6 September 2006

Bhuta Lingams

In India there exists five famous Lingams based on the elements (bhutas): Fire, Earth, Wind, Water and Ether (Sky). The Bhuta Lingams are said to be places where Shiva manifested himself as the natural elements.

Each of the five Lingams are situated in celebrated Temple Towns, and are as follows:

Tiruvannamalai: Fire Lingam
Kanchipuram: Earth Lingam
Kalahasti: Wind Lingam
Tiruvanaikka/Jambunath: Water Lingam
Chidambaram: Sky (Ether) Lingam

The Shiva Lingam denotes the primeval energy of the Creator. It is believed that at the end of all creation, during the great deluge, all of the different aspects of God find a resting place in the Lingam; Brahman is absorbed into the right, Vishnu to the left and Gayatri into the heart. The Shiva Lingam is also a representation of the infinite Cosmic Column of fire, whose origins, Vishnu and Brahma were unable to trace.

My Experience

Before I shifted to Arunachala I had been residing at the Puttaparthi Ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and it was in fact Swamiji himself who told me to move to Tiruvannamalai. At that time I didn't know much about this area except for information from the wonderful book 'In Search of Secret India' by Paul Brunton.

But once I arrived here, I quickly learnt that Arunachala represents the Fire Lingam and that it's meant to burn away the ego etc. That actually had been my experience with Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and the whole time I had lived at his Ashram it felt like I was living on the edge of a simmering volcano; hot, hot, hot!

It was only when I came to Arunachala that things changed. And the raging heat of my Puttaparthi days stopped and curiously it felt like my mind was immersed in water. That feeling has never gone. For me Arunachala is cool, quiet, watery and peaceful; like an air conditioner blowing inside the mind.

One day when I was telling David Godman (the writer) this story, he remarked my experience was interesting and reminded him that during his course of interviews with Annamalai Swami in preparation for writing the brilliant, 'Living By The Words of Bhagavan', Annamalai Swami said that his first impression (which never altered) of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, was one of coolness!

My point is sometimes people experience Arunachala as 'cooling' but most ALL experience Arunachala's extraodinary stillness and peace.


Felecity, England said...

I read that it is meant to be an amazingly peaceful place.

Divyakka said...

Yea! Your days of fire are forever over and you deserve the cooling Tiru, Mammi! My impression of my Arunachala visit (only once, for 5 days) is one of great power, it felt somewhat peaceful, definately not fire-like, but very powerful, in a good way. I still remember the feeling whenever I think of Arunachala, or recall my short time there.

Arunachala Living said...

Yes, very very peaceful. And afterall even if its not a big intensive God pursuit, peace is the thing we all want!

Anonymous said...

Arunachala is The Lord Himself in the form of the Hill. I was so fortunate to see Arunachala, Arunachaleswar and Bhagavan Ramana too...All of them,the Ever Living Presence of that Supreme Being of Love and Compassion. I took a couple of natural lingas from Arunachala and one from Ramanashramam. Daily pujas are done to these swayambhu Arunachala lingas. Arunachala Mahatmya says that every stone in Arunachala is a linga..blessed are those who see Arunachala and blessed are those who even think of Arunachala even once...none can visit Him without His invitation. And He invites everyone; for He is the Ocean of Love and Mercy. Arunachala Shiva, Arunachala Shiva, Arunachala Shiva..Arunachala!.