26 September 2006

Asta Lingams

Moopanar Swami came to Arunachala from Tiruveneli around 1968 and became very well known throughout the Arunachala area. He was a devout, spiritual man who placed great emphasis on spiritual service. When he arrived at Arunachala, things were rather different to the present time and what particularly distressed Moopanar Swami was the dreadful, neglected condition of the Asta Lingams (8 Lingams) that surrounded Arunachala. Moopanar Swami used to spend a lot of time meditating and praying at the big Temple and he eventually came to believe that his mission directly imposed by Arunachaleswarar was to renovate the Asta Lingams.

He was convinced that the restoration of the Lingam Shrines was essential to the revitalisation of specific fields of energy and influence surrounding the Hill. Through a combination of various social reasons, over the last few centuries Temples and Shrines throughout India had fallen into disuse and decay. This certainly occurred at Tiruvannamalai where the situation had become so bad that The Asta Lingams were even taken over by squatters and homesteaders. It is said that Moopanar Swami would even resort to driving the squatters off the Lingam premises with a stick!

The Hill which is octagonal in shape is surrounded by a total of 8 Lingam Temples (Asta Lingams). Each of these Temples are located at the four cardinal and four inter-cardinal points. This was also believed by the ancients who originally constructed the Lingams at their 8 cardinal and inter-cardinal points to represent, characterise and vitalise certain aspects and qualities of life, namely:

East, Indra Lingam, Sun
South East, Agni Lingam, Fire
South, Yama Lingam, Death
South West, Niruthi Lingam, Growth
West, Varuna Lingam, Rain
Northwest, Vayu Lingam, Air
North, Kubera Lingam, Wealth
North East, Easanya Lingam, Peace

Restoration of the actual Asta Lingams is now complete; although development of land attached to the Lingams still continues. Many people believe that the revitalisation of the Lingams is in some way responsible to the sudden revival of interest in Arunachala. It certainly is a fascinating coincidence!


Martin Bay said...

Really great information and nice Blog thanks. Also had a look at your Website. Very Nice. So much information about Arunachala. Tremendous. Thanks again.

Arunachala Living said...

Thanks for your input. And if you have any suggestions, ideas or questions please let me know.