Wednesday, May 9, 2018

2018 Kathiri Veyil at Siva Temples, Tiruvannamalai

Kathiri Veyil is the period when the Sun or Surya passes through the star Krittika. The period is considered to be the peak summer season. In 2018, Kathiri Veyil in the Tamil Calendar started at 11.05 a.m.,  May 4, 2018 and will continue until May 28, 2018. As its the peak summer season the period is considered inauspicious and therefore some refer to it as Agni Nakshathra dosha. 

The passing of the sun through 3rd and 4th quarter of Bharani Nakshatra and the four quarters of Krittika and the first quarter of Rohini Star is the period of Agni Nakshatram.

Popular superstitions for this 21 day dosha (inauspicious period) are;  journeys made through this time will be unsuccessful, money given will not be returned and disease/illness will not be easily cured.

Some believe it better to avoid the observance of auspicious events during this period. In addition, things to be avoided are the construction of; new ponds or wells. The making of new gardens, cultivation of fields and the planting of trees, bushes and saplings. 

When the peak of the summer season, better known as kathiri veyil or agni nakshatram commenced at 11.05 a.m. 4th May, 2018. a thara pathiram (vessel) filled with rose water was set on top of the linga at Temples dedicated to Lord Siva to reduce the intensity of the sun rays and heat in the sanctum sanctorums.

The Lingam with thara parthiram in the below photos are that of the Temple of Lord Thondareeswarar at Tiruvannamalai. 

Gandharva Kanyas: Vasantha Urchavam 2018

Vasantha Urchavam is a ten day Festival depicting the blossoming of love. During this sacred event, Swami and Amman are gorgeously decorated with jewels. They are taken with great ceremony in Mahapradakshina round the sacred Mahila Maram (trees) within the Third Prakaram—ten times every night for ten days = 100 times.

The third day of Vasantha Urchavam celebrates the birth of Manmatha, also known as Kama the God of love (lust). Manmatha is depicted looking for Siva.

At 9 p.m. on the fifth and eighth days the Temple lights are switched off so that the procession is in the dark. After going around the sacred Mahila Maram ten times the lights are switched back on to great rejoicing.

Lord Shiva opens His third eye on the final days of the Festival and the burning of Manmatha takes place.

During this sacred Festival the Jumbo Keswara Lingam, that is set in stone on the raised platform in the midst of the sacred trees is filled to capacity with water. Plants and flowers are placed to float inside the recess of the Lingam, appearing to make the Lingam levitate and blossom.

[Extract from The Light of Arunachaleswarar]

Each evening for the first nine nights of this Festival, Lord Somaskanda (a form of Siva/Pavarthi) is brought to the Paneer (Rose-water) Mandapam in the 3rd prakam. During this function the Gods are showered with flowers by the Gandharva Kanya enactd by the celestial nymph in the form of a puppet.

The Kanya puppet comes many times to the Paneer Mandapam and showers buckets of flowers onto the Gods. Afterwards ten processional rounds around the Makila Trees takes place, accompanied by musicians and singers. At the completion of each round, the Gods dance in front of a mirror and then remain seated under the Paneer Mandapam while receiving two floral showers from the Gandharva Kanya.

During the Vasantha Utsavam Festival, the appearance of the Gandharva kanya (celestial virgin nymph) represents the expression of desire and the virtue of union which is further emphasised by the flowers, fragrance and music of the ritual.

Gandharvas are celestial beings and also musicians. In Hindu mythology, the Gandharvas are demi-gods, who are somewhat less powerful than the Devas.

They are sometimes said to reside in the Swargaloka, but some sources put their abode as Gandharvaloka. Their father is sage Kashyapa and their mother is Arishta, a daughter of Daksha. They specialise in dance and music, and are also skilled in dark magic.

They are the guardians of Soma, the divine nectar of immortality and teacher of the Moon who is also called Soma. The Gandharvas are attributed with a mystical power over women and the right to possess them. They are invoked in traditional Hindu marriage ceremonies and in the Brahmin tradition, the bride who is to be married is supposed to belong first to Soma, to Gandharva and to Agni before becoming the wife of a human being. A Gandharva marriage is a love marriage (not an arranged one). The wives of the Gandharva men are usually celestial damsels, apsaras. 

The Puppeteers in charge of the pulley system on adjacent gallery

The Gandharva Kanya on her way to the Gods

Nearing the Gods on their palanquin at the Paneer Mandapam

Adorning the Gods with flowers

Each evening of the 9 nights, the Gandharva Kanya is beautifully and differently dressed

Puppet in White and Gold nearing the Gods with her bucket of flowers

Another evening, and another dress for the Gandharva Kanya

A Kanya dressed beautifully in blue

The Kanya puppet in close-up

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

2018 Chithirai Festival at Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar’s Ashram

A beautiful marriage function between Lord Siva and Goddess Meenakshi will take place at Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar’s Ashram. The Festival starts Friday April 20, 2018 and culminates with the marriage of the Gods on Sunday April 29, 2018

Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar Swamigal

A   L   L      A   R   E     W   E   L   C   O   M   E

Villupuram District, Gingee Taluk, Sethavari Village, Nallanpillaipetral
Arulmigu Sri Meenakshi Sokanatha Peruman Temple
7th year of Chithirai Festival Invitation

P  R  O  G  R  A  M  M  E

Friday April 20, 2018 

Morning 4.30-6.00 a.m. Flag Hoisting 
Evening 3 p.m. Lord Ganesha Procession 

Saturday April 21, 2018 to Saturday April 28, 2018

Each Evening 3 p.m. Special abhishekam and procession

Sunday April 29, 2018

Morning 9.00 a.m. Seethavari Village brings marriage necessaries for the bridegroom Lord Sokanda Peruman

Morning 9.00 a.m. Naalanpillaipetral Village brings marriage necessaries for the bride Goddess Sri Meenakshi Ambal

Morning 11.00 a.m. Marriage between Sri Meenakshi Ambal with Sokanda Peruman 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sri Siva Mona Siddhar Swami—Visit from Western Devotees

Below are recent photos of a group of devotees from Russia visiting Sri Siva Mona Siddhar at his Ashram.

Huge Siva statue on top of the Temple

Group entering Temple
Puja at the Siva Lingam

Sri Siva Mona Siddhar Swamigal

Meeting with Swamiji in the 18 Siddhar Hall

After interview, the group sang bhajans in the Hall

The group taking meals inside the Ashram canteen
The new Sani Shrine at the Ashram

Beautiful statues and decoration at the newly consecrated Sani Shrine

Photograph with Swami before leaving the Ashram

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sri Siva Mona Siddhar Swami—18 Siddhar Meditation Hall

Recently visited Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar at his Ashram near Nallan Pillai Petral Village, which is located under 25 kms from Tiruvannamalai. Its good to see how quickly the Ashram is developing and the number of daily visitors and devotees increasing to take his darshan and blessings. The below photographs are of Swami giving interviews in the Meditation Hall of 18 Siddhars. 

The location of Swamiji's Ashram is: 

Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar 
Dharma Paribalana Trust Sethavarai, Nallan Pillai Petral Village & Post, 
Gingee Tk 
Villupuram Distrct, Tamil Nadu 

I have a number of postings of Swamijji on Arunachala Mystic. To read how he developed powers of healing and prescience (foresight) go to this link here

To read several letters to Swami from devotees, visit an earlier posting here

For more postings of Swami and his Ashram use the search function on this blog. Just type in Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar.

Arriving at Swamiji's Ashram

Giving interviews in 18 Siddhar Hall

Paintings of the 18 Siddhars on walls of Hall

Family at interview with Swami

Sri Siva Mona Siddar Swami
With Programme for Festival
Entry to Ashram. 24 foot Siva statue on roof of Temple

Ashram in unspoiled hilly countryside
Area surrounding Ashram
Peaceful, silent area

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Day Sri Seshadri Swamigal left Tiruvannamalai

In his 40 years at Tiruvannamalai, there was only one occasion that Sri Seshadri left this place, and that was only for just one hour. The story goes like this:

In the village of Seelaippandal, a Dikshidhar was doing puja in the house of one T.S. Jagadeesa Iyer.  He was considered as a “Guru” and the people in the house showed immense affection and regard for him. But because of his past karma, the thought of dishonesty grew in him. On two occasions he stole a hundred rupee note and a gold necklace weighing 8 sovereigns from the house and buried the same beneath the sanctum of the village deity. Three months elapsed. Even though a thorough search was conducted in the house, the lost articles could not be found.

Jagadeesa Iyer used to reside at Sannidhi street in Tiruvannamalai and when he had work visited Seelaippandal by horse drawn cart six miles distant. Once when he was on his way to the village, Sri Seshadri Swamigal asked if He could accompany him in the cart. Jagadeesa Iyer replied “This is Your vehicle. Please get in and we shall go”.

On the way Jagadeesa Iyer mentioned to Swamiji about the theft in his house. Swamiji replied that the stolen articles would be found that day. As soon as they reached Seelaippandal, Swamigal said, “The thief is in your house. The thief is in your house. There is a dog. I am leaving” and with these words He hastily left the house and returned to Tiruvannamalai on foot.

After Sri Seshadri Swamigal left Seelaipandal, the village officials gathered at Jagadeesa Iyer’s house and disclosed that the Dikshidhar had been seen digging at the sanctum of the village deity and it looked suspicious.Then they persuaded the Dikshidhar to come and made him confess.

The entire village crowded near the temple of the village deity. The Dikshidhar called, “O! Goddess! Even though I had taken refuge under You, You betrayed me! See what I will do to You”. He then tore the idol from its foundation and retrieved the cash and jewellery that had been buried underneath. Jagadeesa Iyer was content that his stolen property had been returned.

Young Sri Seshadri Swamigal

Sri Sathya Sai Baba—Silence the Mind

Keep steadily engaged in Sadhana and never hesitate once you have decided on it. The first step is practise of silence. Then, you can more easily recognise the galloping of the mind behind worldly happiness. Restrain its movements; turn it inside, into the calm lake of bliss that lies deep in the heart! Get over fear by establishing your mind in the One; for fear can arise only when there is another.

You need not rely on another for success in Dhyana. Pray to the God within you and you will receive the needed guidance.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Western Pilgrims at Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar Ashram

The below video is of group from Russia visiting Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar's Ashram. 

After individual interaction with each member of the Group, Swami distributes prasad. The video ends with the Group Leader feeding cake to participants. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017 Chithirai Festival at Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar's Ashram

A beautiful function marriage function between Lord Siva and Goddess Meenakshi will take place during the 2017 Chithirai Festival on May 8, 9 and 10, 2017 at the famed Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar's Ashram located about 25 kms from Tiruvannamalai at Sethavari Village, Nallanpillaipetral. 

All are welcome. The schedule of the function in both English and Tamil is listed below. 

Earlier function at Ashram

Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar

Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar

Villupuram District, Gingee Taluk, Sethavari Village, Nallanpillaipetral 
Arulmigu Sri Meenakshi Sokanatha Peruman Temple 
6th year of Chithirai Festival Invitation 


MONDAY 8 May, 2017 

Morning 5 a.m. Flag Hoisting 
Evening 6 p.m. Lord Ganesha Procession 

TUESDAY 9 May, 2017 9.5.2017 

Morning 7.30 to 9.00 a.m. 1st Kala Puja and Tamil Thirumurai singing 
Evening 6 p.m. Sri Valli Devyani Muruga Peruman Procession 

WEDNESDAY 10 May, 2017 

Morning 6.00 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. 2nd Kala Puja and Tamil Thirumurai singing 

Morning 8.30 a.m. Abhishekam to Lord Siva and Goddesss Parvathi 

Morning 10.00 a.m. Milk pot procession from Sethavari Village for milk abshishekam at Temple 

Afternoon 3.00 p.m. Sethavari Village people belonging to Lord Siva’s side and Nallanpillaipetral Village people coming for Mother’s side. People from both Villages give their offerings for marriage. 

Evening 4.30 p.m. Sri Meenakshi Ambal on Jhula 

Evening 6.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. Marriage between Sri Meenakshi Ambal with Sokanda Perumal. 

Evening 8.30 p.m. Distribution of Prasad. 

Programme in Tamil 

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".