29 July 2016

Aadi Krithigai July 28, 2016 Arunachala


The auspicious day of Aadi Krithigai was celebrated yesterday July 28, 2016 at Tiruvannamalai. 

Muruga in Tamil means beauty and in all Murugan temples, special poojas and yagams were conducted for Lord Muruga on the day of Aadi Kirthigai. The day was observed in a number of Temples at Tiruvannamalai, in order to propitiate Lord Skanda for help to overcome lethargy, fear, ignorance, anger and confusion. 

At Arunachaleswarar Temple, pujas were performed which was subsequently followed by a procession of Kavadi carrying devotees performing pradakshina of the Mada Veedus (permieter streets surrounding the Big Temple). 


Devotees outside Arunachaleswar Temple, July 28, 2016


Carrying Kavadis on procession down Big Street, Tiruvannamalai


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The below two photographs are of the kavadis being prepared inside the Arunachaleswarar Compound prior to July 28, 2016 Aadi Krithigai.



Preparing Kavadis
Working on Kavadis for Aadi Krithigai

Widening Arunachala Girivalam Path: July 29, 2016


The below is an abridged version of a article that appears today in a National Newspaper about the decision which has now been taken regarding the widening of the Arunachala Girivalam Path. To read the unabridged version, go to this link here


 
Girivalam roadway Outside Rajarajeshwari Temple 2009



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The widening of the Girivalam at Arunachala, which has been mired in controversy over the felling of trees, is is to be reviewed by an expert panel, headed by a retired IFS officer. 

Though locals and activists pressed for cancelling the work that would entail cutting 125 full-grown trees, the southern bench of National Green Tribunal declined, while assuring them to protect the green cover in the hills. 

After considering the concerns expressed by local villagers during the hearing of a petition filed by S Krishna Kumar, the bench comprising judicial member P Jyothimani and expert member PS Rao observed that the government was correct on widening the Girivalam path. 

“Yes, so far no untoward incident was reported. But, we can’t wait for a stampede to happen, which we see often in shrines in North India. Considering the massive crowds witnessed especially during every full moon night and during ‘Karthigai Deepam Mahotsavam’, there is a need to widen the pathway. The project can’t be stalled,” justice Jyothimani said categorically. 

However, the expert committee, yet to be appointed, would conduct a case by case study of these 125 trees so as to ensure that not a single tree is cut unnecessarily. “No tree will be allowed to be felled in the Sonagiri forest area, which is an ecologically sensitive belt in the entire 14-km stretch,” the bench assured. 

According to the report submitted by Tiruvanamalai District Collector earlier, lakhs of pilgrims undertake circumambulation around the 14-km path of the famed Arunachaleswarar temple. The existing path was inadequate to accommodate the sea of devotees, making the widening of the path necessary. This would also facilitate movement of emergency vehicles. 

The tribunal on Thursday (July 28, 2016) said Girivalam should have a dedicated lane for emergency vehicles like ambulances especially during peak season. The expert panel will be appointed during the next hearing on August 17. 

Meanwhile, the Highways Department, executing the project, sought modification in the interim stay passed by the National Green Tribunal. The Highways Department have been assured that no tree would be felled in the Sonagiri forest area, which forms 5.2 km out of total 14 km. Further they have requested that: 

“Let the tribunal decide related to works in Sonagiri forest area, but we request the activists and the Court not to stall the work in the remaining 9 km. The stay order has hampered work in the entire 14 km, which is leading to unnecessary cost escalations,” he said. 

The proposed expansion is divided into five works. Pondy-Krishnagiri Road, Sonagiri forest area, Hill round road, Kanji road and Anna arch road. The majority of widening has been already carried out except in the Sonagiri forest area. 

Local activists have promised that a separate census with the help of locals will occur on the number of trees felled and submit it before the Tribunal at the next hearing. They remarked: 

“Every tree is part of a 600-year-old heritage attached to the sacred hill. Many are several hundred years old. To our estimate, 50 trees are already cut. The footpath that the contractors are laying is unscientific covering the root area, harming growth of the trees. If you cut a 300-year-old banyan tree that can shelter 50 pilgrims and compensate with 10 saplings, what purpose will it serve?” 


19 July 2016

Darshan Queue Arunachaleswarar Temple: Guru Poornima, 19 July, 2016


Below photographs of the darshan queue this morning at Arunachaleswarar Temple's Siva Sannidhi. 


The line waiting for darshan starts in the previous 4th Prakaram

Queue starts in 4th prakaram and snakes around the 3rd Prakaram

Queue all the way round perimeter of Siva Sannidhi and then folds back on itself
Front of the long queue inside 2nd Prakaram and still waiting patiently


While many devotees visited Arunchaleswarar Kovil and other Temples at Tiruvannamalai on this day of Guru Poornima, others started early on their Arunachala girivalam walk.


Crowds beginning early on 19 July, 2016

Today was cool and fresh, perfect weather for Arunachala girivalam


18 July 2016

Guru Poornima Tuesday, 19 July, 2016



Guru Poornima is traditionally celebrated on full moon day in the month of Ashadh (July-August) of the Hindu calendar. Guru Poornima (which falls this year on Tuesday, July 19th) is the day on which the Guru is revered by devotees. Sri Dakshinamurti is an aspect of Lord Siva as the primordial master, the personification of ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge. At Arunachala the manifestation of Lord Siva as Dakshinamurti is celebrated as the ‘silent Guru’. 


Lord Siva and His Worship 

During the absence of Devi, when Lord Siva was alone, the sons of Brahma, (sages: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara) went to have Darshan of Lord Siva. They prostrated before Him and entreated the Lord to teach them how to remove avidya and attain salvation. They admitted that in spite of their vast study of scriptures they had no internal peace and needed to learn the inner secrets -- by knowing which they could attain salvation.


Lord Dakshinamurti

"Lord Siva, hearing this appeal made by the sages, assumed the form of Dakshinamurti and remaining as the Guru Supreme, began to teach them the inner secrets by keeping Mouna and showing the “chinmudra” by His hand. The sages began to meditate on the lines shown by the Lord and attained the state of inexpressible and illimitable joy. Thus Lord Siva came to be known as Dakshinamurti". 
[By Swami Sivananada] 


Shiva: The Adiyogi

The sacred day of Guru Poornima marks the first transmission of the yogic sciences from Shiva – the Adiyogi or First Yogi – to the Saptarishis, the seven celebrated sages on the banks of Lake Kantisarovar (near Kedarnath Temple in the Himalayas). Thus, the Adiyogi became the Adi Guru or the First Guru on this day. The Saptarishis carried this knowing offered by Adiyogi throughout the world. Even today, every spiritual process on the planet draws from the  "knowing" created by Adiyogi. 

The story goes that over 15,000 years ago, a yogi appeared in the upper regions of the Himalayas. Nobody knew what his origins were but his presence was extraordinary. He exhibited no signs of life, but for occasional tears of ecstasy that rolled down his face. After the crowds of onlookers dispersed, seven men remained. When the yogi opened his eyes, they pleaded that he share his experience with them. He ignored them, but as they persevered the yogi gave them a simple preparatory step and closed his eyes again. 


Adiyogi

Days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, but the yogi’s attention did not fall upon them again. After 84 years of sadhana, on the summer solstice that marks the advent of Dakshinayana (the earth’s southern run), the yogi looked at them again. They had become shining souls that could be no longer ignored. On the next full moon day, the yogi turned south and sat as guru to these seven men. Shiva thus became Adi Guru and expounded spiritual truths to the seven disciples. The seven were to be known as Saptarishis, who took their knowledge around the world. 

Guru Purnima is held sacred in the yogic tradition because the Adiyogi opened up the possibility for a human being to evolve consciously. The seven different aspects of yoga that were put in these seven individuals became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga, something that has still endured. 

In honour of this divine personage, spiritual aspirants and devotees either perform Vyasa Puja on this day, or worship their own spiritual preceptor. Saints, monks and men of God are honoured and entertained with acts of charity by householders with faith and sincerity. The period Chaturmas (the "four months") begins from this day; Sannyasins stay at one place during the ensuing four rainy months, engaging in the study of the Brahma Sutras and the practice of meditation. 

The day of Guru Poornima is supposed to herald the settling in of the rains and is thus a time that aspirants commence or resolve to intensify their spiritual disciplines. The Srutis say: "To that high-souled aspirant, whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his Guru is as great as that to the Lord, the secrets explained herein become illuminated". 


Spiritual Teachings of the Sadguru 

The upa-agama, Devilottara is the essence of all Agama Sastra and explains the supreme wisdom to be attained by mature souls and their mode of life, expounded by the Lord Siva to Devi. 


Lord Shiva instructs Parvati

This dialogue conveys the highest spiritual teachings between the Sadguru Lord Siva and His most surrendered devotee the Goddess Parvati. 

To read these teachings go to this link here

Tiruvannamalai Strike July 20, 2016 regarding Arunachala Girivalam Forest Deforestation



The below article appears in today’s "The Hindu", regarding a strike in Tiruvannamalai scheduled to take place on July 20, 2016 in response to the serious deforestation of Arunachala Girivalam forests. 


“People from various walks of life have come together to highlight the need to protect the flora and fauna along the girivalam path. They have formed the Tiruvannamalai Girivalam Path Environmental Protection Committee, and have demanded that the State government give up the project to widen the girivalam path. 

The committee, during its meeting held on Sunday, decided to call for a token strike on July 20 urging the government to withdraw the project. Accordingly, shops in Tiruvannamalai town will be closed from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. At the same time, the committee would form a human chain from Dr. Ambedkar statue to Kamarajar statue, a press release said. The committee members have urged all traders’ associations, political parties, NGOs, cultural and literary organisations, industries, educational institutions, advocates associations, street vendors, environmentalists, devotees, movie theatre owners and public to take part in the protest. 




They argued that the project will destroy major portion of the forest. 

This included several centuries-old rare varieties of trees, herbal plants, birds and animals. 

Members of various traders’ associations, lawyers’ associations, farmers, NGOs, political parties, writers and artists have come together to form the protection committee to represent the views of a large section of people to the government. About 200 persons took part in the meeting, according to S. Karuna, propaganda organiser of the committee.” 



Bhaanu Vaara Pradosham Arunachaleswarar Temple: 17 July, 2016



Pradosham Vrat is observed on the thirteenth day of each lunar fortnight. The most recent Pradosham to be observed at Arunachaleswarar Temple occurred on Sunday, 17 July, 2016. 


Nandi, 3rd Prakaram during abhishekam

Aarti to the Gods, Lord Nandi at 3rd Prakaram

Procession of Lord Arunachaleswarar on Golden Rishaba

Pradosham Vrat has its own benefits according to the day on which it occurs. These Pradoshams are known as follows: 


1. Soma Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on a Monday, it is known as Soma Pradosham. If the Pradosham Vrat falls on a Monday, all the desires of Lord Shiva’s devotee are fulfilled and they become a positive thinker. 

2. Bhaum Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on Tuesday, it is known as Bhaum Pradosham. The benefit of Bhaum Pradosh Vrat is that it gives relief from health problems and enhances physical health. It also brings prosperity. 

3. Saumya Vaara Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on a Wednesday, it is known as Saumya Vaara Pradosha. This day of Pradosham Vrat endows a person with education, knowledge, fulfillment of wishes and progeny. 

4. Guruvaara Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on a Thursday, it is known as Guru Vaara Pradosham. On this day, Divine blessings are received from the ancestors or Pitru. All existing dangers get eliminated by observing a fast on this day. 

5. Bhrigu Vaara Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on a Friday, it is known as Bhrigu Vaara Pradosham. This Pradosham Vrat benefits by removing negativity and opposition; resulting in success and happiness. 

6. Shani Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on a Saturday, it is known as Shani Pradosham. The benefit of Shani Pradosham Vrat is it brings promotion. Lost wealth is received if Shani Pradosham Vrat is observed. 

7. Bhaanu Vaara Pradosham: When Pradosham Vrat falls on a Sunday, it is known as Bhaanu Vaara Pradosham. If Pradosham Vrat falls on this day and is observed by devotees, it results in the attainment of peace and longevity. 

Aani Bramotshavam Theerthavari -- July 16, 2016



The culmination of the 10 day Ani Brahmostavam Festival completed on Saturday July 16, 2016 with a function at Arunachaleswarar Temple followed by a procession of the Gods to the Iyyankulam Tank where a Theerthavari ceremony was observed. 


Procession of the Gods

The Gods Alankaram

Since the tragedy at the Ayyankulam Tank during a previous Theerthavari in connection with the Mahadhaya Maha Punniya Kalam ceremonies, safety precautions have been enhanced at Ayyankulam Tank. Subsequently the most recent function was successfully and peacefully completed. 


The Priests with the anointed Sulam

Priests in Pandal at the Ayyankulam Tank

13 July 2016

Trees Destroyed at Dusk on Girivalam Roadway


The below article dated July, 11 is from a National newspaper about the ongoing controversy concerning the deforestation of trees along the Arunachala Girivalam Pathway. 





The article reads:

“Despite by the stay order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against felling of trees along the Girivalam for the road widening project, the young trees, sacred grooves saplings and branches of-grown trees have been continuously facing the axe. 

On Saturday night, two well-grown trees Forest Flame and Villam adjacent to Chandra Lingam were uprooted using an earthmover by the contractors on the Girivalam path. The uprooted trees were found dumped in Sriharam Lake. 

Advocate and petitioner in the case P K Dhananjeyan said that he spotted the contractors uprooting the young trees and clearing the shrubs on the stretch at about 8 pm on Saturday. 

He intervened and questioned the contractor for carrying the works despite the NGT order and District Collector's order. In the meantime, the environmental activists also reached the spot. Sensing the situation, the contractor and workers winded up the work. 

'Though the workers tried to cover up the illegal felling of the trees, we searched and found the uprooted trees dumped in Sriharam Lake near the Girivalam path today (Sunday) morning," said Dhananjeyan. 

The Collector, after conducting an inspection along the path on last Monday, said that the work along the Girivalam path should be stopped. Contradictory to the Collector's statement, the work has been still going on. 

Calling the act of the contractors as a total disregard for the NGT order, activist Kumar Ambayeram of Tiruvannamalai said that the State Highways have been destroying the ancient and native forest in the name of the development project. "Several hundreds of the trees, sacred grove and shrubs were destroyed under the disguise of clearing the bushes by the officials. They are continuing the work and causing irreparable damage to the ancient forest,' he said. 

The drainage laying work is still in progress. The contractors have been digging up the pit to a depth of five to six feet and pouring the concrete mixture. In the process, they have knocked down several young trees and caused severe damage to the roots of the trees.”

11 July 2016

Aani Thirumanjanam Arunachaleswarar Temple: July 10, 2016


Aani Uthiram, or Aani Thirumanjanam, is an auspicious day in the Tamil Month of Aani (June -July) and is dedicated to Lord Nataraja (Shiva). It is believed that Lord Nataraja gives darshan to his devotees in the months Aani and Margazhi. 

The word "Thirumanjanam" means Holy bath. The festival is observed on the Uthiram Nakshatram day. In 2016, this day fell on July 10th. 

The Lord's form demonstrates his five-fold functions: creation, preservation, destruction, concealment and salvation. The rattle (udukkai) in his right hand represents creation; his raised right arm with the open palm (abhaya hastam) protection; his left hand holding fire destruction; his firmly placed foot concealment; and his other, slightly lifted, leg salvation. Lord Nataraja is given six abhishekams in a year. 

This planet takes 365 days to complete one full circle around the sun. That duration is divided into six seasons: 

Marghazhi-Thai—early winter 
Maasi-Panguni—late winter 
Chittirai-Vaikasi—early summer 
Aani-Aadi—high summer 
Avani-Purattasi—autumn 
Aippasi-Karthikai—rainy season. 

This six-season year of humans is said to be one day for the immortals. A day has six periods: dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night. These are when the six daily poojas (Kaala Pooja) in temples are performed. During each of these six parts, an Abhishekam has been ordained for Lord Nataraja. One of these is Ani Thirumanjanam, the pradosha abhishekam on the evening of the day of Uthiram star in the Tamil month of Aani (June-July) is believed to be the best time for worshipping Lord Shiva. 

Three Tamil Saivaite saints whose shrine face the Nataraja shrine inside the Arunachaleswarar Temple are revered at the same time as worship of the Lord and his Goddess, and deeparadhana is performed by priests at the shrines of the Gods and Saints, which face each other. This is known as Arakattu Utsavam and only happens at this time. 

In preparation of the Holy Bath on Uthiram Nakshatram Lord Arunachaleswarar and Goddess Shivakami are brought out of the Temple in procession and taken to the 1000 pillared hall where they are installed in a special shrine. It is at this place that the sacred bath (Thirumanjanam) is performed. 

It is popularly believed that it was on Aani Uthiram day that Lord Shiva appeared before Sage Manikkavachakar under a Kurundai Tree and offered upadesha (advice). Sage Manikkavachakar is the author of Thiruvachakam. 


Below photographs of 2016 Aani Thirumanjanam at 1000 Pillar Hall, Fifth Prakaram, Arunachaleswarar Temple.












Lord Nataraj and Goddess Shivakami

The Gods being carried out of the 1000 Pillar Hall on Palanquins

Devotees waiting outside the 1000 Pillar Hall, Fifth Prakaram, Big Temple

The Gods exiting the 1000 Pillar Hall

Sani Pradosham: Saturday -- July 2, 2016


Below are photographs of Sani Pradosham observed at Arunachaleswarar Temple on Saturday, July 2, 2016. 

Saturday is dedicated to Lord Saniswaran, one of the nine celestial Gods (Navagrahas). The planet Saturn is considered an agent of Karma who delivers many difficult trials in our lives in order to help refine and evolve our souls. 

 It is thought that on the day of Sani Pradosham Lord Siva has more influence over Saturn and can cause him to release some of our karmic bonds. 


Abhishekam of Lord Nandi, 4th Prakaram, Big Temple

Nandi at Flagpost, Shiva Sannidhi, Big Temple

Circumambulation of Gods around the 3rd Prakaram, Arunachala background
Procession of the Gods in 3rd Prakaram, Big Temple


2 July 2016

News on July 2, 2016 of development of Arunachala Girivalam Pathway


Below I am reproducing in full an article that appeared today in National Indian Newspapers about the current situation regarding the development of the Arunachala Girivalam Pathway. 



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"Steadfast protest of people from all walks of life in Tiruvannamalai on Friday on the girivalam path made the Collector A. Gnanasekaran to suspend the order on felling of trees until he takes a relook at the spot. He said he will explore the possibilities for alternative alignment. 

Though the protesters wanted total withdrawal of the project, they welcomed the gesture of the Collector. 

The project proposes to widen the road by 7 to 10 meter along the 14 km route around the Tiruvannamalai hill and apportion a lane for girivalam devotees to walk around the hill. Though devotees go around the hill walking barefoot every day, lakhs of people perform it on every full moon day. 

About half of the route that traverses through Tiruvannamalai town and overlaps a national highway has become urbanised. Another half that starts from Chengam Road junction and ends at Vellore Road junction remains a pristine beauty and a real avenue flanked by forests. 

Though the protesters oppose the project in total, they are more concerned about preserving this half, especially the Sonagiri forest. It is the only natural forest (where humans never planted trees) that remains intact in the hill that serves as a house to rich diversity of plants, animals and birds. The proposed alignment of the widening project cuts through this forest encircling a few road side threethams (ponds). 


 
Earthmover near Sonagiri Forest, Arunachala Girivalam Roadway
 

Human chain 

Earthmovers entered this serene section a couple of days ago and were digging trenches for constructing a 12km-long drainage along the forest as part of the project. 

Expecting the machines to touch the trees of Sonagiri forests on Friday for digging the trench, about hundred activists and concerned devotees assembled in the place in the early morning. 

They blocked the bull-dozer and asked the workers to wait till their proposed meeting with the Collector by 10 a.m. They formed a human chain there and resolved to face the situation without resorting to any lawless activities. 


Mix of emotions 

The workers pretended to heed their request. But after moving a few hundred meters away from the spot they started felling trees in the peripheries of the Sonagiri forest. The protesters, that included some western devotees, ran to the place and shouted angrily. Some of them like Psychiatrist Dr. Seetha started weeping on seeing the felled trees. A mix of anger and emotion prevailed there. They suddenly sat there blocking the road. 

DSP Saravanakumar initially tried to vacate them terming their protest as illegal. However protesters persisted. 

Prominent citizens like writer Bava Chelladurai, banker turned cinema actor Murugan, Lions club functionary and literary aficionado Kuzhandaivel and local trader Satheesh Sankar argued with the officer and made him get an assurance from the work supervisor to stop till the proposed talks with the Collector."

1 July 2016

Petition against Development of Arunachala Girivalam Roadway


A petition was presented to the Collector at Tiruvannamalai asking that no more trees be cut around the Arunachala Girivalam Roadway in connection with further road development of this area. The Petition reads: 


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"Sir, The proposed widening of the Arunachala Girivalam / Pradakshina road by the Tiruvannamalai administration will lead to an irreplaceable loss of ancient trees, forest lands, sacred groves, and cause considerable damage to sacred tanks and temples. The farmers whose lands will be acquired for the project will also be severely affected. Any relocation or shift of this ancient walkway, will also be an incalculable loss of our historical and cultural heritage to present and future generations. 


Photograph showing the current beautiful growth of trees


The project, which in some places involves re-routing of the road, will cause irreparable damage to the Sona-Giri sacred grove, the only intact sacred grove on mount Arunachala. It is home to Spotted Deer, Langur, Indian Porcupine, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Palm Civet and more. Over 70 species of birds, monitor lizards, numerous snake species and the endangered Indian Star Tortoise can be found there. This rich number and diversity of wildlife, which is already protected under longstanding Indian laws, has been put in harm’s way by the proposed Girivalam Road expansion which will also adversely affect the two sacred thirtams within the grove. 

The project will also lead to the loss of a number of ancient tamarind trees that provide shade to the barefooted pilgrims who undertake the Girivalam and many Sadhus who live under them. Even if new trees are planted in their place, they will take decades to reach a similar size and stature. Already some 30 tamarind trees have been lost as a direct result of the pavement construction on the left side of the Girivalam Road in recent years. 

The present route of the Arunachala Girivalam path follows one that dates back centuries. It was formally marked during Pandya times centuries ago following a route already long in existence at this time. The marker stones laid down by the king were still visible until recently. Any change in this route will be a loss of cultural and historical heritage, cherished by pilgrims around the world. 

The planned expansion of the path also cuts into a number of ‘Rest-a-While’ parks created by the administration for the benefit of pilgrims and local wildlife. These parks provide a tranquil resting spot for those doing the 13 km Pradakshina, and enhance the protective buffer for adjacent Reserved Forest lands. 

Unchecked development around the Arunachala hill has already placed extreme pressure on the forest areas and the wildlife therein. 

We appeal to the relevant authorities to immediately stop all tree felling, and devise an alternative plan that will preserve the irreplaceable existing forests, avenue trees, and sacred groves; to make improvements to the pilgrimage experience by regulating the vehicular traffic thus creating a peaceful atmosphere, without the loss of forest or revenue land around the sacred hill Arunachala. Thank you. On behalf of concerned devotees" 

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To view and sign the petition please go to this link here


Arunachala devotees staging a sit-in protest on Girivalam Roadway


Arunachala devotees talking with the collector over the roadway development

22 May 2016

Vaikasi Pournami Girivalam: Saturday May 21, 2016


The two below photographs are of early crowds in the afternoon of Saturday May 21  performing Arunachala poornami girivalam. 

Pilgrims on Poornami girivalam

Crowds beginning to build up through the afternoon


The next photograph is of pilgrims performing this month's poornami girivalam. One of the pilgrims is performing what is known as "anga pradakshina" i.e. rolling around the 14 km Hill girivalam pathway. 


Pilgrim on ground performing amongst anga pradakshina

There are many stories of Anga Pradakshina performed at Arunachala, one of the most recent and inspirational concern the great Saint Esaki Swamigal. 


1917-1975 Saint Esaki Swamigal

Esaki Swamigal (also known as Panchamukha Swamigal) performed girivalam of the Hill numerous times. 

Many would go to the saint and ask for blessings and he would assure them to gain the Blessings of Lord Shiva it was necessary only to surrender to Arunachala—and that all problems would be solved by performance of giripradakshina. 

Based on the problems and diseases concerned, Swamigal advised giripradakshina for one mandalam (48 days), two mandalam (96 days) or for three mandalams (144 days). His followers started to take his advice and performed giripradakshina to relieve their difficulties. 

During his life, it is believed that Esaki Swamigal performed angapradakshinam (pradakshina by rolling the body in a clockwise movement on the ground) of Arunachala 1008 times. Even today, it is thought that Swamigal in his astral form performs giripradakshina twice daily. Close to the Panchamukha Daharshanam Point there is a small meditation mandapam where it is believed that he performs meditation daily at midday. Near the mandapam, Swamigal created a well in order to supply drinking water for devotees. 



Esaki Swamigal (Dr. Ezekiel)


Meeting with Esaki Swamigal in the 1970s 

“One man we met on our first visit to Arunachala had done the circular sacred journey round the mountain in a remarkable way and had a truly remarkable boon. This was Dr. Ezekiel, a medical practitioner of Tiruvannamalai. We met him one evening as we stood by the side of a road coming out of the town. Along the road towards us, with the beat of drum, sounding brass, and tinkling cymbals, came a group of men. There must have been a dozen of them, some carrying a canopy under which walked a man. Surely a prince must be approaching, we thought. And when the group came in front of us and stopped, we could see that he was truly a prince of the spirit. His eyes were shining, a smile lit up his radiant face and around him was the unmistakable vibration of one who has reached a high level of attainment. My wife was so overcome that she pushed in through the crowd of men around him and touched his feet. Then she stood up and moved to join our friend and myself by the side of the road. Then the procession moved on with its joyous marching music. 

Our friend, Ma Tallyarkan, who was residing at Tiruvannamalai, told us that it was Dr. Ezekiel with a group of his devotees. From her, and from other people, we heard the story of his journey around the mountain and his boon. It seems that, lying horizontally on the ground, he rolled the whole eight miles along the circular route. When he stood up at the end of it, Lord Siva with his consort Parvati, were standing before him. With this boon of the Siva-Shakti darshan, came the gift of healing. 

Dr. Ezekiel had been an ordinary medical practitioner but now he healed with spiritual power. Miraculous healings were the result and people came to him in great crowds. His consulting rooms could not cope with this huge influx, so he took up a position near the road on the other side of Arunachala from Tiruvannamalai. It was a quiet, pleasant spot. He went there at about three o’clock each morning and droves of people surrounded him at that time. But the good, compassionate doctor did not have unlimited energy as does an Avatar. So eventually, his vitality and healing power began to wane. Then he went away and stayed somewhere in seclusion until his good health came back. Eventually, he returned quietly to his practice in the town. Even so, drawn by his elevated spiritual level, people began to gather around him, treat him at their guru, and move about with him as we saw that evening by the roadside. “ 
[Howard Murphet] 

To read more about Saint Esaki Swamigal (Dr. Ezekiel) please visit postings on my Arunachala Mystic site at these below links. 


21 May 2016

May 19, 2016 Thursday Pradosham: Arunachaleswarar Temple


Pradosham literally means “Removal of Sins”. When Pradosham falls on a Thursday, it is known as Guru Vara Pradosha. On this day Divine blessings are received from the Guru and also from ancestors. It is believed that possible dangers are eliminated by observing a fast during the time of Guru Vara Pradosha. 

Pradosham are windows of opportunity to remove karma or karmic energies that limit our potential in this current life. It is the time that Shiva absorbs our karma. Twilight Pradosham, marks the end of the day light and beginning of night. Day is ruled by Gods, angels and saints while night is ruled by evil spirits. 

Twilight is the time of Shiva when he absorbs the day and night, good and evil and all opposites into oneness. This time of transition is also one of transcendence. The twilight time is also called End Time when Earth ends. 


From East to West the five Temple Nandis are

Periya Nandi in front of Vallala Gopuram, Fifth Prakaram 
Chinna Nandi, Fourth Prakaram 
Kodi Kampathu Nandi,Third Prakaram 
Ratha Vilaku Nandi, Second Prakaram 
Pradosha Nandi, Moolastanam 

All of these five Temple Nandis receive abhishekam and aarti at Pradosham. 

Next Pradosham to be observed at Arunachaleswarar Temple will occur on Thursday, June 2, 2016 


Abshishekam Periya Nandi, Third Prakaram

Milk abhishekam on Periya Nandi, Third Prakaram

Abhishekam on Kodi Kampathu Nandi, Third Prakaram

Aarti on Kodi Kampathu Nandi, Third Prakaram

Lord Arunachaleswarar during Guru Pradosham

Lord Arunachaleswarar on Golden Rishaba during procession