Ponmalar is a japam participant who went to Tiruvannamalai for her very first Karthigai Deepam on December 5, 2014, followed by her third Girivalam of this life time. Here is her story:
My name is Ponmalar and I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
My first visit to Tiruvannamalai was in February 2013. I had darshan of Annamalaiyar during the Ardha Jama pooja or the last pooja of the day. So, as you can imagine, it was a very powerful puja. That was my first ever experience of Annamalaiyar and I had to wait a long time for it. My first feelings of Annamalaiyar cannot be expressed in words. It was total bliss.
The next day was Sani Pradhosam and we did Girivalam early in the morning. That was my first ever Girivalam, too. After finishing the Girivalam, we went inside the temple for prayers and after the prayers only I realized I didn’t even take a sip of water throughout my Girivalam or even since morning. I had not planned to fast and had brought a water bottle with me. So as you can see, I had come well-prepared but I just forgot to drink. I was so absorbed on Arunachala that I forgot to drink water. I was speechless when I realized what had happened. Let us just say, it was unplanned but according to HIS plan.
Believe me, I was satisfied with these two Girivalams and was stunned when Annamalaiyar blessed me again. He called me to Tiruvannamalai on December 5, 2014 (this year) for Karthigai Deepam and for one more Girivalam. It was all unplanned. I was in ecstasy that HE had called me.
As this was my first ever Maha Deepam Girivalam, I am sharing my blissful moments on this blog. I am doing so out of gratitude for all the benefit I got from reading the experiences of all the great soul’s who shared their experiences of Girivalam on this blog.
As before, it was full of blissful surprises (All HIS plan)!
I arrived in Tiruvannamalai on the night of December 3rd eager to have darshan that night itself but my friends told me that the temple would be closed at this time, so I will not be able to see Annamalaiyar today – NO darshan for now!
I accepted it since I had no choice and just wanted to relax after my long flight to Chennai and then to Tiruvannamalai.
Deep within me, the feeling of ‘missing HIM so much’ was there. To my surprise, a friend’s friend (who had permission to enter the temple without passes) arrived at the place where I was staying and asked whether I wanted darshan of Annamalaiyar.
I couldn’t believe it! How was it still possible when the temple was closed. I found out later that during festival times the last pooja time is extended past the normal hours! It was Annamaliyar’s grace that I was within the temple compound a few minutes later and HE had sent this good soul to bring me inside the temple. I cried.
This is how Karthigai Deepam 2014 started for me. The only preparation I did was to keep my mind on Annamalaiyar with no plan... no agenda at all. The owner of Arunachala Girivalam taught me this.
I was blessed to witness both the festivals: The Bharani Deepam (early morning) and Maha Deepam (evening) with the grace of Annamalaiyar! Yes, to witness both these festivals from inside the temple, we needed passes! I had no idea how to get them but one of the priests of this temple (who is also my family friend) managed to get the passes for me at the very last minute... literally at the very last minute.
There was a huge crowd but I managed to secure a place to witness the festivals from inside the temple. Bharani Deepam is the first Deepam festival that is done at 4 a.m.
I couldn’t see a thing because of the crowd. I gave up hope of seeing the Bharani Deepam and was preparing myself to accept the fact that it is o.k. if don’t see this since I can still see the Maha Deepam later in the evening.
When I surrendered, the Deepam went around the temple and to my surprise came just next to the place where I was standing. It was so close that I could have touched the Deepam without even stretching my arm! Oh My God, again it was HIS plan! It was all Annamalaiyar grace!!! I had goosebumps when I saw Annamalaiyar in main sanctrum in Raja Alangaramafter this Deepam.
Then came the most awaited and auspicious occasion in the evening - The Maha Deepam!!! Whilst the Panchamoorthis and Arthanareeswarar procession took place from inside the temple towards the main entrance; fireworks were everywhere!
Devotees were chanting Hara, Hara, Annamalaiyaruku Arogara and the great light was lit on the Arunachala mountain!
It was such an auspicious moment, I was in tears! Annamaliyar had called me all the way from Malaysia for this darshan of the Deepam!
Many of my friends advised me not to do Girivalam on Maha Deepam day due to expected huge crowd! It did worry me to some extent but I came all the way just for this Girivalam and didn’t want to go back without doing it! The owner of this blog, Arunachala Girivalam, had also prepared me well.
So, I just proceeded with it. It was definitely more crowded compared to my earlier two Girivalams during non-festival days but the crowd was moving. It was not at a standstill. There was ample space to walk freely. In fact, my mind never registered the crowd. Seeing the Arunachala mountain with the Deepam, I was fully absorbed in the divinity of Girivalam on, of all days, Karthigai Deepam!
My heavenly father, Annamalaiyar, guided us throughout the Girivalam. I am speechless for all the blessing HE showered upon me throughout the journey. There is nothing I can do for HIM in return for this except to love him very deeply and completely.
HE taught me one important lesson in Tiruvannamalai. “You don’t need to struggle at all to have a darshan of me. Darshan is not something that you wanted to see but it is something that I wanted to give you! You don’t need to plan! Your desire will be fulfilled unplanned but according to MY PLAN for you. Surrender and just float freely! I AM holding on to you!”
I realized this at the very end, after all of the unplanned pleasant surprises happened according to HIS PLAN.
With my eyes full of tears of gratitude, Annamalaiyarukku Arogara!!!
May HE bless all the great souls who have shared their experiences on this blog.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my blissful experiences with these other great souls.