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General topics / Sri Vasant Kothari - merged with Sri Bhagavan
« on: September 03, 2013, 05:16:14 PM »
Sri Vasant Kothari, a gentleman who was earlier an adept in Yoga went all the way from his native place to Kanyakumari
to practice and teach Yoga in Kanyakumari.  There he heard about Sri Bhagavan and came to Tiruvannamalai.  He spent
most of his time in the Asramam. He must have practiced self inquiry also. He used to attend morning and evening programmes
and also take breakfast, lunch and evening dinner in the Asramam.  He used to participate in Parayana too.  He was living
adjacent to Sadhu Om's house.  Such a mature devotee merged with Sri Bhagavan on the just gone Sravana Pournami day.

These details have been given in Asramam's Saranagati e-magazine of Sept. 2013.

I have met Sri Kothari almost all the times when I went to Tiruvannammalai.  He is a man of few words and he has sometimes
taken food with me also in the dining hall by my side.  He used to wear a simple loose banian and a pyjama or dhoti.
He used to ask my welfare and my family's well fare with kind words.  I am told he belongs to a very rich family of business
people and with assets worth Rs 200 crores.  He must have left everything to their children and come away for his spiritual

Arunachala Siva.     


Today is also the punarvasu star day, the birth star of Sri Bhagavan.  Today there will be elaborate pujas for
Sri Ramaneswara Maha Lingam, adorning the golden casket on Sri Ramaneswara Maha Lingam.

Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai is full of devotional verses on Sri Bhagvan's form and valor.  One verse from
Tirupadam kaNda thiRan (Seeing the Sacred Feet):


Lord, whose star is Ardra, Master of Vedas
Who brought as bright experience to my heart
The truth  the Ancients thought, He made me
How own out of sheer kindness.  This
Quick mercurial magic, this transforming
Glory manifest in broad daylight.  I witnessed.

(Muruganar - Tr. Prof K. Swaminathan)

Arunachala Siva.     


Today is the day on which Sri Bhagavan (young Venkataraman) arrived at Arunachala.  It was a Tuesday, the 1st
September 1996.  The young Venkataraman was only 16 years old!

He had His death experience (V. Ganesan calls it 'selfhood experience' ) on 16th July 1896 at Madurai. K. Swaminathan
says it was 16th July 1896.  But Smt. Gayatri Devi Vasudev, the niece of Sri B.V. Raman, after anlayzing the horoscope
of Bhagavan thoroughly, has said that it was on 10th July 1896.

The journey of Sri Bhagavan from Madurai to Arunachala is known to most of us.  He traveled by train from Madurai to
Villupuram.  In Villupuram, a hotelier gave Him meals but did not take money for the same.  Then He walked some distance
and then spent 2 annas to travel by bus and reached Mambazhapattu.  From then on He had no money and He had to walk
up to Arainainallur in the hot sun.  He became tired and weary.  In Arainainallur temple, He had a jyoti darsan of Arunachala!
(Saint Tirujnana Sambandhar had also jyoti darsan there!)

He had no food.  He asked for food from the temple priest.  He was refused.  He was also not to stay inside the temple.
It became nightfall.  He walked up to Kilur and then went into the Veerataneswar temple.  He again had darsan of Veerattaneswara and then asked for food from the priest.  The priest as usual refused.  The drummer who was a good person told the priest that his
share can be given to the boy. The young Venkataraman took the food and walked a little distance and then fell unconscious.
The remaining rice got scattered on the road. 

Next morning, He found that He had no further money and then sought the help of Muthukrishana Bhagavatar to lend money
taking His ruby rings.  He got Rs 4.00. Bhagavatar's widowed sister gave Him food and sweetmeats since it was Gokulashtami
Day. (31.8.1896). From Kilur, He traveled by train and arrived at Arunachala on the morning of 01.09.1896.

He went straight to Arunachaleswara.  It was about 11 am.  There was nobody in the sanctum sanctorum.  He went and
embraced the Lingam.  He said: 'Father, I have come to You as per Your commands.  Hereafter it is Your Will.'
He spent the rest of His 54 years in Tiruvannamalai only.

Om pituradesa sona sailam prAptAya Namah |

Om. Salutations to the One who came to Sonasailam as per Father's wish. |   

Arunachala Siva.           

General topics / Sri Krishna Janmashtami - 28.08.2013.
« on: August 28, 2013, 09:33:20 AM »

Today is Sri Krishna Janmashtami.  Sri Krishna was born at midnight on the 8th moon digit day of fortnight of waning moon 
in the month of Sravana, Aavani.  There will be special pujas in the temples in Sri Rangam, Srivilliputtur, Tirupati, Dwaraka,
Puri and the like.

Krishna was born in the prison at midnight.  He showed his form with four arms and disc and conch shell to his parents
Vasudeva and Devaki.  He told them to exchange him to the girl baby just born in the house of Yasoda in Gokulam
on the other side of Yamuna river.  The prison doors got opened on their own!  The handcuffs of the parents got snapped.
The jailors were in deep sleep.

Vasudeva took the baby in a basket and crossed Yamuna river.  It was raining.  Adisesha appeared as an umbrella to
prevent the child and the father from being drenched in the rain!  The river was in spate.  But Vasudeva found the waters
only knee deep.  He went to Gokulam and got the baby exchanged to the girl baby just then born to Yasoda.  The girl
baby is actually the avatar of Uma.  He returned before day break.  The jail doors got closed!  The handcuffs got re-joined!

Krishna spent his playful younger days only in Gokulam and Brindavan.  He comes to Mathura under the invitation of Kamsa,
when he was about 16, for wrestling with two huge wrestlers.  He and Balarama wrestle with the huge wrestlers and killed them. Krishna also killed the mad elephant Kuvalaya Peetam kept at the door way of the palace.  He then kills Kamsa and gives the kingship
to Ukrasena, his grandfather.             

Srimad Bhagavatam and Mahabharata describe the valor of Krishna. Bhilvamangal's Sri Krishna Kanamrutam describe his
younger days in a sweet manner.  So also Jayadeva's Ashtapathi.


Arunachala Siva.


Last night, without getting sleep, I was going through the above book of Paul Brunton.  This is from the three chapters of
his bigger book A Search in Secret India.  I went through this booklet and found that Brunton had really been enamored of
Sri Bhagavan's greatness and His jnana bodham.  Had he remained like Chadwick, sticking to Maharshi, without roaming all
over the places in the world, he would have attained great spiritual progress and even realized the Self.  Destiny played a role
that he had to be only a writer of books and some of them are writings of Sri Bhagavan plagiarized by him, which earned him
bad name from devotees of Sri Bhagavan.  But his darsan of Sri Bhagavan shows that he had great yearning for a Guru and
was ready to follow him and make use of his presence for his spiritual development.


I give some excerpts from the booklet The Maharshi and His Message:

Brunton along with one Sadhu by name Subramanya arrive at Tiruvannamalai Station.

At length I learn that we are approaching the Maharshi's hermitage.  We turn aside from the road and move down a rough
path which brings us to a thick grove of coconut and mango trees. We cross this until he path suddenly comes to an abrupt
termination before an unlocked gate.  The driver of the cart descends, pushes the gate open, and then drives us into a large
unpaved courtyard.  I stretch out my cramped limbs, descend to the ground, and look around. 

The cloistered domain of the Maharshi is hemmed in at the front by closely growing trees and a thickly clustered garden.
It is screened at the back and side by hedgerows of shrub and cactus, while away to the west stretches the scrub jungle
and what appears to be a dense forest.  It is most picturesquely placed on a lower spur of the Hill.  Secluded and apart,
it seems a fitting spot for those who wish to pursue profound themes of meditation.


'We shall now enter into the Hall of Maharshi,' announces the holy man of the yellow robe, bidding me to follow him.  I pause
outside the uncovered stone verandah and remove my shoes. I gather up the little pile of fruits which I have brought as an
offering, and pass into an open doorway.

Twenty faces flash their eyes open upon us.  Their owners are squatting in half circles on a dark grey floor paved with
Cuddappah slabs.  They are grouped at a respectful distance from the corner which lies farthest to the right hand of the door.
Apparently everyone has been facing this corner just prior to our entry.  I glance for a moment and perceive a seated figure
upon a long white divan, but it suffices to tell me that here indeed is the Maharshi. 

My guide approaches the divan, prostrates himself prone on the floor, and buries his eyes under folded hands.


Arunachala Siva.                 


(The article is my M.G. Shanmukham)

I own an apology to all the readers of Mountain Path, for not writing this article before, even though I had the good fortune
of being in contact with Sri Bhagavan for 24 years from 1926, until His Mahanirvana Day.  The reason being that Sri Bhagavan
once told me that it is always better that one practices Atma Vichara without any publicity.

The late Sri Devaraja Mudaliar and Sri T.P. Ramachandra Iyer, and other devotees of Sri Bhagavan wanted me to write my
reminiscences and experiences with Sri Bhagavan lest they should be lost to posterity.  Recently Sri Bhagavan Himelf appeared
in my dream and ordered me to write this article and also to revise the Tamizh book Sri Bhagavan's Life and Sayings, which was
written by me through His unbounded grace and published as early as 1930, and further He told me that the book must be handy.

A brief sketch of my early life is necessary to show how Sri Bhagavan dragged me to His Holy Presence. 

I was born at Mayavaram (the present Mayliaduturai) and from my 14th year, I had a religious turn of mind. I was then performing
puja, repeating mantras and reading almost all religious books on Advaita as well as the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
My ardent desire from my childhood was to become an advaitin and I used to sit before Swami Vivekananda's picture in tears
paying that I might be blessed enough to have the darsan of a Jivanmukta in this life itself.

My first Guru was one Murugappa Desikar at Tiruchengodu, who initiated me into the meditation between the eyebrows in
the year 1922.  I practiced it three times a day, each time for one hour, besides my usual pujas.  After practicing for some time
I developed a sort of a brain fag and a discomfort in the mind. At this time, one Swayamprakasa Yogini Ammal, who had done
penance for 12 years  in the Himalayas, came to our house at my father's invitation.  My father, late K. Gopala Pillai, was a
police inspector and was very religious.  My father and yogini had some spiritual discussions in which I wanted to join but my
father refused to allow me to take part on the grounds that I was too young. 


Arunachala Siva.                         

General topics / Silent Power - K.K. Nambiar
« on: August 13, 2013, 06:29:32 PM »

People who visited Sri Bhagavan during His life time, could not have failed to observe the characteristic pose in which
He reclined on His sofa with eyes closed and His head supported with His left arm, particularly at the time of Vedaparyana
and so on.

Some of us devotees sitting around used to watch Him intently during such periods.  On several occasions I used to mentally
pray to Him that on reopening His eyes, He should bestow a look at me and I must say I was never disappointed. So it was
crystal clear to me that prayers to Sri Bhagavan need not be vocal and He felt, knew and answered the inner prayers of all
His devotees.

Conversely there were also occasions when I sat at the feet of Sri Bhagavan and intently meditated on His form with closed
eyes, and most often when I opened my eyes, Sri Bhagavan appeared to be watching me. It is a great comfort even now to
recall the experience of those exquisite moments which stand out so vividly in my memory. Time has not effaced even a
fraction of those vistas.


Arunachala Siva.           

General topics / Poem by Upahar - Mountain Path - July-Sept. 2013,
« on: August 12, 2013, 06:18:31 PM »

Silent one, unspoken love,
Laying again these broken words, at your feet;
What is there to forget, or to remember?
How should You ever come?  How could you go?

Majesty, all pervading, where shall I look and not see You?
Unspeakable beauty, may I find you here without seeking:
May I arrive without leaving,
so be Your Will.

Circle of blood, rhythm of heart,
whatever turns and falls and rises,
this endless Dance,
a ray from Your bright eye reveals as only Love

Like a tree, breaking the ancient earth
to spread its vast prayer skyward,
its secret infinite breath;
the fragrant remembrance, deep and joyful;
 I am already HERE.

Arunachala Siva.     


(An article by V.S. Krishnan)

We often hear and read about saints and sages as if they are distant from us and impossible to emulate. We rarely hear
about those who lead lives of quiet sanctity and whose humility hides their greatness.  There are many hidden saints who
lead ordinary lives. There does not seem to be any apparent difference between them and those who spend their time in
the pursuit of plain survival or the fulfillment of their ever burgeoning desires.  Often they are vilified for the deceptively strange
behavior that can, according to the accepted norms, border on madness.  One such saint was a housewife in Chennai in the
mid 20th century.  Her story is an example of fortitude and conviction.  It is also a story of anguish and of the courage to overcome
numerous obstacles, with and without understanding of those closest who are bewildered by the turn of events.

Maragatham's is an extraordinary story. She was born to Sankaranarayana Sastri and his wife Sitalakshmi on the 6th of
September 1899 in Mylapore, Chennai.  She was named Maragathavalli. 'Maragatham' is Tamizh for emerald, and Valli is
the name of Lord Muruga's consort.  Hailing from a family of scholars, Sastri expected his daughter to be educated and engaged
a private tutor for her. However, Maragatham did not show much interest in formal studies.  Her mother Sitalakshmi had passed
away early in her childhood and her father spent most of his time absorbed in his own studies.

Sankaranarayna Sastri was a scholar by nature, and a brilliant lawyer.  One day, whilst he was in his library, deeply absorbed in
his studies, his attention was diverted by the unusual occurrence of someone entering the room, for nobody disturbed him when
he was working.  Looking up, he saw his daughter Maragatham standing by his side, looking uncharacteristically serious. Sastri
was puzzled and asked her what the matter was.  Maragatham replied not in words but with a song.  The strangeness of her
behavior was overridden by the underlying meaning of the song she had sung.  The scholarly Sastri understood the eternal
truth implicit in the lyrics of the song, the truth sought by spiritual seekers and saints.

When her song ended Sastri said to his daughter, 'Brilliantly composed and beautifully rendered. Tell me, when and where did you
learn this song?'

'Muruga appeared in my dream last night and graced me. The song came into my mind on its own', she replied simply!

(Krishna Rao and Radha and Co., The Gift of God or Andavan Picahai, Divine Life Society, Sivananda Nagar, U.P. 1983).


Arunachala Siva.               

(Mountain Path, October-December 2007)

The Vedas define enlightenment as freedom from suffering, the most desirable human goal.  To attain freedom they present
two APPARENTLY  contradictory paths.  One, the experiential approach, is GENERALLY known as Yoga. (People have misunderstood
Yoga to be an activity and a passing experience. Patanjali's Yoga in its final essence is no different to Vedanta, though we will
see in the course of this article Yoga is a preparation for Jnana.  For the sake of argument and convenience, we will assume, as in
the popular perception, Yoga as being different from Vedanta or Jnana.)

It says that that there are two basic states of experience, suffering from freedom from suffering.   There are many yogic lifestyles
employing various yogas, techniques, which are meant to set one free.  The most well known are Ashtanga Yoga, the eight fold
path, and Kundalini Yoga.  Both promise experiential enlightenment.  'Experiential' means that through spiritual practice one
sets in motion a process that eventually results in freedom.  Ashtanga Yoga helps seeker patiently develop a disciplined mind,
one that is capable of attaining Samadhi, a high thought-free state of Self Awareness which it defines as a key to freedom. 
Kundalini Yoga is also a disciplined approach that through certain rigorous practices, 'awakens' the dormant spiritual energy
and generates, it is said, mystical experiences that lead to the "final" experience, union of the individual with the universal.

The second approach to enlightenment is called Vedanta.  Like Yoga it presents freedom from suffering as the most desirable
human goal but it does not share the yogic view concerning the means. 

To understand the validity of these views we need to consider a basic existential problem.  What is the nature of Reality?


Arunachala Siva.                   


(by I.S, Madugula)

The notion of kaivalya (perfection) in Patanjali Yoga Sutras is regarded as being the highest good of yoga philosophy. 
The Yogi's kaivalya is comparable to the Advatiin's concept of mukti or moksha, (liberation, self knowledge, enlightenment)
in terms of meaning as well methodology. These two states of self realization only denote a distinction, not a difference.

The Yoga Sutra define kaivalya in the last aphorism of he last chapter, Yoga Sutra IV.34. It is a spiritual state in which the
power of Pure or Universal Consciousness is established in itself (svarupa pratishtha).  The aspirant, at this point, has cleansed
himself or herself of all mental modifications by recognition and detachment from the unconscious identification with the gunas
(his behavioral attributes).  In computer language, we may say that the practitioner returns to his default mode, which is
absolute freedom or divine solitude.

Apte's Sanskrit Dictionary describes kaivalya as 'perfect isolation, soleness, exclusiveness; individuality; detachment of the soul
from matter, identification with the supreme spirit; final emancipation or beatitude. (V.S. Apte, The Students' Sanskrit English
Dictionary, Delhi).

According to Monier Williams, the term means 'absolute unity; abstraction; detachment from all other connections, detachment
of the soul from the matter or further transmigration, beatitude.  (Monier Williams, Sanskrit English Dictionary, On line edition

Note that the noun from,kaivalya derives from the adjective kevala, meaning, alone, mere, sole, only, isolated.  Kaivalya
Yogi transforms his her mortality into divinity.           
Obviously, the Yoga implied here is not ordinary loneliness or isolation. It is perfect isolation where in human spirit is finally in
its own element in a beatific state and where mundane tribulations vanish.  The Yogi has, with years of practice, sharpened
his body and mind and all his intellectual faculties to a fine degree, taking physical and mental discipline to the ultimate level.


Arunachala Siva. 

General topics / Aadi Pooram (Aashada Purva phalguni) - 9.8.2013
« on: August 09, 2013, 09:41:02 AM »
Today is the birth day of Andal, who loved Ranganatha and eventually merged with Him in Sri Rangam.  Rather to say
that she was born this pooram day, one should say that she was found out under the bushes of tulsi plants by her
foster father Periyazhwar alias Vishnu Siddhar.

Her verses totally come to 143 in First Thousand of Four Thousand Songs of Aazhwars.
The final verse of Tiruppavai speaks about her birth and the verses written by her.

In Bangalore, in the IIM campus, many housewives meet and sing Tiruppavai and also the other verses of
Andal.  My wife has gone at about 9.30 am. to participate in this holy Satsangh.     

திருவாடிப் பூரத்து செகத்துதித்தாள் வாழியே
திருப்பாவை முப்பதும் செப்பினாள் வாழியே
பெரியாழ்வார் பெற்றெடுத்த பெண் பிள்ளை வாழியே
பெரும்புதூர் மாமுனிக்குப் பின்னானாள் வாழியே
ஒரு நூற்று நாற்பத்து மூன்றுரைத்தாள் வாழியே
உயரரங்கற்கே கண்ணியுகந்தருளிதாள் வாழியே
மருவாரும் திருமல்லி வள நாடி வாழியே
வண்புதுவை நகர்க் கோதை மலர்ப் பதங்கள் வாழியே

Arunachala Siva.

Today is Kunju Swami's Liberation Day.  He merged in Arunachala in August 1992 at the ripe age of ninety five.

He came to Sri Bhagavan in 1920 when Sri Bhagavan was in Skandasramam.  He served Him as an attendant till 1932.

He came from Palakkad when his guru at the younger age one Kuppandi Swami directed him to Sri Bhagavan.
It was a thrilling experience for Kunju Swami to see Sri Bhagavan and His gracious look was fixed on Kunju Swami
for several  minutes.  At that moment he says, that all his confusions ceased and he experienced a peace and bliss he
had never experienced before.

"While we were together Bhagavan would often look at me; and as He did so, I became aware that His eyes had a strange
brilliance and fascination in them.  Whenever I looked into His eyes for any length of time, I saw bright effulgence. I was
also filled with a strange peace and bliss.  After each experience I would come back to my physical state with a shudder."

"In the early days of my stay at the Skandasramam, I found that I could get all my doubts cleared merely by listening to the
answers to questions put by other devotees.  Moreover, by listening to the answers, I was able to learn many new aspects
of Bhagavan's teachings."

"On several occasions Bhagavan's body would disappear in a flash and disperse into component atoms.  A little later a
smoke like form would appear and the atoms would come together in a form that resembled particles of dust.  Finally
the body would reappear in its normal form."

Kunju Swami wrote his reminiscences in Tamizh in the year 1977. (Enathu ninaivugaL).  This was later translated under
the title Living With the Master in English.

Kunju Swami is one of the earliest devotees of Sri Bhagavan who had spent long years with Him.

Arunachala Siva.         

An inquiry in the Light of the Dakshinamurti Stotram:

Part I:

(Swami Tanmayananda Sarasvati)


The goal of all spiritual sadhana is Advaita Siddhi (the accomplishment of non dual vision), which is also called Self
Realization (or God-realization, in bhakti terminlogy).  In Sanskrit, it is called Atma Satshakatkaram or Brahma
Sakshatkaram (realization of the universal spirit, shining as the indwelling Self of every being).  Upon inquiring into
the nature of this liberating Knowledge, the venerable ancient Rishis asserted that it is not a matter of reaching any
destination or gaining something anew (in terms of a variety of religious or mystical experiences) nor is it a transformation
of the mind-stuff and much less is it a product of any action, however, exalted.  Lastly it does not consist of mere purification
of soul. (Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Gambirananda, Advaita Ashrama, 2006; Sutra 4. 'tat tu samanvayat'.  See also Isavasya

In the inner journey of the soul, there are a variety of landmarks which could be loosely described using the above terms.
They may have some limited validity on the relative plane, which strictly pertains to the preparatory stages of sadhana.  When
Paul Brunton queried Sri Bhagavan regarding the time required for enlightenment, He replied that it takes a long time to set
fire to coal, gunpowder catches fire instantly, (Self Realization, B.V. Narasimha Swami, 2002), and it is all a matter of maturity
of mind.  The final explosion that destroys samsara (the cycle of transmigration) with all its sufferings happens only with the dawn
of Self knowedge (Jnanadeva tu kaivalyam).

In Vedantic parlance, the nature of such enlightenment is more accurately described as PRATYABHIJNA or recognition of the
inner Self.  "It is pure, plain and as simple as recognizing a gooseberry fruit in one's palm and hence easy even for simpletons"
exclaims Bhagavan Ramana in His Atma Vidya Kirtanam.


Arunachala Siva.


Today is the punarvasu  star day in the Tamizh month of Aadi  (Ashada).  Sri Bhagavan like Sri Rama was born on a
punarvasu star day, in the Tamizh month of Margazhi (Dhanur).  The Asramam celebrates the punarvasu star day
in every month, by special pujas to Sri Ramaneswara Mahalingam.  The Lingam is adorned with a golden casket (the
color of punarvasu star is golden).  Sri Muruganar has composed verses under the title punarvasu vaNNam in Sri
Ramana Sannidhi Murai.  Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai is a composition full of bhakti rasam.  (devotional fervor).

I shall give one verse from Tiruchuzhiyal Padigam (Decad on Tiruchuzhi).  The decad is quite noteworthy because Sri
Muruganar says:  'Even if I forget you, my tongue would utter your Name.'  The Name and Form are quite important
in bhakti marga.

Verse 423:

Lord Ramana, Master of Wisdom shining
On the Vedas' lofty crown,
Because I came to You I have gained
This bliss unparalleled
Lord of ancient Pandyan Tiruchuzhi,*
Be still, clear minds adored,
I may perhaps sometimes forget You
But my tongue shall for ever Your Name utter.     

(* Tiruchuzhi is in Madurai district which was capital of ancient Pandyan Kingdom.)


Arunachala Siva.

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