Sunday, April 23, 2017

Support for the development of Arunachala Samudra

Arunachala Samudra is the definitive website of the Holy Hill. Connected to the website are 5 Blogs dealing with specific aspects of this area. 

These 5 Blogs are listed below:- 

Arunachala Grace—Information resource of the temples, ceremonies and people of Tiruvannamalai 
Arunachala Birds—Birds both indigenous and migratory found in the area 
Arunachala Land—Information about land, property and agriculture at Tiruvannamalai 
Arunachala Mystic—Dealing with the more unusual, and esoteric aspects of Arunachala 
Arunachala Satsang—Information about exploring the “I”

Screen shot of Arunachala Samudra homepage

Over the last month, the Arunachala Samudra website has been recoded and updated to make it fully accessible to all internet devices. Depending on the support of followers, as well as continuing to upload more information, audios, videos and features, it is also hoped to create an archival photo gallery hosted directly on the Arunchala Samudra website, of many tens of thousands of photographs dealing with all aspects of life at Arunachala. 

In this regard support and help is invited for this endeavour and also for the continuing development of the Arunachala Samudra Website with its connected Blogs. 

There is a PayPal function at the top of the left column of this page for your convenience. Thank you for participating in helping disseminate information about the most Blessed and Sacred Arunachala throughout the World. With fond wishes.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

5 Mysterious Hindu Temples

This video has absolutely nothing to do with Arunachaleswarar Temple, but am posting it because its lots of fun and very interesting. Have no idea if any or part of the information in the video is true. If any reader has additional data, please leave a comment.

The video concerns 5 mysterious, extraordinary Temples constructed with basic tools and equipment—which makes one wonder exactly how they were constructed.

The 5 Temples all in India are:-

Sun Temple—Konark
Brihadeeswara Temple—Tanjore
Veerabhadra Temple—Lepakshi
Shree Padmanabha Swamy Temple—Thiruvananthapuram
Kailasa Temple— Ellora Caves

Friday, February 17, 2017

Guhai Namasivayar and Guru Namasivayar of Tiruvannamalai

[The below narrative is credited to Mullai Achagam of Tiruvannamalai]

The Immortal Saints Guhai Namasivayar and Guru Namasivayar of Tiruvannamalai 

"On this glorious planet called Earth which is so unique in the entire Universe in that it has a day of 12 hours with the Sun and another equal 12 hours with the Moon. This Holy Hill of Tiruvannamalai is its veritable ornament indeed, as its the oldest and the most majestic mountain on Earth, from both the geographical and spiritual points of view. 

Our sacred scriptures do proclaim that the Lord of this vast Universe manifested Himself as a huge column of effulgent fire tipping the very heaven, and that even the Lord of Creation Brahma, and the Lord of Protection Vishnu were not able to reach its top or bottom when they each tried to do so, at the glorious Time of that splendid Divine manifestation, in those days of yore long ago. 

It is thus no wonder that this sacred Hill had been, has been and will be attracting from time to time great saints and true seekers of Divinity. Earnest Visitors to the sacred Caves on this Hill bear witness to this solemn Truth, forever, even to this day they are face-to-face with Infinity itself in all its Glory. 

Great Cave dwellers—Guhai Namasivayar and his able disciple Guru Namasivayar—the divine twins—as it were—who came over here after the famous Nalvars of the Siva Cult—have added their spiritual lustre not only to this Hill and the place but also to this entire land, by their remarkable ascetic life embellished with their miracles. Which they performed in the humanitarian spirit to secure faith of their devotees both to them and to the ultimate Divinity itself which triumphs everywhere, in various, shapes and forms, in general; and in particular—in such holy places as this one, which has been sanctified by the majestic presence of great souls. 

These two Madans were also inspired poets and they sang of Almighty Arunachala. These two Saints with following admirers all hailed from Sri Sailam—another great holy place and who were drawn by Divine Will, on their pilgrimage accordingly to this Holy Hill. On their way, they were obliged to halt at Poonamalle—a sacred place for Lord Siva, a massive Temple there. As they all were true worshipers of Lord Siva they had their own holy images of the Lord for their usual daily personal worship (before taking their noon meals). For worship, they gathered flowers from the gardens of that locality without seeking permission from the owners, of course in good faith; and so used them for their personal Divine worship. 

The ruler of that place who was not a Saivite and to whom a complaint of theft of flowers went up for decision, took offence of their action, as unauthorised. By the Lord’s Will, it turned out that the flowers they used were miraculously converted into a huge garland for the Lord in the Temple; thereby absolving them from any charge of theft whatsoever of the flowers in question. The ruler though amazed over the miracle wondered that if they were so devoted to the Lord (who was pleased to intercede on their behalf in such a spectacular gracious and helping manner) that they should prove and confirm it by swallowing a red hot iron as though it was a sweet fruit of that size. 

One of the top devotees of the Master by name Virupaksha Devar stood the test by eating the red hot iron ball brought to him, while at the same time uttering the sacred name of the Lord two times. To the utter bewilderment of all, including the ruler; who then onwards became a devout Saivite and an ardent devotee of the Master and his group. 

After this miracle, the master and his disciple reached Tiruvannamalai and made it their residing place. As ordered by Lord Arunachala, the Master took his lodging in a cave, while the other disciple Virupaksha Devar of the “iron ball” miracle occupied a cave higher above; and continued his services to the Master as before. These two caves bear their names even to this day, accordingly as a mark of due regard and respect for those great souls. 

The other top disciple who is destined to shine more and whose name is also Namasivayar, with the other followers of the Master lived in the cave below and rendered various kinds of work assigned with great devotion and sincerity. The entire holy group was one of utter dedication for the welfare of suffering humanity which went to them for comfort and solace all in the name of God Almighty. 

Water Springs on the Hill for devotional and personal use purposes were indicated by Lord Arunachala himself, as the legend tells: and they are the present perennial tanks, three in number—famed as Mulaipal Theertham, Arutpal Theertham and Pada Theertham, even to this day. 

A dead pregnant sheep that had two calves in its womb was brought to the Master by a shepherd for sale, as advised by certain rogues of the locality who alleged that the Master was a good and regular mutton eater and that he would purchase the dead sheep for a suitable price—all contrary to the truth of the matter. The Master, in his kindness, accepted the dead sheep, with a smile; and advised the shepherd to collect the price therefore on the next day. When the owner turned up the next day, he found to his surprise and great wonder the very dead sheep grazing in the field nearby, fully and briskly alive, with two calves nearby, just then delivered by it, all well and alive. The fools who wanted to play a dirty trick on the Master on hearing this miracle, hung their heads in shame and were converted as believers in the greatness of this Saint who was capable of raising the dead to life. 

One time a shepherd was with his sheep grazing on the Hill, when a Tiger pounced on one of the sheep and carried it away in its mouth. The man ran towards the Saint in despair and reported the loss of the sheep. The saint sang a Prayer stanza in praise of Lord Arunachala and as a result, the tiger came back with the sheep and left it down, unharmed as before. On seeing this new miracle wrought before their eyes, some men of low culture and mischief, to under-rate the Saint and spoil his great image before his devotees’ brought a live man wrapped in funeral clothes and sought his grace for bringing him back from “death” to “life”. The Saint who could see everything, and who knew the trick as well as the truth behind, told the culprits that the man reported as dead had gone to the next world—indeed it turned out to be so. Though greatly shocked, the mischief makers repented and doubtlessly were reformed. 

A girl of utmost faith to the Saint and who knew the greatness of this Master Yogi got married to a suitable bridegroom. But as cruel Fate would have it, the man passed away on very day of the wedding. The poor girl who lost her husband so suddenly in so short a time, ran to the Master and reported the tragedy to him and implored him for help. The Master who was ever all mercy, kindness and fatherly affection towards his devotees, consoled the girl by wiping away her tears and blessed her saying she would certainly find her husband, now lying dead in her house, fully brought to life. When she returned there the dead man was seen rising fully alive and restored to his newly wed wife and those these two lived a blessed and prosperous and happy life for a long spell of 75 years, from that day onwards, as blessed by the Master in their favour! 

Divine poems composed by the Master are a boon to devotes, of a very high order and are available to all of us, as preserved by his worthy successors, in the same field of piety and devotion. 

Now we turn to the important events that took place in the life of the Master’s first and foremost disciple bearing the same name and who got it adorned with the prefix of “Guru”—the name famed as “Guru Namasivayar” having been given by Master himself, in due recognition of his devotee’s great devotion and accomplishments in the realm of the spirit. 

On one occasion, the Master give his vomited food to his devotee with directions to have it consigned somewhere, where no human foot could pass over it. That most devoted disciple well thought over such a place for it; and felt so convinced that even such a food though a vomited one, was so “holy” as not to be placed anywhere, on the earth but quite fit for being partaken by him: and stored in his very stomach, where the question of its being passed over by anybody’s foot did not arise at all the Master was thus made fully aware of the disciple’s supreme devotion to him! 

On another day while he was massaging the holy feet of the Master, the devotee suddenly laughed. When enquired about, he replied his laugh was with those of others, in the far away Thiru Aroor, when a dancing girl, while performing her feats before the Lord Thiagaraja, in the Festival, had slipped, and so gave room for amusement to the audience—including he who was by the side of the Master at Tiruvannamalai. On a second occasion, he had both his hands in quick rubbings with each other and assigned the reason therefore as his putting down a fire, which had caught suddenly upon a curtain inside the Sanctum Sanctorum at Chidambaram. 

Realising his devotee’s great faculty for seeing things even at a distance and responding to them quickly from where he was, the Master was so pleased as to confer on him the fitting name of “Guru Namasivayar”. The disciple is also another worthy poet of divinity like his Master, and his poems are also available to us, for our edification and spiritual welfare. 

As ordered and blessed by the Master, the Saint Guru Namasivayar started on his Divine mission to Chidambaram to carry out certain devotional improvements and service at that most holy Saivite place. On his way the Divine Mother herself fed him on more than one occasion. As willed by Lord Nataraja Himself, in the form of a begging Sannyasin, the saintly Guru Namasivayar collected contributions for the daily noon Food offering to the Lord; and utilised the surplus amount for making precious jewelled ornaments to adorn the Lord. After carrying creditable and fitting items Divine service there, he went to Thiruperumthurai, the first important place associated with the honey tongued Saint Manikkavachakar; and attained Siddhi there, in the form of a Sivalingam. 

The great Master Guhai Namasivayar as well as the other remarkable devotee Virupaksha Devar shook off their mortal coils at the appointed times on the sacred Hill Arunachalam itself, in their Caves; and got merged with Lord Arunachala, one as a Lingam and the other as a heap of holy ash—which two holy relics are worshipped even to this day by devotees. 

Let us recite the divine poems of these two Saints Guhai Namasivayar and Guru Namasivayar get elevated, blessed and solve all our problems. They both will certainly bless us so". 


Friday, January 27, 2017

John de Ruiter Satsang: Arunachala Live Streaming

If you are not able to visit Tiruvannamalai at this time, and are eager to watch live Satsang, John de Ruiter is holding a Live Stream Satsang Programme from Thursday January 26, 2017 until Wednesday February 8, 2017. 

Live Streams and VODs with John de Ruiter from Tiruvannamalai, India January 26 – February 8, 2017. For more information go to his website at this link here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sri Siva Siddhar Mona Swami's Sadhana Cave

Sri Siva Mona Sidhar Swami was born on October 3rd, 1962 and was given the name of Sri Narayanan at that time. He lived a rustic life in a small Tamil village and at 27 years of age agreed to an arranged marriage which resulted in the birth of a girl child. 

However his yearning for a spiritual life led him to renounce the world and enter into sannyasin. He thereupon went into the forest to perform sadhana and continued to roam about for over 15 years. One day desolate at the meaningless of life he decided to commit suicide by jumping from the summit of Kanjanakiri Mount (near Vellore District). 

He was prevented from this act by the call of sadhu who had seemingly appeared from nowhere. The sadhu invited him to a nearby temple to eat and sleep and in the middle of the night, the sadhu disappeared. Swami lived at that place for seven months drinking only a glass of milk each day. He came to an understanding of the truth of life. 

He then left and proceeded onward to Sethavarai Village where he isolated himself in a cave for 58 days. As a result of his tapas, he received a vision of the Divine and guidance as to his work in this lifetime.

To learn more about Swami and how to meet him I have many earlier postings on Arunachala Mystic and may also visit his website at this link here

New Shrine and Mandapam of Sri Poovathamman Temple

Mandapam of Sri Poovathamman Temple

Sakthi Goddess Sri Poovathamman

Old Shrine of Sri Poovathamman

Nearby cluster of rocks

Ganesha Rock outlined in white above

Close-up of Ganesha Rock

Opening to cave Swami occupied undertaking tapas

Entrance to Swami's cave

Entrance is small but inside parts of the cave are large enough to allow a person to stand

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sani Pradosham, Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar Ashram: Saturday, 26 November, 2016

The below photographs were taken during Karthikai Maatha Amavasai Sani Pradosham at Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar’s Ashram on Saturday, 26 November, 2016. 

The two monthly Pradoshams are observed very grandly at Swami's Ashram and monthly increasingly large numbers of devotees attend the abhishekam Pradosham function in the Ashram's Temple.

Carrying the God on palanquin for circumambulation of the Shrine

Beautifully adorned Nandi after abhishekam and puja

Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Nature of Eternity

The below is taken from "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man," by James Joyce. 

"You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. 

Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.” 

Friday, November 11, 2016

November 2016 Supermoon -- special Poornima

The largest, brightest full moon in nearly seven decades will be on display in the coming days, promising Earth-bound sky-watchers a celestial "supermoon" spectacle. 

The full moon will come nearer to Earth than at any time since 1948. At closest approach, the moon will pass within 216,486 miles (348,400 km) of Earth's surface, about 22,000 miles (35,400 km) closer than average. 

The moon's distance from Earth varies because it is in an elliptical (egg shape), not circular, orbit around the planet. 

A supermoon will seem even larger if viewed on the horizon

If skies are clear, the upcoming full moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual, making it what is called a supermoon. A supermoon occurs when the timing of a full moon overlaps with the point in the moon's 28-day orbit that is closest to Earth. About every 14th full moon is a supermoon. The next time a full moon comes as close to Earth will be in 2034. 

Moon spotters here in India are perhaps the best placed to catch the moon at its absolute largest, with full moon on November 14, 2016 and occurring at 7:22 p.m. 

To find out more about Supermoons, go to this link for 5 suprising facts about this phenomenon.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Dasha Lingams: Surya Lingam

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. 

For more information about the asta lingams, go to this link here

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.’ 

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 in the above link, 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 “Dasha Lingams” of Arunachala. 

Those two additional Lingams are the Chandra Lingam and the Surya Lingam. My previous post gave information and photographs of the Chandra Lingam, and this posting is about the Surya Lingam located on the Arunachala Girivalam Roadway.

Surya-Arunachala Mythology 

There is a vast amount of mythology in connection with Lord Surya at Arunachala which I have written about in my Arunachala Grace Blog. In ths regard to view a fascinating post of the Surya-Arunachala mythology, go to this link here

Surya and Chandra Lingams at gateway of Arunachala Lingam

Its interesting to note the juxtaposition of Chandra and Surya Lingams in the map (above) of the Pradakshina Shrines to the map (below) of Arunachaleswarar Temple’s Moolasthanam, where the lingams are next to the Pradosha Nandi at the entrance to the inner shrine. 

Oral tradition reports that the similarity of the juxtaposition of Surya and Chandra Lingams at the gateway of the Lingam of Arunachala Hill and the Shiva Lingam at Arunachaleswarar Temple’s Moolasthanam, was created intentionally.
 Surya and Chandra Lingams at gateway of Shiva Moolasthanam

Lord Surya 

Surya, the Sun, is God incarnate in solar form, a glorious, shining golden visible every day. He is Astamurthi, one of the eight forms of Shiva. The Sun alone is the pivot of the entire Universe, the dispeller of darkness, and root cause of the three worlds. He is the deity of great brilliance and is considered the Supreme Soul. There are many names of Lord Surya and each name refers to a quality of consciousness; Aditya, Savita, Surya, Mihira, Arka, Prabhakara, Martanda, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Chitrabhanu, Divakara and Ravi. 

Surya is the chief of the Navagrahas and is often depicted riding a chariot harnessed by seven horses which represent the seven solar rays, the seven chakras of the body and the seven days of the week. 

Lord Surya on his Chariot

Surya's sons, Shani and Yama are responsible for the judgment of human life. Shani provides the results of one's deeds during one's life through appropriate punishments and rewards while Yama grants the results of one's deeds after death. 

In Vedic astrology Surya is considered a malefic on account of His hot, dry nature. Surya represents soul, will-power, fame, the eyes, general vitality, courage, kingship, father, authority figures, benevolence, generosity, grandeur, dignity, and friendliness. 

Surya has the following associations

Animals: Deer, Tiger, Lion 
Bird: Goose 
Gem: Ruby 
Metals: Copper and Gold 
Direction: East 
Food: Wheat 
Sign: Leo 
Day: Sunday 

In Tantra yoga, Surya, the planetary deity of the Sun, represents the universal male principal, while Chandra, the Moon, represents the universal female or shakti principle. Surya is also associated with Agni, the god of fire. 

The Surya Lingam 

Darshan of Arunachala from Lingam

Entrance to Surya Lingam

Moopanar Swamigal who was responsible for the restoration of the Ashta Lingams at Arunachala, did not have anything to do with restoration work at either the Surya or Chandra Lingams. 

Ancient carvings inside doorway to Lingam compound

Number of carvings at doorway

Surya Lingam in newly renovated compound

Surya Lingam is located after Gautama Ashram and before Varuna Lingam on the leftside of the Girivalam Roadway. Including two buildings connected to Lingam priests, the area on which Surya Lingam is situated on less than 1/2 an acre. In 2016 renovation work financed by a family in Chennai, was completed at the Lingam. 

Surya Lingam with Nandi in front

I hope to post more information about this Lingam shortly on my Arunachala Samudra website.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Dasha 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 “Dasha 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.


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.


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.


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 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 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.