Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

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There are about 400 pages of information on Girivalam on this website.

Ramesh Krishnamoorthy: The animals taught me a lesson: Part 3

I arrived at the Agni Lingam, the second of the Ashta Lingas. I felt an urge to have darshan of this Lingam. One has to take a right turn from the main Girivalam route towards this. It is in the middle of a residential place as well.

A sanyasi was seated there on the road. He said 'Namah Sivaya' on seeing me. I realized that he wanted to give me something and I went near him. He gave me a five-faced rudraksha bead (Pancha Mukha Rudraksha) and asked me if I needed a Mala too. I said ok and paid him Rs.50 and went ahead to have darshan of Agnilingam. Agni Lingam Devata, too, was adorned with Nagabarana (garland of snake).

Pain in my feet

I resumed on the girivalam route and I realized that there was a pain in my feet. I had pricked it while stepping on the tar road and it was relaxing to walk on wet soil.

I saw many foreigners roaming on scooters and bicycles. They stay either in Ramana Asramam or Yogi Ram Surat Kumar's. The shrine of Sheshadri Swamigal was locked as it was in the afternoon. The darshan of Arunachala Hill from Sheshadri Swamigal Shrine is Tejo Muka Darshan (the face with a divine glow). This is for those who do not have a clear mind, who have difficulty in decision making, those who want to prosper in their business, or are having trouble in making good friends.

While I came out of this shrine, two Bhairava (dogs) came at me. There upon a lady shouted 'Johny, come here'. But they didn't listen to her and approached me closer. I told her 'please call him' for which she said 'you just go, it won't harm you' and called them again. The bhairavas departed half-heartedly. I kind of knew the reason why they came at me. But I carried on.

A bull which was tied up, got up looking at me and was trying to come near me. I was relieved that it was tied up, but noted that another animal wanted to lunge at me.

Ramana Ashram

At Ramana Ashram, I was welcomed by the melody of peacocks. I went in and prostrated in front of Sage Ramana's Samadhi. An inexplainable peace surrounded me. There was a hall where he lived with His photographs. I went in and found many foreigners seated so beautifully, either in Padmasana (the lotus pose) or Sukasana with their spine erect, in meditation. I, too, meditated there for a while and came out. I saw people looking skywards, with camera. I then realized that it was the peacock in a tree. But then someone signalled to me 'see here' and I was taken aback with what I saw. A beautiful peacock, spread out its wing and was posing for us. I took photos of both of them.

I read on the internet that on the day when Sage Ramana Maharishi left for his heavenly abode, the peacocks kept on lou-louing and stopped abruptly when he left his body. They kept a great silence after that!

The darshan of the Arunachala mountain from the Ashram is Eru Pancha Mukha Darshan. It is for all those who have committed sin out of circumstances. It helps them not to get in to the same trap again.

Yogi Ram Surat Kumar

I went to Yogi Ram Surat Kumar's ashram and meditated there. They have kept an idol of him and the hall is surrounded by pictures of great sages from India and elsewhere. A placard displayed the text 'the time and money spent on this beggar never goes waste' and 'my Father alone is there, no one else, never'.

I went on to Singa Theertha (Singa - Lion) and Mrutyunjaya (the conqueror of death) Linga. Had darshan of the Mountain. It is said that you should have darshan of the Arunachala mountain with every step you take on the Girivalam route. There is a place where Sage Brunghi did tapas (penance).

I came near Prithvi (Earth) Nandi and another Bhairava came in front, the uniqueness being, he left everyone else and came near me. He even tried to cross the road (like we all do, look at the left, and then the right etc). I was trying to take a photo of Nandi deva standing right opposite to him. I stopped taking a photo when I saw the Bhairava and kept on walking. A short while later I took a photo with the help of a zoom lens.

The animals taught me a lesson

Then I came to the Yama Lingam, the third of the Ashta Lingas. After that I came to Aishwaryeshwara Shrine. A very beautiful Lord. His hands are placed like that of Goddess Lakshmi, pouring out wealth. The trident slanted on the shoulders, beautifully. I went on and found a lady asking me to tie a rope in the tree nearby. I just gave her a few coins and proceeded further, only to see a big monkey coming towards me, roaring slightly.

I lifted both my hands sidewards to show him I had nothing to eat, but he wouldn't stop. I told that lady that he thinks I have something to eat. The lady picked up a few pebbles and threw it at him. The monkey went away. Now, I was beholden to her to buy the rope and tie it to the tree.

I then realized that whenever I tried to take a photograph, the animals would come near me, as though to prevent me from taking a photo. Arunachala was telling me "I will call those whom I want here and will give darshan to them. Who are you to take photographs and present it?"

Mystery Brahmin

Next on the Girivalam route is a Ganesha Temple on the left side of the road. There were a few sadhus present. I distributed a few coins to them and saw an old man standing on the left side of the road. He wore a dhoti like that of the Shakti Upasaka and a sacred thread worn by Brahmins. He was looking elsewhere. I wondered if I should walk over to him and give him a few coins or go on my way. But the fear of animals coming at me forced me to walk on. I had slowed down considerably because of the pain in my feet. When I turned around, I saw the old man coming my way. When he reached me, I asked 'Swami, are you on girivalam?'

He said 'mmm'.

Relieved, I joined him. His walk was slow but continuous. He wore an old pair of sandals, as well. I thought 'usually those who are on girivalam don't wear anything on their feet'. We didn't speak anything and kept walking. Though we saw a few bhairavas and monkeys, they didn't come near him or me. Some sadhus saluted him which he returned by the same gesture, sometimes by blessing.

Another Nandi Shrine. Probably Appu Nandi (appu - water, elephant). It is surrounded by iron rods resembling spear. A few benches were there where sadhus were seen seated. He slowed down and so did I. He told me 'you proceed' by waving his hand, like that of a command, but slowly.

I agreed and went ahead, but thought 'it would be nice if he comes along, let me see' and turned around. He was not there. I turned around completely and looked again. Even if he had gone behind the Nandi shrine, he would be visible. He could not have crossed the road so swiftly as he was old and walked very slowly. But where did he go? I kept looking back but he was not to be seen again.

Enroute, I saw Niruthi Lingam, the fourth Ashta Lingam, Surya Lingam, Varuna Lingam (the fifth) and had darshan. Adi Annamalai (the foremost Arunachaleswara temple) temple had to be visited with a slight deviation. But I could not go because my feet hurt. I carried on walking with a heavy heart because my friend had told me that one gets whatever he prays for in Adi Annamalai. I had to resign myself to thinking 'He knows what I need and why should I ask him?'.
Walking Girivalam like a 9-month pregnant woman

Did I tell you my feet really hurt? I was really walking like a 9 months pregnant woman and I felt happy about it. Otherwise, if there is no pain, my mind may force me to walk faster.

I saw Manicka Vachakar temple enroute but I found a group of monkeys proceeding towards that temple before me. I thought I shall not disturb them and proceeded onwards reciting 'Namah Shivaya vaazhga, naathan thaazh vaazhga etc (Glory to Shiva, Prostrations to Shiva and His Holy Feet). I had darshan of the Mountain through the horns of all the Nandis I saw.

The darshan of Arunachala from Vayu Lingam (the sixth of ashta dikh Lingas) is called Kanda Neeru Mukha Darshan. I walked slowly towards a shop and took a lemon based drink. It was very refreshing to sit for a while.

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