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General topics / Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana - 21.01.2013
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:19:36 AM »
The Aradhana celebrations of "Sri Thyagaraja, one of the three great Karnatic musicians, took place in Tiruvaiyaaru,
this morning. The National Tamizh TV channel (Podigai) did the live telecast,  Many musicians, violinists, drummers and
pipers attended the function.  The function started with abhishekam for the stone idol of Sri Thyagaraja.  Then the
musicians accompanied by instruments sang the five great songs of Sri Thyagaraja, Pancharatna Kirtana.  Many musicians
were new comers.  I could only see O.S. Arun and Sudha Raghunathan among the old stalwarts.

The celebrations were over by 10.30 a.m. with arti for Thyagaraja.   

Arunachala Siva,.   

Arunachala / Sri Arunachala Ashtakam - Mountain Path, Jan. - Mar. 2014.
« on: January 20, 2014, 01:15:30 PM »
(By William Forbes and Narendra Kesari Sarma:

There are many poetic works composed in praise of Arunachala.  This particular Stuti was published in a volume titled
Stotrarnavah, from the series of the Madras Government Oriental Manuscript Series', Volume LXX edited by T. Chandrasekharan,
1961, page 74.  For those interested, the volume can be found at the University of Madras Oriental Manuscript Library,
which originally published it. The catalogue notation on it is ACC. 16097, S. 4968.

We do not know who the author of this work is.  It was the tradition to attribute a poetic work to someone other than the
original author as a mark of respect or to leave the work anonymous. 

There is another Stuti attributed to Sankaracharya which affirms the importance of giri pradakshina and the belief common in
tradition and among devotees of Arunachala, that thinking of Arunachala when one dies, gives liberation.

The composition does contain verses and lines which are common to several other works, in praise of Arunachala and Lord
Siva in general.  Though this work is said to be an Ashtakam or composed of of eight verses, it is actually eleven.  This is not
uncommon, for example, Bhagavan composed Arunachala Padigam which normally should be of ten verses but instead it is of
eleven verses. 

The first verse is  particularly well known in south India and is quoted in the Arunachala Puranam which says the verse originated
in the Rudra Samhita of the Skanda Puranam.  The last verse is a summation. 

The work is marked by laudable poetic skills and devotion to Arunachala.


Arunachala Siva.     

Love is a dangerous word.  It means so many things.  It has been overused, misused and cheapened to cover a variety
of delusions and half truths.  In the course of misrepresentation, its worth has stretched to cover the most unrealistic
expectations.  We all want to be loved, but do we realize that to receive it, we must be capable of love ourselves?  The
well known karma yogi, J.P. Vaswani's saying, 'If you want to be happy make someone else happy.', can equally be
applied to love.

Mostly people experience instinctive and emotional love.  Rarely do they encounter intelligent or conscious love.  Love in
its purest form is impersonal.  It cannot be bought nor is it a presumed right.  It is a knack like any other skill and requires
effort, patience, and perseverance.  It is not something we are naturally endowed with though the potential is there.  It is
not an object we can consume or own, in other words, it is a material but a living principle that cannot be 'gained' except
by the surrender of our own selfish interests.  We do not possess it, it possesses us.  We can enter the zone of love but
we cannot manipulate it for that is anathema to the principle of that which is freely given is also freely received.

On a physical level, love is confused with chemistry.  Our physical bodies are composed of certain elements which uniquely
combined create 'me', the physical body we are so attached to, and by which we measure our happiness, which more often
than not, is confused with pleasure.  We are attracted or repulsed by others because of the electromagnetic elements which
give life to those bodily elements of ours.  It is impersonal though we can it oh so personally if we are liked or more noticeable,
disliked for no apparent rational reason. Ultimately it has nothing to do with our conscious preferences.  There are some who
are immediate friends spontaneously and there are others who will be our adversaries no matter what we say or do.  Love and
hate at this level are two sides of the same coin and one can easily flip over into other.  Instinctive love is guided by the law
of affinity, nothing more.  It does however govern most marriages and relationships both personal and public. Hence the
perpetual insecurity and anxiety we tolerate hoping that all is well while at the time there is the wild ricochet of uncertainty.
Nevertheless, there are admirable examples of instinctive love such as mother's unconditional love for her baby, where the
baby's well being transcends all other considerations.


Arunachala Siva.               

Today is the day of liberation of Sri Ramalkinga Swamigal in siddhi vaLAgam, near Karunguzhi, about 30 kms from
Chidambaram.  I request atma vichar who has read more about Sri Ramalinga Swamigal to give us information.

Arunachala Siva.

Today is Punarvasu star day.  This is star of Sri Bhagavan.  Today, there will be special pujas and alankarams and
abhishekams for Sri Bhagavan.  A golden casket is adorned on the Ramaneswara Maha Lingam.  I am giving a verse
from Tiruchuzhial Padigam on this day:

சற்றும் ஆசைச் சழக்கிழாத
சரணி யாவுனைச் சார்ந்ததால்
இற்றெனப் படலில்லதோர் இன்பம்
எய்தினேன் ரமணேசனே
பாற்றறுத்தவர் பாடு சீர்ப் பழம்
பாண்டி வண்சுழியல் பதி
நற்றவாவுனை நான் மறக்கினும்
நாச்சொலும் உன்றன் நாமமே

Arunachala Siva.

Today is the liberation day of Niranjanananda Swami, the Sarvadihikari (Administrator) of Sri Ramanasramam.

Nagasundaram, who later became Swami Niranjanananda Swami, was born at Tiruchuzhi on 8th June 1885 to Sundaram
Iyer and his devoted wife Smt. Azhagammal. He had three siblings: Nagaswami, the eldest brother, Venkataraman, the
middle brother (who was six years older than Nagasundaram) and Alamelu, a younger sister.  When their father died,
in 1892, Nagasundaram was six years old.  Sundaram Iyer having left no savings, the family was totally dependent on
relatives after his death.  The sons Nagaswami and Venkaraman went to Madurai to live with Subbier, the brother of
Sundaram Iyer. The sons pursued their higher studies there.  Nagasundaram and Alamelu went to Manamadurai to the
house of Nilliappar Iyer along with Smt. Azhagammal. 

In 1896,  Venkataraman, who later came to be known as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, had the self-hood experience
which radically altered His life and set Him on course to travel to Arunachala and stay there.  In 1898, Mother Azhagamma
went to Tiruvannamalai to bring Him back but they failed.

In 1902, Nagasundaram came up to Bhagavan who was then at Sadguru Swami Cave (Banyan Tree Cave) in silence.  He
hugged Bhagavan and wept aloud, while Bhagavan was smiling all the while.  He stayed a while and noticed that a quantity
of sugar candy offered to Bhagavan by His visitors in the Cave. Concluding that it was his brother's property and would be
an excellent prasadam for distribution back home, he bundled up some candy.  When this was brought to the notice of Bhagavan
by Pazhaniswami, He wrote down His advice to Nagasundaram which became His first upadesa to him.  He advised that the
offerings of devotee did not belong to any one person and there was no question of relationship in the matter.  Everyone
who visited Him was equally entitled to a share in the offerings made to the Asramam.  This upadesa went home deeply and
Nagasundaram lived by it till the end.

In 1904, Nagasundaram began to earn for the family when he started work in Taluk Office in Manamadurai.  In 1908, he
married Managalam, the elderst daughter of his aunt (Nelliappar's wife) sister. Two children were born but both died

In 1914, they had another male child who they named Venkataraman in honor of Sage of Arunachala. Again Mother
Azhagammal went to Arunachala to see her son when they had visited Tirupati. Mother Azhagammal was old and fatigued.
She declared, 'I am not going back and I will stay here.'

Nagasundaram returned to Tiruvenkadu with his family and resumed his work there. Soon after, his wife died.  He was
left with the sole responsibility for the son Venkataraman. But he could not look after him properly. 

In 1916, one Narayana Reddy who lived at Tiruvannamalai came to Tiruvenkadu and told Nagasundaram that his mother
instructed him to bring her son to Tiruvannamalai.  Nagasundaram  saw it as a call from Arunachala Siva and left Tiruvenkadu
entrusting his child Venkataraman to the care of Nelliappar's family, Soon, Alamelu and her husband Pichu Iyer adopted
the child and took him to their house. 

Nagasundaram was thirty two years old when in August 1917, he arrived at Tiruvannamalai with the intention of surrendering
to Bhagavan.  As a child Nagasundaram was affectionately called Picchai and Mother Azhagammal told Bhagavan: 'You have
to look after this Picchai.' 

In 1918, Nagasundaram took the decisive step of renouncing the world and taking sannyasa. He received diksha, and
after placing the ochre robe in front of Bhagavan, he donned them.  He took he name Niranjananda.


Arunachala Siva.

Today is the day of Ramaswami Pillai (1895-1995). He was a long time associate of Sri Ramana.

He writes:

I first saw Sri Bhagavan when I was studying in school.  Reclining on the couch, He looked indescribably majestic. Since
then He has been God to me in human form. I did not ask for anything.  He turned on me that look of heart melting grace
that He so often bestows on new comers.  I felt filled with to the brim just by seeing Him. 

Miracles did take place in the presence of Sri Bhagavan.  Strangely people like me, very close to Him, never cared to notice
anything 'happening', as we were all all so thoroughly absorbed in Him, in His Presence.  I am able to recollect a 'miracle'
that took place. A person from a town near Tiruvannamalai lost his eyesight owing to small pox or severe fever.  He was
advised that if he went to Sri Ramanasramam, the Maharshi would giver him back his eyesight.  He arrived at the Hall and
inquiring his way.

a few days earlier, two young doctors had arrived for darshan of Bhagavan.  They were totally captivated by Him.  They
were to take leave of Bhagavan before going back to Madras. They came to the Hall, prostrated and went up top their
car, when they had an urge to have one more glimpse of Bhagavan.  Meanwhile, the blind man had entered the Hall
and was praying to Bhagavan that his eyesight by somehow restored by His Grace.  Bhagavan was listening to everything,
but kept absolutely silent.  The doctors who witnessed this, voluntarily took the blind man in their car  to Madras and treated

After some months, I saw a man prostrating to Bhagavan with deep and sincere gratitude for having restored his eyesight.
Bhagavan listened to him unmoved, as if He had nothing to do with it.  This was the natural way He performed miracles.

The other miracle occurred when Bhagavan was staying at the Skandasramam. In those days, He was taking only one meal a
day. In the evening a disciple got rice and coconut as bhiksha.  Bhagavan told us to make a gruel by grinding the rice and coconut,
and add sugar to it.  But there was no sugar at the Asramam.  Even salt, which Bhagavan suggested as an alternative, was
not found. 

At about 9.00 pm. there was a knock at the Asramam's door which was opened by me. To our great surprise, we say two
young men, who had braved through the drizzling rain and darkness, with a packet of sugar candy and a bunch of bananas.
Bhagavan jokingly said, 'Aye! Sugar candy has come with bananas to supplement.'  The sugar candy was powdered and duly
mixed with gruel. 

Bhagavan asked the visitors how it was that they had to come at that time.  One of them replied, 'Bhagavan, it was my good fortune
to have read three articles by Mr. Humphreys, published  in the International Psychic Gazette.  Ever since, it has been my greatest
ambition to see Bhagavan and have His darshan.  Somehow it is only today that we had the opportunity.  As  college students
at Coimbatore we came for an excursion here and are going back tomorrow morning.   Not willing to lose this god-sent opportunity,
we came here not minding rain or darkness.  We shall never for get this most remarkable meeting.'


Arunachala Siva.                                     

General topics / Makara Sankranti - 2014.
« on: January 14, 2014, 06:06:00 AM »
I and my wife wish all the Forum members a happy and prosperous Makara Sankranti.  Let Sri Bhagavan confer all His
blessings for happy and prosperous days in the Uttarayanam and also bless you all with higher spiritual progress to
reach His golden feet.

Arunachala Siva.   

Among the five prose works contained in Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, the work Nan Yar? (Who am I?) holds a
place of unique eminence, both because of its contents and because of its genesis.  That is, not only does it contain an
extremely clear and undiluted account of the very core of Sri Bhagavan's teachings, but it is also the only original prose work
written by Sri Bhagavan Himself.  Whereas Vivekachudamani and Drik Drisya Viveka are works translated by Sri Bhagavan from
Sanskrit, and whereas Vichara Sangraham and Upadesa Manjari are works recorded and edited by devotees. 

Nan Yar? not only contains the original teachings of Sri Bhagavan but also holds the unique distinction of having been edited
and rewritten by Sri Bhagavan Himself in the form of a twenty paragraph essay.  However, more than any other factor, what has
really earned this small work a place of such great esteem in the hearts of all devotees of Sri Bhagavan is the fact that in such
a simple and direct language, it reveals truths of such great depth and practical value.

Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai was born on Saturday the 7th August 1875 in the village of Idaiyanpaalchori, west of Chidambaram.
He is the son of one Muthusami Pillai and Swarnammal.  His parents were pious and orthodox Saivites belonging to a
farming community known as Kaakaatha Vellalar. Hoping that his son would not only prosper in the material life but
would also continue to uphold the tradition of piety, the foundation of which was rooted in the rich soil of Tamizh Saivite
literature.  They arranged for him to study both English and Tamizh at school.  As he grew up, they found that both their
hopes showed signs of being fulfilled, for he was not only an intelligent student but was also naturally endowed with
all good qualities such as devotion, humility, honesty and kindness towards all living beings.

He had an inquiring mind and an eagerness to understand the truth underlying the appearance of our life in this world,
so at college he chose to study Philosophy as his major subject.  While at college, the question 'Who is this I who whirls
about in the world attached to the body?' arose spontaneously in his mind, but in spite of his studying many books he could
find no satisfactory answer to his deeply-felt doubt, and hence he began to feel a strong yearning to meet a great soul who
could give him the answer he was seeking.

After graduating from college, he was married to a girl named Parvati and in the year 1900 he was given employment in the
Revenue Department of South Arcot District Collectorate.  In 1902,  he happened to visit Tiruvannamalai for the first time
on some official duty, and there he heard of the saintly and ascetic life lived by a young boy on the Hill, whom all people
referred to as Brahmana Swami. Sri Pillai at once climbed the Hill to Guhai Namasivayar temple, where Brahmana Swami was
then staying, and on seeing the divine lustre, which shone in the face of the silent young ascetic, he felt strongly attracted
to Him as a piece of iron to a magnet. Immediately he asked Him the question 'Who am I?' which had been haunting his
mind for so many years. Little could he have known at that time, however, that the young Sage he saw seated quietly
before him was born in this world, with a divine mission to reveal the direct path of Self Inquiry, through which alone the true
answer to the question Who am I? could be experienced within the heart.  Such is the working of divine Grace that the fit and
worthy disciple had thus been automatically drawn to the proper Guru.


Arunachala Siva.   

General topics / Koodara Valli - 11.01. 2013.
« on: January 11, 2014, 07:56:09 AM »

Today is also celebrated as Koodaravalli Day by the Vaishnavites.

This is based on the Verse 27 of Tiruppavai and its contents.  After all the tapas, like early morning bath, chanting
Narayana names and having darshan of Him in the temples, the tapas ends today. Andal asks Narayana (who will
conquer those who are not in union with Him), to present them various ornaments and dresses and after getting
these she and her friends go to their houses and prepare, Akkara Vadisal (Sweet Pongal) with ghee laced in
abundance, and take it lavishly in such a way, the melting ghee trickles down from their elbows!   

கூடாரை வெல்லும் சீர் கோவிந்தா உந்தன்னைப்
பாடிப் பறை கொண்டு யாம் பெறும் சம்மானம்
நாடு புகழும் பரிசினால் நன்றாகச்
சூடகமே தோள் வளையே தோடே செவிப் பூவே
பாடகமே என்றனைய பலகலனும் யாம் அணிவோம்
ஆடை உடுப்போம் அதன் பின்னே பாற் சோறு
மூட நெய் பெய்து முழங்கை வழி வாரக்
கூடி இருந்து குளிர்ந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்

What are the prizes that Narayana give?  First the bangles (choodakam), then the shoulder bangles (thOL vaLai),
ear studs (thOdu), then special gold long chains that are worn in the ears (sevi poo), then the anklets (nupuram or
padagam) and also other ornaments.  Then nice dresses!
Finally the sumptuous eating of sweet pongal comes.

Koodi irunthu - in a group - Sat sangh of Narayana devotees.

kuLirnthElo - The sat sangh makes them to revel in the chillness of bliss, with all desires fulfilled.

The word Koodara Valli comes from the first words, "koodArai veLLum seer Govinda."

The Lord helps sadhus and bhaktas (Gajendra, Prahlada, Uddhava, Arjuna and others) but kills or conquers those who are evil
and not in union with Him (Hiranyakasipu, Ravana, Kumbakarna, Sisupala, Dhandavaktra, Kamsa and others.)   

Arunachala Siva.


General topics / Vaikunta Ekadasi 11.01.2013
« on: January 11, 2014, 07:42:32 AM »

Today is the Vaikunta Ekadasi day in the current Tamizh year.  Every year there will be 25 Ekadasi days, of which this
is the most important one.  In the early morning by about 3.30 am, after bath, devotees visit Mahavishnu, Rama or Sri
Krishna temples.  In temples the Lord and His consorts are richly adorned with flower garlands and ornaments. He
and His consorts first cross over an entrance which is called Parama Padam (The Greatest State) or Swarga Vasal (the
gateway to heavens) and devotees in large numbers cross over the entrance and symbolically, is said to have reached

This morning, Jaya TV, Bhakti TV (Telugu) and Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (Tirupati) showed the live telecast of
the celebrations in Sri Ranagam, Tiruvallikeni and Tirupati Temples.  The telecast started at 3.00 am. The Swarga Vasal
crossing by the Lord and devotees were at 4.30 am.. The celebrations were quite nice to watch. 

Sri Rangam is called Koil (the Temple) by Vaishnavites.  Among the 108 holy temples (divya desam) this is the first one.
The celebrations were quite rich in this temple.  There were also a large number of devotees.  The araiyars (Vaishnava
priests/singers, were singing songs from the 4000 divine poems.  (NalAyira Divya Prabandham).

All Azhwars (excepting Madhurakavi Azhwar who sang only about his guru Nammazhwar) have sung about this temple.
Tirumangai Azhwar has sung more songs then any other Azhwars.

Andal prayed only to Sri Rangam Narayana and she merged with Him when taken to the temple by her father

I and my wife were watching the same from 3.30 am.         

This Ekadasi and for that matter all Ekadasis are fasting days and one has to keep awake at night.  These two have,
of course, become a little difficult in the modern days. 

This time Vaikunta Ekadasi has fallen on a Saturday, a day most suitable for worship of Narayana. This happens only
once in 15 years, it is said.

Vaikunta Ekadasi is also celebrated in other Vishnu, Rama and Krishna temples but perhaps in a moderate scale.
Arunachala Siva.


Seekers wonder if it is possible to have a glimpse of the Self and then lost it?  The question has relevance not only for seekers
but also to those individuals who believe themselves to be fully illumined.  Bhagavan said, 'Partial Realization?  If it is partial,
it is not Realization, and if it is Realization it is not partial.  (Balarama Reddy. N. 'My Reminiscences). 

The term, 'aham suphrana' illumines this query.  Bhagavan said, referring to this term, 'It is a foretaste of Realization.  (Talks No. 62).
A foretaste is a foretaste (preliminary or first taste; (preliminary or first taste; slight experience of something to be enjoyed in the future),
but a foretaste is not Sahaja Samadhi, a complete, natural, and never ending direct experience of the Absolute nor is it even Kevala
Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the state of temporary but effortless Self awareness in which the mind/ego has not been finally eliminated.

Imagine a lake with a layer of green scum covering its surface.  If the scum is suddenly pushed aside, one has a clear vision of the pure
water below.  The pure water was always there, but was a hidden by the obscuring scum.  Bhagavan said, 'Although Aham Sphurana is always and all over, yet it is felt at a particular center and on particular occasions.  It is antecedent causes and confounded with the
body.  Whereas, it is all alone and pure, it is the Self.  To fix the mind on the sphurana and one senses it continuously and automatically is realization.  (Ibid.)

The term aham sphurana, like the other terms that Bhagavan employs such as the Self, Jnana or Sahaja Samadhi, is difficult precisely
because the ego lives in the world of subjects and objects.  Yet, these terms do not refer to an objective experience by a knowing object.  Actually, language is an impediment when dealing with Reality.  All languages have place in the lives of individuals at the
empirical level, but Bhagavan 'speaks' the language of the Self.           
Aham: 'I' ( in certain contexts it refers to the individual ego and in other contexts it refers to the Self.  In this context, it refers to the

Sphurana: appear clearly, become visible, flashing forth, to shine. 

The term aham sphurana raises the questions: What is this 'I' (aham) and what is it that flashes forth (sphurana)?


Arunachala Siva.     

General topics / A Poem from Mountain Path - Jan. - Mar. 2014
« on: January 05, 2014, 03:39:10 PM »

Cheenu Srinivasan:

Restlessness is mind
What folly to becalm it.
Elusive is peace

Our inner peace Is
Not the absence of disturbance.
Is this too troubling?


Arunachala Siva.

Part Eight: (Mountain Path, Jan.-Mar. 2014.)

13th January 1978:

Sadhu Om:  There are no outward signs of distinguishing someone in the fifth standard (the state of non dual self love - svatma
bhakti) which is he highest stage in the school of bhakti described in Chapter 2 of the second part of The Path of Sri Ramana.
They will usually appear to behave like pukka devotees in the fourth standard - the stage of guru bhakti. 

The four gurus of Saiva Siddhanta, Tiru Navukkarasar, Jnana Sambandhar, Manikkavachagar and Sundaramurti Swami, were all
Jnanis from the time they started composing verses, but they spent all their lives like second standard students - devotees who
worship or pray to many different names and forms of God, visiting so many temples and writing verses in praise of the temple

Even Bhagavan behaved like a good devotee of Arunachala. He did giri pradakshina and encouraged others to do so.  He never
allowed anyone to walk round Him, garland Him or do puja to Him.  Instead, He always pointed out to Arunachala, as the form
of the Guru, saying that it is the true 'Ramana Sadguru', and he was often moved to tears on reading or hearing stotras. On His
last evening He had not opened His eyes for two hours but about 8 p.m. when we started singing Aksharamana malai with its
refrain 'Arunachala Siva',  He opened His eyes for a few moments, and then till 8.47 p.m. tears were pouring down His cheeks.
He left His body as we were singing Verse 72:

"Protect me, Arunachala, being the support for me to cling to, so that I may not droop down like a tender creeper without
anything to cling to."

Once, while walking round the Hill, Bhagavan did pradakshina of Durvasa's shrine as an example to others, saying jokingly,
'Even if we ignore other shrines, we would not ignore Durvasa because Durvasa was an ancient sage who was noted for his
hot temper.  However, He never prostrated to any deity or person.                   


Arunachala Siva.

The Asramam is going to celebrate the 100 years of Arunachala Akshara Manamalai this year.  There is a notice in this regard,
in the Asramam website, www.Sri Ramana

The song  was primarily intended for Sri Bhagavan's sadhu devotees to sing and while singing go to the streets of Tiru
-vannamalai for alms.  Sri Bhagavan wrote a few lines first and stopped it.  One day, as He was going for giri pradakshina,
the song gushed forth from His lips from beginning to end at a stretch.

Many devotees have written commentaries for Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai.  The first and foremost Tamizh commentary
is by Muruganar titled Akshara Mana Malai Viruthi Urai.  This has got wonderful insights into the poem and is in delightful

Arthur Osborne has done a English translation which is available in English Collected Works.

Recently Smt. Kanakammal has done both in Tamizh and English the commentary, which are also quite nice and simple.

Sri B. Ananthaswami has done a Tamizh commentary. B. Ananathaswami was one who was responsible along with
Swaminathan to establish a Ramana Kendra in Madras (now Chennai).

Many other devotees/visitors might have written commentaries.

This divine poem is worth chanting daily.  This is full of bhakti rasa.

Aksharamana Malai can be split as Akshara = without end, eternal.  And also as Ramana Malai and  Akshara+Mana+Malai,
a garland of song  with each verse, starting with letters alphabetically from 'A' to 'Vai' in Tamizh.

Arunachala Siva.   

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