacred geometry as it pertains to the Arunachala energy field, visit my website Arunachala Samudra at this link here


Right-click on all below diagrams and photographs to view enlargements 


The lingams underlined on above map


Asta lingams

Indra Lingam (East) 
Agni Lingam (South East) 
Yama Lingam (South) 
Niruthi Lingam (South West) 
Varuna Lingam (West) 
Vayu Lingam (North West) 
Kubera Lingam (North) 
Esanya Lingam (North East) 

The Lingams have the dominant Navagraha of the God to whom they are associated. It is believed that placating a specific Lingam will bring various benefits that are associated with the respective Navagraha. 

As well as the Asta Lingams which I have given details of above, there are two additional Lingams on the girivalam roadway which according to the oral tradition of the region are part of what is considered the “Daksha Lingams” of Arunachala. 

Those two additional Lingams are the Chandra Lingam and the Surya Lingam. This post gives information and photographs about the Chandra Lingam on the Arunachala Hillroad. I hope to make a posting on the Surya Lingam soon. 


Chandra Lingam Kanji Road 

A Temple dedicated to Chandra Lingam has been located at the same spot on Kanji Road for what is believed to be hundreds of years. However as was the case with the Asta Lingams, the Chandra Lingam in the same way lapsed into a neglected and dilapidated condition due to lack of maintenance. In addition the Compound was also taken over by squatters. 

A devotee working as Village Administrative Officer persuaded the Municipality to evict all squatters, take back control of the Temple Compound and lands and thereupon start work on a reconstruction programme of the Shrine at the very same spot. This work which was undertaken some 10 years ago, has  been completed and the actual Chandra Lingam which was moved to the Indra Lingam Shrine on Car Street for safe keeping during Temple reconstruction, is now installed in the newly renovated Chandra Lingam’s Garbagriha. 


Chandra Lingam, Kanji Road

There are a number of interesting facts about the Chandra Lingam Shrine. One is that underneath the Lingam is an ancient magnetic rock which originates from the Himalayas. Another aspect is the statue of the White Nandi which does not face the Chandra Lingam and instead faces directly towards Arunachala—was purposely created at Kasi with horns specifically shaped in the form of moon crescents.


Newly rebuilt (in the same spot) Chandra Lingam Shrine


Chandra has the following associations: 

Colour: white 
Gender: female 
Metal: silver 
Gemstones: pearl and moonstone 
Element: water 
Direction: north-west 
Season: Winter 
Body part: blood 
Food: rice 
Taste: salt 
Day: Monday 
Guna: Sattwa 

The Sun is the indicator of the soul and the Moon is the vehicle of the mind that receives the light of the soul. Even though all the Navagrahas are represented at Arunachala, the Moon with its particular association with Lord Shiva (Chandrasekhara) has an extraordinary influence. 


Black Nandi facing the Chandra Lingam


There are a number of statues of Lord Shiva at the Shrine showing him wearing the crescent moon. Lord Shiva is also known as Chandrasekhara, which literally refers to the 'Person who wears the moon'. In some cultures the appearance of the new crescent moon has been celebrated as a return of the moon from the dead. This celestial body is a powerful influence on the human psyche. Its influence which is always available at Arunachala is celebrated in disparate ways during Sivaratri and Poornima. It is also recognised in all Pradoshams that fall on Mondays. 

Lord Chandrasekhara with crescent moon

Lord Shiva wears on his head the crescent of the fifth-day moon. Placed near his fiery third eye this shows the power of Soma, the sacrificial offering, which is the representative of Moon and signifies that Shiva possesses the power of procreation co-existent with that of destruction. 


Statues of Lord Chandrasekhara throughout Temple

Lord Chandrasekhara over doorway leading to Garbagriha

In one legend, Chandra is considered the son of the ocean as he was one of the fourteen ratnas (Jewels) that emerged from the ocean during its churning and was gifted, by the Gods and Demons to Lord Shiva, who wore the crescent moon on his head. 


Unique White Nandi created in Kasi at Shrine


Chandra is a lovable God; pleasing to children as well as elders. Sages and devotees invoke the Goddess in Chandra. A benefic Moon is often found in the charts of doctors, healers or psychologists, as well as good mothers and wives. A strong Moon can give power and creates a good administrator or leader open to the needs of his people and indicates relationship, interchange, and communication. A strong Moon also shows sensitivity, receptivity, caring for others and a nurturing attitude in life. It gives emotional maturity, responsibility and the capacity to have a beneficial effect upon society. 


White Nandi's horns shaped to look like Crescent Moons


The moon has two stages; one from new moon day to full moon day i.e. the waxing period of the moon. During this period it is considered to be particularly auspicious to undertake new ventures and celebrate functions. Conversely the period from the full moon day to the new moon day, the waning period of the moon it is considered to be best to avoid undertaking new ventures and enterprises.
White Nandi faces Arunachala not the Lingam

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Muniswaran Statues at Pachaiamman Temple: Tiruvannamalai


One of the most interesting aspects of the Pachaiamman Temple at Tiruvannamalai is of the 14 magnificient statues set in the front of the Compound. The same statues are represented inside the Artha Mandapam of the Temple. 

A regional legend of Pachaiamman (an aspect of Parvati) has it that after completing her penance at Kanchi, the Goddess started off for Arunachala. She travelled with 7 Rishis and 7 virgins (Sapta Kanniyars) as part of a protective entourage. Halfway from Kanchi to Arunachala, the entourage stopped and made camp at the village Vazhapanthal. At that place the local king tried to molest the Goddess, and the 7 Rishis became as Muniswarans (guardians) and killed the king. 

Another story passed down orally for generations is that the Muniswarans were created to protect the Goddess Pachaiamman against seven Arakar Veerars (demonic warriors—Asuras). It is also mentioned that the demons were actually 8 in number. After killing them, Vaal (knife) Muniswaran gave the head of the demons, one to each of his brothers and kept two for himself. 

The Muniswarans are usually represented as 7 brothers. They are called as Sapta Muniswarans. In the Pachaiamman Compound there are 14 statues of Pachaiamman’s warrior guardians set out in two lines, with two representations of each warrior. 




Sapta Munishwarans at Pachaiamman Temple, Tiruvannamalai


The warrior guardians from left to right are: 

Vaalmuniswaran (knife) 
Karumuniswaran (dark) 
Ladamuniswaran (playful) 
Vedamuniswaran (book) 
Jadamuniswaran (red) 
Muthumuniswaran (pearls) 
Veeramuniswaran (strength) 

Muniswarans are a class of powerful spirits. These spirits are also known as Siva Ganas. They are considered to be servants of Siva and his female half Sakthi. Due to their nature, the Munis are classified as guardian deities. 

They can be former warriors, kings or sages who achieved the status of a Muniswaran after their human death. Some of the Muniswarans worshipped were created as Muniswarans and are not of human origin. 

Muniswarans are worshipped in various ways including tree and stone worship. At Pachaiamman Temple they are worshipped in the form of Statues (Uruvam Vallipadu). According to the Rig Veda, the Muniswarans are trained in various magic arts and believed to be capable of supernatural feats. 

Since Muniswarans are spirits, it is common to have animal sacrifice as part of the worship. However, animal sacrifice is not done for each Muniswaran. It occurs usually on new moon day. 

In this Pachiamman Temple compound there are also statues of Lord Muniswaran’s vahanas (vehicles) in the form of an elephant, a dog and five horses 


Monday, July 11, 2016

Sri Nanngaru Summer Visit to Arunachala


Recently Sri Nannagaru visited his Ashram at Tiruvannamalai and stayed for around 10 days. As always his darshan was sought by the many who accompanied him from Andhra Pradesh. The name Nanna Garu given to him by his devotees can be translated from the Telegu to mean “Respectable Father”. 

Sri Nannagaru was born Sri Bhupathiraju Venkata Lakshmi Narasimharaju on 23rd September 1934 at his grandparents’ house in the village of Kommara, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. He was to later settle at Jinnuru of the same District—at which place he continues to reside. 

As his father died when he was a child, he was brought up under the care of his mother and grandmother. In 1957 at the age of 23 years he had a dream of Ramana Maharshi which was to transform his life. 


Looking at Arunachala backgroud from Sri Nannagaru Ashram

Andhra Pradesh devotees waiting under Shamian

Sri Nannagaru with his Devotees

Preparing to give Discourse in Telegu to Devotees

Sri Nanngaru with Devotees at his Ashram


Below are selected teachings of Sri Nannagaru. To learn more about him, visit his website at this link here.


SELF

There is only Self and Self alone. It is Reality. It is Pure Consciousness. The world manifest is not real. Self is its substratum. It is Immortal It is Knowledge. It is Eternal Peace. It is Bliss. It is Light. It is Omnipotent, Omniscient. There are no divisions in the Self. It is Non-Dual. It is Indefinable. Water cannot wet it. Fire cannot burn it. It has no birth, no death. It shines in Our Heart. What the Jnani calls Self, a devotee calls as God. Silence alone is the best way of expounding it.

The nature of Self is Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss. That is the way we aspire for happiness, love, beauty. It does not depend upon any other object. Our fondness for independence is an offshoot of it. Just as the screen is the base on which figures are projected, so also this variegated world is a projection of It. The sense of ego masquerades as the Self. Our selfish nature covers it.

To know the Self is our goal. Constant hearing of it. Remembrance of it, and establishment in it snaps our egoistic ties. The seer of the Self alone gets himself extricated from entanglements.


EGOISM

The ‘I’ thought, which emanates from the source, is egoism. Only after its emergence, the rest of the thoughts emerge. The world is seen only when one is egoistic. As long as ego subsists body is taken as real, world is taken as real. God is taken as real. When ego is erased, body, world and God vanish. As long as the idea that ‘I am the body’ persists egoism does not leave us. It alone results in restlessness. Ego has no form, but it exists catching hold of a form. It is neither male nor female, but assumes such a role. 

The entire maya or illusion is a creation of the ego. Real Self is like the vast sea, whereas ego is like a bubble. There can be the sea without a bubble, but there cannot be a bubble without the sea. Identification with the little self is the cause of grief. When one identifies with the vast waters of the sea, the tiny bubbles cease to exist and with them worldly sorrows also. The figure underneath the temple Gopuram (figure sculptured at the base of a tower) feels that it is carrying the entire structure; so also, the man of ego feels that he is helping the entire world. As long as the ego and the consequent ideas of doership continue, ignorance also continues. If one enquires wherefrom the ‘I’ thought has arisen, then his look centres round the origin and then only egoism drops out.


MIND

After the rise of the ‘I’ thought the rest of thoughts originate. Mind is a bundle of thoughts, and is also termed as ‘Jiva’. Jiva does not get extinct with the death of the body. It takes up a new body. In deep sleep we do not have thoughts, and hence, mind is also absent there. There is no body, no worlds in deep sleep. When we awake, the first thought, the ‘I’ thought arises, and the rest of the thoughts follow it. Wife and children alone do not constitute ‘samsara’. Your mind is your samsara. It does not leave you if you run away from your house, wife and children. 

Mind has no form or name, but it always adheres to a form or name. Food serves as source for the mind. The world is nothing, but the mind. Just as a spider spreads its own web and gets entangled therein, and ultimately dies, so also the mind creates samsara and one gets entangled in that samsara and gets subjected to death. The mind, which has created this world, has also the power to destroy it.

The brain is like a tape recorder and the mind is the tape. Sense organs are speakers. That which is recorded in the tape is heard through speakers; likewise the latent tendencies of the mind spread and are felt through our sense organs. A true Guru pulls out the thoughts and destroys the Mind.

Previous actions constitute latent tendencies, and remain in seed form in the heart. They spread to the brain and evolve as thoughts. If the thoughts are removed one by one, there remains nothing like a mind. If the wood is removed the fire gets extinct. Without purification of the mind, knowledge cannot be had.

Mind and prana (life force) have got their origin in the same place – the heart. If the life breath is controlled, Mind gets controlled. That is why pranayama is recommended. As long as one thinks of things external, the mind oscillates. As long as the mind is externalised, the original sin remains.

God’s Grace controls the unruly elephant called ‘mind’. Surrender confers energy to the mind by a single unified attention and a purified mind turns inwards and such a purified mind merges in its source, the heart, then that mind becomes Self itself.

That is the essence of yoga.


DESTINY

Destiny is confined only to the body and has nothing to do with the Self. Identification with the body results in grief. Men are conferred liberty not to identify with the body. By practice identification with the body can be overcome. The body drops after the exhaustion of destiny. Don't give scope for vain thoughts, useless deeds and unnecessary desires. Utilize the freedom conferred by God. Restrain vain thoughts, and abide in the Self. Then new tendencies will not be generated, and you will be extricated from all sorts of bondage. If identification with the body is not overcome, grief results; unless the latent tendencies are dropped away, the state of happiness cannot be enjoyed. For One who abides in the Self there is nothing like destiny.


RELIGION

Religion is a creation of the mind. There are several religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam etc. In fact, there are as many religions as there are minds. Creeds and religions are only creating feuds, dissensions and wars, resulting in bloodshed. Religion is acting as opium instead of making people wise. Men are becoming slaves to religion. The Self is there even prior to the birth of religions. The purpose of religion is to show the path to the realization of the Self.

If the welfare of society is not the goal of a religion, such a religion is not worth its name. One may worship his own God; but his love of religion and his love of God should not make him hate others. There is no God without the Self. In the name of religion and personal Gods, men are fighting with each other, only for their own aggrandizement. Religions create narrow domestic walls. Our concepts and precepts are standing in our way of finding the Truth. There is no God higher than Truth. Change of religion does not release one, but on the other hand a change of mind does.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sadhana in the Kali Yuga



According to the Vedic scriptures, the current age we are now in, known as the Kali-Yuga, is one of spiritual darkness, violence and hypocrisy. Such Scriptures as the Srimad Bhagavatam teach that during the 432,000 year duration of the Kali Age, humanity will increasingly deteriorate and fall into barbarism. If one looks about the world we are living in, its easy to recognise the amazing accuracy of predictions made thousands of years ago. And yet it is said that because of the difficulties of this Yuga, God has ordained it to be the easiest one in which man can attain liberation. 

Situation of the Kali Yuga 
Humans begin to kill animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned. Increasingly degraded generations, conceived accidentally in lust and growing up wild, swarm all over the world. Political leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled rogues, criminals and terrorists, who use their power to exploit people. Entire populations are enslaved and put to death. The world teems with fanatics, extremists and spiritual artists, who win huge followings among a people completely dazed by hedonism, as well as by cultural and moral relativism. 

"Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, physical strength and memory diminish with each passing day."  
[Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.2.1]

Saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, says the Srimad-Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one's prestige and power. Marriage ceases to exist as a holy union - men and women simply live together on the basis of bodily attraction and verbal agreement, and only for sexual pleasure. 

Women wander from one man to another. Men no longer look after their parents in their old age, and fail to provide for their own children. One's beauty is thought to depend on one's hairstyle. Filling the belly is said to be the only purpose in life. Cows are killed once their milk production drops. Atheism flourishes. Religious observances are performed solely for the sake of reputation. 


Disharmony of the Kali Yuga


The Linga Purana (ch. 40) describes the human race in the Kali-yuga as a vain and stupid people "spurred on by the lowest instincts." They prefer false ideas and do not hesitate to persecute sages. They are tormented by bodily desires. 

Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread. Nations are continually at war with one another. The number of princes and farmers decline. Heroes are assassinated. The working classes want to claim regal power and enjoy royal wealth. 

Kings become thieves. They take to seizing property, rather than protecting the citizenry. New leaders emerge from the labourer class and begin to persecute religious people, saints, teachers, intellectuals, and philosophers. 

Civilization lacks any kind of Divine guidance. Sacred books are no longer revered. False doctrines and misleading religions spread across the globe. Children are killed in the wombs of their mothers. Women who have relations with several men are numerous. Predatory animals are more violent. The number of cows diminishes. 

The Linga Purana says that in the Kali-Yuga, young women freely abandon their virginity. Women, children, and cows - always protected in an enlightened society - are abused and killed during the iron age. Thieves are numerous and rapes are frequent. There are many beggars, and widespread unemployment. Merchants operate corrupt businesses. Diseases, rates, and foul substances plague the populace. Water is lacking, fruits are scarce. Everyone uses vulgar language. 

Men of the Kali-Yuga seek only money. Only the richest have power. People without money are their slaves. The leaders of the State no longer protect the people, but plunder the citizenry through excessive taxation. Farmers abandon living close to nature. They become unskilled labourers in congested cities. Many dress in rags, or are unemployed, and sleep on the streets. Through the fault of the government, infant mortality rates are high. False gods are worshiped in false ashrams, in which pilgrimages, penances, charities and austerities are all concocted. 

People in this age eat their food without washing beforehand. Monks break their vows of celibacy. Cows are kept alive only for their milk. Water is scarce. Many people watch the skies, praying for rain. No rain comes. The fields become barren. Suffering from famine and poverty, many attempt to migrate to countries where food is more readily available. People are without joy and pleasure. Many commit suicide. Men of small intelligence are influenced by atheistic doctrines. Family, clan and caste are all meaningless. Men are without virtues, purity or decency. 
[Visnu Purana 6.1]


Sadhana in the Kali-Yuga 

The Sastras state that the purpose of life is to move closer to God. That the person who has reached death and has not moved closer to God, is said to have led a wasted life. In this current age of Kali Yuga the spiritual process recommended by which one can move closer to God is that of devotional service and chanting the name of God. 


Recitation of the Lord's Mantra


“Punsam ekaha vai sadhya hari bhaktih 
Kalau yuge yuga antarena 
Dharma hi sevitavya narena hi”
[Padma Purana, Svarga Khanda 61.5] 

“In Kali-yuga, a person should accept only one process, that is devotional service. According to what process is decided for a particular yuga, that should be followed by everyone without fail.” 

“Kaler dosha-nidhe rajann 
Asti hy eko maha gunah 
Kirtanad eva krishnasya 
Mukta-sangah param vrajet” 

“Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of God, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.”
[Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.51] 

[Parts of the above, abridged from India Divine]

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar -- Helper of the Distressed


Visited Swami at his Ashram about a week ago. As well as wanting to discuss matters relating to a family member, I rather enjoy visiting him at his peaceful Ashram in the Tamil countryside. 


Flagpost with Nandi and Shiva Shrine Doorway in background


On arrival immediately noticed how quickly the Temple and Ashram are developing. The Flagpost and Doorway with Steps to the Shiva Shrine are now covered with a layer of Panchaloha. [Panchaloha is a composite alloy believed to bring balance and ensure abundance and good fortune. The five metal alloy, the composition of which laid is down in the Shilpa Sastras is an amalgam of; gold, silver, copper, iron and lead (nowadays tin or zinc may also be added)]. 


Flagpost inside Temple

Steps and Doorway to Shiva Shrine


The next major development work that will be undertaken at the Ashram is the flooring both inside and around the perimeter of the Temple. 


Flooring to be laid outside perimeter of Temple. Trees to be planted in this area

    
Swamis Room and Office Rooms

As to the Ashram, noticed lots of new greenery and also that the dining and kitchen areas are being expanded to cope with the increasing number of devotees visiting his Ashram. 


Dining area is being enlarged

Enlarging the kitchen area

If you go to an earlier posting with photographs of Swami’s Ashram at this link here you will be able to see how quickly the Temple and Ashram are developing. 


New Greenery in parts of the Ashram


In an earlier posting on Arunachala Mystic I recounted Swami’s words on how he attained his healing and clairvoyant powers. 


Swami's interview area


“Following an incident in his life, Guruji stopped taking food, and continued in this manner for seven months whilst staying at Kanchangiri Temple’s Ashram. One day, when his body was in a dire condition, and there was no hope left for him, he prayed to Lord Unnamulai Ammal, tearfully beseeching, ‘you give food to the whole World, so why can’t you take care of my needs and feed me?’ Immediately on uttering this pray, five ladies and five men suddenly appeared and came to Guruji and laid him on the floor. The five ladies sat below the head of the prostrate body, and the five men sat above the head. Each of the five ladies started to remove parts of Guruji’s body, bit by bit, and made up small packages of the body parts. 


Swami's Chair and entrance to modest room

During this whole process Guruji felt absolutely no pain. Finally only his head remained. Thereupon the ladies said, ‘give these small packages, to those that come to meet you, as prasadam.’ . . . After this, the five men sitting above him, placed their hands upon Guruji’s head and after a few moments disappeared. At that very moment Guruji’s body reappeared and from that time till this day, Guruji has not had a single problem with his body, even though he hasn’t taken solid food for a number of years. 


Altar next to Swami's interview and sitting area

Some days after this incident whilst Guruji was in meditation, a Lingam suddenly appeared. In his excitement he tried to touch and lift the Lingam but as it was so heavy he wasn’t able to move it even an inch. Upon being unable to move the Lingam, he decided to perform a puja, so stood up in order to perform the ritual; as he stood the Lingam also lifted up to his position, slowly came towards him and then mingled with him. From that time onwards Guruji has been able to read peoples’ minds and see and understand their problems”. 


Blessings from Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar


In the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 Verse 16, it is stated: 

catur-vidha bhajante mam 
janah sukritino ‘rjuna 
arto jijnasur artharthi 
jnani ca bharatarsabha 

"Four types of people seek Me – the distressed, the seekers of Knowledge, those desirous of good and the men of wisdom."

The distressed is the one who seeks refuge from the sorrow and suffering experienced in the world. The seeker of Knowledge is the one of an intellectual nature who comes to the Divine with the desire for knowledge. The devotee desirous of good is the person of practical nature who approaches the Divine as the giver of good in the world, and sees God as a means to fulfill worldly ambitions. Finally, the man of wisdom is the jnani who combines devotion and knowledge in order to attain complete unity with the Divine. 


Swamiji
 

Thus it could be said one worships God according to one’s own karma and follows the path to God according to one’s faith and past actions. 

As per Swami’s own Divine Dream, he has been given powers and abilities to see and help understand the problems of those in distress and those in need of guidance and support. From my own experience and from those of others I have learnt of, Swami helps, inspires and guides those who come to him. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Truth and Sri Shirdi Sai Baba


The below article on Sri Shirdi Sai Baba has been submitted to Arunachala Mystic by Mr. Bharath Kumar. To read more of his articles please visit his own recently started site at this link here


***********************

Jesus Christ says in The Holy Bible "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). Similar was the life of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. 

Sri Shirdi Sai Baba – other than mischievously and jocularly accusing devotees (whom He was testing) through His instructive Leelas, had lived the way of Truth throughout His divine Life. A few instances in this regard from His life are described here from the Sri Sai Sathcharita. 

As guardian and custodian of innermost details of the past of all who knew Him, He revealed these details at the appropriate times to help correct devotees and steer them to the righteous path –and never for boasting or for publicly showing off His divine powers. 

Truth is not just about communicating accurate facts alone – but it attains divinity only due to the noble goals for which it is going to be used. Truth is about freeing ourselves from the unreal samsaaric worldly illusions and not about revealing inner/private or irrelevant but accurate facts of everything or everyone – which leads to gossip-mongering. Sri Sai stressed on these finer aspects of truthful behaviour. 

Once, Shirdi merchants jointly decided to stop giving free oil to Sai and all of them falsely told Sai that there was no oil to give. Sai then showed them His divinity by lighting lamps with water. When the merchants sought Sai's forgiveness, He advised them not to indulge in lies and forgave them. 


Sri Shirdi Sai Baba at His Dwarkamayi

In one case, He intimated a person criticizing everyone (including Sai) by showing him a pig munching dirt and garbage and indirectly teaching him to have better control over his tongue (speech) in future. 

Sri Sai Baba said that in His place of residence (i.e. Dwarakamayi), no untruth was ever uttered. He also used to say that He would even give up His life just to keep His promises. This quality is akin to Sri Lord Ramachandra of Ayodhya (an embodiment of Truth with whom Sri Sai is compared to). 

Once, He scolded Nana Saheb Chandorkar (a close devotee of Sai) for avoiding and behaving high-handedly with a person requesting donation from him at his home. This incident, Sri Sai observed from Shirdi itself. Sai advised him to be truthful and polite to beggars/alms-seekers in future - whether giving asked donation or not. 

Sri Sai constantly reminded devotees to fulfill their vows to Gods and family deities – sometimes cryptically by sending them to where they had vows waiting to be fulfilled. As in case of Shama (a school teacher and Sri Sai's close associate) He directed him to go to a temple at Vani. Shama incidentally had a long-due family vow pending there – which he himself did not know! Same was the case of two gentlemen from Goa who forgot to fulfil specific money vows to God years ago in private! 

Sai also advised devotees to deliver exactly the items (whatever was entrusted to them) to be offered to Sai at Shirdi. Devotees were taken to task for mixing items and for toying casually with the money entrusted to be given for Sri Sai. 

If a devotee requested Sri Sai to have lunch at his home, Sai, if He did promise, always kept His promise somehow through various representatives who visited the said devotees at the appointed times – appearing seemingly from nowhere, but really master-minded by Sai's divine grace. 

In another case, a wealthy but miserly visitor who wanted Sai to teach him 'Brahmagyaan' (Supreme knowledge) in an hour while keeping a tonga waiting – was tested by Sai. Sai asked everyone around for five rupees money several times, but none had the sum. The miserly visitor heard, but kept silent as he was not asked directly though he had bundles of money with him. Sai told him unless he removes the attachment for money he had displayed, Brahmagyaan was difficult to attain. Both money attachment and Truth were thus tested here by Sai. 

Thus Sri Sai Baba practised and preached the righteous way of Truth steadfastly during his divine life. 


Friday, December 25, 2015

Sri Nannagaru visits Arunachala Christmas 2015


One of the best known spiritual Masters who visit Arunachala is Sri Nannagaru. He is currently residing at his Ashram at Tiruvannamalai. He arrived on December 23, and will be leaving and returning to his native place in Andhra Pradesh, in the morning of December 29, 2015. 

Below is a short extract of his narrative about a “pure mind.”


Sri Nannagaru is now 80 years of age



“One must have the grace of God to attain the highest state or the complete bliss state. Ishwara’s (God) grace is of utmost importance to reach the highest state. If his grace is not there, then all efforts may not be successful. The mind is the creation of God. A mind free from desires, greed and jealously, and which neither sees good nor bad, such a mind is known as ‘bangara manasu’ (a mind that is pure). Such a mind is given by Maha Vishnu.


Followed by his Andhra devotees to Arunachala

All the sadhana or spiritual practice that we are doing is to attain that ‘bangara manasu’. Our actions in the past affect us in this birth in two ways: the body suffers from disease;and the mind gets trapped in grief. Both disease and grief are fruits of previous actions (done in past births). So, in this life you must not keep recalling issues that have affected you. Leave them, forget them and move forward. In this life, do not be bothered about the past and the future. Future actions will take place as they have to. Thinking about them and disturbing the mind is not correct. Each one must learn to dwell in solitude (Ekanta Vasa) at least for an hour each day.


Giving Speech at Ashram, December 2015

If you face all events in life happily, slowly the result of the past actions decreases. Gradually you will gain supreme knowledge. Each task or work assigned by God to you must be performed in a righteous way. If it is not possible, then do not do it. As far as possible do not jump into other people’s issues. This again leads to ignorance. But you can do tasks for the welfare of others. 


View of Arunachala from Ashram
  
Feed and take care of old people and animals in the house. Think that the Lord has come in their form. This process is called seva or selfless service. Then the work does not become a burden. Through work you are glorifying God.” 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi - The Omniscient World Teacher


[With thanks to Mr. K. Bharath Kumar for submission of this narrative]. 


Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi was a rare gem among the thousands of saints produced on Indian soil. He showed that God was indeed ever-present and that God was working His Leelas (divine plays) even then - when the country was subjugated by a host of foreign rulers. 

In those confused times when people had to digest both the culture changes from the Islamic period as well as changes brought by the then-ruling British system, Sri Sai Baba came as a beacon for the country - carrying within Him the power of almost all Indian Gods - be it Hindu or Mussalman or other religions - as well as providing the unifying powers to help Indians during this severe testing period in Indian history. His yogic powers appealed to people of all religions. Sai treated all people equally, regardless of their religion, creed, race or social status. To many, He appeared as an Avataar of Lord Shiva leading a simple, austere lifestyle distributing 'Vibhuti' (sacred ash) to His devotees and practisings advanced yoga to maintain His supernatural powers. As Lord Shiva, Sai demonstrated full influence over all five elements of nature. 

To Christians - He appeared as Jesus often taking the Karma of devotees and healing many children by taking their disease unto Himself. To Muslims, He was a very holy Avaalia Saint who dressed in Muslim dress and resided in a mosque. Thus, by manifesting the quintessence of the Gods of all religions, and solving all their problems, He showed to all, that God is beyond the labels of any specific religion and that there were many different paths leading to the same God - ('Allah Malik' was His favorite phrase - meaning 'God is Master'). 

Sai's infinite reservoir of love was His notable quality and what He expected from all His devotees to evolve into - and this noteworthy message to humanity He practised well even amidst the oppressive British regime. 

Sai expected only Faith (in God) and Patience (in God's timing for answering prayers) as the only two qualities He expected from devotees. He showed that human beings are psychologically similar despite ethnic and cultural differences prevalent everywhere. 


Original photo of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba


Sai Baba was the ultimate destination where all religions intersect commonly and harmoniously and showed the way to shed outward social differences. He allowed all religions to practise their rituals in His mosque, and encouraged celebrating many Hindu and Muslim festivals together at Shirdi for many years. 

Thus, He bonded the two communities together in preparation for the freedom movement later. He also advised freedom fighter Shri Lokamanya Tilak that patience and silent sacrificial service will yield desired results and requested him to adopt peaceful means to achieve freedom from British rule. 

Sai Baba accepted all offerings from all people but continued a penniless Fakir's style of life donating almost offerings to the deserving. Sai Baba advised devotees to be content with whatever Fate or God has blessed them with and work out their bad Karma putting complete faith on Him (Guru) and their favorite God. 

Despite His "pluralistic" religious identity, Sai Baba was against religious conversions of any sort and asked people to continue following ancestral deity worship and time-honoured rituals as they had done for centuries. Thus lakhs and lakhs of orthodox people grew from just mechanical ritual worship to God-realization - which was His real goal i.e., to solve devotees' temporal problems and elevate people towards spirituality. Shirdi in State of Maharashtra is today a revered holy pilgrimage spot where people from all walks of life visit and attain peace and often find their prayers answered. Sri Sai Baba's assurance to the world that He is ever alive for answering His devotees' calls has been tested and indeed had proved true for a multitude of followers around the world. 

Moving towards the future as a globalised nation, India facing challenges on many fronts - factionalism between states, frequent natural disasters, border tensions, decayed values and fallen Dharma, wanton violence, aggressive growth at the cost of nature degradation, and expected climate change complications. Sri Sai Baba's teachings of fleeting evanescence of human life, focusses on the true goals of our precious human birth. These goals are the practice of contentment, leading a simple lifestyle, brotherhood and charity – which are all crucial for the world and India. Particularly in these times where the world is caught in a vise-like grip of sense-gratification and desire attainment at all costs; decreased belief in the Divine Creator; materialistic success as the ultimate goal; disengagement of average person's human spirit from compassionate feelings for Nature, God and the poor; aggressive "dynasty-building" agendas at all levels from bottom to top of the social pyramid. 

Sai Baba was unique in that He did not take many formal disciples or successors, preach lectures or mantras, or change His meagre 'Fakir' (mendicant) ways - even after lakhs thronged to Shirdi for His blessings. His ever-living and all-encompassing spirit and physical tomb-presence will carry devotees forward to face each day bravely whatever challenge the country and world gets to meet daily. 

Aum Sairam.