GIRI PRADHAKSHINAM – an experience….

Om Sathguru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae


A WALK WITH THE GODS!

“Shiva Sesha, Shiva Sesha, Shiva Shiva Seshaave…”


Girivalam – 14th. December, 2009 – 3:51 a.m.

அற்புதமான காட்சி அருளும் என் நாதா!
உனக்கு அன்ந்த கோடி நமஸ்காரம்!
ஆதி அந்தம் இல்லாத சேஷனே
நீ ஒரு அவதார புருஷனே!
அண்ணாமலையின் மறு உருவமே!
சிவனின் மானிட ரூபனே!
சூக்ஷ்மத்தில் (தற்போது) சிவனாக இருப்பவனே! பரிபூரணனே!
பனை உயர பாவங்களையும் பொசுக்கி
பாபவினாசா! ஸ்ரீ சேஷா!

சிவனை சேஷனாக நமஸ்கரிப்போம்!
சிறந்த புகழுக்கு உறியவரும்,
ஞான வடிவினறும்,
ஆசைகளை பூர்த்தி செய்து சிறந்தவரும்,
சக்திமானும்,
மங்களங்களை அளிப்பவரும்,
இருதயத்தில் உறைபவருமான
சேஷனை நமஸ்கரிப்போம்!

(- அவதார் சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள், “சேஷனும் பக்தர்களும்”,

சேஷ பாமாலை)

The Shrine of Arulmigu Sri Arunachaleshwara, as seen from Skanda Ashramam

No temple is dearer to my heart than the Arulmigu Sri Arunachaleshwarar Shrine at Thiruvannamalai. I say this because of a very special feeling this temple has evoked in me. I have visited several temples in TamilNadu, but never have I been drawn so magnetically, to a sacred space, like this one!

Each time, I return from Thiruvannamalai, I do so, with a heavy heart, yearning to go back there… Every visit to this Divine temple, has left me with a soul-stirring feeling, that lingers for a long time in the innermost sanctums of the heart… a yearning to return, to seek the warm nest of Home…to my Lord, my Master!

Thiruvannamalai, has blessed me with everything one could ask for –

மாதா, பிதா, குரு, தெய்வம் my parents, my Master, my Lord!

My Venerable Guruji, Mahaan Sesha and Arunachala Shiva, are the presiding deities of Thiruvannamalai….and, my heart…

My Guru is my Lord, my Lord is my Guru…

In Him (my Guru) is Sesha, (the Lord of the Universe),

Sesha is Arunachaleshwara !

சிவ சேஷா, சிவ சேஷா, சிவ சிவ சேஷாவே!

மா மலை எல்லாம் மலை அல்ல
அண்ணாமலையே ஆதி மலை
ஆதி மலையில் அண்ணாமலையின்
மானிட ரூபனை
அவதரித்த சேஷாத்ரியே!
சேஷாத்ரிநாதா!
நீரே பக்தர்களின் மனதில் குடி கொண்டுள்ளாய்
குடிகொண்டுள்ள குணாதீதா!
குணாதீதனாம் சேஷனை போற்றி பாடுவோமே!
ஆனந்த கூத்தாடுவோமே! “

(- அவதார் சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள், “சேஷனும் பக்தர்களும்“,

சேஷ பாமாலை)

My recent visit to Thiruvannamalai was a very special one, since we were graced by the Lord, that we could go on a Giripradakshinam, guided by Our Guruji!

During the pristine hours of the Brahma Muhurtham (the auspicious time between 3 a.m. And 4 a.m.), on the morning of 14th. December, 2009, we followed the footsteps of our Guruji, Sathguru Sri Rajalinga Swamigal, on the holy Pradakshina of the sacrosanct hill, Arunadri, where Our Mahaan resides!

At about 3:51 a.m., when the dark of the dawn was ready to welcome the the brilliance of the Lord Arunachala, we started on our Girivalam, with the japa of the moola mantra of our Parama Guru, Avathar Sri Seshadri Swamigal. An incarnation of Arunachala Himself, Mahaan Sesha Brahmmam is the Divine Consciousness… Infinity and Eternity…

With Mahaan’s Mantra (the essence of Arunachala) in our hearts, and the benevolent grace of our Guruji, and the grandiloquent Arunadri, by our side, the grace of Our Lord was palpable, with a warmth that was so moving. This magical warmth, intensified my faith, courage, determination and our love for our immaculate Seshadri Natha!

The more you think about Him, the deeper He dwells in Your heart!…

Passing stretches of well lit wide open expanses, there was a short stretch of road, with shaded canopies, that we had to pass. It was pitch dark, and we held on to the light of the Maha-Deepam in our mind’s eye. Wondrously, it felt like we were walking into our innermost recesses of our hearts! It was a short stretch of road to self-analysis, before we would see the Holy light again! It felt like we were walking into the garbha-gruham (sanctum sanctorum) of the shrine, to find the “Apraakrutha Tejomaya Lingam – Mahaan Sesha”, at the end of the passage!

சேஷா! எனக்கு, உன்னை உள்ளவாறு காட்டி அருளினாய்;
என் அறிவுக்கு பேரறிவாக உள்ள மூலப்பொருளான உன்னை,
உள்ளவாறு காட்டினாய்;
நீயே தேஜோமயம்,
ஸர்வ மயம்,
ப்ரம்ம மயம்;
கொன்றை ம்லர்களால், உன் திருவடிகளை சிவனாக நினைத்து
சேவிக்கிறேன், சேஷ ப்ரம்மனே!

(- அவதார் சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள், “சேஷனும் பக்தர்களும்”,

சேஷ பாமாலை)

It was a humbling experience to offer our little prayers to the colossal Arunachala Shiva – Sesha – the effulgent Lord, who had assumed here, such magnificient proportions, to bless this world, and rid it of darkness.

Our first obeisance to Arunachala Shiva, was with Guruji’s description of how Mahaan Sesha viewed Arunachala with the crescent moon (in the Karthigai night sky) – with the Thevaram:

பித்தா பிறை சூடி, பெருமானே அருளாளா…!”

(The Lord adorned with the crescent moon,…bless us…)

What a beautiful verse, to describe the beauty of Shiva!

With the break of dawn, the golden glow of Arunachala sets your heart on fire, with unceasing passion for the resplendant Lord!

First, we approached the Samadhi of the Holy Isakkiya Siddhar, a saint who had extraordinary powers. He would sit and gaze at the Sun God, all through the afternoon hours, without a blink. He had graced the Holy Mother Uma Deviar, with a vision of what Arunadri looked like. He had performed an anga-pradhakshinam (circumambulation, prostrate on the ground), a thousand and eight times, around the Divine Hill!

Guruji explained to us the significance of the various facets of Arunachala. From this spot, we could have a Panchmukha darshanam of Arunadri – the view of the five peaks of Arunachala. The five peaks (from left to right), constituted – Lord Chandikeshwarar, Lord Ganesha, Lord Subrahmanya, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi.

As we continued, our spiritual experience was blessed by the Divine Gods! Fragrances of karpooram (camphor), agarbatthi (incense), ghee, flowers, vibhuthi (sacred ash) and chandanam (sandalwood), began to emanate from the Holy Hill! They continued to linger, every few minutes. We also felt the fragrance of a Homam being performed!

As we walked on, we were awe-inspired and overwhelmed by Guruji’s narration of the innumerable accounts of grace showered by Para-Brahmmam Seshadri Swamigal, on His devotees, and His blessings on them, through His leelas (miracles).

What words could describe the love and compassion Sesha Mahaan had, for His Bhakthas (devotees), – Sesha Bhagavan is the Lord of the Lords!

பொன் மலையாம் அண்ணாமலையில் வாழும்
ஸ்ரீ (மஹாலக்ஷ்மி) சேஷா!
பஞ்ச்மா பாவங்களும் பொய்யாய்விடுமே
உன் பாதம் பற்றினால், ஸ்ரீ சேஷா!
உன் பாத சேவை என் காலம் முழுவதும் செய்திட
அனுமதி கொடுத்திடுவாய்
ஸ்ரீ சேஷா!

(- அவதார் சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள், “சேஷனும் பக்தர்களும்”,

சேஷ பாமாலை)

Different manifestations of the Devas, and the Siddhapurushas, through the different fragrances, are the blessing(s) of the Gods! When man circumambulates the Holy Hill, clock-wise (Pradhakshinam), the Gods of the Heavens, and the Heavenly Beings, descend on their Giripradhakshina, in an anti-clockwise (Apradhakshinam) direction. They then shower their bounty and grace on the mortals, in the realm of Lord Shiva.

The mystic aura of the Arunachala Shivasthalam, is such that, even involuntarily, one cannot think of anything but Shiva! Stepping into Thiruvannamalai, would drench one’s soul in the essence of Shiva! Such is the magnetic attraction, of this magnificient Hill, Arunadri! Once having set foot here, it is difficult not to feel the heart continually drawn to Arunachala. Having had a Darshanam of Lord Sri Annamalaiyar and Goddess Apeethakuchambal, and Shiva as the grand Hill, the lingering feeling of Arunachala, persists, and gradually grows into cravings and yearnings, which further grow into stronger passions to behold the Lord and His consort! Thiruvannamalai is a soul-sanctifying place, one cannot easily leave behind…

Never can there be a soul who is not brought back to this sacred soil! The warm rays of Arunachala Shiva stretch to the limits of the skies and the seas, – one cannot ever forget this shrine on earth!

Girivalam in this miraculous kingdom of Lord Shiva, transports one into higher realms of thought and feeling, and transforms our souls!

Walking further, we saw how, from a different angle, the Hill revealed two prominent peaks – one representing Lord Shiva, and another, Parvathi Devi. From yet another angle, further down the road, these two peaks merged into one – symbolizing the Divine union of Shiva and Parvathi, the union of Paramathma and Jeevathma, the essence of Advaitha. Could there be more wonderful and holier ground in all of creation!

Visting the eight Lingams on the Girivalam path, we finally came to the shrine of the “Isanya Lingam”. Guruji explained that ‘Isanyam’ (the North-Eastern direction) was the direction of the Gods, and at this spot, gather all Gods, to shower their grace on humans. Prostrating to the Lords, at this spot, would be a high blessing to our souls!

We were very fortunate to have a Darshanam of the Paal Abhishekam (the annointment with milk) for the Isanya Lingam.

Further in our pradakshinam, Guruji showed us the Samadhi of Isakky Gnaana Desikar, a staunch devotee of Sri Arunachaleshwara. There was always a crowd of devotees thronging to see him. He used to flee to the forests, to perform his penance undisturbed. Once he was even pursued by men to the forests. Lord Arunachaleshwara and Goddess Apeethakuchambal came to his rescue. They assumed the form of lions, guarding him from the rest of the world, for his undisturbed meditation!

Such is the glory of Sri Arunachaleshwara!

As we proceeded with Guruji, we had a glimpse of the Skanda Ashramam, and the Virupaksha Cave, where Ramana and Para-Brahmmam Sri Seshadri Swamigal spent their hours in meditation.

Guruji also elaborated the tale of a saint by name, Guru Nama Shivaya, whom, Lord Arunachala and Goddess Apeethakuchambal came down to earth, to shower him with their ‘leelas’ (miracles) and ‘prasaadams’ (blessings)!

In the final stretch of the pradhakshinam, we had a view of all the four main ‘Gopuram’ (portals), of the Arulmigu Sri Arunachaleshwara temple.

We soon reached the Ramana Ashram, from where we had started.

It was 7:32 a.m.

With the grace of Sri Arunachaleshwara, the grace of Mahaan Seshadri Swamigal, and the grace of Our Guruji – Sathguru Sri Rajalinga Swamigal, we completed the Giripradhakshinam.

The most amazing experience was yet to come!

We were soon back in our rooms, rested after taking in the beauty and grandeur of the Kingdom of Lord ShivaSesha!

After about an hour or so, suddenly we could feel the scent of camphor! Guruji had told us earlier, that the fragrance of camphor, meant a blessing of Sri Arunachaleshwara Himself!

The scent of camphor was stronger now, and it soon enveloped us. (The fragrance of camphor, lasted , intermittently, for 3 whole hours, in our room!) We we at a loss for words, to describe our feelings! SeshaBrahmmam had been with us!

காற்றினில் வந்த கற்பூர மணமே!
கலைத்து விட்டாயே என் கவலையை!
கற்பூர மணமாய் வந்த
கருணா சாகரனே! சேஷனே!
உன்னைக் காண கண் கோடி வேண்டுமே!
கலியுக வரதனே!
உனக்கு அனந்த கோடி நமஸ்காரம்!

(- அவதார் சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள், “சேஷனும் பக்தர்களும்”,

சேஷ பாமாலை)

We could say and feel nothing, except our gratitude to the Lord, who willed to stay with us!

சிவ சேஷா! சிவ சேஷா! சிவ சிவ சேஷாவே!

சேஷா ! என் உயிருக்கு உயிரே!
உனக்கு நமஸ்காரம்!

(- அவதார் சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள், “சேஷனும் பக்தர்களும்”, சேஷ பாமாலை)

 

 

 

 

– Vaishnavi Santosh

 

Pranams to Guruji

Till I finished reading word to word of this magnetic power of girivalam, you made me feel as if i was also transported with you, with retrospective effect, for the holy Giri pradhakshinam – indeed the very manifestation of Arunachala. Pray for me that i too shall be drawn under the compassionate wings of Mahan Sathguru Sri Sesha Brahman and get the golden opportunity of one life time to physically circumbulate the the Holy Arunachala.

With your Divine Grace
I remain
Yours Obedient sishya

Subramaniam

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The Goddess slays Mahishasura!

    Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

The Goddess slays Mahishasura!

Mahishasura, had obtained a boon from Lord Shiva, that he become most powerful of all the Devas. So all Devas approached Gowri and said, “YOU are power of (Shakthi) SAMBHU in the form of a woman. It is destined that he must be killed by YOU, for he has obtained a boon from Sambhu that no man shall kill him. Goddess YOU must save us.”

SHE spoke endearingly: “Devas! It is said that one of the objectives of doing penance is protection of those who seek refuge. Your enemy will perish in a short time. He, who acts contrary to Dharma, against those who abide by Dharma, will die like an insect.” The Devas bowed to the daughter of the mountains and returned in peace to their abode.

One day the arrogant Mahishasura entered the forest of Arunachala. Goddess Gowri sent a monkey-faced Muni named Suraguru to him. When Vanaramukha delivered the message to Mahishasura, the later was enraged.

The wicked demon then gathered all his armed forces and prepared for battle. His force came from all quarters and surrounded Arunagiri.

The Goddess pierced Mahishasura with HER TRIDENT. The Goddess cut off his head with a sharp sword and stood dancing upon him. Seeing this, Siddhas, Gandharvas and Maharshis hailed HER as Goddess Durga!

Indra, the king of the Devas, bowed down before HER and with folded hands he praised the Goddess. He prayed that HER form as Mahishasura Mardhani (the destroyer of Mahishasura) should be a source of prosperity and happiness for all creation.

Lord Shiva and Parvathi Circumambulate Arunadri!

    Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Giri-Pradakshina or Girivalam

Even I (Shiva as Arunachala), circumambulate Arunadri, the divinely Effulgent Linga, and MY own form, in the company of Devas and Rishis at the time of sacred Uttarayana (the winter solstice). I do so for the welfare of the world.

Moreover, Goddess Gowri has come here to do penance.

SHE will become pure by circumambulating ME. Afterwards SHE will gain One-Half of MY Body. SHE will perform severe penance and circumambulate Me at the time of Pradosa (thirteenth day of the waxing moon) and on the day of the Kritika Star in the month of Karthika (Nov-Dec).

The Goddess in the form of Apithakuchambal shall then merge in ME.

The day on which the Holy season of Uttarayana commences is an auspicious day for ME. Hence let them adore ME on that day and attain the goal of their lives.

The Beauty of the Land of Arunachala!

Om SathGuru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

Sage Gautama talks about the Beauty of the Land of Arunachala!

Sage Gautama, then said:

By the grace of Hara and Gowri, “I am now going to describe the Effulgent Glory of Arunachala.”

A billion tongues cannot delineate fully how the formless, Supreme Being, out of compassion, took this holy form of the Hill of Arunachala (Annamalai).

Lord Arunagiri is capable of removing all the sins of those who merely see HIM and of fulfilling all the desires of those who worship HIM.

HE is capable of granting Liberation even to those who merely utter the name ‘Arunachala!’ Yogis meditate upon Him and attain union with Shiva. Offerings, sacrifices, and japa made in its vicinity yield immeasurable results.

Gautama continued: “Gowri! This abode, the primal one, is known as the Abode Supreme and is sacred,, par excellence. One good deed done here multiplies itself manifold, therefore, Do Thou conduct ardent penance here. Thy Lord will then surely come on HIS Bull-Mount and re-absorb you as HIS left HALF.

Even Vishnu, Brahma, the Vasus, Indra, and a host of Munis had in days bygone, made their dwelling here and completed the penances of solitude. The place is right and the time, auspicious. Thy penance is thus assured of success.

The sage Gautama said, “This holy place is ideally wooded for a radius of two Yojanas and teems with life-giving streams. The distraction of crowds of Gods and Siddhas that frequent this Hill for worship has made me take in the thick but secluded forest of this spur. Therefore do you choose a spot nearby?”

(The Purana indicates clearly that Gautama’s Ashrama was at Pavazha Kundru (Pearl Hill) to the east and that Parvathi did Tapas near his ashram. This is also consistent with later events; She kills the demon and cleanses HERSELF at the Khadga Tirtha which lies near the spur (Khadga Tirtha -Durgai Amman Temple -Thiruvannamalai).

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