Author Topic: The Quest - Arunachala - Lucia Osborne, Mountain Path, Apr. - June 2010.  (Read 1141 times)

Subramanian.R

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After coming to Tiruvannamalai I was at first so preoccupied with getting settled and having to take care of three small
children, the youngest not yet one year old, that I did not pay much attention to the Hill.  Soon however, Arunachala made
me aware of Itself.  In a dream I saw a dark blue enormous moving mass -- the Hill, alive, awe inspiring.  Messengers from
It were heading towards the room in which the children and I were sleeping.  The door was rattling with their banging.  There
was to be a sacrifice.  I was afraid to open up.  'Why me?' There are the children. I am not fit.' 

Of course, I understood later that it was the ego, which has to be sacrificed, the greatest of mischief makers to get rid of,
so that our true divine state may blissfully shine forth in all its glory.  The banging on the door increased till it became deafening
and then I awoke into a cyclone.  The banging and terrific noise was real enough.  Half of the roof had blown off but the other
half, over our heads, remained untouched.  In the morning we found a number of trees uprooted, there was havoc everywhere.
The gardener's cottage collapsed into a heap and he stood there lamenting, not the cottage which was his property, but his
supply of onions and chillies buried under it. 

I asked about the Hill from a swami who occupied  one of the rooms in the cottage.  He was the future author of the Talks
with Sri Ramana Maharshi.  He said its name was Arunachala,  a manifestation of Siva.  Dark blue is the throat of
Siva who had swallowed the terrible poison from the churning of the sea of existence for amrita (nectar) in order to save
the world.  Krishna is also depicted as dark blue. 

Now Arunachala became alive drawing me like a magnet.  There is something truly magical about Arunachala.  Just to sit
there on a rock watching the sunset or sunrise or anytime is an experience in itself.  The Hill is vibrant and yet still at the
same time.  The rocks become imbued with life.  At first it could be quite terrifying, particularly when alone at dusk or at
night.  I used to go there at all hours.  With time, this aspect diminished and gradually the Hill became friendly, protective
and gracious.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
                       

Subramanian.R

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continues..

Occasionally there would be moments of anxiety over Arthur's fate, after news of atrocities perpetrated on prisoners of
war kept in concentration camps.  Soon after Arthur's return to Siam, the Japanese invaded the country and imprisoned
all Westerners at the Chulalongkorn University, where he was a lecturer.  So I would run to the Hill for solace, and be
solaced.  The very air was welcoming in such friendly, loving reassurance.  In the early days there were still leopards
and black-faced monkeys on the Hill.  One evening, while I was leaning against a rock, a fairly large animal jumped down
from a rock on the opposite side of the foot path.  It must have been a cheetah.  There was not enough light to see
properly and I had forgotten to bring a torch but no calf or monkey would jump like that.  I knew I must not show fear and
run.  I must not feel fear.  Slowly I started walking back, not looking back, and not letting fear get the better of me:

"There is only the Self...All is One."  Any moment it might attack if it is following behind.  'Everything is the Self - Bhagavan -
Arunachala.'  It certainly kept me concentrated!

Arunachala revealed itself as more and more significant, alive and gracious.  Already in March the weather in the plains of
India, particularly in the south, becomes very hot, too hot for the children who were becoming fretful.  A visitor to the Asramam
who lived in Kodaikanal in the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains) arranged for us to rent a cottage there for the hot season.

Reluctantly, I was getting ready to leave.  Around the Asramam there was a sick dog suffering from incessant tremors of one
side of its body, the hind leg being most affected probably after an encounter with a cheetah.  This prevented him from fighting
for a share of the Asramam leftovers and so he was in a miserable condition, just skin and bones.  A day before leaving I took
some bread for him as I used to do every day, when going to the Asramam for meditation, but the dog was not there. I went
to the Hall for meditation and sat down.  After a while the dog came to the door looking for me, so I went out and gave him the
bread.  Sri Bhagavan noticed it from His couch through the window and looked at the dog with compassion.  I was sure that the
misery of the dog would come to an end.  It would probably die, I thought.                           

Next day we left for Kodaikanal.  The little bungalow chosen for us was situated on the outskirts of the hill-station proper.
The view which confronted us when we were brought there was breath taking.  I paid little attention to the house itself
which looked neglected even from outside.  The hill in front of us more than made up for any defects.  The house stood on a
little plateau with terraced fields sloping down towards a valley from which rose the hill called Perumal out of a sea of clouds
to a great height.  It dominated the whole landscape with its grandeur and strange wild beauty.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

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continues......

After a while we entered the house which was even more neglected inside.  We unpacked after cleaning out the accumulated
dust and arranging it as best as we could.  The air was crisp and invigorating.  From the glassed-in veranda one could gaze at the
hill in bad weather also. 

Here too, life settled into a sort of routine.  Kitty and Adam started attending a nearby kindergarten and school run by Irish
nuns.  An ayah, a sort of nanny, helped to look after Frania who was too young to go to a kindergarten.  The ayah was a
simple village woman from Tiruvannamalai, not one of those trained professionals, some whom would not mind giving opium
to a child to keep it quiet.  Most of my free time was spent sitting in meditation before the hill and learning Tamizh.

I wanted to read The Five Hymns to Sri Arunachala composed by Sri Bhagavan in the original.  The English translation of it
had already made a tremendous impression.  It was a spontaneous outpouring during a pradakshina (circumambulation of the
Hill) written as though coming from our heart.  This applies also to The Necklet of Nine Gems, The Eleven Verses on Arunachala
and Eight Stanzas on Sri Arunachala. 

'Ah! What a wonder!  It stands as an insentient Hill.
Its action is mysterious, past human understanding
Only to convey by silence Thy transcendent State
Thou standest as a Hill shining from heaven to earth.
When I approach Thee regarding Thee as having form,
Thou standest as a Hill on earth.'

'Only to make Thyself known as Being and Consciousness,
Thou dwellest in different religions under different names and forms.
It is Thou in Thy Unity who penetrates all diversity of beings and religions.'

'Thou art Thyself the One Being ever aware of the self luminous Heart,
  O benign and dazzling Aruna Hill,
Is there anything apart from Thee?'

Sadhana, spiritual striving, is a succession of ups and downs, particularly in the beginning..  In my difficult moments
when I felt lost, groping in darkness, I sometimes approached  Sri Bhagavan for help by handing Him a slip of paper
with one of the slokas on Arunachala copied as if coming from me.  How He understood !  It worked.  'O Love in
the shape of Arunachala !  Now that  by Thy Grace Thou has claimed me, what will become of me unless Thou manifest
Thyself to me, and I, yearning wistfully for Thee and harassed by the darkness of the world, am lost?

'Lord who are Consciousness Itself , reigning over the sublime Sonagiri (Arunachala), forgive the grievous faults of this
poor self and be Thy merciful glance save me from being lost once more in the dreary waste [the world]  or else I
cannot cross the ocean of births and deaths.....'

'Deign to ease me in my weariness struggling like a deer that is trapped.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           
     
     

Subramanian.R

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continues.......

I missed the presence of Sri Bhagavan and Arunachala. A few days after our arrival at this hill-station, I had a strange
dream.  Arunachala and the hill facing our cottage, stood side by side and merged into one hill.  From the summit a
figure emerged growing.,... growing till it seemed to support the sky.  The extraordinary majesty of it, awe inspiring,
made my hair stand on end.  I had read about hair standing on end but I never thought it could be experienced. 
Somehow the word 'Guru' came to my mind.  I prostrated myself before the immense figure and woke up.

Next day I asked my Tamizh teacher the name of the hill and told him about my dream.  He explained that I was
blessed with a vision of Perumal (the great man) which was another name for Maha Vishnu and also the name of
the hill.  I have seen hikers moving around the bend of the path and stopping as if transfixed by the view of Perumal
which confronted them.  One could watch endlessly the play of the clouds, shadows and their changing expressions.
Perumal is alive,  its summit a gigantic face.  Most of the time was spent meditating under its shadow.  Thus Arunachala
graciously followed me to Kodaikanal, revealed Itself there.  Arunachala is a living vibrating Presence everywhere. 
'Heart is Thy Name' writes Sri Bhagavan.

The power of a sacred mountain, of Arunachala is so great that people are drawn to it without compulsion as if by the
force of some invisible magnet.  Its mere presence is overwhelming.  It is like coming Home.  Arunachala breathes and
pulsates with life.  It has become a symbol of the highest aspirations of seekers, a signpost that points beyond earthly
concerns towards Infinity, our origin to which we belong.  We have forgotten our divine origin, and so we need the presence
of such mighty signposts to arouse us from self complacency.

Fortunate are those whom the call has reached.  Arunachala Siva Ramana.

the chapter is concluded.

Arunachala Siva.