24 September 2020

Arunachala Girivalam, Chitra Pournami: May 7, 2020


I recently found the below video on You Tube. The video, which lasts 28 minutes is of Girivalam performed on the day of Chitra Pournami, May 7, 2020. 

Its interesting to note that in other years, Chitra Pournami is always the second most attended Girivalam of the year—and only comes after the huge number of devotees of Karthigai Deepam in volume. 

Its an informative video that shows alot of the recent roadworks, new construction, and Temple renovations along the girivalam roadway. 



14 September 2020

Arunachala Jigsaw Puzzles and Kolams

Have uploaded a new section onto the website Arunachala Samudra entitled "arts and crafts". The first offering is nine jigsaw puzzles of Arunachala scenes. 

The second offering is a history of Kolams (Rangoli in North India) and a page of 13 instructive animations showing, step by step how to make Kolams. 

Hope you enjoy.

Nine jigsaw puzzles on the Arunachala Samudra Website

13 Kolams. Animated kolam on left, completed pattern on right

12 September 2020

Shirdi Sai Baba Bhajans at Tiruvannamalai

As well as the reopening of Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai, a number of other spiritual venues have also opened their doors to devotees. In this regard Shirdi Sai Baba bhajans at the venue of a mandapam next to Durga Amman Temple, started their Thursday Bhajan sessions on September 3rd. 

The photos below are of their Thursday September 10, Bhajan session. I would expect as people start getting used to moving about again, there will be a larger presence at these Bhajan sessions, which previous to the start of the pandemic in March, used to far exceed the mandapam's capacity. 

Currently there are two Shirdi Sai Baba Temples at Tiruvannamalai, both located on the left side of the girivalam roadway near Surya Lingam and Varuna Lingam. 

9 September 2020

Photographs of Arunachaleswarar Temple Compound, September 2020

Below is a series of photographs displaying the current precautions being taken at Arunachaleswarar Temple now that it has been reopened after a shutdown of 165 days. 

At this time it is not possible to wander about the Temple compound, and barriers have been set up from the East Gate, Raja Gopuram all the way to the Moolasthana on the West Side. 

As things develop, hope to post more information and photographs. 

Raja Gopuram from outside Temple Compound

Health precautions at entry point

Restriction on number of devotee entering Temple Compound

Barriers set up from entry point

Devotees not allowed to wander around the Temple Compound

3 September 2020

September Arunachala Girivalam

The below photographs were taken of the girivalam pathway on the day of the September 2020 full moon. As the situation has relaxed at Arunachaleswarar Temple, one also hopes to hear of a more relaxed attitude towards girivalam. Will post updates on this as news filters out. 

For now its just heart warming to take darshan (even if just by photograph) of the green and inviting girivalam roadway. 

2 September 2020

Arunachaleswarar Temple Re-Opens

Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai opened again on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. 

Due to restrictions imposed because of the health pandemic, the Temple had been closed to devotees for 165 days since March 20, 2020. 

Even though the Temple was open and devotees allowed entry, flags were not hoisted and a special full moon puja was not conducted. 

This month has also seen relaxation of Arunachala girivalam restrictions, with the government allowing buses to carry pilgrims travelling to Tiruvannamalai. 

Arunachaleswarar Temple reopens

22 August 2020

Happy Ganesha Chaturthi

Wish best wishes to you and your loved ones at this joy-filled time of Ganesha Chaturthi. In celebration of this day, I have uploaded a beautiful photograph of Rukku, who was Temple Elephant for many years at Arunachaleswarar Temple.

She was a beautiful soul, and I pray the last Elephant ever to be called upon to serve at the Arunachala Temple.

Lovely Rukku

16 August 2020

Turning the Mind Inward

Talks with Sri Ramana
Talk 213

30 June 1936

Mr. B.C. Das asked why the mind cannot be turned inward in spite of repeated attempts.

It is done by practice and dispassion and  that succeeds only gradually. The mind, having been so long a cow accustomed to graze stealthily on others’ estates, is not easily confined to the stall. However much her keeper tempts her with luscious grass and fine fodder, she refuses the first time; then she  takes a bit; but her innate tendency to stray away asserts itself; and she slips away; on being repeatedly tempted by the owners, she accustoms herself to the stall; finally even if let loose she would not stray away. Similarly with the mind; If once it finds its inner happiness, it will not wander outward.

13 August 2020

Arunachala Jigsaw Puzzle

Below is a jigsaw puzzle of Arunachala which you might enjoy resolving. I will soon be posting a Jigsaw Page comprised of a number of similar puzzles on the Arunachala Samudra Website.

5 August 2020

Rare Portrait of Sri Rama

Today I received a copy of a unique picture of Sri Rama and the request to pass along the below message. Today Wednesday August 5, 2020 marks the day Bhoomi Puja was performed and a foundation stone laid at the Ram Temple Site, Ayodhya.

3 August 2020

Interview with Sri Nannagaru

I recently discovered this gem of an interview conducted with Sri Nannagaru shortly before his Samadhi in December 2017. The interview is in English and is probably one of the last such interviews given by Sri Nannagaru.

25 July 2020

2020 Aadi Puram Valaikappu Festival: Arunachaleswarar Temple

At Arunachaleswarar Temple (as in other Saiva Temples) the day of July 24, 2020 was celebrated as the Valaikappu festival for Ambal. On this day glass bangles were offered to Ambal and later distributed to devotees. The bangles (the sound of which) are believed to provide children and protect from all evil.

24 July 2020

2020 Adi Pooram Flag Hoisting: Arunachaleswarar Temple

Today’s Flag Hoisting ceremony at Arunachaleswarar Temple marked the beginning of the Adi Pooram Festival. Because of the ongoing health crisis, the Adi Pooram ceremonies this year are not open to devotees. However the Temple through their official You Tube Channel have posted a very nice video of today, July 24, 2020, the first day of Adi Pooram 2020.

Adi Pooram Brahmotsavam is celebrated in all Hindu temples in Southern India in the month of Adi, which corresponds to the English months of July-August, when the asterism Pooram (Delta Leonis) is in the ascendancy. It is observed to propitiate the Sakti Goddess who is said to have come into the world on this occasion to bless all. She is thus worshipped in order that one may secure happiness for oneself and for loved ones. 

Aadi Pooram is also dedicated to the birth of Goddess Andal, who is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Pooram or Puram is one among the 27 Nakshatras in Hindu Astrology.

Lord Ganesha

Parashakti Amman

3rd Prakaram, Siva Sannidhi

Flag Hoisting, 2020 Adi Pooram

2020 Adi Pooram Festival commences

22 July 2020

Pradosham July 18, 2020 Arunachaleswarar Temple

The above video is of Pradosham at the Big Temple on July 18, 2020. Usually pradosham is heavily attended at the Temple, so seeing the area around Periyar Nandi so deserted, does seem rather strange. This video was live streamed, and the Temple is putting on some very special programs at this time. So suggest you subscribe to their channel and get very nice darshan.

Periyar Nandi, 5th Prakaram

Kodi Kampathu Nandi, 3rd Prakaram

In Memory of V. Sundaram Ramana

V. Sundaram Ramana

V. Sundaram Ramanan, the president of Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai, passed away on Tuesday, July 21. He was 86 years old.

Mr. Ramanan, who took over the president’s post in 1994, was one of the longest serving presidents of Sri Ramanasramam. He held the postion for nearly 26 years until he handed over management of the Ashram to his son Venkat Ramanan on June 17 of this year.

Dr. Venkat Ramanan was a medical practitioner in the U.S. before he returned to Tiruvannamalai to take over as president of the Ashram. He was the grand nephew of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi and spent years of his childhood with his siblings, at the feet of Sri Ramana Maharshi. He brought out the book titled Who Am I, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi, 1879-1950, in March 2020, which provides unique glimpses into life with Sri Ramana Maharshi.

V. Sundaram Ramanan passed away due to age-related conditions and his last rites were performed in the asramam in Tiruvannamalai with devotees reciting Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Aksharamanamalai.

5 July 2020

Sri Shirdi Sai Baba and Sri B.V. Narasimha Swami

A couple of days ago I started rereading the book “Self Realisation—The Life and Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi” by B.V. Narasimha Swami. This is a wonderful book, which is highly recommended. Please do read.

Anyhow, today Guru Poornima is an excellent example of the Divine synchronicity of Saints and Masters. This book on Ramana Maharshi is written by a devotee who dedicated his life to Sri Sai Baba; who is my own Sadguru.

Sri B.V. Narasimha Swami came to Ramana Maharshi around 1929 and during his stay was inspired to write the biography of Bhagavan upon which all later biographies are solidly founded on. In addition while at Tiruvannamalai, B.V. Narasimha Swami was also instrumental in collecting much information on Sri Seshadri Swami which he handed over to Sri Kuzhumani Narayana Sastri, who used it as the basis of a biography on that great saint.

Although endowed with a incisive mind (Ramana Maharshi said Narasimha Swami was a “person of sharpened intellect”) he was drawn to the path of devotion. He travelled north and settled at Shirdi and in later years when he returned to the South visited Sri Bhagavan before going on to live at Madras.

At Madras, B.V. Narasimha Swami worshipped a picture of Sai Baba under a tamarind tree on the street where the Sai Baba Temple is now located. Later, he moved the picture to a small house in Nanjunda Rao Colony in Mylapore and constructed the present temple with help from a Chettiar merchant. The Temple was completed and consecrated in 1952 with its main object being the propagation of the life and teachings of Sri Sai Baba.

This is the only Temple where devotees are allowed to touch, garland and photograph the divine idol, which in this case is a marble representation of Sai Baba. In actual fact it is the picture of Sai Baba (worshipped for many years by B.V. Narasimha Swami) that is considered the moolasthana. B.V. Narasimha Swami is entombed in Samadhi at the Sai Baba Temple, Mylapore.

This Temple at Mylapore, Chennai is a wonderful, sacred space. If you are visiting or staying in Chennai, please spend time there.

Blessings of Light to all readers and friends of Arunachala Grace.

Outside Shirdi Sai Temple, Mylapore, Chennai 

Marble statue of Shirdi Sai, devotees allowed to touch

Picture of Shirdi Sai Baba regarded as Moolasthana

Paintings around the inside of Temple. The Master loved dogs!

Puja conducted on the marble idol of Shirdi Sai Baba

Aarti after a special function at Temple

2020 Guru Poornima

Blessings of Light and Grace on this Holy Day of Guru Poornima 

3 July 2020

Efficacy of Self Enquiry

Recently uploaded new material on the Arunachala Samudra website. So please check out these new postings. 

In particular you might enjoy looking through the section on Self Enquiry, at this link here

The section which is Ramana Maharshi-centric is filled with His advice and suggestions regarding Self Enquiry and how to perform it. This is invaluable information in these trying times. 

As to the efficacy of Self Enquiry, Sri Sathya Sai Baba said: 

"All agitations will cease the moment one enters, "Who Am I?". This was the sadhana that Ramana Maharshi achieved and taught to his disciples. This is also the easiest of all disciplines." 
[Sri Sathya Sai Baba] 

Just a little Self Enquiry helps still the mind. 

In this regard there is an interesting quote by Frank H. Humphreys, an Englishman who came to India in 1911 to serve as assistant superintendent of police in Madras. He was the first Western devotee of Ramana Maharshi. 

Later in his life, he turned away from worldly things, entered a monastery and became a monk. 

“The phenomena we see are curious and surprising—but the most marvellous thing of all we do not realize, and that is that one and only one illimitable force that is responsible for all the phenomena we see and the act of seeing them. Do not fix your attention on all these changing things of life, death and phenomena. Do not think of even the actual act of seeing them or perceiving them, but only of that which sees all these things, that which is responsible for it all. This will seem nearly impossible at first, but by degrees the result will be felt. It takes years of study and daily practice, but that is how a master is made. 

Give yourself a quarter of an hour a day. Try to keep the mind unshakably fixed on that which sees. It is inside you. Do not expect to find that ‘That’ is something definite on which the mind can be fixed easily—it will not be so. Though it takes years to find that ‘That’, the results of this concentration will soon show themselves in four or five months time—in all sorts of unconscious clairvoyance, in peace of mind, in the power to deal with troubles, in the power all around, always unconscious power. 

I have given you these teachings in the same words that the master gives to his intimate disciples. From now on, let your whole thought in meditation be not on the act of seeing, nor on what you see, but immovably on that which sees.” 

Video of Sri Ramana Maharshi Life Story

The above is a very nice video biography of Bhagavan made in 1980. 

The video starts from his childhood through his time at Arunachala and to his Nirvikalpa Samadhi on April 14, 1950. 

Many shots in the video are from the 1940s and show Arunachala, Arunachaleswarar Temple (Big Temple) and Tiruvannamalai in older, emptier, more peaceful times. 

27 June 2020

Mysterious Column of Light

On the evening of June 26, 2020, two young men on their two wheeler riding towards Arunachala took this video on their mobile phone. 

You can hear them in the background talking about the mysterious column of light travelling upwards from Arunachala. 

An extraordinary phenomenon!!!

Below is a translation of the conversation of the two lads: 

"Drive straight, I am taking video coverage of the light image on my mobile." 

"Yes. I am trying to drive straight, but vehicles are coming towards me from the opposite direction. I am trying to drive straight." 

"Make the coverage for about one minute." 

"Can you clearly see the image?" 

"Yes, I can. But sometimes your head is blocking me trying to make this video."