Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Panchamukha Darshanam

The point known as the Pancha Mukha Darshanam located on the northeast side of Arunachala, has been highly revered for many years. It is said that the great Arunachala Saint Sri Seshadri Swamigal when as a child in his native place of Kanchipuram, would draw pictures of the Arunachala Pancha Mukha Peaks. Although the fame of the Pancha Mukha dates back to antiquity, it is only in the last thirty years that it has become a well known and outstanding aspect of Arunachala girivalam. 

One of the reasons for its increasing fame is its association with Isakki Swamigal, for more information go to these previous links here and here. Isakki Swamigal’s great love and belief in the Five Peak Point inspired many of his devotees to develop their own special connection with this spot. 

Arunachala Panchamukha Darshanam

One of his better known devotees, Mother Umadevi, developed psychic powers through the grace of her Guru, Isakki Swamigal and because of the time she spent at the Pancha Mukha. It was this grace and spiritual opening that lead to her connection with the deceased Sri Seshadri Swamigai, of whom she was later in her life regarded by many as a channel and spokesperson. In this respect many devotees of Sri Seshadri Swamigal would visit Mother Umadevi and ask her to be their intermediary in asking for Sri Seshadri's guidance and help. 

Mother Umadevi

The statue of Isakki Swamigal, was put up while he was still living to indicate the spot he favoured during his daily meditations at the pancha mukham darshanam. The statue also marks the place that nowadays he is believed to visit daily in his psychic body to give guidance and encouragement to devotees of Arunachala. The Samadhi of Isakki Swamigal is at the back of the statue and is identified by the presence of a Lingam. Intererestingly the Samadhi of Isakki Swamigal was constructed by A.D.M. Panneerselvam as guided by his own teacher Mother Umadevi.

Statue of Isaki Swamigal

Elsewhere at the Shrine of the Pancha Mukha darshanam, there are five lingams, which represent the five peaks of the Hill, viewable from this spot. These five lingams were only installed at this shrine comparatively recently.

Five Lingams at Panchamukham Shrine

An explanation of the five lingams, with each corresponding to a face of Lord Shiva (in his five-faced aspect) and to one of the Hill peaks follows below:

Five Faced Shiva, Mahashivaratri Kolam, Arunachaleswarar Temple

Shiva is Yogi Raja, the Lord of Yoga, the perfect ascetic. The five aspects of Shiva represent:

Ishana - Skyward Face:
The word Ishvara is form the root “Aisha – Aishwarye”. Total wealth means the total control and ownership of all the fourteen worlds. Such form of Shiva, who is the total owner of the fourteen worlds, is called as Ishana. This face is skywards. Which means it is on top of the other four faces which face the four directions. This fifth face of Shiva represents the creation; balance, annihilation energies and control and chaos energies. It is represented by pure crystal and signifies the top.

Tatpurasha - East Face:
The word “Tat” represents Paramatma. Tatpurusha means Saguna filled Para Brahma form. This represents the form of Shiva that is in meditation and Blessing the world. Hence this eastern face is considered as the first face. The word “Tatpurusha” means “his person”. One who is always behind a person to protect is Tatpurusha. It is represented by yellow and signifies the face.

Vama Deva – North Face:
The term Vama means Left or innocent. If we stand facing east, the north is to our left. Hence the north facing Shiva is worshipped as “Vaama Deva”. The left of a person is representative of the Shakti aspect. It represents “Maya and the feminine strength and beauty”, Hence in Ardha Nareeshwara aspect, we find the goddess on the left side. Represented by red and signifies the navel.

Sadyojata - West Face:
West is called as “Paschima or Pratyak”. The soul is called as “Pratyagaatma”. “Sadyaha” which means just now and “Jataha” means now born. Shiva makes his presence felt through the countless souls being born. Hence the apt name “Sadyosata”. This shows the creative aspect of Parameshvara. Since the very existence of any being starts from its birth, the Sadyosata aspect of Lord Shiva is prayed first. Represented by white and signifies the foot.

Aghora - South Face: 
If we stand facing east, south is our right. Hence right side is called as “Bala”. As important as right hand is for humans, the South face is important to Lord Shiva. This is also famously known as “Dakshina Murthy”. Those who worshipped the Aghora form of Shiva were called as “Aghoris”. Aghoris generally live in graveyards and are naked, use things which the world has branded as “inauspicious”, and perform harsh penance; because their main belief is that there is no such thing called “inauspicious” in the world because all that exists if Shiva himself. Represented by black and signifies the heart.

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