Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thiruvannamalai/Arunachalam

Thiruvannamalai is a place in Tamil Nadu. A place that replicates the divinity of Lord Siva AKA Arunachaleswar. This is the place where Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi lived in 'Sri Ramanasramam'. Such a wonderful place where you will find endless glory. Heart floats in peace and mind will be free of all tensions. The highlight of the town which makes all the tourists from all over the world to visit this place is the 'Mountain' named as 'ARUNACHALA'.I have been to this place a year ago. My knowledge about 'Ramanashramam' and the story of Sri Ramana Maharshi (Seen in a documentary) made me visit this place again and again.

About the Temple:

I have no words to describe this temple. The biggest temple I have ever seen in my life. When you enter the temple for the darshan of Lord Siva you can experience the divinity hidden in this place. Such a great architecture and sculpture. Temple has 4 big gopurams on each side of the temple. After each big one you will again find 4 small gopurams. In the midst of these gopurams is the beautiful 'Arunachaleswar' temple. When you go during Karthika Masam, the temple looks amazing during the evening with all the diyas lightened by the devotees.




About Sri Ramana Maharshi:
Let me start with Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Bhagavan was born in 1879 and he was named as 'Venkataraman'. At the age of 16, one day when he was alone in home, suddenly a strange scary feeling entered his mind. He started shivering and feeling like as if he is going to die. In this panic state, suddenly a question strike his mind.... what is going to happen after death and who is dying? He realised that its only this body that is going to expire and not the soul. He went through this realisation and he understood that its only the SOUL that is going to last forever. After having attained the liberation he left home for Arunachala, a mountain considered sacred by hindus at Thiruvannamalai.



Although born as a Brahmin, after having attained the enlightenment he declared himself in a 'Shastric' state which is unattached to anything in life and which is beyond all caste restrictions. He stared leading 'Ashram' life. The ashram that grew around him was named as 'Sri Ramanashramam' and it is located at the foot of the sacred hill 'Arunachala'.

About the sacred mountain 'The Arunachala':
There is a story about this hill. Once Vishnu & Brahma had a discussion who among them is superior. Their quarrel brought chaos on earth and so all the others approached Lord Siva and besought him to settle the dispute. So, Lord Siva emerged as a column of light/linga from which a voice came out saying 'Who ever can find its upper or lower end is superior.' Thus Vishnu took the form of a boar and started dwelling down in to the earth to find the base, while Brahma took the form of swan and soared upwards to the seek the pinnacle. Both travelled for a long distance but still they were not able to find the base or the peak points. Vishnu returned back and accepted his failure saying 'You are Self-knowledge. You are OM. You are the beginning. You are the middle and you are the end. You are everything and you illuminate everything.' Brahma during his travel saw a flower falling down. Planning to win by deception, Brahma returned with the flower saying he has plucked the flower from the peak point. Finally Brahma was exposed and confessed his fault.



The story continues and Lord Shiva took the form of Arunachala hill as the lingam/column of light was too dazzling to behold. Thus Lord Shiva declared "This is the only place where I have taken this form for the benefit of those who wish to worship me and obtain enlightment. Arunachala is OM itself."

The hill is even now considered as Lord Shiva. People who come to this place will have a walk around the hill which is termed as pradakshina. This Giri Pradakshina means, we have done pradakshina for Lord Shiva who is in the form of a hill.The circumference around the hill is of 14km. Its just a normal tar road and so walk will not be so tiring.

I have been to this place last year. We started giri pradakshinam at 4AM and was able to complete in 3 hours. Such a wonderful experience we had. We did not feel tired even after walking 14 kms. Not only we, but each and every one who takes a walk around the hill tells the same. As we started at 4AM, we experienced the flavour of fresh air in the morning. Walk through the villages around the hill, green fields all around and the most sacred hill in front of the eyes.... I have no words to explain this experience. The giri pradakshinam will release you from all kind of sins, fulfill your desires and gives freedom from future births.
There are 9 Siva lingas located around the hill and each has a specific name.

About the 'Ramana Ashramam':
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi reached this place at the age of 16. He started living in a cave which is in the mountain. He used to always sit and meditate.Even though he never encouraged any people to come to him, slowly people got attracted to this great sage. After some years his mother came and joined him. She used to cook for all the followers. They used to eat the food given by the village people. All of them has made their shelter at the foot of the hill which got named as 'Sri Ramana Ashramam'.



The ashram is such a beautiful place. It has so many peacocks(count will be in hundreds) roaming here and there. Ashram has a meditation hall. When you sit here and meditate in deep you can feel the power of that great place. The ashram also has Lord Siva's temple. At the back side of the ashram they have kitchen and every day they serve food for hundreds of people. The Lunch served by them is considered as prasadam. I had the Lunch here. Even though the meal consists of very limited varieties and small amount is severed, it makes you feel 'Am filled!' All the people who come to the ashram regardless of caste, creed and age will queue up here to have the prasadam. No royal treatments.



Ashram has excellent rooms which were built years back, replicating the designing that belong to old ages. You can book a room by sending mail to the president of ashram. Getting a room in the ashram is winning like a lottery for me, because staying in the ashram will make your mind float in peace.

Above all reading the books of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi will bring a kind of maturity in the mind. Irony is that, very less number of Indians know about this wonderful place and large number of tourists from all over the world come here. I have seen and spoke to some people who came from different parts of the world. The depth of enlightenment they had and their enthusiastic nature to follow Bhagavan's principles.... really appreciable. Many tourists who visited this place, has understood the purpose of having this life and so they settled at this wonderful place to lead their rest of life in peace and to have freedom from future births.

Let it be any one, say... Shirdi Sai Baba or Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.... All these great people they have never propagated the word they are God. They always told that they are servants of God and they are here to help the common man to get released from this materialistic desires and make them move in the right path. They are "Sadguru". No one can have liberation or enlightenment alone. For a common man to reach that state they need the guidance of SADGURU.

Lets learn about the purpose of this life and let us move in a right path by knowing about these great sages. Sadguru says... Initially every one approaches God to fulfill their materialistic desires. But in later on stages they will slowly attain a state where we can feel the flavour of the enlightenment.

Jyothi


4 comments:

  1. This is an absolute sweet post from u dear. I have heard about Arunachaleswaram n Sri Ramana Maharshi but not in this detail. Thanks for writing such a beautiful piece. I am very eager to visit this place.

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  2. Thanks a bunch Jo.... for the comment! Try to visit this place and it will be very good experience for a tourist

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  3. Highly informative ra jo......the underlying point here is to know ur innerself and when you realise that and come to tune with ur body in a moment to moment basis u will be releaved of all the worldy things which burden u. Sadguru says, god is within u,and u will know that when u start looking at u, but unfortunately the eyes we have belong to this physical body whcih makes u look outwardly not inwardly. So there is a god, which is just a noun used for communication but actually the life energies inside every living thing on this earth. Harness those energies and u can do wonders in the area of ur intrest. Everyone in this world is capable of doing anything when they realise this true potential of life energies. And to look inwards we like the eyes of our body, the yoga or meditation forms the eye of soul which makes u look inwards. And last not the least, this is the reason why u should never underestimate or disrespect any life on this earth because all r living with this energies, the so called God. G8 post jo. Keep rocking as always.

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