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Health & Welfare Issues / Re: Health and Fitness related articles
« on: September 21, 2014, 10:55:40 PM »

Why Everyone Should Walk 30 Minutes A Day

 In Japan, Shinrin-yoku ? translated as "forest bathing" ? is the act of walking in nature to manage stress and relax. Aristotle made the outdoors his classroom and taught while he walked. Walking is probably one of the most underrated exercise options, and it costs nothing, boosts energy, improves cardiovascular health, with its benefits dating back to antiquity.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number one killer in America. Research shows that walking as little as 30 minutes a day can reduce our risk by 40 percent. If walking is practiced with mindful eating and meditation, not only will the world march to a healthier beat but the cost associated with this disease, which the CDC estimates at more than $300 billion, will decrease.

I?ve talked the talk, now we have to walk the walk ? let?s turn these statistics around. Here are five reasons and five tips to get you off your toosh.

5 Reasons To Start Walking

1. Walking is versatile.

Whether you?re staying local or traveling, exploring the neighborhood on foot is the easiest way to get moving. It clears the head, gets you outside, maintains your fitness and, because it's low impact, isn?t as likely to cause injury as other sports.

2. You'll get an endorphin and serotonin boost.

Scheduling a walking meeting with your boss or client not only gets you out of the neon-lit conference room, but commits you both to including exercise into your daily schedule. What?s more, the release of endorphins and serotonin brings on a natural high, making that pay raise or contract so much easier to negotiate.

3. Listen to a podcast.

Walking solo? If you don?t have time to listen to podcasts at your desk, download them. Just stay alert of your surroundings if you?re walking with headphones, and check your phone carrier?s download limit to avoid hidden costs.

4. You'll meet people.

If you?ve always wanted to participate in a marathon, buddy up with a friend and train for a walking marathon ? it?s a great place to start. Or if you prefer something less intense, join a walking group, or attend a local walking meetup in your city. Who knows what you?ll discover or who you?ll meet...

5. Walking is good for you.

Don?t buy into the myth that walking isn't sweaty or strenuous enough to offer real benefits. Research shows that regular, brisk walking is associated with lower blood pressure, improved mood and better cholesterol ratios.

5 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Walk

1. Make sure you have the right shoes.

Many people don't exercise because they have foot pain; this is when comfortable shoes can help.Make sure the shoes you choose allow the feet to breathe and offer arch support, and if necessary, consult a specialist to help you choose the right shoes.

2. Try interval training.

If you can?t walk for 30 consecutive minutes, divvy it up. Walk during your lunch break, take the stairs whenever possible, or park the car at the furthest end of the parking lot. It?s OK to split the time into three 10-minute bursts throughout the day.

3. Measure your steps.

Track your progress with a pedometer or other wearable device. Measuring progress gives that extra bit of motivation ? whether it?s reaching your goal of 10,000 steps or clocking 30 minutes of walking daily. Furthermore, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who used pedometers walked about one extra mile each day (or 2,000 more steps) compared to those who didn?t monitor their steps. Analysis also found that blood pressure and weight were lowered too.

4. Improve your gait.

When it comes to your stride, bad posture, tight hips, a slack tummy and weak glutes (mainly from too much desk sitting) don?t make for a walk in the park. Yoga is great for stretching and strengthening: To release tight hips, spend a few minutes in the half-pigeon pose on each hip; glutes love bridge pose; and boat pose brings much-needed awareness to your core.

5. Give your feet some TLC( Tender Loving Care ).

Massaging the feet is a good way to relieve stress and prevent future strain. Before heading to bed, knead your soles, arches and toes with some warm sesame oil ? or get your significant other to do it for you.

Let?s start a movement ? let?s get up, lace up, and hit the road!

General Discussion / Re: Articles,Interviews,News
« on: September 19, 2014, 11:37:22 AM »
Very Shocked to hear the news of Mandolin Srinivas death .
Here is the news about the cause of his death .It seems to be a liver complication  :

Mandolin U Srinivas, popular Carnatic musician, passes away

Dear Sri Anil

Happy that you got the invite from Sri RamanaAshram for 5 days stay and that you have made all the arrangements for the same . I am sure you will get the necessary permission and leave from your office also .Bhagavan's Grace will make things possible and guide you accordingly . You have done the necessary efforts from your side , leave the rest to Bhagavan .
Make the best use of your stay in Sri Ramana Ashram .
All the best .Om Peace .

General Discussion / Re: Swami Sivananda's Teachings and Quotes
« on: September 13, 2014, 11:48:38 PM »
Here is an excellent view from Swami Satyananda ( Disciple of Swami Sivananda and also founder of Bihar School of Yoga ) on Swami Sivananda's Innocent Faith and Purity

Swami Sivananda was not intellectual; he was purely a bhakta, with a very innocent mind. If anyone came to him or wrote to him with problems, at once he would ask everybody to please sit down, close their eyes and repeat the mantra for that person's recovery. He had such faith that immediately after the mantra was repeated, he would have us write a letter saying, 'We have conducted the mantra prayer for you and now you will be alright.'

Unless you have faith, you cannot believe in this. We are all intellectuals. We know all the mantras, but we have no faith in them
. If we practise a mantra for someone who is sick, we will not dare to write and tell him, because we cannot be sure he has gotten better. Whereas faith leaves no room for doubt, knowledge has fissures in it. I am not against intellect, but at the same time its limitations must be pointed out.

Faith is very innocent but it is so powerful that the miracles you see in the lives of the great saints are a product of that innocence. Innocence is not childishness; it is the blossoming of the purity in man's structure. To be innocent you don't have to do anything or be anything. Rather, whatever you have acquired you have to throw away: knowledge, proceeds, wealth, power, status and political and religious background. You have to believe, 'I am nothing.' When this attitude takes hold within you, it becomes the centre of faith and in Swami Sivananda I found this faith in absolutely living form.

Dear Sir

Happy to note that you have started a Ramana Satsang in Toronto , Canada . For devotees attending Satsang is one of the ways to strengthen one's sadhana .I will pass on this info to some of my friends / relatives who are in Canada .All the best in your efforts .

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 13, 2014, 10:42:09 PM »
"Yes, there is hope, there is hope."

In the year 1907 I went to Tiruvannamalai to have darshan of Bhagavan. I climbed up to the Virupaksha cave. In order to safeguard Bhagavan from the intruding pilgrims of the Kartikai festival, one Krishnayya kept guard at the gate of the cave. So I had to wait outside till Bhagavan came out. He soon came out and went away without even glancing at me. I followed and overtook him. He stopped and looked at me. Words poured out of my mouth, "I am suffering, beset with many diseases. Have mercy on me". He replied, "I am neither a physician nor a magician. What can I do or tell you". Anguish welled up from the depths of my heart, and I said, "I came because I heard of your greatness. Will not my good luck be as great"? He looked at me for a long moment and said, "Go home, have courage. No harm will come to you". And he waved his hand in a peculiar way. Somehow it gave me hope.

Soon I settled at Tiruvannamalai and thus began my daily visits to Bhagavan, sometimes staying for the night with him. One day Bhagavan was sitting all alone in front of Virupaksha cave. A strange emotion got hold of me and I asked him in English, "My Lord, Jesus and other great souls have come down to earth to save sinners like me. Is there hope for me"? Bhagavan seemed moved by my cry of distress. He came closer and said in a quiet voice, "Yes, there is hope, there is hope."

When I returned home a song welled up in my mind and I wrote it down. Since then I wrote songs by Bhagavan's grace. When I brought my first song to Bhagavan and recited it before him, he gave me some instructions in prosody and illustrated them with examples from great Telugu poets. Since them I wrote songs and poems without much thought or effort all the years until Bhagavan's samadhi. Then the spring dried up, for it was not a gift I brought with me. It was all His grace.

~ M. V. Ramaswami Iyer, Ramana Smriti



In the afternoon Krishna Jivrajani said to Bhagavan, ?During sadhana I feel that something in me is going up. Is that right or should it go down??

Bhagavan: Never mind whether anything goes up or down. Does it exist without you? Never forget that. Whatever experience may come remember who has the experience and thus cling to ?I? or the Self.

Jivrajani: Bhagavan has said one must dive deep into oneself like pearl divers with breath and speech controlled and discover the Self or attain the Self. So does Bhagavan advise me to practice breath-control?

Bhagavan: Breath-control is a help in controlling the mind and is advised for such as find they cannot control the mind without some such aid. For those who can control their mind and concentrate, it is not necessary. It can be used at the beginning until one is able to control the mind, but then it should be given up. Since mind and prana rise from the same source, control of one gives control of the other also.

Jivrajani: Is it good to strain to achieve breath-control?
Bhagavan: No, straining is not good. Only a little pranayama should be done at the beginning ? as much as is possible without undue strain.

Day by Day

Here is the thread where you can discuss about what you read here :
It is called Pointers from Bhagavan - For Discussion

General Discussion / Re: Articles,Interviews,News
« on: September 10, 2014, 08:58:21 PM »


SALUTATIONS - Real Meaning of Namaskara
6th April, 1948

At about 3 o?clock this afternoon a young boy, four or five years of age, came with his mother. She prostrated before Bhagavan and sat down. The boy prostrated likewise, but continued the salutations over and over again. Bhagavan laughed at that and told his attendants, ?Just see. He is prostrating to me over and over again. Perhaps he thinks that if he does so, he may afterwards do whatever he pleases.

He is a young lad. What does he know? He is just imitating his elders. He must however be rewarded. All that he wants is a plantain. If he gets it he will stop. Give him one.? On being given one, the boy went and sat down.

After some time, someone came and did sashtanga namaskara (reverential salutation by prostrating with all the eight limbs of the body touching the ground), but did not get up for a long time. People nearby finally made him get up. He somehow got up but began saluting again and again. He was ultimately prevailed upon to stop saluting and sit down.

Bhagavan told the people near him: ?Namaskara means prostration a number of times according to some. What can be done? The real meaning of namaskara is the dissolving of the mind.?

?What is the meaning of sashtanga namaskara, Bhagavan?? asked the devotee. ?It means that eight limbs of the body, namely, two hands, two legs, two arms, chest and forehead, touch the ground while saluting. The idea behind this type of obeisance is that the person doing it says, ?the body which touches the earth, will resolve itself into that earth ultimately, and the ?I? in me will continue to be ?I? alone?. That idea must be known to oneself by enquiry. Without knowing it, there is no use in doing these.

With meaningless namaskaras people want to secure all the benefits: ?Swami must give them whatever they desire, be it a bag of clothes or money.? Whenever they do namaskara, I feel afraid. I must be beholden to them. I must act according to their wishes. I must fulfill all their desires. I must conduct myself carefully after knowing their minds. Not only that. Just by bowing to me, they get a sort of right over me.

When people like us suffer like this, what about Ishwara himself? He must be beholden to ever so many; he must act according to the wishes of people; he must give boons to people. When swamitvam itself has so many troubles, what about Ishwaratvam? If anyone refrains from prostrating before me, I feel very happy because I need not be beholden to him. A Jnani need not prostrate before anybody nor need he give his blessings to anybody. That is because his mind remains always submerged. He is deemed to be doing namaskara at all times. Some people feel offended when they prostrate before a Jnani and he does not respond with another namaskara nor even raise his hand and bless them. But the fact is, before the others have prostrated, the Jnani will have already prostrated lower, his mind having been dissolved. Even blessing (asirvadam) is similar. The submerging of the mind itself is a blessing. The Jnani?s mind remains always submerged. That being so, who is the one to bless? What is it that is done?? said Bhagavan.

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam

Here is the thread where you can discuss about what you read here :
It is called Pointers from Bhagavan - For Discussion


Athmananda Swamy Temple

Also known as:Thiruperunthurai Temple, Avudaiyar koil, Audayar Kovil


Avudaiyar Koil (temple)  also known as Athmananda Swamy Temple and Thiruperunthurai temple, is 50 kms from the town of Pudukkottai, a place that resounds with kings and traitors, history and bravery and art, music, culture and spirituality.. The reigning deity of the temple is Athmananda Swamy, but the temple is Avudaiyar Koil. Avudaiyar Koil is one among the 275 ?Paadal Petra Sthalams? or shrines that feature in songs sung by great saints and musicians.


Unusually in this Shiva temple, there is no lingam in the sanctum sanctorum. Avudaiyar Koil has been embellished with beautiful sculpture and art work as a result of which the town of Avudayarkoil has been declared as a ?heritage town? by the government. 


Avudaiyar Koil is the temple of Athmanandaswamy. This holy place has an honoured place in the history of Shaivism. In inscriptions, this temple is known famously as Thiruperundurai (the biggest harbor) and is intimately associated with the Saint Manikavachagar, the great poet whose work ?Thiruvasagam? or sayings is an important religious, spiritual and social commentary in Tamizh language..


Inscriptions found in this temple describe it as a chaturvedi mangalam denoting the fact that it was the home of great scholars, who were masters of all the four Vedas, the holy scriptures of Hindus.


Avudaiyar Koil?s mandapams (hallways) are decorated with breathtaking sculptures. The granite roofs are assembled and are marvelous pieces of construction. Avudayar Koil is famous for the art of Kodungai carving, the work done under the stone that forms the sun shade or overhang of the roof. It usually sits on top of the beam stone and is a superb example of the craft of the 9th century artisans. There is a popular story that states that any contract written for all subsequent temples specifically exclude the structure of Athmanandha Swamy?s Avudaiyar Koil from being replicated. Sculptors from these parts consider the sculptures of this temple as a benchmark in carving.   


The shrine of the dancing Lord Ganesha - Nardhana Vinayakar - is designed in such a way that the rays of the sun fall on the Lord throughout the year! Other masterpieces in carvings are the ones of Goddess Kali and the saint himself, Manikavachagar. The larger monolith figures of Agni, fire god and Agora Veerabadra (the doorkeepers) at the entrance are stunning.


The offering of the ?naivedyam? or prasad is also unique in Avudaiyar Koil. On a platform in front of the Avudaiyar, the priest spreads hot boiled rice, greens and bitter gourd without salt. The steam that rises from these is the offering to the Lord.

The striking granite sculptures in the Avudaiyar Koil temple are the many carvings, stone chains and the pillars of the mandapam. There are stone inscriptions that record one of the temple?s consecrations as 1891 CE. The chariot car of this temple is renowned for its wood carvings.

Later periods of the temple?s history can be identified by the finest examples of the early Chola style of sculptures. An architectural description of the 27 constellations and stories presented in a line of fresco paintings is beautiful.

Avudaiyar Koil?s highlights are the Kuravan and Kurathi. The figures are examples of the attention to intricate details shown by the sculptors. The minute details from the toe nails to the hairstyles with every strand of hair delineated, to the veins and bones of the body lovingly recreated makes the visitor wonder at the dedication of the sculptors of that era.

when to go?

Operating Hours: Mon-Sun : 06:30 AM - 12:30 PM, 04:00 PM - 08:30 PM
what should you know?
Contact Information:Ph.: Office: (04371) 233301 Raman - 9894731606 Guide Janakiraman - 9159854014 Guide Manickam - 9159853680
Address:Aranthangi, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu.

Avudayar Koil ? The formless ultimate god


    The original shrine was established by Saint Manickavasagar.
    More than 1200 years old based on the predictions of Manickavasagar?s period and south facing temple which is a rare kind in Siva temples.
    This temple was called Tiruperundurai, Sathurvedhimangalam and Sivapuram
    This temple is full of sculptures with minute details and perfect chiseling. Some of the sculptures are Tundi Vinayagar, stone chains, two pillars with thousand legs, 1008 sivalayas god and goddess sculptures, horse sculptures are world-famous.
    The larger than life monolith figures of Agni and Agora Veerabadras at the entrance and Kaalidevi, Subrahmanya with bow, Bikshadanar, Sankaranarayanar, Urdhuvathandavar, Pasupatheeswarar and Narasimhamurthy are note worthy.
    Two other sculptures of "Kuravan and Kurathi" exhibits the excellence of the artists for minute details from toe to hair style.
    Avudayarkoil- Sabthaswara pillars
    Avudayarkoil-Saint sculpture
    The most awe inspiring work is seen insides of the Canopy and Sun shades known as "Kodungai" which stretches all around the Mandapams. The rafters, tiles, padding with hinges and decorative nails chiseled out of stone looks as though they were done in wood and iron. All over the ceilings are decorated with flowery patterns and stone chain links.
    Tiyagaraja mandapam of this temple has stone chain and Panjatsara mandapam has Sabthaswara pillars.
    Thiruvasakam was originated from this shrine.
    These is no Lingam  in the sanctum. Instead it only has the base, formlessness(Avudayar), which has a metal cover placed on it. This represents formlessness, the absolute ultimate..
    This temple does not have a Nandhi, Dwajasthambam and Navagraha statues. Instead, Navagrahas are represented as pillars.
    Utsavamurti of the temple is Manikkavasakar.
    ?Pittukku mann summantha kadhai?(Tiruvilaiyadal puranam) was happened in this location.
    Pradosam is not celebrated in this temple.
    Brahma was taught the Gayatri Mantra here by Atmanathar. Hence this place is also called Chaturvedapuram.

Special Prayers:

    It is believed that people pray here get blessed to be very intellectual.
    Avudaayakoil - Ceilings
    Also people pray for child boon, business and career advancements.


    God:     Athmanathar
    Goddess: Yogambal


    All the festivals are celebrated only for Manikkavasakar.
    Tirumanjanam on Tamil month Aani
    Tiruvadirai on Tamil month Margazhi


    Avudayakoil, Pudukottai District, Tamilnadu, INDIA.
    45 Kilometres from Pudukottai; 14 Kilometres from Aranthangi.

Temple Timings:

    6AM-12PM; 4PM-9PM.

Nearby Attractions:


Some pics of Avudyar Kovil

Note : Avudyar Koil is a very ancient Temple associated with Saint Manickavachagar and being in Tamil Nadu I have never visited it and I intend to visit it in due course . Unlike the other popular Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu this is not so much popular as this is not a Parihara Sthalam ( i.e place for doing pujas and rituals for our own benefit ) .This temple is very unique and is different from the Other Shiva Temples and So I am using this thread to first educate myself as well as others about this temple . Those who have visited this temple and have any specific info about this temple can also share the same here .

This God doesn't have shape - Avudayar Koil Temple, Aranthangi, India

 Avudayar Koil temple is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu state, South India. Avudayar Koil temple is located in the small town named Audayaurkoil, which is around 14 kms from Aranthangi city of Pudhukkottai district in Tamil Nadu state, India. The town was called as Thiruperunthurai in ancient times. The temple is the only attraction of the town, and it attracts hundreds of devotees and tourists daily. Avudayar Koil temple (the word "Koil" means "temple" in Tamil language) is attractive not only due to spiritual reasons, but also due to its architecture and sculpture. It is because of this temple, the entire Avudayarkoil town has been declared as 'heritage town' by the government.

Even thought the temple is famously referred as Avudayar Koil, the name of the temple is Athmanatha Swamy Temple. The original temple is believed to be built by Manikavasagar in the 8th century AD. It is evident that the temple has been extended in the later years. Manikavasagar was one of the four important Tamil saints of Saivism (Lord Shiva worship) out of 63 Nayanmars (63 important saints of Shiva). You can find the idols of all 63 saints in most of the Shiva temples in South India. You can find four saints among 63 saints in separate shrines or in a higher platform in some temples. Manikavasagar is one of those four important Nayanmars. Avudayar Koil temple story is connected to the history of saint Manikavasagar.

The King Arimardhana Pandian asked his minister Thiruvadhavoorar to buy horses and gave him money. The minister came to a place named Perunthurai to buy horses. However, he was impressed by a Ved "paatsaala". Ultimately, he attained "Gnana" (the ultimate knowledge) here, and he used the money to buy horses to build this temple. Initially, only a platform like thing was built and offering of rice was kept on the platform. The steam was considered as God (Shiva) for him. It is the same platform which still present inside the shrine and the same rituals are still followed. In the later years, Pandia kings extended the temple with beautiful sculptures and pillars. The minister Thiruvadhavoorar thus became a great devoteed of Lord Shiva, and got the name Manikavasagar. He wrote the famous "Thiruvasagam" in Avudayaur Koil temple.

The main deity of the temple Athmanatha Swamy (a name of Lord Shiva) doesn't have any image or figure. There is just a platform in the main shrine. This is a unique feature of this temple. Another unique feature of this temple is that you cannot find Nandi, Dwajasthamba, and Chandikeswarar, which are commonly found in all South Indian ancient Shiva temples. The main goddess of the temple, Yogambal, has a separate shrine. Again, there is no idol for the goddess. You can only find Paadam (foot print) in the shrine. There is a small idol of goddess located outside the main shrine.

As you enter the main temple, you can find small Pillayar (Ganesha) idol to your left. Next to that, there is a big shrines for the saint Manikavasagar. There are ancient paintings found surrounding this shrine. Also, there are very beautiful sculptures of Narasimha, Kaali, Ganesha, Subramanya, and others. There are also big life size scultpures such as Veerabhadra, Yatcha, Daksha, and others. All these sculptures are very beautiful and have uniqueness. Once you enter into the temple, there is a small mandapa full of scultpures. There are sculptures that are associated with the temple such as God making foxes as horses when the King was asking the minister for horses, and making the horses back to foxes. You can also find the idols of Arimardhana Pandian, Manikavasagar, and others.

If you enter further into the temple, there is another Manikavasagar shrine surrouded by ancient paintings. There are many pillars with beautiful sculptures. On the ceiling, you can find Pancha Bhoothas. The main shrine of Athmanatha Swamy doesn't have an idol, as described earlier. The corridor (prakara) surrounding the Athmanatha Swamy shrine has the idols of Chokka Vinayaka, Manikavasagar, Nataraj, Bikshandar, Kali, Veerabhadra, etc. I have already mentioned about the shrine of goddess Yogambal. There is a tree (Kurutha tree - Sthala vruksham) where the idols of Shiva teaching Manikavasagar is found. There is a small shrine for Nataraj with Sivakami, and another shrine for Lord Muruga. The outer prakara has idols of Lord Ganesha in all the corners. You can also find the temple tank in the outer corridor. The idols of Muthu Vinayaka and Muneeswaran are also found there.

All over the temple, you can find a lot of meaningful sculptures. There is no separate shrine or idols for Navagrahas (nine planets) similar to other temples. They are found only in the pillars. The 27 stars have figures in this temple. There is a saptha swara pillar (musical pillar). The stone chain is a famous sculpture in this temple. There are a lot to explore in this temple, which cannot be explained in detail in this post. Visit the temple to get your own experience.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Athmanathaswamy Temple aka Avudayarkoil Temple
Site Type: Ancient temple, architecture, sculpture
1) One of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu state, India; built in 8th century AD; 1200 years old
2) The main deities do not have image/shape
3) Built by the famous saint Manikavasagar
4) Life size beautiful sculptures

Location: Avudayar Koil, 14 kms from Aranthangi, Pudhukottai district, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Aranthangi
Nearest Airport: Trichy (around 100 kms)
How to reach: Take a bus or taxi from Aranthangi
Hotel: Only budget hotels are available that too in the nearby town Aranthangi
Restaurants: It's difficult to find good restaurants

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: September 09, 2014, 10:05:28 PM »

Health & Welfare Issues / Re: Health and Fitness related articles
« on: September 09, 2014, 03:49:12 PM »

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